Winters end

"We'll be back later!" Ruby's voice yells from just beyond the doorway. Yang strides out of the bathroom towel in hand, patting her hair down in order to absorb some lingering damp. She throws her used towel in the corner of the room, flinching when she notices Weiss watching her with cold, indifferent eyes.

'Weird, she usually goes crazy when I leave my towel on the floor…' Yang muses. She discards the thought; even Weiss can't get angry every time.

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Yang recites cheekily. She pauses slightly when no visible reaction is elicited from Weiss's stony form. 'Nothing new there, though.' Yang muses. The silence is unnerving, nothing like Weiss's usual high-strung soliloquy.

Yang moves to the door but throws Weiss a glance over her shoulder. "See you later." Yang says, receiving a small nod as acknowledgement of her words. Shaking her head Yang leaves to join Blake and Ruby for the movie. 'I'll talk to her later.' She thinks.

The door closes with a soft 'click'.

Weiss sits in the silence of the room; illuminated dually by the small light at her desk and shafts of moonlight leaking through the window. The atmosphere is undisturbed, containing a dead-still serenity that aches to be shattered.

'It feels almost like a promise…'

Weiss stands. Slowly, gracefully.

'Always poised. Always perfect. Schnee's are nothing if they cannot even hold the façade of the perfection they must strive to attain.' A voice recites in her mind, crisp and clear as freshly driven snow.

Her gait is measured, each length of her step symmetrical. As it should be, she had spent years practicing it. Like any true Schnee her step held no hesitation, no weakness. She approaches the small bundle of leftover materials remaining from the impromptu construction work on the team's first day.

The rope is coarse, sharply contrasting against the soft skin of her palm. Slender, elegant fingers dutifully pick at the small collections of knots in the fibrous length.

She splays it out over her desk, sitting decorously even now when she only has herself for company…

Her reflection catches her eye, a lightly rippling double staring back evenly. Her hands move of their own accord, dutifully working as her mind travels.

Unbidden; a memory rises to the surface. A memory of unspoken oaths; a pledge to herself and her family.

"Mirror, tell me something," Her voice intones.


"Tell me who's the loneliest of all?" Weiss sings. Her voice is a delicate counterpoint to the cutting silence of the world around her. The room starts growing chillier as her power slips loose.

'I find myself thoroughly disappointed. Disappointed but unsurprised.'

"Mirror, tell me something," She beseeches; a perfect length of uncoiled rope lay beneath her delicate hands.

'I had thought that perhaps you might find purpose, even honour in the hallowed halls of Beacon.'

"Tell me who's the loneliest of all?" She asks. Her haunting duplicate gazes back, it's gaze accusing; condemning. Weiss's breath is visible in cold air.

'Instead you have ushered the Schnee name to disgrace as always.'

"Fear of what's inside of me," Her voice echoes in the anticipatory stillness. Her hands work expertly with finesse borne of years of practice.

'A Schnee never bends the knee. A Schnee is not conducted like a pawn upon another's board. A Schnee never follows.'

"Tell me can a heart be turned to stone?" Her silken voice threads through the room; an eerie parallel of her thoughtless task. Frost spiderwebs up the windows.

'So when I discover you to be under the command of another, no more than a child, I find myself with an answer to a question unasked.'

"Mirror, mirror, what's behind you?" Weiss sings yearningly into the night. Her arms lift and strain, hands pulling a knot taut.

'You are no Schnee.'

"Save me from the things I see!" Her voice rises along with her body, arms looping the length of rope around her slim shoulder. Ice clings to the visible surfaces, iridescent in the moonlight.

'Never would I have thought a child of my own could be so utterly nugatory.'

"I can keep it from the world," She continues. Her aim is perfect, the rope flying in a delicate arc.

'You are not my child.'

"Why won't you let me hide from me?" She entreats fruitlessly. A strong tug confirms strength. A shuffle of snow falls loose.

'No longer will the Schnee name suffer your failure or your presence.'

"Mirror, mirror, tell me something," Weiss queries, standing straight backed on the heavy, hard wooden chair.

'You are forthwith disowned. You are not my daughter, you are not a sister, you are not a Schnee.'

"Who's the loneliest of all?" She asks rhetorically. The noose fits snugly around her neck, framing her delicate neck in an ominous wreathe.

'Head of Schnee house, Mathias Schnee.'

"I'm the loneliest of all." Weiss says finally into the tranquil emptiness. Ice snakes out, clawing away from her as the epicentre.

The silence of the room fractures when she kicks the chair beneath her feet to the ground, falling to the frozen ground.

Moments later the silence shatters when a distraught voice screams.