Woes of a Father
The blond was having a full-blown panic attack by the time Qrow walked into the kitchen. "Tai, you gotta stop," the dark-haired man sighed, kneeling down next to his best friend. "It's not gonna do you any good."
"But- but-" The blond's chest heaved, eyes wide and frantic, fingers clutching a framed photograph with pure desperation. "Look!" He shoved the photo in Qrow's face, stopping himself from smacking Qrow in the face with the photo just a scant inch from the man's nose.
Qrow leaned back, blinking the image into focus. It was of Yang and Ruby, the two girls mischievously giggling and covered in cake after Ruby's eighth birthday. The entire kitchen behind them was covered in icing and flour and crumbs, and the more somber of the two couldn't help but chuckle at the memory. Cleaning up after the rascals had taken forever that day.
Running his fingers through his grey-streaked hair, he asked, "But Tai, what's the big deal? They're both grown up enough, they'll do well at Beacon-"
"My problem," Tai hissed, livid suddenly, "is not Ruby or Yang. It's Beacon! It's the teams!"
That admission confused him. "Whaddya mean, the teams? What's wrong with them?"
The blond jumped to his feet, grabbing onto the lapels of Qrow's jacket and shaking the man before Qrow could back away. "There might be boys on their team, Qrow! Oz doesn't care!"
The gears in Qrow's head slowly began to turn, and he had to bite back the low, evil chuckle that so-desperately wanted to slip past his lips. "What's the problem?" he questioned, feigning innocent ignorance the best he could.
"The teams at Beacon share a room!"
"So?" He knew that it wasn't nice of him to keep egging the blond on, but he just couldn't help it- Tai just made teasing him so easy.
Tai cried helplessly, releasing his friend and slumping back into his chair. "What if they live with boys? Boys are evil. Boys are awful. And Ruby's so little, god what if she's not with Yang? What if she's on her own? I should've never let her go, she'll follow anyone with cookies, oh no, I-"
Qrow waved his hand dismissively, perching on the edge of the kitchen table. "Boys aren't that bad," he sniggered darkly, pulling out his flask.
Tai raised his face, wide eyes shining with unshed tears. In a feeble, high-pitched voice, he squeaked, "Qrow, how can you say that? Boys are the worst!"
He raised a brow, now having to fight back the urge to crumble into laughter. He knew where this was going. "How so?"
"How can you not get it? Qrow, what if some idiot boy… seduces them?" His voice dropped to the tiniest whisper at that word, and Qrow couldn't fight back a snort.
"Can't be that bad. I mean, look at it this way- Yang is more than strong enough to fight anyone who even thinks about touching a single hair on her pretty little head, and Ruby doesn't even know what boys are, let alone care about them. You've got nothing to worry about-"
But Tai simply jumped up again, grabbing Qrow's shoulders desperately. In a frantic voice, he practically sobbed, "How can you say that? Dude, I slept with both of the girls on our team- one of them was your sister-"
"Yes, I get it, don't remind me," Qrow muttered, prying the man's death-grip off his aching shoulders. "Didn't need to think of that image again."
"But Qrow," Tai squealed, collapsing against him.
Qrow sighed, wrapping his arms around Tai's shoulders comfortingly as the man began to cry in earnest. The blond continued, "If Summer saw this, she'd be so upset, man! She wouldn't have wanted Ruby to go so young, oh no-" The rest became an incoherent mix of whines and gibberish.
The other man understood where his friend was coming from- the girls meant the world to him, too. The only reason Qrow could still keep doing whatever Oz needed him to do, after all, was so that he could make the world a better place for his nieces. But when it came down to it, he just couldn't imagine the two silly little girls he knew getting stolen by some random punk. "Yeah, yeah. Our girls will be fine, Tai. They're tough. No man's going to take them down."
"But someone might take them away!"
Qrow patted his back kindly. "Let's, uh… let's cross that bridge when we get to it."
And Tai cried into his shoulder, as unbecoming as any grown man could be, and Qrow finally allowed himself to laugh properly. What an idiot his best friend was. His nieces would be fine.
And, much to Tai's delight and Qrow's disappointment (because really, the meltdown the blond would've had seeing one or two boys put on their team would've been priceless) Ruby and Yang ended up on the same team, along with two other girls. Odd girls, at that- one was the little heiress of the Schnee Dust Company, the younger sister of his favourite of Ironwood's followers, while the other was entirely unknown, not having attended a combat school previously. Tai cheered with the news of having his little angels safe from the wiles of men, and Qrow simply took a swig of his flask, excited to hear what trouble his nieces would undoubtedly find themselves in anyways.