Title: Four Deadly Secrets Author: OneirosTheWriter Rating: M Genre: Drama/Angst (Really, it's more Drama/Action in my opinion. Not all that much Angst.) Status: WIP Fandom: RWBY Pairings: [Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee] [Yang Xiao Long, Blake Belladonna] Summary: Sometimes the most innocent smiles hide the worst secrets. Violent pasts are shrouded by pretty lies as four girls try to keep their mistakes from the public eye. A deeper look at Ruby & co, and a more cynical look at the world of Beacon. Semi-Au, with skulduggery, violence and manipulation. Length: 166,587 words Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10449572/1/Four-Deadly-Secrets Most of us have been reading fanfiction for a long time. Having read so many thousands of stories and being burned on so many terrible ones, we develop fantastic skills at being able to judge stories based on their summaries. Some good signs of a cheesy attempt at drama include key terms such as "Deadly Secrets" or "Innocent Smiles"; Drama/Angst genre; or boasts of taking a "deeper" or "cynical" look at canon. Four Deadly Secrets though, is a great example of not judging a book by its cover. Instead of being the guilty pleasure I expected when Nemrut recommended it in the RWBY Fanfiction thread, this ended up being that definitive fic which you find yourself judging the rest of a niche fandom (and even canon) on. It really stands out in a fandom which is mostly filled with guilty pleasure romances or Jaune-centric fics. The only other decent fic that focuses on the original cast is Soulbound which is well written but really more of a novelization of canon. The general purpose of this fic is to take a lot of the original character concepts and back stories and exaggerate them. Make their stories more intense, and by doing so, make that aspect of the plot become a whole lot more interesting. Not only that, but it makes every single character that much more badass too. The world, culture and events are tweaked accordingly and the result is very effective. Ruby is still your energetic, hyperactive, weapon obsessed girl. But instead of her battle hunger being portrayed with that childish, shounen-style pureness its like in canon, its a bit more bloodthirsty here. I think most implementations of this sort of fic would lead to her naive facade being completely fake, but what is done really well in this fic is how while she really does have a lot more experience in a lot of areas (killing, sex, etc) than she lets on (and lies a lot too), she manages to still be somewhat more naive in others. She's still Ruby. Weiss's story is still centered around her being the rich girl who is taken aback and then in by Ruby's straightforwardness. However, where most fandom portrays her Huntress aspirations being an attempt to get away from a fake and awful society that she doesn't fit into (or in shittier fics, and abusive family), this story has her trying to run away from the person she becomes in that scene - the self that thrives and enjoys being the Queen of that awful and cruel High Society. Spoiler I love this idea of The Dance from Weiss's history at the Society (and the Signal equivalent of The Grind from Ruby's background). Sure the Society is a bunch of spoiled rich kids who spent their early teenage years high on cocaine, getting drunk and being cunts to each other at formal events, but at the same time, they were went around fighting the White Fang just for the adrenaline rush which is pretty badass. In canon, Blake's history with the White Fang is very much portrayed as someone who has been misunderstood. In canon, she joined them when they were a pure group, and got taken advantage of, leaving when they started getting too dark. It was always portrayed as Weiss' fault for jumping to conclusions and being judgmental. But that really diminished a potential plot point which Four Deadly Secrets makes great use of by giving Blake a less than innocent role from her time in the White Fang. Spoiler I love how this story portrays the terror inspired from Trigger Teams, Trigger Agents and the White Fang in general. There's lots of off shoots, other Faunus militant groups, but the White Fang are portrayed on a whole new level. A good example is when Velvet's Dad is talking about the potential groups Blake could be part of, the possibility of Blake being a White Fang member is just tacked on at the end of his explanation almost as an afterthought due to just how scary that possibility would be. Or how everyone reacts to that warning Blake makes when she texts that there's a trigger agent in Vale. That Blake was not only a Trigger Agent, but apparently one of the top ones gives a whole new dimension to that aspect of the story. Yang is the only one who was a bit dull in comparison to the other three. Spoiler Making her from a biker gang was fine, but I think making her a White Fang sympathizer just loses any potential interesting conflict with Blake. It's also too similar a concept to hers. In addition to the main four, I think Four Deadly Secrets has a great side cast, with characters like Miltia, Velvet and Alice being really interesting to read - particularly their clashes and strained relationships with Team RWBY. In general, the interactions between all of the characters on any of the teams are really interesting to read. Even Jaune's complete lack of understanding about how things work in their world and how the law doesn't really apply to them. The romance(s) relating to Ruby are done really well - paced really slowly as a side thing to build that tension in the reader. Spoiler Don't think I've shipped Weiss/Ruby this hard, but at the same time, I'm shipping Miltia/Ruby even harder (nothing more romantic than attempted murder after all hey?). I feel so confused. 5/5 from me. Didn't think the RWBY fandom had this sort of potential until I read this fic.