Ice-skates and Coffee Dates
Winter stared down at the slumped over figure in front of her, circling around it with graceful slides.
“The mighty Qrow Branwen, bested by a little bit of frozen water.”
A pained groan was her only response as she skated past his crumpled form, idly performing twirls and spins along the way.
A pitiful groan from an equally pitiful man.
She watched him struggle to his feet with mild amusement. It wasn’t often she saw him so far out of his comfort zone, the usual unflappable nature replaced with this. Feet unsteady, hands flailing. A far cry from the highly skilled and experienced Huntsman she knew him to be.
Yes, she could get quite used to this.
Whatever this was. Winter preferred not to think too hard about that or why she agreed to come here in the first place.
And why was she here?
Put simply, she lost a bet. More accurately, Weiss lost a bet to her red-hooded teammate (who was still salvageable to make a decent huntsman, even if he had sunk his talons in to the girl already. A scythe? Red cape? The girl was far too impressionable). Even so, Winter was not foolish enough to bet anything if she was not sure of the outcome, especially when it was something as valuable as her time.
Loser has to spend time with my uncle. What kind of a wager was that? It made no sense, even less sense when Weiss countered with a yes, but Winter will take my place.
And of course the younger and far more likeable scythe user was quick to agree. At least Qrow was equally annoyed, and she did enjoy watching him flail about like an idiot.
Finally finding some semblance of balance, Qrow flashed a quick grin followed by a thumb’s up – which he held for about 2 seconds before nearly losing his footing and groaned.
“How do you even do this? Wait, why are you so good at this? Aren’t you all ‘rules this rules that, A+ grades only. Fun? Not on my watch.”
Winter let a quiet snort of amusement slip out at his antics.
Showing off a little more, just to make sure she hadn’t lost her skills and most definitely not to impress the drunkard before her, she pirouetted on the spot with perfect precision.
Winter pretended she didn’t hear the muttered show-off in response.
Deciding to throw him a bone, though seeds would probably be more apt, Winter effortlessly glided towards him with practiced movements. Once the distance was closed she reached out and grabbed Qrow’s arms, keeping him from falling while steadfastly ignoring the warmth he radiated.
Taking a deep breath to help concentrate she paused.
For the first time since she met him, the strong scent of whiskey did not assault her nose. All things considered he smelled… pleasant. Rather than get caught up in the implications and admit to something that was most definitely not there and never will be there, Winter took a page from the man in question’s book and chose to ignore the logical conclusion.
At least if he was drunk there’d be a reason for his complete ineptitude.
Her eyes sparkled with mirth and it wasn’t long before Qrow took notice and his own narrowed in suspicion.
“100% you’re up to something.”
Not bothering to respond she continued to help guide him across the frozen lake, grip leaving from his arms to grab a hold of his hands. Tugging him along at a sedate pace, Winter took the lead despite skating backwards. Slowly she could feel his roughened hands loosen from hers as he gained more and more confidence but never quite letting go.
Getting lost in the satisfying sounds of her skates scraping the ice in rhythm with his, the Atlesian Specialist let a content smile slip from her usual cold façade.
“You know, it’s harder to call you Ice Queen when you’re looking like that.”
The ‘at me’ went unsaid and probably for the better. That was a can of worms that didn’t deserve to be packaged let alone opened. But still, she couldn’t stop that tiny part of her that wouldn’t mind.
She couldn’t stop that tiny part of her that wouldn’t mind more than just playful barbs and quick-witted insults. She wanted more than just side long glances and days stolen from more important matters like the fate of the world.
For a moment she stopped lying to herself and admitted the obvious.
She wanted him.
And in their line of work, the luxury of waiting wasn’t there. There was no guarantee of safe travels and coming home in one piece. No guarantee that the next mission wouldn’t be your last; especially when you had suicidal tendencies and a penchant for drinking on the job. And Winter would be damned if she lived with this one regret.
Not once showing her inner turmoil, Winter squeezed Qrow’s hands lightly to get his attention. Red met Blue and the intensity of his gaze almost left her breathless. Almost.
“So I was thinking we should grab a drink after this. I think I saw a café in town earlier.”
Qrow smiled. A genuine smile that reached his eyes and Winter wondered when the last time he had truly smiled like that.
“Thought you’d never ask.”