Summary: In hindsight, she should have expected it. They'd spent so much time saving each other, and they'd grown closer as a result. And yet, here she was, proving that he could still surprise her.

After Tomorrow



"Marry me."

His voice was quiet, barely even a whisper in the wind, and yet it thundered through Weiss Schnee's ears as if the declaration had been made to the world, unabashed and unashamed. Eyes widening and shaking off the late night stupor, she pushed off the shoulder she rested on, turning to face its owner by the campfire.

"What?" she asked, her voice hoarse.

Jaune Arc stared into the fire. His expression told a thousand words that held no rhyme or reason, and yet he seemed never more sure. "When all of this is over," he said quietly. "Marry me."

Weiss Schnee had a history of courtships in the past. Flowery words with thinly veiled greed had come from rich men with richer families, all ensnaring her like the snakes that they were. It had been tiring, to wear a plastic smile here and offer a curtsy over there while boys playing men boasted to her of their artificial glory. Her father had encouraged, nay, demanded she attend each of these meetings to find a potential betrothed. For it was her "duty" to carry on the line of succession once she took over the company he'd stolen with their name.

But she was no longer an heiress. And Jaune Arc was no superficial suitor. And instead of the locale being some overpriced restaurant that served appetizers for main courses, they were in a clearing in some woods, in front of a well-kept campfire. They were dirty. They were tired. And Nora was snoring in the background.

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Nora Valkyrie snoring.

The rational part of her mind was surprised at how surprised she was. They'd saved each others lives more often than they could count. They had laughed together. They had cried together. They had basically done it all together. The outsider looking in would have thought it to be a given. And yet, here she was: surprised.

"Why?" was all that escaped her lips.

Jaune finally broke his gaze from the embers to meet her eyes. "Because I don't want to be alone," he simply said. "Because I want to be with you."

Something warm surged through Weiss' body then. It would be weeks, months even before she'd fully realise the true depth of the emotion it was that her heart had begun to embrace. It was a curious feeling, but she did not dislike it. And yet with all of that warmth, a chill still creaked its way through the cracks.

"I'm not her."

It was a chill that sprung a memory of a pale, shivering boy with a thousand-yard stare, his hands tightly squeezed around a bronze headpiece.

"I know." His reply was instant.

"I can never be her."

"I know." Again, instant.

"Then why me?" she asked. "I'm nothing. My name means nothing."

"I liked you before I knew your name," he replied. "And I loved you after you lost it."

Ah. There it was. That word. That damned four letter word. It had power to win wars as well as to be the cause of what waged them. Many a person has claimed it made them stronger; many a person has said it made them weaker.

And still that chill resonated in her body.

"I'm not her," she said weakly. "I don't want to you to look at me and seeā€¦" To see red instead of white. To see green instead of blue. To see perfection instead of imperfection.

Weiss Schnee did not want to be a mirror on a wall that reflected what Jaune Arc really wanted.

As she said this, her fingers found their way to her abdomen, ghosting in a circle. Jaune's eyes followed her movement, his gaze resting where her hand had stilled.

"The first time was for her," he admitted. "And saving the others was as much for her as it was for me." He looked back up at her. "But since then, I have always saved you because it was you. I will always save you because it's you."

The warmth Weiss had felt soared up again. It wrapped around her body, hugging her like a snug blanket. The feeling felt familiar like Winter and comforting like her team, and yet it also felt different. The feeling that he gave her felt different.

"You're not Pyrrha Nikos," Jaune continued. "You're Weiss Schnee." He took the hand that rested on her abdomen and enveloped it with his own. "Marry me, please."

Weiss stared down at their intertwined hands. His fingers were hardened and calloused, a far cry from how soft they were when he'd first swooped her out of the air. His eyes, his innocence and naivety still lingered somewhere buried in there, beneath the pain and the trauma of the things that they've seen.

It wasn't fair. They were all too young to experience the cold harsh reality that faced them.

"Say it again," she whispered.

"Marry me."

"Not that." She shook her head. "When you were talking about my name."

He tightened his grip. "I love you."

She kissed him then. Demanding and desperate with an inkling of desire. It was long, but not long enough. It could never be enough. Time could warp seconds into centuries and still they'd yearn for more.

"Ask me again after tomorrow," she breathed as their lips parted. Her eyes were closed as she rested her head on his chest, his heartbeat calming hers as they beat in unison. It was proof that he was still alive. Proof that they were all still alive. "Ask me then and I'll give you an answer."

There was a moment of hesitation. "Okay," he said, wrapping his arms around her. "After tomorrow."

"Don't get cold feet," she said, half-joking, half-pleading.

"I won't."

Soon the embers in the fire would die out. Soon dawn would arrive and their friends would awaken. Soon the end of the end would start and finish, and maybe afterwards Remnant would finally grant her heroes rest. Whether she would do so voluntarily or involuntarily, no one knew.

But for now, it was just the two of them. Once an heiress and her fool, now a lady and her knight. The darkness could take many things, and it may still will. But it could never rob them of this moment. It had taken enough. It had destroyed enough. And it will never take away what matters most. Not again. Never again. Never ever again.

And as sleep cast its spell over them, the shadow of Beacon Tower loomed above.

Yesterday Fin

"Hold me by my name, hold me till the end." Koda - Staying

- Narutochaos22