Disclaimer: I do not own RWBY or any of its characters. I would probably make it angstier somehow.
Everyone had words. The words, of course, were different for everyone in what exactly they said, but they usually came in three varieties:
The First Words You Hear, which everyone hoped for as it would make things easier.
The Last Words You Hear, which everyone dreaded to have as then it would most likely be too late.
Or, rarest of the three, the First Words That Touch Your Heart. No one ever knew what to make of those kinds of words, except you would apparently know once you heard them.
No matter what type of words you had, they all came from the same source: your soulmate.
Familia, platonic, or romantic, the words from your soulmate were considered to be some of the most important ones you'd ever hear.
Ruby had always wanted to hear her words. She had a hard time with talking to other people when it was about anything other than weapons, but she always had hope that her soulmate at least would be someone who would understand her. That she could talk to. That she could stand at the same level with.
Plus, considering her goal of being a huntress, her words filled her with hope in that regard too.
So all of her life, Ruby had looked at the elegant and refined icy-blue words on her wrist with anticipation of the day that she would hear them. She'd occasionally cling to her wrist cover just to remind herself of the promise they foretold.
"Just know, that I am going to be the best teammate you'll ever have."
She couldn't begin to imagine the circumstances but they had always been a reassurance that she wouldn't be alone. Ruby had always hoped that they would be the First Words that she heard from her soulmate.
Of course, they weren't.
But then again, she hadn't ever expected such words to come from Weiss of all people.
Ruby knew that they were both at fault for their first meeting being so… explosive to say the least. Ruby does know that she wouldn't have chosen her as a partner and Weiss felt the same, but destiny, it seemed, had other plans for the two of them.
Other plans, indeed.
It hadn't even registered at first that Weiss had said them. Ruby was just basking in the feeling that Weiss believed in her, was going to try harder to fulfill what she said back in the Emerald Forest. Weiss had walls the size of Beacon's tower that created the prissy and rigid attitude that she gave off, but here in the gentle light of evening, she seemed softer and more open. This side of her had been something that she had gotten brief glimpses of back in the forest.
It was only after Weiss had left again, to go who knows where, that Ruby felt a tingling in her wrist and realized what had happened.
"Wait…" Ruby uncovered her wrist. The words were the same as always and Ruby looked between her wrist and the door.
Weiss Schnee was her soulmate.
Who could have guessed?
Ruby didn't tell Weiss.
When she first decided not to, it was mostly because she really didn't want to see how she would react. Weiss seemed to have struggled with accepting her as leader, though she quickly got there, so how could she have accepted that she had said the words on Ruby's wrist?
Ruby decided to see how their relationship went first. After all, of all the types of soulmates, she had never heard of having a frienemy as a soulmate. She wanted to make sure that she would be welcomed and able to talk about this.
Then, as she got to know Weiss, as the ice melted a bit and she got to see who Weiss really was, she decided not to tell her for entirely different reasons.
Jaune had been flirting with her once again, and Weiss had stomped off, obviously annoyed.
"Jeez, can't you just give the poor guy a chance?" Yang asked once they were all back in their dorm room. "I mean, it wouldn't hurt to, y'know, go on a date or two."
Weiss gave a rough huff of breath. "Do you know how many men and boys have flirted with me? How many who have claimed that I said their words and that made us soulmates?" She rolled her eyes. "They all wanted only one thing." She paused for a moment. "Well, two things."
Ruby's breath caught and she held still as Blake's eyes flicked over to her before going back to Weiss. "I'm pretty sure Jaune's not like that." Blake pointed out. "I mean, at the very least, he hasn't made any claims that you've said his words."
Weiss gave a tired sigh and settled in her desk chair. "He's probably not like that. But how can I know for certain?" She frowned and looked away. "And anyway, in Jaune's case… I know who has his words. And she actually genuinely seems to like him, so…"
There was a slight alarm bell ringing in the back of Ruby's mind at Weiss's tone, but she couldn't tell what it was exactly that was setting it off.
"Why wouldn't she like him? If she has his words…" Blake's brow furrowed.
That made things click for Ruby. "You make it sound like you don't believe in the words." She nervously said.
Weiss fixed her with a look. It cut right through her. "I don't think someone should be obligated to be with someone, in whatever capacity they feel for each other, just because of some words that fate seems to have left you with." She turned around and opened a book, her spine as stiff as the book she held. "I know I wouldn't want my soulmate or whatever to feel obligated towards me."
Ruby froze. Luckily, Yang was talking so no one noticed. "That's harsh, Ice Queen." She said softly.
Weiss refused to look over at them. "My parents have each other's words. Supposedly." Her hands tightened on the book, and Ruby's eyes were drawn to them.
Weiss rarely mentioned her parents. Or any of her family really. Usually she just mentioned her older sister, if anyone at all. The few times she had mentioned anyone else had not painted them in the best light, especially when it came to her father. Ruby didn't know the full extent, none of them did, but the Schnee family didn't sound like it was great to be a part of.
"So what? If someone actually says the words you have, are you just going to ignore it? Or what?" Yang asked, somewhat defensively. Ruby didn't know what words her sister had, but she had always been defensive over them. She clung to them as much as Ruby had clung to hers, and hated it when they were called into question. "Do you even have words?"
Blake and Ruby both gasped at the implication. There were people without words, but they were few and far between. No one liked thinking about what having no words could mean.
Weiss's book snapped shut. The air felt like it dropped ten degrees as she turned around. Her eyes were as hard as ice as she glared at Yang. "I do, in fact, have words." Her free hand wrapped around her wrist cover, almost reflexively. "Forgive me for being skeptical as I cannot imagine anyone actually saying them. They're… impossible."
For a split second, the angry ice melted and Weiss looked like she was actually in pain. Ruby's heart ached for her but before she could reach out to her, Weiss had turned away again.
The fire died in Yang's eyes and she deflated. "Sorry. I - " She mumbled and rubbed the back of her neck.
"I don't know what I would do if someone actually said them. But," Weiss began to gather up her things, "I almost wish I'd find someone that I love and hope that maybe against all odds they love me too. Words or no words."
Blake blinked. "That's… actually kind of romantic."
"Hmmm." Weiss hummed a bit, before moving to the door. "I'm going to be in the library if you need me." Without another word, she was gone.
Silence descended on the room for a few moments before Yang and Blake started chatting between themselves. Ruby couldn't pay attention to that as she was caught up in her own thoughts.
It wasn't like Weiss had said outright that she didn't want her. She didn't want someone to feel "obligated" to be with her.
Ruby didn't understand why someone wouldn't want to be with Weiss. Sure, she could be cold and uppity, but that was mostly a facade. The real Weiss cared so much. She cared for them, she cared about her family and wanted to return her family name into something to be proud of, she cared about other people and wanted to help as long as she had the strength to do so. So why…
Weiss's words on her wrist prickled a bit and she subconsciously grabbed it.
These words hadn't been what had made her want to be Weiss's friend. She had wanted that practically since the very moment they met. These words weren't what was making Ruby slowly fall -
"Wait! Did Weiss just say that she knows who Jaune's soulmate is?!" Yang's voice broke Ruby's train of thought. She blinked, taking in her sister's slack-jawed expression.
Huh. She couldn't remember what she had been thinking.
Everything changed so fast that Ruby could hardly think of soulmates and words.
One moment, everything was fine, everything was normal. The next, Penny was dead, nothing more than a puppet for Cinder's plot. Pyrrha was dead, by Cinder's own hand. Yang was forever changed and suffering. Blake had disappeared into the shadows, doing who knows what.
And Weiss had been taken back to Atlas.
Her partner, her soulmate, was gone.
And the way Yang had said it, it didn't sound like a good thing, but in her fragile state, reeling from all her losses, Ruby wasn't about to push for more information.
It was only with Weiss's absence that Ruby realized the full extent of her feelings.
She had thought that her feelings for Weiss were platonic. That though they were soulmates, she had just felt friendship for the lonely heiress.
But she was in love with her.
And from what she knew of Weiss's father, she would probably never see her again.
Why was it that people could only realize how much something meant when they had lost it? Every moment that they were separated caused an ache in her chest that wouldn't go away, and it took so much of her strength to ignore it. She had to be strong here.
After all, she wasn't the only one in her new makeshift team having such revelations, though at least in her case Ruby knew that, despite being gone, her soulmate was still out there in the world.
She couldn't say the same for Jaune as one night she found him staring blankly at his uncovered wrist. In red and gold, there were only two words there.
Ruby let Jaune cry on her shoulder that night. And if she shed a few tears herself, mostly for the girl who had said those words but also for the girl whose words were on her own wrist, no one mentioned it.
It seemed like fate was not quite done with them just yet.
Ruby had never thought that she would see Weiss again. But there she was just behind her sister standing next to Uncle Qrow. Her dress was dirty and somewhat tattered, her hair was greasy, and her skin was marred with bruises and dirt. Quite frankly, it looked like she had been dragged through the woods and tossed down a hill.
But she was smiling and her eyes shone with a quiet happiness, though she looked somewhat sad as well as she gazed at her and Yang's reunion.
She had never looked more beautiful to Ruby.
She was so glad when Weiss joined in the hug. Just that simple gesture reassured her that she was really there along with her sister.
Ruby couldn't stop staring as they briefly parted to finish making supper and Yang and Weiss broke off to freshen up. She only stopped looking at the direction they'd gone at Qrow's knowing look.
"What?" She squawked, but Qrow just smirked as he took another gulp from his flask.
Stories were exchanged, explanations were given, and all too soon it was time to turn in. Yang and Weiss were given their own room together, and part of Ruby wanted to protest but she was already sharing with Qrow…
Either way she found herself lingering as everyone said their good nights and turned away. But Weiss noticed her probably downcast expression.
Even after all these months parted, Weiss could still read her.
Ruby still wasn't expecting the hug though.
"Are you really okay?" Weiss murmured, holding her tightly. Part of Ruby wondered when Weiss 'Don't touch me' Schnee had become such a hugger, so open to physical affection. However, she wasn't about to complain.
Ruby practically melted in her embrace. She wanted to cry, she wanted to hold Weiss tightly, she wanted to tell her about how things had been so hard because she loved JNPR but this wasn't her team and she had to be strong and…
She wanted to tell Weiss that she was her soulmate, that she had her words, and she had missed her more than she ever thought possible.
But she didn't say that. Instead, she said, "I'm better." Because she was. So her team wasn't whole yet, but she already had a lot more than she had been expecting this morning. Yang and Weiss were plenty good enough for her.
Weiss's grip somehow tightened. "I'm sorry." The words were as soft as freshly fallen snow, and there was a lot more emotion behind them than Ruby was used to getting from Weiss. "I haven't been a very good teammate like I promised."
Her words seemed to send a flash of warmth through Ruby, prompting her to hold on to Weiss just as firmly as she was being held. "You're here now. That's all that matters."
And it really was. Leaving hadn't been her choice, and somehow, against all odds, they had found each other. There was probably more to Weiss's story than what she had said earlier, but then again, Ruby hadn't told her everything either.
Eventually, Weiss pulled back and gave her a tired smile. "Just let me know if you need anything." With a final squeeze to Ruby's hands, she let go and walked into her room.
Ruby just stood there for a moment, clutching her hands where Weiss had just held them.
"I'll always need you." She whispered to herself.
If only she was brave enough to tell Weiss that and reveal the words on her wrist.
Weiss wasn't moving.
Weiss wasn't moving.
Weiss wasn't moving.
She wasn't moving at all.
Ruby had no clue what was going on. She didn't think she had been unconscious all that long, how could things have changed that fast?
She shook off Nora's hold and raced to Weiss's side, calling her name. She barely registered Ren's assessment that Weiss was stabilizing.
Even under the glow of Jaune's aura, Weiss looked like she was in pain. But lifting Jaune's hands, she could see the wound healing. Blood was drenched along her side and it had formed a small puddle beneath her as well as over where Ruby assumed she had gotten injured.
She didn't know exactly how this happened, but Ruby knew exactly who was responsible for this.
Ruby gave the rest of RNJR their orders and then gripped her weapon tight, moving swiftly to cut Emerald off and join the fight by her sister's side.
"You okay?" Yang asked, her tone implying that she knew the answer.
"No." Ruby replied and she felt a surge of emotion that she had rarely truly felt. "I'm angry."
Cinder and her cohorts had taken Penny and Pyrrha from her. She was not about to lose Weiss when she had just gotten her back.
Her words burned, matching her anger.
They would pay for this.
The battle was over and somehow RWBY was whole once more.
Once things had been cleared up with Mistral's authorities, the entire gang made their way back to where they had been staying. And finally, Blake explained herself to the rest of their team.
"Adam said that he would destroy everything I love." Blake's voice was thick, and she appeared so small from her spot next to Yang. Weiss and Ruby sat across from them as they watched Blake hunch over in her shame. "That's… that's why he targeted you, Yang, and took your - " Her eyes darted to Yang's prosthetic.
"That seems a bit… extreme." Ruby admitted. Sure, the guy was the violent and fanatical leader who'd helped align the White Fang with an evil entity they didn't know much about, but it was weird how laser focused he was on Blake.
Blake took a deep breath, closing her eyes to steady herself before she reopened them with a new resolve. "The words Adam has were the first words I ever said to him." She said, and all of them started a bit in shock. "But I don't have his words on my wrist." She continued.
It happened sometimes. Having someone's words, but they didn't have yours. It was considered to be unrequited, and it was said to be even rarer than not having any words at all.
"Are - are you sure?" Weiss couldn't help but ask, and Ruby was right there with her.
Blake paused and then she slowly undid the clasp on her wrist cover. "Yes, I'm sure." And then, surprisingly, she held up her wrist to Yang. "Because I heard my words already."
Yang's eyes widened, and both Ruby and Weiss leaned forward to see on Blake's wrist, in yellow gold, "And if you feel like coming out tomorrow, I'll save you a dance."
It didn't have much significance to the two of them but Yang obviously recognized them as she gently grasped Blake's wrist.
"I - I don't know how he knew. About what you meant to me beyond being my partner and teammate. About what my words were. I never told him, but he - he targeted you anyway." Blake's words came out in a rush, as if she had to get them out before they drowned her. "So I thought maybe I should keep away. That you would be better off since it was my fault and - "
Yang managed to silence her with a single finger on her lips. She gave Blake a moment to calm down before giving her a sad smile. "Y'know I lost my words, when I - " She gave her prosthetic a significant look and Ruby jolted because she hadn't fully realized that before this moment. "However, I still remember what they said."
Blake stared at her with wide eyes. "And?" She hesitantly asked.
Yang gave a significant look. "You're not going anywhere, right?"
Blake's eyes shimmered as she drew Yang into a tight hug.
Ruby watched, feeling her own eyes growing wet. Her sister had found her soulmate, and she couldn't be happier for her.
A weight on Ruby's hand startled her and she looked down to see Weiss's hand grasping hers. Glancing up, she saw Weiss watching the other two as well, a sheen in her eyes and a gentle smile on her lips.
Curling her fingers around Weiss's and returning her gaze to her teammates, Ruby felt her heart flutter in her chest.
For the first time in a long time, she seriously wondered if maybe she should make her own confession.
They were going to Atlas next.
Weiss wasn't taking the news well.
It's not like she was taking the news badly either. It wasn't like when they first met and she would indignantly shriek about what she felt was wrong. When Qrow announced their next destination, Weiss's spine had stiffened. It was like she had frozen in place, her eyes wide and expression blank.
When Yang had declared that getting there should be easy, Weiss had finally snapped out of it, revealing that the borders had been shut down on General Ironwood's orders. She had managed to slip away just before everything had closed.
"Yeah, but they'll make an exception for you, won't they?" Nora had smirked, leaning on Ren. "After all, you're a Schnee, right?"
It was subtle enough that probably only Team RWBY and Qrow had noticed it, but Weiss had flinched at that. She quickly recovered, with a tight, fake smile, but clearly the thought of returning to her homeland had shaken her.
Ruby knew she should at the very least ask what Weiss hadn't told any of them yet. This reaction was a bit too odd, even by Weiss standards, for it to have been a result of sneaking away after her father forbid her from leaving. There had to be more to it.
As Ruby gazed at Weiss's profile from the doorway as she watched the moon, she knew this was the perfect opportunity. Her hands clenched around the mugs in her hands, but she took a deep breath and moved forward.
"Hey, Weiss," she called softly, not stopping as Weiss glanced over at her. "Um, I'm not that great a making coffee, but I am pretty great with hot chocolate." Ruby weakly smiled as she held out one of the mugs to Weiss.
Luckily, Weiss met her smile with something a little more genuine. "Hot chocolate is just fine." She took her mug and after blowing on it for a moment, she took a tentative sip. She smiled at the taste which relaxed Ruby somewhat as she sat down next to her.
Neither of them spoke for a few moments, just drinking their hot chocolate and enjoying each other's company. However, Ruby found that she couldn't stay silent any longer.
"Are you really okay?" She turned to Weiss, studying her once more. Weiss started a bit and looked back over to her, and it struck Ruby again how open Weiss had been ever since she had returned, because although she didn't say anything, her surprise was written all over her face. Before, she would have been hard pressed to tell. "I mean, you just barely got out of there and now we have to go back to Atlas. Plus, you had that fight with your dad about the whole summoning thing, so that has to - "
Ruby halted as Weiss abruptly glanced away. Her eyes narrowed. She'd struck a nerve somehow.
"Weiss, what - "
"It wasn't a simple fight."
Ruby didn't dare move as Weiss set down her hot chocolate and rested her hands and face on her knees, curling in. It felt like if she made one wrong move, said one word out of place, Weiss would bolt like a startled rabbit.
Before Ruby could even try to say anything, Weiss continued, "True, my father had no intention of letting me leave, but there was more to it than that." Weiss shut her eyes for a moment, her whole expression pained. "Father used the Boarbatusk incident as the perfect excuse to disinherit me."
Ruby sucked in a startled breath. No, that couldn't mean what she thought it meant.
But Weiss confirmed it. "I'm not the heiress anymore." She gave a small, wet snort at the thought. "From what Whitley said, he may have been planning this for a while. Which I can accept, it seems just like him and I wasn't the most complacent, but," she looked away from Ruby back at the moon,"Vernal kept on calling me that; Raven was planning on ransoming me to my father for that. However, I'm no longer useful so I highly doubt that would've worked. "
Ruby was reeling from Weiss's revelation, but each one of Weiss's words, stabs at her situation, felt like a dagger in her own heart.
Being the Schnee heiress was a large part of who Weiss was. It was both a burden and a goal to her: a burden because of the expectations placed upon her making her feel like she had to be perfect and a goal because Weiss had seen what her father had done to the company and she knew that they could be better than that. She wanted to make it better.
And her father had just - ripped it all away.
"Are… are you - " Ruby hesitated to ask, but Weiss cut her off anyway.
Everything about Weiss's posture screamed that she was not fine at all.
Ruby pondered for a moment what Weiss had said. About no longer being the heir. About her being "useful."
Ruby had never met the man, but she was pretty sure she hated Weiss's father.
She set down her hot chocolate and turned to better face Weiss. "Weiss." Ruby waited for her friend to look up at her. "I don't know what exactly you mean by 'usefulness' or why he would do such a thing, but…"
Ruby reached forward and took Weiss's hands in her own and looked her straight in the eye. "Heiress or not, Schnee or not, you're still Weiss, and that's who we, who I, care about."
Weiss's eyes widened and she gasped a bit, but Ruby just squeezed her hands in reassurance.
"So we'll stand by you and we'll deal with this together." Ruby smiled. "You're still our teammate, okay?"
Weiss just stared at her. Ruby had a worried second where she thought Weiss wasn't even breathing. But then, she let out a huge breath and -
Weiss smiled. "It's you."
Ruby blinked. "What?" However, a few stray tears began to leak from Weiss's eyes and Ruby could feel panic beginning to build in her chest. "Weiss? What's wrong?"
Weiss laughed a bit, but it sounded almost like a sob. "It's you." She said again. "I mean, I thought maybe - I had hoped - It really is you." She pulled one of her hands away from Ruby's and roughly wiped at her eyes.
Quite frankly, Weiss's current inability to articulate herself was freaking Ruby out more than the tears. "Weiss, I don't know what you mean."
With her free hand, Weiss pushed back the sleeve covering her left wrist and then, as Ruby's breath caught in her throat, she fumbled as she removed her wrist cover. "I mean," she smiled, "it's you."
"Heiress or not, Schnee or not, you're still Weiss, and that's who we, who I, care about."
There it was on Weiss's wrist as red as roses. The impossible words Weiss had never thought that she would hear.
After all, she had grown up in a world where people mostly cared for her due to her family, her name, her wealth. She had rebelled to figure out and show the world who Weiss was. And even then that was no guarantee, from what she had been taught, that anyone would still want her. And only someone who still wanted her, who still liked her regardless of her status, would say something like that. It wasn't hard to see why Weiss thought she'd never hear them.
But Ruby had said them.
It hit Ruby like a speeding Nevermore.
She was Weiss's soulmate, just like Weiss was hers.
She had probably been silent a bit too long though, because, surprisingly, Weiss had begun to ramble.
"I - I remember before classes started at Beacon, the night before Initiation, you were really excited about meeting your soulmate; you were talking about it with Yang. So," Weiss looked away, "I can understand if you don't want to do anything or if you don't - "
"No! No! No!" Ruby quickly waved to get back Weiss's attention and she temporarily let go of her hand so she could pull off her own wrist cover. "It's not - I - Well - Look! You see!" She lifted up her wrist to Weiss's face.
She heard Weiss gasp again, and her eyes flickered from Ruby's wrist to her face and back. "So this means…" Weiss clasped Ruby's hands once more, and from the way they were positioned, Weiss's words brushed against Ruby's.
"We're soulmates." Ruby whispered, because it was just too amazing, too wondrous to speak it loudly.
"Yes." Weiss leaned in and rested her forehead against hers. They breathed in and out together, in perfect sync just like when in battle.
"I… I don't think it's platonic or familial." Ruby knew it really wasn't on her end, but it wouldn't hurt to check on how Weiss felt.
Weiss chuckled again. "The bond between us has been something more long before you said those words."
Ruby perked up a bit. "Oh? How long - " But she didn't get an answer as Weiss drew her in for a kiss.
It was everything that Ruby had wished for quite a while. And it was like something shifted in the air, a balance was formed, and everything had been put to right. Weiss's lips were soft on hers, and she couldn't help but reach up a hand to draw Weiss closer, her fingers rushing against her cheek.
As Weiss eventually drew back, her eyes shining with happiness and the moon making her look practically ethereal, the two of them could only look at each other and take it all in, and Ruby appreciated having this moment.
Ruby knew that this wouldn't make everything right in the world. There was too much going on, so much more they had to face.
But with her soulmate by her side, they would face it all together. With everyone else too.
And maybe, with just a few words, they would be closer to finding their own happy ending.
AN: So this ended up a lot longer than I thought it would. Out of all the soulmate AU's I've read, I really do like the ones involving words from your soulmate being written on you. Though surprisingly, this is my first time writing a soulmate AU. So this is for White Rose Week Day 2: Soulmate AU. I even threw in some Bumbleby and Arkos angst (and before anyone asks, Ren and Nora are soulmates but even they don't know what type they are). I hope you enjoyed this.