The Hero of Remnant
Ruby awoke with tears in her silvery eyes, holdovers from a sad dream of bidding her deceased mother goodbye. Clearing these tears with her finger, she sat up and looked about her team’s familiar dorm room.
It had seemed like only yesterday when she and her friends had led the charge to reclaim Beacon from the creatures of Grimm, and to this day, she still could hardly believe that they had won. Even the combined might of the armies of Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo were barely enough; it seemed that only the simple soul that was Ruby herself ensured that victory.
But that victory was not without its cost; many a warrior, hunter or otherwise–some who had seen too many winters, and others too few–had died, among them the former leader of the White Fang, Adam Taurus, who had sacrificed himself to slay the giant Grimm dragon and clear the way to restore the Central Communications Tower. Still, it had all been worth it.
But something was wrong; she was all alone in her room.
“That's strange,” she whispered to herself as she clambered out of her hanging bunk. “Where is everybody?”
Once she had dressed in her familiar black and white dress and tattered red cowl and brushed her teeth, she stepped out of the dorm room. Again, there was no one in sight. Not Jaune, not Yang, not Blake, not even her best friend, Weiss.
“Hello?” she shouted down the hall. “Guys?”
She searched throughout the building, room by room. She searched around the building, yard by yard. The lecture halls. The cafeteria. The CCT. There was still no one to be seen.
“Anybody there?” called Ruby as she headed into the city of Vale.
Everywhere she went, she saw no sign of anyone in the city, not even so much as a cookie crumb. The docks, the old dust shop, and even the city square were all desolate.
That is, save for a huge, triple-decker cake with silver glass icing sitting by the ornate stone fountain in the middle of the square. Its rims were decorated with red and black rose patterns of icing, and an index card that said “Eat me!” in tacky black handwriting sat perched atop.
Looking around, Ruby saw no sign of its maker and approached it, but as her finger all but touched one of the icing roses…
“Surprise!” shouted Yang, popping out of the cake.
“Surprise!” chimed in Weiss, Blake, and Viridi, jumping out from behind the still reeling Ruby.
“SURPRISE!” shouted everyone else, appearing from all over the town square. All except Ren and Nora, of course; Nora blew a long note on a vuvuzela while Ren simply brandished a tiny flag.
“What’s going on?” gasped Ruby.
“What? Don’t tell me you forgot your own birthday,” said Yang, stepping out of the cake.
“Oh, that’s right,” said Ruby, slapping herself on the forehead. “But why are all of you guys celebrating? Am I that big a deal?”
“Of course,” said Blake. “We can’t celebrate without the newest great hero of Remnant.”
“Wait. You mean…me? What did I do?”
“Let’s see,” said Weiss, listing her points on each of her fingers. “For starters, you saved and turned around Mercury and Emerald’s lives; prevented all-out war between Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo; helped me come to grips with my family legacy; helped Blake come to grips with her faunus heritage; helped Yang get over her depression; made Viridi comfortable as her own being; and led us all to victory in the battle to retake Beacon from the Grimm.”
“I helped with that last one!” said Jaune.
“But…but we haven’t saved Professor Ozpin yet,” protested Ruby.
“Relax,” said Nora, setting the vuvuzela aside. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but for now, let’s get this party started!” And she heaved a giant griddle over her head… “Ren!” …and slammed it down in front of her and Ren. “Get the pancake mix!”
“Gotcha covered,” said Ren, whipping out a spatula and kissing Nora on the forehead. “But go easy on the pancakes.”
Needless to say, the pancakes were a huge hit, as by the time Ren ran out of pancake mix, everyone–especially Nora–had more than their fill. But that was barely the beginning of the festivities ahead.
Viridi had a little too much fun with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, or rather, she had too much fun spinning in place to actually focus on the game. By the time she finished spinning, she was so dizzy that she looped around in circles and jabbed Scarlet in the rear with her donkey tail.
“YEOW!” yelped Scarlet, jumping into Sage’s arms and dropping his punch.
“Well…this is awkward,” said Sage, setting Scarlet down.
General Ironwood shook his head, unsure of whether to feel ashamed or amused at Viridi’s tomfoolery.
Later came a hot dog eating contest, featuring Sun, Nora, and at least twelve other students from around the world, all seated at a long table filled with pyramids of hot dogs, and each accompanied by someone holding a pocket watch-like click counter. Blake stood beside Sun, Ren beside Nora. Water pitchers sat near each hot dog pyramid.
“On your marks…” started Professor Port.
“I believe in you, Sun,” whispered Blake under her breath.
“I’m not cleaning up anyone’s vomit,” said Glynda to Qrow.
“You won’t have to,” said Qrow.
“GO!” trumpeted Professor Port.
And go, they did. 29 minutes later, the only two students remaining were Sun and Nora, each at 18 hot dogs eaten. Ren and Blake had their counters ready, but only Sun sat poised for another hot dog.
“19,” clicked Blake’s counter as Sun downed the hot dog and picked up another.
He stopped for a breath and a sip of water before looking at the timer to see less than a minute left.
“You're fucked!” he shouted at the lurching Nora as he jumped to his feet, gulped down his last hot dog, and beat his chest in triumph.
“20,” clicked Blake’s counter, snagging a sheepish grin from Sun.
Blake said nothing, instead setting her counter on the table, untying her bow from her head, and shaking her cat ears free. Then, with a warm smile, she threw her arms around Sun’s neck and shared a kiss with him.
“I told you to go easy on the pancakes,” said Ren, propping up the queasy Nora on his shoulder.
“I…couldn't…help…it…” gagged Nora as she and Ren limped off the stage.
Still later, Dr. Oobleck asked for a volunteer to be sawed in half. No one seemed to trust his judgment despite his apparent expertise in stage magic. That is, until Weiss raised Neptune’s hand while he was distracted by Ruby’s latest story.
“Ah, yes. Mr. Vasilias,” said Dr. Oobleck. “Come on down, if you please.”
“Wha–? Me?” protested Neptune.
“But I didn’t volunteer!”
“You’ll be fine,” said Weiss, kissing him and ushering him to his feet. “Now, go down there, and don’t forget your legs.”
“Oh, I won’t,” chuckled Neptune as he approached the stage.
Neptune stepped inside the oversized wooden casket and braced himself for Dr. Oobleck’s saw to seemingly pass through him. With the lid closed and his legs dangling, he looked to the crowd, and once the saw “touched” him…
“AAAAAH!” he screamed in mock agony, causing Dr. Oobleck to withdraw the saw in shock.
“STOP!” cried Weiss, jumping to her feet. “Stop! You’re going to kill him!”
But then, Neptune and Ruby both began to snicker, and Weiss’ panic shifted into rage.
“Keep going! Keep going!” sputtered Ruby, dragging Weiss out of the audience by the scruff of her top.
“I’m going to kill him!” shrieked Weiss, thrashing in Ruby’s grip.
Thus did the festivities continue, from the knife-throwing to the catapult ride and…well, there was so much going on that one’s head would probably hurt from trying to keep track of it all.
Finally, it was time for the cake: a multi-decker monstrosity of a strawberry shortcake that towered even over Yatsuhashi, who was watching Yang hoist it over her head and haul it to the long table at whose head Ruby sat.
“Are you sure you don’t need any help carrying that thing?” he said.
“Yeah,” strained Yang. “I got this.”
But a soon as she set it down…
…the table’s legs gave way, sending it tumbling down, and the cake collapsed into a flattened heap. For a moment, everyone gawked at the leveled remains of the cake and table, the silence broken only by Ruby’s giggling, which soon escalated into hysterical laughter. Soon, everyone joined in, even Glynda and General Ironwood, and especially Yang. Were one to look closely in the sea of laughing faces, they would notice Jaune and Ruby leaning on each other's shoulders.