Weiss thought that she had prepared herself for this moment, but she still didn't want to face it.
She took one tentative step forward and rapped on a wooden door in the hallway of an isolated cottage. A seemingly infinite pause awaited her before, finally, a gentle voice called out from within.
She sucked in a shaky breath and, turning the doorknob, nudged her way into the room.
"Hi," her teammate said without looking.
Weiss had figured that Ruby wouldn't be in the greatest mood, but she wasn’t quite expecting this. Ruby lay motionless in bed, hollow eyes fixated on the wall opposite her. The heavy bags under her eyes were an obvious clue that she hadn't slept. But really, who could, after witnessing Pyrrha and Penny's deaths? After Blake's disappearance? After her precious sister lost one limb and all of her fire?
And now Weiss was only about to amplify Ruby's pain. She wanted nothing more than to defy her father's orders, to stay with Ruby, but as the Schnee Dust Company heiress, she had an obligation. She inwardly cursed her family's name, something which she had grown accustomed to ever since moving to Beacon.
Dragging her thoughts back to reality, Weiss gulped. "How are you feeling?" She immediately regretted asking such a foolish question. Ruby obviously felt terrible.
And yet, Ruby managed a weak grin, now looking over at Weiss. "I'm alright. Been better, but...I mean, I’ll get through it."
One thing which Weiss knew she could always rely on was Ruby's optimism. Even though it was forced at the moment, it elicited a genuine smile from Weiss in response. "That's good," she said. She wanted to say more, but couldn't find the appropriate words, so instead she sat on the bed and placed a frigid hand on Ruby's calf. Ruby's eyes fell shut.
She wanted to leave things that way. She wanted to stay there forever, one hand on her teammate, patiently remaining by her side until Ruby was strong enough to function on her own again. But she had entered the room with a purpose, and like it or not, she had to fulfill it.
"Ruby, I'm going home," Weiss blurted out, quickly adding, "My father ordered me to."
Ruby's eyes snapped open and she propped herself up on one elbow. Weiss noticed her subtly wince, likely due to the numerous cuts and bruises that littered her arms. Weiss's own body was similarly battered, but that didn't make it any easier to see Ruby in such a state.
"I'm sorry, Ruby," Weiss said before pressing her lips together in a thin line. She clutched Ruby's calf a little tighter. "He says Beacon is too dangerous now. He's the head of the Schnee family, so...I have to go." Ruby nodded and cast her gaze downward, a heavy silence settling between them.
"Will I see you again?" Ruby finally asked, eyes now flooded with tears that hadn't quite started to fall.
Truthfully, Weiss didn't know. But Ruby needed hope right now, even if it was all a lie. "Of course you will," Weiss said, and then rose from the bed, her fingers lingering on Ruby for a moment longer than was strictly necessary.
I love you, Weiss wanted to say, but now was the worst possible time for such an admission. Not when Ruby was so vulnerable, when they were about to part for an indefinite amount of time - possibly even forever.
Instead, she simply said, "Good luck with everything." How typically callous of her. Why could she never be sincere with others when it mattered? Ashamed of the entire interaction, Weiss turned away before she could see the look on Ruby's face and made her way to the door, the click-clack of her heels echoing throughout the otherwise silent room.
"You too," Ruby croaked. Weiss nodded without turning around and pulled the door shut behind her.
Only once she was halfway down the hall did she register her own tears.