Notes: And in the eleventh hour (because it is still Justicykes day for another hour and a half where I live), here’s something for Justicykes day. Inspired by the song “Streetlights" by Ludo. (If you’re going to listen, I recommend doing so starting with the section that talks about July 17th.)
Summary: Sometimes the moment doesn’t have to be perfect—it just has to be a moment. Apollo/Athena.
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Apollo bought the ring three weeks after they started dating.
He wasn’t planning on proposing then, of course. Doing so would have made no logical sense, and while there were very few things that did make logical sense in the Wright Anything Agency, this was something that needed to. As he held the small velvet box in his palm, he knew that he had to get it right. It had to be the right place, the right time—the right moment. It had to be perfect. But somehow, that pressure didn’t make his hand shake, didn’t make the little box tremble in his hand, even as he slipped it into his pocket. The moment had to be perfect, the time had to be right—but Apollo would get there. He knew he would.
He just had to be patient.
Three weeks stretched into six months.
Apollo ran over plans in his head, as he had been doing when he’d purchased the ring, so many months ago. He’d considered the space center’s observatory as his first idea, yet had dashed that thought as soon as it came; with how much trauma that space center had given both of them, Apollo knew it was the last place he wanted to propose. He’d considered the cliché of a candlelit dinner, had thought about taking Athena to the beach at night, or asking her on a walk on the pier. He’d thought about proposing right after they’d won a trial, in front of everyone, and had considered an even more public display, had considered running up on stage during one of Trucy’s show to announce his intent to marry Athena to the entire Wonder Bar. But each of these moments came to pass, and the proposal wouldn’t—couldn’t—leave Apollo’s lips. They had dinner at fancy restaurants, Apollo wearing a suit that made his neck itch and Athena moving extra carefully so as not to spill pasta down the front of her fancy blouse or dress. They did spend nights on the beach, they took walks on piers and won trial after trial, Athena breaking into a victory dance right there behind the defense’s bench. They even moved in together after a fun-filled weekend of hauling furniture up to a third floor apartment in the L.A. heat, both of them pointedly ignoring all of the furniture arrangement “tips” Simon, Mr. Wright, Trucy, Pearl, Ema, Juniper, Robin, Hugh, and Klavier tried to give them. Moment after moment passed, yet no matter how many times Apollo ran the scenario in his head, no matter how many plans he made, he couldn’t follow through.
They sat on the couch one night, Athena curled against Apollo’s side as Atlantic Rim, an older movie about an apocalypse-ending battle between kaiju and giant mechas, played on the television. The little black box with the ring was balled up in a pair of socks in Apollo’s underwear drawer, and he could see it in his mind’s eye as clearly as if he was cross-examining it in court.
Soon, he told himself. I’ll propose soon. I swear I will.