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: Refreshing Rain
First Chapter: A Change of Path
Chapter 10: Confidence
“So, do you have any instruments with you?”
“We have a triangle.”
“And a tambourine!”
“Hmm…good enough, then. We’ll certainly do better with some percussion.”
Weiss also found the instruments fitting with their players, considering what she managed to gather from her observations on Ren and Nora. The boy in green seemed to be more fitting in silence plus occasional but well-timed strikes, while the short girl with a strong presence of pink would probably explode with noise if not allowed to rhythmically shake her energy out.
“Still, we’ll need to make sure that we don’t make too much noise, considering where and how we’ll practice,” Jaune reminded.
And that got a groan out of Weiss.
Really, unlike their previous employers, that womanchild had presented a clear lack of concern regarding decent space for hired performers to practice in. Well, that was what Weiss thought when she met Lucia’s annoying and tactless disposition again upon asking the older woman about worthwhile practice spots, but eventually, the former heiress had to remind herself about not being surprised at such a thing, considering that she was just a wandering performer with the stage name Wandering Weiss, not the famed singer Weiss Schnee. Along with that, it wasn’t the first time she had to practice outside a quiet and private studio, but as much as she hated to admit it, practicing outside a setup she was so used to made her more nervous than she liked. Yes, she understood those things, but she still felt irritation. She didn’t want to show off what they had so soon in very open spaces, nor did she want to disturb inn guests. And to top it all off, there was their time limit, leaving Weiss with little time to look for better practice spaces.
Still, with a deep breath, Weiss fought against her rigidity and shifted her mindset towards the possible benefits of showing off her and her companions’ skills out in the open through their rehearsals. With how they got job offers, one could say that the streets were filled with more potential employers than they thought, and the former heiress was going to make sure that they would draw good attention. No upturned hats or open instrument cases, of course, as they aimed for certain and chunky pay, and begging for bits and pieces remained the last thing that they would do.
“Let’s go,” Weiss called. “Let’s stay on one spot, and then go to another once we’re done with one song. We have less than six hours, which can bring more results than we think as long as we give it our all.”
Then, with her light blue eyes, she turned to meet the eyes of her bandmates: Ren’s calm and light pink, Nora’s energetic and sky blue, and Jaune’s determined and deep blue.
“Do you mind if I give you directions while we practice and perform?” the former heiress asked, holding herself back from being taken by lust for control.
“Maybe it would be a good idea if I help you out with that,” the blonde guitarist answered.
“Well, the two of you are pretty much our superiors in this case,” replied the boy with black and a little pink hair.
“Lead the way, Weissy and Jaune-Jaune!” the orange-haired girl agreed, earning a chuckle from the latter and a suppressed eye twitch from the former.
Yes, the odd nicknames were one among many things to get used to…
Still, Weiss quickly got her mind back on track. The streets were now filled with more people than the previous hours, making the smell and sound of the sea and its waves more noticeable because of the increase of people who were nearer to the seaside. The sun shone down upon them even brighter, too. As for their cover against the brightening sun, only Jaune wore no head accessory, while Weiss wore her sun hat, and Ren and Nora with their Pearly Shores Inn workers’ bandanas.
Thinking about their appearance then sparked the former heiress’s curiosity. Furthermore, excitement rose within her despite the accompanying nervousness.
And if she were to be honest, Weiss let that Schnee confidence shape her mouth into a grin. And yes, she felt less shame with it in this situation.
Remnant will be meeting a better form of the spirit of one of its most influential families. She was certain about that.
Fast strumming then begun, easing the vocalist’s mind as she remembered the outline of their performance sequence. For a while, she let him play, all while she took some time to look at her percussion-assigned bandmates.
“Ren, strike the triangle every time…that point is reached.”
After Weiss pointed that out, Ren struck his triangle during the ends of Jaune’s chord-strumming cycles, the resonating high sound causing Weiss to nod with a smile.
Then, when the singer turned to the tambourine wielder, she saw a smiling girl who seemed to be visibly trembling with anticipation.
At that, Weiss kept on smiling, for the song and arrangement that they were practicing seemed likely to sound good with an quick and active rhythm.
The former heiress paused for a short while in surprise at the orange-haired girl’s sudden shout, but Weiss then went back to giving her instruction to Nora.
“Shake that tambourine fast, please.”
Of course, first attempts don’t usually go great.
“Not too fast, Nora. Slow it down a little.”
“Oh! You mean like this?”
“Hmm…that’s good. Let’s repeat from the top until we smoothly get through that part five consecutive times.”
The following affirmatives from her bandmates made Weiss’s confidence grow even more. It was a point in her life which she would cherish, too, considering how she had been conditioning her mind for bad surprises in the higher-stakes life that she was living.
And so, they went on with their rehearsal, eventually having Weiss practice her singing.
Early on, her stage-experienced mind blocked out most of the attention from her surroundings as she and her bandmates practiced part by part, extending their length per attempt as they did better and better. And while that length grew, the barriers she set up gradually lowered, all while she began basking in the rays of attention which shone upon her and her bandmates. Even Nora’s random whoops of enjoyment fazed Weiss less, and although slip-ups and interruptions (which included some listeners who thought that they were begging for spare change) caused her to sigh and groan at times, giving up was the last thing that she would do.
With that, Wandering Weiss and her bandmates ended up getting an audience who gave them a round of applause after reaching the end of their practice for one song. Sure, it was somewhat surprising, but the former heiress still couldn’t help preening and curtsying in front of all the praise.
“Don’t get cocky, Ice Queen~”
She almost tried to reach out and flick Jaune’s forehead again, but seeing him standing at his full height made her feel some embarrassment-induced stiffness, which she quickly hid with a deep breath and a bright smile.
Inside her mind, though, she wondered about how she never noticed their full height difference…
“And we still have a few more songs to practice,” Weiss then heard the blonde guitarist say out loud.
Seeing the expectant faces in the crowd around them caused Weiss to stiffen some more. A scramble of thoughts happened, with the question about the current time being pushed away by questions about whether her appearance and performance seemed considerably embarrassing, followed by the urge to look at her bandmates, which she acted on immediately.
Her growing embarrassment and nervousness were quickly reined in when she saw Ren’s small smile, Nora’s wide grin, and Jaune’s challenging smirk. All three looks were aimed at her, and Weiss felt her Schnee pride being provoked by those looks.
So, they wanted a captivating rehearsal?
“This will take some time, as we are rehearsing, but I assure you: It will be beautiful.”
Well, she was sure that she can lead them to that.
“So, for tonight’s performance, I decided to have another go at Rookie Roulette recently, and the bunch I managed to hire sure has me feeling mixed emotions!”
And while Weiss was filtering Lucia’s electronically amplified voice into harmless background noise, the wandering singer was steadying her breathing. As for her bandmates, the boys looked like they were doing the same, while Nora’s narrowed eyes and exposed grin had the orange-haired girl doing the most prominent show of emotions among them.
And to be honest, Nora’s expression creeped Weiss out a little…
Anyway, rehearsal time may have been one fun time, but that time also had them keeping themselves under better control. Despite having to deal with the difficulty of keeping her short temper in check, getting laughed at by their audience during rehearsal was a response which counted as a very important guide to Weiss.
Sure, she would let those moments slide. They were rehearsing at that time, after all.
But during the main event? Well, she would make sure to put some more control in, leaving no room for embarrassing mistakes.
Luckily, her bandmates were easy to get along with. Even Nora managed to be surprisingly cooperative, and it particularly showed in her chemistry with Ren.
As for Jaune, Weiss would be lying if she said that she knew everything about him, but so far, he had earned a certain level of trust from her. Hopefully, they would get along better in the future.
“And now, assisted by new staff members Ren and Nora: Jaune Crescent and Wandering Weiss!”
At that point, Weiss had also began wondering about how many times her blonde partner had even been introduced with at least his stage name during past performances. As far as she remembered, it was always her who was introduced with a name, while Jaune was in the background, being the overlooked instrumentalist.
Looking at Jaune, Weiss saw him having an awkward smile on his face as the four of them walked onto the small and spotlit stage in the pub.
Well, whatever the deal was there, it would be better to know at a later time, not during a time when their attention should be on pleasing the audience with the best of their abilities.
Now, as Weiss took a deep breath, Jaune did three taps on his guitar.
As the former heiress opened her eyes, the strumming began.
Familiar faces then entered her sight. Blake, Lucia, and Crag. Following them were the rest of the audience, whose faces then began turning into a mish-mash of features in her vision as her ears caught the sound of Ren’s triangle.
It often felt like that for her when she tried to put her all into singing. Emphasizing her presence on stage and to the audience with eye contact and such only took choice moments, while the rest were her efforts at controlling her voice and her movement.
And if there was something in the act of singing which she considered the most difficult, it was keeping in line with the rhythm. After all, recorded sounds were one thing, while live performances were another. And even though she managed to get into the flow of the song as Nora accompanied the latter half of the instrumental intro, Weiss felt some sweat as she shot a few glances at the audience and closed her eyes for more balance. Even with practice, the chance of failure, although smaller, was still there, which meant that it would do no good if she didn’t keep herself in line.
And speaking of which, Weiss noticed herself doing ad-libs. They felt weird to her, but at the same time, they felt fitting. The differences in their song’s current arrangement were still things that she was trying to get used to, and it caused annoyance in her.
Still, she won’t give up.
And hey, some mistakes can actually be blessings in disguise.
For example, one part which caused her eyes to momentarily widen in worry then had her hearing a loud whoop from the audience.
“You go, girl!”
It was the somewhat gargly voice of Lucia the innkeeper, and said innkeeper had her hands in the air…and most of the other pub patrons were going along with the boisterous old woman.
Weiss couldn’t help smiling at that.
Then, she looked behind her, hearing her bandmates ad-libbing as well.
At that moment, Ren and Nora had rushed past the wandering singer, doing some nimble dances which they could do even while playing their percussion instruments. As for Jaune, his plucking and strumming switched from careful to wild and vice-versa, eyes on his hands and the strings as he played his part in the instrumental interlude.
Along with the maintenance of her smile, those sights then drew something out of the former heiress.
“Found something beautiful?”
She asked that with certainty in the clarity of her voice. The confidence which was building up within her showed, and even the sudden silence of her bandmates’ instruments didn’t faze her.
And as expected, an enthusiastic “Yeah!” was sent, turning Weiss’s smile into a grin. The crowd wasn’t as big as the audiences she had usually faced back when she was a Schnee, but this crowd made her way happier than what she had expected.
“Let’s end this beginning, then,” she then said.
Then, with a snap of her fingers, her bandmates rolled with their instruments in preparation for the final chorus.
There was some fear about losing her voice again, but it was little compared to her confidence. The arrangement wasn’t really as hard and loud as the one she went along with at Junior’s nightclub, and compared to that, this performance was much more manageable.
And by the time the song ended, a round of applause sounded all around her and her bandmates. Weiss’s eyes were closed as she let her bandmates do the instrumental outro, and she smiled and curtseyed as a round of applause and a bunch of whoops and whistles sounded.
As she curtseyed, though, well, she felt a little shaky as she remembered that it was just the beginning. The feeling of embarrassment, of probably having taken too much credit, built up within her, and she took a deep breath to clear her mind.
“Hey, that was just the beginning~” she heard Jaune say when the applause quieted down, which was followed by a chord which Ren and Nora picked up on with their percussion. Applause sounded again, hooking Weiss’s attention.
Weiss then noticed her somewhat dazed self missing some measures, so she took another deep breath, all while her bandmates nodded at her and swung their hands harder.
Certainly, this gig with a few songs would lead to a beautiful ending.
“Although I honestly feel sad about saying this…That’s all for tonight, folks!”
Weiss then noticed herself breathing out a long intake of air when the final applause of the night sounded.
And while Lucia sent orders to her bandana-and-apron-wearing employees right after signaling the end of the gig, Weiss turned to walk away with her bandmates.
Then, the world around her suddenly seemed to tilt out of balance.
Blinking, the former heiress then realized that she had almost hit the floor after losing balance. She felt an arm supporting her back as well, and she turned to the person who caught her.
Weiss met blue eyes, blonde hair, and a small grin.
The face which she was looking at was something which she would call goofy and even annoying, but at the same time, there was a strange feeling building up inside her.
She’d rather not think of that further, though. Being like that with Jaune Arc was something which she considered a pipe dream, especially since she had more important things to deal with first.
That, and being in such a position did not sit very well with her pride.
“Please let go of me,” Weiss then asked with a flat tone, also hoping that the heating blush on her face would go away already.
And then she hit the floor.
“Whoops,” Jaune expressed.
“I should have rephrased that…” the former heiress grumbled, regretting that request as she sat up and dusted herself.
Weiss also ignored Nora’s bursting laughter – which was cut off with Ren’s help – as she stood up, entered the inn corridors, and faced her bandmates.
“Okay…” she started, “I will admit that the reception during this night was overwhelming, as you have observed.”
And then she sent some pointed but short looks at the two offenders, Jaune and Nora, who were wearing mischievous smiles, smiles which they failed to hide well.
“Such an experience is new to me,” she continued, mentally reminding herself to not mention significant details about her history with the Schnee Family, “And although it had me dazed, I am glad that we have reached such a point. Thank you very much for your support, then, especially to you two, Ren and Nora. We couldn’t have done it without your help as well.”
“You’re welcome,” the black-haired boy nodded with a small smile.
“No problem, Weissy!” the orange-haired girl declared with a thumbs-up, right before rushing to the white-haired girl’s side and placing an arm on her shoulder. “But does this mean that we won’t be seeing each other again? Like, Renny and I won’t be here in this inn forever, too, ’cause we’ll be going to Beacon, and – ”
“Oh, sorry, Renny. But yeah, I’ll miss you and Jaune-Jaune, Weissy…”
And although she seemed somewhat obnoxious, Nora’s sad expression had Weiss feeling sympathy. They were fun to be with, but they had to part ways eventually. Their respective paths were different, after all.
Still, Wandering Weiss would miss Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie.
And so, the former heiress hugged the energetic tambourine player.
“I’ll miss you and Ren as well, Nora…” she said.
Nora wrapped her arms tighter as well, doing an exaggerated sob which was funny enough to jerk a little laugh and some little teardrops from Weiss, things which she quickly tried to hold back out of habit.
“Renny, Jaune-Jaune, group hug!” the tambourine player also yelled before going back to her overdramatic crying.
And while the two boys went to form a group hug with the two girls, the wandering singer barely managed to keep her laughter back into her trembling body, but the tears still managed to stream out of her eyes.
Really, it was like she was living a childhood dream she once thought crushed.
“You’re crying, Weissy…” Nora pointed out.
“I’m not crying…” Weiss tried to deny, pulling an arm out of Nora’s embrace to wipe her eyes, “This place is just a dusty hole…”
“Oh, I know you’ll miss us…Here’s a tighter hug, then!”
“Nora…” Ren called again as his childhood friend increased her force and continued her noise. Weiss’s laughter and tears were held back better now, but that was in exchange for a lack of air in her lungs.
“Uh…can I go see Blake for a bit?” Jaune then asked.
And as the ravenette and her date with Jaune were mentioned, Nora loosened her grip, much to Weiss’s relief. After that, Weiss looked around for Blake. The wandering singer then found Jaune’s upcoming date partner standing near the door, looking away with thinly disguised nervousness while crossing her arms and leaning on a wall.
“Don’t worry, Renny and I know how to be bros,” Nora answered, giving a thumbs up, “But we’ll miss you more, Jaune-Jaune! Send us photos from your date, okay?”
“I don’t think Jaune’s the type to do that, Nora,” Ren noted, “Let alone Blake.”
“Well, I’m gonna have to give some new friends some fun lessons on being free, then!” the energetic girl declared.
“Please don’t,” Ren sighed. “We still need to earn enough for our supplies for Beacon, Nora.”
“Aww…” Nora whined, pouting and walking away with a forward slouch. “Fine…Money doesn’t come from trees, and Grimm don’t bleed money, after all…but I wish they did…”
“Okay…working with you two has been a great time,” Ren then told Weiss and Jaune with a quick bow, “But I have to watch over Nora, so I would like to apologize for cutting this conversation short.”
“That…is understandable,” the former heiress replied, crossing her arms as she noticed the short and orange-haired girl snatching a broom from a passing worker and using it to do rhythmic but forceful broom sweeps while shaking her tambourine along. “You should go keep her from causing too much trouble. And thank you very much for your support. I shall make sure to remind our employer about your added pay as well.”
“You’re welcome and thank you very much,” Ren responded, followed by rushing over to his miffed childhood friend.
With that, Weiss and Jaune exchanged looks.
“Are you going to go on that date with Blake tonight?” the wandering singer asked.
The blonde guitarist then turned to the mentioned girl, meeting eyes with her and sending nods to each other. Then, while Blake looked on with a smile that clearly showed anticipation, Jaune turned to meet eyes with Weiss.
“Yeah,” he ascertained with a nod and a growing smile.
“Well, don’t get in trouble, okay?” Weiss told him with amusement. Some hope for reduced snark after that date grew within the former heiress as well.
“Alright, Mom~” he bantered before turning and walking away with a spring in his step.
Speaking of which, maybe Jaune’s snark would stay the same, or maybe it would even grow into a different and more annoying form. Anyway, Weiss considered that date a good reward for her guitarist partner.
Now, maybe a midnight meal with some new friends would be good? Their time together won’t be long, after all.
And then Weiss fell over, no arms keeping her from hitting the floor this time.
“Ugh! Who dares…Oh, it’s just you.”
“Man, you sure are less ladylike than you seem!” said the grinning innkeeper who wore an apron and a long skirt. She was also bent forward, hands on her waist, one of which was immediately offered to the younger female.
“You are certainly one to talk there,” Weiss shot with a shake of her head. Still, she took the offered hand, getting herself pulled up into standing position. “That aside, I am glad that you gave us a chance tonight.”
“And I’m glad that you slayed that chance, girl!” the older female declared with a thumbs-up.
For a while, Weiss stared and blinked at the dissonance between Lucia’s words and body language, but then she shook her head, ridding herself of the confusion as she thought about the informal language of the youth. Not like she wasn’t familiar with that, being young herself, but her strict and formal upbringing made such language sound off-putting to her.
Anyway, the former heiress managed to get a sense of genuine gratitude from the innkeeper.
“Thank you very much…Ma’am.”
Still, it was hard for Weiss to be formal with Lucia.
“Aw, no need to be so formal!” the innkeeper insisted, putting an arm on the singer’s shoulder and pulling her in. “Really, I’ll miss you…and I’m worried about whether or not what I can pay you would be enough…”
Meanwhile, Weiss was feeling dazed by this development. It reminded her of her years with the darker side of her family, and although her Schnee pride preened, her rebellious side felt sickened.
Honestly, Weiss felt like she was taking advantage of her, like how her father did with the faunus, among other unfortunate people. Rivaling that was how her parents’ relationship begun and turned out, too.
“Just ensure that you do not run out of money for your business and other important things, Ma’am,” the former heiress told the elderly innkeeper. Along with that, Weiss also felt herself slowly slouching forward in shame that she didn’t want to make more obvious. She felt like she was taking too much already, and she almost asked Lucia to pretty much build a studio for hired performers and their practice sessions.
Anyway, there was silence for a while.
Weiss didn’t dare look up during that silence.
“Well, that’s a nicer balance of confidence and humility you got there!” Lucia then commented, sending a slap to the surprised Weiss’s back before pulling her back to her side again. “I didn’t expect that from someone who looks like a runaway princess!”
The former heiress stiffened at that comment.
Did Lucia recognize who she really was?
“Oh wait, you’re really a runaway princess?”
Weiss tried to relax and regulate her breathing in an attempt to not dig herself a deeper hole. She could feel what was probably a stare from the womanchild, but she kept on trying to put more of her consciousness into controlling her breathing.
“But…eh, jumping with joy because of something like that would be really immature, now that I think about it.”
Weiss then shifted her consciousness into not exhaling too overtly.
“Well, whoever you’re supposed to be, I’m not gonna tattle about it,” the innkeeper said, and at that point, Weiss had noticed that Lucia had softened her voice. “I’d be adding fuel to the fire that’d go pulling in the Grimm if I did.”
The former heiress, removing the arm on her shoulder, then turned a serious look towards the innkeeper.
“Do you truly promise that?” Weiss asked.
“I don’t like your dislike for Rainbow Sweeties,” Lucia answered with a gentle smile, “But I hate throwing people to the Grimm just because of something as small as that.”
“I still worry about your immaturity, honestly,” the former heiress admitted.
“Eh, I know I overdo that attitude at times,” the elderly innkeeper responded, “But hey, my family – these employees I also call my sons and daughters…well, they’ll keep me in line. They have better memory than me, you know.”
And for a while, Weiss took that response with some thoughtful silence. At this point, Lucia’s face wasn’t stretched into some overdone attempt at being naturally youthful, and it did give Weiss some more calmness.
Hmm…maybe she misjudged Lucia…
“Alright, then,” Weiss nodded.
Then, Lucia’s smile grew into a warmer smile, which she accompanied with outstretched arms that wrapped around Weiss.
“Thank you very much for giving this old lady a chance,” she said. “And hey, don’t forget your pay. I better remind those two cute helpers of yours, too…”
Meanwhile, Weiss was struck speechless. She had just realized that she hadn’t been feeling such warm hugs, let alone affection, very frequently. A part of her felt like there was something unnatural with how easily and frequently she received genuine affection lately, but still, she felt like she had found a precious treasure, one more precious than the riches that the Schnee Family and their company hoarded.
Indeed, those thoughts added to the push of her streaming tears. She wasn’t laughing, but she was smiling again, smiling with closed eyes, smiling like she had just found and recovered a crushed and lost childhood dream.
Weiss wished that her mother would take lessons from Lucia, too.
“It’s okay, Weiss. You can cry.”
And then she cried some more, letting the hitches of her breath sound a little more loudly.
“Would you like some space, Weiss? I can take you to your room, too, if you’d like.”
Weiss wordlessly nodded, all while covering her wet eyes with one arm.
Lucia’s arm then landed on Weiss’s shoulder again, pulling the latter in to the former’s side as they searched and went for the room which Weiss and her guitarist companion rented.
Weiss felt the tiredness setting in some more, especially when she fumbled with the room key and had Lucia open the door for her. Her desires then had the bed and sleep in their center, and she got that easily.
The wandering singer then heard the elderly innkeeper singing a lullaby beside her, all while Weiss laid her back on the bed and wrapped herself with the blanket on it.
With that, Wandering Weiss went to sleep, hoping for better days.
Author’s Note: Okay, my return with this is real stiff, but it’s still alive, yo! Also, I need to work out…
Anyway, I’m back with a new chapter! The Pearly Shores arc continues, and the performance gets covered as well!
Oh, and the ship I’ve been advertising in this story? Well, that’s gonna happen. It’ll take a significant amount of time, though.
And update frequency? Well, it’ll probably be faster in the next few months, considering how I’m on vacation at that time.
Ah, really…I think I’ll be more enthusiastic in terms of talking about this if I work on this more regularly…I’ve really been slacking off lately, you know? Putting myself around toxic stuff a lot doesn’t really help, too…
Anyway, being able to upload this gives me motivation! And again, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated!
Next Chapter: Reflection