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The Source of My Strength

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“Sorry about having to share a bed, Winter,” Weiss apologizes sheepishly. “I can take the couch if you want.”


“Nonsense,” Winter answers, voice ever calculated and controlled. “I won’t kick you out of your own bed. If it makes you uncomfortable, I will be the one to sleep on the couch.”


“No!” Weiss shouts, causing Winter to raise a brow. “I mean, we can share. It’ll be like when we were kids! I use to always sneak into your bed after we were tucked in for the night.”


“I remember,” Winter smiles fondly.


“Times were so much simpler then,” Weiss sighs.


Winter makes an affirmative noise, facing the corner in order to change into her nightgown. Winter changes herself quickly and efficiently, folding her day clothes into neat little wrinkle-free squares. Finished changing, Winter turns around just in time to see the hem of Weiss’s nightgown flutter over a barely noticeable scar on Weiss’s back.


“What happened?!” Winter gasps, running over to Weiss and kneeling. Winter lifts her little sister’s nightgown and inspects the scar. The scar is very light, barely even there, but it runs from back to front, an impalement wound.


“You weren’t meant to see that!” Weiss hisses as Winter pulls away, letting Weiss’s nightgown flutter back down.


“Weiss-,” Winter begins only to get cut off by her sister.


“It happened the night Haven was invaded,” Weiss sighs, moving to the edge of her bed and sitting down. Winter follows, settling in beside her sister.


“Cinder got me. Threw a javelin right through me,” Weiss’s voice is tired and heavy; this particular story is one she does not like reliving. “It burned so much, like... like her fire got inside me, and was smoldering its way out.”


Winter’s insides ice, and her face twists with horror. Weiss is too busy staring at her own hands, continuing to recount the most physically painful day of her life.


“I-I fainted. Ren tells me I almost died, but Jaune healed me. He unlocked and used his semblance,” Weiss whispers, voice fraught with an odd mix of fear and gratitude. “That’s why the scar is so faint; you’d barely even notice it. I’m okay now Winter, so you don’t have to wor- Winter!”


Weiss looks to her sister and gasps in shock. Winter is crying, trying her best to swallow her sobs while the tears pour down her face. Weiss has never seen her sister cry before, not once.


“Winter! What’s the mat-” Weiss’s question is cut off when Winter throws her arms around Weiss, tackling her onto the bed. Winter digs her face into Weiss’s shoulder, sobbing. Automatically, Weiss wraps her arms around her older sister. Shock still coursing through her veins, Weiss rubs little circles on Winter’s back (Weiss remembers when the roles were reversed, little Winter soothing little Weiss after a particularly cruel barb from their father).


“I’m okay now,” Weiss whispers into her sister’s hair. “I’m alive. I’m safe.”


“Don’t you ever-,” Winter pulls away, looking Weiss in the eye only to collapse into sobs again. “If you di- if you leave me, I wouldn’t kno-know what to do! Don’t you ever scare me like this again!”


“Okay,” Weiss promises, pulling Winter back into her arms, rubbing her sister’s back until the sobs stop.


“I love you,” Winter whispers. “I love you, Weiss. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you; I failed you as a big sister.”


“You always told me that you’re not always going to be around to save me,” Weiss recounts which is the exact wrong thing to say because Winter’s face twists in pain.


“I failed; I-”


“No, you didn’t,” Weiss insists, pushing Winter back by her shoulders and looking her dead in the eyes. “You saved me. You did!”


“You give me too much credit.”


“It’s true! You were my only friend when we were kids! You saved me from my own loneliness, and you taught me to fight. You believed in me! I only passed father’s test and entered Beacon because you trained me!”


“You had natural talent as a fighter.”


“You were the only one that saw that, Winter. The only reason I believed in myself is because you did. If someone as talented and strong as you saw worth and potential in me when father- when no one else did, well, I began to see it too.”


“Weiss,” Winter gasps, running a hand through her baby sister’s hair.


“So, don’t be sorry, Winter,” Weiss murmurs, her own eyes wet with tears now. “Because I’m not. Thank you. You’re my sister; I love you, and you’ll always be my hero.”


“Funny,” Winter says with a smile, “I was about to say the same to you.”