Every region in every land in every world seemed to have some variation of the holiday. A special day out of the year to celebrate love. Some saw it as a quiet day; one of simple gestures and appreciation. Others seemed to make it more about gifts and large gestures. Claude typically didn't think much of the holidays. Normally just meant a few of his friends would be out of contact for a day or two, and he'd probably end up working on a poison or maybe some new scheme. A few times he ended up with other hopelessly single people and that...eh. Not really his thing. It either got really horny or really depressing, and neither sounded like a particularly great way to spend a day that should have been romantic.
But this was the first time that he actually had someone - something - to celebrate. It was...strange. A tiny bit overwhelming if he was honest. He wanted to do everything, but also didn't want to ruin the day for Leonie. Over the top anything - while fun - wasn't necessarily her favorite thing in the world. She preferred more...what was the word for it? Meaningful yet simple gestures. So he spent the past...month-ish thinking this through.
He had a plan - a scheme - going for...since December. Scared away from it thanks to a conversation with a friend but, honestly? It wasn't someone else's decision on what felt right. On what felt natural. Nobody else could really know but them.
The day was spent going around with Barbie as their transportation. The kidlette safely in the hands of a trusted friend. Started with going to Cascade Bay with a nice breakfast with a nice view over the water. That was followed by a very specifically planned hike around pretty areas of the bay and a few other parts of the Vales. Lunch picked up at the castle back in the Abyss - a nice little candle-lit deal in a room specifically decorated for the occasion.
Which led to more adventure for the next few hours - this time around the Abyss instead of the Bay.
All of which led them to the grand finale.
The thing he had actually been planning for...what felt like ever now.
A picnic on the edge of the Abyss. Stars stretching overhead, with Barbie snoozing behind them. She had a looong day of flying around - it made sense. Dinner was mostly done, the day perfect.
Everything was perfect.
A weight sat in his pocket in a small box. One that he had owned since...December, honestly. May or may not have kept it on his person just in case the moment felt right at literally any given moment.
He was prepared.
But, finally, it really did feel right. With the stars overhead, and food in their stomachs. Leonie was standing - looking at something. Claude still sitting on the ground - just...watching her. She was beautiful in the starlight. Beautiful always of course. Just...in the moment, he was genuinely speechless.
A crush that had been going since practically they had met. Hilda never quite ever easing up on it. He was someone who was only alive, because of his secrets. They were everything to him. Yet meeting someone so open, changed that. He wanted to talk to her. Wanted this scheme to turn out just how he wanted, so he could comfortably just...ramble on about everything.
Claude pulled the small box out of his pocket and looked at it for a moment, before over at Leonie. She had practically already said yes when he admitted feelings. But...he was nervous. Like really nervous.
Taking a deep breath, he wandered over and bumped his shoulder against hers.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" his voice far away, eyes on the stars for a moment, before returning to her.
"You…" he laughed, finding himself for the first time in forever, unable to form a coherent sentence, "Are everything."
Taking a deep breath, he winked at her and gracefully dropped to one knee - pulling out the closed ring box, but kept it closed.
"Yeah I know. Big surprise, right? But in all seriousness, Leonie," he looked up at her and just...smiled, "You...are easily the most incredible person I have ever met. You're beautiful, clever, strong, and so...so very open at all times. I always know how you're feeling, and you're thinking. And that's just so...brave. You made me want to trust, Leonie. You made me want to push forward with my dream, because I wanted to be able to talk to you without fear of...well, anything. And...I risked so much just rambling on to you about things that could potentially get me kicked out of my seat or even killed. Because I just...I had to. I had to get to know this incredible person better. I wanted to try being as open as you. Or just...in the right direction. You make life in Pandora an actual life. Like...it would be very easy to be wildly depressed at all times here. But we built a life together. We have a house! Basically a daughter! We take turns cooking dinner. We snuggle at night. It's just...it's everything I've ever wanted. You're everything I've ever wanted," he took a deep breath and laugh, realizing he forgot to sort of...breathe through that entire gooey rant, "So…"
He finally opened the small box, to reveal the ring.
"Leonie Pinelli...will you marry me?"