Initially, I was not going to continue with this story. I was hesitant and unsure. BUT... You should all thank LadyBritish and show her lots of love because she inspired me and helped me to continue this story :) She and I worked out a pretty interesting plot together, and I hope you guys love it!
"You know, I thought you grew out of the whole marker tattoo phase already… No more art supplies for you." Qrow attempts to joke, despite his shaky voice. He was aggressively ignoring the small voice in the back of his mind, telling him where he once saw this mark.
"What are you talking about?" Ruby asked, her eyebrows furrowed. Qrow thought that this was a bit of an uncharacteristic reply, because Ruby usually had no trouble following the flow of their conversations. He was holding her wrist, this should have been obvious.
She squeezed her eyes shut in pain. At this point, her head was pounding. It was only getting worse by the minute.
"This," An anxiety-ridden chuckle escaped Qrow's lips. He licked his thumb and attempted to wipe away the black marking on her wrist. Not only did this disprove his 'marker-tattoo' theory, but it also made the concerned voice in the back of his head much louder.
"Wh-..what is i-it?" Ruby forced, trying to stay awake through the pain.
"Ruby," He looked at her with a new kind of seriousness in his eyes, "Are you in pain?"
"M-my head.. It's so bad, I almost c-can't see an...ythin… I feel, like …" She pulled her hand away from Qrow, both of her palms now pressed against her temples. "IT won' st-op!" She exclaimed, shaking her head.
"What's going on? Ruby?" An alarmed Qrow asks, jumping out of his chair. He was stuck between wanting to hold her, and wanting to call the doctor.
Luckily for him, he was good at making quick, logical decisions and decided to run out and shout for a doctor.
Unlucky for him, that means he did not hold Ruby, and was not there to stop her while she pulled out her IVs and knocked over the stand.
A doctor and two nurses rushed in, followed by a pale Qrow. Ruby was crying about the pain, and how suddenly she couldn't see.
"She was okay just five minutes ago.." Qrow said, watching the doctors work as he stood at the doorway. He wasn't sure if his sentence even came out above a whisper. His heart was pounding, his stomach felt sick, and his blood felt hot.
His eyes went wide and his lips were slightly parted in a visible frown.
Head pain, vision loss... the mark. This can't be happening.
Qrow backed away from the scene. Then he ran.
Running away from your personal problems. As always. You finally had the balls to tell her who you are.. To tell her the truth. And now you are going to lose her. Your own damn daughter.
He had seen it happen to her.
He had seen it all before. There was no avoiding it. This was like watching an old rerun of a horrible movie that only made you upset.
This is a threat to any and all silver-eyed warriors. The only way to stop it, is to continue his mission, or for him to…. "No," he refuses to do that.
Especially to his own flesh and blood.
He will absolutely not lose Ruby the way he lost Summer.
"Heh," He chuckled, "guess I'm not meant to have any form of love in my life." He grumbles before finishing his drink.
A glass cup that was once full of hot, sweet, light brown liquid is now empty. Even the ice that melted long ago was gone. The taste of the alcohol still tingling in the back of his throat; his breath like fumes, burning and crawling up his nose. He slams the glass on the unfamiliar wooden surface, mindlessly landing it on top of a picture. On top of the familiar face of his late silver-eyed warrior. His Rose.
Qrow couldn't bear to see her face. He knew she would be disappointed in him.
His tears had previously stained the picture of something that once was.
Times of innocence, adventure, happiness, and blissful ignorance. Oh how he'd wish he could go back to those times. The times where his sister was trying to be a better person; Taiyang had finally made her smile, his good-nature influencing Raven. A time where he himself would crack jokes, cause mayhem, and mess around with everyone on his team. A time when the beautiful woman, clad in a white hood, would exhale a happy sigh and hold Qrow back by his cape to stop him from getting into trouble.
Alcohol had never played a role in his life at that time. It had no reason to.
He had never even considered the idea of drowning away his emotions. At the time, he had plenty of emotions and actually enjoyed feeling them for a while.
But then, Summer got sick after she returned from a failed mission. A mission that only lasted 12 days, but affected her for the rest of her life. Affected him.
It started out with a headache. Then fainting spells. Temporary vision loss. Slight behavioral changes.
This all happened so slowly, it could have gone unnoticed to many eyes… but not Qrow. Qrow knew his Rose, and he felt something awful. Something very, very wrong. It creeped the back of his mind like a shadow in the darkness. You can't focus on it, but you feel something is there. It is terrifying, but uncertain.
Months went on like this.
Then, a black line appeared on her ankle. She lost her memory for a few hours that day.
Qrow had contacted everyone he knew that could possibly give him an answer as to what was happening to her, his rose. Unfortunately, he remained in the dark for another month.
At this point, Qrow was desperate for answers. He temporarily left his Rose with his trusted friend and old teammate, Taiyang.
He was on a mission for answers. He was led to one source who may possibly have an answer: his old headmaster, Ozpin. He returned home to Summer a few months later, but that would not last very long.
Ozpin had information for him.
He told Qrow a tale of a deep, dark corruption that targets silver-eyed warriors. Because they were the biggest threat to the Mistress, those born with silver eyes were often her prey. The warrior's hidden power and vessel becoming a feast to the darkness, keeping the prey alive as they controlled them to destroy everything important to them. The corruption would eventually turn the silver-eyed warriors into exactly the opposite of who they were, while making sure that they felt every bit the physical and emotional pain. This was the worst way the warriors could die: Not only do they become pawns, but they are also tortured and forced into becoming the evil in which they hated.
"It is a slow process," Ozpin had said, "Based off past corruptions, I could say that it may take about 5 years before she will-" Ozpin paused for a moment, before clearing his throat- "I recommend you make your choice as soon as possible. Take her with you, if you can. Remind her of who she is. It may help her fight the corruption."
Qrow set out on the mission, leaving a very unhappy Summer Rose behind. Ozpin was crazy to think that Qrow would bring her along.
"I have to do this, Summer… You don't understand!" They argued. Like an old married couple, they stood in their living room and threw their arms in the air as they shouted. The woman knew it was serious because he actually called her by her first name.
She doesn't understand that Qrow would rather risk his happiness than lose her to ...this.
"But what about me?!" She pleaded. Summer did not want to be without her betrothed. She loved him. She wanted to be with him. Marry him. Raise a family. She had finally let someone past the walls she put up, and he was leaving. "I will be alone…" Summer whispered.
"This is for you," Qrow would sigh, "You'll never be alone. Taiyang is here for us. For you, like he always is…. And his little girl needs someone to look after her. Will you please stay with him, to be safe?" He did not want her to be alone, especially while sick. Her recently developed symptom involved rather dangerous sleepwalking.
During their last moments together, the air felt heavy. The two of them felt suffocated, despite being outside under nature's beautiful, open sky.
"When will I see you next? When are you coming home to me?"
"I… I'm not sure, Summer." The truth finally spilled, "I admit, I'm a bit scared. Probably a wreck. But hey... there's nothing I can't do, right? 'Cause I'm pretty great… and I will do anything for you."
Qrow walked with her until they both stopped in front of Taiyang's cabin home.
He planted a kiss upon her lips.
"I love you." She whispered, her eyes still closed from the kiss even after they pulled away.
"Goodbye, Rose." He responded painfully.
When she opened her eyes, the man Summer Rose loved was no longer in front of her. He was gone. Away and away… flying high over the trees. She watched until she could no longer see his crow form.
The woman sighed sadly, turned around, and knocked on the wooden door four times.
"Summer?" Taiyang asked while peeling off childish stickers from his white t-shirt. "This is a surprise. What are you doing here?"
"..Qrow...he left me…"
"The only way to save her is to kill the one who controls the corruption. If that fails…... She must not live." Ozpin explained, regretfully. "She is too powerful to be used as a pawn. Do you understand your mission, Qrow?"
"Mind your time. If you do not succeed within four and a half years… before the transformation is complete…. "
"I understand, Ozpin." Qrow's face was dark and stoic, but his heart was anxiety-ridden, scared, and broken all at once. He refused to give up on his Rose. He will fight for her until the day he dies. He will kill the host. "If you must…. Please… make sure she is happy. Please be sure she will not feel any pain."
"Of course she will be happy," Ozpin smiled. "for she would die doing the one thing she loves most. Being a huntress."
"The impossible mission."
That was 19 years ago. Just before Ruby's time.
By the time Qrow finished rummaging through his dark memories, he was fast asleep; his head leaning on the wooden table while he sat on a chair in a lonely Mistralian inn. His face was pressed up to the picture he always stared at in times of trouble; Team STRQ.
Four hours later, Qrow had woken to a staff member nudging his shoulder slightly.
"Sir? It's the end of my shift, I can not leave you here. If you have a room, I can help you get there…" A female waitress said.
"Nn-ooo, I'ms just okay, with out room, Have to get to Rose" Qrow slurred, both half conscious and half drunk.
"Err… do you need help, sir?"
"MY dauu…ghtr.. " He said lazily, "dying… I need to ..where.. ?"
"I… I'm sorry? ..You should probably leave before my manager comes, sir.. I don't want you to get into trouble."
"Trouble," Qrow grumbled, shaking his head in an attempt to return his consciousness. "Always finds me, it does."
The waitress smiled. Qrow stood up and wobbled his way out of the inn, shrugging off her offers for taxis or any other form of help.
By the time he completed the walk to the hospital, he had gained more control over himself. He was used to living and doing things while drunk; it is being sleepy that kills him.
"Ruby Rose." He said to the woman at the front desk. She recognized the man with red eyes who reeked of alcohol.
"Same room. Go on, now. She should be sleeping. Don't disturb her… or anyone else."
He staggered to the elevator and made it up to the third floor.
Ruby was not alone when he opened the door. He found a mess of orange hair resting on Ruby's right side of the bed; the side where Qrow had been sitting on about 6 hours earlier, when he told her the truth.
He knew this girl as Nora; she was also admitted to the hospital for getting hurt while attempting to protect Ruby against one of Salem's huntsmen.
Dumb move, Qrow thought to himself, with a chuckle. His palm reached up to the healing gash on his own ribs.
"Hey, kid. You should go back to your room. Get sleep." Qrow stated. The redhead lifted her head to reveal teary eyes. She nodded and stood up.
"Oh. You cry?" Qrow's remark did not mean to sound sarcastic- he was just drunk. At the same time, his question did feel relevant to him: He only ever saw her as a happy and hyper person.
"Sorry." She muttered, before scattering away.
He did not move from his position, standing at the foot of Ruby's bed. He looked down at the girl lying there, helpless. A stark contrast to her behavior earlier; in pain, kicking, screaming, and crying. He had never seen her freak out like that.
She was passed out, now. It still pained him to see her this way, whether asleep or not.
Qrow walked up towards the side of the bed and planted a kiss on his daughter's forehead, for the very first time in their lives. He held her hand in his and stroked the small line by her wrist. He sat down on the chair and rested his forehead against her hand in defeat.
How long has she been affected? Why are the symptoms so sudden?
She had never even met Salem. How was this possible?
He needed Ozpin, now more than ever.
17 years ago, a younger Qrow stood in front of a familiar wooden door. It was rather early in the morning, and he was already slightly tipsy. Doing this was too hard for him. He couldn't face her sober.
Four knocks. His ring left a small dent on the door. Did he pound that hard? Did he sound too frantic? What if no one heard the door? Maybe knocking a few more times, a bit harder….
His anxiety was soothed when his Summer Rose opened the door. Her face instantly calming him, like his favorite drug.
"Heyl- Oh! Uh.. you.." Her small voice said.
"Summer Rose…" Qrow breathed. When did he forget basic language? "I.. um..? ….Happy Birthday."
She did not respond for a while. She simply stared back with a sad look in her eyes. It almost looked as though she didn't even remember him. He could tell.
After a minute, her face snapped up- as if something inside her brain has clicked.
"Oh! Thank you so much! Qrow thank you," She squeaked excitedly, grabbing his hand and pulling him inside the home. She slammed the door shut behind him, and jumped on top of him, wrapping both arms and legs around his torso. He held her so that she would not fall.
The short woman was now at eye-level with him, clinging to his body in a tight embrace. It was surprising how he was able to stay upright and keep his balance, considering he had been drinking. Perhaps he was getting used to it.
"I didn't expect this reaction, wow…." He laughed. "I missed you, Rose."
The two shared smiles and stared softly into each others' eyes. Until Summer's face suddenly went cold, her smile now a straight line on her face. Confused, Qrow's mouth now mirrored hers. He let go of her body, and she hopped off of him.
Before he even had the opportunity to blink, or even see it coming, a fist came flying towards his face at full speed. He was on the ground by now.
"That's for leaving me!" She shouted.
He instantly got back up on his feet and towered over her.
"I left because I love you!"
"Well I hate you now!" Summer responded. The two glared at each other.
"I doubt it." He chuckled confidently. He was right. The rest of that morning's events would forever be burned into Qrow's mind… with the rest of his good memories with Summer, of course.