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(for me) there is no question

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The mirror in the attic was a strange thing. 

For one thing, it never grew dusty, never quite lost its shine. Bugs and animals alike would never go near it, avoiding the harsh glare of their reflections at all costs. The mirror had been there sitting, unused for generations it seemed. It had sat there under a sheet and hidden away, forgotten about and hardly ever seen. If there was once a time where it would be whispered to, examined and peered into, then that time had long since passed.

At least, that was what Willow Schnee had assumed, and her assumptions had gone to her eldest daughter, which had bleed to her youngest one, and then to her only son.

“Do you suppose it’s a fun house mirror?” Whitley had asked Weiss quietly when they were children, the both of them shifting uncomfortably, staring at the item with heavy scrutiny. 

“Would father ever willingly have something fun in the manor?” Weiss snarked, rolling her eyes and trying to peer into it without disturbing the great dust filled tarp covering it. She caught a glimpse of the glass, shining and more reflective than any other mirror she'd ever seen before.

“That’s—" Whitley paused, pursing his lips. "That's actually a good point.” He crossed his arm and stared at the dusty tarp that covered it with heavy scrutiny. “Why do you suppose mother has kept it so long if she doesn’t use it?”

“Perhaps it was grandfather’s.” Weiss suggested, sighing and crossing her arms. They had only just gone up the attic to look at the mirror and she’d already grown dreadfully bored of it, she hoped that Whitley's curiosity would soon be sated enough for them to leave.

“But Winter said that it's been here since before grandfather.” Whitley pointed out, shooting her a curious look.

Weiss couldn’t help but snort. “Winter says a lot of things.”

“You think she’s lying?” Whitley asked, delighted.

“I did not say that.” Weiss protested, her cheeks flaming as she desperately tried to get her little brother to shut up.

He grinned, a Cheshire cat's smile, even then he had always been delighted at watching conflict—at making sure things were never too boring. It was almost strange how easily her brother picked up on the art of pushing buttons. “You do, you think Winter’s lying—”

“Shut your mouth I never said—”

“—wow, I cannot believe it, your precious older sister, and you think she’s lying.” Whitley tutted, placing his hands on his hips and turning his head in an exaggerated disbelieving movement.

Our precious older sister.” Weiss corrected.

“That’s what I said.” Whitley turned away from her, his voice and face light despite the sudden tension in his shoulders.

“Ugh.” She groaned, she was growing tired of him. Deciding to just get it over with, she reached up and pulled the tarp half off—coughing when dust pervaded her lungs. Predictably, Whitley stood there while she waved the dust away, shifting away from it with his nose screwed up in displeasure.

“I’m not going to pull the entire thing off.” Weiss grouched, glaring at her dust ridden clothes. “We’ll make do with half.”

“Alright.” Whitley said, inching forward to join her. They watched their reflection for a couple of long moments, waiting for something to change. When it didn’t, her brother cleared his throat. “Winter also said it has magical powers.” He added, shooting Weiss a look out of the corner of his eye.

“It does not!” Weiss protested before her brother could say anything more, making him smirk at her.

“Oh honesty, don’t yell at me, I only overheard her talking to someone about it.” He said, his smile beginning to soften out, a look that Weiss thought suited him much better than mischievousness. “She said it was like the mirror from some fairytale.”

“Did she say which one?” Weiss asked, curious despite herself.

“Even if she did we probably wouldn’t know it.” Whitley waved her question away. He did have a point, it wasn’t as though their parents were clambering to read them stories before bed. “The only fairytale we ever read was Snow White.” He inched away from the mirror, leaving Weiss the only one in the reflection.

“Which has a mirror in it.” She noted with a raised brow.

“Well, yes—but if it was the evil queen’s mirror and can tell you things why would it be here unused? I imagine father would put it to work like he does everything else.” Whitley pointed out, and Weiss couldn’t help but feel a bit proud of the way her rolled his eyes when he mentioned their father.

(She’d make do with her little rebellion on her own, but it was a nice thought—the idea that one day she’d have a companion in her defiance.)

Weiss turned back the mirror, eyeing it with an unimpressed twist to her face. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, can you do me a favor?” She asked sarcastically. “Show me the fairest of them all, won’t you?” 

The mirror’s image didn’t change.

“See, I told you, Whitley, it’s not—” She turned to find her brother had moved back right beside her, staring at the mirror in front of him with wide eyes.

“I can’t see my reflection.” He choked out.

“What are you talking about? Clearly you must not be—”

“Let’s get out of here, Weiss... I don’t want to be here anymore.” Whitley said, grabbing her arm and trying to tug her out of the room.

She nearly blanched. They didn’t just touch each other, Whitley must have been very serious. Trying to hide the sudden burn in her cheeks, she coughed into the palm of her hand, allowing him to drag her forward. “Yes, let’s.”

(But she couldn’t help but glance back at the mirror, and for a moment she could have sworn she’d seen it shimmer.)

 

Years later, Weiss found herself face to face with the mirror once more. 

“I need you to hold onto this.” Winter told her, big purple bruises under her eyes. She looked like an icy personification of death, her snow white hair slipping from her usual orderly bun and falling into her face, framing her gaunt cheeks and pale face. Her eyes, sharp and blue, were exhausted and intense—as though they were watching Weiss' every move. It sent an odd shiver down her spine, she didn't think she'd ever had her sister's attention quite like this before—utterly focused on her and somehow also not. Weiss wondered how she had ended up like that, her eyes utterly filled with contradictory things.

Weiss shifted uncomfortably, she hadn’t been expecting a visit from her older sister, and her state of dress reflected that—she was still in her nightgown. She couldn’t help the yawn that built in the back of her throat, and she hastened to smother it with the palm of her hand, though Winter didn’t seem to notice.

There was a glazed look in her older sister’s eyes, distant and tired. It set Weiss even more on edge than before.

“Why do you have this?” Weiss asked her quietly, “I thought it was still in the manor.”

“Obviously it’s not now.” Winter snapped back, and when Weiss flinched backward in shock something that resembled regret made its home on her face. “Sorry.” She breathed. “Please... just... just look after it for a while, just until I find a way to get rid of it.”

“Mother wouldn't have liked that.” Weiss noted neutrally, watching her for a moment before averting her gaze.

“Mother never liked a lot of things.” Winter murmured, too exhausted to pretend that the words didn’t pain her.

Weiss grimaced, turning away. She couldn’t quite bear to look at her sister like this, like Winter was in too much agony to keep her usually flawless composure. She swallowed the lump in her throat, looking back at the mirror that Winter had all but forced into the living room. “What would I even do with it?” She sighed, moving to examine it further. “The blasted thing doesn’t go with the decor at all.” She said, a weak attempt at lightening the atmosphere.

Winter snorted. “It’s a mirror Weiss, if you aren’t going to hang it up then shove it in a closet somewhere—honestly, I don't care what you do with it as long as you keep it safe for me.”

Weiss frowned, turning back to look at her sister. Winter was rubbing at her eyes, and it was hard not to wonder how long it had been since she last slept. “Right, well.” She looked at the mirror, covered in the same tarp as her childhood, though it was noticeably less dusty. “How long do you suppose I’ll have to keep it?”

“I don’t know.” Winter admitted quietly. “It could be anywhere between a week and a year, I just need you to hold onto it—there’s something very wrong with it, Weiss.” Her sister’s voice was hushed, her eyes flickering from the mirror to the door, as though she was contemplating running away.

(It wouldn’t be the first time, a bitter voice in the back of her head whispered.)

“If it’s oh-so terrifying, then why are you giving it to me?” Weiss scoffed, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes. “I would have thought you’d have more loyalty to your favorite sister.”

“You’re my only sister.” Winter sighed, smiling a little—though a troubled look still furrowed her brow. “Just... it should be fine as long as you avoid... talking to it.”

“Talking to it?” Weiss asked, raising her eyebrows and barely hiding her amused smile. “I’ll make sure not to then.” 

(Actually, that was most likely a lie. The temptation to disobey was far too great for Weiss not to give in. It also helped that she was feeling particularly spiteful that the one time Winter actually visits her it's to shove a mirror into her hands and run away.)

Winter let out a sigh of relief. “Good.” She swallowed again, making her way to the door. “Be careful, please.” Her shoulders were trembling, something that made Weiss freeze. “I... nothing good will come from that mirror, little sister.”

“Alright.” Weiss said, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat. “I will.”

The two of them pretended not to notice that no promise had been made.

 

She manages to hold out a week before going back on her word, the only reason she lasted so long because of the odd vulnerability her sister had revealed to her when she came to drop off the old thing. Weiss had never been very good at following the rules she saw as pointless, and she was sure that the mirror was just that, a mirror.

“Hello.” She murmured, slipping off the tarp. It fell to the floor, and Weiss felt too consumed by curiosity to pick it up. She brushed her fingers along the glass, eyeing the pale blue frame with a critical eye. It was oval shaped, propped up against the very back of her closet.

She twisted her lips, kneeling down to look her reflection in the eyes. When Weiss was young it had towered over her, making her feel small and vulnerable. It was different now, obviously, she had grown and the mirror had stayed the same size. She licked her suddenly dry lips, shivering suddenly, the closet was a great deal colder than before.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall.” She began in a forced out, becoming more sarcastic as she talked. “Who’s the fairest of them all?”

Weiss waits, watching the mirror and waiting for something (anything) to change. Nothing does, nothing at all, and the relief that fills her is almost overwhelming. She's inadvertently reminded of her childhood, when she had asked the mirror the same question and had the same result: nothingness. (Well, nothing except for herself, kneeling in front of the mirror and smiling a little bitterly as she traced odd shapes into the glass with her fingers.) She snickered a little, pulling away and hugging her chest while she tried not to collapse on herself in her sudden burst of emotion. “Oh wow, such a flatterer!” Weiss rolled her eyes, scoffing and crossing her arms. She glanced at her reflection, smiling bitterly. 

Why had she listened to Winter again? Her sister had clearly been paranoid.

She tilted her head, brushing her fingertips along where it reflected her scar—suddenly hidden by the image of the pads of her fingers. “Mirror mirror in my eye,” she began, “won’t you tell me who’s told the greatest lie?”

The mirror’s image changed.

Weiss fell backward.

She stared, wide-eyed and a mix between awed and terrified, as she looked into the mirror and saw her sister. She was sitting in her bedroom, head buried in her hands as her hair fell down onto her shoulders—wavy and surprisingly messy. Weiss’ breath catches in her throat, it’s been a long time since she’d seen her sister with her hair down.

“Winter?” She asked quietly, as though the mirror might be some sort of communication device, but her sister does not move to face her, only slumping further in on herself—shoulders shaking. Weiss hesitantly crawled forward, reaching out and moving to brush her fingers along the glass. 

Right as she does, the image in the mirror swirls, and Winter fades away until all Weiss is looking at is her own very pale face.

Maybe she should’ve listened to her sister.

 

She returns to the back of her closet, because of course she does. Another week had passed, and Weiss had managed to force herself not to go back, force herself to not think about it—but the image of her sister gnawed at her bones like a hungry animal—and she found that she couldn’t keep herself away. As though she was in a trance, her feet take her to the mirror, staring at her reflection and pausing a foot away.

“Do I have to rhyme to see?” She asked softly, kneeling down and setting a palm on the glass. It’s cold, and her eyes flutter shut. “Forgive me, I’m not very well versed in subjects such as poetry.”

The mirror warms at her words, and when her eyes snap open she finds that her reflection is gone—the only sight the swirling of silver in her mirror, almost like gas. 

“I suppose not.” She murmured to herself. “Can you...” She grimaced, “Can you tell me why my sister fears you so?” Weiss was reluctant to pry into her Winter’s life, but it seemed like a pretty important question to ask if she was going to have this mirror in her home.

(She just hoped that it didn’t have a mind of its own, that it didn’t have the capacity to lie to her.)

An image began to take form, and Weiss watched as a picture of her sister surfaced. She was kneeling in front of the mirror, much like Weiss was, her hands clenching the light blue frame. Her head was bowed, and it startled Weiss to see tears slipping from her face. Weiss forced herself to look away from the image of her sister, and look at the mirror Winter was holding onto.

Was that...?

Ah. 

Weiss grimaced, and pressed her palm back to the glass. The image faded away in puffs of silver gray smoke, and she found herself chewing on her bottom lip. It made sense, suddenly, that Winter had not wanted the mirror with her anymore.

“How many times did you show her that?” She asked the mirror softly, taking her hand away from the glass to run her fingers over the ornate frame. “It’s no wonder she fears you so.”

The mirror swirled again, an image of her sister in different clothing flickering in and out of existence. Then another one replaced it, and another, and another, and than another after that, until—

(Were those eyes?)

“That’s enough.” She pressed her fingers to the glass, feeling nauseous. “I understand.” Weiss stood to her feet, looking down at the tarp on the floor, realizing that in her haste to flee the closet the last time she’d forgotten to cover it up again. “...I wonder.” She murmured, and decided to pick it up and put it away elsewhere—leaving the mirror shining behind her, uncovered.

 

(She called Winter the day after she found out what the mirror had shown her, called and asked why she hadn’t just thrown it away or destroyed it. Winter, with a knowing tone that they both ignored, said that their mother had left it to her in the will.)

 

“I’m back.” She whispered, aware of the way the temperature dropped when she stepped inside the closet. Weiss didn’t know what to do with the mirror, didn’t know all of its capabilities, so she was reluctant to leave it be for too long. She didn’t want to end up murdered by some vengeful ghost for not visiting, so she resolved herself to sit in front of it once a week. 

She didn’t often ask questions, she couldn’t quite bring herself to—every time the thought struck her mind she remembered the look on her sister’s face and shut her mouth.

“It really is so cruel.” Weiss murmured, pressing her palm against the glass once more—and like it always did the mirror warmed at her touch. “The idea that Winter can not stand to look at you... because of what you showed her.” Weiss swallowed, closing her eyes. “I think... I think that if I had not already known what it looked like and you showed me the same I would’ve reacted... similar to Winter.”

The mirror went cold.

Weiss’ palm fell back, and she found herself scowling into her reflection. “It’s not as though you can blame me, you know.” She crossed her arms. “You showed her Mother’s—” Her mouth snapped closed, and she looked away. “—death.” A bitter laugh rose in her chest. 

“I think that you’re lucky that Winter couldn’t bear to shatter you.” Weiss turned to look back at the mirror and found that waves of unease seemed to be rolling off the glass. A smirk twisted her lips. “You’ll find I, on the other hand, have no qualms with doing so.”

Frost climbed up the edges of the mirror, and for a moment Weiss could’ve sworn silver eyes were blinking sadly back at her.

 

“Hello again.” Weiss said, slipping into her closet and shrugging on her jacket. “You really ought to cool it with the cold, you know, it’s starting to seep into my bedroom.”

The mirror didn’t respond, and Weiss found herself rolling her eyes. “So cold.” She murmured, not quite sure if she was talking about the temperature or the mirror’s behavior. She found herself drifting in front of the mirror once more and seating herself on the floor. Weiss brought her knees close and crossed her ankles, looking into the mirror for a moment before sighing and turning away.

“Is this because I said I didn’t mind shattering you?”

The temperature of the room dropped enough for Weiss to be able to see her breath. The mirror’s image shifted, and she could have sworn that a palm had been pressed against the glass from the other side.

“Awfully dramatic of you.” Weiss said, still facing away from the mirror. She sighed, flicking a bit of hair out of her face. “Though, I suppose that’s a bit hypocritical of me to say.” 

She sat still for another moment. “Say, mirror? You obviously have some semblance of thought and free will, are you alive?” Weiss asked, before considering herself again. “That sounded stupid, excuse me, how about—are you a person?” She frowned. “That sounded just as stupid, sorry.”

She did not expect the mirror’s image to change again. 

Sitting hunched, her knees pulled to her chest and her chin pressed against her arms, was a woman. She was dressed in the strangest clothes, old fashioned and flowy, a red cloak draped across her shoulders and over her head. From what little Weiss could see, her hair was messily spiked, dipped in red and growing darker as it met her roots. Her eyes seemed to shine like the mirror she belonged in, almond shaped and silver. Her features were strong, but sort of... pretty, almost, and her face was pulled into a frown. She kept looking at Weiss with the most peculiar expression.

Something in her chest constricted, and an emotion unfamiliar to her struck her deep in her heart. “You are the mirror.” She rasped out, it wasn’t a question.

The woman shook her head, hair falling into her eyes. 

“By reacting you proved my statement correct.” Weiss noted.

Her head snapped up, cheeks puffed out and a ridiculous looking pout on her face. Her cheeks had creases in them, and Weiss felt the strangest desire to see how they’d look accompanied by a smile instead of a frown.

Weiss felt her lips begin to curve upward, but she forced the expression off of her face quickly “I wonder, can you speak?”

The woman grit her teeth, and began to open her mouth. Her fingers went to her face, trying desperately to keep her mouth shut, but it seemed to try and open of its own volition. Something was forcing her to talk, and Weiss felt white hot panic sear her chest as she hastily exclaimed, “Wait, don’t answer that!” 

The woman froze, and to Weiss’ dismay it became clear she was still struggling to answer. How could she fix this? She didn’t want the woman in the mirror (who was obviously being forced by something that Weiss didn’t see) to do something she was so very clearly uncomfortable with.

“I’ll leave the room.” She scrambled to her feet, her cheeks burning with something she couldn’t identify. “I’ll be back in a minute, answer the question when I’m gone.”

Her words were slurred and rushed as she hurried out the door and Weiss didn't have time to wonder why she was so desperate to leave. She slipped out the door, slamming it closed as a soft voice had just began to escape, and was struck with something akin to electricity. She shivered, hunching her shoulders and pressing a hand to her mouth as she tried to muffle the sudden noises of—(terror? sadness? anger?)—managed to make it's way out of her lips.

She took a shaky breath, trying to get her heart to calm down as she tried to think about things rationally.

Weiss swallowed the lump in her throat. The woman had been forced to speak, it was astoundingly clear that she hadn’t wanted to—could it be that every question asked of her she was forced to answer? Weiss shuddered, her stomach churning in discomfort. None of the questions she’d asked before this had any sound, was that because the woman had never been asked for her voice?

A horrible thought sent a shiver down her spine. What if she’d just asked the woman in the mirror to do something that she never had? Something she’d taken comfort in not being asked?

She exhaled heavily through her lungs, and for a moment she wondered why exactly she was so worried for this stranger.

Had all common sense fled her system? She was talking to a mirror that answered every question she asked, why wasn’t she taking advantage of this? Why was she just okay with the idea of never using it?

(And why was it, when confronted with something clearly not normal, that she reacted so... calmly?)

Weiss took another deep breath, a minute had passed, she was sure that she could return to the closet without causing the woman too much stress. Her hand gripped the doorknob, hesitation stalling her movements, before she shook it off and walked inside. Her closet was large—certainly big enough to have room for the giant mirror, her clothes, and some space left over—still, she felt as though the walls around her were suffocating.

“Hello again.” Weiss managed out shakily. “I... I do apologize for...” She trailed off.

The woman was staring, a peculiar look on her face. She shook off Weiss’ apology, waving it away with the palm of her hand and looking away.

“I—” She grimaced. “Forgive me for this, but may I ask questions?”

The woman nodded hesitantly, but her eyes seemed to dim.

“Um.” Weiss wrapped her arms around her chest. “Let me rephrase that, are you alright with answering questions?”

The woman looked very frustrated with herself when her head shook ‘no’ automatically.

“Then I won’t be asking any.” Weiss said simply, averting her gaze. “Well, anymore than I already have, at least.” She sighed, and found that she couldn’t quite find the strength to turn and look at her. “I... I’ll visit again next week.” She made sure to grab all the clothes she would need so that she wouldn’t have to return until she wanted to, and promptly fled the closet.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Is the first thing out of her mouth when Winter picks up the phone. Her voice was vulnerable, shaky. She couldn't help but realize that it had been quite some time since she'd allowed her sister to hear her like this... allowed her sister to be so near for her moment of weakness. Weiss couldn't help it though, she realized, she needed to know what Winter had done—what Winter had known.

“Weiss.” And her sister still sounded so tired, as though she had the weight of worlds on her shoulders, but there was a trickle of confusion in the back of her voice that set Weiss' blood aflame—a boiling anger that warmed her trembling hands and burned hot against her cheeks.

“There’s a person in there.” Weiss hissed, her voice wobbling, “An actual person with thoughts and feelings and things that she doesn’t like—”

“What?” Winter asked, still sounding so bewildered. “Weiss, what are you talking about?”

“The woman in the mirror!” Weiss exclaimed, pacing the length of her living room. How could Winter not know? How could she put this... this person into Weiss' home like she was a possession instead of a real, breathing human being? “The one who has to answer all your questions!”

“I...” Winter’s voice trailed off weakly. “Weiss, I never saw a woman in the mirror... I didn’t think that...”

Weiss feels her anger simmer down, still sparking just underneath her skin but calm enough for her to think rationally. “Alright.” She managed out, a fire still raging in her heart despite her sudden burst of logical thought. “But...” Weiss shut her eyes up tight. When she told the mirror she had no qualms shattering it she hadn’t been lying, but now it felt like she had been. “You won’t be destroying the mirror.”

“I never wanted to.” Winter admitted quietly. “Even before there was a person in it, I never wanted to... I just wanted to find a way to make it stop.”

“Alright.” Weiss said, swallowing down the rage that had been building up inside her, scorching her insides and making the blood running through her veins feel like heavy lava. “Alright.” She repeated, and tried not to think of the woman in the mirror.

(She supposed it went without saying that she failed.)

 

“I’m back.” Weiss called quietly, peeking her head out. There’s nothing in the mirror, only the reflection of her and the clothes around her. The atmosphere is still frighteningly chilly, and Weiss grumbled a bit as she forced on a pair of gloves and a second coat. “I really wish you’d stop this.” She sighed. “At this rate everything will freeze.”

The mirror didn’t reply, but Weiss thought she felt amusement roll off of it’s surface. She rolled her eyes, scoffing, and kneeled down in front of the mirror like she’d done many times before. 

“I was thinking.” Weiss started quietly, “That if you wanted I could move you to the guest room, that way you’d have your own space.” She looked at her clothes, grimacing. “I don’t think it would be very nice, having to look at all this and never anything else.”

Something in her reflection distorted, and Weiss blinked when she found herself faced with messy handwriting in (what she hoped was) red ink.

Thank you.

“You shouldn’t.” The words slip out of her mouth on instinct, and a flush rises to her cheeks. “I mean... you shouldn’t say thank you to me.”

Why not?

“Well, first of all you’re trapped in a mirror—”

Rude.

“—second of all...” She trailed off, sighing. “I do not know who you are, what you are, or how this came to be but I—” Her cheeks flushed and she averted her gaze. “I find myself invested in giving you... something semblance of... good after sitting in an attic for years until my sister found you.” The mirror didn’t respond, and Weiss found herself blushing further. “Besides it’s becoming very inconvenient having you here, I do need my closet, you know.”

Of course.

Weiss eyed the words for a moment, looking away. “I want to ask you a question, but I fear the answer.”

Everyone asks questions, why would you be any different?

“How melodramatic.” Weiss said simply, ignoring the waves of malice seeping from the mirror and standing to her feet. “It’s about you, about... how you know things.” She brushed off a bit of frost from her skirt, frowning. “Of course, I will not ask if you do not wish to answer.”

No.

“Fair enough.” Weiss smiled, a crooked little thing. “I’ll be back in the afternoon to put you in the guest room.”

 

(The mirror said nothing the next day while Weiss carefully transported it—(would it be ‘her’ instead?)—into the spare room she had. She didn’t know whether to be thankful or not for the lack of interaction.)

 

“I almost forgot I moved you here.” Weiss sighed the week after, “It was most irrational of me, avoiding my closet like I was.” She sat on the bed, eyeing the ornate mirror that now hung on the wall. “Anyway, I only...” She paused, thinking. “Give me a moment to make sure it doesn’t sound like a question.”

The mirror didn’t respond, but Weiss had a feeling she appreciated it.

“I was thinking.” Weiss began slowly. “It can get lonely, I know this most intimately, but oftentimes I find that I’d rather be alone than talk to anyone.” She looked into the reflection, chewing on the inside of her cheek. “One finds themself wondering if accidental house guests feel the same.”

You’re clever. This was written slowly, and for a moment Weiss could’ve sworn she’d seen a flash of narrowed eyes in her reflection. I don’t trust clever humans.

Weiss bit back the question that surfaced at that. “Neither do I.” She admitted quietly. She rose from the bed, making her way to the door before pausing. “I... there’s no way for me to know what you want if you don’t tell me.”

And then she was slipping out the room.

 

In the months that passed, Weiss found an odd companion in the mirror, visiting her once a week. Though the woman’s guard never lowered, her steely gaze not wavering, Weiss found herself genuinely delighted to be in her presence. It grew especially wonderful when the woman began to slowly become more and more happy to talk to her. 

It made Weiss feel like she almost had a friend.

Every word she spoke to the woman was calculated, careful not to ask questions, and not once did she slip—Weiss knew that she was thankful for that. Though her curiosity burned inside her, searing the back of her throat and the tip of her tongue, she tried not to let it get the best of her.

She knew what her brother would say to her if he found out that she was willingly conversing with something that may have been possessed, and avoided telling him about the situation as much as she could. Weiss didn’t quite have it in her to lie to him straight out, but she was able to play off his semi-concerned gaze whenever Winter made obvious (and unappreciated) warnings about playing with forces she didn’t understand.

Pretty soon, Weiss realized that she’d spent four months talking to the woman in the mirror without the woman actually saying a single word—without her even revealing her name. Weiss forced down the sudden throbbing in her chest, but every time she went to sit in front of the mirror it reappeared—aching and far more prevalent than before.

She steeled herself, and resolved herself to getting over whatever was haunting her.

(Silver eyes.)

There were questions, though, questions that Weiss so desperately wanted to ask. She was not a patient person, she would never be a patient person, but Weiss somehow knew that if she asked what she wanted to know that feelings she had—(friendship)—would disappear in more than a puff a smoke. That didn't stop her from wondering, from writing them down.

What does your voice sound like?

How old are you?

What is it like, trapped in a mirror?

Do you have a family?

Do you want to be free?

Does the magic hurt you?

How did you end up there?

And finally—

When I asked who was the fairest, why didn't the image in the mirror change?

 

“Hello.” She called, tugging on a winter cap and sighing. “I thought you stopped with all the cold shenanigans.” The mirror did nothing, hanging from the wall with frost crawling along the glass. Weiss could no longer see her reflection, and snorted. “I don’t know if that was intentional, but if so... how clever of you.”

The lack of response made her roll her eyes. 

“You’re awfully infuriating for a guest in my home.” Weiss tilted her head, smirking a little. “Surely you know if there was a way to rid you from that place I would.” 

A deafening crack made her flinch backward. 

She grasped at her chest desperately, her face paling even more than usual as she fought the shiver that ran down her spine. That had been too loud. She swallowed, trying to calm her racing heart, and tried not to panic.

“Don’t do that again.” Weiss snapped, her voice brittle and wobbly. She let out a huff of air, crossing her arms and turning away—careful to keep her eyes on the floor. “I don’t like loud noises.”

The frost on the glass began to melt, as though an invisible hand was wiping it away. Sure enough, the woman was back, glaring through the mirror with her cheeks puffed out. 

Weiss found herself inexplicably charmed.

“Terribly sorry.” She said sarcastically, looking away from the stranger in the mirror. Another crack, though it was quieter this time, almost like the woman was attempting to get her attention. Weiss looked up from her lashes, unable to stop the scowl on her face. 

You said you would get rid of me? The woman suddenly looked very small, her palms pressed up against the glass as her shoulders slumped.

“No.” Weiss scoffed, her arms tightening around herself. “I said that if I knew a way to get you out of the mirror I would, but I don’t—I suppose you’ll just have to make do with my company.”

Oh.

“Oh.” Weiss mocked, moving to sit on the bed. “It’s a wonder you’re able to answer questions when you can’t understand a thing.”

English isn’t my first language! The woman scribbled on the glass angrily, the red pen in her hand was a surprisingly modern marker, considering the fact that from her clothing she looked like she walked off the set of some movie set in the middle ages.

“It’s isn’t mine either.” Weiss snapped. “Somehow, I’m still leagues better at it than you, despite the fact you’ve probably have had triple the time I had learning it”

Whatever, princess. She grumped, her cheeks were pink and she averted her gaze and flicked a bit of red hair out of her eyes.

(Silver. Strange, she never got used to them no matter how often she saw them.)

“It’s heiress, actually.” She noted with a haughty sniff, ignoring the odd bubble of emotions that danced in her chest. She smiled, teasing and only just a little bit cold. “You’d do well to remember that.”

What language did you learn first? The woman looked awfully curious, setting Weiss’ hair on end.

“German.” She said slowly. “One finds herself wondering what a house guest might have been raised speaking.”

No.

“Fair enough.” Weiss said, looking away, a laugh mixed with a sigh escaping her mouth. Her breath left her lips in a puff of white air, and a frown twisted her brow. “I really wish you’d stop with this whole cold thing.” She shifted, trying to ignore the shivering of her shoulders. “The entire apartment is starting to get awfully chilly, I can’t count how many times I’ve had to get up in the middle of the night for another blanket.”

You look right at home in it though. The woman pouted, a wicked gleam in her eyes behind the look of faux innocence. 

Weiss snorted, “Do I really?”

You asked a question. The woman glared, Not too clever now, are you?

The woman faded away, replaced by the image of Weiss as a child playing in the snow, her hair blending right in. For something that seemed so small, it must have struck the woman very hard if she was actually angry. The woman, despite her strange predicament, didn’t often grow enraged with Weiss—and she feared that she’d ruined that with a question that wasn’t even really a question.

Weiss scowled, standing to her feet and moving to poke the mirror with two fingers. “It’s not as though I did it on purpose.” She murmured when the picture faded, revealing only her reflection. Disappointment made a home in her chest when she realized the woman would not be returning. “Whatever.” 

She left the room feeling annoyed and confused.

 

“Winter.” She asked her sister over the phone call. “What question did you ask the mirror that made it show you everything?”

“I... I asked why you were so reluctant to talk about Mother.”

Weiss chewed on the inside of her cheek, releasing a sigh. “Right, and she showed you her death.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “At this point I’m not sure because she’s actively malicious or because she truly has trouble with the English language.”

“Maybe both.” Winter suggested, sounding tired and amused. (And also maybe a little horrified.)

 

“Hello—”

A loud crack interrupted her, and Weiss barely managed not to flinch backward.

“I thought I told you not to do that!” She hissed out clutching her chest and pressing her shaking fingers against her sternum in an attempt to hide them.

Oh, did you? The words appeared in red ink, same as always, but the woman did not appear in the reflection. I probably forgot.

“So you’re angry.” She sighed, rolling her eyes. “Why?”

You haven’t visited in two weeks.  

The words were accusing, written across the reflection so that the word you was on top of Weiss' forehead something that made her almost want to laugh. 

“I was under the impression you’d appreciate that.” Weiss said, crossing her arms and ignoring the fact that the room was covered in frost. She looked down at her shoes, trying not to fidget in place. She couldn't quite stand to look at the mirror, not with the words smeared across her reflection—the 'you' in red script looking almost as though it belonged on her face. “You were... annoyed.”

(And Weiss knew better than to come back right away, it was easier to wait a little while—wait for a cool down period and hope that anger doesn't fan the flames of brutality more while she was gone.)

That’s, no more words appear—as though the woman was hesitating. I didn’t want for you to stop coming, and it wasn’t even a huge question, I was just grumpy.

“Why—” Weiss bit back her words, stopping the question before it took form. “Right, well, terribly sorry I inconvenienced you.” She snarked, swallowing the lump in her throat. “It’s not as though you’re actually getting anything out of our interactions, how was—” She grit her teeth, stopping another sarcastic question from fleeing her lips. “It’s not as though you’ve said you wanted me around.”

A great slash of red appeared across the mirror, as though the woman had slipped and accidentally ran her marker against it.

Weiss snorted. “Don’t hurt yourself.”

“Shut up!” 

She froze, all too aware of the sudden ringing silence that came after the voice in the mirror. “I...” Her face burned suddenly, and she didn’t know why. “Did you—” Weiss swallowed the question. “One might wonder if house guests mean to speak out loud.”

“I didn’t mean to.” The voice admitted softly, before pausing. “I’m sorry for telling you to shut up, I didn’t want those to be the first words you heard me say.”

Her voice was soothing, strangely enough, and Weiss had to shake herself out of the daze that it had induced inside of her. She didn’t think she’d ever been so affected by a voice before.

“I’ve heard much worse, I assure you.” Weiss said, far gentler than she’d meant to. She was still the only one in the mirror’s reflection, but she could see the subtle imprint of eyes that weren’t hers blinking back at her. “I have questions.” Weiss murmured, shoulders shaking. “So many they overwhelm me.”

“I know.” And the reflection swirled, gray clouds shaping to form the body of the woman, color seeping into the image. Her lips were pursed, her face pink. “You... you get three that I won’t blame you for, and then that’s it!” She exclaimed, leaning close to the glass and jabbing her finger at it. “The next time you come to visit you don’t get any more questions! And—and you have to be nice to me!”

“I’m not good at being nice.” Weiss murmured. “Would cordial be good enough?”

“Yes.” The word leaves her mouth automatically, before an embarrassed frown tugged at her lips. “That counts as a question.”

“Of course.” Weiss agreed, and because she felt it would be wrong not to say, “Apologies.” She looked down at her feet, she felt kind of disappointed. “Now I can’t ask you your name.” She murmured. “I already have two I need to know... I can’t sacrifice them.”

“Then I’ll give it to you for free.” The woman said, “Because I would be a pretty rude house guest if I didn’t, right? It’s only fair I tell you my name.”

“You don’t have—”

“I’m Ruby, Ruby Rose.” She said, beaming at her, though there was still a great deal of hesitance in her expression. “I know your first name, but not your full one.”

“Weiss Schnee, at your service.” She bowed her head and barely managed to stop herself from doing a curtsy. 

“Schnee, huh?” The woman’s expression soured, and Weiss’ entire body tensed. “I was hoping I’d been passed to another family by now.” She sighed, sitting on the floor of wherever she was. (It looked like a room made of dark gray storm clouds.) “I mean, your hair was a dead give away—” She gestured to Weiss, “—but I was still hoping, you know?”

“I’m afraid I don’t.” Weiss stated coldly, turning away. She shook of the sudden influx of negative emotions, reminding herself that she was used to people reacting badly to her name. “My... my second question, do you know the things you show people before they ask, or do you learn as they do?”

Ruby frowned, looking grumpy. “I learn as they do, it’s like I’m in the middle of all this information and only get to know it when someone asks about it.”

“Understood.” Weiss nodded, movements still stiff. “Last question.”

“Go for it.” Ruby sighed, smiling tiredly. “It’s not like I didn’t make you promise to be friends with me after.”

Weiss paused. “That was you asking me to be your friend?”

“Uh, duh.” Ruby tilted her head, much like a puppy. “What else would it have been?” Then she frowned. “You asked me a question.”

“I... oh dammit.” Weiss swore quietly to herself. “I’m sorry, I’ve wasted my last one haven’t I?”

“You know I was wrong before.” Ruby said with a much more genuine smile. “You aren’t so clever after all.”

“Right, well...” She trailed off, crossing her arms over her chest and looking away in hopes that Ruby wouldn’t see her flushed cheeks.

“I’ll give you another one, since you wasted two accidentally.” Ruby smirked mischievously, and something about the expression made her heart race. “Since you aren’t so clever as to watch your words.” 

Weiss averted her gaze, coughing into her fist and trying to hide her suddenly flushed cheeks. “Right, well, last question—” She swallowed the lump in her throat, “If you wanted to be free from that mirror, how would I go about doing that?”

Ruby’s eyes widened. “You did not just—”

She was cut off by the image in the mirror brushing her away, swirling before settling on another picture. It was Weiss, pressing her fingers to the frame of the mirror before her. The fake-her sighed, rolling her eyes and reaching for something off screen. With a bat in her hands she lethargically smashed the mirror into pieces, before taking a step back and examining the shards on the floor. After finding the largest one she picked it up, a grimace on her face, and pressed her lips to the glass.

“Oh.” Weiss said, rubbing her gloved palms together as she blew warm air into them. It was still frighteningly cold in the room, and the motion helped distract from what she would have to do. “That’s... hmm.”

“You have smash me!” Ruby squawked, reappearing in the glass. “And then you have to kiss me?! That doesn’t seem fair at all!”

Actually, I have to kiss the mirror—”

“I practically am the mirror, Weiss!” Ruby wailed, “That’s my first kiss you’re stealing right there! You thief! You stealer, you robber, you sneak—”

“Relax.” Weiss rolled her eyes. “I haven’t even done it yet.”

“And you won’t be!” Ruby shouted.

She frowned. “I thought you wanted to get out of the mirror.”

“Well of course!” Ruby puffed out her cheeks, leaning away from the glass and wrapping herself tighter in her red cloak. “But... but it’s my first kiss! I don’t know you nearly well enough to let you kiss me—my sister would probably have an aneurysm.” Ruby paused. “If she’s still alive... hey, can you do me a favor?”

“Sure?”

“Great, ask me if Yang Xiao Long is still alive, please?” Ruby just out her lips, clasping her hands together and leaning the side of her face on them. “Pretty, pretty please?”

“Fine.” Weiss let out a breath, and hoped that the answer to the question would be yes. “Is Yang Xiao Long still alive?”

“Thank you—” Ruby was cut off by the mirror swirling, her image once again melting away in favor of another.

Weiss turned her gaze away. “This is private, I will not watch it.” She said out loud, knowing Ruby could hear her. Her eyes fluttered closed, and Weiss knew that if this Yang person was alive, that someone was waiting for Ruby outside the mirror—she would do everything in her power to make her agree with what Weiss wanted to do. She didn’t know what Ruby’s sister was like, but clearly she had meant a great deal.

“It’s... It’s over now.” Ruby rasped out, and when Weiss turned to face her she found her eyes were red, tears glazing them over and spilling out from the corners.

Weiss rushed forward without thinking about it, pressing her palm to the glass as thought to comfort her. Ruby put her hand to where Weiss’ was, and even though there was a mirror separating them Weiss could have sworn she felt the warmth of Ruby’s palm licking at her own.

“She’s alive.” Ruby said, her voice choked. “Immortal, even... with our uncle.”

Weiss decided to ignore the ‘immortal’ part. “That’s good.” She uttered quietly, “She’ll be waiting for you to return to her.”

Ruby let out another sob, pulling her hood over her head to hide her face from Weiss’ eyes—but her hand remained over the glass, never faltering. 

“I...” Weiss swallowed the lump in her throat. “Do... do you want me to—” She stopped herself before she could finish the sentence, averting her gaze. “If one wishes to be set free all they would have to do is say so.”

“You are so dumb sometimes.” Ruby laughed through her tears, using the hand that wasn’t pressed to the glass to wipe at her face. “It’s kinda sweet.”

“I am not dumb.” Weiss protested, ignoring the sudden flush in her cheeks. “I only wanted to make sure that you could talk to me without... being forced to.” She murmured, averting her gaze. Something in her chest squeezed, and her hand drifted back down to the side. “I’ll... I’ll return again in a couple of days—it’ll give you some time to decide.”

“Weiss?” Ruby asked her right as she was about to leave the room. “Thank you.”

She slipped out of the room so she didn’t have to respond.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a magic mirror?” Whitley asked over the phone call. “I can’t believe I had to find out from Winter of all people.”

“Little brother.” She sighed, standing from her kitchen table and heading toward the living room. If she was going to have to have this conversation with him she was at least going to be somewhere comfortable.

“Darling sister.” Whitley shot back, saccharine sweetness dripping from his voice. “I thought I was your closest confidant?” His words were like spun sugar, sweet and thin and easily melted when met with anything of real substance. 

“Laying it on a little thickly, don’t you think?” She asked through a sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose and falling into her sofa.

“Of course,” Whitley cooed, “how else would you know I’m displeased with you?”

“Fair enough.” She snorted, leaning her head back to look up at the ceiling. She’d forgotten how cheeky he could be and had to smother the smile that threatened to surface at his words.

“Anyway, the mirror—”

“Ruby.” Weiss interrupted automatically.

“Pardon?”

“Her name.” She explained, tapping her fingers on her phone case and trying not to sound too disgruntled.

Whitley paused, and then began to speak slowly to her—almost as though he was talking to a small child. “It’s a mirror, Weiss.”

“With a person in it.” She added, rolling her eyes.

“Are...” Whitley hesitated, taking a deep breath. “Are you so sure it’s a person?”

“Excuse me?” Weiss asked, her voice coming out snappish and defensive.

“It’s only it seems as though you’ve abandoned your wits when it comes to this... Ruby.” Whitley continued, and she could almost imagine him wrinkling his nose when he said Ruby’s name. “Did you keep it from me for so long because you knew I would make you see reason?”

“Of course not.” She said, lying through her teeth. 

“Then why?”

“She’s—” Weiss grit her teeth. “I just—”

“Oh.” Whitley tutted disapprovingly. “You’ve grown fond of her.”

“What?” Weiss asked, too shrilly for Whitley to believe her next words. “No I haven’t.”

“You have.” Whitley scoffed.

“No—”

“A mirror, Weiss?” He asked, sounding more than fed up. “This shines a whole new light to the term useless lesb—”

Enough.” She sputtered out, “That’s not—! You aren’t even—!”

“Stuttering, sister?” Whitley asked, “My my, this Ruby does have some sort of sway over your decisions, doesn’t she?” She noticed that he had begun to speak of Ruby as a person instead of an object. It was something that she appreciated, but the warmth in her chest wasn’t enough to forget that she was the subject of his teasing.

“That’s... I’m hanging up on you.”

“Tell Ruby I said—”

She ended the call before he could finish.

Pressing the phone into her chest, she let out a shuddering breath as she tried to get control over her very very flushed cheeks. What did Whitley mean by that? Weiss wasn’t... she couldn’t... there was no way—

(A flash of silver eyes in the back of her mind, and suddenly her body ached.)

Was this love?

Of course not.

She couldn’t have—there was no way, no way at all someone like her would succumb to something so stupid. There was no debate, there was no saying otherwise, Weiss wasn’t in love. Whitley was just being facetious, he’d delighted in pressing her buttons since childhood. 

(But that felt wrong, because she had—she’d fallen in love fallen in love fallen in love—with a single glance she’d fallen victim to an enemy she hadn’t even known existed.)

“Oh dear.” She whispered quietly to herself. “I’ve landed myself in quite the predicament.” 

(This, of course, was the understatement of the century.)

 

“Hello—oh fiddlesticks.” Weiss paused in the doorway, eyeing the heavy layers of frost all around the room. “I’ll return with another jacket.”

“Did you just say ‘fiddlesticks?’” Ruby called out as she left, “Seriously? What are you, some sort of seventeenth century dummy?”

“And what—” Weiss began, poking her head back into the room and ignoring the cold. “—is that supposed to mean?” Though she had meant for the words to come out slightly scathing and more than a little teasing, she found her voice was low and smooth—much softer than she had originally intended. 

Ruby’s face went pink, and she opened her mouth to speak—

And then Weiss realized she asked a question.

Fiddlesticks.” She swore again, promptly exiting the room and slamming the door behind her before Ruby could answer. She waited until Ruby called out, saying it was safe to enter, and anxiously began to smooth down her hair as she walked into the room. “Terribly sorry.” Weiss said, grimacing. “I didn’t mean to.”

“I know.” Ruby said, surprisingly quiet. There was a strange expression on her face, her cheeks as bright and round as apples as she inwardly struggled with something. “Um, I thought about that thing.”

“The thing.” Weiss said flatly.

“Yeah, the... um, the kiss.” Ruby mumbled, wrapping her arms around her knees and drawing them closer to her chest. She averted her gaze, and embarrassment seemed to radiate from the mirror in waves.

“It’s hardly a kiss.” Weiss murmured, voice soft. Very slowly she moved forward, pressing her fingers to the mirror and drumming the tips on the glass. “You don’t have to worry.”

“You didn’t see what I did.” Ruby admitted quietly, “Whenever someone asks a question I always get a little bit more information than they do.” 

Weiss’ throat went dry. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Ruby released a strangled laugh, “If you don’t want to do it—”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Weiss said without skipping a beat. “I said I’d get you out of the mirror, and my pride won’t allow me to back out now—especially since it’s something so simple.”

“It’s hardly simple.” Ruby croaked, though she looked oddly pleased. Maybe she couldn’t consider it ‘odd,’ considering the fact that Ruby was going to be set free soon. (But it was a strange kind of pleased look, her face flushed deeper, and she seemed to be trying to hide her wobbling mouth by pressing her lips tightly together—and her hands were trembling, gripping desperately at her cloak.)

“Right, well.” Weiss grimaced. “I’m going to go grab a bat, but if someone doesn’t want me to get it they should say—”

“Just go get it, dork.” Ruby laughed. “And don’t worry about asking questions anymore.”

“Right.” Weiss nodded robotically. “I’ll return soon.”

“Hurry back.” Ruby murmured softly, a quality to her voice making Weiss flush to her ears.

“Of course.” She managed, and exited the room. When she closed the door she fell back on it, pressing the back of her hand to her mouth as she slumped onto the wood—trying to understand the sudden racing of her heart.

A mirror, Weiss? Her brother’s words reverberated in her mind, and she forced her eyes closed. 

“That’s enough.” She murmured to herself, pushing herself back up and walking to where she kept her emergency bat. “She’s leaving soon after to look for her sister anyway, there would be no point in... feeling this.” Weiss shook off her thoughts, gripping the old wooden bat and letting out a shuddering breath.

Even if this was one of the last times that she might see her, Weiss felt overwhelmed by the notion that it had been worth it.

“I’m back.” She called out softly, slipping inside the room and closing the door so that frost didn’t escape into the hallway. “I kind of want to ask about why you radiate cold.”

“Part of the curse.” Ruby answered nonchalantly. 

“Of course.” Weiss rolled her eyes. She wondered who had cursed her to an eternity inside the mirror, but decided not to ask. (Even if Ruby had told her not to worry about the questions, a part of her felt like it would be rude to just pry.) “Alright.” She sighed, lethargically twirling the bat in her hand. “Let’s get this over with.”

Ruby watched her hands, her eyes lingering on the curve of her fingers as she messed with the bat. “Of course.” She whispered, voice a little raspy. “Can... can you press your hand to the glass again?” Ruby winced, “Just so that if this doesn’t work that... that I was happy before I was shattered.”

Weiss wanted to ask why putting her hand to the mirror would make her happy, but decided not to, instead nodding her head silently and doing as Ruby wished.

Ruby scrambled to place her palm on the opposite side of Weiss’, and she forced down the lump in her throat. She couldn’t stop the soft sigh that escaped her lungs and averted her gaze at the odd look of bliss on Ruby’s face. She blinked away the sudden sting in her eyes, waiting patiently for Ruby to give the go ahead.

“Weiss.”

She turned to face her.

Ruby was smiling, full and wide and beautiful. “Thank you.” And then she leaned down to where she had put her hand, pressing her lips against the glass as though to kiss her fingers.

Weiss’ brain short circuited. 

Was that—

Did she just—

Why did—

“Uh, no, um.” She felt her cheeks and ears burn. “It’s... It’s nothing.” She murmured.

“It’s everything.” Ruby corrected, brushing a bit of hair out of her face. “I’m ready now, I think.” A tentative smile. “Set me free?”

(And though Ruby could not possibly know it, those three words struck Weiss in the chest more than anything she had said or done so far. How long had she longed to be set free when she was younger? How long had she dreamt of a life without her father’s shackles?)

“Of course.” Weiss said, resolving herself and taking a step back. “Close your eyes.” She murmured. “It’ll be easier that way.”

Ruby obeyed, her startling silver gaze blinking closed.

I do so believe I love you. Weiss thought as she rose the bat, swinging it as hard as she could. There is no question.

The mirror shattered, shards of glass flying everywhere as Weiss failed not to flinch back. She grimaced, a hand going to a stinging on her cheek, her fingers falling away wet. Mirrors weren’t supposed to explode when you hit them.

She sighed, looking down at the floor, and eyed the shards critically—trying to swallow the fear in her chest. Weiss bent down, carefully lifting the biggest piece off the ground. It was the place where she’d put her palm, where Ruby had kissed. She scoffed, a disbelieving little snort escaping her as she did her best not to roll her eyes.

“Here goes.” Weiss murmured, and carefully pressed her lips to the glass.

Nothing happened at first. For a second she was just standing in the cold, shivering while her mouth was slotted against the glass. Anguish surged through her, and right as she was about to pull away to cry out—a warm hand was suddenly holding desperately onto her hip. All at once the glass in her hands seemed to melt away, smoothing out into soft skin that Weiss realized were cheeks.

Her mouth fell open in shock, her head snapping backward right as Ruby surged forward—pulling her closer. Their noses knocked together, and Weiss realized that Ruby was taller than her by a couple of inches.

“You kissed me.” Ruby murmured, a smile on her lips. 

“Of course.” Weiss stammered out, her hands moving from her cheeks to grip at the hood of her cloak. “Was... wasn’t I supposed to?”

“That was a question—” Ruby began, reaching up to cup Weiss’ cheek, her thumb brushing away the blood on her cheek. “—that has a very obvious answer.”

Weiss winced a little, but didn’t pull away. She was mesmerized by Ruby’s eyes, liquid mercury and brighter than anything she’d ever seen before. Her fingers clenched, the soft red material bunching up in her fists. “It does?”

“Yes.” Ruby whispered against her lips. “The answer is ‘of course.’” And then she was kissing her, the warmth of her mouth and body making the cold of the room fade from her mind. Suddenly all she could think about was the way that Ruby was holding her face, tenderly in a surprisingly calloused palm, the way her other arm was wrapped around her waist—pressing them closer closer closer together.

Weiss sighed, her hands smoothing out over Ruby’s shoulders, and kissed back as gently as she could. When Ruby pulled away, her smile was brighter than the sun, a beaming grin that showed her teeth—her eyes crinkling as they sparkled with happiness. 

“Wow.” Ruby said, sighing softly. Her face was flushed, though Weiss figured she wasn’t doing much better. “You’re shorter than I thought you’d be.”

Weiss blinked, her soft smile going strained. “I’m going to kill you.”

“Please don’t.” Ruby said, her smile going nervous.

Weiss rolled her eyes, pulling away and flicking Ruby on her forehead in an attempt to distract from the flush rising in her cheeks and ears. “You’re lucky all my energy is gone from freeing you from that mess.”

“Of course.” Ruby shot her a soft look. “Thank you.” She reached forward, grabbing the palm of Weiss’ hand and pressing a gentle to kiss on the inside of her wrist.

Weiss’ brain short circuited again. 

“I—um.” She blinked, swallowing roughly. “I’m going to put a bandaid on my face, then we can see about hunting down your sister.”

“Alright!” Ruby cheered happily, before pausing and pursing her lips. “What’s a bandaid?”

Weiss had the strangest feeling that she’d signed up for more than she realized, and couldn’t help but smile. “I’ll show you.” She said softly, grabbing Ruby’s hand before tugging her out of the frost covered guest bedroom (which had begun to melt.) 

“Awesome.” Ruby agreed cheerfully. “Hey, Weiss?”

“Yes?”

“I love you.”

Her ears reddened. “I love you too.” She murmured.

“What? I didn’t hear you.” Ruby scooted in front of her, stopping right just in front of the bathroom door with a mischievous grin.

“One more word and I kill you.” Weiss snarled weakly, slipping behind her into the bathroom where the bandages would be.

“You won’t.” Ruby said cheerfully. “You love me.”

Weiss smiled. That, at least, was no question.