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I can't say that things in this city have always been perfect. This is Vale. A place where mob activity runs wild and corruption can be found even at the highest of places. It's ugly, but… it's a place I call home. And I'm gonna do everything I can to protect it. My name's Sergent Ruby Rose, Major crimes detective. I've been working on the force for years trying to track down the bad guys. It's not always exciting and glamorous as the cop shows will tell you, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Ruby Rose's opening narration
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Vale's Underground is a RWBY Alternate Universe Fic written by Snarky_SilverHaired_Sociopath. The story revolves around Vale Major Crimes Detective, Sergeant Ruby Rose, going up against the mysterious mob boss known only as "Cinder". She has eluded capture all because she has kept her real name secret and kept all connections to her severed. Ruby along with her wife (homicide detective Blake Belladonna) and her partner (Detective Lie Ren) work diligently to uncover this mysterious woman and bring her to justice.

In addition, Weiss is reimagined as a pop-star and successful businesswoman who is going to marry Neptune, another singer. Yang and Pyrrha have been reimagined as sex workers where such a profession is legalized. Ozpin appears as Vale's police commissioner, and Ironwood is the mayor of Vale. Adam, Roman, and the Branwen twins are also rival mob bosses in the city. Many other RWBY characters make appearances in this story as well.

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The story is currently in progress (as of early January 2019). Beware of SPOILERS from Volume Five and Six of the show.


Tropes in the fic include:

  • Abled in the Adaptation:
    • While he wasn't exactly disabled in canon, Mercury didn't lose his legs here.
    • Neo is mute in canon. Nia speaks a lot more often.
  • Action Girl:
    • The only one of the girls who doesn't reprise her role as this from canon (so far at least) is Weiss. Even as sex workers, Yang and Pyrrha hold their own against a group of perverts at a bar. And Yang often has to deal with unruly customers.
    • Dark Action Girl: Cinder issues a Curb-Stomp Battle to Taurus. While she usually works from the shadows and relies on being cunning, that scene shows that she is no pushover.
  • Actor Allusion: The writer says that the best way to imagine Sun doing his "bad-cop" routine is to imagine Michael Jones when he's on Rage Quit. And the fact that he's shouting and swearing up a storm really evokes that image.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Sienna Khan. Instead of a terrorist, she's a political activist who is going to run for mayor with Weiss' support.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Vernal and Ilia are experienced chemists and Ilia was even in pharmacy school before becoming a criminal. In canon, Vernal was a bandit and likely wouldn't possess any similar skills on any level, and Ilia apparently dropped out an Atlas prep-school after beating up some other students.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Ironwood was paranoid and authoritarian in canon, but he was still well-intentioned for all his faults. Here, he's more along the lines of a morally-hazy politician more concerned with looking good.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Weiss fits her characterization after Defrosting the Ice Queen rather than how she was before. She is generally polite and timid rather than being a bitch, or even just a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. She may be snarky, but it's never with any malice.
    • Neptune was more of a Casanova Wannabe in canon, but he starts out as more of a plain Nice Guy at the start. He even accepts the fact that Weiss is a lesbian after she confesses despite the fact that it clearly hurts him to know this.
    • Jacques (notable for being an Abusive Parent in canon) and Willow (who had a bad case of Parental Neglect) are genuinely supportive of their daughter and they treat her with love and affection. They even accept the fact that she's a lesbian.
  • Adaptational Sexuality:
    • Blake is a lesbian in this story. At the very least, Blake had an attraction to Adam in canon.
    • Weiss, who was attracted to Neptune in canon, is a lesbian who isn't remotely attracted to him.
    • Qrow showed some attraction to women in canon and sometimes made jokes about it. Here, he's gay and has no interest in women despite his sister's efforts to change that.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Cardin was a run-of-the-mill Jerkass in canon. Here, he's working with the villains. (Same goes for the rest of Team CRDL.) Not a case of Ron the Death Eater just because the writer hates him. As they note, they prefer writing villains.
    • Qrow and Raven Branwen are mob bosses. Furthermore, many of Raven's sympathetic traits are dropped, especially after it is revealed that she sexually abused Qrow.
    • At the very least, Adam wasn't a rapist in canon. And while he was Ax-Crazy, he didn't kill his own workers in his fits of rage for no reason.
    • Downplayed with Ilia. She was an Anti-Villain and a Well-Intentioned Extremist before joining the heroes in canon. Here, she has no such higher purpose. She's just a criminal accomplice who is just trying to earn some money to put her chemistry knowledge to work.
    • Also downplayed for Cinder. While Cinder Fall was a sadist, she was never seen killing her own subordinates for fun like how "Cinder" was in Chapter 11.
    • Zigzagged for Nia Poletti, this story's version of Neopolitan. Nia is a rapist, but Neo isn't. While Neo is a killer, Nia hasn't killed anyone yet. Firmly played straight when it is revealed that she delivers the girls to Torchwick for organ-harvesting.
  • Adaptational Wimp: With this being a real-world AU, this trope is obviously going to show up a lot with the removal of things like Battle Auras, Semblances, and Impossibly Cool Weapons. However, there are a few notable examples of how this is played:
    • Downplayed with Yang and Pyrrha. They are good fighters and can defend themselves when things get tough, but they are not nearly on the same level as their canon counterparts. Pyrrha especially is not a world-renowned warrior.
    • Weiss isn't even a fighter.
    • Roman has been made into an Evil Cripple.
    • Nora is a school teacher and has shown no fighting abilities so far.
    • Emerald is more reserved and meek compared to her rough-around-the-edges street-smart canon counterpart. RWBY!Emerald is a Dark Action Girl, but VU!Emerald is a Non-Action Girl.
    • Neopolitan is a dangerous killer, but Nia Poletti is merely Adam's mistress. Subverted when it is revealed that she can carry a fully grown woman on her own.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • The writer mentioned that Emerald's hair won't be green.
    • Adam's hair is brown rather than dark red.
    • Downplayed for Salem despite the Adaptation Species Change. Salem’s skin is still noted to be rather pale, she has red irises, and her hair is white. However, this is within the bounds of a Pragmatic Adaptation.
    • Nia is this story's version of Neo. However, Nia's hair is uniformly brown. While she does have heterochromia with one of her eyes being brown, her other eye is blue whereas Neo's is pink. (And they obviously don't switch at random.)
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • "Cinder" is only a codename, and her real name is Kenna Carter. It is similar to when this trope was used for Kilgrave.
    • Similarly, “Salem” is also a codename, and her real name is Emily Carter.
    • Glynda's last name is changed from "Goodwitch" to "Goodridge." As the author notes, no one in real life has the surname "Goodwitch" and it's less believable that "Ozpin."
    • Dove Bronzewing becomes Dave Bronzewing.
    • "Vernal" was assumed to be the character's first name in canon. Here, it's her last name with her first name being "April." Though it'll be a bit tough to notice since she goes by a Last-Name Basis most of the time.
    • It turns out that Nia Poletti is actually Neopolitan.
    • Flynt's last name is changed from "Coal" to "Cole."
    • Notably averted with Neon Katt. The writer planned for that to just be a nickname, but after some digging, they it could plausibly be a real person's legal name.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Downplayed with Ren. He's just a little more talkative rather than just being The Quiet One.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Obviously, being a modern real-world AU, all the characters are human. So, any canonically Faunus characters that appear in this story can be assumed to be human now. On that same token (no pun intended), Penny isn't a Robot Girl,note  and Salem isn’t an Ancient Evil Monstrous Humanoid Grimm-creature.
  • Affably Evil: Salem is ruthless, but she is nothing if not polite. Even as she threatens your life or your safety, she'll also remember her manners and tends to honor her agreements when she makes them. Although, she can tend to lean on the faux side at points, especially when she talks to her daughter.
  • Age Lift: Characters that were students in canon all have their ages increased to fit more practically within this AU. Others also have their ages changed. Here are the age changes that have already been noted:
    • Ruby is in her late twenties. Yang, Ren, and Sun are all in the same age range.
    • Blake is a couple of years older than Ruby.
    • Weiss is noted to be somewhat younger than Ruby (possibly mid-twenties).
    • Jaune is nineteen and Pyrrha in her early twenties.
    • Since Raven isn't Yang's mother, she and Qrow are younger than they would be compared to canon. Even more, they're actually younger than their current canon counterparts. Summer, in comparison, is now at least two decades older than them rather than being roughly the same age.
    • Nora is close to thirty and older than Ren. Velvet is said to be no older than twenty-two. In canon, Velvet would be the older one.
    • Ilia would be Blake's peer in canon, but she's several years younger than her in this story.
    • Pragmatically, Salem couldn't possibly be thousands of years old in this AU, so she goes down to the more realistic age of somewhere in her sixties.
  • Aggressive Submissive: Cinder is a psychopathic sadist who literally gets off to violence and extremely authoritarian with her subordinates. When sleeping with Mercury, she's surprisingly willing to let him be rough with her while keeping up her aggressive attitude.
  • Alliterative Name: In addition to the canon examples, there are the original characters Jacob Jackson and Harvey Hart. Glynda's Adaptation Name Change doesn't affect her status as this since her surname was changed to "Goodridge." Cinder's real name, Kenna Carter, counts phonetically.
  • All Men Are Perverts: A lot of the men in the story fall victim to this trope. Cardin is the most obvious example, but even Lie Ren, of all people, falls victim to this. The reason he stayed with Flynt, an active criminal, when he could possibly notice the trouble signs? Ren shamefully admits that he gave good blowjobs.
    Ren: I'm not exactly proud of that decision.
    Ruby: And you shouldn't be.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Several women can be just as perverted as the men. Yang especially stands out as one notable example since she is always excited to have sex with Mercury. Even though she makes him pay first, she pulls him just as soon as he produces the money. (Cinder and Vernal are equally lustful.note )
  • Almost Dead Guy: Destiny the stripper survives being skinned alive for long enough to walk out on stage and die there.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Penny is a rather strange individual. She has trouble picking up on social cues and tends to blurt out inappropriate things at times that might not be the best without thinking. She's incredibly friendly and wants to make friends with everyone, but she's not very great at conversing with others. She also has a fascination with macabre things and is way too willing to share it. The writer says they didn't have a specific disorder in mind when writing her and encouraged any readers to try to diagnose her.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Cinder is confirmed to be attracted to men since she regularly sleeps with Mercury, but she also entices Emerald when she admits that she's in love with Cinder. However, the way Cinder's thoughts are described after accepting this love suggests that she's only toying with her. The fact that Salem molested her when she was younger complicates things further.
  • Amoral Attorney: Harvey Hart works with Qrow and knows that he works with Raven running the drug trade. He helps Qrow prepare for the meeting with Ozpin by making sure he knows what to say that won't get him implicated.
  • Animal Motifs: Despite the more fantastic elements being dropped (i.e., Adam being a Faunus and the Branwens turning into birds), the motifs for Taurus and the Branwen twins are still in effect. They are called "the Bull" and "the Birds" respectively, and Taurus has some very bull-like traits.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: While Salem loves Cinder and taught her what she needed to know to be a mob boss, she still sexually abused her, causing Cinder to develop a rather sour opinion of her.
  • Anti-Villain: Hazel Rainart helps Torchwick's organ trade by kidnapping people to harvest organs from, but he does it because she wants treatment or a transplant for his daughter.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Cardin was only a major character in one arc in the first volume of the show. Here, he plays a rather involved role in the main plot.
    • Sienna was only in one episode before being unceremoniously killed by Adam on the show. In this story, she is being set up to have significantly more screen time.
  • Auto Erotica: Before they even make it to the motel, Weiss gets Yang and Pyrrha to get started in the limo.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Ruby thinks Nora's last name being "Valkyrie" is badass.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Taurus has an infamous reputation of this. He is a dangerously unstable man whose outbursts often end in bloodshed. His own workers are terrified of what he'll do to them if they manage to piss him off (which is incredibly easy).
    • Cinder plays this more subtly at first. She has better control over her impulses than Taurus, but the fact that she gets sexually aroused by violence suggests that this trope is true. After she learns that Salem is coming, she starts losing her grip on things. The second scene of Chapter 11 shows her using her worst men as a shooting gallery and later blowing their heads up with a Hand Cannon.
    • Tyrian shows up and he has a history of being a violent lunatic. Hazel says that being able to kill people will be enough payment for him, but he still needs to be told to not damage organs when he kills people. He can't even keep his impulses under control when he's off the clock since he is also responsible for the dismemberments that Blake and Sun were investigating.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Blake is an avid reader and has shelves full of books that she read around the apartment. She's also a trained police officer able to subdue an armed assailant.
    • Penny also liked reading before she became a cop. Afterward, she couldn't find the time, but she still wants to do this.
    • Implied with Cinder. While she can't recall the name of the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, she can recall his studies into the conservation of matter and their relation to fire.
  • Badass Gay:
    • We get to see Ruby in action going after a suspect in Chapter 7. She even gets into a gunfight with Sky. Blake also shows this off in Chapter 8 when she helps Ruby apprehend a junkie. She also gets in a gunfight with burglars and defends herself against Tyrian.
    • Salem shows herself to be very capable of holding her own against others, and she is bisexual.
  • Bad Boss: Working for Adam Taurus is hazardous to your health. Literally everyone who is rather familiar with Vale's organized crime community knows his reputation for this.
  • The Baroness: Cinder is a mix of the Sexpot (Ms. Fanservice, seductive attitude) and Rosa Klebb (frigid demeanor, prevalent sadism).
  • The Beard: Chapter 2 reveals that Neptune is unwittingly this for Weiss.
  • Big Bad: The woman known only as "Cinder." She is the most influential of the mob bosses in Vale and is Ruby's main concern.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Branwen twins are the only mob bosses that are directly working together.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Roman, Adam, and the Branwen twins are rival mob bosses and oppose Cinder and each other. However, Cinder is the Big Bad.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While Adam is a part of the Big Bad Ensemble, he is trying to be the Big Bad. However, Cinder puts him in his place in no time. He even seems to be becoming the resident Butt-Monkey of the group. Even when he manages to embarrass Cinder, she still turns it on him.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Ren has been confirmed to be packing eight inches, something that Nora seems to enjoy (and even the writer admits that this fact isn't necessary to know). Neon also seems to imply that this trope is true of Flynt.
  • Bi the Way:
    • Coco is confirmed to be bisexual. She says that she likes Neptune and asks if she can have him, knowing that Weiss doesn't. However, she also keeps up some flirtatious banter with Weiss and even giving her a Flirtatious Smack on the Ass before leaving.
    • Ren is also confirmed as bisexual. He is dating Nora, but he also mentions that he had a boyfriend who got caught up in fraud scandals.
    • Emerald is revealed to be bisexual. While it seems that she prefers girls, she says she doesn't have a problem with men (except for Mercury).
  • Break Them by Talking: When Penny said she could make grown men cry, she wasn't kidding. She makes Russel break down even while using the same sugary tone she's known for.
  • Breather Episode: A commenter noted that Chapter 8 was rather uplifting in its overall tone, meaning that something bad was going to happen. The tone change was later confirmed after the author started responding to comments on that chapter. And the next chapter only confirmed the commenter’s suspicions.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Implied between Raven and Qrow with Raven being the initiator. Raven tends to be a little too flirtatious with him and has occasional lines showing this. Confirmed in Chapter 7 when Raven rapes Qrow and it is shown that she has sexually abused him ever since they were teenagers.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Both Penny and Oobleck have their certain eccentricities, but they're good at their jobs.
  • Butch Lesbian: This is Vernal's aesthetic. She has Boyish Short Hair and dresses in men's t-shirts and dirty jeans. Raven even alludes to this while speaking with her.
  • Buxom Is Better: The narration mentions that, as a sex worker, Yang's E-cup breasts help get her customers. Mercury even says they are his favorite part of her, and Weiss has some fun with Yang's boobs as well. When she tell Ruby how to find her, she says to tell people you're looking for "the busty blonde."
  • Canon Character All Along:
    • It turns out that the "Panda Killer" is Tyrian Callows.note 
    • Nia Poletti seems like an original character at first glance, but then it was soon revealed that she's actually this story's version of Neo.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: A literal example. The guns that the burglars were using in Chapter 12 are suggested to be originally distributed by Cinder. When Ruby identifies that the body is carbon-fiber, it connects the gun to the shipment Cinder was personally selling in Chapter 6. They help put Ruby, Ren, and Penny on a path to Cinder.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Blake and Sun arrest some lunatic who stabbed someone to death. Some more observant readers and fans might recognize that it's Tyrian Callows and may just think it's a cameo at first. Then Hazel mentions that Tyrian is someone that can help him with Torchwick's organ trade, suggesting that it was no mere cameo and he'll be more involved in the story later.
  • Cigar Chomper: Roman constantly has Cuban cigars.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus:
    • Yang doesn't bother to stop having sex with a client while she's talking to Weiss on the phone.
    • Cinder doesn't bother to stop having sex with Emerald when Mercury walks in on them. She even tells him to have sex with her while he's there.
  • Co-Dragons: The Albains show up in this story and they come to be Taurus' personal hitmen.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Taurus tries to use a gun on Cinder during their fight. It didn't help.
  • Cool Car: Cinder drives a red Ferrari, and she's very proud of it.
    Mercury: Are you driving?
    Cinder: I'd have to kill you if you crashed my car.
  • Country Matters: Taurus calls Cinder a cunt at the end of Chapter 11.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Adam barely gets more than a few hits on Cinder and she wipes the floor with him.
    • Cardin tries to hurt Mercury and has even less luck than Adam did.
    • Yang and Pyrrha deliver one to a trio of perverts at a bar who were harassing them.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • Cinder has Mercury put up Robert's charred corpse up for the other bosses to see. Though, apparently, she didn't want the cops finding it, too. A complaint that Mercury calls her out for.
    • The same is done for Dave Bronzewing, but Cinder intended for him to be seen.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A lot of characters get snarky lines, but Cinder and Mercury stand out.
  • Death by Adaptation: The first case of this is Dove (or Dave) Bronzewing. Sky Lark and Russel Thrush soon follow.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jaune isn't given a lot of screen-time compared to his canon counterpart.
  • Depraved Bisexual:
    • Nia Poletti is Taurus' mistress, but she also takes some of the girls he traffics for her own personal use.
    • Salem seems to be one. She flirts with women often and asks Adam if he traffics boys. She also sexually abused her daughter.
  • Dirty Business: The Rainart parents consider Hazel's job to be this. Lydia still takes issue with the fact that he abducts innocent people to be killed and the guilt weights on Hazel every day, but they do want to save their daughter.
  • Dirty Cop: Ruby implies that this is a prevalent problem, and Cardin is one named example since he is Cinder's agent on the force. The deaths of Sienna's family were being investigated by a dirty cop and this is why she has such little faith in Vale's government.
  • Dirty Kid: Tyler, one of Nora's third-graders, makes a joke about Nora sleeping with Ren, something that Nora immediately reprimands him for.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Roman's an Evil Cripple as opposed to an experienced fighter.
  • The Don: Cinder is the most prevalent mob boss in Vale.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. The fact that Raven sexually and verbally abused Qrow for his sexuality isn't portrayed as okay.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Averted. The actions of Nia and Salem are treated as disturbing.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Also averted. Raven raping Qrow is seen as traumatizing to him and easily a Moral Event Horizon for Raven.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Penny chides Ruby for pulling her weapon out in response to Cardin harassing her. She then shows her how she can subdue him without the use of lethal force.
  • Dramatic Irony: Jaune has a crush on Weiss and when he doesn't feel confident, Pyrrha says that Weiss would love Jaune if she got to meet him — something that is confirmed to be false for obvious reasons.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Vale's criminal scene includes two women as mob bosses and several homosexual workers. Despite Raven being homophobic, she still works with Vernal because she's good at what she does.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Some characters just have their whole character laid out from the first moment we meet them. Here are some examples:
    • The very first scene shows Ruby's tenacity and dedication to bringing Cinder.
    • Mercury shows himself as the laid-back, sarcastic hitman in his very first scene.
    • The first introduction to Blake shows how Ruby's relationship with her is.
    • The first time we see Cinder, the story shows how ruthless and sadistic she is.
    • Glynda shows off her strict yet caring nature towards Weiss. In turn, this shows off Weiss' aloofness due to hiding her sexuality.
    • Cardin proves to be nothing but a sexually harassing asshole that only deserves hatred in his first scene. The fact that he's revealed to be a Dirty Cop later on shouldn't surprise anyone.
    • Pyrrha and Jaune have a lot about them revealed in their first scene. Pyrrha shows that she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who deeply cares about Jaune, and Jaune shows that he's a socially awkward guy who has a crush on Weiss Schnee.
    • Taurus' first scene shows how much of an aggressive and psychotic Bad Boss he is.
    • Penny shows off a lot about herself in her first two scenes. Notably, her Nightmare Fetishism and many of the traits of her Ambiguous Disorder (see that trope for details).
    • Dr. Oobleck already shows off that he is just as eccentric as his canon counterpart.
    • Salem's first two scenes show how intimidating she can be. However, she still remains rather mysterious.
    • Sienna Khan's first moment shows her fervent protesting towards Ironwood.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • It appears that underneath all the bickering, Qrow and Raven still care about each other as family. However, this trope takes a dark twist between them. It appears that Raven genuinely loves her brother, but her homophobia makes her think that she needs to change him just to make him straight. In her logic, that's her way of doing what she thinks is best for him. She even says that she's doing it for his own good and takes a gentle tone with him after she's done raping him.
    • Hazel plays the trope straighter when he reveals that his daughter has kidney disease and he works with Torchwick to help save her. He also has a wife who he loves dearly and they both want what's best for their daughter.
    • Even though her love is rather distorted, Salem genuinely loves her daughter even though Cinder won't love her in return. Even molesting her was something Salem saw as a show of affection. Knowing how much Cinder would love to see her suffer, she decided to send her a recording of her dying from cancer as a final parting gift to her.
    • Little Miss seems to care about her nieces.
  • Evil Albino: Salem's description makes her sound like one.
  • Evil Cripple: Roman got shot in one of his knees, so he now needs the cane to walk. Cinder even calls him a cripple.
  • Evil Old Folks: Salem may not be nearly as old as her canon counterpart, but she’s still plenty old and seems to be quite villainous.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Even though the mob bosses have been called into a temporary truce, they aren't at peace. It's more like a Cold War scenario.
  • Exact Words: Mercury says that he was instructed by Cinder to take Taurus to her alive. When Taurus assumes Mercury isn't supposed to hurt him, Mercury notes that even a man with no hands can still live. He also notes that he isn't barred from killing anyone who gets in his way when Taurus gets upset about Mercury shooting his men.
  • Experimented in College: Penny reveals the Ruby and Blake had sex with guys in college while discovering their sexualities.
  • False Rape Accusation: Cinder intends to get Taurus for statutory rape between him and his young-looking mistress. Interestingly, she’s framing a real rapist for a fake rape claim.
  • Fan Disservice: Several Examples:
    • Surprisingly, a lot of things involving Cinder. She would be a plain Ms. Fanservice if she wasn't so goddamn sadistic.
      • The way that Cinder licks blood off her hands after beating up Robert is described as sensual, but considering the context, it is meant to be seen as disturbing.
      • Mercury having sex with Cinder would usually be fanservice. However, the titillation kinda ends when Mercury's dirty talk involves him talking about how they'll brutalize their enemies and Cinder getting progressively more aroused by it.
      • Kissing Dave after cutting his tongue while tasting the blood is all kinds of Squickinvoked.
      • When she seems to be going through a bit of a Sanity Slippage, she starts being more violent during sex.
    • The sex scene with Neptune and Weiss. Due to the Weiss not being interested in it, the idea isn't really as sexy as it could be otherwise.
    • Raven's attempts at seduction could be pretty sexy… if she wasn't trying to use them on her twin brother.
    • Adam's second scene in the story has him in the middle of raping a poor crying girl while he chokes her. He later shoots he several times before one of his workers has to Mercy Kill her.
    • Raven raping Qrow is not portrayed as sexy in any way (and it shouldn't be).
    • Salem pushing herself on Vernal and caressing her is played more for tension rather than fanservice. Especially when she starts threatening Vernal.
    • Taurus violently face-fucking his mistress to the point that she can't breathe isn't really the most titillating thing in the world.
    • Later on, his mistress is seen raping one of his sex slaves as well.
    • Not all of Yang and Pyrrha's clients are desirable, and those encounters are sometimes shown such as in Chapters 6 and 11.
    • Salem feeling up Cinder after the latter has stripped to her underwear is just incredibly uncomfortable since Salem is her mother in this story.
    • After the sexy striptease that Cinder put on, it is followed up with another stripper... who has been stripped of her skin.
    • Even worse, in the middle of a threesome with Mercury and Emerald, Cinder can't stop thinking about the gruesome act. It's the reason she was so turned on in the first place.
  • Fanservice: The story already has a few sex scenes, and the ones that don't fall under Fan Disservice above are this. They aren't extremely explicit, but they don’t leave much to the imagination. There's also a scene where Cinder performs a striptease.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Cinder keeps up a civil attitude in most times and even has a flirtatious tone when torturing someone.
    • Mercury is a casual, laid-back guy just like in canon. He's also a ruthless mob hitman.
    • Qrow is able to hold up his charming demeanor even when he's threatening Senator Calvin.
    • Roman keeps up his charismatic attitude even when threatening people's lives and loved ones.
    • Salem's affability is genuine around others, but it comes off as condescending when she's talking to Cinder, underscoring her abusive nature.
  • Female Gaze:
    • Nora takes a long look at Ren in boxer-briefs and the description definitely includes quite a bit of details.
    • Lydia takes a look at Hazel's arms while he washes dishes.
  • Fiction 500: Weiss is noted to be one of the richest people in the world and the richest woman in the world.
  • Flaying Alive: Apparently, Cinder was taking the term "stripper" a little too literally and skins a girl alive to let her out on stage.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At first, it seems like Qrow knows Weiss is in the closet because he knows how to hide his true nature. While that isn’t wrong, most would assume he means hiding his criminal side since he is about to go on TV and lie about not being connected to Raven. It was actually because he is gay and has been hiding it from his sister.
    • Additionally, the fact that Raven sexually abused Qrow was foreshadowed by her flirtatious behavior towards him.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: It seems to be leaning this way with the plot threads between the several of the heroes and the several antagonists.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Subverted for Cinder. While it's clear that Salem groomed her to be a mob boss, that's only because she saw that Cinder was already sadistic. Without Salem's guidance, it's likely that Cinder would've become an indiscriminate Serial Killer. While it could be argued that she even more dangerous as a mob boss, the fact of the matter is that Cinder was always villainous. Salem only put her on a focused path. Also, while Salem molesting her has some serious effects on her daughter's psyche, that only happened years after Salem started training her and a year after Cinder lost her virginity. It has absolutely nothing to do with why she's a villain.
    • Sienna Khan has her reasons for political activism and her hatred towards the mob. She used to have a husband and a daughter. When they were on their way home from a friend's birthday party, they were killed in a mob dispute. She lost faith in the government when she found out that the cop working on the case was a Dirty Cop, explaining why the case took so long to get anywhere in the case.
  • Friends with Benefits: Weiss and Coco used to be this in the past.
  • Funbag Airbag: Ruby accidentally runs into Yang's boobs.
  • Gayngst:
    • Weiss' parents want her to marry a man so that they can have grandkids, so Weiss has a bit of trouble getting them to accept that she is a lesbian. Lying to Neptune also causes her stress since he genuinely fell in love with her.
    • Qrow has to deal with his homophobic sister and the fact that she sexually abuses him because he is gay.
  • Gayngster:
    • Qrow is gay in this universe. However, the gangster part is downplayed since he has to keep his hands relatively clean for things to run smoothly in the Branwen operation.
    • Flynt Cole was an ex-criminal and he was dating Ren and, according to Ren, gives good blowjobs. The author confirms that Flynt is gay.
  • Gender Misdirection: Yang does this for kicks when talking about a surprise benefactor (Weiss Schnee) they'll be having sex with to Pyrrha.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Discussed in Chapter 9 with Weiss. Before now, it was initially framed as good, but Pyrrha's comment puts it into a morally hazy position. When Neptune says her confession feels like a punch in the stomach, it really shows what side Weiss' adultery closer to the bad end.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Roman Torchwick, the Vale mob boss, constantly smokes Cuban cigars.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Insanely zigzagged all over the place. While sexual practices seem to be featured rather prominently, they never have any direct correlation with morality.
    • For the good characters: Ruby and Blake have a very loving relationship and have rather wholesome, vanilla sex. But when Weiss has sex with Yang, it is implied that they're going to get up to some freaky stuff on Weiss' request. She even gets into a pretty raunchy threesome with Yang and Pyrrha. Jaune has trouble with premature ejaculation when having sex with Pyrrha. And Ren was noted to be eight inches downstairs, something that Nora definitely enjoys. Coco is about to peg Neptune and implies that all the guys she has done this with have enjoyed it. And the Belladonna's old age has not diminished their sex lives a bit.
    • For the evil characters: Cinder has sex with Mercury. While the sex is relatively vanilla, she gets aroused when Mercury starts talking about how they'll brutalize Taurus. However, Mercury is apparently pretty good in the sack. Yang says he's the only one of her customers that regularly makes her orgasm. On the flipside, Taurus rapes sex slaves and is extremely rough with his mistress. Qrow's relationship with Harvey is quite tame and they're both relatively amoral characters, but Raven regularly raped Qrow to make him straight. Salem is rather promiscuous and molested her daughter in the past. Junior has a small penis, but Cinder still enjoys sex with him because of how aggressive he can be with her.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!:
    • Mercury can't deny that Salem is attractive, even in her 60s. Then again, he Likes Older Women.
    • Age does not seem to have diminished Mr. and Mrs. Belladonna's sex appeal.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Salem. She's the one who encouraged Cinder's sociopathic tendencies and taught her what she needed to know to be a mob boss. Since she's also Cinder's mother, she is responsible for Cinder existing in the first place.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Taurus is known for his rather infamous temper and habit of causing confrontation.
  • Happily Married: Ruby and Blake love each other very much.
  • Has a Type:
    • Taurus likes smaller women. Cinder uses this against him to get him arrested for statutory rape because the girl looks like she's fifteen.
    • Nia herself likes taller girls because of a subtle Napoleon-complex.
    • The author states that Lydia Rainart like big, muscular guys like Hazel.
  • Hates Being Touched: Qrow. At the very least, he hates Raven touching him considering how inappropriately she does it. This is likely because she sexually abused him.
  • Hate Sink: Cardin is shown to be an abrasive and misogynistic pig who sexually harasses female co-workers, including the lesbians Ruby and Blake, and he is generally an asshole. Even worse, he is revealed to be a dirty cop. Nobody in the story on either side of the law likes him and even the author hates him. The only person who has ever met him and not loathed him is Penny, and she has absolutely no idea how terrible he is. Ruby has to stop her from making friendly conversation with him. Every appearance only shows him drawing the scorn of everyone in the scene. Even with people like the Serial Rapist Taurus, the homophobe Raven, and the child abuser Salem, he stands out. The latter two have some redeeming traits that make them interesting, and the first is not vilified to the same extent as Cardin. Due to some ambiguous wording, some people thought that he had killed Mercury and were going to drop the story before realizing the mistake and the author said he'd never let him have that satisfaction.
    Author's Note: I didn't like him in canon and I'm not going to make him any better in this AU.
  • The Heavy: While all the mob bosses are equally troubling for Vale, Cinder's actions are what drive the main plot most.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • The reason Russel is killed is because it is possible that he could lead Ruby to Cinder.
    • Cardin murders a suspect because he knows he's a Dirty Cop.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Pyrrha is a real sweetheart and truly cares about Jaune. She listens to him and his troubles and really wants what's best for him. She is rather patient with him and he even sees her as a friend. She even lets him know that Weiss would love him if she got to know him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Taurus getting angry when other people kill his men. It's something that Mercury makes a quip about it when Taurus gets angry about him shooting some of his men.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Emerald still has feelings for Cinder. While Cinder knows that Emerald is loyal, she isn't aware of her love for her. Subverted in Chapter 7 when Emerald makes her affections known and Cinder decides to return affection (even though it is rather shallow).
  • Improbable Age: Based on the author's comments about the character ages, Weiss is in her mid-twenties. Yet, she has managed to become one of the richest people in the world and the richest woman in the world.note 
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Weiss is a lesbian, but she's pretending to love Neptune for the engagement. He starts to understand why they didn't have sex often.
    • Yang is straight, but since Weiss is willing to pay, she has no problem having sex with her. It's part of the job after all. It's not like she is attracted to all her clientele.
    • Raven fails to understand that forcing Qrow to have sex with women won't make him straight.
    • Neon unsuccessfully tries to proposition Flynt, who is gay.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Yang, Cinder, and Mercury have their attractive qualities pointed out often by other characters and some of the narration. (Interestingly, Mercury has had sex with both of them.)
  • Insane Troll Logic: Raven's logic about wanting to make Qrow straight involves raping him and seducing him to get him used to the idea of women doing that to him. While you can see how she came to that conclusion, it falls apart when you really look into the details, starting with the fact that being his sister already makes him averse to the idea.
  • Insanity Defense: Harvey brings this up for Tyrian and it has been used before when he was a Serial Killer in Atlas.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Generally played straight, but there are a few notable aversions:
    • Taurus shoots a sex slave several times in a fit of rage, but she isn't dead when he leaves the room. She's still struggling to live before his worker give her a Double Tap to the head.
    • Ruby shoots Sky. She tries to keep him alive for long enough until he can get proper medical attention. The same applies to the burglar that Blake shot in Chapter 12.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Mercury's dirty talk to Cinder is talking about brutalizing her enemies, and it actually makes her orgasm.
    Author's Note: I'll let you decide whether or not that's kinda hot or extremely disturbing.
  • Ironic Echo: When Cinder goes to see Taurus about Salem, she starts acting in a rather erratic manner, causing him to call her a "whiny little woman-baby" — a similar insult was leveraged against him. (See Psychopathic Manchild.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Cardin is a sexually harassing asshole when he's on the clock, but that's only part of the story. He isn't as bad as he initially seems. He's actually worse since he is also a corrupt cop working with Cinder. The scene that reveals this begins by looking like Cardin is about to arrest Mercury, then Merc starts making friendly conversation with him.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: As soon as Cinder delivers Taurus a Curb-Stomp Battle, she does exactly this.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While Taurus' beating and rape of Nia is horrifying, she isn't the most sympathetic victim since she is a Serial Rapist herself who allowed the girls to be harvested for organs.
    Author's Note: You can have some sympathy, but let's be real. She was a scumbag, too.
  • Kill It with Fire: How "Cinder" got her nickname. She likes to light people on fire to send a message to people.
  • Lack of Empathy: All the mob bosses possess this to a certain degree. Especially Adam who is a human trafficker that is infamous for raping some of the girls he traffics and killing his own men – the latter is something that Cinder shows very little response to when he does it in front of her. She just thinks it's a waste of perfectly good bullets and a perfectly good worker. And since Torchwick's business is harvesting people's organs without their consent, he clearly has no concern for his victims.
    • Nia is not only complicit in the fact that Taurus is a Human Trafficker, but she also asks him for girls for her own personal use. And she takes them to Torchwick for organ-harvesting after she's done with them.
    • When Watts is overseeing the transport of bodies to harvest organs, his only complaint to Torchwick's workers is that they don't damage the bodies, suggesting that he only sees them as products to be sold.
    • Salem shows signs of this with how willing she is to hurt others (even if it is only a last resort). The fact that she made Cinder kill her husband (and would have killed him herself if Cinder couldn't do it) shows that she didn't care that much about him in the first place. The only exception is her love for her daughter.
  • Last-Name Basis: Roman and Adam are mainly referred to by their last names. Some cops are discussed this way as well, Ozpin getting this the most. Vernal is also treated this way since "Vernal" is her last name in this story and only Ilia uses her first name.
  • Lecherous Licking: After beating up Robert, Cinder licks his blood from her fingers. It is described as sensual, but given the context, it just comes off as unsettling.
  • Lesbian Cop: Officers Ruby Rose and Blake Belladonna are married to each other.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Since Weiss is a lesbian, she has to do this with Neptune to keep up the façade.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Weiss is more feminine.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Averted. When Dave's body is found, two different officers other than Blake and Sun were called in. Blake informs them of what happened, but she doesn't respond to the call. Ren follows, but he was not ordered to go there. He just wanted to check up on Nora.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Oddly enough, there's an example that's Played for Drama. As Raven rapes Qrow, she would shove his face in her chest, likely for the purpose of getting him used to feeling women's breasts.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Taurus" is still reflective of Adam's aggressive personality. So much so that people call him "the Bull."
    • Mercury in Classical Mythology was the messenger god (and Hermes, his Greek equivalent, was known for it). Mercury Black serves as Cinder's personal hitman and sometimes has to act as a messenger, both by paying off Cardin and telling Taurus that Cinder wants a word with him. He is even referred to as a messenger in Chapter 7.
    • Every member of the Carter family has one. For Cinder, "Kenna" means "born of fire." For Salem, "Emily" is derived from a word meaning "rival," illustrating Cinder's perception of her. "Ellis" means "kind" or "benevolent," and he was the White Sheep of the family.
    • Trifa's last name "Abella" means "spider" — a Mythology Gag to her Faunus heritage in canon.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: A few examples that are played differently:
    • Generally, while Cinder does like violence, she initially starts by throwing insults towards Taurus when he instigates a fight. Taurus goes straight for trying to beat her up. She does eventually fight him, but he was still the one to throw the first punch.
    • Related to that, while Cinder is an excellent fighter and loves to commit violence, she tends to rely more on being cunning rather than confronting others. Even when she tortures people, she shows off the bodies to send a message to her opponents, not to start a fight. If she needs to go confront someone, she'll send Mercury first. She even tells him to not use force unless necessary when he needs to contact Taurus for a meeting.
    • Averted between the Branwens. Not quite inverted since Raven still tries to break up the abovementioned fight, but Qrow is the one who takes care of political matters while Raven handles the streets. Genuinely inverted during the scene where she rapes him. Qrow tries to talk his way out of it, but Raven fully intends to rape him.
    • Played straight when Taurus finds out that Nia worked for Torchwick behind his back. He physically assaults her and then rapes her, but she throws out insults to mock the fact that he was tricked for so long.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Watts works as a surgeon for Torchwick's Black Market organ trade.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: It seems that the female bosses manage to be more intimidating (In-Universe) than the male bosses. Cinder delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Taurus, Torchwick is a Non-Action Guy, and Raven seems rather assertive over Qrow.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Ren gets a rather detailed description of what he looks like when he's wearing only boxer-briefs. And Nora says she likes it because it helps "advertise the merchandise" — said "merchandise" is noted to be eight inches (something the writer admits isn't really relevant to the plot but couldn't help but admit).
    • Mercury gets a bit of this as well. His described muscular figure and his apparent status as a Sex God certainly help with that.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Yang and Pyrrha are sex workers and are two of the bustiest characters in the show. Yang's fanservice factor is more pronounced, but Pyrrha's is downplayed in the narrative.
    • Despite her violent sadism, there are still quite a few people who would want to bang Cinder. She is definitely aware of it, and the narrative often praises her appearance.
      Vernal: [to Ilia] Trust me. If you saw her, you'd wanna fuck her where she stood. If she wasn't a psychotic pyro, I'd definitely hit that, no questions asked.
  • Mugging the Monster: Robert made a big mistake trying to steal money from Cinder.
  • Murderous Thighs: Cinder randomly tries to choke Emerald to death this way when she was trying to eat her out.note 
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Yang inverts it when Weiss reveals that she's a closeted lesbian. She encourages Weiss to look at her breasts while she's only wearing a bra.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Doctor Oobleck insisting that he didn't get the Ph.D. for fun.
    • The place where Sun gets shot in Chapter 12 is the same place where Ilia stabbed him in Volume Four.
    • Tyrian screams "You bitch!" at Penny when she catches him. He shouted the same thing at Ruby on the show.
    • Trifa's last name in this story, "Abella," means "spider." While she isn't a Faunus in this story, she was a spider-Faunus in canon.
    • Cinder's stripper outfit is the spy suit from "Dance Dance Infiltration.".
  • Named by the Adaptation: Characters with Only One Name in canon are given additional names.
    • Ozpin is given the first name "Victor."
    • Vernal's full name in this story is "April Vernal."
    • Trifa gains the last name "Abella."
    • Little Miss Malachite is only known by that name in canon. Here, her real name is "Jennifer Malachite."
  • Narcissist:
    • Torchwick mentions that he likes Tyrian's flattery, implying that this trope is true of him.
    • Salem was mentioned to be intentionally written with Narcissistic Personality Disorder in mind. The writer says that she molested her daughter because Cinder came from her own genes.
    • It seems that Cinder has traits of this inherited from her mother. She thinks that everyone should have the privilege of seeing her excellent body, so she does a striptease at Torchwick's club.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Salem is in her sixties and she's still a force to be reckoned with.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • It seems that Penny (yes, Penny Polendina) has quite a fascination with all things macabre. The author notes that she is a big fan of the horror genre and became a cop to witness some gruesome things firsthand. She even offers to show Ruby and Blake pictures of a dead body that she saw on a case while investigating a man who was implied to be a necrophilic pedophile who was raping his daughter's corpse. Ruby and Blake (understandably) don't want to see it. Especially after hearing the details of the investigation.
    • Cinder is a disturbingly literal example. See Sex Is Violence.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Subverted. The bosses fight, steal from, and backstab each other to gain more power, but they're still able to get together and make honest deals for their mutual survival.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Roman is a part of the Big-Bad Ensemble, but he's the only one who can't fight due to an injury to his knee that he sustained during a bad deal. The most he can do is shoot people.
  • No Party Given: The political affiliations of named politicians aren't stated. The most that can be said about Ironwood and Sienna is that they don't share the same party since they're opposing each other in the mayoral election.
  • Not Brainwashed: Cinder tries to frame Salem as the reason she is so messed up, but both she and Salem know that this isn't the case. Cinder was already a sadist and Salem knew that before getting her to kill her father. Cinder just holds a grudge against her and tries to pin her villainous behavior on her mother.
  • Older Than They Look: Exploited. Cinder says that she has compromising photos of Taurus engaging in relations with a fifteen-year-old. Taurus emphatically states that the mistress in question is twenty-three, but Cinder would use Nia’s youthful appearance to get him arrested for statutory rape.
  • One Steve Limit: Downplayed. There's Dave Bronzewing and David Reynolds.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The woman known as "Cinder" has taken great precautions to make sure that this trope is in effect. Even the police have trouble finding out her real name. The same is true of the woman known as "Salem".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Whenever Cinder doesn't display some form of Dissonant Serenity or Faux Affably Evil behavior, this is incredibly notable. There are two examples of this. One is in Chapter 4 when she blows up in rage about Taurus trying to infringe on her trade. The next is in Chapter 10 with her reaction to the news of Salem's arrival.
  • Open-Minded Parent:
    • Ruby and Blake's respective parents are very supportive of their daughters' marriage.
    • When Weiss finally confesses to her parents, they take it in stride and apologize for making her feel like she had to be pressured into hiding who she is.
  • Parental Incest:
    • Penny is hinted to have investigated a case where a man raped his dead daughter.
    • Salem is Cinder's mother and slept with her daughter at least twice.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Adam's expression is described as a "default scowl." The only time he consistently smiles is when he's raping a girl.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Pyrrha and Yang dish some of this out on some lecherous guys catcalling them.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Hazel's relationship with his family. Despite the horrible things he does to other people to support them and save his daughter, he loves them genuinely and shows that he's not a totally bad guy. He even feels remorse about his job, which is more than can be said for the people he works with and for.
    • Torchwick helping Hazel find a transplant for his daughter. While he makes it clear that he has no emotional investment in Hazel's plight and only sees it as a business transaction, the fact that he's doing it at all and keeping his word on this deal is quite generous of him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Cardin is excessively misogynistic and calls Ruby a dyke when he rejects him. He's also a Dirty Cop.
    • Raven is homophobic and only works with Vernal because she's a good chemist and makes great drugs. She sexually abused Qrow in an attempt to make him like women.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Referenced by Ruby when she and Ren are discussing how to arrest Dave, Sky, and Russel. She says that bad communication leads to people getting hurt. Then Ren alludes to this happening with Ruby's last partner.
    Ruby: You shoot a guy in the ass once and he never lets you forget it.
  • Powerful People Are Subs: Cinder apparently likes it when guys are rough with her. It's the reason that, despite Junior's lack of endowment, she still enjoys sex with him. He's a big guy and can really manhandle her.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While there are many things that are outright different, several things from canon have been adapted to help things fit within the Alternate Universe Fic. Other things just had to be changed because it makes logical sense.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Cinder mentions that her truce is this. When Adam argues why Cinder would advocate for peace, she reminds him that certain things need to be done in order to be successful. The example she offers is to not shoot workers that you might need for important tasks. (Something he does seconds after the remark because the guy agreed with her.)
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Penny generally follows Gosh Dang It to Heck!, but when she tells Russel about Mitch, she asks him to pardon her crassness when she gives the popular saying about Mitch.
    • Pyrrha doesn't swear at all. Or at least, not outside of her reaction to finding out that Yang set her up to have sex with Weiss Schnee:
      "HOLY FUCK!"
    • Sienna gives one based on timing. She was using formal diction in the debate and in her conversation with Weiss, but considering how composed she was beforehand, the profanity provides a contrast between that and her true feelings.
      Weiss: And you weren't nervous [about the debate]?
      Sienna: Are you kidding? That was fucking terrifying.
  • Prison Rape:
    • Vernal makes a quip about this when she mentions that she and Ilia are looking at life in prison for their jobs. She says that Ilia wouldn't last a day with the "resident Big Bertha."
      Ilia: I definitely don't wanna meet Big Bertha...
    • Penny mentions a guy named Mitch and the saying is "Bunk with Mitch, and he'll make you his bitch."
  • Professionals Do It on Desks: Mercury tried to have sex with Cinder on her desk before Emerald interrupted them. They successfully pull this off later.
  • Promiscuity After Rape: Seemingly implied, but ultimately subverted. Near the end of Chapter 14, it is said that Cinder wouldn't let Salem control her body anymore. It seems to suggest that some of her sexual behavior is possibly due to Salem molesting her, but this is negated by Salem's statement earlier in the chapter. She says that Cinder was already having sex with boys before Salem had sex with her.
  • Property of Love: When Emerald confesses to Cinder, Cinder makes her declare that Emerald belongs to her and not the other way around.
  • Psycho for Hire: Tyrian is a former Serial Killer that goes under the employ of Torchwick to harvest bodies. This is deconstructed since he still can't keep his impulses under control when he's not on the job.
  • Psycho Lesbian: A more harmless and quite literal version of the trope is mentioned. Ruby mentions having a girlfriend who pinned her down in the backseat of a car and tried to propose to her. Ruby even says that she may have been legitimately psychotic, yet relatively harmless — thus averting Insane Equals Violent.
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • Cinder calls Adam a "whiny little man-baby." He violently lashes out over minor slights and hates to be seen as inferior to others. His personality seems more like if an Ax-Crazy preteen was in the body of an adult mob boss.
    • Tyrian is a Serial Killer who, despite his verbose syntax, has a rather childish mindset.
    • Cinder is rather sophisticated and controlled in the beginning, but after she finds out Salemspoiler  is coming, she seems to be losing her grip on that control and starts acting like an angry teenager. Taurus, of all people, calls her out on this. She get back under control later, but it seems that this side of her was always there.
  • Pyro Maniac: Cinder has been speculated to be one and called one In-Universe, and she may be one who has better control over her impulses. She talks at length about her appreciation of fire in Chapter 10.
  • Rape as Backstory: Qrow was sexually abused by Raven ever since they were teenagers. Cinder was sexually abused by Salem in the past.
  • Rape as Drama: Raven sexually abusing Qrow fits into this trope since the effects that it has on him are explored.
  • Rape Discretion Shot:
    • One notable use of it is at the end of Chapter 14 when Salem begins groping and kissing Cinder. It seems to imply that she's about to molest her.
    • Taurus raping Nia is also given a similar treatment. The scene is only described as him raping her and no detail is given. Only the leadup to it is throoughly described.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Ruby gets in trouble for brandishing her gun and pointing it at a fellow officer. (The officer was Cardin, but that was still irrelevant since he posed no immediate threat.)
    • Tyrian does something that can only be described as Stupid Evil. Going down the street with a bag of bodies while he's supposed to be in an institution was basically asking to get caught. Blake can even smell the bodies and since she's a homicide detective, she knows the distinct scent of a human corpse.
    • Flynt Cole is a Reformed Criminal trying to get his life back together. However, as he points out, it's tough for an ex-con to get a job since most people won't want to hire him. Especially with him being a black man since prejudices still exist and the fact that he was a criminal would only help justify those prejudices.
    • While Neptune is accepting of Weiss' sexuality once he finds out, it still feels painful knowing that she lied to him for so long. He really does want to accept who she is, but that doesn't mean he feels great about the dishonesty.
    • Since they're not among the many sociopaths in this story, Ruby and Blake still have signs of PTSD because of their job. Ruby has killed, and she has had nightmares about it. Blake understandably still isn't used to seeing so much death as a homicide detective, admitting to Ruby that she barely copes with it as is.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ozpin is just as frustrated as Ruby that Mayor Ironwood wants to put resources away from the Cinder investigation just because it makes the city look bad for when Weiss Schnee comes in to visit.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Salem is Cinder's mother.
    • In canon, Little Miss Malachite only shares the same name with the Malachite twins and no connection is established on the show. Here, she is their aunt.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Little Miss Malachite is a new character, but she is treated as if she was always there. The reason behind her lack of mentions beforehand is that the was out of town for two years.
  • Sadist:
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Cinder. She obviously has way too much enjoyment while beating up Robert. Her nickname comes from the fact that she likes to burn people alive to send a message. People think she's a pyromaniac, but Ruby suggests that this trope is more likely. She even gets turned on when Mercury's dirty talk to her consist of talking about brutalizing her enemies, implying that she's an outright sexual sadist.
    • Implied with Taurus since it is said that he usually only has sex with girls who aren't willing.
  • Sanity Slippage: Whatever happened between Salem and Cinder, it seems to make the latter rather unhinged when she learns that the former is coming.
  • Sanity Strengthening: After Salem leaves, Cinder starts regaining that control.
  • Secret Keeper: Glynda implies that Weiss is a lesbian and no one else knows this. No one other than Coco, who is Weiss' best friend. Yang and Pyrrha also become this after Weiss purchases their services.
  • Serial Rapist: Taurus takes some of the sex slaves that he traffics for his own personal use. It turns out that his mistress, Nia, also does the same.
  • Sex Is Violence: Cinder literally gets off to the idea of violence whether witnessing, committing, or just thinking about it. One of Mercury's ways of dirty-talking with her is to mention how they're going to brutalize Taurus.
  • Sexposition: There are a few scenes of character development or plot advancement that occur during sex scenes. A prime example of this happens during Chapter 7 when Yang is having sex with a client. She stops when he finishes… and then proceeds to get her vibrator.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Occasionally used to transition from a sex scene. More often than not, a significant portion of the sex is still presented, but there are moments where it cuts off the scene just before doing the deed.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl:
    • One could say it comes with the territory for being a sex worker, but Yang goes above and beyond even by those standards. She even lampshades it when she has to take off her shirt in the middle of a coffee shop because Ruby made her spill her drinks on it.
    • Cinder isn't ashamed of her body at all. In fact, she's quite proud of it. She enjoys the chance to go to Torchwick's club to perform a striptease to show it off to everyone there.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Salem rather creepily acknowledges this trope about her daughter. She even feels Cinder's breasts while mentioning that she moved up a few cup-sizes.
    Salem: You were only a girl when we first had sex. Now that you're a woman…
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Ruby's efforts to get Taurus' associates as a way to track the arms trade and get to Cinder were all dashed. She ended up shooting Sky, who succumbed to his wounds, and Cinder ended up killing Dave and Russel.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cinder mocks Roman by saying that he looks like he's auditioning for a theatrical production of A Clockwork Orange, likely a reference to the fact that Roman is a Captain Ersatz of Alex.
    • The writer mentions that they're such a Batman fan that the idea of a lawyer named "Harvey" may have just been a subconscious Two-Face reference.
    • Mercury's quip about people without hands still technically being alive is a reference to Victor Zsasz's similar line in Gotham.
    • Glynda's cup size being G is apparently a Deadman Wonderland reference.
    • Mercury’s line near the end of Chapter 9 is a reference to Red vs. Blue.
    • The scene in the strip club where a stripper is skinned alive is a reference to Brian Azzarello's Joker.
    • There is a line from Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
      Little Miss: You really think yer bein' cute?
      Cinder: Bitch, I'm adorable.
  • Shown Their Work:
  • Siblings in Crime: The Branwen twins work together as mob bosses, the Albains work for Taurus as his personal hitmen, and the Malachites are Juniors personal enforcers.
  • A Sinister Clue: The writer mentions that Salem is left-handed.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Salem slaps Cinder after the latter insults her. As soon as Cinder tries to attack her, Salem grabs her wrist and kisses her.
  • Slave to PR: Ironwood is constantly concerned with the image of the city. He seems determined to keep the Cinder investigation to a minimum while Weiss Schnee is here so that the city looks good. This is one thing that Sienna calls him out for when she interrupts his press conference.
  • Sleeping with the Boss:
    • Mercury is in a mutually recreational sexual relationship with Cinder.
    • Vernal is technically Ilia's boss, and they are in a relationship.
    • Emerald later enters a relationship with Cinder.
    • Yang suggested that Glynda do this for Weiss, but Weiss says that their relationship is strictly professional… and Weiss already tried unsuccessfully to get this to happen.
    • It seems that Nia actually works for Torchwick and they have sex in the next chapter after this is revealed.
  • The Sociopath: All the mob bosses, Mercury, Cardin, Dr. Watts, and Nia all have traits of this trope.
    • "Cinder" (aka Kenna Carter) is an almost textbook example. She has extreme callousness towards others and is willing to use violence whenever she can get away with it. She also can be superficially charming when necessary or when she's torturing someone. She also seems to have a need for stimulation that is expressed through her sadistic urges and occasional sexual relationship with Mercury. Cinder does have some anger issues and a need to be violent with others along with some arrogance about being the most prevalent mob boss in Vale. She also gets manipulative by seducing Emerald and blackmailing Taurus. Her mother, Salem (Emily Carter), notes that she always had signs of this even in her youth. Even acknowledging that Cinder doesn't even love her own mother.
    • Mercury Black has an extremely blasé attitude about violence and killing. He casually murders people and shows no concern for anyone safety. Cinder even says she likes him because he shares his lack of moral hang-ups. He also tends to be laid-back when conversing with people, making him seem like a friendly guy and can keep up this façade when he has sex with Yang. She doesn't suspect a thing about him before Ruby told her to keep an eye on her clients.
    • Adam "the Bull" Taurus is aggressive and callous to others. He is notorious for killing his workers at random and is even seen doing this in his first scene. Considering that he's a human trafficker, that also shows how little he cares about people. Especially when he regularly rapes them, too.
    • The Branwen twins have shades of this. They have no problem hurting others or putting them in danger to get what they want. In addition, Qrow is a manipulative liar who is superficially charming, while Raven is the one who is comfortable with human-trafficking. However, Raven still beats Qrow in this regard. Raping her gay brother to make him like women shows this. And Qrow's only disqualifying factor is his relationship with Harvey.
    • Roman Torchwick is an organ trafficker who shows very little concern for the people he takes the organs from. He even admits that he isn't restricted by such moral restraints as having familial attachment like the people he threatens. He's also superficially charming like in canon. He helps Hazel find a transplant for his daughter, but he makes it clear that he has no attachment to him and only sees it as a business transaction.
    • Officer Cardin Winchester is a Dirty Cop who gives information to mob bosses that could endanger his colleagues' lives all for money. The cinching factor is when he murders a suspect in cold blood because the man knows he's dirty.
    • Downplayed for Dr. Arthur Watts. He's pragmatic and needs to make sure that people have matches for their organs, but he's still remorselessly aiding in organ-trafficking and only needs matches because people's bodies rejecting the transplants would be bad for business.
    • Nia Poletti is fine with Taurus's trafficking and even rapes some of the girls for herself. After she's done with them, she takes them to Torchwick for organ harvesting without Taurus' knowledge.
  • Song Fic: Elements of this are used during Chapter 8 since it does involve Weiss' concert.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • It appears that Ilia's father is alive since she has a call with him. Her parents both died in a Dust mine in canon.
    • Summer Rose is still alive in this story.
  • Speed Sex:
    • One reason Jaune goes to see prostitutes is that he can't last very long. Fortunately, Pyrrha is rather forgiving of this shortcoming (no pun intended).
    • Yang mentions one man who was a "one-pump-chump" and came as soon as he got inside her. She waited for him to get himself hard again with little success, so she just ended up giving him a discount out of pity.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Qrow lampshades the interesting spelling of his name on a talk-show when asked.
  • The Spook: The woman known as "Cinder" has taken great precautions to make sure no one knows her real name or anything about her past. The same is true of the woman known as "Salem." She shows up and remains very secretive. Subverted in Chapter 14 when a lot about them is revealed, including their real names.
  • STD Immunity: Averted. Sex workers usually demand that their customers wear condoms. Yang even has to check to make sure that no one pokes holes in them. Weiss even goes to Yang with dental dams and latex gloves, and she puts condoms over the strap-ons that she uses. This is why it's such a big deal that Pyrrha has sex with Jaune without one. She trusts him enough to believe that he is also clean.
  • Stepford Snarker: Qrow's snark seems to be one of the ways he deals with his sister's abuse.
  • Straight Gay: Did anyone guess that Qrow Branwen was going to be gay? Also, Harvey Hart qualifies.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: When Taurus actually manages to embarrass Cinder, she turns it on him by doing this and then giving him a Spiteful Spit right in his face.
  • Teeny Weenie:
    • Cinder implies a downplayed case for Cardin. She says he couldn't be more than five inches. Since the average is about five and a half, that doesn't look good for him.
    • The reason why Hei Xiong has the nickname "Junior". However, it doesn't make sex with him any less enjoyable for Cinder
  • Three-Way Sex: With Weiss, Pyrrha, and Yang in Chapter 9. Also with Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald in Chapter 17.
  • Title Drop: Penny gives one in Chapter 5:
    " I've been serving in Atlas for two years and I'm ready to take on whatever Vale's underground has to offer."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yang and Pyrrha respectively. Yang is very crass and sexual as well as more abrasive in general. Pyrrha is gentler and politer.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Cinder and Salem's real names (Kenna and Emily Carter respectively) are rather mundane at first glance.
  • Too Much Information: Penny seems to not notice when this happens. She has virtually no filter and reveals a lot about things most people would rather not know.
  • Torture Technician: Judging by both her cart of tools for the purpose and her prevalent sadism, Dave isn't the first victim of Cinder's torture.
  • Transplanted Character Fic: While many of the characters retain similar characterization to their canon counterparts, this could just be considered an original story using RWBY characters. A commenter even pointed this out and the writer acknowledged it.
  • Unequal Pairing: Everything about the relationship between Cinder and Emerald shows the massive power-difference between them.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Subverted. Even though it is legal and without general stigma, sex work isn't unproblematic. Yang still has to deal with unruly customers and she has to check condoms to make sure that people didn't try to poke holes in them without her knowing. It's better since they can at least go to the police without fear of being arrested, but it still isn't a perfect profession. It is even noted that while she enjoys the job generally, Mercury is the only one of her customers who regularly makes her orgasm without her having to fake it.note 
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: The Rose/Branwen/Xiao Long family. Not only does the author say that they aren't related, but they don't even know each other prior to the story. If they don't have the same surname, they aren't related.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: It seems like this is how things go. The good guys’ plans tend to be laid out in the story and something usually goes wrong with them. The bad guys, on the other hand, have most of their plans obscured until their execution and they go off without much of a hitch. Additionally, nothing about Weiss’ plan to meet with Yang the first time was explained, and no one ended up finding out about it. The only major exceptions are the Branwens’ plan to manipulate the public on a talk show and Weiss’ plan to meet up with Yang and Pyrrha. Both were explained in extensive detail and didn’t go awry. Cinder's plan to get Salem to meet up with her also goes exactly as planned.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment:
    • Yang keeps her earnings in her bra after she's done for the day.
    • Little Miss kept the condom wrapper as evidence for Junior in her cleavage.
  • Villain Episode: Chapter 9 focuses more on the criminals rather than the heroes. The writer even confirms this in the opening notes.
  • Villainous Incest:
    • Raven has sexually abused Qrow ever since they were teenagers.
    • Salem did the same to Cinder.
  • Villains Out Shopping: There are several moments of the villains engaged in casual activities such as going out to eat, having sex (sometimes with sex workers), and even spending time with family. Mercury was ordered to follow Salem and sees her spending the day with a mistress of hers in a coffee shop.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Qrow is on good terms with the mayor and has to publicly denounce his sister on live television. Privately, they're equally invested in the mob trade.
    • Seemingly the case with Little Miss Malachite.
  • Walking Spoiler: Salem. Anything of substance about her is supposed to be a secret and she also has a mysterious past with Cinder that ends up revealing a lot about her when they finally meet, including her real name. She's an inherently spoiler-filled character.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Cinder joins all the other mob bosses to use Weiss Schnee's visit to Vale to keep themselves under the radar since Ironwood wants the city to look good.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Salem is coming." When it is first said, the only significance is that it means Salem is in this story. However, once Raven delivers the message to Cinder, the latter starts undergoing some kind of Sanity Slippage.
    • Two in Chapter 14. Salem's greeting to Cinder and Cinder's response is the beginning of numerous revelations about them.
      Salem: Hello, Kenna.
      Cinder: ...Hello, mom.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted among the Branwen twins. Qrow is considered the more socially capable and generally trustworthy one compared to Raven. That's why he manipulates the public while she works on the crime front.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Adam Taurus. He tries to fight Cinder in his opening scene. He also rapes a girl, tosses her on the ground, and shoots her several times in an unrelated fit of rage.
    • Qrow is willing to shoot and fight Raven. Although, Chapter 7 shows that he has a very good reason to do so.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Implied for Taurus, the Branwens, and Tyrian.
    • Cinder makes an offhand remark about Adam trafficking underage girls and says she wouldn’t put it past him if he had sex with one of them.
    • Qrow implies that he and Raven are willing to hurt children if the situation called for it. The writer confirmsinvoked that his promise to Senator Calvin wasn't an empty threat.
    • Tyrian implies that he'd be willing to kill Hazel's nine-year-old daughter.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Raven is rather insistent about the idea that Qrow needs to find a girlfriend. However, it seems she's willing to fill the job herself if necessary. It turns out he was getting laid, but it wasn't with women. That's the reason Raven pushed him to get a girlfriend.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Ruby isn't happy when Cardin congratulates her for potentially killing Sky.
  • You're Insane!: Qrow asks if Cinder is crazy when she tries to visit him while he was at Harvey's place, but she replies, "so I've been told," implying that she gets it a lot.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Salem knows Mercury isn't there to kill her because if Cinder wanted her dead, she'd do it herself.

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