The grounds of Beacon were covered in snow. Like it had come out of nowhere, not even the trees had had the time to shed their leaves. They welcomed the snow with full green-bearing arms, and they were all the prettier for it. Flowers and grass jutted out from the white covering on the ground, speckling what would be a simple plane with countless stars. The scarred stone and concrete were hidden, only the occasional stonework patterns showing through.
The snow covered everything, but it wasn’t freezing. The fountains remained fluid and flowing, the sun bright but comfortable. It was the Solitas spring half a world to the south.
It was a piece of home in her home.
Weiss marveled at it, a smile touching her cheeks. She’d missed the snow while at Vale. Not many would understand, but the wind and ice were the least cold things of Atlas. Her breath turned into clouds of fog.
Weird, how had she gotten here? Hadn’t-
“Weiss.” A familiar voice called out from behind her.
Weis spun on the spot, eyes wide.
Pyrrha Nikos stood feet away, in the center of the courtyard. She looked as she always did, garbed in red and gold, leather and iron. The smile on her lips was small but genuine, something only her friends had the opportunity to know and learn to distinguish.
She was tackled by barely over a hundred pounds of Atlesian huntress-in- training. Pyrrha caught Weiss’ weight with barely any effort, hugging the much smaller girl to her chest and lifting her feet off the ground.
“H-how? You…” Weiss sobbed into her shoulder.
“I died.” Pyrrha whispered into her hair and lowered her down. She took a step back, keeping her hands on the smaller girl’s shoulders. Weiss’ eyes glittered with tears, sparkling like the jewels. Pyrrha smiled sadly. “Blue suits you. You look like you’ve become so much stronger…”
Weiss sniffled. “Jaune misses you. And Nora and Ren. We all miss you. …I miss you.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” She blinked away her own tears. “But right now, Weiss, we have to focus on making sure they don’t miss you too.”
And Weiss suddenly knew. Oh. “I died too…” The flash, the pain. She let her head fall. “It’s funny. I just… I just became able to stand on my own two feet, finally my own person and now…”
“Not yet. You’re close. Close enough that I could reach you, but you’re not dead yet.” Pyrrha gently grabbed her chin, directing Weiss’ gaze back to her face. “You have a choice. The choice to live.”
“How?” The white-haired girl asked.
“Well, there’s not really an explanation.” Pyrrha explained, her voice measured as so many other times in Beacon’s classrooms. “You’re just on the boundary. If you really want to return, you can. And I’ll give you a little bit of help. Just to be sure. Or you could stay, with me.” Her smile fell. “It looks like it’s an obvious choice but… going back is not the easy path. You were gravely injured. It’s going to be very hard and hurt a whole lot more. It might even not be worth it. There are no guarantees.” She squeezed her shoulder in emphasis.
Weiss smiled for the first time since laying eyes on her friend. She shook her head. “I know, thank you for the warning Pyrrha, but… I didn’t come all this way to give up now. I have to go back. This is my choice. My friends… my family, I won’t leave them. Ever. I’m not giving up. No matter the hardships.”
Pyrrha nodded. “I knew you’d say that. Thank you, Weiss.” She paused. “Do you… believe in Destiny?”
Weiss blinked. “I… I suppose not. I’ve… spent most of my life fighting against what people told me was my destiny.” And yet, she followed the path laid down in front of her by the circumstances of her birth, and called it Duty. She recalled bitterly, and breathed out that resentment, let it become fog and cleared her heart. “I believe that, for better or worse, we make our own Destiny.”
“I see.” Pyrrha turned her eyes over Weiss’ head, letting her gaze become distant. Let herself remember those moments before her final battle, let herself remember her choices. And it didn’t hurt.
She hugged Weiss, one last time, let herself feel the warmth of her friend. How her fingers curled around her sides, pulling her closer. The wetness of her cheeks against her chest and the snow-smell of her hair. Then she pushed her. With all her power, she pushed her away.
Back into pain. Back into life.