Hey, alligators! I'm back with a RWBY fic! This was a commission I've been working on for a while. If you want to commission a fic, details are on my tumblr blog, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. Anyway, hope you enjoy this!

Salem strode through the remains of a town recently pillaged by her Grimm. Bodies littered the ground, some of them missing pieces. Her creatures certainly were overzealous in their pursuit of the plague known as humanity. As expected, none of the people around her had been left alive.

She didn't usually come out of her fortress, but she needed some fresh air and to understand how the humans had tried to fight back this time. Their methods tended to evolve the more they discovered about the Grimm, so it was imperative to make sure they haven't figured out too much on how to destroy her creations. From what she could tell, they hadn't progressed much since the last time she left the fortress. Honestly, did the humans never learn?

"Such a waste of creation," she murmured, stepping over the body of a fallen Hunter. "If they would comply with our wishes, they could become something greater. But I don't expect them to understand that."

She continued picking her way through the village. Buildings still fell to ruin around her, roofs collapsing and walls falling under their own unstable weight. Nothing but the wreckage moved. Nothing else could.

As she was passing yet another building sunken under the Grimm's attack, Salem paused. What was that? She stopped and some nearby beowolves took notice, moving to her side. Salem listened carefully and perked up. There it was again.

"Find where the sound is coming from," she ordered. "Don't kill whatever is making it, just keep it trapped until I arrive."

The beowolves nodded and hurried into the damaged building. Salem waited patiently. A loud bark sounded from inside and Salem stepped through. Picking through the rubble, she found the beowolves standing beside a cabinet.

It must be an injured pet, their mistress thought. Best to put it out of its misery.

"Open it," she ordered calmly.

Together, the Grimm pried the locked cabinet open and Salem's eyes widened. Was that…?She leaned down, finding her suspicions confirmed. Lying in the cabinet, clad only in a cloth, was a baby. No doubt, the humans hid it in there in an attempt to keep it safe from her Grimm. A futile effort, of course.

Salem made to turn away, but the baby gave a soft whimper, making her pause. Seconds ticked by for a moment before she wondered aloud, "Am I really about to…?" With a sigh, she ordered, "Hand it here."

The beowolves cocked their heads in confusion, but obeyed nonetheless. One of them scooped up the human young in his large paw and handed it to his mistress. Salem eyed the baby curiously. It couldn't have been more than a few months old. Its large amber eyes stared up at her as it sucked its own hand.

With a shake of her head, Salem exited the house, the baby tucked snugly in the crook of her arm. The beowolves flanked her, all of them shooting occasional looks to their mistress and the human they sensed with her. As they returned to the fortress in their territory, Salem set the baby on a table and began a fire. More Grimm gathered curiously, sniffing at the humans in their midst.

Salem shooed them back and looked down at the baby. It cooed up at her, sucking on its toes. Red eyes blinked before Salem sighed. "I suppose we should name you eventually…"

A few embers from the fire floated into the air and the baby reached out to them with a high-pitched giggle. Salem glanced to the fire curiously. "Right. You creatures like being close to the warmth, I forgot." She moved them closer to the fire and noticed the little creature seemed to grow calmer with the movement. "Is this… soothing?" She gently rocked the human in her arms and, surprisingly, the baby began to snooze in her arms.

Perhaps… this wasn't such a bad idea after all.

She wasn't entirely certain why she had chosen to save this child. Something about it had called to her when she heard it whimper up at her from that cabinet. She doubted it was that strange 'maternal instinct' she'd heard about from the few humans she'd bothered watching over. Grimm didn't have that kind of instinct. While some of them did have a pack mentality, such as the beowolves, goliaths, and creeps, but Grimm were not nurtured the way humans were.

Over the next few weeks, whenever she wasn't sending her Grimm to different areas of Remnant, Salem watched over her little Cinder. Some of the Grimm occasionally examined the human, thoroughly baffled by its presence. However, Salem released a rush of power if they got too close to it.

The baby grew larger with each passing day, a head of black hair gradually sprouting on its head. Its large eyes finally stayed open longer, allowing it to look around. Considering Salem was the only one who could see in the fortress, it was an interesting dynamic trying to keep the little one from reaching out for the various Grimm that passed through. It still sucked on its fingers or toes occasionally, but it also gained better control over its muscles.

Once she realized this, Salem remembered that, eventually, humans have to learn how to walk. Before walking, she remembered something called a crawl. If the baby could do that, it would have no trouble learning to walk. The problem was that its body was bigger than its arms and legs, so how was it supposed to learn to crawl? Did all human young learn to crawl with such disproportionate bodies? Well, there was only one way to find out.

And that's how the tiny human began its crawl training.

Today was the same as those before it, with Salem watching over the little human creature. The tiny baby waggled its fingers at her with a smile on its face as it tried to crawl closer. She still hadn't figured out a name for it yet, but she could think of that later, when it actually needed to be called. For now, she wanted it to know how to crawl.

All of the Grimm around the room stared at their mistress in confusion. Why had she kept this miserable little creature? Usually, if one of those somehow managed to find its way onto their land, the Grimm had free reign to kill it. Instead, this one, as weak and oblivious as it was, wasn't allowed to die. They couldn't even get near it without their mistress' say so.

Salem smiled as the tiny baby came closer. Before it could make it fully to her, the baby paused and patted the floor. Salem stared at it in puzzlement. Did it not like the floor? There were cracks everywhere and the baby could easily hurt itself if she wasn't careful. However, currently, a high pitched laugh bubbled up from its round belly as it slapped its little hands against the cracks. Salem stared as it had the time of its life, rolling on them and hitting them as if they were the funniest things in the world.

After a few moments, Salem shook her head and swept over to her little charge. Gently lifting the baby, she gave it a once over. "Now, look at you," she laughed quietly, bright red eyes taking in all of the dirt covering the creature. "You're all covered in leftover ash." Salem stared at the ash being shaken from the baby and she hummed. "You like the cinders, hm?" The baby cooed up at her. "Maybe… I suppose that can't hurt. How would you like to be named… Cinder?" She gained another coo as response. "Very well. For however long you're with me, you will be called Cinder." Red eyes narrowed as an idea formed in Salem's head. "Cinder Fall…"

And there you go, alligators! Hope ya liked the first chapter. The fic will be taking you through Cindy's life, all the way to the point in V5 (spoiler alert) where Raven kills(?) her in the Relic Vault at Haven. Hope ya stick around!

Remember, sneak peeks and update info can be found on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. And I still have commissions open for anyone who's interested!