Ruby Rose stood at the end of the world, truly. At sixteen she had benefited from a dramatic growth spurt that would put her a solid five inches taller than her father. If he were still alive. If anyone was. She stuffed her hands in her pockets and let her long cloak and mane of hair beat in the wind that always blew against the ruins of Beacon tower. A small grimm scuttled up to her, starving and emaciated. Finding no fear, no hatred, it scuttled away.
Ruby didn’t have much of that left. No one left to hate. No one left to fear. Everyone she hated was dead, except possibly Ozpin, but he was a technicality and since she like Oscar it didn’t really matter what she thought of Oz. Salem was dead. She had killed her herself.
So was everyone else. Every human, every faunas. Everyone but her and Oscar, all dead in the firestorms of the dust bombs, killed by grimm, or killed in the wars that preceded the end. She tugged her black gloves a little tighter. Not that it mattered, her arms were metal from just below her shoulders anyway.
Her single silver eye and the mechanical facsimile beneath her black glass “eyepatch” scanned the city once more as she fingered the little device in her pocket. A gift from the late doctor Polendina. A second chance he had called it. She wondered why he had never hit the button. Perhaps he simply lost the will to live on. Presumptuous of him to think she had any of it left.
She considered her options. She could press the single button on the pancake shaped metal disc, and see what happened. Or she could give it to Oscar and use the high caliber hand cannon that sat on her hip to put a bullet through her brain.
Being alone for the last year and a half was really starting to get to her.
“Fuck it.” She mumbled, pulling out the magic technology pancake. She set it on the ground and stepped on it with one thick black boot, depressing the large red button at its center.
And then everything was black.
And then everything was white. And cold.
She stood, brushing snow off of her cloak and gear. The air was crisp and icy, and alive. She coughed. A quick look around found a snowy but verdant living forest. A cliffside. A familiar cliffside. She walked, slowly to the place where she knew thirteen stone blocks had been laid. At the edge of the cliff she brushed away the snow that was on her mothers headstone. Or at least, the snow where it should have been. Instead there was nothing.
Her heart skipped a beat. Her head was full of static. She pushed her aura into the pinky of her right glove, activating the gravity and wind dust mix she had embroidered on it a few months ago, and used a blast of high impact wind to blow away the snow. There were no headstones. Just a blank hillside. She choked on air for a moment.
She was so deeply confused, but, by process of elimination she was pulling her world back together. The forest was living, so no dust bombs had fallen, no headstones so no dead family had been buried here. She had used a metal time pancake. It hadn’t come back with her, or perhaps it was destroyed the moment it was activated.
All her friends weren’t dead. Her mom wasn’t dead. The whole world wasn’t dead.
Salem, also, was not dead. Her minions weren’t dead. But she also wouldn’t be a threat for at least twelve years, maybe more. Maybe a great deal more.
This time it would be different. This time Salem would have to fight the most powerful huntress who ever lived.
Ruby turned and started walking, back home. A home that wasn’t her home. A home that was Summer’s and Qrow’s and Taiyangs and Yangs and… Ruby’s. Just not this Ruby. Ruby as in her. Time travel was already giving her headache, and she hadn’t even started planning her “unfuck everything”… plan.
The first major thing would be to stop and hopefully kill Cinder. No, the first thing would be stop her mom from dying. Next would be stop Cinder from ever becoming a maiden.
The actual first thing would be to get some food, actual good food. But she had no money. Actual first thing, kill something for money, then get food, then go see if the house was still where it was supposed to be. Would it even be there? Would anything even be on Patch? How far back did she go?
Further revised plan: go find out date, kill for money, eat something, go look at house/figure out alternative. Maybe she could think of a backstory on the way as well.
Four hours later found her sitting in the little diner on Main street, reading the local paper. Apparently Dawn Summers had just won the ‘Miss Patch” pageant. She was a stunning young woman with short hair, dark skin, and a vivid scar down the side of her face from an Ursa she had killed. Ruby approved, the paper was dated Friday, January 17, 1234, putting it a good three months after her own birth.
She was munching on a massive steak, her reward for doing three hunts in under two hours. Now that Artificial Alphas and fucking Doctor Morons great green glowing fuck monsters weren’t with every pack of grimm it felt like mowing through Ads in one of Yang’s videogames. She’d decided to put up in a hotel for a night and then head over to the Xiao Long house around noon the next day.
She was distracted from her paper when a young woman came up to her table with a pitcher of steaming coffee. Dawn Summers, Ruby realized from her distinctive scar and peppy step, although she looked almost afraid to be approaching her. Ruby wondered why.
“H-hello! Would you like a refill on your coffee.” She stuttered through a fake smile.
“Why thank you! I would.” Ruby grinned wide, unwittingly showing her sharp canines, a result of her silver eyes. Probably. As the young woman poured Ruby let out a light hum, making the girl flinch. “You wouldn’t happen to have any good whiskey, would you? I could use a Vacuon coffee.”
“No, I’m sorry ma’am.”
“Fuck, am I a Ma’am now?” Ruby dramatically let her paper fall from her hands.
“Im sorry M-uhm, I meant no-” The young woman fumbled.
“Shhhhh.” Ruby interrupted. “I need a moment of silence, for my lost youth. Killed at only twenty seven.”
“You’re twenty seven?” the girl in a hushed tone, before grabbing her mouth and blushing. Ruby put a hand dramatically across her heart and fell back in her chair. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean-”
“Its fine, I’m just fucking with you. I know I look like I got hit with a train on a good day. I do mean with, by the way.” Ruby grinned and winked.
Dawn laughed politely but awkwardly and finished pouring her coffee and left her to the meal. There was literally nothing in Ruby’s life that had ever tasted better than this steak. Nothing. Perhaps it was because it was the first real food she’d eaten since the bombs fell, or perhaps she had simply found the best steak joint in the world. Which was odd, since she’d most likely eaten in that same little diner as a child. Or will have. Or would have.
Occasionally a tremor of fear and doubt would run through her. Of doubt. It was a shock, indescribably massive, to have everything that she had lost back in such a sudden burst. She hadn’t fought for it, or designed for it, or anything. It was odd, having good fortune gifted to her, rather than having to steal and fight for it.
The town on Patch was small, since the whole island was only home to about four thousand people, the main town housing just over half that. It was pleasant and quaint, and the hotel Ruby checked into that night was just as small and quaint. The pleasant family establishment smelled of wood smoke and air freshener. Ruby found herself appreciating the quaint rural decorations and the man behind the counters excellent customer service.
Her room was on the third floor, and it was thoughtfully fully equipped for huntsmen. She was deeply grateful for the amenities. She slowly removed her gear. Cloak, pouches, bandolier, back pack, bracers, gloves, auxiliary armor, extra pouches, etc. etc. Two hours later she finally was laying back in a recliner in only a fine robe provided by the hotel. The shower basin looked like someone had collected several buckets of grime, filled the buckets with water, and then emptied them into the ceramic tub. She looked at the sad state of her clothes, thankful that they were incredibly durable. They would look relatively fine, after she spent a couple hours washing them. She’d do that after going through her beautiful weapons and getting them good and clean.
Crescent Rose MK IX, the beautiful but unnamed silver handcannon/revolver/sickle, her boot machetes, and the ever useful utility knife. Oh how she loved the utility knife. It took another two hours to make them all shiny and new again, but cleaning them felt deeply right. It was a neglected prayer, a nigh forgotten ceremony to a god that actually listened and spoke death into her, its champion. Metaphorically speaking of course. If remnant ever had gods they were long dead. Qrow and Oz could tell all the stories they desired, they were still just stories.
Finally there was just one thing, well, two, left to cleanse of the apocalyptic remnants. Her own two hands. The two steel appendages were permanently attached of course, but she didn’t need to clean the mechanisms. Genius designs really, mostly the work of the good doctor Polendina. It was a gift she would repay a hundred times over now, by making sure his daughter would never die as a stupid sacrifice for Salem and Ozpins game. Perhaps this time the young Ruby would get to take that relationship somewhere. Hopefully young Ruby would still meet Penny.
Maybe Ruby should get a new name. Thorn maybe? Thorn Rose… no, that was awful. Rose… Rose… Rosemary? Rosemary Rose… Saffron… no that’s yellow. What was the red S again? Sce… Scarlet! That was it! Time travel may have affected her brain more than she thought.
Tommorrow she would wake up as Scarlet Rose, and meet her mother… who would be younger than her. And currently nursing… Baby her… Huh, that’s weird.