There was nothing overly special about the bar, plain and simple as it was. There were dozens more like it in the city, hell even in all of Remnant itself. The booze wasn't what you find in a high end establishment yet it was still better than most of the rundown joints he had come across in his days. Just a simple plain old bar to sit down and have a drink, which was exactly what Qrow not only planned on doing for most of the night, but was already in the middle of doing. The veteran Hunter downed a glass of whatever the hell the barkeep had handed him and let out a sigh of content. It wasn't the greatest, but it was still enough to get him drunk, making it a win in his books.
Many asked why it was Qrow Baerwen drank all the time. Was it to numb the pain of some traumatic event in his youth? A means to feel invincible all the time? Or was the dusty old Hunter merely nothing more than a lousy alcoholic who couldn't go even a single moment without his fix? Well, it was more complicated than that in reality.
Sure, when he was younger and a Hunter-in-training himself, he had the occasional drink or three, but that did not make him an alcoholic. He had been like any other teenager, simply enjoying what life had to offer. He was part of the best, legends in their own right. Team STRQ, one of the most famous teams to have ever graduated from Beacon Academy. Oh, they had some good times, all of them: himself, his moody sister Raven, that blonde bastard Taiyang, and their shy yet charismatic leader, Summer. They were an oddball bunch, he chuckled, looking back to then, but none of them would have wanted it any other way. He could remember all the love letters and poems Taiyang would write to Raven and her countless rejections, none of which seemed to deter the man from his quest. Qrow had to admire his sheer determination, even if the bastard had been trying to bed his sister, regardless of intentions and such.
So imagine everyone's surprise when she finally had agreed to a date with him. One date had become two, then three, then before anyone knew it she was pregnant with his child. Qrow himself had been torn between congratulating his sister and strangling and castrating the damn blonde bastard for defiling his sweet, albeit moody, sister. He could still remember Yang's birth so clearly: all the tears of joy shared among STRQ, Raven's exhausted yet euphoric face as she held tiny little Yang in her arms. Qrow had never seen her so full of life, yet here she was, a proud mother with a loving bastard for a husband.
Then came the day Raven ran off.
No one had seen it coming, not even Qrow. It wouldn't have been for several years later and a chance encounter that he would find her once more. No one expected her to just run off on Taiyang and their daughter Yang, who had only been less than half a year old at the time. She had been so attentive to her daughter, so evident in her affection and maternal love. Even to this day, with them being semi-regular in contact, Qrow never did learn of the reason behind her disappearance, only that "it was to protect Yang". He had taken to drinking a little more frequently soon after, though nowhere near as bad as poor Taiyang.
And Summer? The poor woman had been so confused by it all. How would you have reacted to your best friend and partner, who named you the godmother to her child, simply disappearing without a trace? Summer had been the life of the team, their radiant light that shined eternal, yet that day had dimmed that light. It was a sight that Qrow never wanted to see again.
Now, while Taiyang had been persistently attempting to court Raven, Qrow had been nursing a growing admiration and crush towards his shy leader. He couldn't tell you exactly when it was he had first developed these feelings nor the exact aspect of her that drew him to her, but Summer Rose had ensnared his heart and soul. Behind all his witty remarks and drunk rambles lay nervous thoughts. She was just so beautiful and talented, a growing woman that Qrow knew was the dream of many a man at school. Despite being on the same team, there was simply no way a woman such as herself would want to be with someone like him.
Which made things rather bittersweet when Raven left. Summer had decided to join Qrow in one of his drinks one day, in an attempt to numb the pain and sorrows. Taiyang was a mess that could barely function most days and she had been stuck with tending to a fussy little girl who kept calling for Mama. He knew there was only so much she could take without breaking, hence his invitation to go out for a drink.
That was a night he would never forget, even if he couldn't exactly remember all the details. They had gone for drinks, somehow leading to Summer confessing out of the blue of her feelings towards him, then one thing led to another and one could guess what occurred that night.
One could argue that it had been the alcohol and stress that resulted in that outcome, that they had done it as a means to forget the pain. One could argue that, but Qrow would have knocked them out in a heartbeat. Well, maybe after a drink or two first, though. They never fully became a couple thereafter, yet neither one regretted what they had done. Yes, it had been a moment to forget the world, but it had been real nonetheless. They simply decided to put helping their friend recover above their own needs, along with the fact Qrow had begun to work for Ozpin in regards to protecting the four Maidens. He still didn't know the exact reasons as to why the man had chosen Qrow of all people to help out, but that was something he had never really bothered to question.
So that was how it had gone for the longest time, with Qrow out completing his missions and Summer staying in Patch to help raise Yang and support Taiyang. Things had started to get better, and when Summer had asked him to come home that one Spring day in regards to some important news, he hadn't pegged it as anything life altering.
Until she told him she was pregnant.
His first thoughts had been that it was Taiyang's, given how close the two of them had gotten while he was away. It had made sense in his mind that they would eventually develop feelings for each other and end up in that way. Summer, however, had informed him that they weren't like that in the least, leaving only one other possibility.
That had been the only day ever that Qrow Baerwen, stalwart Hunter who could face down hordes of Grimm without batting an eye, had fainted. It wasn't something anyone who knew ever talked about.
Taiyang knew, of course, yet that was not where the problem lay. No, the problem lay in the fact that Qrow was the father, and even then, it was a little more complex than simply "Qrow is the father". Everyone knew that his missions could take months to complete, and most of the time he was without any means of contacting them at all. He wanted to be there for his unborn child, but he knew he would never want to put them through not having a father for half of the year at times. So it was decided that for the world at large, Summer was carrying Taiyang's child, not Qrow's. That was how it would be and all three of them had agreed, albeit with a small amount of resistance from Taiyang at first. Not long after, little Ruby had been born, and when "Uncle Qrow" had broken down into tears as he held her, no one but them knew the real reason behind those tears.
Time marched on and with it, moments that Qrow would never be able to experience. Her first words, her first steps. He was always out on missions, visiting when he could with stories and presents for his two little nieces, while managing most times to find a moment alone with the woman he loved, away from prying eyes. Eventually, he managed to get more stable and moved back to Patch, becoming a teacher at the local academy for Hunters alongside Taiyang while Summer went back to work as a Hunter with him from time to time. It wasn't prefect, yet it was as close as they could get.
Once again, it seemed that Fate saw to it that such perfection would abruptly come to an end.
It had been a simple mission, one that he and Summer had done time and again, yet something had happened. A Grimm, unlike any they had ever encountered before. He could remember every damned detail of that day in the back of his mind, held back by the booze and sheer force of will. He could remember cradling her dying body, remember hearing her weakening voice telling him that everything would be alright and to watch over Ruby for her. He remembered the copper taste on her lips and begging her not to leave him. He remembered standing there with little Ruby in his arms, her small hands reaching out as she begged them not to bury Mama, her cheeks staining with tears. He could remember kneeling there long after everyone had left, with no one around to witness him allow the waves of anguish and grief to engulf him. He took to drinking more heavily there after.
And now, years later, he sat in a dusty old bar, downing yet another glass in the growing number he had long since forgotten. His little girl was growing up, a spitting image of her mother in both appearance and personality. She took his weapon style and her mother's clothing, unaware of the truth. She was a Huntress now, training in the same halls as her parents had years ago, the leader of her very own team. Yang had sworn she would watch over her for him, having only recently learning the truth behind her birth and swearing to keep it a secret until they all decided Ruby was ready to learn. He would watch over his little Rose until the day he died, as he had sworn to her mother.
And to answer the question everyone asked: Qrow Baerwen drank to remember and to forget and because he was best known for drinking, plain and simple. The only time he planned on stopping that before he was dead was the day he would walk his sweet little Rose down the aisle.
Until then, he would drink.
So I completely forgot I had this piece written back in September and it wasn't until I was randomly searching through my story folder that I came across it.
I had wanted to try out a Tragedy story for a while, and while this isn't my best work, I feel confident with it nonetheless.
Let me know what you think of it.