Artemis and Apollo | 2002 | San Francisco | Evening
Artemis let out a long sigh, leaning back on her sofa. She had been inside for far too long. She needed to get out and stretch her legs, but with the media waiting right outside her door, that was hardly in her best interests. Life sucked, she thought. It was just one issue after another.
She groaned, putting her head in her hands. She wouldn’t get anywhere like this. After a long pause, Artemis started to wonder what her brother was doing. She knew he was trying to stay in the shadows much like she was doing, but she hadn’t had a chance to talk to him in a couple of days.
With a snap of her fingers, the athlete rose to her feet, tugging the oversized cardigan around her and adjusting the t-shirt underneath. Then she went to her bedroom to put on some pants. Pants would be useful. She couldn’t find her favourite stretchy leggings so she had to go with her workout capris instead. Oh well. It wasn’t as if she had any interest in looking good. She stopped by the mirror in her bedroom, putting her unwashed hair up into a top knot and, after a moment’s pause, ducked into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face. Then, with a pair of ballet flats on her feet, she apparated to her brother’s apartment.
When she materialized, there was an odd sound. She wasn’t sure what it was at first, but it seemed to be coming from the bedroom. Tentatively, Artemis creeped towards the door, cringing as she stepped on the loose floorboard she always tried to avoid at his place.
“Api?” she asked, reaching out with an unsteady hand and pushing the bedroom door open. There was her brother, sitting on the floor beside his bed, his legs curled up to his chest. And he was crying. No, sobbing. Artemis blinked, her fingers resting on the door frame. “Are you…” she trailed off, biting her lip, then rushed forward, falling to the ground beside him and throwing her arms around his shoulders. “Api, hey… it’s okay…”
He instantly turned into her embrace, his sobs only growing louder. Artemis, not knowing what to do, simply held him. This was different. Usually it was her breaking down in tears and him comforting her. After what felt like hours, but was only about ten minutes, her twin brother finally lifted his head from her shoulder, blinking furiously.
“I’m sorry, Artie, I… I don’t know…” he broke off, sniffling. Artemis shook her head.
“You don’t have to apologize,” she whispered, cupping his face with her hands. “I just want to know that you’ll be okay.”
Apollo thought for a moment. “I don’t know if I will be. I… I found a letter she wrote me, and I read it, and…” he trailed off again.
Artemis breathed in sharply through her nose, feeling a lump growing in her throat. Hestia. She knew they had been close, much to her dismay. Things were starting to make more sense. After a moment of hesitation, she shifted so they were sitting side-by-side and slung her arm over his shoulder. Through the window on the other side of the room, the sun’s rays were casting a pale golden glow over the plush carpeting. The sky was a myriad of colours. She loved sunsets. They were always so beautiful. Like Hestia. Hestia had been beautiful like a sunset. Artemis? She was more like the midday sun, harsh and unforgiving. She knew that about herself. And Apollo was the sunrise, bringing about the new day with his ever-enduring positivity. Except for now.
She leaned her head against his. “I miss her so much,” she breathed, watching the sunset through the window. Apollo hummed in agreement, sliding his arm around her waist.
“She loved San Francisco,” he said softly. “Every time she came. She said she loved watching the sun setting over the water.”
“She would,” Artemis said, swallowing another hard lump. “Hey. Isn’t there a rooftop deck in your building?”
Apollo turned to look at her, momentarily confused before a wide grin spread across his face despite his still-red eyes. “There is,” he said, nodding.
They rose to their feet together and, hands joined, left Apollo’s apartment and moved to the rooftop. There they sat, sharing stories about Hestia until the sun had fully sank below the horizon and the chill of night gripped the air.
“Thanks for coming,” her brother whispered, leaning his head against hers.
Artemis smiled. “Always,” she murmured in return.