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Shiny Linings

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          “Alright, let’s get her off the mountain.” The sentence wakes Weiss up just enough to be present for an extremely unpleasant jostling as she was forcibly unfolded and placed on a hard surface.

          “Oh, you’re awake –” Weiss figures she must have made some sort of noise to gain the speaker’s attention – “my name is Yang and I’ll be helping you get off this mountain along with my partner Blake. Can you tell me your name while I wrap you up all nice and tight?”

          “Mmnah yh. Mice ngh. Ice snee –” Weiss attempts to respond positively but she’s so tired and cold. And thirsty. And her leg hurts, her head too.

          “Good enough. Here we go.” Weiss heard a couple of buckles snap before the so-called Yang seemed to hop on whatever object she was laying on. A loud engine starts somewhere above her head, startling Weiss and she finds the buckles were straps meant to hold her in place.

          “You’re safe now, relax.” The Yang voice sounds gentle and calming even being shouted over the steady drone of the engine. With little other choice, Weiss trusts the voice and relaxes into a near sleep, the weird state leaves her feeling as if she’s flying.

 


 

          “Minimally responsive; like she tried to answer some questions and it almost worked. Seems like maybe a concussion, definitely a broken leg, some hypothermia.” A voice seemed to trail off as Weiss’s brain now focused on the bright light she was being shoved under and the horrible throbbing in her leg and head.

          “Thanks Yang, we’ll get it from here,” the sound of doors slamming shut startles Weiss and she flinches against restraints again. “It’s alright, Ms. Schnee, you’re riding the RNJR express – now lemme just unwrap this little survival burrito a bit so we can get things started. Nora, will you pop some hot packs for me?” An affirmative response came from somewhere on her right side followed by several sharp pops – accentuating all the rustling on her left side. Suddenly she could feel hands on her bare skin, the heat of the other body like fire along her arm. With a gasp Weiss’s eyes shoot open attempting to take in everything around her. Lights shine on walls covered in labeled bins. Red seats on either side of her, both occupied by people in green uniforms. Square doors at her feet. She’s laying back and elevated – an ambulance, she’s in an ambulance.

 

          “Ow! Who are you? Don’t touch me!” Turning to look at the source of the burning sensation Weiss sees a girl taping down some kind of spigot that’s been shoved into her arm.

          “My name is Ruby. You were in an accident and now you’re being transported to the local hospital. Can you tell me your name?”

          “I was in an accident?”

          “Yes ma’am.”

          “But I’m good at skiing.”

          “Well, these things happen – that’s why they’re called accidents. Can you tell me your name?”

          “Weiss Schnee.” She’s been in an accident the information settles on her like a heavy blanket. She was meant to head back to Atlas today but she had just wanted to get in one last run on the – oh no, Winter! Winter was going to meet her at the airport! This wasn’t going to be good Winter was going to be furious that – Weiss could hear a snipping sound that coincided with light tugs on her feet. Looking down she saw a girl cutting off her very expensive ski boots before turning for her very expensive ski pants.

          “Hey! Who are you?! Don’t touch me!” Weiss attempts to shake her leg to rid it of the assault only to be left whimpering.

          “My name is Ruby. You were in an accident and now you’re being transported to the local hospital. Can you tell me how old you are, and what day it is?”

          “I was in an accident?”

          “Yes ma’am.”

          “But I’m good at skiing.”

          “Well, these things happen – that’s why they’re called accidents. Can you tell me how old you are and what day it is?”

          “I’m twenty-two and it’s… Sunday. Oh no – Winter will be furious that I’m not there!” Weiss answers before trying to sit up, only to be thwarted again by stupid straps.

          “Alright, let’s give’r some pain meds – Who is Winter, Ms. Schnee, are they your emergency contact?” A voice from down by her feet asks and Weiss looks down to see a girl removing her socks.

          “Hey! Who are you?! Don’t touch me!” Weiss shouts, or attempts to anyway.

          “I think we can bet on that concussion, Nora.” The voice mumbles at another person to the side before answering. A chuckle at Ruby's unfortunate induction into a concussion borne conversation loop sounds from that other side.

          “My name is Ruby. You were in an accident and now you’re being transported to the local hospital. Can you tell me who your emergency contact is?”

          “I was in an accident?”

          “Yes ma’am.”

          “But I’m good at skiing.”

          “Well, these things happen – that’s why they’re called accidents. Can you tell me who your emergency contact is?”

          “Winter Schnee. Her number is… Oh no, she’s going to be furious that I’m not home yet!”

          “Yeah – go ahead and mark concussion down, Nora. This is gonna be a long ride.”

 


 

          “What’s that supposed to mean!?” Weiss nearly shouts at her phone.

          “It means exactly what I said, I can’t come pick you up. I literally, legally, am not allowed to leave Atlas during these types of leave.” The voice of her sister, Winter, marches from her phone – neat, orderly, and even toned despite her own emotion stoked vehemence.

          “But Winter –”

          “Weiss. There’s nothing I can do for you. You can’t fly because of your ear anyway. You’re just going to have to wait. I’m sorry, but your name and money can’t solve every problem.

          “But, Winter, it’s barely even a hospital! I can’t stand the thought of staying here! Winter, please!”

          “So get a room? Buy a house? Donate equipment? Weiss, Schnee Medical is entirely yours, if you’re dissatisfied with the facility – fix it. And no,” Winter interrupts Weiss before she can set off again, “there will be no negotiation – I truly cannot do anything more than I’ve already done. You know if I could that I would. You can figure it out. If nothing else –

          “A Schnee always finds a way. Fine. I love you, Winter.”

          “I love you too little sister.

          Sighing Weiss leans back in the hospital bed she’s spent the past two days occupying.

          Good at skiing huh? She glares at the thick cast on her right leg and the short one on her left wrist. At least it wasn’t all bad – that E.M.T., Ruby, had visited both days so far and had promised to come by today. ‘Because everybody needs a buddy.’ was what she’d answered with when Weiss asked why bother coming to visit a stranger. It wasn’t much, but the upbeat, twenty year old was certainly a silver lining.

 

          “Good afternoon, Ms. Schnee – it’s time for your ear drops.” Nurse Polendina knocks as she enters, beaming brighter than the fluorescents above. With a sigh Weiss rolls her upper body away from the door just as she had three times a day for the past two days. “Thank you!”

          “Hey, do you happen to know the number for the lodge? My sister won’t be able to make it before I’ll be better enough to fly anyway.” Weiss decides to ask for help as she hadn’t been able to find anything for the lodge on the web about it – or even the town hardly.

          “I do, but there’s a convention right now so they may not have anything available. I do know somewhere else you can bunk up though if that’s the case. Here we go!”

          “Thanks. Would you mind giving me the numbers at your earliest convenience?” Weiss asked as politely as she could manage with the world muffled and on edge from the bull shit.

          “No need – there’s no rooms there. You can stay at my house.” Ruby’s voice spoke with confidence from behind her. For some reason this irks her.

          “And just how would you know that? Besides which I’m a stranger – I could be any one, I could be an accomplished hobby killer for all you know!” A choked laugh breaks behind her as Nurse Polendina excuses herself.”What?!” Weiss grows more irate as every tenth of a second passes. Still chuckling Ruby moves in front of her; locking eyes, and smiling broadly, she takes a seat in the chair just in front of Weiss’s bed.

          “It’s my uncle’s lodge and he was just bragging about being fully booked last night. Also, and I mean no offense with this, but you’re just about the least physically intimidating thing in my life right now. Anyone in the house could escape by just walking too fast. But there’s plenty of space, downstairs even, since dad’s away and uncle Qrow is busy.” Weiss huffs quietly as Ruby answers.

          “I wouldn’t want to impose.”

          “It’s not an imposition. There’s like, so much room. My house kind of became an unofficial dorm for the fire department and ambulance barn because of the proximity so dad just added on until it’s almost a lodge on its own.” Ruby smiles reassuringly and sets a hand on the bed, just close enough to be friendly but not close enough to be intrusive. “Besides, it won’t be for that long. And if you’re so worried about paying me back or whatever you can make a donation to the hospital or any of the rescue groups – that would be way more than enough.” Weiss rolled the thought around in her head for long enough that Ruby seemed to remember something.

          “Oh – I brought you a treat today I thought you might like. You can’t tell Penny though; she gets mad when I bring good patients dessert.” Ruby says with a wink before pulling a small container from her bag. Opening the container Weiss can’t help but let her mouth water a little – a slice of cheesecake, homemade by the looks of it, turtle cheesecake with a strawberry sauce drizzle.

          “You eat like this all the time at your house?” Weiss asks quietly, slipping the lid back on the treat. Ruby nods, her smile growing as Weiss looks at the container in contemplation – briefly. “I’ll stay with you then, if it’s really ok.”

 

          “It really is ok – and I have more of that hidden in my mini fridge so enjoy it, there’s more.” Nodding her own head gently at Ruby’s answer Weiss opens the container again. At a loud call of her full name from the hallway Ruby winks at Weiss one last time.

          “Oops, I guess she found out – I’ll tell them now, but you go ahead and remind them to call me when you’re getting discharged. See you soon, Weiss.”