She was an odd one, Weiss thought.
It had been the first thing that had come to mind when she had chanced a glance at the girl before her, whom had so effortlessly assisted the authorities in assailing the stowaway faunus.
Weiss had, much to her ever-increasing dismay throughout childhood, been taught all manner of techniques in order to read those around her. At this point, it had become a matter of pride for the young Schnee. A high-stakes game, almost. One where failure meant social isolation and all manner of uncomfortable calls from Father.
There were a choice few she could not read. Ruby Rose, in particular, was an enigma to her. The girl, despite all the impossibilities that Weiss had seen, had somehow ascended to team leader and, dare she say it aloud, was swiftly growing into a leader that Weiss could respect. Yes, she had her childish moments rather frequently, but she was a child after all. Yet despite such a setback, Ruby had been steadily making amends for her brash actions and improving the team as best she could.
She would have never believed such a thing were she to journey back several weeks, but in the future Weiss believed that Ruby Rose would be an effective leader of Team RWBY.
Her other two teammates were easier to read, yet conversely more difficult to handle. Yang Xiao Long cared for a mere two things in this world as it would seem; her ability to live as hedonistic a lifestyle as possible and the protection of her younger sister Ruby. It was a simplistic role, yet it was one that Weiss had no such knowledge in handling and thus struggled to interpret at times. She was an annoyance, but an annoyance she had learnt to tolerate.
It, of course, helped that some of the girl's jests were rather amusing, although she'd never say such things in public. She'd never hear the end of it, such was the way of the fiery blonde. A constant ball of energy. Yang was very much like the sun, she thought. Vibrant and nurturing, but if you come close, you run the risk of being burnt to cinders.
Blake Belladonna on the other hand, was a quiet, lonely girl. The dark-haired girl was cold and abrasive, which may have something to do with why Weiss admired her as much as she did. For the most part, Blake was the perfect student. Diligent and focused. Yet there was no mistaking that something had happened in her past. In was in her movements. Too alert, as if looking for danger. Judging everyone around her as if seeking a potential threat. Weiss dearly hoped that, whatever it was that had happened, wouldn't become a threat to the team.
It was just so utterly unfortunate that the aloof girl possessed what appeared to be a soft spot for the faunus people. She had been much the same in her younger years, until they became a violent, murderous sort.
Yes. Each of her teammates were their own person, possessing both flaws and unique aspects to their personality that the Schnee admired greatly. They were, despite how crass they had all acted to one-another in the beginning, friends.
The word alone almost made her smile.
Ruby Rose, Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long. They were her friends, which was why she would do her best to assist them. Such was her vow, to be the best team mate possible during her stay in Beacon Academy and, hopefully long past that.
She would do everything in her power to protect that friendship, until the very end. It was her deepest dream, at this point.
"You there." she called out as she approached the end of the pier, where the odd girl she had witnessed was walking off the ship down towards the two detectives.
A lone, too-wide slit amber eye snapped to stare at her in attention. There was a small, miniature smile on the girl's pale face, barely noticeable unless one was specifically searching her expression.
...Is she a faunus? Her mind wondered, questioning the sight of an eye like that. No… A genetic defect, perhaps? Faunus do not have physical traits that manifest in the eye for their species. Only enhanced low-light perception for some, or telescopic vision for others. Nothing that changes the overall shape.
"...Ah~" the girl cooed softly, cupping her cheeks. "Who are you, that would talk to the pale white rose that is me?"
It was at this time that her team caught up with her, huffing and glaring at her for running off.
"Yo, what's the deal Weiss?" Yang called out, confused. "Didn't think you'd be the type to just up and desert us like that. Or is it that you're-" she went to leer towards the new girl, but her voice seemingly choked in her throat when she noticed the girl's singular eye had slowly slide to stare directly at her. "Eh… ah… nevermind." she mumbled out.
The heiress shook her head, ignoring the outsiders. She refocused her attention. "I'm Weiss Schnee, heiress to the Schnee Dust Company and a student of Beacon Academy. These are my fellow teammates; Blake Belladonna, Yang Xiao Long and our leader Ruby Rose. And you are?"
There was a moment of silence at the pale-dressed girl failed to respond, instead glancing at each and every one of them, as if inspecting them. When her eyes landed on Ruby, she twitched ever so slightly and her eye widened momentarily, yet the girl opted to remain silent. The dark-haired team leader in question stammered and fidgeted awkwardly at the attention.
Oh? What was that?
Despite her mounting curiosity at the odd mannerisms of the newcomer, etiquette demanded she respond promptly. Weiss huffed at being ignored. "Excuse me?" she raised her voice to get attention, narrowing her eyes. "I was asking a question, you know? You are being rather rude in ignoring someone who is addressing you, especially as a foreigner to an outside land."
"...Aren't you technically a foreigner as well?" Blake dryly mumbled, wishing to be anywhere but here, especially with the heiress taking the reigns in the manner she did.
Weiss was about to snap back a retort, when a voice caught her attention. "...This place… this… Vale is so overwhelming." the odd blonde spoke as if in a daze, yet her eye remained almost scarily alert and unmoving. "There are so many people, so much culture. So many reflections of the world staring back at me. Everyone keeps moving from place to place."
"...It's only just the dock, you know." Yang interrupted as she gestured back to the larger storefronts, face scrunched up in confusion. "There's a helluva lot more to the place than just here."
The blonde-haired girl hummed thoughtfully and stepped back, her eye returning to stare unblinkingly at the Schnee heiress. "...Kirakishou."
"What did you just call me?" she questioned hotly, confused at the term. Was it some form of foreign slang? It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone had saw fit to insult a Schnee using their own unique form of jargon.
This time, the girl blinked, but repeated the word. "Kirakishou. My name. Did you not desire to know of the name I was given, maiden of white snow? Father gave it to me and I made it my own."
An odd dialect. Weiss mused inwardly as she nodded in understanding. Very unique, indeed. Where could she originate from?
The other members of Team RWBY also seemed to appear equally intrigued at the girl and her mannerisms, although theirs each manifested in a different way. Ruby was staring wide-eyed at the girl and her face was flushed; gaping like a fish at a pretty girl. Weiss had seen similar expressions aimed towards her from that blonde idiot that runs team JNPR. Yang had that guarded look that she would typically send her way, when she had first grouped up with them as a team within the Emerald Forest. Blake's posture was as tense as when they'd first arrived on the dock, yet her expression remained stone-faced and disinterested. At least, it did when the ebony-haired girl wasn't sneaking glances towards the faunus that was in the process of being interrogated.
Her musings were cut short by the girl's unfathomably soft voice, one that she believed would have been more suited on one half their age rather than the girl who appeared of similar age to RWBY's team leader.
"Do you know of the Rozen Maiden?"
The group collectively blinked and exchanged glances with one-another, each wondering if one of them somehow was able to understand the girl's lunacy.
"Uhhhh, no… Is it some kinda story?" Yang hazarded a guess, her voice displaying just how weary she was of this strange girl. Yet if Kirakishou was aware of it, she wasn't sure. None of the girl's mannerisms were matching up with anything that Weiss had interpreted in past conversations. Which, admittedly, was a rather biased sample size. Most of her current teammates were the same in that regard, atleast at certain times.
A small, tiny frown crossed Kirakishou's face for a mere instant as she looked down sadly at the answer. "...Ah. I didn't think you would. Nobody would know of Father's work, here, would they…?" she mused softly, looking away and towards the sea as her hair blew softly in the wind.
Is her father a celebrity or inventor of some kind? Weiss wondered, analysing the girl's nonsensical ramblings, Yet one not well-known enough to have reached Vale? Preposterous. The Cross Continental Transmit System makes such a possibility almost nonexistent. Perhaps merely small fame or talent in a small town? I'll have to research this, later.
The group of girls perked up at the call, hearing the familiar sound of one of the grizzled detectives they had been speaking with earlier as he waltzed up to the others. A glance over the side at his companion and the faunus was…. walking away freely?!
"Wha- What is the meaning of this?" Weiss demanded, glaring at the man. "Why is that faunus just… walking out? Shouldn't you be arresting him?"
Kirakishou's lone amber eye glanced over to a fuming Blake, yet the girl herself remained silent.
The detective sighed heavily, "Look, princess, the kid's got the proper papers, he just didn't want to pay for a trip. It's fine, we sorted it out. Thanks for the assist, though." he added on, glancing over Kirakishou as he lit up a cigarette. The glance lasted a slight moment too long, before he tore his gaze back to them. "Yeah… turns out the kid's actually here for the Vytal tournament, not just another stowaway. Didn't see that one coming. But, hey, anything to make the job easier."
Ruby was quick to speak up, before her increasingly-irate dark-haired teammate could voice her displeasure. "Wait, another stowaway? There's more?"
"A darling pale rose had no purpose in the ocean, unable to grow and bloom without the proper nutrients, so why was she there in the first place?" Kirakishou mumbled lowly, inadvertently drawing the attention of the group. Her voice trailed off into a mere whisper as her eye seemed to flicker around the area occasionally, darting this way and that. "Moh… so many..."
Weiss balked, "What?"
The detective was quick to speak up, whether to shush the irate heiress or out of frustration at listening to the blonde rose-themed girl speak in riddles, the Beacon students weren't entirely sure. "Yeah," he huffed, adjusting his clothes, "Got word that the dockworkers found a couple'a stowaways in their ship. She," he motioned to Kirakishou, "seems to have been an immigrant though not of her own accord, from where and how is anyone's guess. Current idea is someone knocked her out and shoved her in a shipping container, though we can't piece together a motive. We were workin' the case when the guy from Dustful Dodger found his nearby store all banged up."
They glanced over at the girl in question, only to see Kirakishou staring out at the sea, utterly still and unmoving compared to all of the hectic dockworkers moving around in the background as they unloaded their gear. The only indication that she was moving, would be when her eye occasionally flickered to glance at them, yet it was clear she wasn't paying the group that much attention.
"Yeah..." the detective shrugged haphazardly as he took a long a drag of his cigarette, "She's been a bit of a, ah, difficult one to handle. Speaks in riddles. Just, not kind of there mentally, ya know? We're thinking trauma, or possibly an underlying condition of some kind. Though she seems to be taking quite the fancy to you lot, though. Well, slightly. She barely responds to anyone." he paused to overhear the owner from the dust shop yelling at his companion. "Ugh. Look. We're stretched thin out here with all the recent robberies. Could you lot do us all a favour and escort her to your headmaster? We were going to question her first, but it's clearly not going to work out."
Weiss rolled her eyes in disbelief. "...So, naturally, you let off that… rapscallion of a faunus and shove the… mentally impaired patient onto us? Because you're too busy?" she retorted acidly, scowling furiously at them. "How-"
"What is wrong with you?!" Blake cried out in anger, glaring daggers at the heiress. "How can you just stand there and spew such… such horrid things?!"
"Excuse me?!" the Schnee heiress retorted angrily, whirling around in fury. "What in the world are you even talking about?"
Blake's amber eyes narrowed as her face contorted in disbelief. "...You don't even realise, do you? You run off, spend all of this time talking and so blatantly trying to mine a random girl for information, simply because you were impressed that she captured a faunus who, no matter what, just had to be a criminal in your eyes. I'm so sick of watching you act like some judgemental little brat!"
"Wha-" the heiress stammered in surprise, utterly taken aback by the abrupt, harsh criticism from a fellow peer, "How dare you! I'm your teammate!"
The others watched as both Blake and Weiss rapidly devolved into an argument, none of the onlookers wishing to intervene.
"...Look, um..." Ruby muttered awkwardly to the detective, who was more than a little uncomfortable at all the teen drama. "We'll take her. Sorry about all of this. You can, um, go back to dealing with the dust shop, if you want."
The guy nodded curtly. "Thank you. Goodluck with them. And her."
Ruby levelled a sigh as she watched two of her teammates arguing with each other over a topic she could barely understand, let alone form an opinion about.
...Living in Vale is soooo different. Oum, I miss Patch so much right now. And Zwei.
The trip to Beacon was a... difficult one. Partly due to the constant bickering between Weiss and Blake, along with the added tension with Kirakishou in the background.
Both teammates would simmer into an uneasy silence, before abruptly reengaging with a backhanded comment or somesuch nonsense that the rest of the team was, at this point, too agitated to deal with.
They'd met this weird orange-haired girl, too, but their 'introduction' was more along the lines of a hurried apology to the poor girl when Yang had bumped into her, before the group was back on their way to returning to Beacon. Ruby had muttered an apology of her own, before having to resort to using her semblance to catch up with the group when Kirakishou had wandered off with the others.
As soon as the shuttle to Beacon Academy had landed, Weiss and Blake were quick to storm off in the direction of the dormitories, leaving Yang and Ruby to deal with their blonde-haired… acquaintance? Associate? They weren't sure exactly how to describe the girl.
She had, like they had all quickly realised upon first seeing her on the docks, displayed some odd tendencies and it was making it difficult for the two sisters to converse with the girl. Kirakishou, or Kira as they had taken to calling her, had the penchant for losing focus constantly and walked in this odd manner, one likely born to being confined in a small area for a large amount of time.
It had taken a while, but they were seeing improvements in her movements, but it was still causing some manner of difficulty to the poor girl, especially when she kept stopping and commenting on random things.
"...There are so many flowers here." she had muttered, glancing down at one of Beacon's many gardens littering the courtyard. They were mid-way through autumn currently and whilst a large amount of leaves lay on the floor, many of Beacon's plantlife had begun to bloom amidst the fallen leaves.
Ruby hadn't payed much attention to it all, until now. She wasn't much of a gardener.
"You, err, you sure talk about flowers a lot." she commented hesitantly, getting a hesitant chuckle from her sister and that same, soul-crushing silence from the odd girl. Yet her lone eye had snapped to stare at her the moment she had opened her mouth.
"Not that there's anything wrong with that!" Yang added, if only a little too quickly. "Right sis?" the blonde brawler nudged Ruby with her shoulder, getting an annoyed glare from her younger sister.
Kirakishou stared at the silver-eyed huntress a moment longer, before glancing back down.
"...Father always believed flowers were the pinnacle of beauty, so utterly enchanting with their radiance. Especially roses. So many colours, so many conflicting feelings held tightly beneath the petals. Yet each held simplicity in meaning. Purity." Kirakishou murmured in a subdued, distant accent. Crouching down to pluck a small rose from the garden, she brought it close to her face, staring intently at the pastel pink colouration. "...I miss them, you know. I know that I shouldn't. They hurt me. They did everything to ruin my dreams. But, in this world without Father, I cannot help but miss them."
Ruby blinked at the sudden solemn tone, sharing a significant look with Yang as she knelt down beside Kira, trying the best she could to be as… welcoming as possible. Especially after what that detective had mentioned at the docks, she wasn't that entirely comfortable around someone as mentally unstable as he had implied.
Yet that had been when she'd thought that Kirakishou was just a little bit wonky. No. Even to her, it was clear as day that the girl beside her was deeply traumatised by something. Something involving her father and… others. She…. Ruby could remember that she had acted in a similar way when she realised her mother wasn't coming back. She would block out everything, but no matter what she did or where she went, she would always be reminded of Summer. Something about this situation just resonated with her.
If Kirakishou was uncomfortable with her presence, or even noticed Ruby nearby, she didn't react. It was clear that the girl was lost in her thoughts.
"Who do you mean?" she inquired softly, placing a comforting hand on the girl's shoulder, feeling the soft tingle of Kira's silken dress against her calloused hands.
Kirakishou turned to her, the single too-wide amber eye staring intently into her own silvers, there was an odd emotion fluttering in her expression that Ruby couldn't make out. But the expression had a sense of… intimacy, that had Ruby shyly tearing her gaze away from the blond.
"...My other darling sisters." the blonde mumbled out, voice soft as a feather. Ruby had to strain herself to hear what the girl was saying at first. "I am only the youngest of seven total, a pale rose compared to their radiance. Why did they say such mean things to me when I became like them? Why did they choose him over me? Would father have approved of him?"
"Seven sisters in total?" Yang whistled in disbelief. "Did I hear that right? Sheesh. That's, err, that's certainly a lot! Wow. I can barely handle just the one sister." she responded, levelling a teasing smile at Ruby, who merely poked her tongue out at her. "I can't imagine how your parents would have handled it, I sure know our dad's probably sick of dealing with out messes now." she laughed out. Kirakishou glanced away and remained silent on the matter, to which Yang awkwardly trailed off, looking at her sister for help.
Ruby blushed in embarrassment at Yang's teasing, though she silently agreed with what her sister was implying. She couldn't imagine a family that large, especially all sisters. Just the thought of six Yangs instead of just the one sent a shiver down her spine. The sheer hurricane of puns she would have to deal with would drive her crazy! It'd drive Dad crazy, too! Not to mention the endless teasing that would happen. Oh oum. No thanks.
But she wasn't going to voice her opinion on the matter like Yang did. No. She was more concerned with the other part of Kira's little confession. It was clear that something had happened with the girl's sisters, some unknown person and their father. Something bad. Considering how closed-off Kira was acting, it was something that had deeply effected her in some way.
"I don't know why they said what they did, Kira." Ruby responded gently, briefly pausing in momentary alarm when the girl in particular flinched at the words. She steeled herself, silently ignoring the crawling feeling in her gut. "I don't know why they'd choose someone else over their own sister and I doubt I ever will. But you're here now. I, um, I know this is all new for you, but you're not going to do it alone." she paused, before placing a hand out towards Kirakishou, who looked at the appendage wearily, veering her own hands away from her ever so slightly. "We can help you get through this. If you'll let us."
There was a sudden, sharp inhale from the blonde-haired girl.
A hand, smaller than hers and far colder than what she was expecting, was soon held in her own. It felt boney, if that was even a word. Fragile and delicate, compared to her own calloused hands born from constant vigorous training from her meanie uncle.
"...I would like that, maiden of the red rose." she whispered. "I would like that very much."