a RWBY fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Were it not for a wandering musician’s cynical words, Weiss Schnee would have continued on the path to becoming a Huntress. Now, a disinherited Weiss lives as a wandering singer, trying to be a hero in a different manner, with that wandering musician named Jaune Arc as a companion…
Previous Chapter: A Change of Path
Chapter 2: Beginner’s Luck
Being in front of an audience was nothing new to Weiss. Being a Schnee scion required her to be a master of it, after all. She was trained to kill her own stage fright ever since childhood.
She never expected to perform in front of a not so large audience in the restaurant of some not so known hotel, though. Honestly, she was starting to miss the theater with an audience that had all their eyes on her.
“Nervous, Ice Queen?”
Again, Weiss reminded herself about not taking her companion guitarist too seriously. This day was the second day of her journey as a wandering singer, and she would be very furious with herself if she were to let her composure break so quickly.
So, she closed her eyes, doing her best to not let her nervousness take control of her.
Although there was not much pressuring influence that compelled her to overachieve now, there were traces of that, calling to her from her memories.
She had to be perfect.
Could she really do that, though?
What could be waiting beyond one mistake? Another mistake? A spiral of mistakes?
Schnees can’t afford to make mistakes.
But Weiss was disinherited.
Winter still supported her, though. Perhaps that would be a good enough reason for Weiss to keep on clinging to the name that made a part of who she was.
Still, calling herself a Schnee in public would be calling humiliation upon her, so…
“Well, I hope you’re ready now, Wandering Weiss, ’cause it’s showtime.”
…she would go by a stage name, wearing a white and blue and dress with no glittering jewelry nor her family’s crest.
A slow strum was the start.
After the fourth strum, she started to hum.
Recently memorized lyrics and melody, memorized in the hours of practice before the evening of the dinner performance, were rising to the front of her mind as she hummed through the next four strums.
It was a song she had heard in the city every now and then. Jaune said that it had popularity, but such a song was new to Weiss, who had never been exposed much to the music that the masses enjoyed.
The blonde guitarist was playing with a slower arrangement, which Weiss enjoyed more compared to the original, which was too fast and too loud for her taste. Jaune also added their audience of hotel restaurant patrons as a reason for his slowed pace.
With Jaune Arc’s arrangement, Wandering Weiss sang a song that echoed rebellion, determination, and hope.
Although she noticed some slip-ups that made her want to stop, Weiss kept on singing.
She closed her eyes for more focus.
When she opened them, she would meet the eyes of the audience.
She would give them her attention, and they would give her their attention.
The silent viewing of her audience refreshed her somewhat, too. It reminded her of her performances before this one, performances done in front of audiences who kept their eyes and ears sharp on how she looked and sounded.
Keeping up with the steady tempo of Jaune’s strumming was easy. She had never sung with an acoustic guitar accompanying her before, having performed with only orchestras and classical instruments in the past, but she found the acoustic guitar easy to like, especially with the song that she was singing.
When she noticed the small bits of nervousness that she had, her singing part had reached its end, and Jaune was doing the final strums.
Some seconds later, there was clapping from the audience. It was not as loud as the large theater audience Weiss was used to, but it had enough volume to make her smile and curtsy to the audience.
Wandering Weiss smiled at her blonde guitarist companion as well, and he gave her a small smile and a nod in return.
That was just the first song, though.
Weiss stepped back, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.
It was time for her to remember more lyrics and melodies, while Jaune played an instrumental intermission.
It felt like those days when she was the Schnee heiress, days when she felt a strong need to fulfill others’ expectations well.
But in this performance, Weiss didn’t feel the pressure of strict schedules, stringent requirements, and sharp-eyed overseers.
With that, the former heiress felt more refreshed as she and her companion guitarist continued their performance.
“I can’t believe that it’s been only two days…”
“Well, better not melt so fast, then, Ice Queen.”
They were having breakfast at the restaurant where they had performed during the previous night. Their meal wasn’t as lavish as what Weiss used to have back at the Schnee mansion and at all the gatherings that people of her former standing went to, but it wasn’t like she couldn’t enjoy what she was eating now.
Also, she’d be praising the chef for the nice serving of vegetables after she finished eating her meal.
As for the duo’s performance during the previous night, their employers and the patrons were fairly impressed. Weiss got some compliments too, both on her singing and on her looks.
Although the former heiress found them strange when she remembered her nerves-affected singing and her modest white dress, she accepted the compliments and thanked her audience for their appreciation.
Jaune looked like he had faded into the background during that time, though. And speaking of which…
“Are you put off by the difference in reception, Jaune?” Weiss asked. “I noticed you receiving praise as well, but you seemed to be a forgotten figure to the restaraunt’s patrons last night.”
“My pride is wounded, Madam,” Jaune said, closing his eyes and putting a hand to his chest in an exaggerated manner. “But, seriously,” he continued, going back to normal, “I’m happy as long as I do a good job of helping the audience unwind well. Gotta keep spirits up in this Grimm-infested world, you know.”
“And I don’t think my singing would have elicited a good response from the audience without your performance, Jaune,” Weiss replied, “So I thank you very much for that.”
“You’re welcome, then,” the blonde continued with a smile. “I’m glad that a pretty and skilled singer like you recognizes a dorky and near-invisible instrumentalist’s efforts.”
Weiss blushed and looked away when he said that.
“Thank you, but…don’t think you can go that far yet, Arc,” she said.
And now, she needed to talk about something that didn’t involve aggravating her teenage hormones.
Then, she remembered something.
It was probably going to be a boring topic to Jaune, but that made it very suitable for diverting Weiss’s mind away from the awkwardness. So yes, she would talk about…
“Hm…I have my Aura unlocked.”
Weiss also touched the scar over her left eye, and then she found out that yes, it was still there.
“Where’d you get that scar?” Jaune inquired, eyes on the feature in question before adjusting for eye contact. “If it’s okay to ask, that is. Scars on people with unlocked Aura are pretty weird to have.”
The wandering singer considered what to say, and then she answered.
“Crazy examination by my father. I wanted to go to Beacon Academy instead of Atlas Academy, and he was…uncertain about my worth.”
“Did he send hordes of Grimm on you?” he guessed.
“Well…it was just one giant Grimm-possessed armor with a giant sword.”
“And it sliced your face hard enough?”
“Yes,” she confirmed, pausing to remember the wild mix of emotions she had during that dangerous time. “Painful,” she said after a deep breath, “But I have recovered.”
“And here I am, putting myself in such a troublesome way of life,” Weiss added in her mind but didn’t say out loud, for Jaune didn’t need to hear that petty complaint. Dealing with trouble is a part of life, after all. What’s important is how to deal with it.
As for Jaune, he was giving a mildly impressed look, which was off-putting. Still, considering his perspective on Hunters, it was understandable to Weiss.
Suddenly, a detail she had learned from those long hours of studying popped up in the front of her mind.
“Hold on…your last name is ‘Arc,’ correct?”
The Arc in front of her looked nonchalant toward her question.
“Yeah, I’m one of those Arcs,” he confirmed. “If you’re wondering why I’m living like this, I decided to go for a different path after knowing some true stories about them through my family. I didn’t even have my Aura unlocked, too, just to show them that I don’t want to be a Hunter.”
The former heiress nodded in understanding, but she still couldn’t help worrying.
“What if you encounter Grimm out there?” Weiss asked.
“Then you’ll be my meat-shield,” he jokingly answered, doing shooting motions with his finger guns.
“I’m being serious here, Arc.”
“Then I’ll have you unlock my Aura for you and your confidence, Mom,” he responded, grinning. “And have my guitar turned into a Grimm-slaying weapon, if that’s even possible. I still won’t enroll into a Hunter Academy, though.”
The former heiress groaned at her Arc companion. Really, how does he even manage to survive traveling across Remnant with that sort of attitude?
“And I thought we were establishing more rapport with each other here…” she muttered, also not voicing her thoughts about how much his attitude reminded her of her arrogance.
“No need to be so negative, Ice Queen.”
“But don’t you have cynical views on Hunters, Arc?”
“Huh…good point.” And he looked up in thought. “I guess I’ve been letting the negativity into me a lot lately, then.” He slouched on his chair. “Life’s tough on the streets, and being frequently reminded about your limits and the world’s crappiness can take a toll on one’s spirit, making you want to snark at everything.”
Weiss could relate to that, and so…
“Well now…” the former heiress replied with a smile, “How old are you again?”
“I’m sixty-seven years old, Madam,” he joked back, grinning again, “And I didn’t realize that the past five months had me spending ten years per month.” Then, he dropped his grin, changing it for a pensive expression. “Seriously, the past five months felt pretty slow to me. They shook me pretty hard with things I had never expected.”
She had the desire to take an opportunity for more humor, but she couldn’t bring herself to do so at that point. Weiss, who was at the early stages of her journey as a wandering singer, felt more inclined towards doing some serious thinking.
Jaune’s personality made more sense to her now, and it made her wonder about what was in store for her in the future.
Unlike her life back when she was the Schnee heiress, there were no more incessant reminders about what she was supposed to do next and how she was supposed to do them. There were no more bodyguards hiding nearby for her protection, too, and Grimm and criminal attacks weren’t the only dangers that she should be worrying about.
Weiss could see a bright side to this life of hers, yes, but still…
“Trying to be a proper adult sure is tough, huh?”
Jaune stared at his plate, and he nodded.
Breakfast now felt harder to take, but still, Weiss strove towards leaving no leftovers in her meal.
Wasting food had become more dangerous, after all.
“So, I got offers from some of my past employers recently, and they’re really interested in the wandering singer who’ll be performing with me when I drop by their places again.”
While they were out on a walk on the streets of Vale during one of their breaktimes, Jaune told Weiss about that, his scroll in his hand as he smiled at his companion singer.
“I hope you didn’t tell them things I wouldn’t dare reveal to them, then,” Weiss replied, giving a side glance before focusing on the path ahead again.
“Don’t worry, I didn’t call you ‘Ice Queen’ when I wrote about you,” he assured. “That’s a name I prefer calling you during private times, see.”
He let out a laugh as he dodged a swipe from Weiss to his face.
“Please stop that idiotic manner which you are using to interact with me,” the heiress requested with a glare. “I am willing to establish a friendship with you, but I do not have a lot of patience for lack of propriety.”
Jaune pouted and sighed at that.
“Were you going to call me ‘Prissy Mother’ or something similar again there, Mr. Arc?”
Mr. Arc’s next sigh was more drawn-out.
“Yes,” he said with no amusement in his voice. “Just shut up already, please, and I’ll do what you want.”
Weiss couldn’t help smirking at that, but she made sure that she wouldn’t speak further.
And so, they walked around with no words to each other for a while.
“There was this one gig I had in Mistral once,” Jaune started telling, “And it involved a Hunter.”
Weiss, making sure to keep silent as long as Jaune didn’t do anything inappropriate, gave him a look with a raised eyebrow.
“So, I was performing in an inn with a pub,” the blonde continued, “When suddenly, this guy stumbles in, and when I saw the blade hanging on his back, I knew he was a Hunter.
“But hey, as long as he wasn’t wrecking the pub, I’d keep on performing. Still, I felt nervous ’cause of that guy, whose drunkenness I eventually noticed, and if there are two things that shouldn’t be mixed together, they’re Hunters and alcohol.
“Eventually, my fears started to come true when he went ‘Hey waitress!’ with that sore-throaty voice of his. The waitress he called was also the innkeeper, who was also really kind and really attractive.
“So, Madam Innkeeper approaches Drunk Hunter and asks for his order. Then, Drunk Hunter goes and asks ‘Can I ask for a room…under your skirt?’
“At that, I stopped my performance. It was a pretty good idea, considering how the atmosphere in the place went heavy. Madam Innkeeper had her eyes narrowed, and the patrons in the pub looked ready to murder Drunk Hunter.
“Now, the question is: ‘Did Drunk Hunter take a hint?’
“Well, I facepalmed at his reaction, so the answer is ‘No, Drunk Hunter didn’t take a hint.’ If I remember correctly, he followed up with ‘Really, that skirt length can kill Grimm!’
“He laughed hard at his own lame joke after that, and then a brawl started. And while that started, Madam Innkeeper gave me my pay immediately, apologizing and asking me to leave before I got caught in the chaos. I complied, and the last thing I saw her doing before I ran away was throwing Drunk Hunter outside for a beatdown with less collateral damage. Oh, and yeah, he definitely deserved that beatdown. Would have been fun to watch if it weren’t for the crazy aura of killing intent back there.”
Then, after telling that story, Jaune looked at Weiss for a response.
The wandering singer had her jaw hanging open at the crazy tale she had just heard. She wasn’t sure about how much in that tale was actually true, but if that actually happened, not only did it give her chills about the trouble she can encounter in the future, it was also a very disappointing thing for a Hunter to start.
Really, how does a Hunter like that have the guts to do such stupid things?
Then, Weiss suddenly remembered the concept of “drinking one’s sorrows away,” and that made her worry about what kind of life would await her if she decided to push towards becoming a Huntress. And yes, she knew that it would be a tough life, but she always thought that she would be able to handle it with enough preparation, which she thought she did often.
But still, that dreaded question was there: What if her preparations weren’t enough? What was the point of preparing, then?
“Unbelievable…” was the first word she uttered in response to Jaune’s tale. She didn’t want to say more, didn’t want to look weak in front of another person, let alone the blonde guitarist who would probably take it as a chance to rub it into her.
“I know, right?” said blonde guitarist replied. “Not like Hunters can’t do good, but I wish they had more restrictions on them…”
And again, Weiss felt like she hadn’t been looking at the bigger picture. She wished that life wouldn’t be a struggle, too, but she pushed that cowardly thought away.
Suddenly, the sound of a ringing scroll caught the duo’s attention.
The blonde guitarist took his scroll from his pocket and opened it.
“Well,” he said as he read the message he received, “We gotta go get ready for our next gig.”
And they turned around, walking back to get their things from the hotel where they were staying.
Weiss looked at their next gig as an opportunity to improve herself, but she also felt heaviness inside her heart.
The former heiress shook her head, taking deep breaths as she tried to keep herself calm and composed, reminding herself that she had survived heavier times before. Harsh teachers, ruthless terrorists…she had managed to survive even with their presence in her life.
The anxiety was still there, though.
Weiss dearly hoped that her anxiety wouldn’t show in her upcoming performance.
Author’s Note: And there we have it: Weiss’s first performance as a wandering singer. As I’ve said in the previous chapter’s A/N, I won’t be writing stuff as specific as chord progressions and song lyrics. Still, feel free to look for or even write appropriate music for the performance segments.
Also, Weiss and Jaune will be in Vale for a significant while. I have plans for them, and said plans involve a bunch of other RWBY characters crossing paths with them. Those plans can still go through changes, though, especially with your feedback, dear readers.
So yeah, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated.
Next Chapter: Steps, Stumbles, and Safeguards