It was Friday evening. The living room was unusually quiet due to the Arc sisters having decided to visit some friends, but the silence was broken when Weiss's ringtone erupted from the table before her. She grabbed it as soon as she could, bringing it up to her ear and entering her business mode. "Hello? Yes, this is she. Thank you for returning my call so quickly."
"No, as I said before, I'll be living by myself."
She was grateful the other party couldn't see her roll her eyes. "That's why I included a copy of my bank statement, ma'am, so you could see that I'll have no issues paying rent or any of my related bills."
Sigh. "So I still need one regardless? I see. Thank you for your time, and yes, I still would like to rent it out. I'll contact you when I have the paperwork ready."
The call ended, and Weiss couldn't resist the urge to fall back into the sofa. "You were right, Juniper. I need someone to co-sign for an apartment, no matter what."
"That's just the way housing is, Weiss." The Arc matriarch had already begun filling out her portion of the papers, having long known what would happen. "You have no job or prior credit, and renting a home is all about liability. At least I'm available to put my name on it, so for you it's no major issue."
"Thank you again." She sighed in mild frustration. "I can't wait to see what buying a car will be like once I can drive."
"Actually, car companies love customers like you." Juniper stopped writing long enough to flash her a wry smile. "They'll think that you can only make minimum payments, maximising the money they'll make off of you. And if you fail to pay, it's not difficult to have the car repossessed. Word to the wise: Never buy cars new, since the value drops the instant you leave the lot with it."
"I'll make sure to remember that." Weiss looked over her apartment of choice on the website. It was part of a complex, on the route of one the public school buses and only a five minute walk to the city bus stop. It had central heating and air (a must for her) on top of being pet friendly; not that she felt she needed a pet, just that she secretly hoped she would have a neighbor with a nice dog.
Unfortunately all of the one bedroom apartments were taken, so she would have to rent a two bedroom instead. At least any guests would have a place to sleep besides the sofa, if she cared to get an air mattress of some sort. "I've been so busy that I missed it, when are Olive and Jaune expected home?"
"Probably somewhere from eight-thirty to nine-thirty tonight." Juniper flipped through the pages once more to check for any missed sections. "That should be it for these papers. I'll give you my documents tomorrow so you can submit them together."
Weiss accepted them gratefully. "My thanks once more. Do you need anything before you go to bed?"
"I think I'm okay, thank you." The woman rose from her seat, already taking a few steps towards her room. "We're going to miss having you around the house, you know."
"And I'll miss you, too, but this is something I have to do. Plus, I would hate to overstay my welcome. Good night, Juniper."
"Good night, Weiss." With a parting wave Juniper dismissed herself for the night, leaving Weiss alone with her thoughts. What she'd said was completely true; she knew she would miss the Arc home dearly, but with her former life having crumbled to dust, she needed to find out who Weiss Schnee was. Who she would be.
With her apartment hunting duties paused and her homework completed, she opted to spend the next hour simply watching t.v., not that there was much she cared to keep up with. "If I do get a t.v., it'll likely be just to play movies or Netflix. I wonder what equipment I'll need for that?"
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the front door opening. "Welcome home, you two."
Olive strolled into the living room, dressed in the black work attire of the Vermilion Garden. "We're home! Did you miss me?"
"Maybe." Olive let out a fake gasp as Jaune walked by, simply nodding his head to her before heading upstairs. Weiss tried not to show how upset she was about that. "How was work?"
"Oh, you know, never-ending plates, bowls, and silverware. Wash, rinse, set aside. Repeat eight hundred times." The Arc fell beside her on the couch, causing the cushion to bounce a little. "Serving customers will be so much better, so I'll just deal with it for now, but it is astounding how hard some things can be to get clean."
Weiss passed the remote to her with a smile. "If you really think about it, Olive, that just means you're serving a crucial role in the business."
"I don't need your sass." Olive briefly put her legs on the table as she looked at the t.v. guide, only to think better of it and set them back on the ground. "So, find your new home yet?"
"I have, though with some annoyances. I may be moving out as soon as next weekend."
"Mm." Olive eventually settled on some late-night game show, but muted it as soon as she reached it and looked at her. "Weiss, can I be nosy?"
"Would you stop if I said no?"
"Yes, actually." Weiss had only been joking, but the admission got her attention as speaking. "At this point you really are family, and… I hate seeing you and Jaune do this awkward tiptoeing around each other. I know that you won't tell me what caused it, but can I at least help you two get past it?"
She let out a small breath of air, though this one was of amusement rather than annoyance. "I'm sure we'll get over our issues in time, Olive, but thank you anyways."
"Fair enough." The blonde unmuted the t.v., but had one last thing to say. "By the way, Weiss, you're a singer right?"
"I am, why?"
"I was just hoping to hear you sing at some point, that's all." Olive let it drop there, leaving Weiss to wonder why she seemed a little cryptic with that last statement. They watched the show together for a half hour, until Olive decided it was time to head to bed. With nothing important to do the next day, Weiss didn't particularly feel like sleeping; but at the same time, she had no inclination to keep watching the show.
"I think I could use some fresh air..."
Turning off the t.v. and grabbing a jacket from her room, Weiss found herself standing on the porch, staring at the broken moon as she compared it to herself. Within the past month she'd felt the world shatter around her, not unlike the glass of a mirror. For quite some she'd even considered her life to be like one, albeit it was a life where her reflection showed her assumed dreams instead of her true, yet currently unknown, aspirations. In fact, she'd felt that way so strongly-
Mirror, tell me something,
Tell me who's the loneliest of all?
She wrote songs about it.
After Jaune took a shower and hit sanctuary of his room, he changed out of his work clothes into his casual wear and called his girlfriend. She picked up after three rings, which he'd learned was her normal answering time if she wasn't expecting a call in particular. Yang's voice came out of the speakers. "Well hello there, handsome."
He smiled as he fell into his bedsheets. "Hello yourself, beautiful. You owe me five Lien."
"So Cardin played nice with your sister?"
"Not only did he play nice, he taught Olive a couple tricks to make sure she could keep up without feeling like she might burn out of energy."
"Wow. I know I haven't paid much attention to him the last couple years, but he really has matured, huh?"
"I'm not sure if it was me decking him in the face or Vermilion hammering a work ethic into him that did it, though."
Yang let out a laugh. "I guess we can pretend it was you for now. So, what's your new weekly schedule gonna look like with Olive broken in now?"
"We'll be working Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, at least until I start doing band stuff next semester and it has to move around a little."
"Mm, that's not bad at all. You'll still make decent money on the weekends while having plenty of time to be with your new, favorite blonde!"
It was his turn to laugh. "You're trying to compete with my sisters? It's not like I compare you to them."
"True. I'd be a little worried if you stared at their chest while they were sweaty."
He coughed. She'd caught him red handed.
Jaune was brought to pause as he heard what sounded like a song. Did Olive have her music up too loud? Pushing that aside for the moment, he asked, "So how was my favorite blondes afternoon?"
"It was good! I got some nice sets in, got to tease Ruby a little. What was that phrase you used- Ah. Same stuff, different day."
"Mm. Are you gonna be free tomorrow?"
"Maybe? We're doing something to celebrate uncle Qrow's birthday, but I still don't know what. Call me in the morning?"
"I will. Good night, Yang." He ended the call when she returned the sentiment, placing his phone on his nightstand before rolling to the right a little and grabbing his guitar from its home. Hearing the music coming from Olive's room had put him in the mood to sing himself-
Mirror, mirror, what's behind you?
Save me from the things I see!
"Wait, I know that voice. And it's coming from outside." Jaune stopped as he strained his ears to listen to the music. How could he have forgotten what Weiss's singing sounded like? And it was the song he'd heard her sing in the chorus room! After a minute of listening to her she stopped, and Jaune found himself waiting for her to continue as he held his guitar. Was there more? There had to be more. Please say there was-
Who am I to complain?
My life's been spared so much pain
It was a peculiar siren call, but as Weiss began singing again, he felt inexplicably drawn to her. Moving silently, he put his jacket on and slipped downstairs while still carrying the guitar with him.
Born with all that I need
My comforts all guaranteed
So what's the problem/ What's keeping me
From moving forward/ It's hard to see
As he opened the front door of the home, he was immediately reminded of that time outside the chorus room; only this time, Weiss's features were illuminated by the moon itself, contrasting perfectly with the otherwise dark night air. She stopped singing the moment he opened the door, however, choosing instead to turn towards him as he closed the door. She seemed surprised to see him, but quickly masked it with a neutral expression. "Hello again. I didn't bother you, did I?"
"No, not at all." God, what should he even say at this point? "Um, is there more to the song? I didn't mean for you to stop."
Weiss only nodded before taking a deep breath and picking up where she'd left off.
I should be free now
I should be fine
But the life I fought for
Still isn't mine
Some believe in fairy stories
And the ghosts that they can't see
I know that I could do so much
If I could just believe in me
Tell me something
Can I stop my fall?
She sang uninterrupted for a couple minutes until the song came to its natural end, and only then did Jaune dare to speak. "Weiss, that was… beautiful, and very sad."
"Thank you, and yes it is. It was a reflection of how I felt when I wrote it over a year ago."
He took a couple steps to stand beside her near the railing. "You wrote that by yourself? That's impressive."
She let herself smile for an instant. "I did, indeed. However, I must say that it's out of date now. It may be time to create and adopt a new song."
"I'm jealous. I'm good with the actual music portion, but I can't string words together to save my life." They shared a brief moment of mirth before falling in silence. It was uncomfortable, and Jaune slowly began examining his relationship with Weiss. She'd be moving out sometime soon, so where did he want them to be after that? Friends? Strangers?
You're never alone, Crystal.
He'd said that, hadn't he? Maybe it was time to finally move on.
Plucking the guitar's strings, Jaune did a quick check of the key the instrument was tuned to. "Weiss, if you're up for it, would you like to sing a song with me?"
She perked up at that, turning to look away from the moon as she regarded him curiously. "Certainly, but what is it?"
"I once told a friend of mine to listen to this song whenever she felt lonely. We had a fight recently, but she said that she was sorry, so-" Jaune began gently tapping his foot in time as he started to play. "I want her to know that I forgive her."
Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
Warmth entered Weiss's eyes when she recognized the song before the first words even came out. He nodded his head to her, prompting her to start singing as well.
W: He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else
J: I drove for miles and miles
And wound up at your door
W: I've had you so many times
But somehow, I want more
With both of them being trained singers, playing off of each other came effortlessly to them. Weiss swayed a bit from side to side while he continued marking time, and together they made their way through the song with nary a mistake.
Both: I don't mind spending every day
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay a while
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
They sang the last section in unison, letting the moment wash over them as they reached a silent understanding: as bad as things had been since the incident, it was time to let go of the awkwardness and be friends again. Jaune and Weiss, on the same page at last.
The moment was broken by a female voice calling out to them. "Kiiiiiss heeeeer!"
Both of there heads whipped towards the fenceline, where a teenage girl stood with her arms crossed on top of the metal, though it was difficult to make out her features in the dark. "Don't let it end that lamely, man! You had a good atmosphere!"
Jaune cleared his throat awkwardly while Weiss took a couple of steps away from him. "Uh, she's not my girlfriend, miss."
"Well she's never gonna be with that attitude!"
Weiss waved a hand in front of her face to dismiss the claim. "No, he means that he has a girlfriend and I'm not her."
"Oooooooh. Sounds awkward. Well, in that case, gotta introduce myself now!" The girl hopped the fence, and as she stepped closer they could finally see that she was a ginger with two different streaks of color in the front, on top of being a Faunus. Her orange tail swished back and forth lazily as she approached with a hand out. "Name's Neon Katt, and I'm totally your new neighbor! Would've said 'hey', like, two weeks ago, but the family's been busy moving."
"Nice to meet you," Jaune responded while shaking her hand and ignoring the latter comment."I'm Jaune Arc, and this is Weiss."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," Weiss added amicably.
"Totes, same to you. So my family just moved here from Atlas, and I have, like, no idea what people do in this town for fun. Any ideas?"
He scratched his chin in thought. "Well, what did you like to do back in Atlas?"
Neon's eyes seemed to sparkle. "I hit the town to go skating and dancing! Anything except for polka music, I'm down for. If I don't feel like grooving, though, I usually play video games with my friends."
Weiss gave a small sound in her throat. "I'm not sure I'll be of much help. Jaune?"
"Hmm. Skating is probably the same anywhere in the world, so you might just have to go around town and check out the public spots." Inspiration struck. "Buuut, if video games are your thing then have I got the place for you."
"But panda, you just had Yang and Jaune have a feel good moment. Now Weiss?"
Yes indeed! Gotta make things happy before you can make conflict again.
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