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Fanfic / My Own Worst Enemy (RWBY)

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Roman Torchwick did it. He took a leap of faith, survived the Battle of Beacon along with Neo, and is ready to leave the whole mess with Cinder behind him. Until he starts hearing a voice in his head that claims he is deceased headmaster of Beacon Academy, and that Roman is the newest inheritor of a heroic legacy that stretches back to the dawn of Remnant. And no, there are no take-backs, no matter how desperately Roman might wish he had options for his future other than killing Salem or dying to her.

My Own Worst Enemy is a RWBY fanfiction that diverges from canon following Volume 3 and can be found here on Archive of Our Own. It has a currently ongoing sequel, With Friends Like These, that can be found here.



  • Adaptational Badass: This version of Roman Torchwick is a Badass Normal who hadn’t even unlocked his Aura (canonically he simply never discovered his Semblance) which not only puts his canon feats in a new light, but means he becomes even more powerful when he finally gets it unlocked.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Ozpin is still a fiercely moral man who refuses to take advantage of others on principle, but Roman's influence in the Fusion Dance begins to show during the story's version of Volume 5's events where he snaps at Yang and the others for their presumptuous views on how to fight Salem.
  • Affably Evil: In-Universe, this is Roman's opinion of Clover. He's seen a lot of evil in his time and holds a very negative view of humanity, but Clover's charming, genuine personality contrasting with his complete devotion to Atlesian ideology genuinely creeps him out.
    Clover: *smiling gently* [Qrow is] proof that anyone can be rehabilitated into society under the right pressures.
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  • Anti-Hero: Roman's just fighting so he doesn't suffer Death of Personality by fully merging with Ozpin or get killed by Salem, and Neo is solely loyal to Roman (her brother in this story).
  • Badass Normal: Roman is a highly skilled fighter and criminal kingpin who, at the start of the story, hasn't unlocked either his Semblance or his Aura. Ozpin is genuinely impressed upon finding out.
  • Blowing Smoke Rings: Roman likes to use his Semblance to manipulate his cigar smoke.
  • Brother–Sister Team: This story interprets Roman and Neo as being brother and sister. They genuinely care about each other, if no one else.
  • Demoted to Extra: Since Roman is Ozpin's host in this story, Oscar remains a normal kid and doesn't join the plot.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Roman dreams of Ozma's life.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Cinder's real name is Cinderella Le Fresne.
  • For Want of a Nail: Roman's survival hinges on him jumping after Neo instead of staying to beat down Ruby on the airship.
  • Fusion Dance: Roman and Ozpin are basically doing a slow version. Neither of them are very happy with the situation.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Ozpin is genuinely one of the Good Guys and wants to have a good working relationship with Roman, but he can and will do morally ambiguous things like outright taking control of Roman if he feels it necessary.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Qrow is deeply jealous of Roman for acting as a barrier between him and Ozpin, and early on he begs Ozpin to quickly assimilate or else completely overtake Roman so he can be with him again. This fades once he and Roman get on better terms, but never fully goes away.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: A variant. One of Ozpin's powers is that he can suppress memories of others. He used it on Qrow after learning the Awful Truth following Summer's death made him suicidal.
  • Let the Past Burn: When they come across his family home, Roman only restrains himself because they need it for shelter, and jumps at the chance to burn it down.
  • Loss of Identity: Roman fears losing his to the Fusion Dance, and flips out any time someone brings it up. It doesn't help that some of Ozpin's allies, like Qrow and Ironwood, would much rather that Ozpin just take over his body completely and aren't shy about saying it. The reason he finally joins Ozpin's quest is that he hopes that if they complete it before he and Ozpin merge, the gods will be able to separate them.
  • Love Triangle: Qrow is in the middle of an incredibly bizarre triangle. The question of whether he is technically cheating on Ozpin with the person whose body Ozpin is sharing, is something that bothers Qrow. Roman doesn't give it the same consideration, especially once he starts falling for Qrow himself. And then it gets even more complicated when Roman starts having feelings for Ozpin.
  • Mark of Shame: Atlas likes to brand criminals. During his captivity, Roman got a "T" for Thief. Qrow later gets a B, for Bandit.
  • The Nicknamer: Roman utterly refuses to call any of the kids by their actual names. Team RWBY have the same nicknames as in the series while Nora becomes 'Sparky', Lie Ren 'Moody' and Jaune 'Blondie'. Lie Ren muses that it's a technique to stop Roman from getting attached to any of them, and Roman's aggressive response to that all but confirms it.
  • No Man of Woman Born: When Roman hears that Jinn told Ozpin that "you can't" kill Salem, his immediate reaction is to point out that it's full of loopholes- They might be able to defeat her without actually killing her, or Jinn might have meant that Ozpin specifically couldn't kill Salem, but someone else could. Ozpin admits that he really never thought of the answer in those ways.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Roman repeatedly comments that he and Ozpin aren't as dissimilar as Ozpin would like to think, particularly when it comes to morally ambiguous actions. Ironically, he got chosen as Ozpin's next host precisely because they were dissimilar, as Ozpin's actually attracted to people unlike him with whom he can find common ground so that he can learn more.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Roman does this to himself when he realizes that he's craving hot cocoa, despite not especially liking sweet things. It's the first sign that he's become Ozpin's new host.
  • Powers via Possession: As Ozpin's host, Roman gains access to his magical powers.
  • Promoted to Parent: Roman for Neo, since the day she was born, as their parents died as a result of the birth, and the strong emotions around it, attracting Grimm to the family farm, forcing Roman and Neo to flee while their father tried to fight off the Grimm alone.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • While they're close in canon, the exact nature of Roman and Neo's relationship is unclear, with fan interpretation running the gamut of them being either an Outlaw Couple, Platonic Life-Partners, or family members of some sort. Here, they're a Brother–Sister Team.
    • Qrow is Ruby's biological father instead of her Honorary Uncle.
    • It's revealed in the sequel that Clover Ebi is Roman and Neo's cousin, both of them having changed their last name from 'Brunswick'
  • Relative Error: Realizing that Roman actually cares about someone other than himself, Ozpin asks him just who Neo is to him and verbally wonders if she's his girlfriend. The siblings are less than amused.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Variant. When Roman breaks down crying for the first time in years, he reassures himself that everyone around him will just think it's Ozpin.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Roman only gets into physical relationships with people he hates, which is his main reason for starting a relationship with Qrow, and Qrow makes clear the feeling is mutual but he wants to be close to Oz. And then they start falling for each other. It's also why Roman starts having feelings for Ozpin.
  • Super Smoke: Roman's semblance. With Neo's glass illusion semblance, they're 'Smoke and Mirrors'.
  • Symbiotic Possession: After Roman and Ozpin get over their initial squabbles, they find they work together quite well- Roman gets Ozpin's knowledge, magic, and the trust of Qrow and Team RWBY, while Ozpin gets Roman's criminal connections, semblance, and his very different way of looking at things (Roman, for example, quickly cottons on to Lionheart's treachery). And no matter what, they can both agree that they want things over with so they don't have to spend too much time in each other's company (and, more importantly, lose individuality as they merge).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Unsurprisingly, none of the heroes are very happy to work with Roman, but he's Ozpin's host, so they don't have much of a choice.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Roman names Team ONQR's horse Crow.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ozpin eventually snaps at Yang and the others during Yang's confrontation over Oz giving the Branwens transformation powers and Yang's sarcasm at Ozpin's seeming failure to kill Salem.
    Ozpin: What, precisely, do you think Salem and I have been doing all this time? Inviting each other to tea parties? I have tried to kill her countless times, and she has killed me countless more, only it doesn’t stick. So she sets her sights on destroying everything I have built, everyone I care for, and I must devote the entirety of my resources and capabilities simply to keeping her at bay. You cannot even begin to fathom all that I have sacrificed—for all of you. But please do tell me, in your eighteen years of worldly experience, how I should have done it all better.