Warning: Implications of past child abuse. Because Jacques really seems like the type to do it.
The first sign should have been that Weiss never talked about her family.
She had sometimes referenced her father, usually his opinions or something he did, and it had never been… positive. The person that she talked about the most had been her sister, and Ruby hadn't even learned her name until Winter was standing in front of her. That was still better than Weiss's brother, because Ruby hadn't even known she had one until she mentioned that he had replaced her as the heir. And Weiss had mentioned her grandfather more than her mother, but even then she still wasn't sure if he was even alive or not.
Still, overall, Ruby knew very little about Weiss's family. And what she did know had not been encouraging.
So Ruby had very mixed feelings as she saw Jacques Schnee walk down the stairs to their group as they arrived at their hotel.
"Ah, Weiss, how delightful to see you!" He greeted her, a smile on his face that didn't reach his empty eyes. "I'm so grateful that you are safe and these…" His gaze flickered over all of them, pausing at Blake and her ears, and his smile became just a tick away from a sneer. "These intrepid hunters were able to see you returned home."
Ruby glanced over at Weiss, knowing her sister would take care of Blake, and she felt worry in the pit of her stomach. Weiss was as stiff as a board, her normally pale face even paler as she stared up at her father. She crossed her arms, trying to appear nonchalant, but Ruby had known her long enough to see right through that.
"Father, I - " Weiss began but he quickly cut her off.
"I shall see that you are swiftly rewarded." It looked like Jacques hadn't even noticed Weiss had tried to speak. He then ignored the rest of them and turned his attention to Weiss, something hardening in his expression. "I'm glad you finally have come to your senses, young lady."
Weiss curled in slightly, and alarm bells began to ring in the back of Ruby's mind. The kind of bells that usually only went off when they were in a Grimm zone or anticipating an attack from Salem's forces. It was all because of the way Weiss looked.
Ruby knew that technically Weiss was the shortest on her team, even back when they first met. Weiss never seemed the smallest though, between the heels that she practically never took off that let her stand taller than Ruby and her big personality that shone through every word and gesture she made.
But right now, Weiss was… she looked... small.
Ruby hated it.
"But we'll discuss all of that at home." Jacques raised his hand as if to wrap his arm around Weiss, and that's when it happened.
It was small; so subtle that only those who were most familiar with Weiss, those who truly knew her, would even notice it. And Ruby did notice it. From the way Blake and Yang tensed in her peripheral vision, she knew they had, too.
And it was the smallest flinch that made all the tiny hints, the little signs suddenly slam together in Ruby's mind.
The way Weiss hated it when a guy raised his voice. The defensive position she would automatically take when a guy got aggressive during an argument, even if that guy was someone who was usually non-threatening like Jaune. The way her eyes would widen and watch with worry when the adults would fight outside of the battlefield, even if it was just with words.
Going even further back, all the way to Beacon, the way Weiss had been so stringent about following the rules, afraid to step a toe out of line for the longest time. The snap in her spine as she immediately would go to attention the moment a teacher, especially one of the male ones, began to lecture. The way she would work far ahead of everyone else to make sure that everything was prepared and she knew what was going on and there were no surprises. The incessant need to be perfect as if a single mistake in any of her work was a matter of life or death.
And just now, that flinch in response to his raised hand.
It all coalesced into a single picture.
Ruby saw red.
Before she could blink, Jacques's arm was in her hand and she was wrenching it away from Weiss. "Don't touch her." She growled, rose petals falling all about her in the wake of her speedy counter.
Jacques's composure cracked. "You - " He snarled, but he stopped as Ruby felt Yang and Blake flanking Weiss. They didn't say anything, just stood there in solidarity, though the glares she was sure they're giving probably said enough.
Still, Jacques managed to recover. "Do you really think you could get away with this?" He hissed, and Ruby didn't know if it was because they were technically in public or because she'd tightened her grip on his arm. "I can charge you with assault."
Ruby grit her teeth. If Jacques were a Grimm, she knew that her eyes would've already activated in Weiss's defense to blow him away. In lieu of that, Ruby opened her mouth to tear into him, to make it clear that if someone was in the wrong here, it was most definitely him.
She was stopped by a light touch on her arm. "Ruby, let him go."
Ruby immediately complied with the soft request, and she went back as Weiss stepped forward. Her hand slid down her arm and gave her own hand a slight squeeze before she stood before Jacques by herself, her teammates at her back. Weiss stared Jacques down, spine straight, disdain in her eyes, and an aristocratic tilt to her head as she somehow looked down at him despite being shorter.
A smirk tugged at Ruby's lips.
Weiss was back.
"Father, I will not be returning with you. I would have thought I made that abundantly clear." Ruby heard someone snickering behind her at Weiss's words, but Ruby didn't know if it was Yang or Nora. "Unfortunately, I have several matters to attend to, but if you would like to discuss this further, I'm sure you can call and schedule a meeting with me and my team." Weiss gave him a cold, polite smile that would kill a lesser man's ego in a second.
However, this was going against the one who probably taught her this smile. "You will come home at once!" The words were clearly louder than he intended as they finally began drawing the stares of passersby.
Weiss raised an eyebrow, her head leaning slightly. "Are you causing a scene?" She said, as if quoting someone. She huffed a bit and walked past him. "I'm sorry, but business comes first. Surely, you can understand that." She looked back at their group. "Come along everyone."
With that said, she led the way into the hotel, ignoring the way her father grit his teeth in frustration. To do anything else now though would be to be placed under the scrutiny of the public eye, and they all knew that he wouldn't risk that.
Ruby gave him one last glare as she passed him, but her attention was diverted by a tight grasp on her hand.
Weiss pulled her along until she walked beside her. Ruby looked her over, but she seemed back to normal. She still had to ask though, as Jacques got further away. "You okay?"
Weiss smiled slightly. "Yes." Her hand, which Ruby realized was still entwined with hers, gave her a squeeze, and even more softly she said, "Thank you."
Ruby smiled back. "You're welcome."
Weiss glanced ahead and her smile widened. "Ah, there he is."
Ruby blinked and followed Weiss's gaze to someone standing next to the reception desk. Ruby cocked her head as she studied the stout man. He gave them all a kind smile.
"Everyone, this is the family butler, Klein." Weiss gestured between Klein and the team. "Klein, these are my… friends."
"Your friends?" To Ruby's surprise, Klein's brown eyes suddenly flickered to bright yellow. He gave them a slight bow. "Pleased to make your acquaintance. Thank you for looking after Miss Schnee."
The rest of them stumbled through their greetings before Klein's eyes turned brown once more and he turned to Weiss. "Here you go. Your rooms are all ready." He said as he handed her several sets of keys.
She smiled at him. "Thank you, Klein."
"Anything for my little snowflake!" Klein smiled at her and booped her nose. "I am glad that you're safe."
Ruby blinked at the sight before her. She took in Weiss's relaxed yet flustered embarrassment. She took in Klein's gentle and caring touches. She saw their matching smiles. She noticed the fondness in Weiss's gaze that was reflected right back to her in Klein's.
It was just a bunch of little signs, but it painted a very nice picture in front of her.
I guess I'm really meeting Weiss's dad after all.
Ruby laughed as the others departed for their room, swinging hers and Weiss's hands in between them. "So, Klein, got any good stories from when Weiss was a kid?"
Klein's eyes turned pink. "Well, I do, but to tell them is just - surely I can't - "
Ruby was glad that Weiss's real family wasn't that bad at all.
And if Jacques ever came near Weiss again…
Ruby vowed, even as she laughed along with Klein, that he'd be meeting the business end of her scythe next time.
AN: So I mentioned in "Untouchable" and "My Heart's Far, Far Away" that I came across a theory that the time we saw it on screen wasn't the first time Jacques has hit Weiss. Combined with how Weiss was clearly affected by seeing Ozma and Salem argue in the past and how defensive she got when Jaune (freaking Jaune!) started raising his voice and seemed like he was about to beat him up (like she was raising her hands and trying to excuse him and deescalate things before he even touched him), yeah, I feel like there's a huge possibility. Along with the other stuff this fic mentions from even way back in Volume 1.
And like, I know we all want Ruby to beat the crap out of Jacques. Believe me, I know. I kinda want that, too. But I also feel like it's more powerful, and slightly more in-character, if Ruby does react initially, but that she helps give Weiss the courage to make her own stand against him. And then Ruby supports her all the way.
Besides, everyone knows that Klein is her real father figure. He, Winter, (maybe Whitley, I guess it depends), Ruby, her team, and the rest of the gang are her real family.