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"Hey, Qrow! Quit slaking around and come help!”

Summer’s cheery voice woke him up from his slumber. He stretched his muscles and unwillingly killed the remaining Ursa.

“You could have done that yourself easily, Summer.”

“Yeah, but slaying grim with my partner is waaaay more fun plus, your weapon is amazing” she replied with a grin.

“We have been in the same team for four years, you’ve had more than enough time to see it. Hell, I even let you disassemble it once.”

“You know it’s never enough, Qrow. Aaaaanyway, let’s celebrate!” Summer took out a flask from under her cape and handed it to Qrow. “Want some?”

“I've told you I don’t drink and you shouldn’t either, we are still on a mission.”

“Ugggg, you are no fuuun! And I never get drunk so stop acting like my mom.” She lifted the flask to her lips and drank a small sip. Qrow watched her mesmerized. He had had a crush on her for years but couldn’t bring himself to say anything, not because he was scared (even though Taiyang always made fun of him because of that) but because he saw the looks their leader gave the other male member of the team when he wasn’t looking.

He felt stupid.

He knew Taiyang was sleeping around with his sister, everybody knew, even Summer, they weren’t exactly subtle after all. Yet, he wasn’t able to walk to Summer and comfort her when she cried herself to sleep. Qrow didn't want to take advantage of her moments of weakness and trying to make a move sure felt like that.

So he kept his feelings hidden.

***

The graduation day arrived. There was a big party and after getting their diplomas Summer hugged everybody with tears in her eyes and a big grin on her lips.

First Qrow.
Then Taiyang.
Last Raven.

Qrow felt happy. It was a small victory. But it soon faltered.
Later in the afternoon, Raven announced she was pregnant. Summer, smiling, gave Raven her best wishes, kissed one of her hands while snatching her glass from the other and made her promise to not drink alcohol until she gave birth.

She was beaming, but Qrow knew better. She was happy, yes, but at the same time, she was being torn inside. Summer went early to bed and he followed her.

That night, Summer crawled into Qrow’s bed and snuggled him. The sudden warmth woke him up. Summer looked like a mess; he brushed the hair from her face. Her eyes were red and puffy and her lips looked dry but she was smiling.

She kissed him.

She tasted strongly like the cheap alcohol she always drank.

Qrow didn’t move while her lips caressed his.

“Stop.” He whispered into her breath. “You are hurting yourself, Summer.” She was trembling.

So was he.

“Let me do this Qrow. Just for tonight. I want this, we both do so, let’s just do it and tomorrow we can forget everything and pretend nothing happened.” She sniffed.

“I can’t!” He shouted. Noticing the fear on Summer’s eyes he relaxed his body and looked at her, lovingly. “Look, I... Don’t do something you’ll regret in the morning. Sleep. We will talk tomorrow. Today has been a hectic day, we both need our rest.”

Summer moved in his arms looking for a comfortable position and smiled sweetly at him. “I’m sorry” she whispered.

Qrow smiled back and fidgeted with her hair. He loved her smile. She was always brightening other people’s day even if she was sad.

“Summer?”
“Yes?”
“I love you.”
“I know.”
“Forgive me.”
“I won’t.”

She kissed his forehead and they drifted off to sleep.

***

Soon after Yang’s birth, Raven disappeared. Qrow didn’t know why even though he tried to understand his sister. Maybe she felt she was too young, maybe she was afraid of responsibility. Nobody knew. Taiyang was crushed and Summer took upon herself the upbringing of the child. She became Yang’s mom, took care of the house and still went on missions while Taiyang battled against depression. Qrow helped her as well as he could, taking care of the baby when she was out. The stress and lack of sleep soon got to her and her health deteriorated but she still smiled.

She always smiled.

Slowly, Taiyang’s mood improved and started helping her. They acted like a married couple and the domestic atmosphere became unbearable for Qrow, who left the house.

When Qrow returned two years later he found them happily married and with another baby girl.

Her name was Ruby.

He felt out of place. If he had stayed maybe, just maybe, things would have been different. He was mad at Taiyang for searching for what Raven couldn’t give him in Summer; he was mad at himself for running away; he was mad at his sister for abandoning her daughter... But he couldn’t stay mad at Summer.

He still loved her.

One day, Summer left for a mission and never came back. Taiyang fell again into depression’s sweet embrace. And Qrow took care of the girls while he got better.

He missed her.

A huntress brought back Summer’s body. He cleaned her, sewed back her clothes and gave her sepulture.

He kept her flask as a memento.

Crying in her grave, Qrow brought the flask to his mouth. It tasted like her, like the kiss they had shared that sour night.

It tasted like memories.

He gripped those memories and drank.

 

Drank to remember.