A/N: Ok so first a quick heads-up: This isn't the Rwby fanfic i had mentioned earlier. I actually got the idea for this after reading around a bit. Apparently, there's a huge fanbase centered around a "Mama Cinder AU" series made by someone named "kinzaibatsu91" or something from a tumblr- and while there's only a few chapters online (and I mean that for any fanfic out there, I've seen maybe 7 chapters in total if I combined all the chapters of every fanfic related to the Mama Cinder-universe) someone has a whole tumblr that started this great idea, and for the love of rwby I feel the need to spread it by adding my 2 cents and create a "Mama Cinder" fanfic.
Point is I want to help bring the Mama Cinder AU to the world, because honestly I'm also a supporter in the idea that Cinder MIGHT be Ruby's actual mother. Whether or not people support this idea, I am under the impression her mother is still alive because 1- if my lifetime of anime taught me one thing, is that a simple gravestone without the scene showing how the character died = not dead, and 2- for the "photographic proof showing her mother's face"; HER HOOD COVERS 2/3rds OF HER FACE! It doesn't exactly mean anything, especially if the picture was taken dozens of years ago XD!
Well, Ruby's mother aside, I'm still a fan of this pairing (idk if it's considered a "shipping" pairing, but it's definitely my favorite so far ^^...btw did you know they have a freaking chart to categorize and TITLE every single pairing out there? It's nuts how big the shippign in this universe is...).
So without further delay, let's continue on with the fanfic ^^ And as a note, if this fanfic gets great reception/feedback, I will definitely continue onward, you guys let me know :P.
(P.S. I also don't entirely know the details in which this Mama Cinder universe takes place, so if some things aren't accurate, I apologize...ENJOY!)
There it was again.
That incipient crying sound. It was basically the first alarm clock Cinder had the "privilege" of waking up to every morning around 3 A.M. By now she had gotten used to dragging her body out of the bed and dragging her feet over to the crib in the room.
Living within a warehouse, there wasn't so much room to spread around, so she was forced to share the same room with the baby. If she managed to steal enough money in the future, then hopefully they could afford more space around here. But it was hard enough just trying to maintain their operations AND raise the young infant at the same time, so money was a bit tight on hand at times.
It probably didn't help that they had to move every several weeks, so getting space was the least of their worries.
"Aaawwaughhuhh!" The baby continued to cry. By now Cinder didn't need more than a minute or two of the crying to get her out of bed, but every cry was enough to wake up her still-sleeping bones more and more.
"Yeah, yeah, I can smell you from here..." Cinder mumbled as she lifted the small baby from the crib, bringing her over to an improvised changing table which mostly consisted of a few soft boxes with a blanket over it.
It was times when she was doing a disgusting job like this or some hassle to get something the one-year-old needed that Cinder questioned herself.
Why was she doing this? It's not like the baby was useful to them in any situation. There was no guarantee that she would prove useful someday to her, whether it be the most simplest of tasks or pulling together a grand scheme for them. There wasn't even guarantee that she would live for that long! For all she knew she could just get hit by a car one day and just die on them, wasting every point of caring for her now.
Why did she have to burden herself like this when she could've just dropped the brat off at some doorstep, let it be someone else's problem? The baby never did anything productive during the last several months it's been with her, it's never done anything to help their organization other than being a huge annoyance to everyone.
She couldn't even get her to say "mama" of all things!...Not that she was trying for the last four months and wasting what few hours of free time she got to spend with her or anything, no nothing like that...
She felt like a nuisance at times, and every time she would ask herself if it was even worth it at this point.
And every time she asked herself this, the memory flashed in her mind, a brief second reminding her everything that lead them to be together...
It all came about after a failed heist on a dust warehouse. What was supposed to be a simple operation ended in disaster as security suddenly dropped on the dozen raiders. It was a simple trap that none of them were prepared for, nor were expecting. All the security force had to do was display public news about how a large shipment was being brought in for the city's Dust Shops by next week, and as expected, Cinder and her company bought the bait like a sucker.
She couldn't help it entirely, seeing how it was only her third time doing this sort of thing. She still had things to learn and skills to acquire, even henchmen were hard to come by these days. The White Fang were more than happy to assist in any heists that could help their own cause, but finding anyone with special gifts outside of foot soldiers were a dime a dozen.
The only useful person she had met a few years back was a man by the name of Roman Torchwick, and his strange silent assistant who simply went by the name Neo. And while the Roman himself could get on her nerves from time to time with his mannerisms and everything, she still found him a hundred times more useful than any of these soldiers, the very same who were either being captured or one of the only two so far to be gunned down.
Fortunately enough, not EVERYBODY was a fool at this time. A decent amount of White Fang members managed to escape in time before more security could show up and end up like the ten or so people who were already caught. At least Cinder didn't need to worry about any of them ratting out the group, all the White Fang members were much too loyal to betray their cause.
The ensuing run from the crime scene didn't end until cinder made a small distance through the woods away from the city. She didn't need to worry about anyone chasing her through these woods, not when it was dark and raining in a forest with grimm here and there, ones even she didn't have to worry about with her power.
Fire was a funny thing; set one grimm on fire and the other two or three would set off running, save for either one brave or stupid grimm that thought it had a better chance than the previous.
With the heist ending in a bust, and the coast finally clear of both grimm and humans, Cinder could finally catch her own breath as she took everything that went on today as a learning experience. Some heists were going to end in failure, that was undeniable. But at least this time she would be ready for it and cautious of any signs that made it look like a trap. She wouldn't make the same mistake twice, at least not without being ready for it again.
That was when it happened.
"Ahhhhhhh!" A simple cry of terror was the first thing Cinder heard after finally being able to relax.
It didn't surprise her in the slightest. Some fool went into the forest, got into trouble with the grimm, and was screaming in terror before the grimm would tear him or her to pieces. It was almost commonplace to someone like Cinder, having lived the life she had for years now. Hearing someone die within grimm-infested woods was almost a monthly thing by this point.
And just like each and every time, Cinder would just ignore it. It wasn't her problem, it wasn't her job to protect any of them. If they were stupid enough to enter the woods in the first place then it was all the more reason to let them die. Why let the human race suffer the stupidity of more people like this one? Killing them off was more of a favor to the rest of humanity than not! It would keep them from endangering the rest of the human race.
And who knows? Maybe there were other people in the forest, and this person proved a good distraction to let those people live too. People like her. People with higher priorities and goals in the world. She would simply smile to herself as her way of thanking them, glad useless people proved to have some importance in their life. And just like every other time, she would just walk away without a care in the world.
That was the only noise that did catch Cinder's attention, stopping mid-step as her eyes widened slightly.
A baby? Cinder thought to herself in surprise. Who would be stupid enough to bring a baby into the woods like this?! Cinder scoffed to herself as she continued walking away from the crying. The cold rain was enough to get on her nerves as is, so why deal with something else so unnecessary? For all she knew the baby could grow up to be just as stupid as the person who brought her to the woods. She'd be doing the world a favor by killing off two at once!
Yet no matter how hard Cinder tried to block it out of her mind, she couldn't get the noise out of her head even when the cries paused in-between. Why was this sound so irritating to her? Why couldn't she stop grinding her teeth as she stomped away from the crying? Why wasn't she it going silent as even when the cries stopped?
...And why did her heart ache every time she heard it?
Was it something within the crying she found heart wrenching? Was it just because she couldn't picture the idea of letting a simple baby die at the teeth and claws of these monstrous grimm? What was it that caused her to stop suddenly as she looked back down the pathway?
That one single word would sum up everything wrong she felt about this. Everything about this situation reminded her of herself. Not to say things played out in the exact same way, but everything that went on around it. How no one was there for the baby, how no one was paying attention to the ones who bullied her and picked on her... and how everyone else around her was just ignoring it, passing by her as if she didn't exist.
It was a painful reminder of herself, and one she never wanted to experience ever again, nor would she ever want someone else to experience the same life as her.
So maybe she should ignore the baby? At least if it dies now she won't have to suffer later. The baby's probably not even aware of what's happening at the time, and with something so small a grimm could eat her in one gulp! It would be quick and merciful! It wasn't her problem! She just had to keep walking away and forget everything that ever happened this night!
"...Damn it!" She cussed to herself as she ran down the path of the crying. She hated herself for what she was about to do, and knew she would continue hating herself for everything that happened after, but her heart wasn't giving her any choice.
With each step she ran the cries continued to grow louder, the rain barely noticeable with the speed she was making. If the baby was dead by the time she got there, then so be it. She tried and went back for it, and that's all she would have to worry about it from that point onward. She tried her best and failed, and even she wouldn't blame herself for it.
Even though she did waste a good minute of it. With every step that distanced herself from the crying that she had to retrace. Every single opposite thing she was doing from before that caused her to lose precious seconds from the possibly-dying baby.
These thoughts only wracked her heart more as she realized her selfishness. If the baby didn't survive tonight, then it would be on her. It would be on her, and no amount of convincing would tell her otherwise. Simply knowing this fact only caused more and more anger as she quickened her pace, beginning to hope that the young one was still alive by this point, her fear only growing as the sounds seemed to stop, dreading the worst.
But as fate would have it, no sooner had she left did she finally come across the scene causing so much anger and conflict. Hunched upon her knees lied an young woman, draped in a hooded cloak. The sight around her surprised the fiery girl herself, seeing the countless dead grimm around them that were dissipating slowly.
She could tell from the mere sight that they were all slain, slain by the young woman who was huddled up and presumably clutching her offspring between herself, and with the impressively large scythe scattered a few yards away from her... and the severed arm she used to wield it previously. The only thing the mother could do was using her weakened, bloodied, body to protect herself from the few remaining grimm that tore at it and her cloak.
Cinder felt almost warmth by the sheer sight of it, seeing a mother defending her child so much like this. But it didn't compare to the immense heat emanating from her hands, the very ones she suddenly threw at the grimm that surrounded the woman. The other grimm took notice of the burning grimm before charging the new person all at once- they all met the same fate as the one she roasted just seconds earlier.
The end result left her out of breath from exhaustion, with the combined running and the overdose of energy she used to burn the grimm alive. She didn't want any trace of them left after what they had done, not wanting a single-second more to pass for the grimm to torment their prey.
Thus she slowly walked on over. She hated herself, yelled at herself, and fumed at herself for praying that the young infant was still alive. She shouldn't be having such thoughts, not someone like her.
It was only while she did this did she finally realize the scene before her; here kneeled a huntress, a highly skilled, highly trained warrior, who dedicated their lives to hunting the grimm. In some respects, they were guardians, heroes who people looked up to. To others like Cinder, they were nothing but false images and fakers, people who deserved to be burned away to ash as nothing more than food for the maggots.
But to the one kneeling before her, the one who slowly raised her head just enough for Cinder to see her mouth, she saw a mother. A bright, beautiful, angelic mother, who did everything in her power to keep her innocent baby girl alive, the very same that thankfully started to cry again.
Upon examining where the remains of the grimm used to be, she saw more of the scene that explained the huntress's story. She could see a simple basket, with several pieces of food and medicine in the basket. It was after further examining the contents that she realized the medicine wasn't for the mother, but for the baby. The baby's small cough only confirmed the details, causing Cinder's heart to ache only worse.
The person wasn't an idiot. She wasn't some stupid gullible human that deserved to die like the rest, even if she was a huntress. She was a mother. A loving and caring mother who went about trying to get medicine for her infant daughter. The realization of this detail only hurt Cinder more, wondering if she could've saved the dying mother if she had ran back sooner.
Part of her hoped not. Not out of spite or pity, but out of sorrow for her own actions. Judging by the scream that started this nightmare for herself, she assumed the scream occurred after the mother suddenly lost her arm, seeing the blood soaked ground beneath her still fresh.
With the small amount of strength the woman had remaining, she slowly stretched her left arm out, revealing the small bundle of joy she was so intent on protecting. Kneeling down to inspect the young infant, swaddled in red linen, was the crying baby that drew Cinder to save her. She had small black hair, with very faint red tips at the end of it. And past the small tears in her eyes, for the few seconds she could make out, she saw silver coloring, a rare trait which a miniscule few have.
"Ru...by..." The single utterance from the woman's lips snapped Cinder out of her sudden trance as the woman suddenly collapsed to her side. She barely had the time to collect the young infant before her mother fell over, landing in the soft mud as she dropped to her side.
Cinder could only watch in mere silence as she looked at the young mother. There wasn't any movement, breathing, not even a twitch. Her mother had passed from this life and onto the next, in a way that even Cinder could compliment of being proud of. As much as it hurt to admit it, she had truly felt remorse for the young mother, enough to make a single tear roll down her face along the endless rain.
The question was, what should she do with her now? Leave her on someone's doorstep? Try to find any of her possible relatives that possibly don't exist? She doesn't even know who the young mother is, let alone if she had any siblings that could be Ruby's uncles or aunts.
She needed to think of a plan quickly as well. She couldn't keep standing out in the rain like this, especially with the grimm lurking about. None of them would be much of a challenge for her, but if she tried to fight while looking out for the infant like her mother had, they could both end up suffering the same fate.
That would irritate her the most out of all of this.
And even then, she couldn't bring herself to imagine doing any of this. It was possibly her own fault that the mother died, that Ruby would go on without a real mother to guide her for the rest of her life. It wouldn't hurt Cinder so much if it wasn't for the fact Ruby's mother did appear to be a sweet and genuine caring soul. Even now Cinder was cursing to herself about how she could've avoided all of this if she just took a few seconds to react sooner, to make up her mind and save the two of them.
Still, even that might've been pushing it. If her mother had died from the blood loss of her severed arm alone then there was nothing Cinder could've done about it. She wasn't aware of the two of them until after she screamed, so there's no telling it was Cinder's fault anyway.
Despite all this, Cinder simply gazed down at the small charge. The one little girl who drove Cinder to come and help these two in the end. While she might not have had much to care for a baby at that time, or anything to provide the baby with, save anything left in the mother's basket, she did at least have a name.
No matter how long the event played in her head, the scene was over in a second in reality. Having changed and cleaned the baby, burning away the waste with her embers, and redressing her in her dark-red footed sleeper. It was the same routine she had to deal with day in and day out. If it wasn't for a diaper change, it was to feed her. At the worse of times, it was both.
Often on, it wasn't even for just that. Sometimes she just cried until Cinder appeared to calm her down. In some respects it made Cinder's heart tingle, seeing the infant cry until Cinder herself showed up, but then again that could just be the joy she herself gets when the crying finally ends.
And every time, it would end the same way with Cinder easing herself back into bed with Ruby in her arms, whether crying or giggling to her, until she could rock her back to sleep. She was used to leaning against the board of her bed, so it didn't even bother her with how rickety it was these days.
One little trick she did learn over time was that Ruby wasn't scared of her, or more importantly her fire. With a simple click of her fingers, she could make a small candlelight-size of fire grow from her fingertips, waving it around the sniffling girl. Like most times, the girl's expression changed from sniffling to a curious stare of intrigue and wonder. And like those times, after waving it in front of the young Ruby, she would suddenly start giggling as she would attempt to catch the twirling flame.
"Geheheh!" Ruby giggled, waving her arms to the light.
It always amused Cinder a bit as she watched the small girl attempt to grab the small light. It always baffled Cinder how someone so innocent and young could be so attracted and excited about something so dangerous. She didn't find it something to be scared of, a thing that should be extinguished and snuffed out. She found it as something wonderful to play with, something that kept her warm and safe.
Perhaps that was why Cinder grew so attached to the young Ruby. Unlike the many others who were intimidated at the mere sight of her for the first time, Ruby would always giggle, wanting more of whatever it had to offer.
She found it even more amusing every time Ruby would manage to grab her finger. Before she could pull the fire toward herself, Cinder would always dissipate it, leaving a baffled and surprised look on the infant's face, and causing Cinder to chuckle to herself. And before the baby to start sniffling and crying again, she always sprouted a match on her pinkie, being far enough away to surprise the young girl and giving Cinder enough time to pull her hand away whenever she let go of Cinder's finger.
"Hmm hm hmmmm..." Cinder slowly started to hum rhythmically. As interesting as it would be to see how long she could keep this game going, it was still way early in the morning, and both of them needed their sleep.
Fortunately, getting the young infant to sleep was never the hard part of her job. It took awhile at first to find ways to get the baby Ruby to sleep, with her singing always being overshadowed by the baby's crying or laughing, and a mobile being more of an attraction for Ruby than something to put her to sleep. But after some time, she managed to find the right way to get her to sleep, and after some time, perfected it to get Ruby asleep within minutes.
That was usually the very first thing Cinder would always hear before Ruby slowly closed her eyes. It was cute, Cinder could never deny that. And the sound of it was enough to trigger Cinder to start getting sleepy. She always watched at first just to make sure she was asleep.
The one time she didn't resulted in Ruby almost squirming out of her arms and dropping to the ground, being grabbed at the last second by the panicking Cinder. That didn't keep Ruby from crying for the rest of the morning, nights if she was really unlucky. Since then Cinder hasn't gone a night without making sure Ruby fell asleep first if she was holding her.
But tonight of all nights, Ruby uttered something else that Cinder had never heard before.
"Mama..." She muttered softly. Cinder's eyes widened in shock as her jaw gaped open.
She couldn't tell if she was just dreaming it briefly as she nearly fell asleep. Maybe it was just her imagination playing tricks on her? That had to be it, clearly the stress was just getting to her!
...Yet, whether it was a complete mistake, a hallucination, or reality, some miniscule part of her prayed. She prayed that it was real and smiled as she did. Her eyes nearly twitched as she almost let out a tear, smiling down at her current bundle of joy.
It was times like these that made it all worth it.
With a small smile, she kissed her baby's forehead as she uttered softly,
"Goodnight, my little Fire Flower..."
Hooftah, feels good to be writing again folks! Like I said, I know it's not much compared to my usual works, and the writing might seem a bit off to usual, but again, it's been nearly 6 months on my end, so I need to slowly ease my way back to writing again.
Again, this was a tribute to the "Mama Cinder" Universe that a surprising amount of people seem to support! Let me know if you guys want me to continue this- if no, then this will just be a standalone oneshot. If yes, then I'll continue more on this, cause honestly, I had fun writing this AU-Rwby Fic ^^. Let me know if there's any details I should know about this universe too, and expect more possible goodness in the future chapters (if you guys want more)!
Like and Review ^^!