A/N: ...here it comes. The second half. Hope you enjoy it while I get life figured out.

So bloody busy these days...

Still waiting for the shoe to drop on my transmissions costs; anxiety is eating me alive. All of my money has gone toward taking car of my sister while she recovers from surgery so unless parts and labor end up being cheap -unlikely- I don't know how I'm going to pay for it, even with all the crazy hours I'm working at bot jobs.

Rental car is a no go, those are too expensive, and I haven't the money to buy a new one. Terrified of taking a loan out from the bank.

But I'm also afraid to open a you know what or accept money from others. I've never done so before...

I'll say it now, tomorrow might be a difficult update. Between everything life is throwing my way have and the fact that I now have less than ten hours between shifts; in other words, I finish late and come in early, meaning I'll need to write everything in advance or scribble down notes, which promises to be a bit...chaotic.

On the plus side! The next chapter of Untraveled Road -be it on Saturday or Sunday- is going to be absolutely WILD.

Raven and Kali really steal the show in the upcoming chapter.

...I may have said too much.

Still, here we go. ELEVEN chapters for this story in TWO MONTHS. Hope you enjoyed them; I'm utterly exhausted. I wanted, and still want this to be good story, not a simple "Naruto bangs a, b, c, d, yadda yadda yadda." His actions have consequences; his words and will shape the world around him; I wanted every chapter to reflect that. Hopefully, I succeeded.

RWBY may have been canned by Warner Bros for now, but we fanfiction writers are out here trying to keep the light alive, as it were. So here we go. The fate of this story depends on you, the reader. Your feedback determines the fate of this tale, and many others.

As ever, I own no references, quotes, themes or memes. They're tributes to legends far greater than little 'ol me, made solely for entertainment and the sake of laughter.

Seriously, I own nothing. You all know that well~! Now that we've gotten all those words out the way...Let's begin~!

The myriad misunderstandings between characters remain GLORIOUS in this chapter.

Ghost Rider Moment incoming. You all know the one.

"There's a monster inside all of us. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it isn't.

At the end of the day, that depends on you. Now, then...



Break the Girls

Taiyang knew monsters.

He had encountered them countless times before throughout his long life, both as a Huntsman and Father alike. He'd seen so many now; in nearly every shape and form imaginable, terrors and horrors well beyond human imagination, things straight out of the darkest nightmare.

Despite what the Academies would have you believe, Grimm weren't the only beasts out there.

Some were far more dangerous. Some wore human skin. Some were insane while some only pretended to be sane, the better to make their victims lower their guard-to let them close. He'd seen and fought just about all kinds. Be it a rogue Hunter or one of Salem's ilk, every time, no matter the man nor beast, he always triumphed and made sure to get home to his family in one piece.

Because you see, Tai understood the ugly truth of things.

At the end of the day, everyone had a monster inside them; no matter what they might say.

He was no exception himself; he had a beastly temper. He'd be the first to admit it, he was usually pretty good at directing it away at the Grimm or rogue huntsmen.



...or so he had been, once upon a time, in the old days.

Losing Raven and Yang made it worse.

And this...?

An open palm struck his chin and send his head snapping back with a vicious flash of aura. Stars -galaxies!- flashed before his eyes, and he flung up an arm to ward off the attack he knew was coming; and well that he did because he actually managed to block one punch before a hand wrenched his cobalt gauntlets aside and started hammering hits into him.

Lungs, kidneys, throat. Each hit calculated to capitalize as well as cripple. Bastard was aiming for his vitals.

Naruto had promised him shock and awe and he delivered it in spades; he hit like a truck-actually, scratch that, he'd been hit by a truck before -one helluva adventure that was- and he could say with the utmost certainty these punches hit ten times harder. He could feel his aura plummeting with each hit and with it, his semblance, the one thing keeping him in this fight.

His semblance, Survivor, was only known to a scarce few outside Vale, and for good reason; most people who saw it didn't live to tell the tale. It was simple and brutally effective. He was the tank of Team STRQ; the one who took damage, taunted the enemy, and survived hits that nobody but nobody had any business surviving.

But unlike a tank, anything he survived, he gradually gained resistance to. Grimm claws, bullets, blades, these days his skin was practically a second aura unto itself, his hide tough as nails. Paired with his dust gauntlets and their rotating interlocked cylinders, he could take obscene amounts of damage, shrug it off, and deliver even more.

Therein lie the rub, as it were; Haven's Headmaster had figured it out.

He wasn't sure how exactly; maybe he'd always secretly known, or guessed at it, regardless, he knew enough to put him on the back foot. Each attack was different, his strength rising, and rising and rising again to batter him senseless. Whenever he grew immune to one attack, Naruto had another for him. Wind, fire, earth, torrents of water and even the very shadows themselves came alive to lash at him, grasping and biting into his skin with vicious force. And when he got away from those, he ran right into the blender that was his feet or fists.

It was akin to David versus Goliath, but no slingshot on Remnant was going to save him.

The Headmaster of Hell was running him over like a bulldozer on drugs; hard and fast, systematically crushing any and all hope, nay the very concept of resistance from him.

It was working, too, and not for the reasons one might expect.

Because you see, they were watching.

Qrow was of no help at all here; his drinking buddy had long since resigned himself as a spectator in this brawl for reasons he couldn't understand. He could live with that, although he'd be having words with him later. But Yang?

He ducked back from a blow that would've taken his head clear off and glimpsed her for a moment

His daughter dodged Summer, kicked off a wall to safety, looked back their was and flung up her arms with a grin so reminiscent of Raven he nearly wept.

The shout that followed, though? That was all him. His blood, through and through.

"Wooo! Go daddies! Fight, fight, fight! Kick some ass!"

Naruto snapped at her. "Yang Branwen! Language!"

"Sorry, not sorry!"

Taiyang balked at her, but she was already leaping away, dodging Summer again. Who the hell was she cheering for? It wasn't fair. She should've been cheering for him. Praising him. He barely even knew her and yet he still loved her with all his heart and soul, every fiber of his being.

And this man...had TAKEN her...!

A flurry of blows battered him backwards and forced him to back t the present moment. He threw a jab, only be countered by a strong right, left, then a right again. On and on they came, a storm that wouldn't relent, an assault that never seemed to end until-

There! An opening!

Shunting aside a punch that made his bones scream Tai bulled forward to slug him in the face.

He realized his mistake too late. Naruto took the punch dead on, tripped him, gripped him by the vest and yanked him in to glower at him. "You're holding back."

A grimaced tugged at the corner of his mouth despite his best efforts. "A little. So are you."

Naruto scowled right back at him. "Because I'd rather not kill you in front of Yang, idiot."

Idiot, was he? They'd just see about that. "She'll understand when I beat you."

"No," something sad flashed across his face. "She won't."

Anger burned through him, hot and heady. "SHE WILL!"

Naruto didn't rise to the bait, he merely shook his head. "There's a monster in all of us, Taiyang. Time to let the monster out."

Something about the way he said those words sent a chill shooting through him. "What the hell does that mean?

"It means, if you don't stop holding back right now," Naruto dropped his headmaster facade with a toothy grin, "I'm gonna fold you like a pretzel."

"Fine. But remember, you asked for this."

Taiyang let go.

To a hapless bystander, he knew how he must appear; his bright eyes, once a deep and soulful blue, burned an eerie shade of green as he stood taller. His muscles bristled, not quite swelling, but gaining more mass and substance, becoming larger somehow. Firmer. Stronger. He grunted and flexed his neck, producing an ominous crack as he adopted a loose stance, one fist held out before him. Fresh anger coursed through him as his hated foe began to chuckle and with the laughter, came the overwhelming urge to smash and break and CRUSH everything before him.

No. He stubbornly stamped it down, leashed it, and focused firmly upon whiskered warrior smirking up at him.

"I get it." The Headmaster of Hell shook his head, mildly amused. "Raven and Qrow weren't the only ones. Oz gave you and Summer the last of his magic too, didn't he? But he gave you something a little different..

"A long time ago." not much, and it wasn't something he necessarily liked to use, but here, now, he needed every advantage he could get.

Naruto grinned. "Show me."

Taiyang lumbered in and threw a punch. Blond bastard didn't even try to dodge. He took it full on the chest, grunted once and nodded.


Another crippling kick whistled in at his head. This time he was ready for it. More than ready.


Catching a heel with one hand, he dug his boots in and made to throw the baffling blond once more, only for the beaming bastard to achieve the impossible. Rather that retreat like a normal person, he twisted his body at an unnatural angle to violently lurch forward, uncaring of the bones he broke and the muscles he mangled in the offing. It was such a senselessly self-destructive move that Taiyang actually froze for a moment, allowing him to close the distance

Naruto took that moment to kick him in the head with the other leg.

"Hello stars again, my old friend~!" his dazed mind slurred blearily, "I've come to see you once again~!"

The brief second of inattention cost him dearly; because Naruto promptly boxed his ears and smashed another of those awful spheres into his chest. This one hurt even worse the last and ripped him away thrice as fast; he scarcely had time to shout before he found himself drilled down into the street.

A hand grasped him by the hair and ripped him upright.

"So you can survive a weak Rasenshuriken." through bleary eyes he beheld the Headmaster of Haven smiling at him. "Not bad."

Was his leg healed already? How was he moving with an injury like that? It didn't make any sense!

"Had enough?"

Taiyang howled and lurched upright, smashing both gauntlets into Naruto's face at point blank range to flood that whiskered visage with nearly a year's worth of dust.

Fire and lightning flashed forth, searing into his adversary head with a blazing explosion. Smoke billowed into the air, bringing with it the unmistakable scent of charred flesh as his skull was shrouded in a cloud of flowing napalm. The blond swayed drunkenly on his feet and Tai took full advantage, hammering him down into the street once, twice, thrice to make sure he stayed there.

"I'm sorry," he snarled at his prone form, "Did that hurt? It looks like it did."

An annoyed noise was his only warning.

Then all hell broke loose.

Clenched fingers seized around his vest and yanked him forward into the haze, bringing him face to face with Naruto's badly burnt face; one that healed even now as he looked on, rapidly recovering from the terrible tissue damaged he had so willingly inflicted. In a matter of moments, he appeared totally intact.

Regeneration?! Really?! That was bullshit!

Naruto's forehead smashed against his, stunning him through aura.

He struggled against the hand holding him, to no avail. Another found his throat and began to squeeze.

"Sorry," he rasped in a feral whisper, teeth gone sharp and eyes blazing red as he glibly threw his own words back at him, "Does it hurt?"

Burning fingers clenched around his windpipe, forcing a gasp from Taiyang's lips.

Naruto tilted his head and for a terrifying moment he had the strangest sensation; as though some terrible beast were speaking through him. "Looks like it does."

"Kill me, then!" he thrashed in his grasp, "Do it! Get it over with!"

His foe -rival!- could've finished him then and there; they both knew it. Instead he chose to prolong his suffering.

With a scoff, the Headmaster of Haven tossed him away and sent him spinning into the air, only for a hand to catch him by his ankle and smash him down into the dirt.




Naruto whipped him to and fro like a human flail without so much as a word; on the fourth slam he left him there, wedged into the street like some squashed animal, gasping for air. When he tried to rise, the younger man stomped down on his chest, pinning him where he lay.

"Puny huntsman."

Taiyang snarled at him and grabbed the offending foot crushing him down into the street, to no avail.

Naruto didn't shout at him. Didn't snap or snarl anymore, nor any such thing.

He just...stared. And as he stared, his eyes faded back to blue.

Taiyang had seen Salem once; only from afar, and not for very long, but seen her he had and he recalled the sheer presence she'd excused. Darkness incarnate, an absence that swallowed the very light itself.

This was worse.

For if Salem was the abyss, deep and dark and deathly, cold callous and cruel, crushing all hope from within, then he was the sun. Sure, that sounded nice on the surface, but what did the sun do? Baked, boiled and beat you down through sheer force of will.

And what happened when you flew too close to it?

Everyone knew the answers. It was common bloody sense. You fell.

Just as Icarus in the tales of old. He'd flown too close to the Sun. He saw his death in those cold blue eyes and it broke something deep inside of him.

"You think you've got me all figured out, don't you!" Even now, despite having him pinned and at his mercy, Naruto still wasn't well and truly angry; his response was merely to sigh, akin to that of an exasperated teacher chastising a much maligned student for their mistakes. "Nothing came easy for me, no matter how hard I tried. Never did fit in the mold, ya know, no matter what everyone said. I know you're hurting. Even so, I was willing to let bygones be bygones. But you...you just had to go and make me choose violence."

His fist reared back, poised to deliver the knockout blow.

"I hope it was everything you wanted, Taiyang."

And them someone jumped him.


Summer jumped him from behind.

Naruto wasn't surprised she did; he'd known the rambunctious Rose would break off from Yang the moment her husband was in danger. He could respect that kinda loyalty. It spoke well to their bond that she would throw herself headlong into danger after watching him dismantle Taiyang like that. Good on her, really.

Wouldn't be enough, though. Not nearly enough.

It was a very good ambush; she didn't shout or give herself away, didn't even make a sound as she launched herself off a rooftop after him.

But he could sense her intent clear as day.

She didn't have the guts for this.

He pivoted and threw a lazy punch her way, unwilling to break her...only for his fist to pass right through her face.


His hand phased right through her without making contact, followed by his wrist, then his elbow. Overextended, he took a step forward to balance himself, but it was too late. Shock slowed him and Summer Rose took full advantage. She shifted aside, breaking said contact and slammed her ax into his collarbone. It spoke well to his confusion that he let the hit land at all. The hit staggered him, biting heartily into his aura before he spun to face her again.

A spinning kick phased right through her head.

Balking eyes bulged. "Obito?!"

Summer blinked. "Who?"

No, he calmed himself after a moment of incredulous panic it wasn't him, but her ability was similar. Almost worryingly so. He hoped she couldn't draw things in; else this might be a problem.

He struck harder, faster now, only to meet the same result.

Much to his surprise, the subsequent shockwave still shoved Summer back, however.

Dust rounds raked off his shoulders, drawing his ire and attention before he could ponder.

Taiyang had freed himself, it seemed. Summer had only ever been a distraction, and his own hesitation had cost him.

Summer stuck out her tongue at him. "Nyeh!"

"Cheeky little...!" She phased through the floor, leaving him to glower in her wake.

Taiyang struck while he was distracted -sloppy of him, he needed to mind his surroundings- punching him into a closed dust shop. He knew it was closed because (A), he got a very good look at the sign right before he smashed through the glass door, and (B), because the blond bastard immediately detonated the place around him.

Hauling himself out the rubble, Naruto spared a glance for the ruined building and sighed explosively.

It was Just a Dust Shop. He shouldn't be angry.

And yet.

That was someone's livelihood he'd just destroyed.

"So that's how it is." a frown writ his whiskered visage. "Gonna double team me now, eh?"

"Let me out to play. We'll show them."


A crimson tear cut through the air between them and put paid to that statement.


Qrow hissed out a breath. "Aw, shit..

Naruto slapped a hand to his forehead and and dragged it across his face. "Okay, I guess we're doing this now...

Sure enough, Yang's other stepped through the portal, sheathing Omen as she went. Her face was carved from stone, her good eye fixed firmly on the foes ahead.

"Raven, go back. I can handle this-

"Doesn't look like you're handling it." Scowling, she looked past him and jerked her chin toward her teammates. "Or them."

Them? Crap. He'd forgotten about Taiyang and Summer for a moment.

Naruto looked back, belatedly realizing he was no longer under attack. Raven's teammates were still as stone in the street, as though frozen in time. Each looked like they'd seen a ghost; fitting perhaps, given what they knew, or rather, what they thought they knew.

"Mom!" Yang saw her chance and bounded over with an impish grin. "You're back!"

Raven deigned to pat her head. "Daughter."

Are you here to play, too?

"Something like that."

"What is this...?" Taiyang looked left and right, found no answers in sight, and looked like might take flight from fright. What the actual hell is this?" his voice warbled. What's going on here?

Qrow stepped up beside him. "Its what I told you. Complicated-

"No!" Taiyand thundered over him. "Summer saw the ashes of your Tribe! You were dead!"

"I was, in a sense." she touched a hand to her eyepatch and idly flexed the fingers of her metal arm. "It was cold, dark, and not terribly bright. A certain someone," Naruto grunted as said metal elbow jabbed him in the ribs, "Wouldn't let me stay there."

He beamed, despite the tension. "Don't regret it."

Summer found her voice first. "But...but if you were alive, then why didn't you come back?!"

Raven blinked slowly. Then her good eye narrowed to a silent, smoldering slit. "Is that really the question you want to ask me?" When Summer didn't answer, she hissed softly. "Why did I take Yang? Why haven't I come back? How about "why did you leave us", hmm? Did it never occur to you to ask?


"Three words." Raven held up three fingers from her false hand, scowling furiously. "Three little words, and I could shatter your world. Qrow's already heard them by now." she glanced her brother's way, causing him to avert his gaze. "Consider it a mercy that we haven't already told you.

Summer tried to rally, bless her simple soul. "What do you know?"

"Less than you hope and more than I care to. Ignorance is bliss." She shook her head once. "Abandon this fool's quest, turn around, walk away, and you can continue to live in your ignorance." her gaze sought out Taiyang, still stricken into silence. "Or we can fight, and you can PRAY that Yang still wants you in your life afterwards.

"Meh," their rambunctious daughter shrugged. "I'm fine with either. I mean, its not like you're trying to kill Daddy, right?"

Taiyang studied his boots and remained pointedly silent.

Yang scowled. "Right?"

Her birth father made a noise caught somewhere between a sob and a sigh.

"Raven," he gulped once, choking his emotions down. "I thought so highly of you, I didn't realize you thought so low of me. "You left me!" He thumped his chest with a fist, and here at last he glimpsed the tears gleaming in his eyes. "You! Left! Me! And summer and Qrow! Just like that! Like we were nothing to you!"

"And I'd do it again."

Taiyang made a pained noise.

Naruto hissed under his breath. "You're supposed to be helping."

"And I am."

He sputtered. "How is this helping me?!"

She elbowed him. "By forcing you to do what should've been done a long time ago. Knock some sense into this idiot.

Damnit. He had no desire to hurt the man before him any more than he already had. And yet he had no choice.

Summer gulped. "How long have the two of you-

"Not so long as you think". He held up a hand to forestall an outburst. "I found her on the verge of death and saved her life."

"And after?"

He rolled a shoulder. "I made a promise to protect her. I keep my promises."

"So that's it." Tai stared, heartbroken, reeling. "You chose him over me?

Naruto blew out a breath. That's not it-

"Yes." Raven interjected softly.

He rounded on her. "Rae!"

"What?" she scoffed at him, unwilling to budge. "Half-truths won't cut it here. Don't try to spare his feelings. He won't thank you for that." She looked back to him. "If you must know, he listened to me. You didn't. Even when I carried Yang in my womb, you wouldn't heed my words. Every objection, every question, all ignored! You were so keen on pretending everything was alright-well, it wasn't alright! And I'm done pretending it is! Is it any wonder I chose him?"

"Raven, please-

"No!" she tossed her head in a furious shake. "I am NEVER going back to Ozpin. I'd sooner die.

"You don't have a choice." Taiyang racked his gauntlets. "I'm bringing you in."

"Then we have a problem, my dear EX husband...

"You don't get it!" Qrow burst out suddenly, trying one last time for peace. "Yang's-

"Qrow!" He'd never seen the man flinch like that before, as he did now beneath her baleful gaze. "Not another word."

He backed down with a sigh, and looked to Tai. "Tch, fine. Would you believe me if I said Yang's better off here?

"Not a chance."

Didn't think so. Guess we're doing this the half way.

"Oooh!" Yang perked up. More fights?

Naruto blew out an annoyed breath. "In that case...Kurama. Release restraint level one."

The old fox chortled softly in his head. "As you wish."

The ground cratered underfoot as the shackles on his chakra came flying off. Painstakingly applied limiters he'd placed on himself over the last few years, all gone in an instant. They'd be a bitch to reapply later -if he cared to at all-

Taiyang balked, eyes growing wide. "Level what?"

A kick slammed him into Summer, sending both sprawling.

Raven edged in on his right, pausing to kiss his cheek. "I'll handle Summer."

"Are you sure about that...?"

"Shush." She was already looking past him to her former team leader, watching with one eye as she and Tai climbed to her feet. "And how long did you wait to get with that blond oaf over there, hmmm? A year? A month?

Taiyang looked away.

Summer winced.

...less than a week, huh?" Raven whistled. "You thirsty girl. I'm almost proud...

"That's not fair! You left!"

"I did." her head bobbed. "And if you had any sense left in that self-righteous echo chamber you call a head you would've asked why.

"We did! We asked everyone-

"NOT ME!" she shouted her down. "Not hard enough. Not enough to listen, not enough to understand! Ozpin's been pulling the wool over you eyes!

"Ozpin has nothing to do with this!"

"OZPIN HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THIS!" Now it was Raven's turn to shout, and a frightful thing it was; even down an eye and an arm, no, in spite of it she managed to be absolutely terrifying. Her good eye was sharp, her lips peeled back in a snarl, face twisted in cold fury. "Haven't you realized that by now?!"

Gods, he wanted her so bad right now-no, focus!

"Enough!" Taiyang slashed a hand through the air, gauntlet bleeding dust as it went. "Give her and Yang up and we'll leave in peace.

Naruto blinked.


Saccharine laughter tumbled out of him. "Is that supposed to be a joke?"

Taiyang stepped to him. "No! I'm dead serious!"

"Ha!" he kept laughing to spit him. "That's good! Because it wasn't funny at all!

"Hahaha!" Not one to be out done, Tai mimicked his laughter. "Says the man with shit taste."

"Haha!" he butted his head against his and growled, sparks snarling between his eyes. "F**k you!"

Yang hooted in the background, stomping with glee. "Best early birthday present ever! Fight, fight, fight!"

It would come to that after all, he realized. He could see it in Taiyang's eyes, the stubborn set of Summer's jaw...



...fine. He wouldn't be satisfied with anything less.

"You won't win this." Taiyang said. "Even with her help, you're just one man.

Kurama quirked a brow in his mind. "Well, well. Now you gotta do it."

So he did. "I may be one. But we," he spread his arms, "are many."

Taiyang blinked. "We...?"

A grin split Raven's face.

He'd kept the secret of his shadow clones from the public for some time now. No longer.

In a single plume of smoke, Taiyang found himself surrounded.

Naruto thrust a finger forward. "Rush him."

Rush they did.


"What kind of semblance is that?!"

"The best kind." Raven made a pleased noise as Taiyang found himself mobbed.

And then, after a moment's paused, just to goad her:

"Hope you're satisfied with my sloppy seconds."

Summer bristled. "You did not just go there."

"I did and I bought property, bitch!"

"Gah! This is why I can't talk to you, you're just so damn stubborn!"

"This coming from miss bullheaded herself?" Omen escaped its sheathe with an audible hiss, blood red blade gleaming in the low light of the setting sun. "Fine. I'll beat some sense into into you."

"Careful, Rae." She chambered Sundered Rose with a grimace and adopted a ready stance. "My strength has doubled since the last time we fought."

Good." her old friend smiled. "Twice the pride, double the fall."

Then she was upon her.


"What did you think of Haven's Headmaster?

Silence reigned supreme in the room.

Kali tutted softly. "Nothing to say?"

Adam shrugged a shoulder.

"Dear boy...

It was something of a loaded question Kali felt; but she believed Adam was equal to answering it, given the right prompting.

She'd sat the older boy down in a chair only a few moments ago; Ghira was even now asking Blake and Illia the same question in the next room.

They'd returned from their meeting in high spirits, but also concerned. The so-called Headmaster of Hell -she was beginning to think he'd earned that title- had put them up in a nice hotel for the next week while he mulled things over, which left them with an abundance of time. Meaning, they had time to talk and considered their next move.

Not just theirs, but those of their children, of those under their protection.

At the end of the day it was the future they must focus on.

Adam shrugged a shoulder, drawing an eye.

Kali flicked his forehead with her pinky finger. "Use your words, dear." I know you're not a brute. Show me that intellect Blake brags about."

...He's strong."

She nodded. So he is.

"And brave," he added after a moments pause.

"Oh, yes." She mimed another nod. "Very brave."

Adam paused, considered, then asked the obvious question. "Why haven't we recruited him, yet?

Such a bold, blunt boy.

"Because we can't." She patted his head, taking care not to harm his horns. He wields great influence here in Haven, and Mistral as well. Taking that away from him would do the world a great disservice."

"He does...

Now for the moment of truth. "Would you like to study here?"

A flicker of excitement flashed across his face before he managed to master himself. "I don't want to leave Blake."

Kali hid a giggle behind her hand. "I daresay she'll want to study here too after today's display."

"Illia, too?"

Her smile grew a little. "She wouldn't miss this for the world."

Because where Blake went, so would she.

"But what about the cause?"

Adam, Adam, Adam! Children were so wise in some ways and yet so naive in others. She envied him his purity of purpose. Would that they had the same conviction.

"Listen to me." she laid a hand on his shoulder, willing him to look at her once more. ""What the White Fang needs now is strength. We don't have enough. We need friends. Allies. Do you understand? Haven will a powerful one in the years to come. Do you understand? Can you do that for us, Adam?

The little redhead frowned. "...will it help the Faunus?"

An easy answer, that.


Adam contemplated it for a moment, then nodded. "Then I will go."

"Good boy." Blake would probably follow him, the silly girl, and Illia with her.

And the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants and it cannot be told otherwise.

She should know; she'd wanted Ghira from the moment she laid eyes on him. There had been others who pined for her, other suitors who sought her hand, but her mind was made up. She'd turned them all down and followed her heart.

Still...in another world, another time, another life, Adam might've been her son. His parents were long gone now -just another tragedy amidst the countless acts of enmity the poor boy had suffered-but she'd resolved herself to see him raised proper. Properly!

But they just weren't strong enough to keep the little ones safe. None of them were.

Their children would be safe here, away from Sienna and her mad machinations. Should any harm befall her and Ghira she was certain they would be protected.

Naruto's fate was intrinsically tied to theirs. He just didn't know it yet.

And then the hotel shook.

Kali craned her neck back, regarding the nearest window.

"My, my," she touched a hand to her cheek, "Whatever was that noise...?



Summer had forgotten.

She'd forgotten...very many things.

Sure, she had missed Raven, true, but in her haste to see her again, in her nostalgia, she'd forgotten something terribly important.

Raven was strong.

One of the strongest huntresses in a generation-no, generations, the kind of strong that only came around once in a century. And she'd only grown stronger since.

Omen whistled in with a vengeance and clashed against Sundered Rose, rattling her ax and the hand holding it. She parried furiously, chambered a kick, and was summarily slapped aside like some first-year at Beacon. It stung her pride more than her cheek. She was no slacker herself; she'd been training her arse off ever since they lost Yang and doubly so since Ruby was born. She'd run herself through the grinder again and again and again, determined to protect all she held dear.

Raven has surpassed her at some point; no, she'd leaped past her once again.

That metal arm wasn't for show; it allowed her to land inhuman strikes, block at the most unpredictable of times, drive her into a corner. Worse, her style had changed. Where once she had been savagery incarnate, now she danced around her attacks, flowing like air, rippling like water, only to turn harsh as earth and fiery as flame. She knew her semblance and how to get around it; not just because she knew how much aura it burned, but its weakness as well. Her weakness.

Damnit, she was picking her apart!

What had she been up to these last five years?!

"Stop holding back!"

Raven frowned. "Forgive me for wanting to prolong a reunion with an old friend. But if you insist."

Omen scrapped inside her guard, diverted Sundered Rose into the dirt, where she stomped down, burying it deep.

The weapon -her precious ax!- snapped in half, leaving her clutching the ruined half. Summer didn't have time to gasp; because Omen stabbed at her ribs. She took the hit with a yelp, trusting in her aura. It held. Until it didn't. She went down with a gasp, clutching her side.

"Weak." That word sank its teeth into her confidence like an Beowolf, and bit deep. "If this is all you're capable of, then how will you protect yourself, let alone Ruby?"

Anger bubbled in her, mingled with despair, and choked her words. "This isn't my fault! You started this! You left us!

A heel caught her ribs and send her skidding. "You could've followed me and asked why. Instead you stayed."

Deprived of her weapon, she surged upright and threw a punch instead. "Don't make this about you!"

"But it is!" Raven caught her punch, wrenched her arm down and threw her aside. "Because now I know the truth! Everything Ozpin kept from us! Everything he lied about!" A dark flash of emotion raced across her pale visage, there and gone again in an instant. "You think you're fighting the good fight? That you're doing anything meaningful?

"I am!"

"You're not." Raven jumped on her, wrestling her to the ground. Her newfound strength made it easy, almost effortless even. She pinned her and shook her head, setting her dark mane swaying. "Remember, you asked for this...

She leaned in close, and whispered three little words into her ear.

"Salem is immortal."

Reality shattered.

Because you see, it made sense. Why she'd changed. Why she left.

She'd discovered the truth. And it hurt her.

The dawn broke, a bitter one indeed.

"No." she choked, swallowed now, shook her head. "No, that's impossible! You're lying. Salem can't be immortal...

"Summer...when have I ever lied to you?"

"NO!" she clawed at her and was summarily shoved down. "Liar!"

Raven remained merciless. "Search your feelings. You know it to be true."

She did, and that was the worst part of it; everything added up. She wished it hadn't, wished it didn't, wanted to deny it. But she could. Ignorance was bliss, but now that bliss had been stripped away, revealing the cold, hard truth of the world in all its ugly, ghastly glory.

Raven left her there, crying in the street, but not for long.

Something in Summer snapped.

She lunged at her back.

A flash of gold blazed.

And then:




An awful crack filled the air.

Naruto didn't see what happened or who did what; but he DID see Summer hurtle past him at speed. Her back struck a damp alleyway wall with an ominous crack. She slumped down against it, head lolling dangerously to the side, leaving a streak of blood in her wake...before she fell. From there, he body crumpled like a house of cards, splashed down facefirst into a dirty puddle and lay still.

She did not rise again.

Taiyang froze, all thoughts of fight fleeing from his mind. "Summer?"

She didn't move.


He broke off from him with a strangled scream and ran after. Naruto let him go; watched now as he skidded to a halt on his knees at her side.

"No, please!" he turned her over, cradling her limp body in his arms. "Not you, too! I can't...

Yang looked at him with a wince. "M'sorry...

He patted her head. "Its not your fault.

Blast his bleeding heart and his sympathy. Three long strides carried him to Summer's still side.

He blew out an annoyed breath and glared at Taiyang. "This doesn't make us friends."

The grieving man blubbered for a moment before finally found his voice. "What?"

He laid a marked hand on her back and flooded her body with healing chakra. She jolted, a gasp tearing from her lips. Taiyang babbled something that vaguely sounded like a thank you, but he didn't deign to listen. He'd other matters to attend. Anger sparked in him as he leaned down to hiss in her ear.

"Doesn't feel good, does it?" his snarl stilled her and any protest she might've made "You're lucky Yang's here. If she wasn't I'd leave you here to rot...

But she was, and he wouldn't; if only because his heart couldn't possibly bear the thought of disappointing his baby girl.

...now then." he fixed them both with a stern glare. "Let's talk. Are you still going to try and fight after all this?"

Taiyang glanced at Yang and looked like he just might, but Summer shook her head fiercely.

Raven laid a tense hand on Omen's hilt. "They won't if they know what's good for them."

"They'll stop!" Yang hurried over and clasped both hands before her face. "Please, just stop. Okay? Pretty please?

Naruto saw the infamous puppy-dog-eyes and wisely averted his gaze in time, but it was too late for the rest of them. Qrow looked away with a guilty groan and Raven was suddenly immensely interested in her heels. As for Summer and Tai? It was like flicking a switch; when faced with such a pleading expression, even they couldn't muster the will to fight.

Summer hung her head. "We surrender...

Taiyang stared sullenly at the ground. "Fine. We'll stop...for now."

Yang glowered at him. "You won't attack daddy?"


"You'll be good?"

He glowered into his hands. "Yes."

Yang turned her glower on Summer. "You'll be nice to Mum?"

Summer wilted with a whimper. "I won't attack her like that again, promise...

Qrow whistled softly. "Daaaang. Is that her semblance or something? Pretty sure its a semblance."

"Nope," Naruto couldn't hide his smile, unable to quell the sudden flutter of parental pride in his chest. "She's just that good."

Yang abruptly pounced on Summer and Tai with a delighted squeal, all but driving the battered couple to the ground in a fit of glee. "Thank you, thank you! I love you!"

Taiyang made a strangled noise that sounded suspiciously like a sob and began to weep. His arms locked around Yang, holding tight, and after a moment's pause Summer joined him. A minute passed. Then another. Three of them, now. It was a credit to his daughter's dutiful patience and boundless excitement that she allowed them to hold her at all; but even she had her limits.

Once five minutes elapsed, he deemed it enough.

"Great!" Rising, Naruto plucked his daughter free, then fixed them both with a sunny smile as Raven laid a hand on each of their shoulders. "Have a nice nap. I'll see you in the morning."

Summer and Tai barely had time to balk before Raven drove their heads together with a dull THUNK, knocking them right out.

Qrow heaved a sigh as they slumped to the floor, glowered darkly at him once more. "Was that really necessary?"

Naruto stuck out his tongue childishly. "Yes, it was. It was a great need I couldn't deny."

Raven nodded her hearty agreement. "A few lumps are the least they owe us."

Yang tilted her head an inch to the right. "Sooo...can I see Ruby, now?"

Of course that was her focus. "...when they wake up, I'll ask 'em."

Their little hellion pumped a fist into the air. "Best day ever~!"

A/N: Fallout of this attack next chapter. You are not prepared for the chaos to come.

Taiyang and Summer very clearly aren't dead, but they might wish they were once they wake up...

That said, would you like another early update next week? By that, I mean Friday or Saturday hopefully. Perhaps even earlier?

Do let me know; feedback is important, especially with the app and site occassionally glitching out, I really need to hear from you here, give the site issues.

I'm sure you were all expecting Ozpin to jump into that brawl; but why would he? He's thousands of years old. He knows better. Oh, he'll be proper pissed with Taiyang and Summer acting without his permission, but at the end of the day, he's entirely too cautious to charge headlong int

Some might say that caution is what caused the Fall of Beacon...

RWBY may have been canned by Warner Bros. but we fanfiction writers are out here trying to keep the light alive, as it were. So here we go. The fate of this story depends on you, the reader. Your feedback determines the fate of this tale, and many others.

So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter!

That's no joke! I can't write without feedback. Guess that makes me weak...T_T

So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...

...Review Would You Kindly?

And enjoy the previews!

Potential ones at that.

Also, references.

And as ever:






Raven lowered her blade and walked away.

Hey, mum.


Dad's strong.

He certainly is.

Will I ever be that strong?



She was honest with her because she had to be. But you'll get close.

How close?

Real close.

"You don't treat your savior like a slave."

"But he is supposed to save me , serve me and..."

"You see, that's where you got it all mixed up...HE ISN'T.

Phone call for you, headmaster.

My thanks. He set it to his ear and smiled. Naruto speaking?

...you don't know me, but I know you. The signal was grainy; the figure almost indistinct. Pity his eyes were sharper than most.

You strike me as a rather sentimental man, headmaster. That's surprising, given what I know of you. Fortunately, I don't possess the capacity for that. I could never understand what comes from feeling that way except...weakness. Our queen feels much the same.

Our queen?

But of course.

Watts, was it? Ordinarily I'd say what you do is not my concern, the world is full of people like you. Perhaps in a perfect world, everything comes with a price. But this isn't a perfect world. People do bad things, and if you're lucky, you get a chance to set it right, but most of the times it goes unpunished. This isn't one of those times. You take one step toward me, or my family, and I'll kill you. The only disappointment for me in all this, is that I'll only get to do it once. What you say to me is immaterial to me; you're even less entertaining than dry cereal.

"You think this is a joke?!" The man on the other end -Watts!- sputtered spectacularly, black mustache bristling like some great hungry caterpillar. "Don't you dare ignore me! I'll show you suffering-

The image on the other end crackled; he sneered at it. "Oh, no! Your signal is buffering!"

"I'll destroy you! You little-

The scroll winked out.

"I'm afraid you've lost your signal.

He closed down his scroll, pushed back his chair, and began to hum under his breath.

"Let's begin...you're gonna wish I never came along...

"You pretend like you care about the victims, but you always let the scum live to make more victims for you to "care" about.

I care about victims. I'm willing to be monster, to be strong, so they can have the luxury of weakness. You say all I do is break the law? You can't break what you're above. I press like the devil, operate on a whole different level, and you know it. What do laws mean to someone like that. I don't know your story. Maybe things didn't go right for you. Bad break. Lives are complicated.

So we're selfish good guys. We're greedy bastards who want to FEEL like we're the good guys. What's wrong with that?

Nobody wants to be a villain. No one chooses to become a monster, not willingly, at any rate. Its never their first option. I've already given Qrow this talk. Now its your turn. Do you have any idea, any idea at all what I'm capable of? The number of dead I'd leave in my wake? The carnage I could unleash?

"Someday, if you ever have a child...the first time you look them you get a feeling all at once, that you'd die for them. Little thing you never saw before, and you would stone cold die for them.

That feeling doesn't go away. You might forget, but it's always there...always there.

I want you to leave my daughter alone.Call it a day. For your sake.

It is indeed a dark day, when a good man...or woman...should go to war. For there is no wrath greater, no fury stronger, no hatred purer, than one so kind and so caring, should they take up the sword.

For there will be no kindness, no forgiveness, NO MERCY."

"Demons run when a good man goes to war. Night will fall and drown the sun when a good man goes to war. Friendship dies and true love lies, night will fall and the dark will rise when a good man goes to war Demons run, but count the cost. The battle's won, but the child is lost."

EDIT: Equalizer references are entertaining, as always~! A shame I can't bring the main man himself into this story...

We all end up where we're supposed to be. Some of us just take a little longer to get there. Which means your man on the left, he's got his finger on the trigger but she's a foot too close, which renders your man on my right dead already. He just doesn't know it yet. I feel sorry for his family. Nine seconds. That's what you have to decide your fate. Nine seconds.

His smile split his face as he began to count down.


EDIT: Viva la Reacher~!

By not telling me everything you know, you're protecting the people who want to kill my family. Which makes you an enemy of Haven, and by default, me.

I'm not gonna waste my time with enhanced interrogation techniques. I'm just gonna squeeze the life out of you.

So if at any point before you die you feel like fully unburdening yourself, blink.

They blinked, eyes bulging in their head.

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that.

They blinked harder.

One more time.

You don't know what death is. You have no IDEA what death is! Five pounds of pressure on a trigger. That's all it takes to end a life. That's all.

Pickerel raised his gun and blew smoke from the barrel. "I bet all that aura makes you feel like a big man, don't it? I did too, until I fought a bastard that cut right through it. Y'see, there's just one problem with aura. Most people I know, they have to consciously keep it active. I wonder if you can manage that?

One of his attackers fell with a bloody gurgle.

A grin split his face. "I guess not."

Then he was among them.

Guns blazed in the dark.

"Ren, my friend!" Roman slung an arm around his shoulder. "You and I are the only men in this menagerie of women. We gotta stick together.

Easy for you to say, Roman. You're older.

"Wiser, too! A man must sometimes be insolent to make his dreams a reality!"

EDIT: Avatar (Live Action Version on Netlix) reverence is obvious...and fitting, given Ozpin.

Time. Ozpin chuckled once. Time's a funny thing. The past, the present, the future, for me, it all mixed up. There's only one way to keep it straight. By remembering what really matters. Of course, keeping sight of what's important can be had. Sometimes it feels like we will always be alone and the only thing keeping us company is our own pain. We tell ouselves we are the problem. Especially when things we can't control come our way. Tha's why we must let go of our pain and regrets and remember what is we are really fighting for. The ones we love. Let that be the light that guides you through the most treacherous of times...and the darkest of nights.

Its amazing how far we'll go to hide our true selves from others; because we don't want people to know how much they really mean to us, which is funny, because the truth is, we would do anything for them. We travel incredible distances, risk our lives, fight monsters. But I suppose it can be scary to admit you need people; some might see that as a weakness, a liability. After all, what greater pain is there than losing someone you love, or worse, discovering someone you love has left you behind. I suppose that is why we feel the need to hide away and protect ourselves at times. So we put on a mask Its hard to understand why, almost as hard as knowing that sometimes...the mask is who you truly are.

So, you thought you had all the pieces right where you wanted them.

There are so many moves I've yet to play.

You should've stayed away.

"Team SLVR." he greeted them at a glance. "Shiro Wan, Lin Fucshia, Victor Farrow, Rory Andrews. By all means, come in! He granted each of them a smile. "How are you settling in?

Team HCIN, welcome. Heather Shields, Nova Carillo, Ivy Altham, Inigo Nash. Tell me, how do you feel about entering the Vytal Festival?"

Team CBLT. Carmine Escalados, Bertilak Celadon, Lali Choi and Caroline Teale. I take it you're here to enter the Vytal Festival?

"I'd almost forgotten. The weak always get taken from. Thats how it works here. Which means you guys understand how it works too, right? Those who prey upon others should be prepared to be preyed upon themselves.

"I'll give you whatever you want! Please! Just let me live! I'll pay you double, two times-

Three times.


Three times you tried to kill me. Did you think I'd forget? And now you want mercy...? No. What happens in Mistral stays in Mistral...

Cinnabar heard the laughter.

She was poison.

She always had been, always was, always would be, for as long as she could remember. She couldn't be touched, couldn't draw near.

The door creaked open.

Stay back!

I don't want to dirty anything more than I already have. I don't want to be seen. It's shameful. I don't want to fight...then you won't have to.

"What do you know?!" she glared at him. Someone like you, beloved by all they couldn't possibly now what it feels like to be lonely.

Honestly, he tuted softly like an amused parent. Everyone's making this mistake. Its your semblance. You control it. Not the other way around.

Don't doubt yourself. Doubt kills. That's who are you, who you've always been, who you always will be. Sometimes we make the wrong choices to get to the right place.

No! I'm poisonous! You can't touch me-

You can't possibly adopt everyone.

I am running effectively running two academies in Mistral. Sanctum, where children learn what it is to be a Hunter and Haven where they BECOME Hunters.

Is this going somewhere?

The point, dear girl, is that I consider each of them my children. You're hardly the most difficult case that's come to me. I know someone who sprouts claws from his knuckles, a girl capable of wiping minds, and a boy who literally cannot open his eyes without incinerating someone. Then there's this rather surly gargoyle girl -fairly certain she's a faunus- who seems convinced that I'm out to kill her, to say nothing another student with six arms who enjoys kicking temari balls around. Oh, and my daughter flings lightning bolts when she's angry.

Her head was spinning. "And your point...?

"My point is, a bit of poison won't bother me.

She hiccuped once.

She melted into him.


Cinna, then. He patted her head. "Welcome to Sanctum."

EDIT: Tribute to Blue-Eyed Samurai here~!

Listen up, Students of Sanctum! A weapon is the soul of every Huntsman and Huntress, and so it must match them. Not solely in outward appearance, but their nature. Some weapons are rigid and thin, others large and powerful, others flowing like water. When crafting a weapon we beat the blade to remove the impurities from the steel, and thus harder the harder it is, but too pure and it becomes brittle. We must leave something of how it was made. Some might say any and all impurities must be removed. Perhaps, yet an impurity in the right place strengthen's one's weapon. Soft steel in the center, hard steel for the edge. Place the two together and you can have greatness. But what is a weapon? It is a line. On one side of that line is life, and the other, death. The edge you forge here today will cut the between the two. Now then...

He stepped back.

...craft your weapons."

The single quality that is common across every living creature on this planet.. is Fear It's funny then, that as common as fear is. We so easily underestimate its power Fear of growing close to someone. A subsequent fear of loss, a fear of failure. And as more people depend on you. Those fears can take on greater power.

But fear itself isn't worthy of concern; it is who we become while in its clutches.

Will you be proud of that person? Will you forgive them? Will you understand why they felt the need to do the things they did? Will you even recognize them?

Or will the person staring back at you be the very thing you should have feared from the start?

..I suppose we all find out sooner or later.

EDIT: Hey, thanks for reading!

Feels good to write another chapter for this. Hope you enjoyed it!

So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter!

Hope you have a great day~!