Hello there dear readers, and thanks for all for the reviews! It's nice to see people appreciate my stories, so that's always nice. I'll reply to the reviews at the end, but for now enjoy the first chapter that's actually related to another chapter! Unless they're all related. It occurred to me that so far, they could all have actually happened in the same universe; even if Cinder was caught, the people would still have to live knowing that their kingdom, the only place they knew as being 100% safe from Grimm was now only 67% safe (I mean, a lot of Grimm would have been killed – the chances of those numbers reappearing any time soon is pretty small). This would mean that Raven's chapter would still work, and to be honest Velvet's wouldn't have changed anything.
Ruby was one of the many who watched Cinder's trial on TV.
Ruby was one of the many who were personally standing by to make sure Cinder didn't escape from her escorts on her way to prison, despite the fact that officially only full trained Hunters and Huntresses were allowed to be there. That didn't stop her, or the hundreds of Huntsmen, Huntsmen-in-training and police members who crowded every sidewalk on every street on every road that Cinder could possibly escape along.
Ruby was there to watch as the less guarded convoys containing Emerald and Mercury drove behind. But there was one event more important than all of these combined.
Ruby was there for the funerals.
Ruby was there when mothers and fathers broke down crying in front of hundreds of fellow families, each grieving for their losses.
Ruby was there to stop anyone who dared to blame the Faunus who attended for the event, all of whom were quick to state who they lost and then to distance themselves as far from the White Fang as possible.
Ruby was there when the citizens of Vale screamed and hollered and even physically attacked the Atlas soldiers stationed around the event, blaming their machinery for the tragedies.
Ruby saw all of this. But what she didn't see was the man who single-handedly brought an end to the greatest crisis the kingdom of Vale had ever experienced since the Great War.
So when she saw him a few days later, nonchalantly whistling a tasteless tune as he walked down the street, two huge clusters of shopping in each hand, she knew she had to find out why.
"Where were you?"
Saitama glanced around in confusion, looking for the location of the voice before zeroing in on the young girl behind him.
"Do I... know you?"
Ruby would usually have protested about that sort of treatment. She was right next to him when he captured the most dangerous woman alive! But right now, she was angry. Furious, even.
"I didn't see you at the funeral. Why is that?"
"There was a funeral?" he said, shocked, "damn it, I should have been there! Man, does that suck. Nothing I can do about it now though." And, albeit with slightly less energy than before, Saitama continued on his way. Ruby did not.
"Do you not care? I mean, I know you're strong, but you're still one of us." Ruby's voice was more heated now.
Saitama stopped once more and, figuring that he couldn't just walk away from this conversation, turned around, giving Ruby his full attention.
"Care about what? And one of who?"
"Us. The people you protect. The people you are a part of. Do you just not care about anyone else? Is that why you didn't come to the funeral?" That was pretty rude of her. What had he done to deserve that?
"Listen kid. I didn't come to the funeral because I didn't know about it, but-"
"Why didn't you know about it?" interrupted Ruby. "It was on every channel. Every newspaper, every website and every shop window you care to look at! It's still on every shop window you care to look at!"
True to her word, the title, date and location of the funeral was still on the windows of most of the shops in the vicinity, with the only exceptions being the ones that had chosen to take theirs down early.
"I don't know! I'm from a village pretty far from here; my TV doesn't have much coverage-"
"So when you get to Vale, you just stay in your own little world, not caring about the people around you? What kind of hero are you if you don't even know anything about the people you should be trying to protect?!"
"Look, I don't do what I do for the people, okay? I do what I do for me, because I like it! Now can you just go away? I have to get home before my food goes bad-"
"What kind of hero only helps people because it's fun? Don't answer that," she glared at Saitama as he made to intervene, "because I know the answer. A bad hero. Only a bad hero cuts corners when protecting the innocent. Only a bad hero doesn't care how the people he is supposed to protect feel."
Saitama made to interrupt, but Ruby was on a roll.
"Only a bad hero fails to protect the people they care about. Only a bad hero isn't there when they are needed. Only-" Ruby choked back a sob, as her angry facade cracked in two, "only a bad hero loses the people they love..."
In a rare moment of intelligence, Saitama finally understood. "This isn't about me, is it?" And Ruby broke down crying.
"I... I couldn't save them! I wasn't there to save Penny, I wasn't there to help Yang, I wasn't strong enough to beat Roman and if you weren't there then Pyrrha would have died and Weiss and Blake are gone all because I wasn't strong or fast enough andIjustwanttodomymumproudbutIcan'tdoanythingrightand-"
Saitama wrapped his arms around Ruby as she cried into his chest. "It's okay... just let it all go... don't worry about it."
Even if he was getting a little annoyed by all the stares he was receiving. Maybe he could take them somewhere more private? But it didn't seem like Ruby wanted to really go anywhere, if how hard she grabbed his chest was any indication. Would she notice if he jumped? Probably, yeah; superhero jumps weren't fun if you were the one being dragged at superhuman speeds. He learnt that after... Jones? Yeah, Jones threw up on him.
It was even worse because he was behind on the electrical bill, so his washing machine wasn't working at the time. He had to live with that smell for a week. Maybe he could-
"I'm sorry..." mumbled Ruby, wiping her tears on his suit. It had a huge wet patch on it now – and wasn't that going to look weird after this – but he could manage. "I didn't mean to lash out at you... I just – I just needed an outlet. For everything. I'm sorry I took it out on you. I'd... I'd better go." And with that, Ruby began to sulk off, wiping her eyes furiously. Saitama stared at her as she left, before looking down at his discarded shopping bags on the floor.
He'd dropped them so fast that he was certain something had cracked. Although, if he couldn't see anything leaking, maybe it was fine? He sure hoped so. As he was about to pick everything back up, he thought back on what Ruby had said as she broke down and messed up his suit.
Was he a bad hero?
In all of the comics and mangas he read, the hero was always able to take down the bad guy. The best heroes could always win the fight really quickly. In that regard, Saitama knew he was truly unparalleled; he could beat any and all opponents in one punch, and he was getting better at reducing the collateral damage (you would not believe the number of towns Saitama accidentally destroyed in his first 4 weeks of hero work).
He had succeeded in protecting everything he loved; his home was fine, and his parents were comfortable in their lifestyle.
But he still felt Ruby was right. Ever since he completed his training, his emotions were dulled. He could not relate to people who had lost everything, because he barely had anything in the first place. He had no empathy towards people placed in mortal danger because it had been so long since his life was at risk. He had no feelings about the people who died in the Grimm attack because... well. Not even a dragon could survive his strength.
Could he change that? Saitama had not received a difficult task worth stressing over ever since he gained his unimaginable power (at least, a task for his hobby), and the boredom that came from achieving his dream was hardly motivating. He had tried to raise higher in the business world his whole life, but all his efforts were for naught. Maybe he could try those mine jobs people were talking about? Apparently there was some sort of animal problem, but he didn't have any allergies so he figured he would be fine.
But weren't they super far away or something? It would be a hassle to travel such great distances every single day, so that was probably a losing endeavour.
So what about being one of the people? He could try to give that a shot. Being an outcast for his whole life didn't really do wonders for his social status, but he could maybe try to change that. Besides, if he was a better people person, maybe more people would be willing to give him the money he desperately needed to stay afloat.
And the best way to start...
Was to help the teenager who got in way over her head.
"Judy, wait up!" Saitama grumbled to himself, as he picked up his shopping and tried to find out where Ruby went. A quick hop onto the closest roof helped him spot her signature red cloak, currently pulled tightly over her face, and in a couple of seconds (after carefully placing his shopping bags) he was right behind her.
Ruby flinched and hunched her shoulders. "My name's Ruby."
"Right, Ruby..." continued Saitama.
"Shit, I didn't think this through. What the hell am I supposed to say?"
"So about what you said earlier... I mean, the bad guys were beaten, right? I mean, it's not like all of that stuff is going to happen again anytime soon."
"That's not the point."
"It isn't?" Well then what was? Damn it, why couldn't this be easy? If this wasn't over soon, his groceries were going to rot for CERTAIN.
"...What do you mean?"
Good! She mistook his honest confusion. Think, what to say, what to say?
"Well, I mean, with all of the bad stuff that just happened, that's got to be all of the worst stuff out of the way, right? So..."
"Where is he going with this?" thought Ruby.
"Where the hell am I going with this?" Saitama internally raged. "There's got to be some inspiration, I've just got to..." Saitama's mind trailed off as he saw a woman walk past, glancing at her watch before continuing her day. "That's it!"
"So you have plenty of time!"
Silence reigned. Ruby turned her head to peer at her current source of advice. "What?"
"Time which you can use to prepare for whatever bad stuff comes next! And because of all the bad stuff that happened so recently there probably isn't much chance of the next thing being so bad, right?"
Sweat formed on Saitama's brow. "Please let that work, please let that work, please let that work."
Meanwhile, in Ruby's mind, she was having an altogether different line of thought. "Is he saying that the worst has passed? They always do have the hero overcome a difficult challenge... is this mine?"
Neither of them moved as Ruby ruminated (ha, alliteration counts as an authorial technique!) over her answer. Saitama held his breath, as Ruby spoke once more.
"I think... I think I get what you're saying," whispered Ruby.
"Oh thank God!"
"I should focus on the time I still have. Yang's going to recover soon, so I have to be there for her, and in the meantime I can train to protect my friends in the future. And Weiss..."
Ruby broke off as tears threatened to spill, but she shook them away and looked at Saitama with a bright (but water-clogged) smile. "I don't know how I'm going to get her and Blake back, but I've got time to make a plan."
As she spoke, Ruby began to look more and more sure of herself, while Saitama struggled to hide his confusion. "That isn't what I meant at all!"
"The one thing I don't have time for however, is to stand around moping," at which point Ruby ran up to Saitama and buried herself in his chest, "so thank you for helping me."
Saitama awkwardly placed his hand on her head. "You're welcome, I guess?" "Honestly, she made most of that up herself. Works for me though."
"I'd better get going," said Ruby, stepping back with a massive grin on her face, "because I've got a lot of work to be doing." For just a moment, her smile seemed to dim. "And I'm sorry about what I said earlier, about you not caring. I just-"
"It's okay Rudy."
"Right. Anyway, get going." Ruby nodded before disappearing in a cloud of rose petals. "She can turn into roses?" pondered Saitama. "I hope she only does it outside. Some places make you pay if you dirty the place."
Saitama wandered to the building he left his groceries on, before hopping up, grabbing them, and moving on his way.
"To start off my new hero improvement quota," he promised, "I'll make sure to remember people's names. Starting with Ruby."
The next time he met her, he called her Rhodonite.
Well, this took far longer to make than it should have, especially since I made two completely new stories when I should have been updating this and CHBB (other than it being the initials to my story, I'm fairly sure those initials are familiar. I'm not copying someone am I?), but at least I didn't actually spend much time on those other two stories.
Now, onto the reviews. I'm not going to lie; it seems as if the guests have the best ideas so far. For example:
A hedgehog Faunus? Adam vs Raven vs Sonic? You better believe I'll be hopping right on that!
Salem and sales? Definitely worth a shot.
This story is really good? Please, now you're just stating the obvious!
Do I have autism? Um... no. No I do not.
Cinder didn't seem surprised? Yeah, that's my bad. I didn't want things to drag on, and I was trying to keep the timings right because I didn't want to ignore Ruby's arrival, and... yeah.
The fight scenes could be improved? True, they definitely can, so if you have any tips then send them my way. Alternatively, I'm thinking of searching up various fight scenes to get a better idea of how the authors do it.
If you would be so kind, please feel free to tell me if I kept Ruby in character for this (we've seen her angry once, but let's face it she didn't act different whatsoever), and get excited for the next chapter. It's going to have the RWBY version of Genos, and before you ask, it is NOT Jaune or Penny. Not only are they obvious, they also don't quite fit the character motif. No, this is going to be much better than that...
See you next time! Whenever that is.
Edit: forgot to say this earlier, but does anyone have a better idea for both the summary and the title? The original title was named specifically because of Raven's chapter, but I don't think it works that well anymore. Plus, the summary pretty much sucks. Send those in if you want.