A/N: EDIT: This story isn't solely about Cinder, obviously. Felt the need to clear that up.
Naturally, the title is a pun, and an ironic one at that.
No more requests please! Have mercy on and old many and his friends!
This particular tale is clearly a request story; the request-giver in question asked to remain anonymous.
We love you guys and gals, we really do, but this is getting a little crazy, ya know? We get at least a dozen requests a day, and when someone dangles a juicy idea before me and my team...well. We just can't help ourselves. If its a sound idea with an interesting premise, we dig into it and start talking. Which then leads to a draft. Which leads to a story, followed by a vote as to whether said story should be published or simply left in the archives.
I voted AGAINST the idea of releasing this, but alas, I was overruled by the rest of the gang. *Sighs* Well, here goes nothing...
Now, I could wax poetic some more, but I'll spare you that. This...I'm fairly certain this hasn't been done bore.
Now then, we're off to work. Looking forward to your reviews!
"Karma is like a sleeping dragon. Take care not to wake it."
Cinder believed in Destiny. How could she not?
She'd come from nothing. Been nothing. Abandoned by her parents, forsaken by the world, no one had wanted her, no one had cared for her. She didn't even know why she'd been abandoned by everyone, only that she She'd been cast aside like wheat from chaff. For a time, she thought that was her destiny. To starve. To die, forgotten and alone in the streets of Atlas, lying in a filthy gutter.
Until she came.
Salem took her in, not out of the kindness of her heart, but for a purpose. She'd raised her, honed her skills, forged a broken little girl into a lethal weapon. Even then Cinder had been forced to claw her way to the top, fight for every scrap of power she now possessed. First against Tyrian, then Watts, and even Hazel. She'd been forced to prove herself, time and time again until she finally found the strength to fight back. She'd forged a power base of her own, gathered loyal followers who obeyed her every command. She was respected now, no, more than that, she was feared.
She'd gone from rags to riches.
Now, this was her moment; the single shining instance of her triumph. Beacon lay in ruins below her, felled by treachery from without and within. Ozpin was dead, his hunters scattered and disorganized. The machines of Altas had turned against their makers. White Fang and Grimm ran amok throughout the grounds, wreaking havoc. A mighty Grimm Wyvern mounted Ozpin's ruined tower to watch over her, ready to crush any who dared to so much as lift a finger against her.
And now the full might of the Fall Maiden belonged to her and her alone. Her victory was complete.
There was just one small task to attend to.
Pyrrha Nikos lay before her on hand and knee, wasted and gasping for air, an arrow protruding from her ankle. Cinder scoffed at her. The Invincible Girl, or so everyone called her. Not so invincible now, was she? Still, she'd put up an admirable fight for one so young. It seemed almost a shame to kill her...but she wasn't the sort to leave a potential enemy at her back. Given enough time and proper training the girl might yet become stronger. Strong enough to become a very real threat. No, she decided. Best to kill her before that.
Nothing wrong with a gloating beforehand, though.
"Its unfortunate you were promised a power that was never truly yours." Cinder circled her prey like a shark, then knelt and dipped a hand beneath the girl's chin, forcing her meet her gaze. "But take comfort in knowing that I will use it in ways you could never have imagined."
The younger girl jerked her chin free and pulled back, green eyes defiant. Even in death, she refused to surrender. Cinder could respect that. And then she spoke.
"Do you believe in destiny?" such an innocent question, yet it caused something to tighten in Cinder's chest all the same.
Did she know? No. Impossible. She was beaten. There would no second wind for her, no last minute rescue.
Cinder didn't answer immediately. How could she? That question had knocked the wind out of her.
"Yes." An angry breath hissed through her clenched teeth. "I do."
She manifested her bow, knocked a single molten arrow to her weapon, and drew the string back. Pyrrha made no move to escape. She couldn't. The Invincible Girl simply raised her chin and glared at her, waiting for the arrow to pierce her heart. Still, something made Cinder hesitate. She wasn't sure why. Of course, she believed in Destiny. After all, Destiny had led her hear to this very moment...
...or so she thought.
A piercing howl of misery and fear echoed at Cinder's back. The Fall Maiden chose to ignore it, even as Pyrrha called out in kind. Ruby Rose was no threat to her and too far away to make any real difference in this fight; no, this execution. How she'd scaled the tower so swiftly was a bit of mystery, but now was not the time to indulge in such things. Nikos was the real threat, and she refused to take her eyes away from the redhead. Even unarmed the girl might yet try one final foolish attack, and she refused to take that chance.
Until the world burned white.
Cinder rounded on the girl too late. Light burst from Ruby's eyes, sharp and shining and silver. Perhaps erupted was the better word. One moment the silver-eyed huntress gazed at her in utter despair, the next, she threw her head back and screamed.
"Don't you touch her!"
A rush of impossible heat slammed into Cinder and her shot went wide, finding Pyrrha's shoulder rather than her heart. The redhead cried out in pain and toppled backward, wounded, but still very much alive. Cinder didn't even have time to curse the girl for her resilience, much less her luck. Everything was burning, her world spinning. She couldn't think. Couldn't see. Somewhere above her, she heard the Grimm Wyvern howl in pain as its body hardened into unfeeling stone. Another wave of silver light washed over her and her body buckled for reasons she didn't understand. No. No, no, no! This wasn't happening.
"What...is this?!" she gasped. She tried to summon her power but for the first time, it failed her. "What have you done to me?!" No one answered. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!"
She lurched upright at the young huntress and slashed at her throat, forcing Ruby to backpedal in naked fear. Her eyes responded to that fear; bringing forth a fresh wave of shining silver light. It thew Cinder backwards like a straw doll and sent her slamming into the floor once more. She felt something twist horribly in her right side.
She didn't even realize it was her left arm until she found herself staring at her severed limb, sprawled out before her on the ground.
Someone was screaming. It took Cinder five seconds to realize it was her.
In her pain and panic, she never saw Pyrrha fumble around behind her. She never heard the faint clink of metal as the younger girl activated her Semblance, summoning the the shattered shard of her sword into an open palm. Never sensed the cold night air against her skin as the redhead swung that hand back, made a fist, and brought it crashing down.
Then, quite suddenly, it was over.
Cinder stumbled as something slapped against her back, the action driving her forward half a pace. Who dared?! Adrenaline slammed through her veins as she backhanded the girl away and tried to pursue, but her legs would carry her no further. Instead she stumbled, tumbled down onto her knees, not quite understanding what had happened.
Then came the pain.
Wide golden eyes looked down and balked, beheld the bloody bit of orange-and-red metal protruding from her chest, where her heart was. Where it used to be. A thin line of blood dribbled down her lip and she coughed, unable to draw in the the air she so desperately needed. Her vision began to grow dim, even as she reached for her wound with trembling fingers. A small part of her hissed at the irony. She'd meant to shoot Pyrrha in the heart earlier. Instead she had suffered a similar fate. Furious didn't even begin to describe her feelings right now.
"Oh." she manged numbly. "That...that wasn't meant to happen...
No. No, this couldn't be happening. She had a Destiny.
She was meant to win tonight, not die!
Cinder frantically tried to grasp the broken sword in her chest, with the vain hope of melting it and perhaps somehow sealing the wound, but her remaining arm was too weak. Instead her fingers fell slack as someone -that little Nikos chit!- wrenched it free from her back in a grisly spray of red. Pain blazed Cinder's world white and a bit of blood burst from her lips. She no longer had the strength to speak, let alone scream. Bereft of balance, she could do nothing more than topple to the floor. She felt her power leaving her as she expired, and so tried to cling onto it. She wasn't sure if she succeeded. Darkness shrouded her.
In her final moments she tried to lash out with her Maiden powers, to no avail. Flames flickered from her fingers and guttered out, leaving her broken and alone.
Just as she'd been in the beginning.
"Its not fair." A small, tiny voice sulked in her soul as she began to succumb. "This wasn't supposed to happen. I should've won! Me! This was my victory! My Destiny! It was mine!"
She was meant for more than this. She just knew it. She wasn't meant to die here atop this tower, bested by children. It felt like a bad dream, but the blood pooling beneath her told another tale. Rather than panic her, it brought with it a strange sense of surreal calm. Yes, it was unfair, she decided in a fit of selfish pique. She knew in her heart of hears that she was meant to triumph. She deserved another chance. The Gods owed her a second chance. She wished for that more than anything. Just one more chance. Please. She wouldn't make any mistakes next time. Next time she would triumph. She would have everything she'd ever wanted.
Next time, she would be happy.
"Is that so?" an unfamiliar voice drawled.
What sorcery was this? That wasn't Salem's voice. Who...?
Cinder was still dwelling on that as she choked out her last breath.
Yes, Cinder Fall certainly believed in Destiny. That much was undoubtedly true.
How unfortunate for her, then, that Destiny had other plans. Her story didn't end here. It had only just begun.
Where was she?
Everything was dark.
Cinder struggled with it, raging furiously against the inevitable. She couldn't breathe. Couldn't hear. Couldn't see. Was this death? No. This didn't feel the void. The Void wasn't warm. This was...something else. What, she knew not, only that she didn't like it. She longed to escape this strange prison in which she found herself, but lacked the means to do so. And so she kicked and thrashed and struggled until finally...
There was light.
The sudden absence of darkness burned, and Cinder flinched away from it with a hiss; it, as much as the sudden rush of voices that followed. She couldn't make sense of them. Just listening to it left her with a raging ache in the back of her head.
Cinder struggled to move her arms, but they betrayed her. She sought to summon her blades and defend herself, but failed to create so much as a spark. Even the act of moving her head seemed beyond her. So tired. So weak. Weaker than she'd ever been. What new devilry was this? She didn't like it. It hurt. It felt bad. She wanted it to stop. Make it stop.
...what? Those were not her thoughts. They were too jumbled, too frantic to be her own, surely. Nonsense. Utter nonsense.
A strange, foreign sensation swelled up in her, heedless of her attempts to stomp it back down.
"Its a girl!" someone cried!
Yes, she was of the female persuasion. What of it? Had she been captured? Was she to be tortured?
Strong arms held her close and with a supreme effort of will, Cinder forced herself to open her eyes. Everything was blurry, as though she were staring through the lends of a bad camera left out of focus. She gazed up at the woman holding her and beheld a pale-yet blurry face with dark eyes, framed by darker hair. That couldn't be right. Why did the woman look so...large? Not heavyset, just...big! Bigger than she should be!
"Its a girl, darling." the woman cooed to someone just out of sight, and this time, Cinder was appalled to realize she understood every word. "Our baby girl. Oh, but she needs a name...
...how does Cinder sound?" a man's voice offered.
"Hmm?" the woman blinked. "Why Cinder?"
"I'm...not sure." The man's voice admitted. "It just feels right."
And with that statement, Cinder's worldview shattered like brittle glass.
"By the sage," someone murmured nearby, "Look at her eyes! They're so bright!"
Realization broke like the dawn and Cinder shrieked. Rather, she tried to. All that emerged was a tiny mewling gurgle.
Her thoughts, once composed and orderly, began to break apart like a raft in a storm-tossed sea even as she struggled to cling to them. No! This couldn't be. It simply could not be! It mustn't be! She was meant for more than this. She had a purpose! A destiny! This was not it! No, no, no! It wasn't fair! Not fair at all! Not fair!
"Aw, look at her." the woman cooed. "Isn't she just precious?"
This wasn't precious not at all! Just the opposite!
Bitter tears welled up in Cinder's eyes and for the first time in her life, she found herself unable to choke them back down. She tried to shove these strange new feelings away but she was too weak. Too tired. Her tiny new body cared not for her feelings and betrayed her at every turn. Something pushed her thoughts away, replacing them with blind panic and an overpowering hunger. Her body trembled and Cinder quivered helplessly in the arms of the woman who, she realized, had given birth to her.
She had died, and so too had she been reborn.
Without warning her last bastion of sanity dissolved entirely, sending her every thought plunging into chaos. She was going to murder the one responsible for this atrocity. Whatever higher power saw fit to bring her back to life and reincarnate her as this...this mewling babe...they would pay. She'd burn the flesh from their bones. Tear out their spine and beat them with it! She would...she would...what was she going to do again? Her head felt funny. A host of emotions seared through her and she was lost.
Her lower lip trembled, despite Cinder's best efforts to tame it.
Blast it! She refused to cry! Absolutely not! No! Resist!
No dice. She burst into tears.
A/N: Don't worry, we'll get our Naruto POV next chapter.
This story's going to be radically different from the events of canon. Its also going to be a good deal SHORTER than what one might expect. Hope you're prepared. To clarify here, Cinder died in Remnant at Ruby's hands and found herself reincarnated in another world as an infant. She's in Naruto's world, to be precise. It remains to be seen if her newfound Maiden Powers survived the trip. Needless to say, she's quite aware of her situation and she's none too pleased.
There's a prize in it for the first person to figure out which family she was born to.
Gods know I dropped enough hints here already.
So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Review...Would You Kindly?
And as ever:
SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
PLOT DETAILS AHOY!
Cinder was not a well behaved child.
The Clan would soon lean that lesson the hard way.
Naruto felt his heart flutter. Just a little. Just a bit. Huh. Felt kinda weird.
"Go away." she sniffled. "I don't want your help."
Azure orbs met angry golden eyes.
"But you're hurt...
Cinder tucked her injured knee closer to her chest and eyed the blond boy balefully, fully prepared to bite if he came any closer. Did he not understand? Had she not told him to leave her be? She didn't need his kindness. Didn't wanted his pity. She needed no one. When he didn't leave, however, a long suffering sigh stole out of her. It was just the sort a child should never make. She was only five years old, after all. Five years of age, and ohhh how she loathed being a child again.
"If you're not going to leave, then get me some bandages." she lisped. "This hurts."
Incredibly, the whiskered youth did just that. It would prove the beginning of a strange friendship between the two of them.