Taiyang Xiao Long didn't often get visitors anymore. He lived in a small house alone with his daughter Yang. Or did he? His daughter, once an unending source of energy, now did little more than sit in bed, looking out of the window for goodness only knew what. Maybe nothing. She still ate. She did as much of her work as she could with only one arm, because he made her, but as soon as the job was done, she returned to her bed. His other daughter, Yang's half sister Ruby, had vanished. Run off into the Blue with a few of her academy friends, into danger. Taiyang honestly didn't know which of his girls to worry about more. He had gone back to teaching at Signal Academy, because he couldn't leave his daughter alone by going on missions. Secretly, he had always dreamt of taking her along on missions, but that dream was now a distant, forgotten one. Nobody asked him. He didn't offer. His days were spent waiting for the wind to change, for better or for worse.
The first creaking turnings of the weathervane came when someone walked through the snow, up to his door, and knocked. Taiyang was cooking dinner, and he half considered just not answering. But perhaps, it was someone in need of help. It might be important.
With a deep sigh, he put the lids half on the pots, and opened his door. On his doorstep was a woman dressed in a long black cape and a hood that covered most of her face. On her cheek was an old scar. She looked up at him.
"Is this the house of Taiyang Xiao Long?"
"Are you Taiyang Xiao Long?"
"Yes, I am. What can I do for you?"
"Nothing much. I am here to see your daughter. Her name is Yang Xiao Long."
"I know. I gave her that name. What do you want from her."
The woman pulled back her hood, revealing a face, young in years, but old in the wear and tear that life in this day and age bestowed on it. Her hair was as white as the snow around them, and her eyes were a steel grey blue.
"I want to kick her in the butt till she starts behaving like my friend again."
Taiyang looked at her for a long time. Then, a weary smile appeared on his face.
"Weiss Schnee. I've known you since Yang and Ruby went to Beacon, and now at last we meet." He took a step back. "Welcome. Come in. Dinner is almost ready."
"Thank you," said Weiss. She stamped the snow off her boots and came inside. Taiyang took her cloak and hung it on a peg.
"Where is Yang? Can I see her?"
Taiyang gave a sad sigh, moved his head. Weiss gave a polite nod, and walked to Yang's bedroom. She knocked, and when there was no answer, opened the door. She went in and stood stock still.
Yang was sitting upright in her bed, looking out of the window. From details in the room Weiss could see that sitting there was all that she had done in all the time since the... happenings at Beacon. A dried sunflower was in a nearby vase. The storm had raged over all the four kingdoms, but here, in this unregarded little patch of the world, Yang Xiao Long, Dragon of the Sun, had simply stopped.
Yang slowly turned her head round. "Weiss."
Weiss tried with all her might to keep her face straight. People had called her "Ice Queen", a lifetime ago, for never showing any human warmth. Cold anger had sustained her through most of her school days. Cold anger did the same now.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"Do you think that 'Nothing' is the thing to be doing at this point in Remnant's history?"
Yang shrugged and turned her eyes back to the window. Weiss' eyes were drawn to the stump of her right arm. She no longer needed bandages there. It looked like the wound had healed. By all accounts, it had been a clean cut with a very sharp blade. With her right arm, Yang's strength had left her. Lesser persons than Weiss would have burst into tears at the sight of this wreckage of humanity, but lesser persons could go to hell. She opened her bag, and took out a shining metal object. The companion of the one that was sitting on a shelf in this very room, gathering dust, when it should be gathering Dust.
"I've got something that belongs to you," said Weiss.
She stepped forward and dropped the bracelet into Yang's lap. Yang looked at it, and blinked back tears. Her voice sounded dull.
"I've already got one, and I don't even need that."
Yang made a move to push the bracelet off her lap and onto the floor. Weiss leapt forward, and slapped Yang hard across the face. Yang looked at her with a fright in her eyes that brought Weiss closer to tears than even the look of her mutilated body.
"Damn it, Yang! The Yang Xiao Long I used to know would have blocked that and had me on the floor before I could have even said a word!"
"The Yang Xiao Long you used to know had two arms."
Weiss bent over to Yang. "The Yang Xiao Long I used to know would have kicked me in the teeth even with no arms!"
"That Yang Xiao Long you used to know sounds like a right piece of shit."
"Oh she was," said Weiss. "The most annoying, stupid, over-sexed, under-enlightened, arrogant, vain, hot-headed, reckless bimbo it's ever been my honour to share a team with. Are you in there somewhere, Yang Xiao Long?"
Yang stared. Weiss almost missed it. The tiniest spark. The smallest hint of the forest fire that had been her friend.
"Nice tits, though."
Weiss' eyes misted over. "Yes, I'll give you that. The best tits on the team."
"What do you want, Weiss? A nice trip down memory lane? All of our friends? Pyrrha? When she was still alive? Penny, our metallic friend? Blake? Wherever she is? Ruby? Ditto? Even Ren has left, Weiss. So has Nora. Everybody's gone."
"I need you. I need the Yang Xiao Long I used to know."
Yang shook her head. "That Yang Xiao Long is dead. She died when she gave up her right arm to save her partner, and her partner ran."
"Did you even consider where Blake might have gone?"
"Who cares? Crawled into a hole. Become the terror of the White Fang. Got herself killed the first opportunity she got. A prisoner in the dungeons of the Fall Maiden. Jumped off a cliff. She's gone! Everybody's gone."
"I'm here," said Weiss.
Weiss bared her teeth. "Don't make me slap you again, Yang Xiao Long! Do you realise how hard it is to escape the loving embrace of your family when that family is called Schnee? Do you realise how hard it was to go back into the Grimm-infested shithole that used to be our school, our home, and get that pretty bangle out? With my family on my neck, White Fang crawling all over Vale, and all so you can go 'So what' at me? Not on your life!"
"And all so you can bring me back a bracelet that you damn well know I can't wear anymore because I have no wrist to put it on? Why the hell did you even bother? Just leave me in peace."
"That bracelet is not all I have got," said Weiss.
"Oh? What else do you have? My arm perhaps?"
"Nope. I had to remove that arm from this bracelet, and that was no picnic I can tell you. But what I do have, is twenty million lien that used to belong to my dear father. It's in an Atlas account that nobody knows about. I have the address of a private clinic in Ambrosia, and I have an appointment for you to be fitted with the best prosthetic arm that money can buy." Weiss sneered at Yang. "Want me to lend you a hand, you stupid bimbo?"