【FanFiction授权翻译】【Snowbird】May I Have This Duel
Dedicated to Viisauden, my partner in crime, who shipped this the moment they appeared onscreen together… as did I.
Oh no. What's he doing here?
Most of Winter's encounters with Qrow begin with those six words, and now is no exception. That's definitely him, swaggering through the dancers, making a spectacle of himself as usual. Or at least, he would be, if there was any civilization to be found in this crude celebration; as it is, half the commoners are about as inebriated as he. They simply move out of his wandering way, and a few even smile and clank their… ahem… beverages against his own.
真是粗俗，Winter一边恶狠狠地想着，一边交叉起双臂。她尖锐的视线烧过Qrow，转而坚定地聚焦在一只明亮的纸灯笼上。幸运的话，他可能只是路过。她可不想把精力耗费在考虑像他这么低俗的一个人身上，甚至只是想象看着这个人死掉。（even if only to imagine watching the life leave his eyes）她的时间有远更有意义的用途。
How vulgar, thinks Winter savagely to herself, and crosses her arms, looking sharply away from Qrow and staring with burning determination at a bright paper lantern. With any luck, he's just passing through; she'd rather not waste her energy thinking about someone as low as him, even if only to imagine watching the life leave his eyes. There are a few far more productive uses of her time.
After all, General Ironwood's orders were to stay put and oversee this dance, so oversee it she will. Really, she ought to be grateful she's still qualified to be the only human in her squad, given her earlier… slip-up. She closes her eyes in lingering frustration; what was she thinking, letting Qrow bait her into a fight like that? Well, it won't happen again. Winter makes it a point never to make the same mistake twice.
不幸的是，有些错误特别顽固，事实上，它们总是一再出现。“喂，你，”Qrow拉长音调说，悄声出现在附近的桌子旁，从他永远带着的酒壶里灌下一大口酒。她睁开双眼，缓缓转过头带着满腔恨意看着他（with the full brunt of her hatred）。“好久不见。”他加了一句。当他收好酒壶抬起头的时候，他们的眼神对上了。（他的眼睛是葡萄柚那样的红色，不过冷厉得多。）
But unfortunately, some mistakes are particularly persistent; in fact, they positively beg to be repeated. "Hey, you," drawls Qrow, sidling along the nearby table and taking a long draught from his ever-present flask; she opens her eyes and turns her head slowly to look at him with the full brunt of her hatred. "Long time no see," he adds, and as he looks up from stowing his canteen away, their eyes lock. (His are the color of a grapefruit and twice as bitter.)
In her peripheral vision, his traditionally cocky smirk tugs at his lips, and she sighs. "Why are you here," growls Winter, through grit teeth, and it's meant more as a warning than a question. But he only chuckles and tilts his head, raising his eyebrows briefly; how unutterably exasperating! Winter makes no effort to unclench her hands, curled instinctively into fists; in all likelihood, she'll have to use them soon. Unless he actually listens for once.
"Heard you were in the area," says Qrow nonchalantly, slipping his fingers into his pockets, and puts his weight on one hip—swaying dangerously in place, Winter notes with some disgust. It's barely nine o'clock, and she actually doubts whether he's been sober since their… altercation. "Thought I'd drop by."
"That's not an answer," snaps Winter, and only after her outburst remembers to breathe. In… and out. "I'll ask you once more," she tries, in a perhaps futile effort to leave the hatchet buried for now. By no means does she want to get in even deeper trouble; the AK-200s have live video feed, after all. "Why are you here?"
Qrow raises an eyebrow, then—after an infinitesimal pause—puts a hand over what should be his heart and bends into an oddly fluid and infuriatingly proper bow. "I'd never miss a chance to dance with such a lovely partner again," he tells her, with such delicate emphasis that Winter catches herself wondering (outraged) at his subtle mockery. Surely someone so intoxicated oughtn't to be so… deliberate?
"I don't know what drunken fantasies you've been dreaming up," snarls Winter, as soon as she finds words, "but we've never danced before, and I'd sooner die than break that record. Now, move along." The AK-200s, reacting to her hostility, all turn to focus on him as well: she raises her hand to dissuade them; it's more important that they keep everyone else safe. She can handle one man on her own, even if it is this one.
Qrow puts his arms behind his head in a stance altogether too relaxed for Winter's refined tastes. "Never danced?" he echoes, raising his eyebrows. "That can't be right. What about that show you gave us at… at Beacon? Don't tell me you were actually trying."
Winter's eyes widen furiously, and she clenches her jaw, biting back a retort—seeing red, just like that ridiculous cape hanging down his back. She's not going to let him make a fool of her a second time in one week. "Get out of here," she hisses, clenching her fists. "Now."
但Qrow只是笑了笑。“噢，所以那算是打了一架，”他用嘲讽的理解评论道（remarks with sarcastic comprehension）。他的笑容扩大了。“既然那样，我得特别注意让女士先结束，”他对她说，她则因为他误导性的机智（misguided wit）厌恶地撇了撇嘴。“不过如果你想要这样，”他背过身继续说，“如果你对James*的……James的……将军的介入感到高兴的话——我猜赢的会是我。”他从肩膀上方抛来一个他标志性的眨眼。“晚安。”
But Qrow only laughs. "Oh, so that was a fight," he remarks with sarcastic comprehension, his grin widening. "In that case, I make it a point always to let a lady finish," he tells her, and she curls her lip in disgust at his misguided wit. "But if this is how you want it," he continues, turning his back, "if you're happy with Jameses's… with Jameses's… with the General's little intervention—I guess I'll take a victory." He tosses another of his trademark winks over his shoulder. "G'night."
Fuming, Winter's every muscle tenses, ready to resume their fight even before she's made up her mind. Of course, the decision is unanimous; the idea of admitting defeat, even tacitly, is not an appetizing one. In fact, video feed be damned, she's going to call him back. Just this once, she tells herself. And this time, she'll be ready.
Qrow halts just before she says that single, quiet word—turns around with a low hum in the back of his throat… and an insufferably knowing smile. "Has everyone's favorite heiress changed her mind?" he asks, with intolerable condescension, and crosses his arms, balancing somewhat precariously on the balls of his feet. "Good. I was hoping to dance another song or two before bed."
“哦，我会跳给你看的。”Winter瞪着他保证说，得到了一个假笑（the ghost of a smile）作为回应。“去外面。现在。”Qrow重新鞠了个躬，步履蹒跚地走了上去……连回头一瞥都没有地漫步了出去，只在过路跟几个陌生人寒暄时停了一下。为什么他敢这么自信？是因为酒精的缘故吗？她一生中从没沾过一滴酒，所以她不知道。当然，不是她没有好奇过，只是——
"Oh, I'll show you a dance," promises Winter, glaring at him, and is given the ghost of a smile in return. "Outside. Now." Qrow bows again, staggering on his way up… and meanders out with nary a backwards glance, pausing only to exchange passing pleasantries with some stranger. Why is he so blasted confident? Is it the alcohol? She's never touched a drop in her life, so she wouldn't know. Not that she hasn't been curious, of course, but—
Winter realizes suddenly that the AK-200s are looking at each other, at her, waiting to see what she'll do. They're unnervingly human, almost uncertain in their hesitation. "Watch this place very carefully until my return," she commands shortly; her squad gives synchronized salutes, and Winter drains the rest of her water from the cup on the nearby table—vengeance burning in her mouth—before turning away to stride after Qrow.
She doesn't have to look far to find her adversary: he's leaning against the brick wall, just outside the doorway, staring up at the sky—though he glances over at her sharply as soon as she fully emerges from inside. "You came," he greets her hoarsely, making no effort to draw his weapon… and the worst part is, he doesn't even seem surprised. Is she really so predictable?
Winter sighs in something heavier than annoyance; she can see her breath hang in the air like so many words. "Yes," she tells him pointedly, and bares her blade: Qrow's eyes widen, apparently startled, though she prefers to think of it as fear. "Prepare yourself."
But he only nods slowly, countenance brightening as if he's just discovered something, and looks her up and down—and then gives a small smile, evidently unimpressed. Winter's heart has rarely beaten faster; she tightens her hold on the hilt, longing to run him through. "Easy," he chuckles, putting his hands up just a little too casually for a genuine gesture of surrender… much to Winter's chagrin. "Easy. I asked for a dance, remember?"
"A dance," she repeats disbelievingly, and refuses to sheathe her sword, even when he takes his weapon and rests it carefully against the wall in his place. Why should she? It's a common metaphor; she said she'd show him a dance, so she will—on the battlefield, of course. What else would he be implying?
“对——的，一支舞。”Qrow回应道，站起来向她这边迂回地走了几步。她开始意识到他是什么意思了，但也没让她更喜欢这个主意。她会想要去碰他的唯一原因就是去勒死他；她当然不会跟他在字面意义上“跳舞”。“当然你知道如何跳舞，对吧？”Qrow自以为高人一等地对她耳语着，满怀阴谋地把手抬到嘴边（raising a conspiratorial hand to the side of his mouth）。
"Yeeees, a dance," replies Qrow, rising and taking a couple swerving steps towards her. She begins to realize what he means, but that doesn't make her like the idea any more. The only reason she would ever want to touch him is to strangle him; she's certainly not about to dance with him in a literal sense. "Surely you know how to dance?" whispers Qrow patronizingly, raising a conspiratorial hand to the side of his mouth.
Trying not to cough as she inhales the irrepressible stench of whiskey (barely masked by mint), Winter takes a measured step back with an impatient nod in his direction, shifting her grip. "I only thought," she begins, but stops abruptly, frustrated with herself. There is no need to justify herself to this… this scum.
Qrow laughs derisively, interrupting her aborted apology; he takes another, insistent step forward, extending his right hand: she has a sudden urge to cut it off, but it would be dishonorable to maim an unarmed opponent. As if sensing her impulse, he hastily retracts his hand and offers the left one instead. "Don't think. Dance. And… and put that sword away," he adds, as if as an afterthought.
"Preposterous," snaps Winter, brandishing her blade. "I don't fight unarmed."
Chuckling, Qrow rolls his neck; Winter winces as she hears it crack. "Neither do I," he points out, continuing to proffer his hand. "But we're not fighting," he tells her, straightening up and eyeing her piercingly, and she almost shudders. Heavens, she hates meeting that gaze. She feels as though he's looking straight through her…
Taking a deep breath, Winter finally sheathes her sword, ignoring Qrow's widening smile to the best of her ability. This is her only chance to settle whatever it is that's between them, she tells herself. Winter never backs down from a challenge; anything Qrow can do, she can do better. Even if it means dancing with him. And oh, will she show him a dance: he won't know what hit him.
Winter rests her sword on the ground behind her and takes his hand with newfound resolution—and there is still and sudden silence all around as they stand there in the broken moonlight. A respectful foot of distance stretches between them, his fingers curled around her back to rest on her shoulderblade; her gloved hand is clasped in Qrow's bare one, its warmth seeping into hers.
His eyes are closed, flickering beneath his lids, and he's frowning slightly; only after a few unnervingly peaceful moments does Winter realize that Qrow is listening for the quick electronic beat from inside. And then, smiling as he evidently finds it, he raises his arm and spins her experimentally—and she almost stumbles, disarmed in more senses than the one.
But Winter recovers quickly, automatically, using Qrow's hand to twirl herself faster. She lets go halfway through the spin, lifting her leg in a kick aimed at his ribs, noticing with a burst of fury that his eyes are still closed as he rock-steps in time with the music—just far enough back to dodge the blow. But they open again as he gives a single, arrogant nod of approval, and there's that smirk again.
She steps forward and Qrow steps aside; she turns and so does he—everything she does, he mirrors mockingly, refusing to stand still. It's frankly mesmerizing; the music and his motion combine in such a way that Winter actually sways, her focus scattered. Until he steps sharply behind her, so that his back brushes hers: she gives a somewhat startled cry and whirls around, throwing her weight into a punch.
Sliding aside, Qrow takes her forearm and uses her own momentum to spin her around again, grinning: he's actually having fun. Frustration making her stronger, Winter struggles to free herself and teach him a lesson, but as she swings her other fist, he catches it as well, and slides his grip firmly to her wrists. Qrow paces forward, too close, still smiling serenely in the starlight: he holds her hands between them at chest level, their last couple inches of separation.
And then he waits to see what she will do.
Insufferable! Rage energizing her limbs, Winter brings up her leg in a sharp and unsportsmanlike kick… but he steps aside in the nick of time, and even has the nerve to laugh aloud. "So that's the way you want it," remarks Qrow in a low voice, and takes one step forward before she can recover; the world slows down. Their legs alternate, and she is unbalanced from her failed assault, reliant on his hold on her wrists to keep her upright—
But he's not letting go. Qrow simply takes that little step forward, turning slightly aside, throwing exactly enough weight into his hip and hitting her just—there. Winter falls backwards, too shocked to be humiliated, and he stops her an inch before she hits the ground. She'd rather he have dropped her; as it is, she has only his cruel and inexplicable mercy to support her. Not to mention, Qrow's looking so far down at her with those sharp and superior features, and such is their positioning that his foot is perhaps a few inches away from—
He stirs Winter out of her observations by pulling her up again, in time with the tune; as he does so, she pulls back her leg and slides between his own to stand up behind him, fingers twitching with the instinct to draw her absent sword and slash at his back. What's the best way to hurt him without a blade? Maybe, if she's lucky, Winter can paralyze the bastard: she settles for bringing her heel down on his spine instead.
She delays an instant too long, however: the crouching Qrow spins out of her way with unnecessary style, straightening up—seemingly effortlessly—as he goes… and smirks, winking. How dare he! Clenching her fists in fury, Winter stares him down, strategizing: he sways in place with obnoxious agility. If she can only misdirect him… Charging in again with newfound strength, this time Winter feints, jumping up and raising one leg before kicking with the other, aiming for his head.
But Qrow dodges the blow and grasps both her calves simultaneously, backing up along with her momentum to keep himself upright. As he staggers swiftly backwards, his hands make their way up her legs until he finally grasps her thighs, pulls her in roughly… and spins her around. Helplessly, automatically, Winter locks her ankles around his back, clinging to him as tightly as she dares—praying that this doesn't look as indecent as it feels.
Another few dizzying seconds later, she curls backwards, wraps her arms around his legs… and sure enough, he stumbles, letting go of her. It's enough for her to free herself, unclenching her thighs from around his hips and using the ground as a springboard to flip herself back. But he follows, recovering quickly, and hooks his knee behind hers to unbalance her.
Thinking fast, or perhaps it's pure instinct at this point, she bends backwards to dodge another blow and uses their locked knees to stabilize herself. Before he can swing again, she flips herself swiftly upright, kicking him in the jaw as he pursues her.
Even as he reels, he ducks a second strike, straightening up quickly: only for a split second does he grimace and rub his cheek with slack jaw before he grins maniacally, going on the offensive. He sweeps her foot out from under her and presses a few fingers to her sternum lightly, just enough for her to start falling backwards again… but he catches her once more by the hands, a conceited smirk playing on his lips.
Winter对自己两次败在同一招上的气愤之深，只有她对Qrow的愠怒能与之相比。“你——”她恼怒地开口，不过Qrow笑意加深地放开她后，她的话就被喘息打断了。几英寸的高度摔不晕（to wind her）她，但她觉得自己还不如被摔晕。这种羞辱更打击她。Winter向后翻身，但旋即怒吼了一声重新冲向前方。
Winter's anger at herself for falling prey to the same move twice is matched only by her ire at Qrow himself. "You—" she begins furiously, but cuts herself off with a gasp as his smile widens and he lets go. A few inches' drop isn't enough to wind her, but she almost wishes it was; humiliation hurts far more. Winter rolls backwards, but immediately lunges forward again upon straightening, letting out a fierce battle cry as she goes.
What exactly she's doing doesn't even cross her mind; all that matters is she must hurt Qrow: there's no General to stop her this time. Winter tackles him full-on and is immediately surprised by how easy it is to take him down; is he not trying to resist her? He hits the ground hard, his smile becoming a grimace, and cushions her fall. She straddles him carefully, considering how best to kill him…
Glaring down into Qrow's face (his eyes are closed), she realizes that her hair is beginning to come down out of its meticulous bun, and her fingernails dig automatically into his chest. His sharp inhalation in response, and the way his eyes fly open, is oddly… satisfying. Allowing herself a small and savage smile, she slides her hands up, leans over him, takes his throat with trembling fingers—maybe she'll even be able to choke him into unconsciousness—
But just as Winter tries to tighten her grip, he scoots back suddenly and moves his legs apart to unbalance hers: she has no choice but to let go of him, trying desperately to stabilize herself, before finally giving up. She settles for falling forward instead, driving her palms into his ribs at full force… smiling at Qrow's spasm, relishing his groan. She tries to scoot forward to strike again, but even as she does so, he sits up underneath her.
Winter becomes sharply aware of their unseemly proximity as their pelvises brush, and Qrow takes advantage of her momentary distraction: he draws his legs out from under hers and pushes her down in one fluid movement. Winter's eyes widen as she realizes with a jolt that he's kneeling between her legs… but he's not touching her, save for his forearm pressing lightly against her throat to hold her down.
Only after she notices somewhat hazily that Qrow is panting from the exertion does she remember to inhale: she breathes in musk and whiskey, a hint of mint. There's a brief pause, but her thoughts are too indistinct to identify, and she's not even sure if she's angry anymore. Which realization, of course, angers her.
"Your eyes," observes Qrow softly, squinting slightly, and she has a peculiar urge to close them—out of shame, perhaps, though she can't imagine for what. "What color are they?"
"Blue," Winter tells him as shortly as possible, but her voice automatically matches his tone; it would feel wrong, somehow, to snap at him now. Especially as she's not sure she has the breath to muster much of a retort.
“不不，你的眼睛是黑色的。”Qrow坚持道，轻轻压低了脸更近地凝视她。他的眼睛让她感到强烈的焦躁。“除了边缘以外。”Winter皱起了眉，她会给他揍个黑眼圈出来的（双关语，give him a black eye）。他是在说……她的瞳孔放大了？她突然明白了他在暗示什么，肾上腺素带来的震惊贯穿了她。她集中了所有力量把他甩下去。他们都坐了起来。
"No, no; they're black," insists Qrow, lowering his face slightly to peer more closely, his eyes trained with unnerving intensity on hers. "Except the edges." Winter frowns; she'll give him a black eye. Is he talking about… pupillary dilation? She recognizes abruptly what he's implying, and one more jolt of defensive adrenaline thrills through her: striking suddenly with all the strength she can muster, she throws him off her, and they both sit up.
Qrow narrows his eyes; she cannot meet his questioning gaze any longer, and wants nothing more than to go back inside and reflect on her fading hatred in peace—but he doesn't mention her reaction. "One more song," he says eventually, getting to his feet and extending his hand once more—glancing at the doorway, from which a more downtempo tune now emanates. "Slowlier."
"That isn't even a word," growls Winter, and stands up on her own, brushing herself off and striding towards her sword (ignoring the fact that her unbound hair now hangs most of the way down her back). "And I'm done dancing for the night," she adds, glancing over her shoulder: Qrow hasn't moved, save to cross his arms and look at her with guarded interest.
He won't stop her, Winter realizes, but even as she tries to will herself to pick up her sword, she can't bring herself to leave him yet. Tonight feels… unfinished. "Only one more," he repeats, no more or less urgently than the first time he said it, and perhaps Qrow's detachment is why she finds herself turning towards him again. "A real dance this time," he adds, almost warningly, as she wordlessly approaches.
The song isn't quite a tango, but it doesn't matter; they settle into the steps as if by instinct. His hand fits too well into the curve of her waist; she grasps his upper arm. He grins at the pressure of her fingernails, pulls her forward, strides even with her; she crosses her legs briefly to keep him where he is, and so they go.
Eventually, Qrow turns her aside, and they lunge in different directions, counterbalancing one another flawlessly: Winter can't resist a slight smile at the perfection of it all. But he breaks the moment and spins her, drawing her back deliberately into his arms. As he twists her so that she winds backwards, she closes her eyes, forcing herself to follow. That way, at least, it's easier to forget who's leading.
And then Qrow dips her: their chests press together momentarily, and Winter thinks she can feel his swift heartbeat, or maybe it's her own. But he pulls her up again before she can ascertain the difference, and they walk together, lunge together, twirl once, catch one another's hands, and bend with pointed toes—he's not smiling anymore, she notices, as he spins her slowly twice.
Qrow leads Winter around him in a circle, tracing careful crescents on the cobblestone, and she mimics him once before hooking her leg behind his own—an echo of what he had done to her not too long ago. In response to her reference, he drops her into a dip with the faintest of smiles, pulling her up again just as he had done twice before, and brings Winter's arms around in a double spin.
He draws her forward, backing up swiftly, supporting her so that her boots barely skim the ground… and sinks to one knee just as the song ends. Qrow drapes her across his lap in a gentle and graceful and strangely secure dip, and Winter—oddly disappointed—finally, reluctantly, opens her eyes. She'd forgotten that she actually used to enjoy dancing like that.
Qrow's smiling down at her again, and somehow, it's not quite as obnoxious this time. More genuine, anyway. "Listen," he tells her huskily, shifting his weight slightly. "I'm not sorry. About anything. And I want you to know how much I hate you, and… and everything you stand for."
But though Winter can hear his harsh words well enough, she doesn't understand them, because they run so contrary to what he's doing. His hand is still tucked into the crook of her waist, his thumb brushing her chest lightly; his face is so close to hers, an almost tender hand supporting her head. There's something so enticing in his attentive stare, barely visible in the dusky light…
即使Winter睁开了眼睛，她的身体依旧本能地动作着，就像是没有意识到那人是谁。诚然，她并不完全确定某人不会泼她冷水（spike her water），如果她的礼节意识还没有苏醒的话——但不管怎么说，她就在这里，半闭着眼睛躺在Qrow Branwen的膝盖上。她伸手绕到他的脑后，让他的嘴唇与自己的相碰。他并没有抗拒。
It seems to Winter that even with her sight restored, her body is still reacting instinctively, without regard for the identity of her lead. Granted, she's not entirely sure someone didn't spike her water, if her sense of propriety has still not awakened—but either way, here she lies, bent backwards over Qrow Branwen's knee with half-closed eyes, encountering no resistance as she brings her hand to the back of his head and draws his mouth down to hers.
There's something strangely respectful about the way he engages her; it feels almost… wrong. Winter nips his lower lip just enough to remind him that she still wants him to lead; Qrow half-laughs into her and rises to the occasion admirably, breaking away only to moisten his lips in preparation for a deeper kiss, and lifts her torso a little higher for his convenience.
…Maybe Winter should let go of her inhibitions a little more often, because she may hate Qrow (she tells herself), but she certainly doesn't hate what he's doing to her. She'd always thought of him as skinny, but he's much more muscular than she anticipated, holding her up so effortlessly even as he brings his hand up to her heart and—
They break apart, their breathing ragged; but Winter hears him laughing softly, all too soon. She frowns almost sleepily, the teasing sound stirring her out of a dream. No, a nightmare! Her eyes fly open, and the world spins dizzyingly around her as she realizes suddenly what exactly she's doing. She'd retch if the chill of shock hadn't paralyzed her.
"Qrow 3, Winter 0," he whispers triumphantly, and she shudders as his breath stirs her ear—and he drops her on the cobblestone ground.
The songs can be whatever you want them to be, but I had the first one as "Jumpin" by Beats Antique.