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For a short while, there is silence. It is like that of a stilted breath, a predacious stillness, a house of cards just a whisper away from collapsing. Atlas is nothing like home, and even with the hospitality they are given and the protection they are granted, it is nothing close to the respite they need. There is no respite until there is stability, and there is no real stability when there is no guaranteed tomorrow.

But Qrow can let himself believe that there is respite to be had when he finally meets Clover.

The moment they met will always be remembered in technicolor detail, but it is the lull that follows that Qrow lingers on the most. He does not expect very much when they arrive, not when they are presented with nothing but impeccable marble and stainless tiles and rooms painfully barren. He does not expect anyone after James to stop him, and he especially doesn’t expect the genuine apology that Clover gives him.

It stems beyond bland pleasantries and lame introductions. It goes further than a smile and the infuriatingly distracting lack of sleeves, because from the very start, Clover is considerate. He bears a title heavier than gravity and duties that stretch long into the night, and yet still, he has nothing to give but endless patience and a smile that burns brighter than the sun itself.

Needless to say, Clover does not shake Qrow’s throne; he completely shatters it.

He is the embodiment of everything gone right by Atlesian standards, and yet still, he is different. He is lethally charismatic. He is dangerously alluring. He is authentic in everything he does, always wearing his heart on his sleeve, never once hiding in a space where Qrow cannot reach.

The most perilous thing of all is that he is interesting.

What makes this so dangerous is that Qrow cannot help but be drawn to Clover. He cannot help the pull between them like that between the shattered moon and the rising tide. He cannot help the attraction, the allure, the unspoken thing that sparks and skitters like flint to steel every morning when their paths converge.

And judging by the fleeting glances and the smile that crooks just a bit higher each time, Clover cannot help it, either.