The first strong, vivid memory she could recall was one of death. Her mother had died. Vanished, disappeared, never to be seen again. No one told her why, how or when. Only that Summer Rose would never come back home. She was young when it happened, so it didn't sink in for a few days. She stayed awake at night, tucked into her sister's arms. Waiting for her mother to return. To hug her and say goodnight before putting her to bed. Waiting to wake up to her mother cooking breakfast for them all, the pancakes and berries that she liked so much.
Only it never happened. At least a week later, she finally realised she would never see her mother again. That her sister was trying to replace her mother. Yang was the one making breakfast, the one putting her to bed. The one looking after her, taking care of any injuries. The one who would hold her if she had nightmares. Ruby had hated Yang during those weeks. How dare she try to replace their mother? How dare she act like everything was okay? Even their father didn't act like it was okay. They didn't see him very often during those weeks. He was up in his room, sending them away each time they tried to talk to him. Ruby could allow that, he was acting that way because it was wrong. Wrong that Mum would never return. But Yang, Yang acted like everything would be back to normal.
It never went back to normal.
Less than a year later, Yang had finally snapped. The emotional distance of their father, the childish mixture of resentment and love Ruby held for her. It proved too much for the young Xiao Long, so she tried to fix things the only way she knew how. If missing a mother was the issue, then she could just find another one. It was a childish way of thinking, but then again, she was six years of age. It was to be expected. Their father was in his room, so it was easy to leave in the morning. Yang had prepared for the journey as best she could. Various snacks, two sandwiches and two water bottles. She even brought a blanket for her sister to rest in. It had been a good decision, as Ruby had fallen asleep within an hour of walking. The steady sway of the cart and her sister's presence lulled the younger girl to sleep.
What Ruby awoke to was her second most vivid memory, and her most treasured.
She could recall that day with astounding clarity, to the point where people would question if she had eidetic memory. The shuddering of her sister, the leaves falling, the bushes shaking, the abandoned house, the fear in Yang's scream, Yang pushing her down into the cart and trying to cover her. Ruby could remember it all, but that wasn't what she focused on. No, what she focused on was her Uncle Qrow. The pure destruction he left in his wake, dancing throughout the monsters. Not a single one of them had managed to touch him. He all but toyed with the Grimm, weaving in and out of them while delivering death with elegant swings of his scythe.
Ruby had watched it all, drinking in the sight with wide silver eyes. Her Uncle was untouchable, advancing with a smile on his face through his enemies. He had played with the Grimm, making it look like the easiest thing in the world. Ruby then realised what she wanted. What her goal in life would be. To be like him, no matter what she had to do. Untouchable, unfaltering and elegant, all the while wearing a smile on her face. She simply had to.
Their father had finally started leaving his room after Uncle Qrow had returned them. The days after were quiet and odd. Her sister and father would sometimes do the same things for her, without realising. She could remember several times when they had both prepared breakfast or lunch for her. It was a nice time, both her sister and father were spending time with her again. Her sister in particular had become more physical with her, often spontaneously hugging her or grabbing her hand. Ruby wouldn't argue though, she loved her sister. She was just confused about why Yang had suddenly started doing such things.
She was five years old when she and her sister began training. Not long after their father made his reappearance, he had decided to teach them some basic fighting methods. The proper way to do things, like running, punching and positioning. Yang had taken to those like a sponge, soaking up everything he would teach her. Often she would ask for even more, to train to the point where she could no longer stand. Their father had been immensely proud of her for that. Ruby was much slower than Yang at learning hand to hand combat, her stature was already displaying that she simply couldn't be the type of fighter her sister would be and her father was. So Taiyang taught her how try to grapple and counter an opponent's attack to reply with one of her own. It went exceptionally well, her slight stature and quick movements nearly let her match up to Yang. Being two years younger than the other girl, Taiyang had very high hopes for Ruby if she continued to practice.
While Yang far and away excelled in the combat areas, there was one where the elder girl couldn't get close to Ruby. Dodging. Their father had stressed the importance of knowing how to do so, even if they thought they didn't need it. Yang was of such a mind, expressing her doubts over how worthwhile it was to learn. Ruby though, she took to it like a fish to water. Within a few weeks, she could easily manage to evade any and every attack Yang sent her way through twists and twirls. Although the blonde's heart wasn't fully in it, to harm her sister, she did try her best to at least touch Ruby. Sadly it was never to be, the young Rose would dance out of the way at the last moment, leaving Yang hitting nothing but air. It both frustrated the blonde but also made her immensely proud. Their father watched over every single one of their spars with a smile and shining eyes. He was finally starting to come back to them.
She was seven when she took to a scythe. The memory of her Uncle Qrow decimating the Grimm… It never left her. It constantly played and replayed through her mind. Day in and day out, even in her dreams. She watched her uncle tear through his enemies. So naturally, when she found out that he would be staying with them for over month, she asked him for man had been confused at first, how did she know he used a scythe?
Then he realised, he realised that she could remember what happened during that day. He was initially surprised. Both he and Yang had thought that she had either fainted or simply couldn't see underneath Yang's body. Qrow denied her at first, saying she was too young for such a thing. With her still rather slight stature, she wouldn't be able to use one properly. He had stuck to that decision for two hours, until Ruby's pout and eyes tore through his defences.
It might have been grudgingly, but Qrow did teach her how to hold a scythe and some basic swings. How to not dismember her own body through a mistake. One of the many reasons why scythes were extremely uncommonly seen amongst Hunters. They were unwieldy, their curved blade was almost pointless against a Grimm after all. Why have to fully swing a scythe when you could simply use a sword? Swords were far more easily used, at least to Qrow. All you had to do was swing at what you wanted to hit. With a scythe though, you always had to be wary of where it was held. Where the curve of the blade would be while attacking.
He had tried to get that across to his niece, but she was set on emulating him. Qrow simply didn't understand how much it meant to her. It took over a week before Ruby was beginning to be rather put off by the lack of progress she was making. Between the hand to hand sparring she continued to do with her sister and Qrow's own training regime, she couldn't fully devote herself to a scythe. She wasn't making nearly as much progress as she had hoped. Qrow had reassured her that it was simply because she was still young, she couldn't develop the muscles a scythe would need to be wielded efficiently. The mighty pout she wore when she heard that had made Qrow's heart bend to her will. Instead of scythe training, her offered her simple sword routines. Initially Ruby had no desire to do so, until she was told that her Uncle's scythe was also a sword. So she was given a rather small and thin blade by the man to wave around until she grew some more. Ruby was elated, she really was on her way to becoming like her Uncle. Said Uncle was simply happy that she wasn't pestering him all day, every day.
Ruby was eleven when she finally got her scythe. Crescent Rose, a marvel of a weapon. Even Qrow himself was impressed with how she had designed it, although he was rather let down that it didn't have a sword shift. The girls skill with her weapon astounded the family, she took to it even more than Yang took to fist fighting. Between the two girls, it was now up to debate who would win in a proper fight. Beforehand it had been Yang, but even then it wasn't by much. But with her scythe, Ruby was able to best her sister from time to time. Qrow and Taiyang were extremely proud of both girls, though Yang started to view Ruby as somewhat of a rival, someone to test herself against.
It was her first year in Signal that she got the taste of it. The taste of the thrill. The rush. The euphoria. The bliss. It was better than when her mother had hugged her, better than when Yang hugged her. Nothing would ever surpass the feeling she had encountered completely unprepared. It was the feeling of victory. Of superiority. The sparring class had let her finally put Crescent Rose to use. It turned out her scythe skills were simply too much for her opponent, as the boy before her was whimpering on the ground, clutching his right arm. He was taking deep, shuddering breaths. He couldn't even look up into her eyes, at her face. It was a good thing for Ruby that he didn't. If he did, he would have seen the small, twisted smile she wore. Combined with the manic look in her eyes, she looked simply deranged. Her family would have been hard pressed to recognise her as the girl they loved. The sweet, innocent and pure Ruby that they knew. She was nothing like the smirking girl who was looking down on a defeated boy, as if he was nothing more than a bug to crush beneath her shoe.
The feelings she was going through… She understood why her Uncle Qrow was smiling during that day. Why he looked so happy as he cut through the Grimm like they were nothing. It was because to him, they were nothing. He knew he was superior to the mindless beasts, all they did was amuse him. Ruby's fascination with her Uncle reached even higher levels. She felt connected to him, as she gazed down at the broken form of the boy in front of her. As the whimpers reached her ears, her smirk grew into a grin. Yes, she would have to do this again. The rush was incredible. She had to do it again, to be even more like her Uncle. She wasn't at his level of proficiency yet, but she would be. Her grin subdued into a small smirk as she turned away from the pathetic boy. Oh, she would be his equal… And then, she would be his better. She would be the one smiling as he lay defeated before her and Ruby knew her Uncle Qrow would be so proud with her when she finally did surpass him.
It wasn't long after her first taste of victory did Ruby discover her semblance. Petals. Gloriously red petals. Petals that were red like roses, red like blood. At first it was all she could do to make even ten of them appear. Slowly, over the months, she grew more proficient with them. She could make hundreds appear, make them stay formed for a continuous amount of time. She had peaked at three hours worth of petals being formed in her first year at Signal. Her family was proud, if slightly confused. What kind of semblance was simply forming petals? What use would they have? Compared to her sister's semblance, it was immensely lacking in combat uses.
That was until Ruby began to feel her body shift when she formed the petals. She felt weightless, moving simply didn't inconvenience her. She would lift a hand and not feel any effort at all. So she combined that with her natural speed and aura, aura that could bolster a Hunter's already impressive physical conditioning. Her weightlessness, speed and aura boost allowed her to move amazingly fast. Yang couldn't even see her move, while Taiyang and Qrow had to give her their full attention to track her. To them, it was her true semblance. She had only taken a while to fully understand what is was in their eyes. To Ruby however, it was only one use she could utilise her semblance for.
Ruby continued to experiment with her semblance. If she could make them appear and even somehow affect her body with them… What else could she do? Eventually she discovered she could harden them, making them unbendable. But with enough force exerted onto them, they would shatter like glass. It opened up another venue of combat, with some practice she could swing her arms and let out billows of rose petals that would strike an opponent. It served both a distraction, and as a proper attack should she harden the petals. Then she discovered she could control the colours of the petals. She turned them black, white, yellow, pink. Any colour she could imagine, she could form a petal to match it. The hues, transparency, the consistency, the shape and the weight. Ruby could manipulate it all, her petals were formed out of her aura, and aura is the manifestation of the soul. It was only natural that she could manipulate her own soul. But she never told anyone else. They all thought that she was limited to going at a quicker speed. Why would she let them know otherwise? Yang was someone she fought regularly against, even if it wasn't seriously, Ruby could see the value of having hidden skills. Her father was still trying to juggle his normal teaching schedule and teaching his daughters while they were at home. He was an extremely busy man, Ruby didn't want to add more onto him. As to why she didn't tell Qrow, well, that was almost the same reason as Yang. Ruby knew she would need any and every advantage to surpass her uncle. He had almost a thirty year head start on her after all. Her desire to be like him, to match him and then to surpass him had not lessened. No, it only grew. It was her dream, her goal, her reason for being. The goal she would achieve. Nothing less was acceptable. She would do it.
She was nearing the end of the third term of her first year when she had been pulled out of class by the combat instructor and Signal's resident psychologist. It was after a particularly harsh round of sparring, Ruby had been put against a group of three. By the end of it, they were all on the ground with their aura meters empty. She knew she had pushed the limits too much during that fight, but her anger at Yang for eating her share of the ice cream, mixed with the euphoria of being superior had gotten to her head. All three of her opponents had been sent to the infirmary by the teacher. The same teacher who, less than an hour later, had the gall to say that Ruby was wrong. That she shouldn't be so harsh to her fellow students, that she should hold back. That even if she was better than her peers, she should limit herself. The psychologist had agreed, insisting that Ruby could talk to her if the girl ever wanted. Ruby had grit her teeth and answered with a sunny smile. An innocent smile, the type smile she gave to her family and agreed with the two professors. Her fist had clenched behind her back as the psychologist mentioned she would be telling her father and uncle about what had happened.
How on Remnant was it her fault that the other students were so weak? That they simply didn't train as hard as she did? How was it her fault that she was ahead of them, because she actually put the effort in? Now she had to change herself, because the others were weak? It was utterly ridiculous to think that there was something wrong with her, that she had to change. Had to hide away, had to make sure no one else could see the strength in her… Because they were too weak. But… It did make sense to her. That was why Uncle Qrow was always on a mission, why he was rarely ever on campus. Why he had months, if not years between his visits to their family. Why he never stayed too long, no matter how much she and Yang had begged him. It was because he was the same… He was too strong. The people around him were afraid of his strength, of his skill. They knew they were nothing when compared to him and they were scared of that. They couldn't accept it, couldn't fathom that someone could be so far beyond them.
Ruby grinned to herself. She really was on her way to being like her uncle. People were already telling her to change, to limit herself. But she couldn't do that, because Qrow didn't. No, he stayed the way he was. All he did was travel by himself, not letting the people around him understand his ways. It was simple, she just had to find a way to express herself. To reveal and revel in her full strength. Just like her uncle, she would leave the people she loved behind. She couldn't involve them, not Yang or her father. Not even Qrow. Her sister and father wouldn't understand, she just knew. They didn't view Qrow the same way she did, they didn't realise what he went through. What he suffered through every day of his life… But she did. Even so, Ruby wouldn't connect with him over it. No, she would save it for their final confrontation… She needed the surprise it would bring. Right now, all that mattered was how she could do it. How could she let her true self shine through, unhindered by her peers?
The following week, she had been moved up a year for the combat class. Her father had brought the idea across to his fellow teachers and they had seen the merit in it. Ruby would face challenging opponents and her year level would stop getting decimated by a small girl. It was a win win in their eyes. Until Ruby continued to make a mockery of the students a year older than her as well. Only one person in the year above her could last more than a few minutes against the diminutive girl, and even then it was clear that he wasn't a match for her. The teacher had just looked dismayed at their performances against the young Rose and began sending them in groups when it was Ruby's turn to fight. With the girl now holding back her more… Violent tendencies, it worked. She wasn't beating the students down as often, or as harshly. However she still wasn't losing, which was beginning to earn her a reputation.
To try and resolve her frustration of having to hold back, Ruby had started going on weekend camping trips. Taking her frustration out on the various Grimm in the forest seemed like a good idea. She had tried to go by herself, but her father and sister deemed it too dangerous for her. The Grimm population was sizeable on Patch, so it had been set as a rule that Ruby would have to go with one of, if not both of them. This had lasted for a few months, the duo or trio retreating to the woods for a night or two every other week. Her father and sister had been a bit confused about why she wanted to go camping all of a sudden, so she played it off as just wanting somewhere to relax, to get away from the bustle of Signal. In her defence, it was true. She wasn't lying to the people she loved, just not telling the whole truth. They easily believed her, for all her combat prowess, she still wasn't the most sociable type. The two blondes had joked that Yang had taken all of those genes away.
Eventually her family had deemed her capable enough of going by herself, which led to Ruby enjoying her nights out far more than she had been. She decimated the Grimm, her scythe flowed through the bodies of the enemies of mankind. After her first time alone out in the woods, she had come back in a far more affable mood. Her father and sister were slightly confused, but also happy for the young girl. She had been steadily growing in agitation and no matter what they did, they couldn't soothe her. But it had suddenly all dissipated and she was back to her smiling, cheerful self. They were confused, yes, but they wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. They were simply happy that Ruby had gone back to her usual self.
It lasted almost a year. Ruby was well into her second year at Signal, facing the now third years of the academy when she realised something. Fighting humans... It was far more enjoyable than fighting Grimm. The beasts she culled, they were almost… Boring. They held no emotion other than hate. They longed for nothing other than the destruction of humanity. It was so predictable, the Grimm held no other reaction to being attacked other than responding in kind. But her fellow students at Signal, they responded differently. They held fear, wariness, confidence, arrogance and so much more. Seeing the emotions in their eyes… That was what excited her. She loved seeing the emotions shift, their attempts of strategy against her. She loved crushing their hopes of winning. Seeing their pain and suffering reflected in the eyes. None of that happened with the Grimm.
This lead to Ruby realising she needed more. The sparring of Signal wasn't enough. She still had to hold back, had to limit herself to not frighten others. It wasn't enjoyable for her. How could she realise her full potential while restraining herself? The Grimm were nice enough for that, but they weren't humans. They couldn't provide what she wanted. The adrenaline rush she got from fighting people, and the combat experience. Grimm weren't human, fighting them wouldn't help her against Uncle Qrow. She stewed on that problem for months. To the confusion and worry of her family, she began to grow agitated again. She wasn't the cheerful, loving and kind person they had raised. She was glaring at people and snapping at nearly anyone who approached her. Only her family was spared of most her ire, but even then she wasn't as affectionate to them as she usually was.
During a school trip to Vale was when Ruby's life changed. For the better, in her mind.
Because that was when she met Roman Torchwick. When she had her first kill.
AN: Yo is that the real Sneky, the legend of starting new stories and never finishing old ones?
Yeah anyway, I think this is pretty new idea. At least I personally haven't seen any fics with this premise yet. Lemme know what ya think