A/N: just a little something to get myself out of this writing slump i've fallen into, don't mind me :')

It takes a while, but Clover eventually learns how to let go.

It's one of the first things they work on - after Qrow gets better at stifling the urge to deflect every compliment, and in turn, Clover tries not to pile work onto his own shoulders until he's merely staggering from the weight of it. Qrow recognizes the tells of sleepless nights and stress-induced headaches, and to his relief, they seem to lessen in frequency now that the two of them are together.

This balance between them is tentative, at first, but they're both persistent once they cross that bridge; it catches fast, like a flame against a wick, a spark behind gunpowder, and the wildfire that passes leaves something raw in its wake.

Something fragile like glass, sitting in Qrow's chest when he wakes up next to Clover some mornings. Something tumultuous like a thunderclap, shaking Qrow's world when Clover makes the increasingly frequent decision to tuck away his Scroll and allow himself some respite.

You're a bad influence, Clover playfully tells him sometimes, look at what you've done to me.

This is probably one of those times.

Probably, because although they both miraculously have the evening off, Clover still eventually takes his Scroll out when they retire to his room for the night. He's reading idly through another report before he even toes his shoes off, his brow furrowed, the bags under his eyes all the more apparent. It doesn't surprise Clover as much as it did the first few times when Qrow catches him by the chin and sharply draws his attention away from the screen.

"Eyes on me, shamrock," Qrow says. "You can do that later."

Clover seems mildly amused. "Well, yes, but I'd prefer to do it now," he replies, but the way he shuts his Scroll and tucks it away without a second thought proves otherwise.

Qrow only shrugs and brings him closer. "Too late. You're already giving me attention."

He catches the glimpse of a smile before their lips meet. The movement is soft, luxurious, but anticipation sparks like flint against steel when Clover swipes his tongue, tilts his head further. Qrow trails his hands lower, hooking into his belt, tugging him further along.

It isn't very long before he has Clover pressed to the mattress, slotted comfortably between his thighs. He grinds their hips together, deliberately languid, undoes each button to Clover's uniform with short, precise movements. Clover hooks a finger in his collar and guides him into another kiss, just a little more urgent than before, unbuttoning what he can before Qrow nudges his hands away.

Qrow breaks away to press his lips just under Clover's jaw, murmuring against his skin, "Let me take care of you."

The look Clover gives him is anticipatory, heavier than a bated breath as Qrow partially undresses him. Removes his vest, drags his undershirt halfway up his torso, undoes the clasp and buttons to his belt and trousers. The next kiss is brief, heady, just a hint of teeth there to send Qrow's nerves alight. He pulls away only to reach for the lube he knows Clover keeps in his nightstand.

Qrow removes his rings before slicking his fingers. He circles against Clover's entrance, applying just enough pressure to tease, glances upwards to see how closely Clover is watching him.

His voice is low, almost a purr when he reassures, "You don't have to go slow."

"I know," Qrow says. He catches Clover's lower lip between his own, sucks, tugs, lets go. "I just want to take my time with you."

Clover lets out a shaky little sigh. Their breaths coalesce, tension simmering, burning hot, like water that rises to a boil, sweat that beads against skin. It's the luxury of the transition from twilight to night, the anticipatory breath held at the edge of a breaking point. Qrow feels the way Clover melts at the first push inwards.

Clover takes him as beautifully as always, a flush burning high on his cheeks, more captivating than the rose-tinted haze of daybreak. His eyes flutter shut at the addition of a second finger, and he tilts his head back against the pillow, the arch of his neck lovely, enticing.

Qrow presses an open-mouthed kiss to the column of his throat, the sigh it elicits nearly imperceptible. His fingers move slowly, carefully, and soon, the hand Clover has clutched in the sheets below him lets go to reach for his cock instead. Qrow allows him a couple of strokes before he grabs his wrist and pins it against the mattress.

The sound Clover makes is almost frustrated, huffed out sharply, muddling the air between them. Qrow can't help the grin he wears when he sits back and points out, "I didn't say you could touch yourself."

Clover glances back up at him. His gaze is sinfully heavy, his skin burning brighter than before. It takes a moment, some delicate consideration, a gap he has yet to cross, a bridge too rickety to pass - then, obediently, he slacks in Qrow's grip.

He almost seems apologetic when he says, "Couldn't help it." Qrow withdraws, sinks back in, settles knuckle-deep. It's enough to make Clover ramble on, "You're just so handsome, Qrow, you're so - you're -"

He falters when Qrow crooks his fingers, rubs just so. He stills, takes a shuddering breath. His other hand clamps over Qrow's bicep, clinging like it's the only thing that'll keep him anchored there. Qrow sidles closer, nudging Clover's thighs wider apart as he does so, feels how they tense as he repeats the action.

"What was that?" Qrow teases. "I'm so -?"

Every upwards stroke and grind of Qrow's fingers has Clover's back arching, his cock twitching against his stomach, his nails scrabbling against fabric. Qrow continues the motion, deliberately firm, again and again until Clover finally lets out a strangled moan.

"Fuck." Clover licks his lips, tries to say something, but he only manages to pant out, "Fuck."

There's something so gratifying about watching a normally collected man fall apart under his hand. Clover is slick and hot and tight, clenching hard, trying to draw him deeper, to satiate that craving for more, more, more. He's needy in a way he isn't anywhere else, desperate in a way he isn't any other time.

Qrow's painfully hard in his trousers, but that remains an afterthought. It's not about him, right now. It's about giving as much as he takes, that simultaneous push and pull, like the rise of the sun, the set of the moon. A means to let go, a soft place to fall to.

Qrow continues for a moment longer before he comes to an abrupt halt. Clover has always been stunningly patient, whether in meetings or in battle, but it falls apart easily, faster than Qrow has ever seen before; it isn't even a second before he's bucking his hips, hissing out wordlessly through his teeth.

The sound is heady, but it's the fierce, shameless want in Clover's eyes that is dangerously breathtaking, like a crack of lightning that splinters the sky. Qrow has to let go of Clover's wrist to hold his hips still.


Clover's voice is just above a whisper, strained and drawn tight like the muscle that twinges in his neck. His freed hand clamps over Qrow's other bicep, frantic, urgent. Qrow presses his lips to Clover's skin, makes the slow, torturous trail up to his ear to murmur, "There's no reason to rush."

He sinks back down to suck a bruise onto the tantalizing stretch of Clover's neck, high and blatantly obvious, but it's nothing that his Aura won't heal by the next morning. Clover shivers against him, writhing on his fingers, jerkily rolls his hips once Qrow lets go as if he can't help it. Begging in his own way, burning to ash in a wildfire of want, drowning in anticipation at the press of another finger against his slicked entrance.

Clover bites his lip when Qrow adds a third finger, hard enough to leave it red, seething. It's a stunning sight, befitting of the sweat that beads at his temple, the wet glisten of the new mark on his skin, the slight tremor in his hips with every thrust inwards.

Qrow finally takes Clover's cock in his hand. He didn't remember to remove the rings on his other hand, but with how Clover's eyes flutter shut and hips buck up into his grip, he doubts it's a bad thing. Each stroke is rough, slicked only by precome, the white-hot drag of it enough to draw a delightfully obscene groan.

Qrow knows Clover won't last very long. He's covered in a sheen of sweat, clenching around his fingers, his cock leaking with the pace Qrow sets. The heat of him is all-encompassing, the thick weight of him in Qrow's hand enough to draw a needy little noise from Qrow's lips. It's soft, barely there, drowned out by the telltale whimper Clover makes.

So Qrow halts his hand, moves his fingers languidly, and he can feel the tremble in Clover's grip, hear the desperation in the frustrated sigh that leaves him. For an instant, Clover lets go of one bicep, makes the move to reach for his cock again.

Qrow almost praises him when he stops. He takes a steadying breath, and then he's clinging for purchase once more, barely managing to start, "Let me -"

He cuts off with a hiss when Qrow lazily rubs against the head. It's not enough, not even close, and Qrow tells him, meticulously punctuated with every feather-light pass of his thumb, "Not yet, lucky charm."

Clover growls, the end of it tapering off into the beginnings of a whine. He's quaking like a leaf, looks as if he's about to shatter, barely hanging on by a thread. Qrow repeats the action a few times - pumps in earnest, hard and fast like he knows Clover likes it, pulls away when he recognizes the arch in Clover's back, the harsh pants, the slack-jawed bliss.

It's a frantic sort of beauty, the quivering mess in front of him; it's the calamity of a thunderstorm, the serenity of heavy rain across tiled rooftops. Drawn to the edge and then yanked from its embrace, over and over until Qrow hears the broken moan that tears out of Clover's throat, tremulous and raw, nearly a sob.

Qrow almost feels guilty. Almost.

"If you want me to let you come," Qrow says, his voice dipping perilously low, "you'll have to beg for it."

For a moment, he doesn't think Clover will. He crooks his fingers once more, grinding quick and firm, and Clover bites his lip, squeezes his eyes shut -

"Please," Clover finally gasps. "Please, Qrow, please."

It bursts out of him, almost too breathy to be coherent, like a wire that snaps, a dam that shatters. He simply lets himself give in to the feeling, grinding down against Qrow's fingers, still pleading, still begging. He's a sight to relish, to behold, to revere; he's the reason why the ocean sways, the stars shine, the snow falls.

"Holy fuck," Qrow breathes. "I've got you, Cloves, fuck -"

He jerks Clover's cock in his hand, thrusts his fingers hard, and Clover writhes, pants, his grip going white at Qrow's biceps. The noise Clover makes when he finally comes is beautifully ragged, looking so blissful that it makes Qrow's cock ache. One hand fists in Qrow's hair and yanks him forward, crushing their mouths together, the kiss frantic and messy while Qrow fucks him through the high.

It's captivating, the fond glimmer in Clover's eyes when they break apart, the satisfied pliancy. He's never looked calmer, rarely ever has that pleasant sort of exhaustion in his features. Qrow withdraws his fingers, and before he has the chance to reach for the tissues on the nightstand, Clover passes a hand through his hair.

Clover doesn't say anything right away, but he doesn't have to - it's all in the sleepy little hum he makes, the clumsy way he pushes Qrow's bangs back out of his face, traces the curve of Qrow's cheek. His thumb lingers lower, resting just over Qrow's pulse, as if he can feel it rushing under his skin.

The smile that spreads on his lips is warmer than the early morning sunlight that blends with the snowy horizon, as if he knows how it races for him, only him.

"You're so stunning," Clover finally says. The corners of his eyes crinkle, and one side of his mouth hitches higher than the other, and he playfully clarifies, "That's what I was going to say earlier."

Qrow flushes at that. The earnesty is disarming enough to steal the breath from his lungs and lock his ribcage in place. His heart is a weight in his chest, a comfort rather than a burden, all the more apparent now that it pounds against his sternum, thrums in his fingertips, flutters in his throat.

"And you're a sap," he weakly responds, but Clover only smiles brighter and pulls him into another kiss.