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Burning on in My Heart

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February 24, 2:13 PM
District Court
Courtroom no. 3

“You’ve proven that the witness could’ve done the deed, ja? But as usual, Herr Forehead, you lack decisive evidence.”

“That’s… where you’re wrong… Prosecutor Gavin.” Apollo looked smug even though he was breathing as if he’d just climbed five flights of stairs.

“Then you have evidence that the witness murdered Ms. Happ?”

“It’s obvious he has no idea what he’s talking about. There should be some sort of punishment for making accusations against innocent people!” the witness said, sweat dripping down her forehead.

It was obvious the witness was guilty, but Klavier had always enjoyed watching Apollo’s desperate attempts to pin down murderers. But Apollo hadn’t yelled a single time throughout the entire trial today. He must’ve been quite ill.

“Mr. Justice, I’ll have to give you a penalty for making baseless accusations.”

“Objection,” Apollo said quietly. The judge didn’t notice that he’d said anything, so Apollo nudged Athena.

“Objection!” Athena yelled.

The judge was looking at the defense now. “I haven’t… even gotten… to present my… evidence!” Apollo complained.

“You can’t penalize him for not doing something if he didn’t get the chance to do it!” Athena added.

“In that case, the defense will do the something I will penalize him for not doing!” The judge held his gavel above the podium as if he were ready for Apollo to fail.

“Before I present... my evidence… Miss Tiffaye? Can you tell me... the names of… everyone there… that day?”

“It was me, Audrey, Brian, Lillie, and Ms. Happ. But Audrey’s prints are on the knife!”

“But Audrey was asleep during the murder! We already proved that!” Athena said.

“Was there… anyone else?” Apollo asked.

“No. But I don’t know why you think it’s me!”

Apollo grinned. “During the... investigation... we sprayed Luminol… On the carpet… Of Ms. Happ’s office. Do you know… What we found?”

“How would I know?!” The witness was sweating.

“A bloody shoeprint… right next to… the victim’s body.” Apollo held up a photo. “The killer… took the time… to get the blood… out of the carpet. But they couldn’t… scrub it completely. And that’s… how we’ll find… our killer.”

“Care to explain, Herr Forehead?”

Apollo coughed. “The shoeprint… Is very small. A size five. So to... find our killer… all we need… to do… is play a game… of Cinderella.”

“So we see who the shoe fits? Intriguing indeed.” Klavier played a riff on his air guitar. “There’s a song there.”

“Well, I didn’t do it!” The witness swung her leg on top of the witness stand. “I wear a size nine!”

“In that case… I would ask… that the witness… take her shoes off.” Apollo crossed his arms.

“And why would I do that?”

“Because it’s… impossible to fit… a size nine foot… into a size five shoe. But a size five foot… could fit into… a size nine shoe… easily.” Apollo leaned over the defense bench and caught his breath, uncrossing his arms to support himself. Klavier was beginning to feel genuinely concerned, and felt no better when Apollo began to cough again.

Athena crossed her arms to replace Apollo’s confident pose. “We already got the footprints of everyone else in the case, and their feet are too big! Care to compare, Tess Tiffaye?”

“You can’t make me take off my shoes! You’ll ruin my entire outfit!”

“It’s only for a few seconds, witness. I know how important shoes are to a nice outfit, but the only pretty picture we need right now is the truth.” As much as Klavier would’ve enjoyed listening to Apollo argue with the witness about her shoes, he looked like he needed to go home as soon as possible.

“What do you know about shoes?!” She demanded, balling up her fists.

“I modeled for eight years. I know a few things.” He winked.

“If the prosecution sees the need for the witness to take off her shoes, I would ask the witness to cooperate.” The judge frowned.

“No! My shoes... I won’t take them off! You can’t make me!”

“Bailiff, please take off her shoes,” the judge ordered.

She had landed a good kick on the bailiff before her shoe was ripped off, revealing a very small foot. “No! This can’t be HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“The witness… was standing… over the victim’s… dead body,” Apollo said, leaning on the bench for support.

“And she tried to wipe away the blood, because she knew that if anyone saw how small the killer’s feet were, they would know it was her! There’s nobody else who could’ve committed this crime but YOU, Tess Tiffaye!”

The witness began to scream about her shoes and her boss, which would have been very entertaining if Apollo didn’t excuse himself from the defense bench and walk out of the courtroom.

“I am ready to render my verdict,” the judge said after the witness had been dragged out of the room. “But where has Mr. Justice gone?”

“He’s not feeling well… You can deliver your verdict without him.” Athena looked a little nervous.

“Very well. This court finds the defendant, Audrey Ming…”

NOT GUILTY

“And that concludes this trial. But Miss Cykes?”

“Yeah?”

“See to it that Mr. Justice gets some rest. I’ve never had a problem hearing that voice of his until today.”

“Of course.”

“And with that… Court is adjourned!”

Klavier took a few minutes to update social media, check his email, and organize his case notes while the gallery cleared. He was nearly finished filing the evidence back into his case binder when Athena appeared at his bench. “Can I help you, Fraulein?”

“I’m worried about Apollo,” she said with a frown.

“Ja, I am too. What happened to him?”

“No clue. He’s had a cold for about a week now, but…”

“...That didn’t look like a cold.”

“Exactly. I went into the defense lobby to congratulate our client, but he wasn’t there. I think he’s in the men’s restroom.” She gave him a pointed look.

“Ah. You need a man to check on him?”

Athena smirked. “Well, I don’t need a man. But one would be helpful.” Her grin, however, was undermined by the tiny face of terror around her neck.

Klavier smiled gently. “I’ll see what I can do.”

The bathrooms were unreasonably far away from every other part of the courthouse, and it was a two minute walk just to get there. “I feel like I should be celebrating with Audrey, but…”

“It’s okay. Friends before clients, ja?”

Athena slumped down on the ground and hugged her knees. “Yeah…”

Klavier opened the bathroom door to find Apollo coughing and leaning over the sink. There was a bottle of Ibuprofen on the counter. “Achtung! Are you all right?” Klavier asked. Apollo jumped.

“I’m fiNe!” he said, his voice cracking. He cleared his throat. “I’m fine.” He smiled.

“Fraulein Cykes asked me to check on you. Not to be rude, but you look terrible,” Klavier said. Upon closer inspection, it seemed like Apollo was shivering. “Do you have a fever?”

“N-no.” Apollo’s voice came out as a squeak, and he started coughing. He grabbed the bottle of Ibuprofen from the counter and shoved it in his pocket. Wasn’t that a fever reducer?

Klavier was nearly certain that Apollo had a fever, so he reached out to touch his forehead. Apollo tried to stop him, but he slipped and fell onto the floor.

“Herr Forehead, what is wrong?!”

“I just... have a cold,” he said. “Nothing… Serious.” He tried to stand back up but was shaking too much to get a hold on the floor. “Argh!”

Klavier reached out to try and take Apollo’s temperature again. Apollo didn’t have enough energy to resist, so he just sighed. His forehead was burning hot.

“Herr Forehead, I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“No! You can’t!” The sudden burst caused another coughing fit.

“You’re horribly sick. I have no idea why you showed up to court today.”

“I can’t afford... a trip to... the hospital. Please just... leave me alone.”

How expensive was a trip to the hospital? A thousand dollars, maybe? Klavier wasn’t entirely sure. He had very good health insurance, courtesy of the Prosecutor’s Office, so he’d never hesitated to go to the doctor before.

“You certainly aren’t biking home like this.” Klavier frowned.

“I’ll be fine.”

“I’ll drive you. At least let me do that.”

“No,” Apollo retorted.

Klavier sat down on the floor of the bathroom and looked Apollo in the eyes. “I want to help you.”

Apollo glared back. “I don’t... need help.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, Apollo’s fast, raspy breaths echoing around the room. Klavier absentmindedly took in his surroundings as he wondered what to do; the floor was cold and the room had a sickly sweet chemical odor. He hated this. At one point the judge stepped into the room, stared at the two of them, opened his mouth to say something, and then left.

“What can I do for you?” Klavier finally asked.

“You can… leave…” Apollo began coughing again, holding his sleeve up to his face.

Klavier deemed that to be an unacceptable response. “How do you plan on getting home?”

“I can bike… I’m fine.” His face was still buried in his sleeve, like he didn’t have the energy to lower his arm.

“You can’t even stand up, Herr Forehead.” Apollo put his hands on the ground to try and push himself up again, but both of them were caught off guard when Apollo’s sleeve was faintly stained red.

“Achtung! Is that blood?” Klavier asked. Apollo licked his lips and stared at his sleeve nervously; he seemed just as shocked. “No more of this. I’m taking you to the hospital. I’ll carry you out of here if I need to.”

“I told you... I can’t... afford it. I don’t have… health insurance.”

Well, that explained him not wanting to go to the hospital. Klavier stood up and held out a hand to Apollo. He didn’t take it. “If that is a concern, I can pay.”

“No.”

“Herr Forehead, I am legitimately concerned for your life right now.”

“This isn’t…” Apollo was struggling to breathe.

Klavier shook his head. “Do I need to call 911?”

“...No.” Apollo decided to cooperate and took his hand. The effort of standing up, even with help, seemed to exhaust him. Klavier watched him nervously. He’d already fallen over once.

Athena was waiting outside, and she jumped to her feet when she heard the door open. “Is he okay?”

“Nein. I’m taking him to the hospital,” Klavier replied.

“There’s no way he agreed to that.” Athena’s eyebrows raised.

“You are correct, he did not.” Klavier smiled matter-of-factly. “But he seems too out-of-breath to argue anymore.” Apollo glared at him as he gasped for air.

Athena suddenly covered her mouth with her hand and pointed toward the blood on Apollo’s sleeve. Klavier nodded, answering the unspoken question. “I’ll call the boss and tell him what happened. You get better, Apollo!” Athena exclaimed with obviously false enthusiasm.

Klavier walked Apollo over to his car and helped him into the passenger seat. “Do you need water?” Apollo didn’t reply, so Klavier shut the door and got into the driver’s seat. Apollo was lying against the door, exhausted from the walk. Curse the unreasonable distance between the courthouse restrooms and the rest of society.

The drive was silent. Apollo could barely speak and he didn’t have much to say; Klavier didn’t have any more questions that seemed wise to ask. Klavier intentionally passed the Hickfield clinic and went to a different one down the road.

Once they arrived, he helped Apollo out of the car and walked him into the emergency room. “I really… don’t want… to do this.”

“I know. But this seems like the wisest choice to me right now.”

They got in line at the front desk and waited until it was their turn, and they met a small man.

“Hello, and welcome to Grace Hospital. How can I help you today?”

“He was coughing up blood,” Klavier said, motioning to Apollo’s sleeve.

He seemed entirely unfazed. “I’ll get you in with a nurse right away. Do you have a driver’s license?” Apollo shook his head. That would explain why he biked to work.

“Then I’ll need your full name, date of birth, social security number, and home address.” He handed him a piece of paper, so Apollo filled it out and handed it back to him. “I still need your home address.”

“I… uh…” Apollo stared at the ground. “I don’t… have one,” he said quietly. Klavier flinched and looked at him, but Apollo kept his gaze at his feet. Why didn’t he have a home address?!

“Oh, I understand. We’ll find you a nurse as soon as possible.” He smiled. Apollo walked over to a chair in the waiting room with Klavier right behind him. He didn’t say anything when he sat down or when Klavier sat down next to him.

Klavier tried to think of a reason he might not have a home address besides the obvious. Even if he had a roommate, he should still have an address, right? He wanted to ask him about it, but a public waiting room wasn’t the place.

“Apollo Justice?” a voice called about fifteen minutes later. Apollo stood up shakily and walked over to a woman with a clipboard, Klavier by his side. “Please come with me.” Apollo tripped as he walked through the door, but Klavier grabbed his shoulder before he could fall. “Does he need a wheelchair?” the nurse asked.

“No,” Apollo said.

“Just because you can walk does not mean you should,” Klavier replied. The nurse seemed to agree; she told them to wait for a moment and sat a reluctant Apollo down in a wheelchair. She wheeled him into a room and parked him in the corner next to a chair, which Klavier decided to sit in.

She took his blood pressure, which was a bit low, and his temperature-- 102.4. If coughing up blood wasn’t an indicator that something was wrong, his fever certainly was. And that was after Ibuprofen. How high had it been before? She checked his eyes, nose, and throat as well.

“I’m going to ask you a few questions real quick so we can get the right doctor for you. Is that all right?” Apollo nodded.

“Are you experiencing trouble breathing?” she asked.

“...Yeah,” Apollo confessed. Klavier’s eyebrows rose-- he hadn’t expected him to cooperate once he was in the emergency room. Perhaps he was too tired to be stubborn.

“Does it hurt to breathe?”

“Yes.”

“When you take a deep breath, what is your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10?" Apollo took a deep breath in order to check, only to spur another coughing fit. She handed him a box of tissues.

“What… Is a… 10?”

“Pain you would pass out from. A bee-sting would be a five, unless you’re allergic.”

“Five.” So it felt as if a bee was stinging him every time he took too deep of a breath. Wonderful.

She proceeded to record his medical history in great detail; Klavier tried not to pay too much attention, but he did find himself surprised by the sheer number of injuries Apollo had sustained before the age of ten. Had he spent his entire childhood in a cast of some kind?

Finally, after recording Apollo’s medication history, illness history, lack of substance abuse, and lack of current sexual activity, she seemed content.

“All right. I’ll share this information with my team and I’ll be back soon. If you have an emergency, press the red button on the wall.” She pointed at a glass box with a button inside and walked over to the doorway. “Oh, and please don’t try to talk too much. At best, you’ll lose your voice. At worst, you’ll damage your lungs.”

As soon as she was gone, Apollo leaned back in his wheelchair and took a few breaths.

“Why don’t you have a home address?” Klavier asked. It was abrupt, but Apollo wasn’t doing well with subtlety today.

“Long story. Need to write.” Apollo made a drawing motion with his fingers. Klavier was a bit surprised by his sudden willingness to cooperate. He quickly fumbled around for his black case binder before Apollo could change his mind, opening it up and taking a pen and legal pad out of it. Apollo took them and started to write.

You can’t tell anyone about this. Client lawyer confidentiality. Apollo wrote in neat cursive, although a few of the letters were disrupted by his shaky hand.

“Are you my client?”

Unfortunately.

“Then ja, I agree to your terms.” Klavier smiled.

Apollo tapped his lip with the back of the pen a couple of times as he decided what to write. I couldn’t pay rent. I had to go to the hospital twice because of the GYAXA case and I didn’t have health insurance. I’ve filed a lawsuit for both of those, but civil cases take forever.

Ah… Civil cases. “Why didn’t you have health insurance?”

I couldn’t afford it. I had it until about two months before the case… Bad timing, huh?

“But you’re a lawyer. Why couldn’t you afford it?”

We have a pretty inconsistent case load. We’ll go five weeks without a case and then have five cases in one week. I can’t bank on having money every month until we get more clients.

“Then where are you living?”

There’s a homeless community by the middle school I used to go to.

So he was living outside. In February. Klavier groaned internally. “You have so many people in your life willing to risk life and limb for you. You understand this, ja? So why wouldn’t you tell anyone about this?”

It’s really not a big deal to me. It’s only been a few weeks, anyway. And it’s not like I haven’t asked for help at all. The Wrights are taking care of my cat.

“You were more worried about your cat than you were yourself?”

Calico didn’t do anything wrong!

“Neither did you,” Klavier said. Apollo frowned. “And if your cat deserved a home for that reason, so did you. You should have taken better care of yourself.”

And that’s why I’m sick. Thanks for your brilliant observation. Apollo looked frustrated.

“Did you not think you would get sick?”

I never get sick. But I guess being injured messed up my immune system. He underlined the word “never.”

“So why didn’t you seek help as soon as you felt ill?”

I just thought it was a cold. I didn’t really want to bother anyone.

“You really had people worried.”

That was precisely what I was trying to avoid. Apollo seemed depressed. He set the pen and legal pad down on the hospital bed next to him and reclined back in the wheelchair. Klavier decided to let him rest.

Apollo was asleep when the nurse walked back in. Klavier had almost dozed off himself; it had been a long day. “Is he…?”

“Asleep? Ja.”

“We’ll have to wake him up. We think he’s either got bronchitis, pneumonia, or a broken rib. An X-ray should sort that out immediately.”

Klavier gently nudged Apollo, whose eyes shot open immediately. “What?” He coughed. He was a remarkably light sleeper, even when he was this tired.

Klavier stayed in the room while Apollo was X-rayed. It was taking quite a while, and a nurse popped in at one point to tell him that Apollo was having a few other tests done. That was fine. There was a TV in the room playing Disney movies, and Klavier needed a bit of “Hakuna Matata” right about then.

After quite the movie marathon, Apollo was wheeled back into the room. He got into the bed this time, and fell asleep while a doctor filled Klavier in. “He has bronchitis, but it’s a pretty severe case. We’re doing a few tests to see if the infection is bacterial or viral. We looked into him coughing up blood… Would you say he’s been overexerting himself?”

“He biked to work today.”

“...That would do it. It’s nothing life-threatening at this point, but he’s really slowing the recovery process. If he doesn’t take a week or two to rest, he could permanently damage his lungs. So no exercise, no yelling, no singing, and no playing wind instruments.” He sighed. “If you would do it in a marching band, it’s off-limits.”

The doctor told Klavier that the tests wouldn’t come back until the morning, and that he should let Apollo sleep until they had the results. “He should probably be on a fever reducer, but that can wait until he wakes up.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it. You should probably get some sleep too, unless you want to get bronchitis yourself.”

“Ja, I will.”

The doctor closed the door behind him, and Klavier checked his phone. It was past 2am-- when had that happened? Klavier was sure they’d arrived at around 4pm. How long had he been watching Disney movies?

He unlocked his phone and emailed his boss to tell him that he wouldn’t be going into work the following morning; it worked out well that Klavier didn’t have a trial that day.

He then realized he had a lot of texts, so he opened a few of them from an unknown number.

Hi, this is Athena. I got your number from Trucy. How’s Apollo? 6:07pm.

Is everything okay? 7:34pm.

I don’t know how good your reception is, but text me back whenever you can. Trucy’s all smiles, but I can tell she’s worried, and the Boss is, too. 8:57pm.

And then there were no fewer than seventeen from the Fraulein Magician.

Athena said Polly’s in the hospital. 4:03pm.

Is he okay? 4:04pm.

He had a cold all week, but it started getting worse… 4:15pm.

Please text me back when you can. I really want to see him. 4:46pm.

Athena said she thought he coughed up blood... 6:11pm.

He’s going to be okay, right? 6:12pm.

She also said he didn’t yell at all in court today? 6:14pm.

Oh, I’m sure he’s fine. 6:15pm.

Please tell me what’s going on. An “I don’t know” is fine. 7:53pm.

I’ve been doing magic tricks to cheer everyone up, but they aren’t really working. 7:59pm.

I’m sorry I’ve been texting you so much… this is kinda ridiculous, huh? 8:44pm.

But don’t worry about me. This is good practice for my magic acts-- if I can keep a smile on my face now, I can keep a smile on my face any day! 8:45pm.

Any news? 9:39pm.

I feel so useless right now. 10:10pm.

I can’t sleep. So don’t worry about waking me up when you see all of these. 12:36am.

Sorry for spamming your phone. 1:53am.

I just don’t know what else to do. 1:55am.

Klavier felt terrible. He probably should have been updating them instead of watching Disney movies, but he hadn’t thought to check his phone since they’d arrived.

He texted Athena first, because that was easier: I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. He’s fine, he just has a bad case of bronchitis. Nothing life-threatening.

But he called Trucy, since she was clearly awake. But perhaps that wasn’t the best idea, because she immediately assumed that Klavier had called her to tell her that Apollo had passed away.

He eventually had to switch to a video call so Trucy could see with her own eyes that Apollo was actually breathing (kind of), and she seemed much calmer after that. “Daddy! He’s okay!”

“Oh, thank goodness!” came his muffled reply.

When they finally hung up, Klavier was exhausted. He crossed his arms over the edge of the hospital bed and used the crook of his arm as a pillow.

He fell asleep almost immediately.

Chapter Text

February 25, 8:27 AM

Grace Hospital

When Apollo woke up, he felt excruciatingly uncomfortable. He wasn’t in pain-- at least, not distractingly so-- but the amount of effort that breathing required bothered him immensely. Why couldn’t he breathe?

He opened his eyes and groggily tried to remember where he was… A hospital? His brain wasn’t cooperating with him very well. He tried to sit up, but it felt like the muscles around his stomach were being torn apart by the effort.

He pushed himself backwards onto the elevated part of the bed with shaky arms. Someone’s head was resting close to his feet, but Apollo couldn’t see who they were. He rubbed his eyes.

The person lifted their head and looked at Apollo. “How are you feeling?” They were purple and glittery. Klavier Gavin. Why was Klavier Gavin here?

“Is this a hospital?” Apollo asked, squinting. “Yes. This is a hospital. Why am I... in a hospital…?” He realized that his head hurt. Why did his head hurt? It hurt his head more to try to remember why it hurt.

“Do you remember what happened yesterday?”

Apollo furrowed his eyebrows. Courtroom. He’d been in the courtroom. “I had a trial… But I left because I couldn’t breathe. And…” Apollo thought for a few moments. Hospital. Arguing with Klavier Gavin. Bronchitis.

“Oh. Right. Sorry… My brain is slow...” Apollo coughed, and pain shot through his throat and stomach. He groaned.

Klavier gave him a look that vaguely registered in Apollo’s mind as sympathy.

“Oh, are you awake?” Someone appeared in the doorway.

“Um...” Apollo thought for a moment. Everything hurt too much for him to be dreaming. “...Yes.”

“He’s awake, but confused,” Klavier said. “My lay opinion tells me it’s his fever.”

“My expert opinion agrees. I’ll get someone in with that fever reducer.”

Apollo closed his eyes and rubbed his thumb along his bracelet. It made everything hurt less, somehow, to focus on the feeling of the ridges in the metal.

“Is it okay if I take your temperature?” a strange man asked.

Apollo opened his eyes. “When did you get here?”

“About a minute ago.”

“Oh...” It took Apollo a few seconds to determine whether or not this man was a doctor, but the stethoscope helped. “Yeah.”

The man glided something across Apollo’s forehead. “103.2.”

“It was 102.4 yesterday,” Klavier said. He looked unhappy.

“Is that my temperature?” Apollo asked. “That’s so high...”

“Ja. You have a fever,” Klavier said slowly.

That didn’t make sense. “Then why am I cold?”

The doctor smiled and began to speak really quickly. “Well, normally you have an internal thermostat that’s set at 98.6 degrees. When you have a fever, it means that the thermostat has gone up, so your body is trying to get warmer. With the--”

Trying to understand what he was saying was giving Apollo an even worse headache than he already had. He held his head and groaned.

“An explanation is probably futile at this point in time, Herr Doktor.”

“Right… Well, the test results came back. Would you like the good news or the bad news first?” the doctor asked.

“Bad news,” Apollo said.

Klavier snickered. “You can hardly think and you still manage to be a pessimist.”

“Well, your bronchitis is bacterial, meaning the symptoms are more severe than a normal case of bronchitis.”

Apollo was trying so hard to understand what he was saying, but his brain couldn’t process the words fast enough. “Don’t think about it too hard,” Klavier said, putting a hand on Apollo’s shoulder. “And the good news?”

“It can be treated with antibiotics, so it shouldn’t last very long.” He handed Klavier a paper bag and a bottle of water. He talked about the medicine in the bag for a few minutes, but Apollo wasn’t entirely sure what he was saying. Something about bacterial resistance, and something about Apollo’s fever.

“Thank you,” Klavier finally said.

“Once he’s taken a dose of both of those, you’re free to go,” the doctor said before he left.

Klavier opened both bottles and handed two pills to Apollo. “...What do these do?” Apollo asked.

“The big one will kill the germs that are making you sick. The small one will make that forehead of yours less hot,” he said, smiling. Klavier was speaking to him like he was a little kid, which Apollo would’ve resented if his brain were actually cooperating.

“But I’m cold,” Apollo said again.

Klavier brushed his own bangs to the side of his face and held them there. “Do me a favor and feel my forehead,” he said. Apollo felt weird touching Klavier’s face, but he did anyway. “Now feel yours,” he said.

Apollo’s forehead was much hotter. “...Oh.”

Klavier was trying to fix his hair. “Do you believe that you have a fever now?”

“Um… I guess,” Apollo said. Klavier seemed to know what was going on, at any rate.

“Then you’ll take your medicine?”

“Yeah.” Klavier handed him the bottle of water, and Apollo took both of the pills. “Swallowing hurts.”

“That’s... not surprising. Try to drink some more of that water, though.”

It wasn’t long until they walked out to Klavier’s car, and Klavier helped Apollo into the passenger seat. Apollo didn’t think he needed this much help with basic human functions, but he was too tired to argue.

“So where are we going?” Klavier asked when he got back in the car.

Apollo thought for a moment. “Do you know... where Eastbrook Middle School is?”

“...I’m not going to take you there.”

“Um... the agency?”

“Nein. You’re going to a house.”

“I don’t have one,” Apollo said irritably.

“I know. I’m asking you to pick a friend to stay with.”

“But I don’t want to.”

Klavier sighed. “You aren’t thinking rationally right now, Herr Forehead.”

“I’m thinking rationally. Just... slowly.”

“...I’m taking you to my house.”

“Why?”

“You need to stay somewhere.”

“No I don’t.”

“This isn’t up for debate,” Klavier said, shifting the car into drive. The drive took about fifteen minutes, and Apollo could feel the fog in his head clearing up as the medicine kicked in.

“This really isn’t necessary… Prosecutor Gavin,” Apollo said as the car stopped in front of a gate. Klavier rolled down his window and swiped a card down what looked like a crack in the wall. The gate opened immediately. Apollo had to admit that was kind of cool.

Klavier rolled the window back up. “Herr Forehead, I apologize for saying this, but I really don’t trust your judgement right now.”

“They said I’m not dealing with... anything life-threatening. And I have medicine.”

“They also said that if you keep overexerting yourself, you will permanently damage your lungs.”

“I don’t remember hearing them say... anything like that.” He crossed his arms.

“That would be because you were asleep. But if you don’t believe me, I have a phone number you can call,” he said, holding up his phone. He was clearly telling the truth, but it still pissed Apollo off.

Once Klavier was parked inside of his garage, Apollo refused to leave the car.

“Honestly, Herr Forehead, this is ridiculous.”

“No. You’re being ridiculous. I’m an adult. I don’t need to be taken care of.” He crossed his arms.

“Mein Gott, Herr Forehead. Do I need to carry you?”

“You don’t need to. You could let me go back... to the agency.”

Klavier looked unimpressed. He leaned down, presumably to pick Apollo up, and Apollo gripped the seat as tightly as he could. Oh no. He wasn’t joking. Klavier picked him up with minimal effort despite Apollo’s best attempt to stay in the car, and Apollo felt betrayed by his own body. “Put me down!”

Apollo was legitimately terrified. His feet weren’t on the ground, and they were in the air, and no amount of kicking could change that fact. Klavier wasn’t letting go.

The sliver of his mind still devoted to rational thought realized that Klavier probably thought he was just being stubborn, and that he was shaking because he was sick and not because his body had transitioned into fight or flight mode.

He tried to take deep breaths, but that only made him cough, and he felt like he was going to choke to death on nothing at all.

He closed his eyes as tightly as he could until Klavier finally put him down on what was probably a bed. He could feel his heartbeat with his whole body, and with his headache, it felt like someone was using drumsticks on his head. He moaned.

Worst of all, Klavier was entirely oblivious to his level of panic, and he even seemed a bit irritated. “I am going to order something to eat. I’ll be right back.”

As soon as Klavier left the room, Apollo tried to get out of the bed. He desperately needed to feel his feet on the ground. His abs screamed as he tried to sit up, and his shaky arms really weren’t helping. His attempts to swing his legs over the side of the bed ended in him rolling off of the bed with a thud.

Well, his feet were sort of on the ground, in a way. He gripped the carpet with his hands and tried to focus on the fact that he was on the ground now, and he was safe, and--

Klavier must’ve heard Apollo fall, because the door opened immediately. “Herr Forehead, this is ridiculous.” He frowned.

Apollo agreed, really. He tried to stand up, but he felt like an upside-down turtle trying to flip itself over. His incessant coughing had rendered his abs completely useless, and his panic wasn’t helping. Apollo was completely helpless.

He tried with all of his might to move, to do something, but all he did was overexert himself and start coughing. His abs burned and his entire body ached.

Klavier sighed at Apollo’s pitiful state, leaning over to pick him up again. Oh, no. That was not happening.

Apollo kicked Klavier in the knee in an attempt to stop him, and Klavier fell forwards, apparently unprepared for Apollo’s sudden burst of strength. He barely managed to avoid falling on top of Apollo, arching his back and hitting his forehead on the bed frame.

Klavier gasped in pain, squeezing his eyes shut for a second. Well, shit. Even the rational part of Apollo’s brain was cursing now.

Klavier didn’t look pleased, either. He pushed himself up until his face was only inches from Apollo’s, and his angry blue eyes seemed to pierce directly into his soul. Apollo’s eyes shut tight, but he could still feel Klavier glaring at him.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Apollo could feel himself shaking, and he covered his mouth with his hands as he started to cough. He couldn’t cry. He couldn’t. But he was terrified, and he’d just made Klavier angry, and he’d just hurt him.

“Herr Forehead…!” Klavier pulled away.

Apollo cried. He tried to hide his face behind his hand, but his sniffling gave him away. He opened his eyes and looked at Klavier, whose expression was somewhere between guilt and panic.

“I am so sorry.”

Apollo needed to sit up. He couldn’t stay on the ground, crying and shaking, feeling entirely pathetic. He used every muscle in his body to get his head off of the ground, and Klavier hesitantly put a hand under his back to help him up.

Klavier pulled a blanket off of the bed and offered it to him, which he accepted gratefully. He wrapped it around himself, but Klavier still looked as if he’d accidentally hit someone’s dog with his car. “It’s okay,” Apollo said. “I kinda deserved that.”

Klavier sat down, not looking like he believed that. Not that Apollo’s tears were particularly convincing.

Apollo ran his thumb over the lines on his bracelet and tried to calm down. He was fine. He was fine. He was fine.

Apollo couldn’t see Klavier’s forehead behind his bangs, but he resisted the urge to move them out of the way. “I’m sorry,” Apollo said quietly, looking down. “You’ve been so nice to me… and I…”

He began to cry again-- “Dammit.” -- so Klavier pulled a box of tissues off of his nightstand. He took one, wiped his eyes, and held the tissue in his fist. “I got scared, I guess.”

“Of what?”

“...I don’t like it... when my feet can’t touch the ground,” Apollo admitted. Klavier somehow managed to look guiltier than he already was. “It’s not your fault.”

“...You told me to put you down.”

“I’ve been acting so stubborn… that I can’t really blame you.” He coughed. “I’m sorry for making this… so difficult.”

Klavier smiled, but he still looked wracked with guilt. “I suppose I should have remembered that nothing is simple with you.”

“Yeah… I guess that’s why I didn’t want… to drag you into my mess.”

“Ah, I dragged myself here.”

“I noticed.” Apollo frowned. “But I don’t think you understand… what you’re getting yourself into.”

“Agreed. I have no idea what I’m doing. But that doesn’t change the fact that you need help. And that I’m apparently the only person you know who understands the gravity of your situation.”

Apollo stared at the ground. “I just want to sort this out... on my own.”

Klavier thought for a moment. “I understand where you’re coming from. I am no foreigner to isolation as a coping mechanism. More of a connoisseur, really. But this... is self-harm.”

“But I’m not trying… to hurt myself.”

“But you aren’t trying to help yourself, either. You aren’t even letting others help you.” He frowned. “And that is neglect.”

Apollo frowned-- he knew Klavier was right, but… “But you don’t need... another disaster... in your life.”

“Neither do you.”

“I am the disaster.” Apollo met Klavier’s eyes for a moment and flinched. “You’re bleeding.”

“I am?” Klavier lifted his hand to his forehead and looked at it. It was red. “Ah…”

Did he ever curse? Apollo fumbled with his box of tissues and pulled one out. He tried to hold it up to Klavier’s forehead, but he leaned backward. “What are you doing?” Klavier asked.

“Trying to get the blood off… your forehead?”

Klavier looked uneasy. “Fine,” he said after some deliberation.

Apollo pushed his bangs out of his face so he could see the damage. It wasn’t bleeding a whole lot, thankfully, but there was definitely a bump forming, and the trickle of blood wasn’t exactly stopping. Way to go, Justice.

“I’m so sorry,” he said quietly, trying to use enough pressure to stop the bleeding but not enough pressure for it to hurt.

“It’s fine…” Klavier replied. His hair was gelled down, which was making this more difficult than it needed to be. Who would gel their hair into their face?

But Apollo’s war against Klavier’s hair ended when he realized that Klavier had a mark of some sort on the right side of his forehead--well, Apollo’s right, Klavier’s left--that, upon closer inspection, took up about a third of his forehead and disrupted his hairline. “Oh…”

Klavier pulled away, looking very self-conscious. He grinned nervously. “...Burn scar.”

Well, that was a facial expression Apollo had never seen from him before. Apollo smiled. “I have one, too.”

Klavier’s face brightened considerably. “Really?”

Well, most of his face. “Prosecutor Gavin… You’re bleeding again.”

“Ah.” Klavier grabbed another tissue out of the box and held it against his forehead.

“But yeah… Most of my upper back is scarred.”

“I never would’ve guessed.”

“...That’s intentional.”

Suddenly, the doorbell rang, completely catching Apollo off guard. “Ah, that would be the takeout. Can I trust you to stay on the floor this time?”

“What, like I can move?” Apollo retorted. Klavier laughed and stood up.

He came back a while later with soup--You could order soup for delivery?--and a band-aid on his forehead. He explained that soup seemed like a good option for a sick person, and Apollo’s sore throat agreed.

The only problem was that Apollo was having trouble keeping his hand still enough to keep liquid on a spoon. He made a strangled noise when he splashed some broth on the carpet. “I’m sorry…” he said, reaching for the tissues. “Told you I’m a disaster.”

“If this is the worst of Hurricane Forehead, I think I’ll live.” Klavier smirked. After a second of thought, he picked up his styrofoam bowl and drank his soup directly out of it, which made Apollo laugh.

Apollo appreciated the gesture, though. He picked up his own bowl, which was much easier to keep steady than a spoon, and drank out of it as Klavier shot him an amused look.

“You know,” Klavier said after a few minutes, “There are a lot of people who want to be a part of your ‘mess.’”

“But nobody knows… what that means.”

“That’s probably because you don’t tell anyone what that means.” Klavier put his bowl down and pulled out his phone. He moved to sit by Apollo’s side so he could show him his phone’s screen. “I got 17 text messages from a certain magician last night, you know.”

“Trucy…” He briefly wondered how many texts awaited him on his own phone, which was currently charging at the agency.

“I had to call her at 2am to reassure her that you were still alive.” He smiled, scrolling through the texts. Apollo read through them with a frown.

“I probably scared her to death.” Her optimism faded with every text she sent, which was worrying when it came to Trucy.

“Neither her or her father were asleep when I called, and Fraulein Cykes seemed rather torn up as well.”

“Do they know I’m out of the hospital?” Apollo bit his lip.

“I haven’t told them. You should call, ja?”

“My phone is at the agency…”

Klavier pulled up Trucy’s name (*~Fraulein Magician~*) in his contacts and handed it to Apollo. “Oh… Thanks,” Apollo said.

“Don’t mention it.”

The phone rang twice before Trucy picked up. “Prosecutor Gavin! How’s Apollo?!”

Apollo smiled. “I’m fine.”

Trucy gasped. “Polly!”

There was a faint, “Wait, what?” in the background. “Facetime him!”

“I saw you guys yesterday,” Apollo said, but he held the phone up to Klavier anyway. Klavier looked at it like it was poisoned and took a few seconds to fix his hair. He looked around the room for something, and then took the phone from Apollo and accepted the video call.

Was that self-consciousness?

Apollo smiled when Trucy’s face popped up on the screen. Athena was on camera no more than a second later.

“Okay, but you also almost died yesterday!” Trucy frowned. “And hi, Prosecutor Gavin!” She waved.

“Hello, fraulein.”

“I did not almost die.” Apollo coughed, earning suspicious looks from his co-workers. “I got bronchitis... not a heart attack.”

“Yeah, Prosecutor Gavin told us that. I’m the one who had a heart attack.” Athena sighed. “Should you be talking? You still sound like a dying cat.” She really didn’t pull punches, did she? Klavier snickered.

“I’m fine.”

“Wait, is that Apollo?” someone asked. Trucy turned the phone toward the doorway. “I left for five minutes!” Mr. Wright was holding a plastic bag, which he immediately abandoned in favor of joining the video chat. “It’s good to see you. Are you out of the hospital?”

“Yeah, I--”

“Wait, is that your house, Prosecutor Gavin?!” Trucy gasped.

“Ja, Herr Forehead is staying with me for a while.” Klavier smiled.

“How did you get him to agree to that?” Athena asked.

Klavier laughed. “Kidnapping, more or less. But he lacks a car, so someone must ensure he doesn’t try to bike to work.” Was Klavier covering for him? “He had a fever of 103 this morning and still wanted me to take him to the agency.”

Yeah, he was definitely covering for him. By making his co-workers angry at him, but Apollo would take what he could get.

“103?! Apollo!!” Athena looked angry at him.

“Apollo, as your boss, I’m telling you that you’re not allowed back at work until your fever breaks. As in, 98.6.” Mr. Wright didn’t seem particularly happy with him, either.

“To be fair... I wasn’t exactly thinking straight... this morning.” Apollo grinned sheepishly and rubbed his neck.

“He wouldn’t take his fever reducer because he was cold.” Klavier smirked.

“Polly!”

Apollo talked to them for another half an hour before Mr. Wright announced they had to get back to work. “We’re a little behind on the paperwork from Audrey’s case.”

“I should be helping with that…” Apollo frowned.

“Nope. You keep your bronchitis to yourself. We can handle a little paperwork.” Mr. Wright seemed pretty adamant about that, so Apollo didn’t object.

When Apollo finally hung up, he was smiling. “Feeling any better?” Klavier asked.

“Yeah... Thank you,” he said. Klavier yawned. “How much sleep did you get last night?” Apollo asked.

“I’m not sure. Four hours, maybe?”

Apollo crossed his arms. “If you don’t sleep... you’re going to catch my bronchitis.”

Klavier checked his phone. “It’s only one in the afternoon.”

“Doesn’t matter. You need to sleep,” Apollo decided.

Klavier shook his head. “If I fell asleep, you wouldn’t be able to wake me up if you needed something.”

“Yeah, I would.”

“I’m a rather heavy sleeper, Herr Forehead. And since you can neither stand up nor speak loudly, you would have no way of waking me if you needed to.”

“I can stand up from a chair…” He eyed Klavier’s desk chair. “And I could definitely sleep in that.”

“You are not sleeping in a chair.”

“Got any better ideas, then?” Apollo crossed his arms. “Because you need to sleep.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“You can’t criticize me about self-care… if you won’t sleep… when there’s a sick person in your house.”

Klavier sighed petulantly, and the petty side of Apollo felt really satisfied. “Point taken. But I don’t want my guest to sleep in a desk chair.”

“But your guest wants... to sleep in a desk chair.”

Klavier stared at Apollo, and Apollo stared back. Staring was kind of his specialty. “...Fine,” Klavier said after about ten seconds. Apollo pumped his fist.

He tried to stand up, only to be reminded painfully how useless his abs were. He groaned and held his stomach.

Klavier stood up with absolutely no difficulty and offered Apollo a hand. It was an opportunity to escape the prison that was the floor, and Apollo took it immediately. He grinned as soon as he was on his feet. Ah, the world of the standing. How he’d missed it.

Klavier thought for a moment. “I’ll be right back,” he said.

Apollo took the opportunity to walk around the room in circles. It felt childish, but it was satisfying to have power over his movements again.

When Klavier walked back into the room, he was holding what looked like an oversized whoopee cushion. “Why do you have a… hot water bottle?” Apollo asked.

“Your coughing is making you sore, ja?” Klavier asked. “I thought it might help.”

He handed it to Apollo, who immediately hugged it to his stomach. The pain in his abs faded almost instantly and was replaced by warmth. Apollo had consistently felt freezing for days now, and the instant bliss of it caught him entirely off guard. “Woah.” He coughed, and the dull pain made him hug it closer.

“I’m going to assume I was correct?” Klavier was clearly trying not to laugh.

“I feel like my soul... left my body... for a second there.” They looked at each other for a moment and they both started to laugh. Apollo walked over to Klavier’s desk and pulled out the chair.

“Are you sure this is okay?” Klavier asked.

Apollo fell into the chair with a thud, partially to be dramatic and partially because sitting down more gently would hurt. “Yes.”

He shifted until he found a position that let him hold the hot water bottle to his stomach under the blanket. “Go to sleep,” Apollo said.

“Do you need anything?”

“Prosecutor Gavin. I’m too tired to fight you… but I’ll do it if I need to.”

“Point taken.” Klavier turned out the lights and got into his bed.

Apollo pretended to fall asleep in an attempt to make sure that Klavier wouldn’t immediately get up as soon as he was unconscious, and he wondered if Klavier was doing the same thing.

But after about fifteen minutes, Klavier’s breathing got louder, which was a pretty sure sign that he was asleep. Apollo smiled.

He was asleep a minute later.

Chapter Text

February 26, 7:57 AM

Residence of Klavier Gavin

Klavier woke up to annoying amounts of sunlight seeping through his eyelids, and he rolled over to face away from his window. It was still too bright, so Klavier opened his eyes groggily.

And then he saw Apollo Justice asleep in his desk chair. He was shocked for less than a second until he remembered that yes, he was supposed to be there.

At least, Klavier had allowed him to be there. He wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing; he didn’t even know Apollo that well. Sure, he had seen his courtroom rival in some desperate times, but he didn’t know what Apollo was like in his normal moments.

Their entire relationship had been confined to tragedy. Although that might actually explain why Klavier didn’t hesitate to blindly step into Apollo’s crisis like he knew what was going on.

Klavier was like a bad weather friend. Did those actually exist? He supposed they had to, if he was one.

He sat up and checked his phone to see what time it was-- 7:58. Why was he up so early on a Saturday? This was a crime. No wonder he was having regrets about his life decisions.

Wait. How long had they slept? They’d fallen asleep at one or two the previous day, so… He counted the hours on his fingers. What was that, like, 20 hours? Not quite? Even compared to his typical end-of-the-work-week recovery hibernations, that was a lot.

He walked into his living room and came to the realization that not only had he let someone into his house--Apollo Justice, no less--but he’d fallen asleep while someone was in his house as well. Giving that someone 20 hours of unrestricted access to his house.

Klavier knew he was being paranoid-- there was no reason for him to be afraid of people being in his house anymore. But his anxiety didn’t seem to care that it had passed its expiration date.

He felt the urge to send a text to his mother-- she always seemed to understand his irrational fears and impulsive decisions-- so he did. Probably about seven of them, actually.

After around five minutes, he got one back: Proud of you for pushing past your fears, buddy… It’s about time for those to die with everything else, huh?

He was about to text her back that letting someone into his house was hardly something to be proud of, but his phone buzzed again.

And stop telling me that your fears are irrational. You’re reacting rationally to an irrational situation. And if my intuition is worth anything, it seems like your friend with the forehead is doing the same.

The “friend with the forehead” comment made him smirk, but she might’ve had a point about Apollo. Klavier was seeing a side of the little guy that he’d never seen before, one that made Apollo terrified to be anything but independent.

And, as someone who had been betrayed more than once by the people he depended on, Klavier was very familiar with that sentiment.

And his mother was too, to the point where he only needed five words to communicate it: He has a burn scar. Fire had long been a metaphor for pain in their family, and the comment wasn’t lost on her.

That’s beautiful. So you have your fire, and he has his. If the flames begin to engulf each other, they might just suffocate.

His mother had always been poetic. Perhaps too much so. Nice metaphor, but I’m not sure if it works with me and Forehead. Commiserating only happens with trust, and you know I have my doubts about him.

Oh, I do too. But innocent until proven guilty, right? It’s not fair to prosecute a person without putting them on the witness stand. If you can’t let it go, you’re going to have to talk to him.

Klavier knew she was right, but it was easier to leave that stone unturned. I’d prefer to delay the verdict for as long as possible.

I know you would. But the second you stop seeking the truth is the second you get anxious, Klav. So if you’re coming to me for help with your fear, that’s my verdict.

Klavier knew there was little point in arguing with her after she used the word “verdict,” even if he didn’t particularly like her verdict. Thanks, Your Honor.

Your fire is only going to grow if you don’t fight it. So I know you probably aren’t going to tell him anything… But promise me you won’t lie to him, at least.

That I can promise.

Thanks, kiddo. I gotta go, so have fun getting your life together. I’m getting coffee with Justine. Try to have a good day, okay?

I can certainly try. So he had to seek the truth. That was fine; it was his standard modus operandi anyway. But allowing his own truths to be sought after? He’d have to think about that.

And the shower was a good place for thinking, he decided.

~O~

By the time Apollo was awake, Klavier had showered, gotten dressed, done his hair, and started making breakfast. He might not have felt as if he had it all together, but he could at least look the part.

“Morning,” Apollo said with all the enthusiasm of a mud puddle. Klavier turned to see him standing in the doorway, still clutching the hot water bottle like his first-born child. His hair was uncharacteristically messy, and his horns had been swept to the side of his face. It was cute.

Klavier had to actively fight the compulsion to flirt--it was not the time, not the place, and not the person. “Achtung, you’re walking!” he said instead.

“I’ve been able to walk this whole time.” Apollo’s voice still sounded raspy, but his breaths were a bit less shallow, which was a good sign.

“Ja, of course. And bike as well.”

“You’d be surprised what you can do with enough... determination.” Apollo smirked and Klavier rolled his eyes.

“You should be more careful where you place that determination.”

Apollo snickered. “You should be more careful where you place... that spatula.”

“Ah!” Klavier looked at the frying pan to see it melting a line into the plastic handle of his flipper. He lifted it up, but the flipper stuck to the edge of the pan, sending the pan back onto the burner with a clatter when he yanked the two apart.

Apollo laughed, which made him cough. “Really graceful.”

“Be quiet.”

If Klavier had to describe breakfast in one word, it would be awkward. He’d never been with Apollo in a relaxed setting before, and small talk seemed strange and unnatural. It seemed that they didn’t know what to talk about without a dead body in front of them.

Yet neither of them seemed to be comfortable in silence, because they kept asking each other increasingly pointless questions.

“Do you cook a lot?” No. Wasn’t the spatula any indication?

“Did you sleep well?” Klavier had. Apollo had not, plagued by unpleasant sounding fever dreams and incessant coughing. Fortunately, this meant he had taken his medicine... though Klavier was a bit unsettled by the idea of Apollo walking around in his house at night.

“Do you have pets?” Klavier did not. Apollo only had a cat.

At one point, after about twenty seconds of silence, Apollo smirked and said, “Nice weather we’re having.”

Did he have to magnify it? At least Apollo seemed to take the awkwardness in stride. “It’s raining, Herr Forehead.”

“...Rain can be nice.”

After they’d eaten, Klavier took Apollo’s temperature, which was down to 101.4, and Apollo took his medicine.

“I need a shower,” Apollo said as soon as he’d taken both his antibiotic and fever reducer. Klavier couldn’t argue; Apollo was pretty sweaty. “But I don’t have a change of clothes.”

“You could borrow mine.”

Apollo considered this. “I don’t have underwear.”

Ah. That was a good point. “I can run to the store while you take a shower,” Klavier said. “What size are you?”

“...Small,” Apollo said, sulking like a child who was a couple of inches too short to ride a rollercoaster. He must have resented his small stature. “And, before you ask, I wear boxer briefs.”

It was absolutely unfair that someone so exhausted and sweaty could look that adorable when they were embarrassed. So, of course, Klavier decided to make it worse.

“Why would I ask when I know full well how much you like to talk about underwear?” Klavier conjured up the most innocent grin he could muster.

Apollo glared at him, but it didn’t stop his cheeks from reddening. He muttered something about evidence and stormed off toward the bathroom between coughs, leaving Klavier to laugh.

Klavier snatched his keys from his kitchen counter and paused-- he was leaving Apollo alone in his house. He thought about this for a moment, but he decided to keep walking. He wasn’t letting fear make his decisions for him today.

~O~

When Klavier got back from the store, Apollo was sitting on his couch with a towel around his waist. His wet hair clung to his head, all prior remnants of his horns gone. His chest was entirely exposed, and Klavier made a mental note that he had a faintly visible six-pack. He hadn’t expected that.

But Klavier wasn’t going to process that fact, because Apollo looked extremely nervous and he was supposed to be helping him.

“Is something wrong?” Klavier asked, tossing him the pack of underwear he’d bought, along with some cough drops.

“I need to get my stuff.” He looked at the boxer briefs critically. “Thanks.”

“What’s the sudden rush?”

“I’ve been gone for three days. Everyone probably thinks I died. And I need my own clothes, too.” Apollo crossed his arms, which were also unexpectedly muscular.

He looked so small under his clothes, but those little arms of his had some very well-defined muscles. Did he work out? He didn’t seem the type…

“Would you like me to get your things?” Klavier asked, forcing himself to look back up at Apollo’s eyes.

“No. Then they’ll really think I’m dead.”

“But you need to wear clothes if you are going to go outside,” Klavier pointed out. “Which means I can either wash your clothes from yesterday or lend you some of my own.” Either way, he really needed Apollo to put a shirt on. Quickly.

Or,” Apollo said, “I could ask Athena to bring me the clothes... I left at the office.”

Klavier raised an eyebrow. “Is she at the office on a Saturday?”

“Oh… That’s a good question.” He pressed his finger against his forehead. “Ugh... I wish I had my phone.”

“If you put on some of my clothes, I could drive you to your office.”

“I think I’m too small for your clothes,” Apollo said with something close to a pout.

“I’m sure you could find something.” If there were two things Klavier had a lot of, it was clothes and guitars.

Apollo tried to stand up, and Klavier could see nearly every muscle in Apollo’s body flex with the effort. Klavier looked away and played with his hair; he was too gay for this.

He pointed Apollo in the direction of his room. “Oh,” Klavier said as soon as Apollo turned around. “You weren’t kidding about the burn scar.”

A large portion of Apollo’s upper back was scarred, the skin wrinkled. It wasn’t as red as Klavier’s-- it must have happened when Apollo was a kid-- but it was still hard to miss.

Apollo looked over his shoulder. “Oh, right. I sometimes forget that it’s there, honestly.” He seemed entirely unbothered by it and continued walking, which made Klavier slightly envious. He hated his-- it was like a tattoo he’d never asked for.

It was pretty obvious when Apollo found his closet. “Holy shit! How many pieces of clothing do you own?!” He immediately started coughing, and Klavier laughed.

Apollo walked back into the room a few minutes later wearing a long-sleeved black guitar shirt and a pair of jeans that would’ve been extra skinny on Klavier’s body.

The clothes were comically large on him-- he’d rolled the cuffs of his jeans up to his ankles, but he apparently hadn’t bothered with the sleeves of his shirt. Apollo wiggled his wrists, and a few inches of fabric flopped around. “Told you,” he said, grinning.

Ah, the return of cute and awkward Apollo. So much easier to deal with than oddly muscular Apollo. “Nice shirt,” Klavier said.

Apollo looked down at it and shrugged. “I like guitars.”

“Really?” Klavier asked skeptically. Apollo didn’t seem to be much of a music person.

Apollo rolled up his sleeves with some expertise. “I’ve wanted to play it since I was... really little.” He looked at his sleeves with disdain. “Littler, anyway. But I guess I never had the chance to.” He seemed genuinely disappointed by this.

“If you ever needed a lesson…” Klavier grinned.

Apollo shook his head. “We should probably go to the agency.”

Klavier noted that Apollo hadn’t actually refused. But given how quickly he’d changed the subject, he didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about it, either.

Klavier decided not to press him on it, instead grabbing his keys and walking Apollo out to his car.

“Question,” Apollo said once they were on the road.

“Hm?”

“Why is your house so weird?”

Klavier felt a sinking feeling in his chest. He’d been waiting for that question. He suppressed his anxiety and grinned. “What do you mean, weird?”

“I just noticed it this morning, but… it’s not very... glimmerous,” Apollo said. Klavier laughed at his choice of words. “Except for a couple rooms. And even parts of rooms. Like, the corner of your room by your bed… is exactly what I’d expect from you. But the rest of your room is just… normal.”

“There’s a reason for that,” Klavier said, trying to be nonchalant.

“Social media?” Apollo asked. He’d clearly been thinking about this.

Klavier nodded. He didn’t need to decorate an entire room if he angled his selfies correctly.

“But that poses even more questions.” Apollo pressed a finger to his forehead. “Like, wouldn’t that only work… if you never had people… in your house?”

“Ja.”

“But why? It’s like you’re pretending... to have more money... than you actually do. Which is ridiculous… Because you were... one of the most popular musicians… in the U.S. for what? Eight years?”

“It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t spend it,” Klavier said. Apollo was taken aback by this, and Klavier wished he hadn’t said anything. “But that’s a bit of a touchy subject, ja?”

“Oh… I’m sorry.” But after 30 seconds, Apollo’s eyebrows were still furrowed, and Klavier was pretty sure he knew why.

“You’re wondering why I offered to host you, ja? If I never have guests?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ve been trying to figure that out myself.” Klavier smiled. “But my secret’s already out, so it’s a bit too late to retract my offer.” He was trying to sound cool and mysterious instead of awkward and terrified, but he wasn’t sure how well that was going over.

“I won’t say anything,” Apollo said quickly.

“You would do that?”

“I mean… You kinda covered for me yesterday.” Apollo smiled. “It’s the least I could do… to try and return the favor.”

Klavier took his eyes off of the road for a moment to smile at Apollo. “I’d appreciate that.”

When they got to the agency, Klavier offered to help Apollo get his stuff, but he refused. “Can you handle stairs?”

“There’s an elevator.”

Klavier sat in his car for quite a while. He took the opportunity to update his social media, and he was scrolling through a list of “25+ Things Only a Cat Owner Understands” when he started feeling worried. Apollo had been gone for about 20 minutes.

When Apollo finally walked out of the building, Klavier let out a sigh of relief. Apollo had changed into a red sweatshirt and jeans and had a little bit of his usual swagger back in his step.

“You did your hair?” Klavier asked as soon as Apollo was in the car, hugging a backpack to his chest.

“Talk about the pot… calling the kettle black.” Apollo laughed. It made him cough, but that didn’t seem to faze him.

It was good to see Apollo looking like himself again. Apollo seemed much more at ease now that his hair was back to being pointy-- back straighter, smile wider, chin higher.

“Would you still like to go to Westbrook?” Klavier asked.

“Eastbrook. And yes… if that’s okay.”

Klavier plugged the location into his GPS and frowned. “Thirteen miles?”

“Uh… Yeah.”

“Thirteen miles that you biked twice a day with bronchitis.” Klavier raised his eyebrows.

Apollo laughed nervously and played with his hair. “It wasn’t as bad as you make it sound.”

Klavier shook his head. “I’m merely stating the facts.”

Apollo gave him a sheepish grin that seemed to say “I’m sorry”, so Klavier let it go.

When they arrived at their destination, Klavier asked again if Apollo needed any help carrying his things, but he sort of felt like a broken record.

“Um… You’re a little too glimmerous… for a homeless camp,” Apollo said quietly, unbuckling his seatbelt.

“But do you need help?”

“I’m fine.” Apollo got out of the car and shut the door without making any sort of eye contact. Klavier was tempted to follow him, but he decided to leave him alone.

Apollo was taking quite a while this time as well, so Klavier turned on some music to help pass the time. The wait was rather nerve-wracking, but singing seemed to help his anxiety. It always did.

When Apollo finally returned, he had a few bags and an unreadable expression. Klavier got out of the car to see if he was okay.

“It feels... unfair,” Apollo said.

“Hm?”

“That I have a way out,” Apollo said, taking the bags off of his shoulders and dropping them on the ground with a huff. “Eh… You probably... don’t get it.”

Klavier usually had an easy time empathizing with others, but this was not one of those times. He felt as if he and Apollo had been on completely different planes of existence all day.

He shook his head. “I’m sorry.” He picked up Apollo’s bags and put them into the back seat of his car.

Apollo had obviously overexerted himself, heaving for breaths and trying hard not to cough. Klavier found it a bit irritating that Apollo didn’t ask for help, but he had no idea how Apollo was feeling.

“No, don’t apologize,” Apollo said. “It’s just… weird, I guess. I’m walking back… into my cosy little life… and leaving these people behind.” He looked guilty.

Klavier tried to think of a way to comfort him, but everything he thought of seemed unhelpful. “I don’t know what to say.”

“That makes two of us,” Apollo said, staring back down the road he’d come from.

It was an eerily quiet ride home. Klavier really wanted to turn on music, but he didn’t want to irritate Apollo, who looked pensive and almost a little angry.

So when the Guitar’s Serenade started playing out of nowhere, Klavier scrambled to turn off his radio, his phone-- whatever the heck was playing that song-- without crashing the car.

He could tell that Apollo was staring at him, so as soon as he was stopped at an incredibly convenient red light, he looked over to see the most perfect example of a deer-in-the-headlights look Klavier had ever seen.

They stared at each other for a few seconds before Apollo groaned. “ Dammit, Red Cross,” he said, declining a call on his phone. The song stopped.

The car was silent for about three seconds until Klavier burst out into suppressed laughter. “I thought you weren’t a fan, Herr Forehead!”

“Shut up,” Apollo said, his face as red as a fire alarm. “It’s not like it’s my ringtone... so I can fawn over you and your guitar playing... every time Red Cross needs O positive blood.”

“Ah, do you prefer the lyrics I wrote or the--” He trailed off when he noticed how sad Apollo looked.

Apollo’s shoulders were tight and he was staring between his feet. “...It reminds me of my dad.”

“I didn’t realize…” It was such a self-indulgent, vaguely written, and deeply personal song that he hadn’t actually expected anyone to relate to it.

Apollo’s muscles relaxed, and his entire body drooped. He looked exhausted in every sense of the word. “Oh… It’s fine. I should probably explain…” He stared out of the window.

“You don’t have to.”

“I know,” Apollo said, “But you’ve already seen my burn scar. Might as well tell the story.”

Chapter Text

Apollo could see his reflection in the sideview mirror of Klavier’s car, and he was suddenly very thankful for Klavier’s tinted windows. Every muscle in his body ached, and even his emotions seemed to feel sore. Saying he looked hungover would be an understatement.

But his hair looked okay, at least. That was something.

He already regretted his decision to explain his dumb ringtone. When was the last time he’d talked about his parents? With Clay, probably…

But Klavier’s expression was warm and inviting, even though his gaze was shifting between Apollo’s face and the traffic light. It was hard to describe, but Apollo felt… safe.

Plus, in all honesty, Apollo kinda liked the story. It was the dramatic tale of an unlikely hero dying to protect his son. It was tragic, but it wasn’t like he knew his dad. He didn’t even know his real name.

He just wished that it had ended differently, with anyone but Dhurke. But he could leave that part out, right?

After all, Klavier wasn’t the “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk” type. He was more of the “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for decisive evidence that it’s actually a cookie” type.

“Well, my parents were traveling performers,” Apollo began. “I’m not sure what my mom did… But I know my dad played guitar.”

Klavier perked up at this; his excitement was a little comical. “Your parents were musicians?”

“Green light,” Apollo pointed out. Klavier jerked the car back into motion. He was probably more used to his motorcycle, Apollo realized. “Probably? I know absolutely nothing about my mom.”

The glint in Klavier’s eyes faded, and his smile flattened. Apollo wondered if he had a mom. Probably; the average life expectancy was like, 80, right? Statistically, not everyone’s moms could be dead or missing or whatever. “What happened to her?”

“I was one year old when… um…” He tried to think of a way to tell the story without involving Dhurke, because he really didn’t want to think about him, let alone talk about him. “My dad was invited to play at a palace.”

“Your father was that good?” Klavier seemed impressed.

Apollo shrugged. “I guess?” He wasn’t sure how good Dhurke’s taste in music was, but Apollo liked to think his dad was good at what he did. “Afterward, my dad and I were invited to stay the night. It would’ve been cool if there wasn’t a coup d’état… scheduled for that night.”

Klavier’s eyes shot open, and his smile dropped again. “You’re kidding.”

“Nope. The entire palace went up in flames.”

“Flames…” That seemed to strike a chord with Klavier. “Your father… Did he…?”

Apollo nodded again. “My dad died trying to save the queen and I. The queen didn’t make it, but I guess I did.” It was such an unbelievable story that Apollo had a hard time imagining himself in it.

Klavier seemed more upset than he was. “What happened to your mother?”

“Well… When the queen dies, nobody really cares about finding... a missing baby. She probably tried to find me, but she must’ve believed I was dead…”

“Ah…”

“If I haven’t found her by now, I doubt I ever will.” Apollo stared in the side view mirror again, looking himself in the eyes, and the car came to a stop.

Klavier pulled out a key card and swiped it like he did the last time. “Did you…” He closed his mouth, having thought better of the question. “It’s unlike you to discount the possibility of the implausible.”

“In a three day trial, maybe. But there’s such a thing as too much hope, I think.” It was a depressing thought, but a true one. Hope was exhausting, and hoping for things that would probably never happen could break a person.

He would know; the hope that Dhurke would come back for him had hurt worse than his abandonment ever had.

Klavier didn’t argue.

Once they were inside, Apollo immediately collapsed onto Klavier’s couch. Every thought and movement felt draped in a dense fog, and he was extremely tempted to sleep it off.

“Tired?” Klavier asked, smiling.

“I didn’t get 20 hours of beauty sleep last night,” Apollo muttered. He wasn’t entirely sure what he’d gotten last night, but it only seemed to make him feel more tired than he was before.

It was as if he’d been sleeping with his eyes open for most of the night as the walls of Klavier’s room slowly closed in on him.

He felt some strange mixture between terror and boredom the entire time, like he knew he was going to eventually be crushed to death, but if he was going to die, it might as well hurry up and kill him.

He’d texted Athena about it and she told him he was fever dreaming, should drink more water, and should feel better soon. And stop texting me at 2am.

“Ah ha ha. You do look like you’ve been hit by a truck.” Dang, Klavier could go from sympathetic to savage in 0.6 seconds.

Fortunately, Apollo could too. “Nice to know I can get hit by a truck… And still have fewer flyaways than you do.”

Klavier’s hand immediately rose to fix his hair, and Apollo had to stop himself from laughing, because laughing hurt. Self-conscious wasn’t exactly the first thing that came to mind when the name “Klavier Gavin” came up, but there he was, getting flustered over his hair.

The funny thing was that Klavier didn’t actually have any flyaways.

Apollo closed his eyes and flopped over on the couch, taking care that his feet stayed on the ground. It was a strange thing, knowing that Klavier had insecurities. He always seemed so self-assured.

“You can lay down like a normal human being if you’d like. Unless, of course, your legs are on the ground because you can’t move them,” Klavier teased.

“Oh, shut up.” Apollo realized that Klavier had a point when he tried to adjust his lying position, though-- he was able to get his legs up on the couch, but he let out a garbled moan in the process.

“Would you like that hot water bottle?” Klavier asked.

“Yes,” Apollo said, trying and failing to not sound desperate. It was the next best thing to his cat, who was usually curled up next to him while he slept.

He missed that cat. She was in good hands, but he felt as if he’d abandoned her, and that filled him with guilt.

He needed to take care of her, but here he was, in Klavier Gavin’s house, being taken care of. It felt wrong, somehow. He felt like if he was going to give up Calico for her safety, it should be because he wasn’t living in safety.

But here he was, in Klavier’s weird ¾ modern minimalist ¼ obnoxiously glimmerous house, waiting for something he honestly didn’t need.

He felt out-of-place, and the more he processed where he was, the more uncomfortable it made him.

He’d been lost in his thoughts for a few minutes when Klavier came back with an awkward smile.

He handed him the hot water bottle and a blanket, too. “I suppose falling asleep at 3pm is a bit better than 1pm,” he said, settling onto an adjacent couch with a smirk and a laptop. “Although I wish I had a bed to offer you. I’d offer you mine, but I--”

“No.”

“...My point exactly.” He smirked and returned to looking pensively at his laptop.

The two couches made a V, and Apollo was angled inward so that he could see him without having to move. Which was fortunate, because he couldn’t really do that.

“Prosecutor Gavin?” he asked after a few minutes of not being able to keep his eyes closed.

“Hm?”

“I… I can’t shake the feeling that I shouldn’t be here.”

“It is a bit strange, admittedly,” he replied with absolutely no hesitation. There was a ghost of a smile on Klavier’s lips. “But where, exactly, do you feel that you should be?”

Part of him felt like he should be back in the homeless camp, but he knew he didn’t really belong there, either. “I… I don’t know. Where I was two months ago, I guess. Before everything happened.”

Klavier gently closed the lid to his laptop. “If it’s physically impossible for you to be somewhere, you probably shouldn’t be there.”

“But that’s the last time I felt like I understood where I was.”

“Like your circumstances were the consequences of your own actions?”

Apollo thought for a moment. “I wasn’t really thinking about it that way, but… Yeah.” Clay’s death, the courtroom explosion, the attempted murder-- even in hindsight, there was nothing Apollo could’ve done to change what happened.

Klavier smiled. “I’m familiar with the feeling. It’s been a while since I was the captain of my own ship.”

Apollo sighed, which made him cough. “At least you have a ship. I can’t even swim.”

“...Did Apollo Justice just admit that there’s something he can’t do?”

“I have some limits. Water is one of them.”

“But bronchitis isn’t?”

Apollo smirked. “If it can’t stop a freight train, it can’t stop me.”

Klavier laughed, shoulders shaking. “That may be the most accurate comparison I’ve ever heard.” He gave Apollo a careful smile. “Although I will say that self-doubt doesn’t stop a freight train.”

“Well… It might stop a trainwreck.” Apollo frowned. He hadn’t felt too unstoppable recently.

“...Sometimes you need to let yourself be a trainwreck. Because if you keep trying to go on as usual, you’re going to derail yourself.”

“I kinda already derailed.”

Klavier smiled. “Then perhaps you should accept a bit of help in getting back on track.”

“...How do you come up with metaphors so quickly?”

“Practice.”

Apollo was going to say something sarcastic, but he wound up yawning instead. Klavier laughed and cracked his laptop back open. “Nice to know that even freight trains are mere mortals.”

Apollo smiled. “Didn’t think I was the one with questionable mortality.”

Klavier smirked. “Despite popular belief, I’m not superhuman.”

“...I don’t know, that coma you were in last night was pretty impressive.”

Klavier tapped his laptop with his fingernail. “That’s the product of a pretty impressive caseload.”

“...Oh, I didn’t realize you were trying to work.”

“No worries, it’s a tax evasion case,” he said dryly.

Apollo yawned again. “Sounds thrilling.”

“Ja. I figured that if you were going to spend the day barely conscious, I should, as well.”

“...Enjoy that.” Apollo decided to let him work, and his body appreciated that decision. It wasn’t even thirty seconds before he was asleep.

~O~

When Apollo woke up, it was dark outside, and Klavier had traded his laptop for his phone. He was smiling, but it was mostly in his eyes.

“You look happy,” Apollo said in a sleepy stupor.

“Ah, you’re awake.” His eyes were full of life in a way Apollo had rarely seen from him before. Something had definitely changed since Apollo fell asleep.

“What have you been up to?” Apollo asked.

“I hit a wall on that case, so I asked my mother for advice.”

He was that happy to be texting his mom? Man, that was cute. “Is she a lawyer?”

“A judge.” He grinned. “Not in our congressional district, though. She lives close to Themis.”

Apollo recalled Themis being too far to bike to, and he had a very high limit of how far he’d bike before taking a taxi. “It’s hard for me to imagine a judge… without a beard and a bald head.”

Klavier laughed. “Nein, my mother and His Honor are about as far as they come. Though I suppose she’s just as easily excited…” He frowned. “Ah… This is probably a sore subject, ja?”

“N-no, not at all!” Apollo winced from the pain of speaking too loudly, trying very hard not to cough. “I mean, I’m only upset when I see people... taking their moms for granted. Which you’re clearly not doing.”

Klavier smiled. “It’s hard not to feel fortunate. She’s a wonderful woman.”

“Is she a musician, too?” He wanted to keep Klavier talking, if only to keep that smile on his face. Was that weird? Probably. But seeing Klavier this happy was incredibly rare.

“Ja, she’s a pianist.” He glanced off to the side and grinned. “Don’t ask her to sing, though. She has no sense of intonation.”

Apollo smirked. “It’s hard to play the piano out of tune.”

“Is that swagger of yours implying that you can sing in tune?” Klavier looked amused.

“Not with bronchitis,” Apollo mumbled. Klavier got an intrigued smile on his face. “O-or ever!” He’d put his foot in his mouth if he wasn’t coughing. Dang it, his stupid throat was only allowed to betray him in one way at a time!

“I’ll have to hear this sometime.”

“Not. A. Chance.” Apollo crossed his arms and settled back down. He was so tired of Klavier’s crap that another 12 hours of sleep seemed feasible.

“Hold it,” Klavier said.

Apollo opened his eyes, but just barely. “Don’t steal my lines.”

“If you’re going back to sleep already, you should take your medicine first.”

“Does that require moving?” Apollo asked, uncrossing his arms just enough to hold his stomach. He really didn’t want to do that.

Klavier chuckled. “It’s funny how fast you can switch between ‘Leave me alone, I’m fine’ and ‘Help me, I’m dying.’”

Well, if he was going to be that way, Apollo could stand up on his own. Getting his feet from the arm of the couch to the ground required some abdominal muscles, but after that, if he moved slowly...

“Yes!” He was excited to get on his feet, even though getting up still hurt.

“Congratulations… But you’ve only really proven my point.” Klavier smirked.

“I did?” Apollo thought about it for a moment-- he’d just switched between “I’m dying” and “I’m fine” again, hadn’t he? “...Oh.”

Klavier laughed. “Come on, let’s get your medicine.”

Apollo had his temperature taken again-- 99.7. “That’s not 100!”

“It seems as if you won’t need your fever reducer anymore,” Klavier said. “I was only supposed to give you that if your fever was 100.4 or above.”

100.4? That was oddly specific. “Mr. Wright said I could work once my fever was gone.”

Klavier looked at him critically. “...We can have that conversation once your fever is actually gone. You still have a degree to go, ja?”

Apollo made the mistake of whining about his sore throat while swallowing his antibiotic, so Klavier made both of them tea. And although Apollo wouldn’t have imagined sitting down for tea with Klavier Gavin a week ago, it was… nice.

They talked about some movie Apollo had never seen starring an actor Apollo had never heard of-- “You’ve never seen The Great Moozilla vs. Gourdy?”-- who Klavier apparently knew. “It’s got the most ridiculous premise, but the acting is so good you believe it.”

Then Apollo started talking about the show Trucy was working on-- “It’s got an Alice in Wonderland theme. All of her classes are online this semester... so she can prepare for it.” It was honestly kind of fun talking to an insider of the entertainment world so casually.

But tea is sort of a finite thing, as is a human’s ability to survive without sleep. “Are you sure you’re all right on the couch?” Klavier asked.

“Yeah. It’s better than the one at the agency… that’s for sure.” And the floor of Apollo’s tent, but that went unsaid.

“I apologize again that I don’t have a guest bedroom…”

“It’s fine, Prosecutor Gavin,” Apollo said, trying to sound reassuring. It really was kind of strange for him not to have a guest bedroom, but Apollo had already accepted the fact that this house was weird. “Now go sleep.”

Klavier seemed sort of hesitant. “...OK,” he finally said. “Sleep well.”

“You too.”

Chapter Text

February 27, 1:07 PM
Residence of Klavier Gavin

“Prosecutor Gavin?”

“Ah, good morning.” Klavier had only just finished getting ready for the day, looking polished as ever. He typically spent the weekends in sweatpants and t-shirts, but Apollo didn’t need to know that. He sat down on the couch adjacent to Apollo.

“...It’s, like, one in the afternoon.” Apollo shook his head. “Anyway. I’ve been wondering… How long do you plan to keep me here?”

To be honest, Klavier had been contemplating that himself. “Until you have an apartment, I suppose.”

Apollo frowned. “I was worried you’d say that.”

“If you leave as soon as you’re feeling better, you’ll only get sick again.”

“I know, but…” He frowned. “If that civil case I’m working on falls through, and I have to pay off my own medical debt…” He coughed. “Nearly getting murdered is expensive.”

“I can imagine.” But even if Apollo had to stay with him for several months, Klavier had already made his bed, and he would lie in it. “You don’t need to worry about that, though. You staying here is no hassle to me.”

Apollo’s hand moved toward his bracelet, and he looked… hurt, almost. “I think I understand,” he said quietly.

“What’s there to be understood?”

He crossed his arms. “You don’t want me here, but you don’t want me out there more.”

Klavier was taken aback. “When did I ever say that I didn’t want you here?”

“You didn’t say anything, but...” Apollo struggled to keep eye contact.

Klavier wasn’t entirely sure what to say, because Apollo was right. His doubts about Apollo made him uncomfortable, like something might go wrong at any given moment.

“But I understand. I mean, I really do think you care about my feelings. Like, part of you wants me here. But something about it is bothering you.” Apollo put his finger to his forehead.

Klavier had seen Apollo do this before--pull the truth out of absolute nowhere--but being on the receiving end of his little magic trick was unnerving. “How are you so sure of what’s going on in my mind?”

“If you’re asking for proof, I don’t have any,” Apollo said.

“You never do,” Klavier said, more bluntly than he’d intended.

Apollo looked taken aback. “Was I wrong, then?”

“...No.” Klavier slid his thumbs through his belt loops. He hated how Apollo always jumped to conclusions, only to be correct.

Apollo looked back at the ground. “Didn’t think so.”

“Forehead… There’s really no need to worry about me. I’m just unused to having other people around. I’ll be over it in a couple of days.”

Apollo’s eyes were trained on him again. “...You don’t think you’ll be over it in a couple of days.”

He felt like he was on the witness stand and not the couch of his own living room. “Does it really matter?”

“Yes!” Apollo exclaimed, coughing afterward. “If me being here is making you uncomfortable, I…”

“This has nothing to do with you,” he interrupted.

Apollo looked faintly surprised. “I didn’t think it had anything to do with me, but…” He frowned. “Did I do something to hurt you?”

I know you probably aren’t going to tell him anything… But promise me you won’t lie to him, at least.

Klavier’s lips parted uselessly. Half-truths were one thing. Giving the wrong answer to a yes or no question was another.

The longer the silence dredged on, the more disconcerted Apollo looked. “What did I… I don’t know what… I’m sorry.” He looked like he was going through an internal list of every sin he’d ever committed.

“It’s mostly baseless doubt,” Klavier tried to reassure him. He didn’t want to see Apollo tearing himself apart like this.

Apollo shook his head. “Nothing’s baseless with you.”

“I’m not going to accuse you of something I can’t prove. That’s not fair to you.”

“I just… I don’t know what I did. I’ve done a lot of things I regret, but… I didn’t think they affected you.”

“It’s nothing you did to me.”

“Then what…?” He looked like a student taking a test that he didn’t know any of the answers to.

If you can’t let it go, you’re going to have to talk to him.

“It’s... a trend in your behaviors that worries me,” Klavier said, unable to take Apollo’s facial expression any longer. “It wouldn’t bother me if you weren’t a good person in every other regard. Because I very much want to like you, but I can’t.”

“A trend… in my behaviors?” Apollo was looking at him a bit intensely, which was nerve-wracking, but it was significantly better than the hopeless look from before.

“It’s nothing concrete, like I said. But I… I don’t want to kick you while you’re down.”

“...Please don’t give my low self-esteem the chance to get creative,” Apollo said with a look of inward resentment that vaguely reminded Klavier of Mr. Edgeworth. “If your doubts are correct, I probably already have them about myself.”

“And if they’re wrong?”

“Then you’d be giving me a very welcome opportunity to defend myself.”

This seemed like a grade-A bad idea, but there didn’t seem to be any good way around it. If he refused to say anything, the conversation would only come up again, and Apollo might even try to leave. “...All right.”

Apollo didn’t smile, but his frown disappeared. “Thank you.”

“Let me preface this by saying I don’t think you’re a murderer out to psychologically destroy me.”

Apollo did smile at that, just a bit. “Well, that’s good, I guess.”

“But the three murderers who did cost me my psychological well-being all shared a certain philosophy.”

He thought for a moment. “Detective Crescend, your brother, and…?”

“Aristotle Means.”

“...Right.” Apollo put a finger to his forehead in a way Klavier would’ve found cute in any other circumstance. “Well… I’m going to wager you’re talking about the whole end-justifies-the-means thing, if Professor Means has anything to do with it.”

Klavier nodded. “They were all seeking different ends, but… they all had the same idea of how to get there.”

“Professor Means and Detective Crescend wanted money, and your brother wanted power?”

Daryan had definitely not been after money, but he’d add that to the ever-growing list of things Klavier had decided Apollo was better off not knowing.

“Ja. Selfish things to fight so intensely for, but some seek far more benevolent ends with that same sort of unstoppable force. Like freight trains, if you will.”

Apollo flinched. “You don’t… You don’t think that I believe that the ends justify the means, do you?”

“If that end is the truth? Yes.”

“But I…” Apollo thought about this for a few seconds, facial expression slowly morphing from defensive to terrified. “I… That’s not…”

This was exactly why Klavier knew this was a terrible idea. He wished he had some sort of cosmic undo button, because Apollo was too good of a person for this.

But then again, said the part of his brain responsible for getting himself into this mess in the first place, Daryan had been, too.

“...I stopped a kidnapper from releasing her hostages,” Apollo finally said, looking absolutely heartbroken. “From releasing Trucy. And I did it so I could accuse my own co-worker of murder.”

Klavier hadn’t viewed what Apollo had done that day as a problem-- quite the opposite, actually--but in the grander scheme of things, it did take a darker tone.

Apollo looked at him sadly. “This entire time… I’ve been fighting for the truth to stop the people who use the end to justify the means. But…”

Ah, trying to fight a monster only to find it inside yourself. Klavier understood the sentiment well.

Apollo suddenly sat straighter, looking at Klavier with a fiery sort of determination. “Tell me what you noticed so I can stop it.”

The sudden swing of emotions caught Klavier off-guard. This was the Apollo Klavier knew-- fists clenched, prepared for action.

It was probably only a front, but it set Klavier’s mind at ease anyway. “You took a few actions in your early career that were… rather extreme.”

“Such as?”

He figured he would start small. “Faking a kidnapping, for one.”

It took a second for Apollo to realize what he was referring to. “That… wasn’t my doing, actually.”

“...Are you telling me that was a real kidnapping?” It had looked real enough at first, but the aftermath had been less than convincing.

“No. I’m just saying that was entirely Trucy’s idea. To the point where I started crying when I realized she was okay, because I was genuinely convinced she was going to die.”

“...You really had no idea?”

“Not until she explained it to me. And told me to cover for her in court.”

“Which you did rather poorly.” Klavier smirked, hoping to lighten things up a bit.

Apollo gave him a weak smile back. “I’m not very good at making things up on the spot.” His expression hardened again, and he looked at Klavier with an intense seriousness. “Any more problems you noticed?”

“...A few.”

Apollo didn’t say anything, silently staring at Klavier, which had him unnerved all over again.

Klavier wasn’t exactly conflict avoidant, and he certainly wasn’t above flinging insults, but this was different. He knew Apollo was taking every word he said to heart, and any accusation involving Klavier’s personal well-being would be immediately internalized. “I…”

“I’m fine,” Apollo said. “So don’t worry about my feelings.”

This was the same sort of cool rationality that Klavier had seen from him in Athena Cykes’ trial, and it made him very worried about Apollo’s feelings.

But he couldn’t back out now. He had to see this disaster through to the end. “One of my biggest concerns is your tendency to make bold accusations with very little evidence.”

“...I wouldn’t make an accusation if I wasn’t sure the person I was accusing was guilty.”

“But how do you know if they are guilty?”

“What do you mean, how?” Apollo looked genuinely confused.

Klavier’s muscles tightened, so he took a deep breath. Apollo didn’t need him getting angry. “You accused my brother of the murder of Drew Misham because his hand twitched.”

Apollo looked concerned and entirely lost. After a few seconds, his eyes widened in what looked like shocked realization. “Wait. Do you not know about my bracelet?”

Well, that was about the last way he’d expected Apollo to react. Part of him was angry, and the rest of him told that part to calm down. “How is that at all relevant?”

Apollo looked horrified. “I… I thought you knew. I am so sorry…” He slunk into a state of what was probably self-critical internal processing, only to shake himself out of it. “I’ve used it in front of you so many times I just assumed…”

He thought for another few seconds, looking progressively more and more like the subject of The Scream. “No wonder you’ve always been so irritable when it comes to me and evidence.” He buried his face in his hands. “I’ve built almost every case I’ve ever taken on an ability you don’t know about,” he moaned, voice muffled.

“An ability I don’t know about?”

“Well… I’m not sure you’ll believe me, because it probably sounds like an excuse at this point, but…” Apollo coughed. “I can see when people are hiding the truth.”

“...I’m not sure if I follow.”

“Well… You’ve seen how much I rely on body language, right?”

“Ja. It’s irritating, admittedly. A person’s finger will twitch and you’ll tell them they’re lying and guilty of murder.” That was probably a bit blunt, but Apollo didn’t seem to mind.

“Have I ever been wrong?”

“...No.”

“Then I’m either really lucky or I actually know what I’m doing.”

“...I don’t think even you can get that lucky.”

Apollo had done The Thing™ at least a dozen times without fail, and now that Klavier actually thought about it, he wondered if there really was some sort of trick to it.

“...I resent the implication that I’m ever lucky, but whatever.” Apollo toyed with his bracelet as he thought. “Well… when a person feels nervous, they subconsciously tense up. And when they do, my bracelet feels tight on my wrist.” He held it up.

Klavier’s gut reaction was disbelief, but he did recall Apollo making strange comments about his bracelet from time to time.

“Once I know someone’s hiding something, I can focus in on their body language and pick out the exact point in which they get nervous.” Apollo was searching Klavier’s eyes for some sort of a reaction.

“...Fascinating.” Klavier wasn’t entirely sure what he thought of all of this, but it did seem kind of cool. “So it’s a sort of lie detector?”

“Well… Since it only works when I can use both of my eyes, I think I’m the one detecting the lies. The bracelet just tells me when my subconscious has picked up on something.”

“That sounds almost supernatural… Though I suppose it’s not much stranger than Fraulein Cykes’ ability to hear emotions.”

“So you believe me?”

“...I’m not entirely convinced, but it certainly explains a lot of things.”

Apollo thought for a moment. “You know… My bracelet kinda vibrates when it reacts, so if you were touching it, I’m sure you could feel it.”

Apollo held his arm out toward Klavier, who touched the bracelet hesitantly. An annoying part of his brain pointed out that they were almost holding hands, and he quieted that thought immediately.

“...It’s not doing anything.

“You aren’t hiding anything,” Apollo pointed out. “It’s not going to buzz unless you say something that makes you nervous.”

“...What exactly do you want me to say?”

Apollo frowned. “I don’t know. A lot of things make you nervous.”

“Such as?” He realized a bit too late that it was a clear invitation for him to ask any personal question he wanted.

Apollo thought for a moment. “Well… Why were you in the Gavinners?”

Any personal question like that. Klavier brought his free hand up to play with his bangs. “To attract women.”

Apollo’s bracelet was definitely vibrating, and Apollo smirked.

“That wasn’t technically false,” Klavier said in his own defense.

“It reacts when you’re hiding something. It doesn’t care about your semantics.”

Klavier found that unfair. He was a lawyer and a songwriter. Semantics were his bread and butter. “Achtung... That’s been my default answer for so long that I’m not sure what else to tell you.”

Apollo looked a little bit smug, which was a welcome change from his shaky mental state from a few minutes ago. “You can tell me that you’re bi.”

Klavier smirked right back. “Pan, actually, but that’s still not why I was in a band.”

“...So why were you in a band?”

“I suppose I started the Gavinners because I wanted to play music.” The bracelet didn’t buzz.

Apollo looked at him incredulously. “Then why wouldn’t you just say that?”

“That’s not a very glamorous answer.”

The bracelet buzzed again, and Apollo’s eyebrow rose. “...I’m not even going to attempt to figure out what you’re lying about. But do you believe me?”

“It’s hard not to.”

Apollo coughed. “I’m so sorry… Making accusations based on what my bracelet was telling me probably seemed insensitive.”

Insensitive was an understatement, but… “They were true, ja?”

“Yeah… But I should still be more careful with how I use it.” He sighed. “Any more doubts for me to confirm or deny?”

Ah, just as Klavier was beginning to feel good about all of this. “...There is one more. But it’s no small accusation. And I have absolutely no proof, and it could very easily just be paranoia.” It was the one Klavier had been dreading the most this entire time.

Apollo gave him a strange look. “That’s fine.” He didn’t seem particularly afraid, and Klavier wasn’t sure whether that was encouraging or not.

Klavier really didn’t want to ask-- he wasn’t even sure how. Did he provide background or ask the question directly? Did he peel the bandage off slowly or rip it off all at once?

But he had to ask. Something in him wanted to ask, because if his other doubts had been off-base, maybe this one would be, too. “I... watched the video of your first trial a few times… And there was something about it that struck me as… strange.”

N… No! Impossible! Unacceptable! The court can’t accept this evidence! It’s a fraud!

A fraud? How can you be so sure?

Apollo’s facial expression shifted from confusion to disgust to absolute horror as he thought about his first case. “The card,” he muttered under his breath. He closed his eyes and brought his arms to his chest, lowering his head. “The bloody ace.”

“Then it was…” Klavier didn’t want to ask, even though he already knew the answer. The card used to convict his brother of murder was a forgery, and Apollo clearly knew it. His heart sank.

Apollo’s muscles clenched, which made him tremble. “Mr. Wright told me it was forged after the trial,” he said quietly.

“By whom?”

HIM, who else?!” He coughed, but he wouldn’t open his eyes. Klavier saw something glimmering on Apollo’s chin, so Klavier instinctively stood up so he could sit next to him.

He really needed to stop making Apollo cry.

The thought hadn’t occurred to Klavier that Mr. Wright could’ve used Apollo unwittingly, just like Kristoph had used Klavier. But he could remember the pain clearly, the pain of knowing that someone you trusted manipulated you into doing terrible things.

“I’m sorry,” he said, putting his hand on Apollo’s shoulder.

“...It doesn’t make sense.”

“Hmm?”

“With who he was before… And who he is now.” He opened his eyes, but they were unfocused as if he were looking at something underneath the floor. “He would never do that. But he did.

“...You believed in him.”

“Of course I did! I still do!” Apollo coughed. “I became a lawyer because of him.”

“Is that why you joined his office?”

Apollo frowned. “No. Childhood hero or not, what he did was horrible. I joined because I can’t say no to Trucy.”

“Hmm. I suppose not all of her magic is an illusion.” He smiled. “But I imagine working for Mr. Wright has been difficult.”

“Yeah… Our relationship is… strained, to say the least.”

Klavier thought for a moment. “I think you need to talk to him.”

“...What?!” Apollo coughed.

“Well, you said that Mr. Wright’s actions that day contradict his character. There has to be some sort of explanation for that, ja?” Klavier was tired of hating Phoenix Wright. He was the sort of person who was hard not to admire.

“If he didn’t explain it then, why would he explain it now?”

“...He cares about you. And your deductive reasoning has improved.”

Apollo didn’t seem like he could deny that. “But I don’t want to dredge up darkness from two years ago.”

Klavier stared at him with his eyebrows raised.

Apollo looked sheepish. “Okay, maybe I’m a hypocrite-- but I’m talking about my boss here. Not some guy I invited into my house.” A pointed glare.

“Then let me ask you this: do you regret the conversation we just had?”

“...No.”

“Then maybe your boss won’t, either.” He smiled. “Regardless of what you choose to do, I think that clears up the last of my doubts.”

Apollo smiled, but it didn’t last long. “Doesn’t change what I did to Trucy and Athena, though.”

“You’re still bothered by that?”

Apollo frowned. “I’m surprised you’re not. I can’t even imagine how much pain I put Athena through.”

Now that Klavier’s doubts had proven to be unsubstantiated, it was a lot easier to admire Apollo for what he had done. “Not nearly as much pain as she would’ve been in if you hadn’t accused her.”

Apollo gave him a weird look. “What are you talking about?”

Klavier smiled incredulously. “You really don’t know what you did, do you?”

“I accused an innocent person of murder and stopped a kidnapper from releasing their hostages.”

“You stopped what could’ve been the most horrible legal disaster in seven years.”

“...What?”

Klavier sighed; he really had no idea. “Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing but the utmost respect for Herr Edgeworth. He has a brilliant legal mind, and his pursuit of the truth is admirable. But he has no idea how to put on a show.”

“...What do you mean, a show?”

“The eyes of the nation were on that courtroom. It wasn’t merely a case to determine the truth. It was a case that should’ve been focused on demonstrating to the public that they could trust in our legal system.”

“...That makes sense, I guess.”

“But both the judge and prosecutor called the trial a farce in the first thirty seconds of the trial, and it was rather apparent that everyone was being manipulated by a criminal. That, and that both the defense and prosecution wanted to see both suspects proven innocent.”

“...So you think the public would’ve seen it as an unfair trial.”

“Well, naturally. After quite a bit of theatrics, it was shown that both Fraulein Cykes and Herr Blackquill could be innocent. Could be. And then it was shown that a third party, a mysterious evil spy, could be the culprit. Once this happened, Herr Edgeworth stopped prosecuting, saying that he trusted the defendant’s memories.”

“And so,” Klavier continued, “If the trial had ended there, I’m sure you can predict how the public would’ve reacted.”

“...They probably wouldn’t have believed that both Blackquill and Athena were innocent,” Apollo said.

“Correct. But even worse, the public wouldn’t know which one of the two of them was the real culprit. Meaning that both of them would be viewed as potential murderers. That, and the validity of every trial that the two of them shared would have been called into question. Including the trial of Juniper Woods.”

Apollo’s eyes widened. “So, pretty much, Athena and the two people closest to her would’ve been seen as potential murderers to the general public.”

“Nice to see you’ve caught on.” Klavier grinned. “Anyone watching the trial would’ve had doubts about the validity of its result… But just as soon as the verdict was about to be delivered, you stopped it.”

“Because I thought my co-worker was a murderer.”

Klavier shrugged. “It wouldn’t have worked if you didn’t.”

“...What are you talking about?”

“The one person who should have had every desire for that trial to end then and there--the defendant’s mentor and a good friend of one of the hostages--stood up and voiced the doubts that every single person watching that trial must’ve had-- that one of those defendants had to be guilty. And, intentionally or not, you play a good show, Forehead.”

Apollo lips curled up slightly. “Thanks.”

“Without your so-called mistake, we would most certainly still be in the Dark Age of the Law, and most likely a worse form of it than we ever were before. If that is the worst mistake you’ve made in your legal career, I think that can be forgiven.” Klavier smiled.

Apollo smiled back. It was a tired smile, but a genuine one. “It doesn’t sound so bad when you put it that way.”

Klavier wondered how the two of them had possibly gotten out of that conversation with smiles on their faces, but he wasn’t complaining. “I’m ready to render a verdict.”

“...You would make this into a trial,” Apollo said, entirely unamused.

“Are there any objections?” Klavier asked, ignoring him.

“...If you want me to play along, you’re at least going to need a gavel.”

Klavier held his fist over his hand. “I find the defendant, Apollo Justice, not guilty.”

He slammed his fist down.

“You’re such a nerd,” Apollo said, laughing.

~O~

The rest of the day was strangely normal-- a typical lazy Sunday, but with a touch more sarcasm than Klavier was used to.

It was strange trying to entertain a guest, though. It hadn’t gone over too well until Apollo realized that Klavier had Risk.

“Why are you putting all of your pieces in Asia? Nobody starts a land war in Asia.”

“But it’s February. You can’t attack Russia in the winter,” Apollo pointed out.

“...Touché.”

But Apollo’s forces quickly moved out of Asia once the game started, opting for North America, Australia, and Africa instead. Both of them played rather defensively, making for a hilariously long game.

At one point, Apollo rolled three 6’s, causing both players to double over laughing, and one player to start coughing.

“I always wondered what those horns were for.”

“Better call Joan of Arc, because Satan’s about to take over Europe.” Apollo grinned.

Klavier called one of his pieces Joan from that point on, and another Napoleon, and proceeded to slowly take advantage of the board.

“Nooo, my demonic grip on human civilization,” Apollo complained.

The day was far too short, really, especially since it included annoying responsibilities like doing laundry and cleaning.

By the time night rolled around, Apollo’s temperature was at 98.5. He grinned. “I can go to work tomorrow.”

Klavier frowned. “Are you sure that’s the best idea?”

“If I have to sit around all day, I might as well do it at a desk.”

Despite Klavier’s reservations, it was true that he was looking a lot better. “As long as you swear to me you won’t leave the office.”

“...You say that as if my co-workers will give me the choice.”

He texted Trucy anyway, who swore to do everything within her power to prevent Apollo from doing stupid things, and walked into the living room to find Apollo lying on the couch. “Going to bed?”

“Yeah. Can you open the blinds, though? That’s kind of my alarm clock.”

If Apollo actually got up when the sun rose, Klavier would be impressed. “Of course.” He twisted the piece of plastic connected to the blinds until he could see the night sky through them.

“Thanks, Klavier,” Apollo said.

Klavier was so shocked he nearly choked.

“...Prosecutor Gavin,” Apollo corrected.

As soon as Klavier’s brain caught up with what had just happened, he started laughing. “That was quite the freudian slip.”

Apollo chucked a pillow at him. “Shut up,” he said, grinning.

“Good night, Apollo,” he said, ducking into his room before Apollo could find another pillow.

He closed the door and smiled as if nobody else had ever said his name before.

It was strange, how he was “Prosecutor Gavin” to the people he knew and “Klavier” to complete strangers. But for some reason, his first name felt personal here-- as if Apollo was beginning to see him as more than just a professional acquaintance.

A friend, even.

Chapter Text

February 28, 8:58 AM
Wright Anything Agency

Apollo wasn’t entirely sure what work at the agency would be like on his first day back. Because although he’d really only missed a day and a half, his co-workers tended to exaggerate things.

Apollo hadn’t even fully opened the door to the agency when Trucy yelled, “Polly!” and firmly latched herself around his waist. The sudden squeezing of his lungs made him cough, and Trucy detached herself and gave him a suspicious look.

It took him a few minutes to convince Trucy and Mr. Wright that he was fine to work, and when Athena walked in five minutes later, it took another few minutes to convince her, too.

So... How’s staying with Prosecutor Gavin?” Athena asked in the most gossipy tone possible, all worry vanishing into thin air.

“...Weird. He’s the last person I would’ve thought to stay with.”

“You don’t seem too upset about it, though,” she teased.

Apollo shrugged. “He’s a nice guy.”

“Was that a compliment?” Trucy asked, jaw dropped.

Was that really so weird? “Yeah. Will you leave me alone?”

Apparently it was, because Athena and Trucy both looked like they’d hit the holy grail.

Apollo had approximately 12 minutes of relative peace until the agency’s phone rang. “Hello, this is the Wright Anything Agency. This is Phoenix Wright. I have a law degree.”

Mr. Wright was on the phone for a minute or two before he hung up. “We have a case.”

“Oh, really?” Athena asked, as if she hadn’t been eavesdropping on that entire conversation.

“...Looks like I’m finishing up the paperwork,” Apollo said. Everyone stared at him. “What? I can’t leave the office.”

“Well, yeah, but you aren’t going to put up a fight about it?” Athena asked.

“Should I?”

“No,” his boss answered, although he also seemed a bit suspicious. “Trucy, are you done with your schoolwork for the day?”

Trucy was sitting on the couch with a laptop. “I just have two more chemistry questions.”

“Do you want to go with Athena when you’re done?”

Trucy looked up in excitement. “Yes!”

Apollo looked at his boss in confusion. “You aren’t taking it?”

“And leave you with all of the paperwork? It’s due tomorrow.”

Tomorrow?!” Apollo coughed, and everyone stared at him. Even with Mr. Wright’s help, that amount of paperwork seemed ridiculous, but he assumed everyone else was worried for a different reason.

“...Daddy, please make sure he doesn’t die,” Trucy said, eyes wide.

“You’re all so dramatic,” Apollo muttered.

~O~

Athena and Trucy came back from the investigation a few hours later looking somewhat depressed. “How did it go?” Apollo asked.

Athena frowned. “I wish you could’ve been there. It’s a locked room mystery, and those are kinda your specialty.”

Apollo hadn’t taken that many locked room mystery cases, had he? “I’ve only taken, like... six.”

“That’s like, my entire career!” Athena retorted. “But I just don’t know what to do with this case. The mood matrix and the evidence aren’t getting along very well.”

“What do you mean?” Apollo asked, thankful for the distraction from his paperwork.

“Well, there were only two people besides the victim at the crime scene, so if our client didn’t do it, the other girl must have. But she didn’t seem guilty, either! She seemed so sad that Mr. Schoeff was dead…”

“Were they really the only two people who could have done it?”

“There was security footage at the entrance to the building. There was nobody who entered that day who didn’t exit, and there were only three people in the building when Mr. Schoeff died.” Athena flicked at her earring, deep in thought.

“Was there a way in or out of the crime scene besides the entrance?” Mr. Wright asked.

“I couldn’t find one,” Trucy said. Which was a pretty definitive “no” coming from an escape artist like her.

“I guess it’s got to be Bree, then.” Athena sighed.

Apollo crossed his arms. “Athena, you need to trust your intuition a little more. If you think both of them are innocent, there might be another explanation.”

“That sounds nice and all, but what? If neither of them were the culprit, and there’s no way in or out of the building without being caught by the security camera…”

“You know, I watched a case like this once. Where it seemed like the culprit had to be one of two people.”

“Well, which one of them was guilty?”

“Neither,” Apollo said. “It was a suicide.”

Mr. Wright looked at him pensively, having figured out which case he was talking about, but Trucy seemed entirely unbothered by Apollo’s reference to her dad’s trial.

“But this case couldn’t have been a suicide,” Athena said. “The knife was found too far away from the body.”

“In the case Polly’s talking about, the gun was found out of the victim’s reach, too. But someone messed with the crime scene to make the suicide look like a murder.” Trucy tapped her lip, a smile growing on her face.

“Could anyone have tampered with the crime scene after the victim died?” Apollo asked.

“...Yeah, actually. Like, fifteen different people!” Athena grinned. “Apollo, I think you might be onto something!”

“If we check the security footage again, we might find some evidence,” Trucy said, grinning.

“Well, what are we waiting for?!” Athena exclaimed. “Vamonos!”

The two girls sprinted out of the room, slamming the door in their wake. It felt like all of the energy in the room left with them. Apollo looked at Mr. Wright and felt all the color drain from the room.

“Sorry if that was a sore subject,” Apollo said, suddenly feeling very awkward as Mr. Wright studied him.

“Nah, that case doesn’t really bother me anymore,” he replied. “I was just surprised that you made the connection between the cases so fast… Almost like you were already thinking about that case to begin with.”

The man could be amazingly perceptive when he wanted to be.

Apollo realized that this was the perfect opportunity to ask Mr. Wright about the forged evidence-- Trucy and Athena were gone, and Mr. Wright had already sort of breached the topic. “Well…”

But he didn’t want to upset Mr. Wright... He seemed genuinely glad to have Apollo back at work. Wasn’t that good enough? His relationship with his boss had never been so close.

“Well what?”

“Nevermind.” Apollo returned to his paperwork, feeling extremely conflicted.

Mr. Wright looked at him a bit sadly, but he didn’t say anything. Apollo felt like he was making a mistake.

There wasn’t a single sound except the flipping of pages and Apollo’s occasional cough for the next few hours.

So when the silence was interrupted by the door being flung open--“Whoops, sorry Charley!”--and Trucy and Athena running back into the room, Apollo nearly fell out of his chair.

“How did it go?” Apollo asked as soon as he had recovered.

“You were totally right. But we can’t prove it,” Athena said petulantly.

“But we can prove that the proof exists!” Trucy grinned.

“So it went well, then?” Mr. Wright asked.

“Kinda. Prosecutor Gavin was there, but he wasn’t in a very good mood.” Trucy looked concerned, and Athena’s face mirrored hers.

“Ugh. Looks like I’ll be dealing with that later,” Apollo muttered.

They talked about the case for a while. They’d apparently figured out the majority of what had happened, but a piece of evidence had apparently disappeared from the crime scene without being caught on the video camera.

“Well, you’re still more prepared than we usually are,” Apollo pointed out.

“I guess you’re right...” Athena flicked at her earring. “But evidence doesn’t just disappear!”

Trucy had to go and practice for her upcoming magic show, so Athena asked if she could help with paperwork. Mr. Wright told her that they were nearly done, and that she should go home, so Athena reluctantly left.

Now that Apollo was alone with his boss again, the tension returned. Apollo didn’t think he could handle it anymore. But what if his boss didn’t have any sort of explanation for his forgery? That would just make things worse.

But it was just as Klavier said-- it was a contradiction. That one day didn’t line up with who Mr. Wright had been before or who he was now. And if there was a contradiction, it meant that Apollo didn’t know the whole truth.

And Apollo had to find it before it killed him.

“Well, that’s the last of it,” Mr. Wright said, signing his name on the last paper in the stack they’d been working on and handing it to Apollo. “Time to head home, I guess.”

“Wait,” Apollo said, his palms beginning to sweat. There was no going back now. “Can I, um. Ask you a question?”

“You already have.” Mr. Wright smiled. “But I’ll give you another.”

Oh, come on, Mr. Wright. This was not the time for dad jokes.

“I… Uh.” Apollo should’ve practiced this in his head about 300 more times.

“Apollo… Is something wrong?” Mr. Wright asked, looking a bit worried himself.

“Yeah,” he said quietly. He gathered all of his courage and took a not-too-deep-breath. “Prosecutor Gavin asked me yesterday… Why I… I presented forged evidence. In my first trial.”

Mr. Wright’s expression darkened. “Oh.”

“I made a mistake a few weeks ago in Athena’s trial,” Apollo continued. “I assumed the worst about her without talking to her first. And I’ve been making that same mistake for two years now. With you.”

“Apollo… While I appreciate your faith in me, it’s ill-founded. That card was mine.” Mr. Wright’s head was lowered.

“I still haven’t asked my question, Mr. Wright. My question is why .”

He turned with his back to Apollo and lowered his head. “Kristoph Gavin needed to be behind bars,” he said quietly.

“Can you say that to my face, Mr. Wright?”

He turned around and crossed his arms. “ Kristoph Gavin needed to be behind bars.

Apollo’s bracelet didn’t react, since Mr. Wright wasn’t doing any of his nervous tics, but he noticed a problem anyway. “You know… I’ve known you for two years... but I’ve never seen you cross your arms before. You’re more of a hands-in-the-pockets kind of guy.”

Mr. Wright didn’t move. “So I am. But what does that mean?”

Well, if Mr. Wright was behaving strangely, and if Apollo knew that Mr. Wright would never forge evidence without a good reason...

“...You’re hiding something.” Apollo had a lot of hopes for this “something.” There had to be an explanation for what happened that day. Mr. Wright would never forge evidence just to catch a criminal. And Mr. Wright would never intentionally put a rookie attorney at risk of losing his badge before his career ever began.

“You think I’d lie to you about me needing Kristoph in jail?” His arms were still crossed, and Apollo realized why he would opt for such an obvious tic.

Mr. Wright knew that Apollo would be able to catch onto his nervous tics-- namely, fiddling with anything his hands could reach-- and by securing his hands, he knew he wouldn’t subconsciously fiddle.

Crossing his arms was a nervous tic that prevented him from doing his other nervous tics. It was like… an anti-tic.

“No, I know Kristoph needed to be in jail. But I don’t think that’s why you forged evidence.”

Mr. Wright frowned. “I don’t know what you mean.”

It was in that moment that Apollo realized exactly how good Mr. Wright was at keeping secrets. Not only did he have Trucy as a daughter-- he must have learned to cross his arms while keeping secrets from her-- but he had a green magatama as well.

He didn’t just know how to stop his body from giving Apollo information, he could stop his mouth from giving Apollo information, too.

...Dammit, if only he had the mood matrix. Mr. Wright didn’t know how to stop his heart from giving Apollo information.

But that was fine. He did have two pieces of information to work with: the first, that Mr. Wright had a reason for forging evidence unrelated to Kristoph. The second, that it was something Mr. Wright wanted to keep hidden, even at the cost of his relationship with Apollo.

“I really am sorry, Apollo. I never intended to hurt you.”

Aha! His bracelet reacted there! To what, and to what tic, Apollo had no idea. But he knew better than to ask Mr. Wright to repeat what he’d said, so he would have to find the lie in that sentence without visual cues. The mood matrix would have been really helpful...

But maybe Apollo knew him well enough to piece together his emotional state without Widget. Knowing Mr. Wright, he was definitely sorry about what he’d done, which meant…

“But you did intend to hurt me.” Apollo wasn’t sure where he was going with this. Why would someone like Mr. Wright intentionally hurt someone they didn’t know?

“Putting aside the fact that it was you, why would I intentionally hurt my defense attorney? I didn’t even know you.” Mr. Wright asked. Ugh. Did he have to pull Apollo’s questions right out of his head?

Turn your thinking around, Apollo.

What had Mr. Wright done to intentionally hurt him?

“That’s what I’m asking you!” Apollo began to cough, and Mr. Wright’s expression instantly softened into a look of concern. “But there was something... you did to hurt me... that you never... had to do.” He was gasping for breath, and he hated it.

“And that is?” Mr. Wright’s expression betrayed about thirty different kinds of fear.

Apollo took a few seconds to breathe. “You told me. If you never told me about that card... I would’ve been a lot happier.”

“You always struck me as one of the types who would rather be painfully aware than blissfully ignorant.” His hand was on his chin-- he wasn’t crossing his arms anymore. He’d gotten his boss to lower his guard somehow.

“If he didn’t explain it then, why would he explain it now?”

“...He cares about you. And your deductive reasoning has improved.”

It appeared that Mr. Wright wasn’t quite as invincible as he’d originally thought. He was too worried about Apollo’s wellbeing to keep his walls up; a simple coughing fit had sent them crashing down.

“Somehow, I doubt that’s why you told me. For some reason, you needed for me to know that card was forged. But why? If Kristoph was already behind bars, that card didn’t matter anymore.”

Mr. Wright’s fists clenched and unclenched again. “Apollo, can’t you just accept the fact that I made a mistake? I understand it makes me untrustworthy, and I deserve that. But that case is two years in the past.”

Apollo shook his head. “You’ve been carrying that case with you for just as long as I have.”

Mr. Wright’s expression was unreadable. “You have no proof of that.”

Apollo reached out across his desk and yanked the gold chain out of his boss’s suit pocket. “I meant that literally.” Apollo dangled the locket in front of Mr. Wright with his fingers, and he froze as if Apollo were hypnotizing him with it. “You know, Mr. Wright, you’d be much better at keeping secrets if you didn’t care about other people.”

Mr. Wright snatched the locket out of Apollo’s hand and put the it back in his suit pocket without saying a word. Klavier was right-- Mr. Wright’s emotions were the key to the truth, after all.

“This is about Trucy, isn’t it?” Apollo asked. There was no other reason he would be so uncomfortable with Apollo pointing out a locket with Trucy’s picture in it.

Mr. Wright sighed. “I never told you why I took that off of Zak’s neck, did I?”

“No.” Apollo was aware that he was being led off-topic, but he was too curious not to take the bait.

“In Zak Gramarye’s mind, the first poker game we played was to decide if I was fit to be his attorney. The second poker game we played was to decide if I was fit to be his daughter’s father. So as soon as I caught him cheating, he told me to take the locket off of his neck.”

“But you said under oath... that the only thing at stake in that game was pride.”

“And I wasn’t lying. But it wasn’t pride in ourselves… It was pride in Trucy. Losing a game of poker wouldn’t have affected my feelings for her as a father… It was just a game, after all. But it sure affected his. When he couldn’t expose me as a cheater, he felt as if he’d lost his right to be her dad.”

“So that’s why he attacked Orly…” Apollo realized. “You covered that up in court so Trucy wouldn’t know that her biological dad tried to destroy her adoptive one.”

“...It’s not like I lied about the locket.”

“I never said you did. But you definitely beat around the bush. And if you did that to protect Trucy… You must have forged that card to help her, too.”

“...Of course I did. If Kristoph wasn’t behind bars, her life would have been in danger. I regret what I did, and I regret how much it hurt you, but Trucy’s life was on the line.”

Apollo clenched his fist. “Why can’t you just tell me the truth about this?”

Mr. Wright’s eyes widened. “That was the truth.”

“But that makes no sense!” Apollo slammed his fist onto his desk and immediately began to cough. “Kristoph knew Trucy... for seven years... but he never tried... to hurt her. There’s no reason… you should have been worried… enough to give up on… everything you believed in!” Apollo began to cough again, his throat stinging and chest burning.

Mr. Wright bit his lip. “Apollo, please don’t yell… You’re hurting yourself.”

Apollo took a few slow, shallow breaths. “I know you, Mr. Wright. I watched all of your trials... when I was a kid. And to me… Phoenix Wright is the man… who refused to let a killer go free… even if it meant saving… his best friend’s life.”

Mr. Wright looked like Apollo had just stabbed him. “...Seven years of being called a liar and a forger does something to you, Apollo.”

Apollo shook his head. “Not that much.”

“Trucy was my light all those years. I had to protect her from Kristoph, regardless of the cost.”

His bracelet pinched him-- he was hiding something! But what? It seemed pretty clear that Mr. Wright was trying to protect Trucy… “Were you really trying to protect her from Kristoph? Or were you protecting her from something else?”

Based on Mr. Wright’s reaction, he’d hit the nail on the head. But Mr. Wright recovered quickly. “Who else was there to protect her from?

“...Ah!” Apollo had found a contradiction. “I don’t know… Yet. But if you were really trying to protect her from Kristoph… Why did you send Trucy to the defense lobby to give me the card after Kristoph was accused? Kristoph should’ve been in there.”

Mr. Wright looked like he was in pain. “Apollo… I really don’t want to betray your trust. But this is a secret I need to keep.”

“So you weren’t trying to protect her from Kristoph.” Apollo thought for a moment. “...Not when you forged the card, at least.”

Mr. Wright was smiling. Why was he smiling?

The worst of times are when lawyers have to force their biggest smiles.

Apollo must be getting close.

“So what did Trucy do after you forged the card that put her in danger with Kristoph?” Apollo thought for a moment. “She gave me forged evidence to convict him with.”

Mr. Wright was sweating, but his grin didn’t falter.

“She was the one... who made the card, wasn’t she?” Apollo realized.

Mr. Wright looked a bit relieved. “Incorrect. Only someone who could’ve gotten a drop of blood from Zak’s head could have forged that card. And, incidentally, Zak was dead, Olga was out cold, and Kristoph didn’t particularly like that card.”

“Okay... you made the card.” Apollo’s hair drooped. “But Trucy gave it to me.” He thought for a moment. “You two must have had a plan involving that card. In order to keep her safe. But something went wrong.”

Mr. Wright laughed, but Apollo didn’t feel as if he’d said anything funny. The fact that Mr. Wright was clenching his fists told Apollo that he didn’t think it was very funny, either. “If you think we had a plan, why don’t you tell me what that plan was? I know you’re bluffing, Apollo.”

Mr. Wright looked like he was falling apart. Keeping this secret was obviously hurting him just as much as it was hurting Apollo. So why was he still keeping it?

It was true that Apollo was bluffing, though. But he knew he had to be right. Apollo didn’t want to remember that day-- he’d spent so long trying to forget about it. But he couldn’t run away from his memories. Not now.

Apollo had to review the facts. Mr. Wright had forged that card on the night of the murder to use as evidence against Kristoph. Mr. Wright then gave that card to Trucy, but he had some sort of plan to keep Trucy safe while still getting Apollo the card. Trucy had made some kind of mistake, though. But when was that?

SHE MADE THE MISTAKE WHILE GIVING APOLLO THE CARD. After all, Apollo had been with Kristoph the entire trial, and he had never seen Trucy. So she couldn’t have made the mistake before she’d given Apollo the card.

So what mistake could she have made? She had made some sort of creepy entrance, had Apollo select a card from a deck, and gave Apollo some kind of cryptic message that only her dad would have come up with. So where was her mistake?

Had she done the magic trick incorrectly? No, that couldn’t be. Trucy would never have messed that trick up, knowing her. That, and she seemed happy with the card he chose. There was only one other thing she could have messed up.

TRUCY MESSED UP THE MESSAGE. But how had she messed up? There were two options there: she either said something she wasn’t supposed to, or she didn’t say something that she should have.

TRUCY DIDN’T GIVE APOLLO THE ENTIRE MESSAGE. She couldn’t have said something she wasn’t supposed to, because she didn’t really say anything informative to begin with. So what had she forgotten to say? There was some detail about that card that Apollo was supposed to know. But what was it?

Well, had Mr. Wright said anything strange about the card at the trial? Apollo had to think about the moment he presented the card.

Apollo remembered Mr. Wright encouraging him to present the fifth ace, but then reacting oddly to it when it was presented. What had he said?

“Oh, that card? It’s mine.”

“That one drop of blood would have been decisive evidence, you see.”

“...After the deed was done, the criminal must have seen the blood on the card. He would have, of course, realized the need to destroy the evidence. That single spot of blood told the whole story of the crime.”

MR. WRIGHT SPOKE ABOUT THE CARD AS IF IT WASN’T THE REAL ONE. But if Mr. Wright had forged that card, he should have treated the card as if it were the same one Kristoph disposed of. So why didn’t he?

MR. WRIGHT NEVER INTENDED THE CARD TO BE USED AS A FORGERY. That would explain everything strange he had said about the card that day!

If Mr. Wright had made a second card as a replica, he could have proven the possibility that the crime scene was arranged in a different way on the night of the murder and proven that it happened that way with a different piece of evidence. So, then, Trucy’s mistake was that…

TRUCY FORGOT TO TELL APOLLO THAT THE CARD WAS A REPLICA.

Apollo looked at Mr. Wright and smiled. Was it really possible that the entire thing was one big misunderstanding?

“Ah ha ha… You’ve figured it out, haven’t you?” Mr. Wright closed his eyes. “That, or you’re getting better at bluffing.”

“You never meant for that card to be used as a piece of forged evidence. You meant it to be used as a replica of the real one, just like the letter you made in Kristoph’s second trial. But when Trucy handed me the card she forgot to tell me it was fake. Mr. Wright… You’re not a forger, and you never have been!”

Mr. Wright finally looked defeated. “Not a forger… But a terrible dad, and a terrible mentor.” He looked… Devastated. “You figured it out, Apollo… I knew you would eventually.”

That only left one question. “But why the hell would you hide the fact that you didn’t forge it?”

“Because I did forge it. I made that card, and it was my fault that it wasn’t pointed out in court to be a replica.” He shook his head. “I didn’t want the two of you-- Trucy, especially-- blaming yourselves. That’s why I told you that piece of evidence was forged to begin with… So you would blame me for what happened.”

“Why would I have blamed myself?” Apollo asked.

“If I tell you, you’ll blame yourself.” Mr. Wright sighed. “Although, if you really want to know, I suppose I owe you an explanation. It’s a long one, though.”

“Please tell me.” He’d already come this far.

“...Okay. When I gave Trucy the card, I gave her a message to tell you. I’m not entirely sure what I said, but I remember it was pretty cryptic, in case Kristoph overheard. I told her to give it to you in a magic trick, too, because it would have looked suspicious otherwise.”

Apollo thought it would’ve looked suspicious no matter what, but that wasn’t the point. “I think she told me that I’d need a trump card and that I should use it wisely.”

“She was supposed to say something about it being the second joker in the deck, since jokers are sometimes used as replacements for missing cards in poker. But I shouldn’t have asked her to be so cryptic.”

“...Even if she had told me that, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to figure out what that meant.”

He rubbed his neck. “That’s exactly why I wanted to take the blame myself. Because that was entirely my fault, but I know that if I told her that she made a mistake, she would blame herself for forgetting ‘her lines.’”

Mr. Wright sighed. “You know how she is. Everything is a performance… And performers don’t forget their lines, even when their dads are in jail. Especially when their dads are in jail.”

“You didn’t want her to doubt herself.”

“Yeah. Trucy was going through a very dark time then. She had to switch schools more than once because of our finances, and she was having so much trouble making friends because I was her dad. Nobody wanted to trust her, and she kept getting bullied…”

Mr. Wright put his hands into his pockets. “I mean, her closest friend was Pearls, who lived two hours away by train and had no internet or cell phone. Magic was all Trucy really had. If she knew that her mistake caused her dad to really become a forger…”

“I had no idea…” Apollo frowned. Trucy didn’t seem like the type to have trouble making friends.

“Well, I told Trucy the evidence was forged, and she refused to talk to me for an entire week. But there wasn’t really another way to explain why there was such a big bruise under my chin.” He smirked. “You really pack a punch.”

“Ah…” Apollo suddenly felt really guilty.

“Oh, don’t give yourself a hard time. Forger or not, I completely and totally deserved it. And you had no way of knowing how Trucy was feeling.”

“I guess… Was that what you thought... I would blame myself for?”

“...No.” Mr. Wright sighed. “Are you sure you want to know?”

“Yes.”

“Well… It’s not that big of a deal, really. But I had no idea that you didn’t know the ace was a fake. And when you presented it, you never said anything about the card. You said something along the lines of, ‘My evidence is… this!’” He pounded both of his fists on Apollo’s desk.

“That’s a terrible impersonation of me.”

“...Haven’t we just gone over the fact that I’m terrible at replicating things?”

Apollo crossed his arms with a small smirk. “Fair point.”

“Anyway, everyone in the court started making assumptions about it without you saying a word, so I thought you were waiting for Kristoph to say something incriminating before you revealed it was a fake. Once we started talking about the layout of the crime scene, I… completely forgot.” He looked ashamed of himself.

“Oh… I never introduced the evidence, did I?” Apollo cringed a bit. Definitely a rookie mistake.

“...No. But it was your first trial. I shouldn’t have expected you to be using a strategy like that. And honestly, I don’t think you would have had a chance to say what the card was anyway. Nobody really let you get a word out that entire trial. Which was also my fault.”

Mr. Wright held the back of his neck. “But at the end of the trial, I realized my mistake, and I… Do you see why I had to tell you I forged it? If anything happened, I needed you to know it wasn’t your fault. I was terrified that I’d cost you your badge.”

“...You weren’t the only one.” Apollo sighed, which made him cough. Could he not dramatically exhale in peace?! “But that… makes a lot of sense.” He could’ve told Apollo a lot sooner, but whatever.

“I went straight to the prosecutor’s office after the case was over and told Edgeworth how badly I screwed up. And I think I sat on his couch with ice strapped to my chin for about an hour while he yelled at me.”

He laughed a bit awkwardly. “Classic Edgeworth. But he did pull a few strings for you. Because neither of us claimed that the card was the real deal in court, and since the case hadn’t been filed away yet, he had the ace filed as a replica.”

“You mean... my badge was never in danger?”

“Well, it was for about an hour.” He smiled.

“...Well, that’s a relief. I was worried that Kristoph would try to accuse me of something before the statute of limitations ran out.”

“I wouldn’t put it past him.” Mr. Wright sighed. “I guess you know the whole story now. I expected a 15 year old girl whose dad was in jail and a rookie attorney who had never taken a case to end a seven year battle with a murderer you both thought was a pretty decent guy.”

He shook his head. “And that mistake cost you your faith in justice and Trucy her faith in her dad, and it could’ve cost the two of you a whole lot more.”

“Mr. Wright…”

He looked down at the floor, absolutely dismayed. “It’s still costing you, isn’t it? Your relationship with Prosecutor Gavin, and your relationship with me… I stirred up a whole lot of mistrust that day. I’m… I’m so sorry, Apollo.”

Apollo felt every muscle in his body relax. “Mr. Wright… For the first time in two years, I…” He smiled. “I can honestly say that I forgive you.”

Mr. Wright’s looked right at Apollo, and his eyes began to water. “I… I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

Dang it, now Apollo was tearing up too. “Me too.”

Apollo stood up from his chair and hugged his boss, who was definitely crying now. There was a myth that Phoenix tears could heal wounds, wasn’t there?

“You shouldn’t cry yet,” Apollo said eventually. He let go of his boss and looked up at him.

“Huh?”

“A lawyer can’t cry until it’s all over. That’s what you always say.”

“I thought it was all over.”

Apollo shook his head. “You still have to tell Trucy.”

Mr. Wright put his hands in his pockets and frowned. “You know I can’t do that.”

“Maybe you couldn’t then, but… you can now. And you should. Trucy’s a lot stronger now. If anything, she’ll be able to look back at that situation and see how much she’s grown. She has a lot to gain from you telling her.”

Mr. Wright thought for a moment. “...You’re probably right. It was dumb to have kept this hidden for so long. I just… I worry about Trucy sometimes. It’s so hard to tell how she’s feeling that I don’t know whether I’m going to get her on a day where she’s totally invincible or a day where one more straw is going to break the camel’s back.”

“By this point, I think this will be a load off the camel’s back.”

“You… You should tell Prosecutor Gavin, too. I’d wager you already were planning on doing that, but… you have my permission.”

“I will. Time to end this, huh?” Apollo held out his hand, and Mr. Wright shook it, a smile growing on his face.

“Yeah. Now get out of my office, will ya? I already don’t pay you enough, no need to throw overtime in there.”

Apollo smiled. “Fine. Prosecutor Gavin’s probably waiting on me anyway.”

It took him a few seconds to gather his things, but when he did, he grabbed his backpack and walked out the door. As soon as it was closed, Apollo leaned against the door and smiled wider than he had in years.

Chapter Text

February 28, 1:26 PM
Los Angeles Prosecutor’s Office

It was one of those days where everything felt like it was on a conveyor belt-- constantly in motion, but not at a particularly fast pace.

Get out of bed, check on Apollo, get in the shower, put on some clothes, eat some breakfast, get in the car, drop off Apollo, go to the courthouse, prosecute a tax evader, drive to the office, pick up his cases, go to his office, sit at his desk, turn on music.

Klavier liked days like these. There was no room for boredom and no room for anxiety.

Until he opened his case folder, anyway.

Six cases? Klavier had been assigned more cases in four days before, but he actually had to leave the office this time around.

He really shouldn’t have been surprised; so many prosecutors had been laid off in the wake of the Dark Age of the Law that the remaining attorneys’ caseloads had doubled. This had led to even more prosecutors leaving, unable to handle the pressure, and an even more ridiculous caseload for those that remained.

But Klavier hated feeling as if he was sacrificing the quality of his cases for quantity, and it was getting increasingly difficult to show up to each trial as prepared as he would like.

With a small red lawyer to take care of on top of the hefty caseload, he was anxious that he wouldn’t be able to perform at his usual standard.

But, he decided, pulling out a case file, if he was lacking time, he should probably spend it doing his work instead of lamenting about how he didn’t have enough time to do his work.

After reading over all of the case files, Klavier felt a bit more relaxed. They all seemed pretty cut-and-dry, and only two of them were murders. One locked room “mystery” and one guy who stabbed his boss on camera.

His door flew open and smacked against the wall, and Klavier instinctively turned his speakers off. “I’m back from the crime scene, Mr. Gavin!” Detective Gumshoe seemed rather pleased.

“Which one?” Klavier asked.

“The homicide.”

“...Which one?” he asked again.

“Both.” He seemed proud of himself. “And I know who the defense attorneys are!”

“Do tell.” Klavier put his elbows on his desk and rested his chin in his hands, waiting for Gumshoe to butcher the names.

It was times like these when he missed Ema-- as much as they clashed, she was concise, accurate, and very thorough, but she’d recently left him for the forensics department, leaving Gumshoe in her wake.

Although Gumshoe was far more pleasant to deal with than Ema, his workload seemed far heavier in her absence, and he had to do a great deal of his own investigation.

Well, you never know who you have until they’re gone, he supposed.

“Uh… What were their names…?” Gumshoe was thinking hard. “Some guy… Ethan Nettic!”

Klavier thought for a moment. “Do you mean Nathan Ettic? From Grossberg Law Offices?”

“Yeah, him. He’s defending the guy who stabbed his boss on camera. I think he’s going for an insanity plea.”

Klavier groaned. He despised those, and he wasn’t exactly fond of Ettic, either. He was the type of person who was a defense attorney for the money, and couldn’t care less about the truth. The polar opposite of Apollo, really. “And the defense attorney on the other case?”

“Uh… Agatha Psycho?”

Another groan, this time louder. “Athena Cykes?”

“Yeah, her! You’re really good with names, pal.” Gumshoe seemed impressed.

“Fraulein Cykes works for Herr Wright. I couldn’t forget her if I tried.” Although Klavier found it strange that Athena was leading the defense. Perhaps Wright was her co-counsel.

“...Oh! That’s probably why little Miss Trucy was there, then.”

That wasn’t what he’d been thinking when he supposed Wright would be Athena’s co-counsel, but it worked. “If the Anything Agency took that case, I suppose I should investigate it myself.” So much for his cut-and-dry murder cases; the Anything Agency never seemed to have those. “Thank you, Herr Gumshoe.”

He picked up his key ring and headed toward the parking garage, but he stopped himself. He had a case involving an insanity plea and a co-worker with extensive knowledge of psychology. He should probably take advantage of that resource before leaving the office. It was a good excuse not to visit a crime scene, at any rate.

Klavier knocked on the door to Blackquill’s office, hoping he was in a decent mood. He was a nice man at heart, but he was usually grumpier than Ema, and that was saying something.

“Come in, Gavin-dono.”

Klavier opened the door and grinned. “How did you know it was me?”

“You’re the only one in this office who actually knocks.” Blackquill didn’t seem amused enough to be joking.

“...Herr Edgeworth knocks.”

“Hmph. Knocking while turning the doorknob hardly counts.” He had a point. “So what brings you here, exactly? Unless you intended your visit to consist entirely of idle chitchat, which I wouldn’t have time for if I didn’t have eight more cases this week.”

Klavier cringed. Perhaps Herr Edgeworth had been easy on him after all. “The defendant in one of my cases is pleading innocent on grounds of insanity.” Klavier showed him the case file, which Blackquill snatched out of his hands immediately. “I thought I’d seek your opinion, if you had time.”

He scanned the page for no more than ten seconds. “Balderdash,” he finally said.

“Agreed. But I am unsure of how to argue it.”

“He brought the murder weapon to the crime scene. It was premeditated. No fool with an inability to decipher right from wrong plans a murder.”

“I must point out that carrying around a lethal weapon does not necessarily mean a person is planning a murder.” Klavier pointed to Blackquill’s sword with a snap of his fingers.

Blackquill smirked. “If a samurai is separated from his blade, he shall be separated from his head. Thus, you’ll have to prove the defendant doesn’t typically carry a blade. And a motive would be beneficial as well.”

“Thank you, Herr Samurai. You’re always helpful in times like these.” Klavier turned to leave.

“Wait. I have a question, if time allows.”

“Ja?” Klavier turned back around.

“Cykes-dono told me Justice-dono was hospitalized.” His face didn’t betray any information, but his question surely did.

“Is the Twisted Samurai worried about his lubberwort of an opponent?” Klavier teased.

Blackquill scowled. “...Few foes have such an amusing reaction to being cut down.”

“It would be a shame to never see him squawk again,” Klavier said, smirking. “I won’t say he’s fine, though he certainly would. But he’s doing significantly better. He’s at work today, actually.”

“Is it true that he’s staying with you?”

“Ja.” Was this common knowledge? Probably. The prosecutor’s office was gossipy before its membership was cut in half, and it didn’t help that his and Blackquill’s detectives were good friends.

“I was wondering if there was something there.” It was Blackquill’s turn to grin, which made Klavier feel uneasy.

“And what do you mean by that?” Klavier adjusted his bangs.

“You know precisely what I mean.”

“...I can assure you that his residency with me is purely out of convenience.”

Simon laughed, smacking his hand on the table. “It must be inconvenient that bronchitis is spread through saliva.”

Klavier clenched his teeth, trying not to visualize that. “I’m not interested in him that way,” he tried to say as emotionlessly as possible.

“I would have expected Justice-dono to be the tsundere here, not you.” Blackquill seemed unreasonably amused by this. What did that even mean? “Tell me, Gavin-dono. If you aren’t interested in him ‘that way,’ how exactly are you interested in him?”

Ah… He’d really dug a hole for himself there. “As a friend.”

A girl suddenly appeared in the window of the office and sat on the edge of the windowsill, Taka on her shoulder. He sighed in relief-- he was spared. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Must you always make such a dramatic entrance, Fara-dono?” Blackquill asked, turning around.

“Yes! Only laymen lie on the ground!” Kay Faraday, Blackquill’s newly assigned detective, looked at Klavier and grinned. “Hold on! Is Klavier Gavin, infallible god of rock, blushing?”

She slammed a stack of papers on Blackquill’s desk, causing an irritated Taka to fly onto Blackquill’s shoulder instead. “What did you do, Quilly?!”

“I merely asked him about a ‘friend’ of his, but he seems rather flustered, doesn’t he?” Blackquill grinned, and Klavier realized he was outnumbered. So much for being spared. Though, in retrospect, he shouldn’t have expected Kay to be helpful.

“Ooh, is the prosecutor courting someone?” Kay and Blackquill both laughed, her high-pitched giggle contrasting sharply with his dark chuckle. If their jokes were unbearable when they were apart, they were downright homicidal when they were together.

“I am doing nothing of the sort.” Klavier wanted to point out that Blackquill had eight cases and no time for “idle chit-chat,” but that would be taken as a confession. “I’m serious when I say I’m not interested.”

“Wait, who’s he talking about?” Kay asked. Well, if Kay didn’t know, the rest of the Prosecutor’s Office probably didn’t, either. That was reassuring.

“Do you know Apollo Justice?” Blackquill asked her.

Kay’s jaw dropped. “Do I know Apollo Justice?” She grinned deviously. “We have quite the history. If you want to seduce him, I’ll totally be your wingman.”

“...I don’t want to seduce him.” Though he was curious how she knew Apollo.

“Aww, come on. Don’t you think he’s cute?” Kay asked, sticking her bottom lip out.

Klavier hesitated, which just made Kay and Blackquill snicker. “Perhaps. But-” Klavier said, trying to interrupt their renewed burst of laughter, “You can find someone attractive and still not want to date them.”

“It’s true, he doesn’t exactly seem like your type,” Blackquill said. “I’d expect you to opt for someone a bit more competent.”

Klavier felt his fists tighten. “What do you mean, competent? There isn’t another attorney in Los Angeles as capa--” Klavier stopped himself. “You said that specifically to see if you could get a rise out of me.”

“Glad to see you caught on.” Blackquill smacked his hand on his desk as he laughed, and Kay snickered.

He normally wouldn’t have fallen into one of Blackquill’s little mind tricks so easily, but that probably just went to show how absolutely screwed he was.

Klavier shook his head, all prior embarrassment replaced by something darker. “I still stand by my prior statement that I have no romantic intentions--”

“Oh, come on, Gavvy!!”

“--Because I’m not capable of having a healthy relationship, and I never have been.”

Blackquill and Kay’s grins evaporated immediately, and Klavier turned toward the door, wearing the flashiest smile he could muster.

“Well, I have a crime scene to investigate, and I’m sure the two of you also have more important things to investigate than my personal affairs. Auf Wiedersehen. And thanks for the help on the case, Herr Blackquill.”

Klavier’s smile faded as soon as he closed the door.

~O~

“Prosecutor Gavin! What are you doing here?!” Athena asked, looking excited. He’d only just walked through the door of the crime scene-- some sort of restaurant-- to find the female half of the Anything Agency.

“Prosecuting,” he said, playing with a strand of his hair.

Trucy and Athena both looked at each other nervously. “Are you okay?” Athena asked.

Was he that visibly upset? “I’m a bit stressed, but I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Is this about Apollo?” Trucy asked. Klavier immediately tensed up, only to realize that she seemed nervous. She was probably more concerned about Apollo’s health than Klavier’s love life.

“Nah, we’ve seen Apollo more recently than he has. He probably has prosecutory things to be stressed about.” Athena said, looking at Klavier carefully. “Especially if you’re on this case. I’ll warn you, we’re going to win.” She smirked.

“You seem rather confident.” He silently thanked Athena. She probably knew full well that he wasn’t merely stressed from work with that ability of hers, and he wasn’t sure if he could handle another interrogation.

She shrugged. “That’s probably because I am.”

Klavier raised an eyebrow. From what he’d read, this case didn’t look good for the defense.

The victim, a man by the name of Aaron Schoeff, had been caught cheating on his wife, Sue Schoeff, with another woman. When his wife found out, she stormed into her husband’s restaurant, yelled at him, and stormed out at the same time as the autopsy report stated he died.

The cause of death was blood loss due to a laceration to the neck, and the murder weapon was a kitchen knife, which was left at the scene of the crime. The murder weapon’s prints only belonged to the victim, so the murderer must have worn gloves.

A security camera by the entrance of the restaurant had only recorded one other person in the restaurant at the time of death, a customer named Bree Monterey, who had her receipt from her purchase and seemingly no motive to kill the victim.

The means, motive, and opportunity were all there in the police report. “This seemed like a rather open-and-shut case to me,” he said.

“Yeah, me too. I don’t think the case will last more than an hour,” she said, her smile still plastered on her face. Even if she was bluffing, her confidence was astounding. She was a far different girl than the one he’d met less than a year ago at Themis.

“Athena, stop bragging and play the video,” Trucy said. She looked up at Klavier and smiled. “She’s basing the entire case on a video she hasn’t seen yet.” She giggled when Athena glared at her.

“...That was a low blow.” She pulled a flash drive out of her pocket. “But you know just as well as I do that Apollo was right.”

Well, if he wasn’t curious before, he certainly was now. Athena plugged the flash drive into a USB port on the back of her necklace. She waited for about ten seconds until the little thing said, “Got it!” and Athena pulled the flash drive back out.

She turned on a holographic screen and tapped on a video file. “Plus, if he wasn’t, I can just blame him!”

Trucy snuggled up beside her to watch the video, and Klavier looked curiously over their heads using his mystical power of height. “The murder happened between 4pm and 5pm, so skip to five,” Trucy said. They were watching the camera footage from the entrance, Klavier realized.

“I know, I know,” Athena said. Apparently they were curious about what happened after the murder. “When was the body found?”

“7:44pm,” Klavier said instinctively, as if he weren’t speaking to his courtroom opponents.

“Should we be letting him watch?” Athena asked.

“I’m not going to stop him,” Trucy said with a smile and a shrug.

They fast-forwarded through the footage from 5pm to 7:44pm a couple of times, but Klavier didn’t see anything odd. About a dozen people entered the restaurant and exited almost immediately once they realized nobody was there to take their orders. Klavier counted 14 people in and 14 people out.

“Did you see it?” Athena asked Trucy, grinning.

“You bet I did.” Trucy put a hand on her hip. “Looks like we have some conclusive evidence to find.”

Klavier was very lost, but he followed them into the kitchen of the restaurant anyway. He was tempted to ask what Apollo had told them, but he would figure that out at some point in the next 24 hours, he supposed.

He wasn’t even entirely inside of the kitchen when he started feeling nauseous. Athena and Trucy, on the other hand, seemed completely undeterred by the smell of blood, immediately opening cupboards, drawers, and ovens.

Klavier didn’t have a problem with seeing blood, but the smell of it had never settled well. Breathing through his mouth didn’t seem to help, so he liked to keep his crime scene experiences as brief as possible.

After about fifteen minutes, they’d scoured nearly every inch of the place. “What exactly are you looking for?” he finally asked. He hadn’t moved more than an inch the entire time, preferring to investigate with his eyes as he stood as far away from the bloodstain as possible.

“A pair of boots,” Athena said.

“Probably with blood on them,” Trucy added.

“Wait, why would they have blood on them?” Athena asked her.

“Why else would someone leave their boots in a restaurant?” Trucy asked. “It’s cold outside, they’re incriminating, and they were really cute.”

“...They were pretty cute,” Athena agreed.

Klavier put his hands on his hips and smiled, ignoring how ill he felt. “Why do you think someone left their shoes at the crime scene?”

“Come on, Prosecutor Gavin. After that last case, I’d expect you to pay more attention to people’s shoes.” Athena opened up the video again and fast-forwarded to around 6:15. “Okay! See that girl? See how cute her boots are?” She asked.

“They are cute,” Klavier said approvingly.

She fast-forwarded to around 6:45. “Same girl, right? But she was inside for half of an hour, and she came out without shoes on.”

“...I can’t believe you noticed that,” Klavier said.

“You’d be surprised how observant you get when you’re desperate,” Athena replied with a grin.

“But the murder occurred between four and five. I fail to see how that’s relevant, regardless of how strange it is.”

Trucy started to say something, but Athena hushed her. “If we don’t stop talking, we aren’t going to have a case tomorrow,” she said. Trucy sighed. “Although, if we don’t figure out who that girl is, we might not have a case anyway.”

“Sue might know,” Trucy pointed out.

“But even if we knew who she was, we wouldn’t be able to cross-examine her. Not if we can’t link her boots to the crime,” Athena pointed out.

“But her shoes totally disappeared!” Trucy frowned. “I can only convince people that I can do that. There’s no way she isn’t involved.”

“Yeah, but we still need the evidence. Do you think she carried them out of the crime scene?” Athena asked.

Trucy shook her head. “Probably not. Because if anyone saw her carrying the bloody boots, she’d be in big trouble. And she didn’t have a bag or anything to hide them in.”

Klavier couldn’t take much more of this. He was concentrating too much on not vomiting to follow their logic. “I could show the video to forensics, if you’d like.”

“Really?!” Athena asked.

“Of course. It does seem critical to finding the truth of this case.” He checked his phone. “If you’d like to see your client again today, I’d advise you hurry. Visiting hours end in 20 minutes.”

Athena checked her phone. “Ahhh! You’re right! Trucy, we have to hurry!”

The two girls ran out of the crime scene, and Klavier clutched his stomach. He stared at the sink. No, he told himself. He was past the point of getting to decide whether or not he was going to vomit, but he had about ten seconds to decide where, at least.

He quickly walked out of the kitchen and into the restaurant’s bathroom, leaning over the toilet and holding his hair back. Some prosecutor he was, if he couldn’t smell blood without vomiting.

He did feel better, though. He sat against the wall of the bathroom in an attempt to recover. At least he hadn’t puked in the sink of the crime scene. Not that the sink was all that important.

...Was it?

Klavier stood up and cleaned himself up, flushing the toilet and washing his hands. He might be onto something there, actually.

He called a member of forensics and walked outside, breathing in the fresh air, and got a toothbrush and toothpaste out of his car. This didn’t happen too often, but it was often enough that Klavier needed to be prepared.

Forensics didn’t seem to like the idea of investigating the drain of the sink, but an hour later, he was presented with an evidence bag that contained cut up pieces of rubber, ashes, and used matches.

He probably didn’t have all of the rubber pieces, but they definitely resembled the heel of a shoe. It was nice to know he wasn’t entirely useless at investigating.

He pulled out his phone and texted Athena. I’ll be at the agency in 20 minutes or so. I found something you might like.

He was halfway there when he got a call from Apollo. “Um. Hi.”

Apollo’s inability to greet people never failed to amuse Klavier. “Um, hi to you too. Did you need something?”

“What time did you say you would be here? To pick me up, I mean?”

“6:30.”

“It’s 7:15.”

Klavier cringed. “I am incredibly sorry. I am currently on my way.”

“No, it’s fine. I literally just left the building. I was just… checking.” He coughed. “Ugh, I’m really bad at phone calls.”

Klavier smiled. “And I’m really bad at time management. But your problem is easier to avoid, so I can hang up. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Thanks.”

Despite the fact that most of anxiety came from Apollo, talking to him made Klavier feel much better. He wasn’t sure whether this was a good thing or not.

When he arrived at the agency, Apollo was sitting on a bench looking significantly more chipper than he’d sounded on the phone. Klavier parked his car and walked up to Apollo. “Is Fraulein Cykes here?” Klavier asked.

“Athena? She went home a while ago.”

Klavier pulled out his cell phone and saw one new text. Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!!!! I’ll be right there!!!!! :) :) :)

“It appears as if she’s coming back.” He grinned. “Sorry to make you wait longer, but I have something to show her.” He held up the evidence bag.

“You’re a terrible prosecutor,” Apollo said, grinning.

Klavier laughed. “Perhaps. But she gave me a lot of valuable information. It’s the least I can do to return the favor.”

Athena quite literally ran up to them, completely out of breath. “Athena, did you run all the way here?” Apollo asked, one eyebrow raised.

The little indicator around her neck looked surprised for some reason, but she didn’t say anything about it. “Yeah... Don’t get… any ideas.”

“I have your evidence, Fraulein.” Klavier handed her the evidence bag.

Athena looked at it as if he’d handed her a bag of diamonds. “Where did you... find this?” Athena asked, incredulous.

“Ah ha ha. You’ll have to figure that one out. I’m not that nice.” In reality, he didn’t want to explain why he’d thought to investigate the sink, but nobody needed to know that.

After Athena had gotten a good look at the contents of the bag, Klavier and Apollo got in his car. “You seem like you had a good day,” Klavier said.

“You seem like you didn’t.”

“...It’s a Monday.” Klavier was actually a fan of Mondays-- a day of work with none of the fatigue-- but it sure was a convenient excuse.

“Probably doesn’t help that you’re going to get crushed in court tomorrow.” Apollo smirked.

“Ah, yes. With the entirely irrelevant piece of evidence that I found.”

“If you’re trying to start an argument to get me to accidentally give you information, it’s not going to work.”

Ugh. Was it that obvious? “I was informed that you made a major breakthrough in the case.”

“...Flattery isn’t going to work, either,” Apollo said, eyebrows raised.

Darn it. Klavier’s job had been so much easier back in the days when Apollo had no idea what he was doing. “You never know until you try, ja?”

Apollo snickered. “I did get some other information today that you might like, though. That I can actually tell you.”

“What kind of information?”

“Mr. Wright’s motive,” Apollo said, smiling.

“You talked to Mr. Wright? And you’re happy about it?”

Apollo nodded, eyes gleaming.

Well… That wouldn’t help him with his case tomorrow, but he certainly wouldn’t mind hearing what Apollo was so happy about.

And not just because of his crush.

Chapter Text

“It is for that reason, defense, that Bree Monterey couldn’t possibly be the culprit,” Klavier said, smirking.

“The defense has no objections,” Athena said, crossing her arms and looking every bit as smug.

Klavier must not have liked her reaction, because he shot her an unsettled grin. “In that case, you must agree that the defendant is the only person who possibly could’ve committed the crime. Nobody else who entered the restaurant through the only possible entrance did not exit before the crime took place.”

“Well, yeah. The only one who could’ve murdered Mr. Aaron Schoeff is the defendant,” Athena said, still smiling.

“Defense!! Are you agreeing that your client is guilty?!” the judge asked. Klavier was smiling, but his eyes clearly screamed, it’s a trap, and it was enough for Apollo to have to cover his mouth to stop his laughter. Mr. Wright, who sat next to him in the gallery, didn’t even bother holding his own back.

“Not at all, Your Honor! Because the prosecution has been making a false assumption about the case from the beginning!” Athena grinned.

“...A false assumption? Care to invite the rest of us aboard your train of thought?”

“Well, Prosecutor Gavin, I’d like you to place yourself in the shoes of the victim for a moment. You’ve made a horrible mistake, one so bad that the person you love most just told you that they no longer want anything to do with you. How would that make you feel?”

He actually seemed to consider it. “...Guilty would be an understatement. But what do the victim’s feelings have to do with this case?”

“You mentioned earlier that our client was the only person who had means, motive, and opportunity. But there was one other person with access to the murder weapon, a very clear motive, and the best opportunity to take the victim’s life imaginable-- the victim himself!”

The gallery filled with chatter, and Apollo grinned proudly. “She’s doing really well.”

“It’s good to see her showing so much confidence… Although, that’s not hard when your courtroom rival’s a total pushover,” Mr. Wright teased.

“Oh, you know he can be a jerk when he wants to be.”

The trial continued predictably-- Klavier asked Athena how the defendant could’ve possibly attempted suicide with a knife found so far away from his body, Athena presented video footage that showed someone walking into the crime scene with boots and leaving without them, and realization hit Klavier like a boot to the head. He’d clearly figured out where Athena was going with her argument.

“There was a pair of mostly destroyed shoes found at the crime scene,” Athena said. “Care to tell us where they were found, Prosecutor Gavin?”

“...The sink in the kitchen.”

Trucy and Athena exchanged impressed looks before Athena whirled back around. “If this person was in the kitchen, they must have seen the body! But they didn’t call the police!”

“And why do you think that is, Fraulein?” Klavier asked, clearly knowing why they didn’t call the police.

“The defense believes that the owner of those shoes rearranged the crime scene to frame our client for ‘murder!’”

Athena then told the court that the owner of the shoes was the woman that the victim had been having the affair with, Olive Cook, and the judge asked that the trial be adjourned until the police could locate her.

“Ach, there’s no need for that, Herr Judge. I suspected we might need her testimony today, so she is waiting in the prosecution lobby.”

“Is he trying to lose as quickly as possible?” Mr. Wright whispered, genuinely shocked.

“You act like he’s never helped the defense before,” Apollo replied. Although, now that he thought about it, Klavier and Mr. Wright had only faced off once, and Apollo wouldn’t call Klavier’s actions that time “helpful.”

The judge declared a 15 minute recess, and once they reconvened, it felt like only 15 more minutes of cross-examination until the witness broke down crying on the stand.

“Aaron wasn’t responding to any of my calls, so I went into the restaurant to see if he was okay… But he was dead!” She sniffled. “Sue is the reason Aaron killed himself, and I… I wanted her to face the punishment for it.”

She was eventually handcuffed and brought to the detention center, and confetti fell from the ceiling when the verdict was read.

Despite being declared not guilty, their client was inconsolable after learning that she’d driven her husband to suicide, and the post-trial celebration seemed as if it was going to be more trouble than Apollo would’ve liked. Not that Trucy would let him walk to Eldoon’s, anyway.

Instead, Apollo wandered into the prosecution lobby, which was much emptier than the defense lobby he’d just left. It had a peaceful, orderly vibe that was far different than the nervous air of the defense lobby.

“What are you doing here?” Klavier asked, looking up at him from a bench.

“Well, everyone left to go get Eldoon’s Noodles. It’s a tradition of ours, but the salt content hurts enough when I don’t have a sore throat.”

Klavier thought for a moment. “I can’t really take you anywhere right now, unfortunately. I have a trial in 15 minutes.”

“...Another one?”

Klavier looked up at him and grinned. “Welcome to the dark side.” His eyes returned to what seemed to be a case file, and Apollo decided to leave him alone.

Eventually, the bailiff called Klavier into the courtroom, and Klavier looked at Apollo. “This probably won’t be the most interesting case, but you could watch in the gallery if you wanted.”

Apollo smiled. “I think I will.”

“I’ll warn you not to get comfortable; this case will last half an hour at the most.”

“You sound sure of yourself.”

“Time me,” Klavier said, looking overwhelmingly smug.

The case itself might not have been all that interesting, but watching Klavier certainly was. His nonchalant attitude from the previous case had completely vanished, taken over by what could only be called arrogance.

To be fair, the defense attorney--Nathan Ettic--was somewhat unbearable. He didn’t seem particularly concerned with what actually happened that day, instead trying to defend his client using legal loopholes and an insanity plea. Klavier was having none of that.

“He couldn’t be insane. The murder was obviously planned from the start.” Klavier looked annoyed.

“If it was planned, why would he commit murder right in front of a security camera?”

“...We’re arguing over his insanity, not his intelligence, Herr Ettic.”

Apollo was trying very hard not to laugh at Klavier’s very intentional slurring together of “Herr” and “Ettic.” Klavier caught Apollo’s eyes from across the courtroom and looked pleased that someone got the joke.

The defendant was eventually called up to testify, and he was pretty obviously pretending to be insane. Fortunately, as Klavier had already pointed out, the defendant wasn’t particularly intelligent, and a few well placed jabs had him yelling about how terrible his boss was and how much he deserved to die.

Klavier was good at this.

“Your Honor, this gig has gone on a bit too long, ja?”

“Yes, I agree. I’m ready to deliver my verdict.”

“Objection!” The defense cried.

“What is it, Mr. Heretic?” the judge asked. Apollo had to cough to cover up his laughter.

“Just because he has a motive doesn’t mean he isn’t insane!”

Klavier could express virtually every emotion in existence with a smile on his face, and Apollo watched as his I’m-tired-of-your-bullshit grin turned to thank-you-your-honor and then to can-we-go-home-now as the trial ended.

It had taken Apollo a long while to figure out what all of those smiles meant, probably because Klavier used his smile as a wall to hide his true feelings behind. That smile could mean anything if you didn’t know how to read it-- anger, hope, disappointment, confidence.

When you could read it, you felt like you were in on some sort of secret. Because millions of people could see that smile and see nothing more than cool confidence, but very few people could see the man underneath.

Apollo was caught off guard when he heard the word, “ GUILTY,” only to realize that this was the outcome he’d been hoping for. He’d still sort of expected the words “not guilty” to come out of the judge’s mouth, if only because he associated those words with victory.

Apollo stopped the timer on his phone-- 32 minutes, 11 seconds.

“Nice job,” Apollo said when he stepped into the prosecution lobby.

Klavier grinned. “I do win occasionally.”

“You did take two minutes longer than you promised, though,” Apollo said with all the snark he could muster.

Klavier raised his eyebrows. “You mean that wired brick of yours actually has a stopwatch?”

“...It’s a flip phone, not a telegraph.”

Suddenly, Apollo was tackled by what felt like a gorilla. He barely managed to stay on his feet with a disgruntled shout, arms clamping around his waist. He coughed viciously before he turned around, glaring at a very amused Kay Faraday.

“Breaking into the prosecutor’s lobby, huh, Cherry Bomb?” she asked, grinning.

“Breaking ribs... in the prosecutor’s lobby... maybe,” Apollo said, trying to recover his breath. Was that supposed to be a hug or a murder attempt?

“Did you just call him ‘Cherry Bomb?’” Klavier asked, looking at the two of them with a mixture of curiosity and amusement.

“Oh! ...Prosecutor Gavin.” Kay grinned nervously. “Didn’t see you there.”

Klavier smiled. “I certainly saw you. You never fail to make an entrance.”

“Or an exit!” she said proudly, her prior hesitation gone. Apollo wondered what that was about. “Apollo’s good at those, too.”

Oh boy. Klavier did not need to hear about those.

“...Making an exit?” Klavier asked. “Herr Forehead doesn’t strike me as one for drama.”

“Herr Forehead?” Kay looked at Apollo and cracked up. “Wow, that’s great. I might have to use that one.”

“I’d rather you didn’t,” Apollo grumbled, knowing he was screwed on a variety of levels. They were already exchanging terrible nicknames.

“But no, I wasn’t talking about dramatic exits. I was talking about the sneaky ones,” Kay said.

Klavier looked at Apollo with an intrigued smile. “Sneaky exits?”

“Kay, I have a reputation to uphold here,” Apollo said, knowing that would do absolutely nothing to curb Klavier’s curiosity. He might not approve of some of these stories.

“Oh, so I shouldn’t tell him about the time I bought roman candles?” She asked, laughing. “Or the time we made a potato cannon? Or--”

Kay,” Apollo said with all the seriousness he could muster. This was going downhill fast.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin your reputation. I’m just going to… expand it.” She grinned deviously.

Klavier looked more amused than shocked, which Apollo found slightly relieving. Still, he hadn’t heard anything bad yet. “I have embarrassing stories about you, too,” Apollo warned Kay.

“Yeah… But you won’t tell them because they’re more embarrassing for you than they are for me,” Kay replied.

“I…” Apollo’s hair drooped. “Really can’t argue with that.”

“I kinda owe Gavvy one anyway,” she said, with an almost serious glance at Klavier.

“...What did you do to him?” Apollo asked.

She and Prosecutor Gavin looked at each other with loaded expressions. “I... took a joke a bit too far.”

“...If you can explain the terrified look on Forehead’s face, I might forgive you.” He smirked.

“Hey! My bad decisions aren’t relational currency,” Apollo protested.

“Any preference on which story I tell?” Kay asked, completely ignoring him. “There are a lot of them.”

“...I don’t want him to get mad at me.” He gestured to Klavier.

“How bad could this be?” Klavier asked, smiling.

“Bad enough to be funny, not bad enough to not be funny,” Kay replied. “Honestly, Apollo. I told him about the time I swapped all of the flat-screen TVs at one Walmart with all the flat-screens at another and didn’t get caught. That was technically a felony, and he thought it was hilarious.”

“We’ve all done idiotic things in our teenage years. The fact that yours are amusing is a good thing,” Klavier chipped in.

“...Fine,” Apollo reluctantly agreed.

“Roman candles? Spud gun? Laser pointer? The time we went to that ice cream store and--”

Roman candles,” Apollo interrupted, not wanting her to fuel Klavier’s overactive right side brain any more. The statute of limitations was over on the roman candle story, at least.

“All right. So it was almost the 4th of July, and Apollo was like, 17, so he called me like ‘Hey, you’re 2 years older than me. If I gave you money, would you buy my friend and I fireworks?’ and I was like ‘Only if I get to shoot them off with you.’”

Klavier was definitely getting a kick out of this, and Kay hadn’t even really said anything yet.

“So,” she continued, “I got them some firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles and show up at Clay’s house, and we start lighting them off in the street. Clay’s having the time of his life with the bottle rockets, but I guess Apollo got bored after a while, because he decided to see how far down the street he could shoot a roman candle.”

Apollo could remember exactly how excited Clay looked when he was lighting off the bottle rockets, and he felt a pang of sadness in his chest. It took Klavier’s look of absolute shock to knock him back into reality.

“In my defense, we’d been there for at least an hour and hadn’t seen a single car,” Apollo cut in, trying not to meet his gaze again.

“In his prosecution, the street ended in a curve, so you totally couldn’t see whether or not someone was coming. Anyway, Apollo’s shooting a roman candle down the street, and each one goes off five times, right? About ten seconds apart.”

“And then the car came,” Apollo said, voice dripping with regret.

“Yep! Right before the first blast went off. And it totally hit the car.” Kay grinned, and Apollo glared at the ground as if it was his past self. “So he’s got 50 seconds, and this thing is going to go off 4 more times. And the people in the car are pissed.”

“And I panicked.”

“And he panicked. Takes off running down the street at, like, 20 miles an hour, holding the roman candle like a baton, and the car drives after him. So Clay and I look at each other like “What did he do?” and the candle goes off again and shoots into the air.”

Apollo crossed his arms and stared at the ground. “I nearly blasted myself in the face with it. So, like any reasonable idiot would do, I threw it down the storm drain and kept running.”

Kay laughed for a few seconds before continuing the story. “So Clay and I are trying to decide what to do when we hear this gigantic explosion. Because the storm drain is basically one big echo chamber, and it apparently hadn’t rained enough recently to put the fuse out.”

“So I jumped over a fence at the end of the street and ran back through a bunch of backyards to get back to Clay’s house, and it kinda felt like a James Bond movie. Complete with three very loud explosions,” Apollo added.

“As soon as he gets back to the house, we lock all of the doors and he starts freaking out, like, ‘I just committed like, five different crimes!’ and Clay and I are dying with laughter. So, moral of the story: don’t give Apollo explosives when he’s bored.”

Apollo looked up at Klavier with a nervous smile, who looked entirely amazed. “Never would have guessed you had it in you, Herr Forehead.”

Well, Klavier didn’t look disappointed in him, which was good. “I don’t strike you as a troublemaker?” Apollo asked, grinning.

Klavier laughed. “You strike me as the type of person who would walk a mile down the street to find a crosswalk because you didn’t want to break the law.”

“He would totally do that, though,” Kay said. “He was always pretty big on following the law, but only when he thought it applied to him. Like, you aren’t supposed to shoot a roman candle sideways, but that’s because you might hit something or someone. So if he was sure he wasn’t going to hit something, it was okay.”

“I had this big thing where I didn’t want to follow unjust laws. I’ve learned since that if everyone only followed the laws they thought were just, we’d live in anarchy.”

“And that’s when he became a total stick-in-the-mud,” Kay teased.

They talked for another minute or so until Kay got a call from Blackquill and had to leave. They made their way out to the parking lot, and once they were in the car, Klavier looked at Apollo and smiled.

“Apollo Justice?”

“Um. Yeah?” Oh, no. Not the full name.

“You might be the most interesting person I have ever met.”

That was quite the compliment, coming from Klavier Gavin, but… “I doubt that,” Apollo said. “I’m sure you’ve met a lot of interesting people, being famous and all.” Not that it stopped his face from turning red.

“I have. But usually, people get less interesting the more you learn about them. Especially celebrities. You peel back the glimmer and find that the person underneath is just like everyone else. You are… not like those people.” He smiled. “I think the more I learn about you, the more I like you.”

Part of Apollo was touched by this, but he ignored this part of himself and raised his eyebrows. “Are you implying that you’re boring?”

“You know I’m not the person I pretend to be.”

“Good, because the person you pretend to be is really annoying.” Apollo smirked. “I like the person underneath a lot more.”

Klavier smiled, and Apollo realized he hadn’t seen that smile before. “Thank you.”

“Yeah. So... how long are we going to sit in the parking lot?”

Klavier laughed. “I’m going, I’m going.”

Chapter Text

March 1, 11:08 PM
Prosecutor’s Office

Ah, Wednesdays. How Klavier loathed them.

Work was busy, and not the sort of busy that Klavier found meaningful. He had two more trials that day, one for kidnapping and another for a car theft, but the first was over so quickly that he had time to sneak back into his office and play his guitar before the second.

There were only two bad things about having Apollo in his house. The first: Klavier’s feelings for him, which were not shrinking, and were growing rather inconvenient. The second: the lack of music.

The lack of music was mostly self-inflicted, but if he was more or less forcing Apollo to stay with him, he couldn’t make him listen to his music, too. Because not only did Klavier know full well that Apollo wasn’t a fan of his music, he also knew that if he was playing something that Apollo didn’t like, Apollo wouldn’t tell him to stop.

Probably. Apollo’s level of predictability was unpredictable.

But Apollo liked The Guitar’s Serenade. For personal reasons, yes, but that still meant that Klavier could do something Apollo liked. And he could do that something entirely separate from the Gavinners.

In all honesty, Klavier wasn’t a fan of his music from his Gavinners days, either, for reasons Apollo knew nothing about.

But Klavier was neither in the Gavinners nor the courtroom at the moment, which meant he had freedom. For approximately fifteen minutes, but he would take what he could get.

It was a bit like getting a sip of water after spending two days in the desert, though-- the feeling of refreshment only lasted long enough to remind him how stressed he was when it faded.

But really, how difficult could a car theft case be? Annoying defense attorney, annoying defendant, annoying witnesses, annoying evidence, annoying detective. He found himself behaving uncharacteristically aggressively until he had the verdict he wanted.

“Are you feeling okay, pal?” Gumshoe asked him after the trial. “You seem kinda… stressed.”

“You presented an autopsy report, Detective. Even though nobody died.

Usually, he would’ve had more sympathy for the stress of Gumshoe’s caseload catching up with him, but Gumshoe wasn’t the only one who was feeling stressed, dang it.

He was very glad to be out of work that day, but he had mixed feelings about picking Apollo up. On one hand, he would be the least annoying person Klavier had dealt with all day, but on the other hand, that meant that Klavier had to be nice.

Apollo seemed to be in good spirits when Klavier picked him up, so Klavier tried to relax a little. Cheerful Apollo was rare, and Klavier wasn’t going to be the one to make him go away. Not over a guitar.

But traffic was terrible and every car on the road seemed as if it was being driven by a moron. Klavier pressed on his horn a little longer than he should have when a driver clearly ran a red light, and he realized his best attempt to be civil wasn’t going over so well.

“Bad day?” Apollo asked with a knowing smile.

“Bad drivers,” he insisted.

The moment they got home, Klavier flopped on the couch with a disgruntled expression and glared at the unlit screen of his TV.

“So I know absolutely nothing about driving… But the traffic didn’t seem to be this--” Apollo waved a hand toward Klavier’s face-- “bad.”

“I’m fine, Forehead,” he said tiredly.

Apollo looked at him thoughtfully. “Something to do with your guitar?” he asked.

Klavier stared at him disbelievingly, so Apollo motioned towards Klavier’s fingers, which were curled as if they were around the neck of a guitar, moving without him really thinking about it. Klavier sighed. “You’re ridiculous.”

“That one was kinda hard to miss. So what’s going on? Was another one of your lovers burned at the stake?”

Klavier snorted in laughter, and Apollo looked pleased that he’d made him smile. That face was unreasonably cute. “Nein. I’ve barely been in my office the past two days, meaning I haven’t been able to play much.”

“Were you in court again today?” Apollo asked, shocked.

“Ja, I had two more trials.”

Apollo looked concerned. “No wonder you’re so irritable.”

“I’m not irritable,” Klavier said irritably. Apollo looked at him and crossed his arms. “Okay, I’m a little irritable. My right side brain has declared mutiny. That’s essentially my entire brain.”

Apollo smiled. “You can play music if you want to.”

Tempting. Very tempting. “I wouldn’t want to bother you.”

“Klavier?”

“First name?” Klavier’s eyebrow rose.

Go play your guitar,” Apollo said seriously. If the lack of blushing was any indication, the use of Klavier’s first name had been entirely intentional.

“If I’m more or less making you stay here, I should at least be a good host.”

“If you want to be hospitable, you need to loosen up a bit,” Apollo countered.

“Oh dear. If you’re telling me to loosen up, I must have died and begun rigor mortis,” Klavier joked. Apollo snickered at that one. “But truly, I shouldn’t be getting this frustrated over something so insignificant.”

“Well, you are,” Apollo retorted, blunt as ever. “And this is a really easy problem to fix. How often do you have problems that are actually easy to fix?”

He had a point there. “But…” Klavier frowned. “I know you don’t like my music.”

Apollo blinked. “Is that what this is about?” He smiled. “I think I’ll be able to tolerate a famous musician playing the guitar in his own house.”

“...Are you sure?”

Apollo smirked. “Have I ever hesitated to tell you to shut up before?”

“...You make a compelling argument,” Klavier said. “Will you get me if you need me?”

“Yes. You really don’t need to worry about me,” Apollo said with a hint of exasperation.

“In that case… I’ll be in the basement.”

Apollo nodded, so Klavier stood up off of the couch. Apollo stole his spot almost immediately, and Klavier got the distinct impression that it was because it was warm.

“And here I thought you were being nice,” Klavier protested. Apollo smirked.

But Klavier’s right side brain was dragging him toward the door to the basement, so he let himself follow it. His basement was probably the most impressive room in his house, with black walls and hardwood floors.

The dark color gave it the illusion of having dim lighting no matter how bright you turned up the lights, which made reading music easy. Purple and silver brightened up the room a bit, enough to give it a more modern feel.

He’d always referred to it as the black box, despite it not being a real black box, because it was black, it was shaped like a box, and it was mostly there for show.

He picked up the first guitar he could get his hands on and sat down on a couch, checking the intonation absentmindedly. It was perfectly in tune.

He tried to think of what to play and ultimately settled on sorting out the melody to a song he’d started writing a few weeks ago.

His creative side liked this plan-- writing and music. He briefly wondered whether or not the frequent stopping and starting would annoy Apollo, but something in him told him to stop caring about what other people thought for 30 minutes of his life.

I’m sorry for the monster that I made
The monster which you fought but eventually became
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t speed up time
The hourglass of wasted thoughts that weren’t ever mine.

The longer he sang, the looser the muscles in his shoulders became. He hadn’t realized how much he needed this.

After what had probably been an hour, Apollo appeared at the top of the stairs and looked over the railing. Klavier stopped playing immediately. “Forehead?”

Apollo looked around the room with a sense of wonder. “Woah. Um... I was wondering if Gavinners tickets were 20% off today?”

If Apollo didn’t look so sheepish, Klavier would’ve assumed he was joking. “I didn’t realize you would listen to my music if I paid you.”

“It’s not all bad,” he said with a smirk. Somehow, Klavier got the impression that Apollo wasn't actually there to listen to music.

“Sit down,” Klavier said as more of an offer than an order. Apollo didn’t hesitate to walk down the stairs and sit in a chair close to him, making a disgruntled noise when the chair wound up giving into his weight more than he anticipated.

Klavier processed that a bit too slowly to laugh, so he didn’t. “...For the record, I apologize for the discounted tickets.

Apollo let out a small huff of laughter. “For only discounting them 20% or discounting them enough for me to show up?”

“The former. I’m glad you came, or that trial would have ended much differently.”

Apollo seemed caught off guard by how serious Klavier’s tone was. Klavier was too, honestly. “...You look guilty about something, and I get the feeling it’s not the tickets,” Apollo said, smile fading.

“Well… Yes. But it doesn’t concern you.”

“Is that an ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ or a ‘You don’t have to listen?’”

“I... don’t know,” Klavier replied.

Apollo hesitantly touched his bracelet, and, with some effort, took it off of his wrist and placed it on the ground by his feet.

Klavier looked at the bracelet and then Apollo’s eyes. “What are you…”

“You strike me as an external processor.” He looked at Klavier with a small smile.

It seemed like Apollo’s way of saying that he cared more about Klavier’s feelings than the truth of what happened, which was heartwarming, to say the least.“...You just want to listen.”

Apollo nodded. “If you want to talk.”

Did he want to talk? A large part of him was screaming no, absolutely not, but another part of him was really touched by what Apollo had just done, and another part was tired of hiding. He sat there for two minutes without saying a word, and Apollo let him.

Finally, Klavier set his guitar on its stand and resolved to say what he needed to as directly as possible. “I… I blame myself for what happened to Daryan.”

“Bullshit,” Apollo said, “But continue.”

Apollo apparently wasn’t wasting words, either.

But his straightforwardness was unbelievably refreshing, and the part of Klavier that was worried about his reaction backed off a bit. “I have a question for you, Apollo.”

“First name?” Apollo smiled. Klavier couldn’t blame him; it did sound kind of strange, coming out of his own mouth.

“What did Daryan have to gain by smuggling?”

Apollo thought for a moment. “Money, I guess.”

“Ja. Something he already had in great quantities. And what did Daryan have to lose by smuggling?”

“...Pretty much everything.”

“So why did he do it?” Klavier asked.

Apollo put a finger to his forehead. “...No clue. But you said it doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t spend it, so I’m guessing that applies here.”

Klavier nodded, admittedly a bit surprised that Apollo had put two and two together so quickly. “And why couldn’t Daryan and I spend money?”

“...I don’t know.” He put his finger down.

Klavier smiled bitterly. “It’s because I was an idiotic 17 year old.”

“I was a stupid 17 year old too,” Apollo pointed out.

“True, but you were funny stupid. I wasn’t.” Klavier sighed. “Right after our band’s first hit single came out, I was offered a contract with a TV station. They offered us a tour manager and a tour plan that allowed us to keep our jobs in law enforcement.

I showed it to the other band members, and they told me to sign it. The idea of touring the country without having to give up our day jobs was… enticing.”

“A little too perfect.”

Klavier nodded. “There was a catch, obviously, but it shouldn’t have been a problem. Two catches, really. The first: that our manager had complete authority over anything that affected our band’s image. The second: that if we broke the contract, we would have to pay the TV station however much money they would have made from our performances if we hadn’t broken it.

The problem was the duration of the contract. I was absolutely positive that the contract I signed lasted for one year. But the contract with my signature on it said ten years.” Klavier furrowed his eyebrows.

Apollo was silent for about twenty seconds, so Klavier looked up at him expectantly. Klavier hated how vulnerable he felt. Like the darkness inside of himself was visible, and the sun god was staring into it thoughtfully.

Finally, Apollo stood up from his chair and sat next to Klavier on the couch in a somewhat awkward attempt for proximity. He crossed his arms and stared straight ahead. “So some greedy assholes tricked you into forfeiting your creative freedom. Continue.”

Klavier wanted to laugh, but he couldn’t. “It’s not that simple.”

“It never is.”

“I was... unbelievably arrogant. I’d just released a hit single at the age of 17 and taken down a legendary attorney, who I thought was a forger, in my very first trial.” He looked pointedly at Apollo, who didn’t seem particularly bothered by that fact. Apollo was being ridiculously patient with him today.

Klavier sighed. “I thought it was completely impossible that the prodigy prosecutor could be tripped up by a contract. So I walked into the TV station and demanded to see the producer who offered it to me. And that… didn’t go over very well.” He closed his eyes.

“Doesn’t look like it,” Apollo agreed. “You don’t have to go into details.”

“...Thank you. The whole thing would have been fine if our manager wasn’t one of the most despicable people I’ve ever met.” Or the producer, but that went without saying.

“You’ve met a lot of despicable people.”

“I have. But usually, they have some sort of reason to be despicable. Some kind of soul. But this man cared about absolutely nothing except money. And if we did anything that wasn’t profitable, it was… not enjoyable. The other three members of the band didn’t mind him, really. They were very good at what they did, but they were also in it for the money. And the women. It was me and Daryan who hated his guts.”

“Because you two were in it for the music?”

“That, and the platform we had to restore the public’s faith in the legal system. So Daryan and I saved every dollar we made from our concerts so we could break the contract. Unfortunately, as our band kept getting more popular, the expected value of our concerts kept rising. Meaning we had more and more money to raise.”

Klavier stared at the ground. “Daryan loved music more than anything. We would sit in my dressing room and play the songs we couldn’t perform, and what he could play was unbelievable. Much better than he ever did onstage. But I suppose that after seven years, with still no end in sight, he was willing to do anything to leave. Even if it meant unraveling the faith we’d caused some people to put in the legal system.”

Klavier smiled. “And, in the ultimate twist of irony, he was stopped by a band manager. It was… not difficult for me to comprehend why he did what he did. Because it was my fault.”

“Still bullshit,” Apollo said.

“You have quite the mouth,” Klavier teased, voice weaker than he would have liked.

“Well, you aren’t going to curse. And the situation demands it, I think.”

“Perhaps.” He sighed. “But after Daryan murdered a band manager, the TV station shredded our contract immediately. I was surprised they didn’t demand the money that they’d lost, but I suppose that would’ve ruined their reputation with the public… And exposed the blood on their hands.

“We were all shaken by Daryan’s arrest, but we were free. And we tried to act like it for a few months, but I felt so guilty that we ended it. Because the shredded contract, the money I suddenly had a lot of, the creative freedom… I only have those because Daryan murdered someone.”

“I wouldn’t say that. The contract was only destroyed because the truth behind Daryan’s murder was exposed, right? Threatening to bring the truth about his motive to the surface, too… That’s why the contract ended, and you did that.”

“If anyone was a threat to the TV station, it was you,” Klavier said. “They had no control over you.”

If he had a bit more experience, they might have, because a symbiotic relationship with Bluecorps meant that any skeletons in a person’s closet would be found, and for those without any, the TV station had a remarkable video editing team.

But even if Apollo did know what they were capable of, Klavier got the feeling he would try to defy them anyway.

“I don’t think they would’ve shredded a multimillion dollar contract because they were scared of a rookie lawyer accidentally revealing their secrets. And if they were, I’m sure they would’ve done something to silence me. It’s you who they were afraid of.”

Klavier supposed that he had a point. “Perhaps. But none of that would’ve happened without the murder.”

“So you’re going to pretend like the contract never ended?” Apollo asked, crossing his arms.

Klavier had the sinking feeling that Apollo wouldn’t understand. “I wouldn’t call it ‘pretending.’ It’s more of a refusal to enjoy the benefits of the murder. If I don’t profit off of it, I can sort of convince myself that he did what he did for himself and himself alone.”

“I can see that… But you can’t keep doing this forever, can you?”

“I don’t have to. June 13, 2029 is the day the contract would’ve ended. Once the contract is truly dead, so is my obligation.”

“So this is a way to reduce your own guilt, huh…?” Apollo seemed to have a better grasp on the situation than Klavier anticipated, which comforted him a bit. Klavier had almost expected to be shamed for his admittedly unhealthy coping mechanisms, but he supposed Apollo was no stranger to those, either.

“Exactly.”

“That makes sense… But personally, I think you have now what you deserved to have in the first place.”

“Maybe. But the ends don’t justify the means.”

“They weren’t your means,” Apollo pointed out.

“Nein, but my negligence certainly helped.” Klavier stared at the ground and swallowed. “It seems that my entire life, I’ve just been who people wanted me to be. And when people wanted me to help them destroy someone else, I became a murder weapon... A pretty commemorative stamp for other people’s poison to travel through.”

“What are you talking about?!” Apollo asked, taken aback.

“It was me who signed the Gavinners contract, me who transported cocoons out of Borginia, and me who exposed your boss as a forger. I did everything they wanted me to. And people died because of it.”

“You chose to pursue a career in music, take a gift home with you, and stop a wrongful conviction. They didn’t manipulate you into doing anything. You just acted like you normally do, and they manipulated the consequences.”

“‘Like I normally do?’ You mean, exactly as I’m told?”

Apollo stood up from the couch, possibly because he needed more space to make his wild hand gestures with. “When have you ever listened to what others told you to do?!”

“When have I ever stopped listening?”

“Prosec... Klavier. In the two years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you back down to anyone. Not when it counts. If you actually did what people told you to, Daryan never would’ve taken the witness stand, you never would’ve testified about your brother, and... I can’t tell you how sick I would be right now.”

Now that was a confession. A hard one too, if Apollo’s face was any indication.

But Klavier didn’t feel as if he’d done those things by his own accord, either-- his brother and Daryan had been brought to the stand because of Apollo and the Judge’s actions, and he’d followed suit. And he probably wouldn’t have taken care of Apollo if Athena hadn’t asked him for help.

“But you can’t see that, can you?” Apollo asked, meeting Klavier’s eyes with a force of empathy behind them. “It’s like you’ve been used so many times that you’ve begun to see yourself as more of an item than a person.”

There was a moment of silence as both of them processed what he'd said.

“I… I seem to have more value as an item. Nobody cares about who I am as a person, so long as I look and sound good,” Klavier said slowly.

“I really hope you can see the contradiction there.”

“It’s staring me right in the face, isn’t it?” Klavier asked, meeting Apollo’s eyes.

Apollo’s gaze softened. “Yeah.”

“You tend to be the exception to most of my rules.” Klavier smiled, but there wasn’t much behind it. “But I do wonder why.”

“Why what?”

“Why anyone-- you especially-- would care about who I am as a person.”

Apollo’s face turned serious. “Because you’re a person worth caring about.”

“Why?”

Apollo opened his mouth like he had something to say, but stared off to the side like he had no idea how to say it. “You’ve… You’ve been through some pretty terrible things. As in, when Daryan went through the same things, it drove him to murder. And Daryan didn’t have to deal with, um... a lot of the other things you’ve had to.”

When Apollo’s eyes finally met his, his gaze was even more intense than usual. “I think you have every right to be bitter and angry after everything that’s happened to you. But that’s not who you are. Instead, I think your pain has made you more empathetic. And that’s… really incredible.”

“...I can’t tell you how much I want to believe that,” Klavier said.

“Believe what?”

“That resilience and empathy make a person worth something.” The most manipulative people on earth had those two qualities in abundance. Klavier knew that from personal experience.

“On their own, I guess they don’t. But what do you think does make a person worth something?” Apollo asked.

Every quality Apollo possessed, an annoying part of him answered.

“When they make the lives of those around them better,” he replied instead.

“Isn’t that exactly what you do, though?”

Klavier laughed bitterly. “Why don’t you ask Herr Wright that question? Or Fraulein Skye? Or the people I’ve gotten incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit?”

“What happened to those people wasn't your fault.”

“Nein, but I certainly didn’t help.”

Apollo stared at his feet, apparently lost for words. “I don’t know if this means anything, but…” He looked back up at Klavier. “You definitely helped me.”

“I think anyone in my position would’ve offered you their home,” Klavier replied. Continuing to argue with Apollo like this seemed futile, but that was probably why Klavier was still arguing-- everything within him wanted to lose.

Apollo shook his head. “I wasn’t talking about your house.”

“Then what are you talking about?”

“I mean… I haven't been feeling well recently. You… You know that.” Apollo suddenly looked incredibly vulnerable.

“I assume you aren't talking about the bronchitis.”

“...Yeah.”

From what Klavier had seen in the past week, Apollo didn't exactly seem like the pinnacle of mental health. He was blaming himself for things that weren't his fault, being overly self-critical for things that were, and acting on the belief that he didn't deserve to fulfill his basic human needs.

“I… It’s been a really bad few months.” Apollo closed his eyes, and Klavier realized how difficult this must be for him-- this was the same guy who told Klavier, “I just want to sort this out on my own,” in regards to his physical health not even a week earlier.

So when Apollo smiled, it caught him off guard. “But you know what I realized today?”

“...What?”

“I… I like myself. For the first time in months, I... like myself.” Apollo looked stunned, like he couldn’t quite believe what he was saying. “And the only thing that’s changed is me being here with you.”

“Apollo…”

“So dammit, Klavier,” Apollo said, gently placing his hands on Klavier’s shoulders, “If you can help me believe in myself after everything that’s happened… I want you to believe in yourself, too.”

Klavier stared into Apollo’s wide brown eyes for a few seconds, which glimmered like they were holding back tears.

Without thinking, Klavier stood up, face-to-face with Apollo. Apollo took his hands off of Klavier’s shoulders and hesitated, only to wrap his arms around Klavier’s back. Klavier hugged him back tightly, and they stood that way for what was both an incredibly long and incredibly short amount of time.

When they did pull apart, it was only halfway, and Apollo was looking at him closely. Klavier had never wanted to kiss a person so much in his entire life, and it took everything he had to smile instead. “Thank you.”

Apollo seemed absolutely lost in his own thoughts. “O-oh. You’re welcome.” He blushed out of what Klavier assumed was embarrassment and tried to duck his head downward, only to let out a strangled noise and step backward.

“Your necklace is going to slit my jugular,” he muttered, grabbing his neck and coughing. “I understand why you’re still following the contract, but isn’t keeping the Gavinners chain a little much?”

Klavier grinned. “It’s a metaphor of my suffering.”

“...I don’t know how you manage to seem melodramatic when the situation’s already dramatic, but you do.”

“I should get to act like a diva sometimes.”

Apollo laughed, making eye contact for about half a second before breaking it again, and Klavier wondered why Apollo was suddenly having a hard time looking at him. He was obviously distracted by something, but Klavier couldn’t imagine what.

“Oh… Speaking of being a diva… Were you going to play your guitar anymore?”

Klavier shrugged. “I figured you didn’t actually come down here for the music.”

“Well… I was mostly looking for something more entertaining than the Food Network.”

Klavier laughed. “Why were you watching the Food Network?”

“Nobody lies about food,” Apollo reasoned.

“Couldn’t you take your bracelet off if it bothered you?”

“Well… I only take it off if it’s really important.”

Klavier felt his cheeks heat up once he realized the implications of that, looking away from Apollo’s small, absurdly cute smile and willing himself with everything in his being to get his emotions under control.

“...Are you blushing?” Apollo asked, smirking.

Six different alarms went off in Klavier’s head, screaming and wailing as the more coherent side of his thoughts shared encouragements like “He knows,” “You’re screwed,” and “Well, this is problematic.”

Since his entire brain was steeped in panic and regret, it was unsurprising that all he could really manage was an, “Am I?”

Apollo laughed. “Nice to know I’m not the only one who can’t take a compliment. I’d expect you to be used to it, though.”

The chaos in Klavier’s brain paused for a moment, because that sounded oddly flirtatious. There was no way a person as perceptive as Apollo could be that oblivious… right?

But if Apollo really was flirting, he would definitely not be that suave about it. He’d be stuttering and blushing and Klavier needed to stop thinking about this. He was probably just projecting his own feelings onto Apollo.

Unless Apollo was subconsciously flirting, but Klavier definitely wasn’t going to entertain that thought.

“Well… I’m glad I proved to be more entertaining than the Food Network,” Klavier said, somewhat blatantly veering back to the original subject.

“Heh. There are probably better ways to relieve boredom,” Apollo said, seeming to have moved on entirely from what had just transpired.

“Like listening to music you despise?” Klavier asked, one eyebrow raised.

“...I wasn’t lying about wanting to hear you play.”

“Why do I have a hard time believing that?”

“I may have said a few things to warrant that.” Apollo grinned sheepishly. “I’m not a fan of rock music.”

“Really? I couldn’t tell.”

“Heh heh. It’s not that it’s inherently bad, it’s just that when I listen to music, it’s to lower my blood pressure, not raise it.”

Only Apollo could be so practical. “Music is about emotion, not your cardiovascular functioning,” Klavier retorted.

“Maybe I just want to feel calm. Why does the opinion of me and my amateur ears matter to you, anyway?” He smirked.

“You’re the one who wanted me to play music.”

“And you’re the one who wanted to know how I could hate some of your songs and like other ones.” Apollo leaned down to pick his bracelet up off of the ground, and Klavier took that as an indication that they had returned to their typical state of bickering and teasing.

“Ach, that was harsh. What happened to the Forehead who had to be guilted into politely asking for a glass of water?” Klavier asked, grinning.

“You encouraged him too much. He won’t be considerate ever again,” Apollo joked, fiddling with his bracelet to try and get it back onto his wrist.

“Does this mean he’ll tell me to be quiet if he doesn’t like what I’m playing?”

“With pleasure.” Given the glint in Apollo’s eye, Klavier actually didn’t doubt that.

“All right, but any suffering you endure from this point forward was at your own request,” Klavier said, pulling his guitar off the stand and sitting down.

Apollo sat down about a foot away from him, and Klavier took a while to decide which songs in his arsenal he could play. “Are actually you going to play something?” Apollo asked after a while.

“Give me a second. My song choices are limited.”

“A second? One sixtieth of a minute? That’s barely enough time to take a breath, let alone--”

“Will you shut up?” Klavier interrupted, Apollo’s reference to Wesley Stickler not going unnoticed. Apollo smirked, and Klavier suppressed a grin himself.

Truth be told, Klavier had plenty of songs to choose from, but it seemed like all of the “calm” ones were about love, and Klavier was having enough trouble handling his feelings without singing Apollo love songs.

There was one, though, that he’d written with Daryan when one of their concerts was postponed because of a power-out. It was about how life never seemed to go according to plan, which seemed to fit perfectly now.

When Klavier began to play it, it took a while for him to work up the courage to see Apollo’s reaction. By the time he reached the chorus, Klavier flickered his gaze over to him, hoping for some sort of validation.

Apollo was smiling.

Chapter Text

March 2, 3:46 PM
Wright Anything Agency

Apollo had never felt so relieved to walk into the door of the agency in his life, where he knew wonderfully boring, perfectly emotionless paperwork awaited him in piles. As of this morning, he was experiencing way more emotions than he currently knew what to do with, and running away from them in an admittedly unhealthy manner sounded like paradise.

But when all four members of the agency were doing paperwork at the same time, there was only so much paperwork for Apollo to bury his feelings in until it was gone.

“We’re finally done,” Trucy said, slapping the last piece of paper onto Apollo’s desk.

“Isn’t being a lawyer fun?” Mr. Wright asked.

“...No. This is exactly why I’m becoming a magician.” Trucy crossed her arms and grinned. “So, Daddy! Ready to uphold your end of the deal?”

“What end of what deal?” Apollo asked, sorting the papers everyone had haphazardly tossed in his general direction.

“Oh, Daddy promised that I could take him shopping if I helped with paperwork.”

Apollo felt a bit of relief that this didn’t involve him because most of Trucy’s “deals” involved absolutely no negotiating on his end.

“Shopping for what?” Athena asked, suddenly excited.

Mr. Wright laughed nervously. “Well--”

“Daddy’s going on a date,” Trucy said proudly.

What?! No way!! With who?!” Athena exclaimed.

He adjusted the lapels of his suit coat and smiled. “Edgeworth.”

Apollo flinched, nearly dropping his papers. “The Chief Prosecutor?!”

Mr. Wright nodded. “We dated a long time ago, but he moved to Europe for work, and it’s hard to keep up a long distance relationship like that when you’re disbarred and you have a daughter.” He turned to Trucy. “Not that I have any regrets.”

Trucy smiled. “I know you don’t.” Her faith in him was kind of charming.

“But I figured that if I’m still not over him after nearly a decade, I never will be. So, now that the dark age of the law is over and he doesn’t know what to do with himself besides fire people, I asked him out... And he said yes.” He still looked sort of sheepish, but his eyes glittered.

“You sound so happy!” Athena said, sniffling.

“Which is exactly why he can’t show up to this date in his court suit,” Trucy said, balling her fists.

“I still don’t see what’s wrong with my court suit,” Mr. Wright argued.

“It’s all about associations,” Athena told him. “If you show up in your work clothes, he’ll subconsciously act more formal, and I’m guessing that’s not what you want.”

“...I think Edgeworth’s going to be formal no matter what, but a promise is a promise. At the very least, it’ll show him I tried.”

“That’s the spirit!” Trucy tapped her hat. “We should hurry up and go, the mall closes at nine.”

“...It’s 4 pm.”

“You don’t know anything about clothes shopping, do you?” Trucy asked, looking somewhat disappointed in him.

Mr. Wright seemed to have accepted his fate. “Well, looks like I’m being dragged to the mall for the next five hours. You two can head out now too if you want.”

“Have fun, boss!” Athena clasped her hands together, looking all-around delighted.

As soon as the door closed, Apollo sunk onto the couch and kicked his feet up onto the armrest with a slight complaint from his abdomen.

“Aren’t you going to go home?” Athena asked.

“No. Prosecutor Gavin doesn’t get out of work until 6,” he replied. Athena snickered. “What?”

“Oh, nothing.”

Apollo crossed his arms. “Yeah, right.”

“I mean, if you want me to make fun of you out loud, I can. I just figured you would appreciate a little self-restraint.”

“Make fun of me for what?” Apollo hadn’t said anything particularly cringe-worthy, had he?

Athena smirked. “Your crush on Prosecutor Gavin.”

“I do NOT ha--!” Apollo began to cough viciously, burying his face in his sleeve.

“Are you okay?” Athena asked, suddenly worried.

“I’m fine, and I do not have a crush on anyone,” Apollo retorted after regaining his breath. “Especially not Prosecutor Gavin!”

“...You mean to tell me that the strong happy emotions you get when you talk about him are platonic?”

“I…” Apollo really couldn’t deny that being with Klavier was affecting his mood because he’d said as much yesterday. He felt a blush creeping up his cheeks as realization struck him. “Shit. Is that what this is?!” He buried his face in his hands and moaned.

“Are you really only just realizing this?” Athena asked disbelievingly.

“I haven’t actually stopped to think about it. I started feeling like this last night and ignored it because it seemed inconvenient.”

“You can’t just decide to stop having feelings, Apollo.”

“But I didn’t feel like this until just last night!” Apollo ran his fingers through his hair. “Is this, like, Stockholm syndrome or something? Since I’m kinda trapped in his house?”

Athena snorted with suppressed laughter. “Not unless he’s been threatening to kill you.”

“...Oh.” If anything, Apollo was usually the one threatening to kill Klavier. “But I’ve known him for two years! If this is some kind of attraction, I should’ve started having it a long time ago! Right?”

“Not necessarily. Some people don’t feel attracted to anyone until they’ve formed an emotional bond with them. Did you two do any emotional bonding yesterday?”

“...You could say that.” Apollo frowned. “But it’s not like we haven’t had a serious conversation before yesterday.”

“And it’s not like you haven’t become happy when you’ve heard his name for at least a week now.”

Apollo tried to think of a way to refute that, but there wasn’t much to deny there, so he just groaned. “So, this is it, then. The end of my short, sad life…”

“Aren’t you being a little bit dramatic?”

“I’m living in his house. It’s not going to be long until he realizes that I have a… that I’m feeling… feelings.”

“What do you think will happen if he does? It can’t be that bad.”

“Best case scenario? He makes fun of me for it every time he sees me for the next ten years. Worst case scenario? He feels guilty for putting me in an awkward situation and can’t look me in the eyes ever again.”

“Personally, I’d think the best case scenario would be ‘You fall in love and get married and live happily ever after.’”

Apollo crossed his arms. “If we’re including scenarios that aren’t going to happen, I should probably correct the worst case scenario to, ‘Los Angeles gets destroyed by a nuclear bomb right after he decides he never wants to see me again.’”

“What makes the two of you getting together so impossible?” Athena asked, disappointed.

“I don’t think he wants a relationship with anyone. Especially not with me.”

“...Have you heard how much he flirts?”

“I have. But…” Apollo knew that Klavier hadn’t brought anyone into his house in almost nine years who wasn’t aware of his contract. And Apollo guessed that wasn't a lot of people. “He has a hard time trusting people.”

“He trusts you,” Athena said. Something about that unleashed a swarm of butterflies in Apollo’s chest. “Plus, you don’t have an easy time trusting people either, and you want to date him.”

“I do not.”

Athena crossed her arms and smirked. “You’re telling me that if he asked you out, you would say no?”

Apollo’s face flushed red. “You say that like it’s actually a possibility.”

“Oh, it definitely--”

It was at that point the agency’s phone rang, and Apollo was so eager for a distraction that he grabbed it as quickly as possible, to Athena’s amusement. “Thank you for calling the Wright Anything Agency; this is Apollo Justice speaking.”

“That may be the least awkward way you have ever greeted me,” came a familiar voice, and probably the last one he was hoping to hear.

“Oh. Um. Hi.” Apollo glared at Athena, who was laughing a bit too loudly at Apollo’s current predicament. Honestly, Klavier would call while Apollo was blushing over him.

“That’s more like it,” Klavier said, probably grinning.

Apollo scowled. “Did you have an actual reason for calling?”

“Besides appreciating your social literacy? Ja. I need to know if your State vs. Schoeff paperwork is complete.”

“Yeah, it is. Why, do you need it early?” Apollo was almost positive that it didn’t need to be sent to the Prosecutor’s office until Monday.

“...I don’t legally require it early, but it would be very nice to have it. The sooner the case is closed, the sooner we can move some of the evidence in Herr Gumshoe’s locker to the records room, because his locker is so full right now that the door will not shut.”

Apollo burst out laughing, and consequently began to cough, and Klavier paused until Apollo caught his breath. “And this is after removing his fishing pole, metal detector, dog training equipment, painting supplies, and... whatever this is.” There was some mumbling on the other side of the line. “My apologies, it was obviously a frequency detector.”

Apollo snickered. “So do you need the paperwork tonight?”

“Nein, I merely need to know that the paperwork is done so Fraulein Skye will mercifully and graciously allow us to use her locker for no more than 24 hours.”

There was some muttering in the background about fingerprints and smarmy glimmerous fops before Klavier was thanking her in a surprisingly serious tone. “Thank you too, Forehead. This day has been absolutely ridiculous.”

“Sounds like it. Good luck.”

“See you soon, ja?”

“Yeah, bye.”

As soon as he hung up, he looked at Athena, who was smiling wider than she had any right to. “Oh, man. You should see the look on your face.”

The blush was back in full force. “Can’t I just suffer in peace?”

“Aww, Apollo! You don’t have to be embarrassed! Prosecutor Gavin’s very attractive, and--”

“I’m not embarrassed! I just have second-hand embarrassment for my future self!”

“Your future self?” she asked, laughing.

“The self that’s going to have to see him later. The self that apparently can’t even talk to him on the phone.”

“Aww, you’re in love with Prosecutor Gav--”

“I’m not in love! I just… crashed.” Apollo flopped back down onto the couch and buried his face in a pillow. “You’re a psychologist. Do something.”

“Well, telling you to stop producing dopamine whenever you hear his name is about as effective as asking you to dilate your pupils on command,” she reasoned.

Apollo stared at her for a couple of seconds before touching his bracelet and trying to perceive.

“Okay, bad example! Most people can’t do that,” she said, scowling. He hadn’t actually expected that to work, and he snickered until he noticed Athena analyzing him with a small smile on her face.

“What’s that look for?” he asked.

“Well… Regardless of how agonizing your love life is right now... it’s good to hear you sound so happy. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed that smile of yours,” she said unexpectedly seriously.

Apollo rolled over to face her, hugging the pillow to his chest. He wasn’t entirely sure what to say in response to that, but if it was a chance to not talk about Klavier, he was going to take it. “I’m sorry it ever left.”

Athena frowned. “You’re allowed to be upset when something terrible happens to you, you know.”

“...That’s a nice concept in theory, but getting upset never makes anything better. It usually just leads to people getting hurt.”

“Well, I hate to tell you this, but you can’t stop yourself from getting upset through willpower. All you can really do is repress it until you can’t control it anymore, and that’s way more likely to hurt people.”

“Why are we talking about this now, if I’m so happy?” Apollo asked, suddenly uncomfortable. He was getting very tired of these kinds of conversations, probably because she was right.

“...I guess we’ve all been worried about you. Trucy especially.”

Apollo frowned. “I never wanted you guys to worry.” Trucy especially.

“That’s exactly why we were worried,” Athena retorted. “It seemed like you were trying to suffer through your pain all on your own. And then you got sick, and you tried to deal with that all by yourself, too, until you were coughing up blood in the courthouse bathroom and still refusing to let anyone help you.”

Apollo’s eyes widened. “Did Prosecutor Gavin tell you about that?”

“Other way around. I asked him to go check on you... and then I eavesdropped,” she sheepishly admitted.

“You mean you got him involved?” Apollo asked, feeling slightly betrayed.

“Hey, I asked him to check on you. I wasn’t expecting him to shoulder the weight of all your life’s burdens.”

That was probably truer than she realized. “I’m kinda glad he did,” Apollo said quietly.

“Wait. What?” Athena’s jaw dropped.

It wasn’t that surprising, was it? “I knew I needed help... And plenty of people told me that they were there to help if I needed it. But... I guess I was afraid that if I asked, I’d figure out that they didn’t mean it.”

Nahyuta, Apollo… Don’t you ever hesitate to call when you need me. Understand?

It wasn’t like that had never happened before, he thought bitterly.

“So I kept trying to do everything myself, in case the people around me weren’t as good I hoped they were.”

“So you could stay blissfully ignorant?” Athena asked.

“Yeah. But I think… I think I’ve found out the opposite. That the people close to me are much better than I gave them credit for.”

Athena smiled, eyes glistening with unshed tears. “I’m really glad you can see that.”

“I just wish I’d had the courage to confront my doubts a long time ago.” It sure would’ve helped his relationship with Mr. Wright.

“As long as you got there eventually, does it matter how long it took?”

“Why don’t you ask a paramedic that question?” Apollo asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Oh, you know what I mean. Even if it took a while, you’re the kind of person now that you wish you were a long time ago. And I don’t think that’s regret… that’s growth.”

He felt like he could’ve done a lot more growing with Mr. Wright’s help, but she had a good point. “Even if you wish you’d done some things differently in the past… I think right now, from my viewpoint, you’re the best person you’ve ever been,” she continued.

“...Thanks.”

She smiled. “It’s good to finally hear you sounding so comfortable around all of us. Especially the boss.”

“Ah ha ha… I wondered if you would notice. You can thank Klavier for that.” One look at Athena made Apollo realize his mistake. “ Prosecutor Gavin.” He really had to stop doing that. Or at least stop blushing like an idiot every time he did.

She clasped her hands together. “You two are so cute.”

Even his ears felt like they were turning red. “...Anyway. Prosecutor Gavin forced me to confront a lot of my doubts this week, and despite some of the inconveniences it’s caused me, I’m glad it happened. But I do have one favor to ask you, Athena.”

“Yeah?”

“The next time you ask someone to check on me… Can they be less attractive?” he asked, playing with his hair.

Athena nearly fell over with how hard she laughed. Apollo probably should’ve expected that reaction, but he crossed his arms over his pillow and stared at her until she stopped. “That was one of the top five best decisions I’ve ever made,” she said.

“Oh, I’m sure it’s fun to watch me trip over myself from a distance,” Apollo mumbled.

“If by ‘trip over myself’ you mean living in the same house as your crush, emotionally bonding with him, and fixing your relationships with the boss and Trucy while you’re at it.”

“...Trucy? There was nothing wrong with my relationship with Trucy.”

Athena shot him a confused look for about half a second before looking at him more nonchalantly. “Huh. I guess I assumed that there was something wrong since you haven’t really been talking to each other as much.”

Had he been speaking to Trucy less than usual? He supposed that he’d been avoiding her on his bad days to avoid her perception, and he’d had a lot of bad days.

“That wasn’t on purpose. I mean, Trucy’s one of those people who’s impossible not to love. If my opinion of her didn’t suffer when I had to present her magic panties as evidence in court, I don’t think it ever will.” Even pretending to be kidnapped by gangsters was forgivable with her.

“...I can’t even begin to imagine a situation where those would be evidence.”

“Well, Prosecutor Gavin hasn’t stopped making fun of me for it since, so you’re bound to figure out about it eventually.”

He started to explain the case to her, and she listened excitedly, asking about a million questions.

“You defended a member of the mob?!”

“Oh, is that why we get Eldoon’s after we win?”

“Wait, why did he start calling you Herr Forehead?” she asked right as soon as someone started knocking at the door. Athena wiggled her eyebrows and smirked at him, and Apollo threw the pillow in his arms directly at her face as hard as he could.

She stood up and walked over to the door, and Apollo tilted his head over the back of the couch to see an upside-down Athena greeting an upside-down Klavier. Apollo tried to wave, only to realize that there was no good way to wave in that position.

“I wasn’t expecting you to get here so soon,” Apollo said, turning around to look at them normally.

“You underestimate how much I wanted to leave.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad, could it?” Apollo held out the paperwork Klavier had asked about earlier, and Klavier snatched it enthusiastically out of his hands.

“Not bad. But certainly exhausting. An unreasonable amount of cases require an unreasonable amount of evidence. Managing it all has become quite the hassle, especially with Herr Gumshoe involved,” Klavier said, leafing through the documents. “Achtung, these are sorted.” A small smile overtook his grumpy features that Apollo had to actively tell himself was not cute.

Athena snorted with laughter, and Apollo realized he’d been staring at Klavier’s smile for about two seconds too many. “Oh, that was Apollo,” she said, grinning.

Apollo had a strong hunch that Athena was trying to be his wingman, which he would kill her for later. But for now, Apollo was more curious to know why Klavier was flipping through the papers again with a confused expression. “Well, thank you. It certainly makes my job easier.”

Klavier twisted his fingers in a familiar motion that took Apollo several seconds to place. “Are you tuning your air guitar?”

Apollo hoped it was just Klavier’s subconscious hunger for music acting up again, but based on Klavier’s smirk, that motion had been entirely intentional. “Is that a problem?”

“Yes. ” It was almost enough for Apollo’s crush to evaporate then and there. Almost being the key word. “It can’t be out of tune if it doesn’t make sound.”

“But a guitar can be out of tune, and I am imitating a guitar. You wouldn’t make a model plane without wings simply because you knew it couldn’t fly, would you?”

“No, but I also wouldn’t run regular safety checks on it to make sure it didn’t crash,” Apollo said, giving Klavier the best deadpan he could muster.

Athena looked like she’d never seen anything funnier than the two of them arguing in her entire life, and she seemed slightly disappointed when they stopped. “I guess I should be heading home now. I gotta catch up on the Bachelor before the finale.”

“Athena, I don’t know why you watch that show. You can hear how fake it is.”

“Oh, I watch it because it’s fake. You have no idea how satisfying it is to see all those manipulative brats get sent home in drunken tears.” She clenched her fists and grinned.

“...And here I thought you were rooting for true love.”

“Oh, I don’t have to turn on the TV for real romantic drama. It usually unravels right in front of me,” she said, smirking.

He was going to kill her for that comment. But he couldn’t even give her a displeased glare without Klavier realizing she was making fun of him, so he tried to think about how his not-infatuated self would’ve reacted.

Fortunately, he didn’t have to act on that, because Athena grabbed her purse from off of the floor. “Well, I’ll see you two sooner or later. Probably you sooner, and you later,” she said, pointing at Apollo and then Klavier.

“Tschüss, Fraulein. Well, Herr Forehead?” He held up his keys.

“Do I need to get a German to English dictionary?” Apollo asked, standing up off of the couch with an annoyed expression. At least, he hoped he looked annoyed. If he was screwed already, he didn’t want to know how bad it would be if he started to find Klavier’s German endearing. “Oh, that reminds me…”

“Ja?” Klavier asked when Apollo didn’t finish that thought.

“Athena asked why you call me Herr Forehead.”

Klavier raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Because you have a particularly large forehead?”

Apollo should’ve seen that one coming from about three miles away. “I assumed that much. But I was more curious why you call me anything at all.”

As soon as Klavier’s hand rose to his bangs, Apollo knew he needed to be ready to perceive. “I suppose ‘Herr Justice’ didn’t have the same ring to it,” he said, fingers rubbing together almost imperceptibly when he said ‘Herr Justice.’ Fortunately, “almost imperceptibly” was Apollo’s specialty.

“Did my name make you uncomfortable?” Apollo asked deliberately casually, not wanting to sound even potentially accusatory.

Klavier’s hand dropped to his side, hooking his thumb through his belt loop. He must’ve caught onto his own nervous tic. “How could Justice make me uncomfortable?” he asked with a curated smile.

“Well, if you thought the person who was named Justice wasn’t particularly just…”

One look at Klavier told him that he’d hit the nail on the head. Klavier’s hand raised about an inch to touch his hair again, only to get caught on his belt loop, and he relaxed it again. “I didn’t think you were a bad person, per se.”

Apollo looked at him disbelievingly. “You thought I forged evidence to get your brother convicted.”

“Nein, I thought Herr Wright forged evidence. He was the only one who had access to the victim’s blood. But you used Herr Wright’s cross-examination tactics against me, which bothered me immensely, since I know the types of things my brother would have taught you.”

Klavier released his thumb from belt loop prison so he could flip through the papers in his hand again, and Apollo suddenly remembered where he’d learned to organize documents. “I assumed Herr Wright was manipulating you and the fraulein all that time. So I was a bit torn between liking you as a person and despising who I thought you wanted to become.”

Klavier was able to form surprisingly coherent sentences and nonchalant smiles despite being too anxious to make eye contact. Apollo reached out and gently touched his shoulder, and Klavier’s eyes instantly locked on his.

“Woah, there. You don’t have to feel bad about not having the best first impression of me. I mean, I met Athena when she threw a police officer at me,” he said, hoping to lighten the mood.

“...You truly are remarkable at making poor first impressions,” Klavier said, one eyebrow raised; he didn’t know the half of it. Apollo felt the muscles in Klavier’s shoulder relax under his fingers. “I suppose my primary concern is that I still call you Herr Forehead.”

“Well, it doesn’t mean the same thing now as it did back then, does it?”

No,” Klavier retorted, sounding almost indignant. “It’s more of an inside joke now.”

“Then I don’t see much of a problem with it. Aside from the whole part where you’re making fun of my forehead,” Apollo said, narrowing his eyes.

Klavier laughed at that. “I’m sure it’s more noticeable to me than it is to most people.”

It took a moment for Apollo to realize what that meant. “Oh. I almost forgot about that,” he said, looking up at the hair that covered Klavier’s forehead. Klavier was probably fixated on Apollo’s forehead because of the scar on his own. “Is that bruise I gave you still there?” Apollo asked sheepishly.

“Barely,” Klavier said, raising his hand to his hair and hesitating before he brushed his bangs to the side. The line was still visible if you were looking for it, but it had faded to the point that it would be hard to see otherwise, especially not with those bangs in the way.

“Sorry about that…” Apollo said, ruffling his own hair out of embarrassment. Had he really done that less than a week ago?

Klavier shrugged. “Wounds heal.”

Apollo smiled at that, and Klavier smiled back.

Chapter Text

March 3, 7:11 PM
Wright Anything Agency Parking Lot

“How was work?” Klavier asked as soon as Apollo’s seatbelt was buckled. He backed out of his parking space carefully, though that was probably pointless. The only cars parked in front of the office building after 7 pm were overflow from the Gatewater Hotel.

“...Boring. We didn’t have any cases, so everyone left me in the agency to ‘wait for clients’ and went to Penrose Theater to help with Trucy’s magic show.”

“They left you on your own all day?” They must’ve thought Apollo was feeling better if he wasn’t being supervised.

“This happens more often than you’d think,” Apollo said with just a touch of bitterness. “Although they did call me at one point to settle an argument.”

That sounded suspiciously like the Prosecutor’s Office, actually. “If I may ask, what was this argument about?”

“Whether Mr. Wright should wear a blue shirt or a black shirt on his date tonight.”

Klavier grinned. “This date wouldn’t happen to be with Herr Edgeworth, would it?”

Apollo looked at him curiously. “How did you know?”

“You aren't the only one who's had to resolve an argument today. Herr Gumshoe and the Fraulein Thief burst into my office earlier to ask who I thought Herr Edgeworth was going out with this evening.”

“Who did you think it was?”

“Ah, I didn’t think Herr Edgeworth was actually going on a date. But Herr Gumshoe bet the fraulein six dollars that he was going out with Herr Wright, and she bet that he was going out with an Interpol agent they were acquainted with.”

“Six dollars?” Apollo asked.

“Isn’t that an odd amount?”

“No,” Apollo said, snickering a little. “That’s how much the swiss rolls in the courthouse cost.”

“Swiss rolls?” The European cake came to mind, and it took Klavier a moment to realize that he was probably referring to one of the packaged pastries in the vending machines. Even with this revelation, it still didn’t make much sense.

Apollo nodded. “It’s some kind of inside joke for the two of them, I guess. That’s how I met them, actually-- I used to study at the courthouse on the weekends because it was quiet, and they walked up to me and asked if I had dollar bills that I could trade for their pocket change.”

“That’s surprisingly mannerly of them.”

Apollo shook his head. “It was mannerly until Kay broke into the machine, left the 6 dollars of change, and stole a pack of swiss rolls. While Mr. Edgeworth was watching from the other end of the hallway.”

Klavier laughed for a few seconds. “After witnessing Herr Edgeworth’s wrath, I see why you didn’t become a prosecutor.”

“Oh, there’s no way I could’ve become a prosecutor. I’m not nearly pretentious enough,” Apollo said with a smirk.

“Ja, I suppose your skill set leans more toward making things up on the spot and forming a variety of distressed facial expressions.”

“Heh. Yeah, I really can’t imagine myself anywhere but the defense bench. Can you imagine going up against Mr. Wright in court…?”

“I can, actually. I wouldn’t recommend it,” Klavier said dryly.

“Ah ha ha… Right.”

Ah… Klavier hadn’t meant to sound so serious. He tried to think of a halfway reasonable way to change the subject. “What did you want to be when you were a child? Surely you didn’t always want to be a defense attorney.”

“I did, actually,” Apollo said with a small smile.

Klavier raised his eyebrows. “I refuse to believe that you’ve always been this absurdly pragmatic.”

“...A ninja defense attorney,” he amended.

Klavier laughed. “That’s a bit more like it.”

“What about you? I’m guessing you didn’t decide to become a prosecutor rock star at the age of three.”

“Ah, I did. As well as a veterinarian, fashion designer, actor, teacher, and restaurant owner, among other things.”

Apollo snickered. “So you’ve always been a Barbie Doll?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Apollo raised the pitch of his voice to an obnoxious level. “My name’s Barbie, and I’m a rock star princess who saves people’s lives and, uh, does gymnastics, and babysits, and looks gorgeous while doing it,” he said, only to burst out in a coughing fit. “Ugh. That voice hurts my throat.”

Had Apollo just insinuated that Klavier was gorgeous? Because it definitely sounded like it. Though it was also lumped in with princess and gymnast, and Apollo was rather fond of sarcasm.

“What’s that face for?”

Klavier resisted the urge to point out what Apollo had said, choosing to exaggerate the genuine disbelief on his face by about a hundred and raise an eyebrow instead. “Did Apollo Justice just make a reference to pop culture?”

“Oh, shut up,” Apollo said with a grin, crossing his arms. He had a paper sticking out from one hand that Klavier had only just noticed.

“What’s in the envelope?” Klavier asked, suddenly finding that piece of paper to be much more interesting than the previous conversation.

“Huh?” Apollo asked, uncrossing his arms and looking at it. “Oh. Right,” he said, opening the flap of the envelope, which had been mostly shredded in a previous attempt to get it open. He pulled out a piece of paper. “My cases are being reviewed.”

“I thought you said you didn’t have any cases,” Klavier said.

“I’m talking about my cases. You know…” he said quietly, “The lawsuits over my medical bills.”

“Ah.” Those cases.

“Seems like I’ll know on on Monday how much I’ll receive in damages.” Apollo’s paper crinkled as he fiddled with it in his hands. “And how long it’ll be until I can afford an apartment.”

“You seem stressed.”

“Well, yeah… Regardless of what’s in that envelope, it’s going to seriously impact the next few months of my life.”

It was going to impact the next few months of Klavier’s life pretty significantly as well, but he’d signed up for that. Apollo hadn’t. “What do you want to happen?”

“Honestly? I miss having my own place, where I don’t have to worry about anyone else, and I can yell and do weird things without having to think about being a considerate human being. And I miss my cat.”

Klavier had completely forgotten about the cat. Wasn’t Trucy taking care of it?

“But… No matter what, I think I’m going to be fine. And even if I’m not, I don’t think anyone will let me stay that way for long.”

“Is that optimism?” Klavier teased.

“No. It’s an objective assessment of the actions of my overbearing friends,” Apollo said with a small smirk. “But what about you? This kinda affects you, too.”

That was a good question, and one Klavier had been asking himself for a few days now. On one hand, Klavier wasn’t sure how much longer he would be able to hide his feelings. Probably not very long; he was much better at pretending to have feelings than pretending to not have feelings. On the other, going back to being mere work acquaintances seemed unbearable.

Klavier shrugged. “I’m unsure. I like having you around, but our time together is bound by obligation, to a certain degree.”

“What do you mean, ‘obligation?’”

“You aren’t exactly staying at my house for the pleasure of my company. I don’t think we’ve ever spent time together when we didn’t have to. It might be more meaningful, once all is said and done, to see each other when it isn’t necessary.”

He could feel Apollo studying him. “You mean what you’re saying.”

It wasn't a question, but Klavier nodded anyway.

“I'd like that,” he said, settling back into his seat with a small smile.

~O~

“Is that orange chicken?” Apollo asked, looking pleasantly surprised.

“And here I thought you’d never eaten anything but instant noodles,” Klavier teased as Apollo picked up a pair of chopsticks.

“Hey. I eat rice and beans sometimes, too,” he said with a grin.

Klavier typically brought home takeout on Friday nights, and although he wouldn't exactly call it a tradition, he was tired enough of actually having to cook that he was more than willing to pretend like it was some kind of sacred ritual. Apollo didn’t seem to mind, at least. Klavier tried not to think too hard about what that said about his cooking ability.

“And American Chinese, apparently,” Klavier said after watching Apollo take a few bites of food. “I think you’re better at using chopsticks than I am.”

“If by ‘American Chinese,’ you mean eating cheap American food with chopsticks, then I guess.”

“You mean you use chopsticks on a regular basis?”

“Yeah. They’re easier to wash than forks,” Apollo said, leaving Klavier to wonder how much time Apollo had spent considering the pros and cons of his eating utensils.

Dinner was strangely comfortable. There were silences, but they didn’t feel awkward. At one point, Klavier made a bad pun, Apollo flicked his balled up chopstick wrapper at him in disgust, and they flicked it back and forth for the next 15 minutes. Later, Klavier teased Apollo for not eating enough vegetables, and Apollo responded by stealing a piece of broccoli from Klavier’s plate.

Klavier was pleasantly surprised by how playful Apollo could be without stress hanging over his neck like a guillotine. Apollo’s wide variety of colorful facial expressions included some unique smiles, some of which Klavier found highly amusing and the rest of which he found hopelessly endearing.

Once he was done with his meal, Klavier unwrapped a fortune cookie and cracked it open. “Behind every capable man there is other capable men,” he read aloud, cringing slightly at the grammar.

“In bed,” Apollo tacked on with a straight face, causing Klavier to double over in laughter. He hadn’t expected Apollo to know of the fortune cookie game, let alone play it.

Apollo hadn’t actually finished his dinner yet (he was a noticeably slow eater), but he picked up the other fortune cookie from the table and unwrapped it anyway.

“...It doesn’t have a fortune in it,” Apollo said after cracking his cookie open. “Is this life’s way of telling me I have no luck?”

Klavier looked at Apollo’s cookie and laughed. “Didn’t you already know that?”

“Well, I have to have some luck, if I’ve managed to survive up to this point. I mean, I’ve averaged one trip to the ER a month for the past three months, and two of those trips were because murderers were trying to kill me,” he said, returning to his chicken.

“It truly is a miracle that you’re alive,” Klavier said with a sigh, trying not to think about that too hard. “Which reminds me. Have you taken your antibiotic yet?” he asked.

“Do I have to? It’s been more than a week since I started taking them.”

“But less than ten days, which is what the instructions say.” Had Apollo really only been staying with him for a little over a week? It felt like he’d been there for months.

“But I don’t feel sick,” Apollo argued as if he wasn’t already taking a pill out of the bottle.

“If you’d like to discuss the dangers of bacterial resistance with Fraulein Skye, I’m sure she would be happy to chastise you.”

There was a brief pause as Apollo put the pill on his tongue and took a gulp of water. It was quiet enough for Klavier to notice an obnoxious buzzing noise, and once he could hear it, he couldn’t unhear it, even after Apollo started muttering that Klavier was doing enough chastising on his own.

“What is that sound?”

“My phone,” Apollo said casually, as if it wasn’t in a non-stop state of vibration.

“Are you not going to check it?”

Apollo shrugged. “Trucy likes to add me to group chats.”

“What if it was important?”

“If someone was dying, they would call me.” Apollo said, taking out his phone anyway. “Yup. Group chat.” He unlocked his phone, looking somewhat unimpressed, when he covered his mouth with his hand, eyes wide.

“What?” Klavier asked.

“Trucy’s giving live updates about her dad’s date,” he dropped his hand just enough that Klavier could see his smile.

“You’re kidding.”

Apollo showed him his phone screen, which was tiny on his little flip phone, but new texts were appearing in less time than it took for Klavier to decipher the small print. If Apollo could read that with no hesitation, his eyesight was downright unfair.

“I get the feeling that we’re all going to get in trouble for this,” Apollo said with a mischievous grin.

“When has the fear of getting in trouble ever stopped you from invading another person’s privacy?” Klavier teased.

“Ah ha ha. Maybe once or twice. Do you want me to add you, or do you have a basic sense of self-preservation?”

Tempting, but… “That depends on who’s in the conversation. I have to be careful who I give my number out to.”

Apollo looked confused for a second, but the expression faded quickly. “Right. Sometimes I forget you’re famous...”

Klavier smiled. “That’s not a bad thing.”

Apollo smiled back before his gaze fell back to his phone. “Well… Right now, it’s just me, Trucy, Athena, Ema, and Miss Fey, but I think Athena’s trying to add Prosecutor Blackquill.”

“...Who is Fraulein Fey?” Everyone else in the conversation already had Klavier’s phone number (Or access to it, at least. Klavier was fairly certain that Ema still hadn’t added his name to her contacts out of sheer resentment).

“Mr. Wright’s old assistant. From what I’ve heard, she’s… not a fan of people who sell personal information, so you’ll be okay there.”

Apollo seemed pretty confident, so Klavier smiled. “I should be fine, then.”

He looked surprised. “You’re going to trust her? Just like that?”

Klavier shrugged. “You’re a good judge of character.”

“I. Uh.” Apollo’s cheeks reddened slightly like they always seemed to do when he was complimented. “I’ve never met her in person, so…”

“Add me.”

“A-are you sure?”

Klavier sighed. Apollo had been absolutely positive that this Miss Fey would be fine to talk to just a moment ago, but now that his own abilities were being taken into account, he didn’t seem so confident.

“Ja.” What was the worst that could happen? He needed to change phone numbers again?

“...Okay.” Apollo typed a few things into his phone, and within seconds, Klavier could feel his own buzzing.

Klavier reached into his pocket, but his grip on his phone slipped. “Shit,” he said as it hit the floor.

Apollo froze, and Klavier covered his mouth with his hand. He felt just as shocked as Apollo looked, only without the smile that was slowly growing on Apollo’s face. “Klavier… I’m so proud.”

“You are a wretched influence on me.” Klavier looked at his phone, which was face-down on the ground, as Apollo burst out in laughter.

“I’m a great influence on you,” Apollo said between laughs, looking inordinately pleased. Klavier didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy when he inevitably began to cough, looking up at Klavier after he’d regained his breath. “...Aren’t you going to pick it up?”

“I won’t know if it’s broken until I look at it. I’d like to enjoy what may very well be my last moments of having a not broken phone.” Well, if it was shattered, at least he didn't have to worry about a stranger having his contact information.

“If it’s broken, it’s broken whether you know it or not, Schrödinger.”

“If you cannot prove that it is broken, it is not legally broken.”

“Good grief; you and conclusive evidence,” Apollo said, rolling his eyes dramatically. He picked Klavier’s phone up off of the ground and smirked when he saw the expectant look on Klavier’s face. “You know, if you had a flip phone, you wouldn’t have to be worried about this.”

Klavier took the phone out of his hands and sighed with relief. The screen wasn’t cracked. “I’m just fine without your archaic ‘technology,’” he said, sitting down on the couch. Apollo sat down next to him with a few inches between them.

Klavier opened his messages to see an onslaught of texts.

-Herr Forehead added You to the conversation-

-Athena Cykes: PROSECUTOR GAVIN OH MY WORD

-Athena Cykes: did apollo tell u whats happening

-Herr Samurai: What the devil is this

-(213)555-3473: This is the fulfillment of my #2 life goal

-Ema: Wait what’s your #1 life goal

-(213)555-3473: I’m still waiting to find a lesbian who owns a burger place

-Herr Samurai: What is your #2 life goal

-(213)555-3473: For Nick to stop angsting over Edgeworth

-Ema: Trucy’s giving us real time updates on Mr. Wright and Mr. Edgeworth’s date

-Herr Samurai: Do I really strike you as the type for idle gossip? If you require another bird in your flock to chirp at, I’m sure Fara-dono would be more than willing.

-Herr Samurai has left the conversation-

-Athena Cykes: noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Apollo was looking at his phone and laughing, face a bit red from a lack of air. “My stomach’s going to get sore all over again,” he said, smiling. “Do you think we should add Kay? Blackquill wasn’t wrong when he said that she would jump at the chance to make fun of Mr. Edgeworth.”

“If we don’t add her, I’ll be subject to her wrath on Monday.”

“...I’ll take that as a yes.”

-Herr Forehead added Kay to the conversation-

-Herr Forehead: Kay, Trucy’s giving us updates on Mr. Edgeworth’s date.

-Kay: WHAT. WHOS IT WITH

-You: Herr Wright

-Kay: Dammit

-Kay: Guess I owe gummy some swiss rolls

“Called it,” Apollo said.

In the next few minutes, Kay added Gumshoe to the conversation, Miss Fey rejoiced over this decision, Athena complained about the quantity of detectives in the group that she didn’t know, and Apollo joked that maybe one day Athena would meet someone in law enforcement who hadn’t spent hard time for murder.

“I haven’t spent time in prison,” Klavier argued.

“Really? And here I thought you spent 13 years hard time for love,” Apollo joked, giving Klavier a surge of satisfaction that he remembered one of his song titles.

-Trucy Wright: The blue lawyer picks up his cup of grape juice and says something quietly before he brings the glass to his lips with raised eyebrows. His partner scoffs, rolling his eyes, trying not to look too interested. But oh, is he interested.

Apollo and Klavier both burst out in laughter as they read. “She’s certainly an entertainer,” Klavier said.

“Yeah. Something tells me that the real thing isn't nearly this funny.”

-Athena Cykes: IM DEAD

-(213)555-3473: Why can I see this happening in my head

-Herr Forehead: If you make someone laugh to death is that accidental manslaughter or straight up murder?

-Herr Forehead: Planning Trucy’s defense.

-You: Does the Fraulein Magician have a motive to murder Fraulein Cykes

-You: Planning Trucy’s prosecution

Apollo looked up at Klavier with both eyebrows raised.

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: Prosecutor Gavin you would prosecute me???? :(

-Herr Forehead: Don’t worry, Trucy, he always switches sides halfway through the case anyway.

Klavier was halfway through typing a response to Trucy’s comment when he dropped his hands and stared at Apollo, who just smirked.

“I'm insulted, Forehead.”

“I don't see you denying it.”

“I'll have you know that I'm always on the side of the truth, and I've never switched.”

“Which means that you'd never be able to prosecute Trucy without siding with the defense.”

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BUUUUUUUUUUUURN

-Kay: Hello 911 I’d like to report a murder

-Ema: Apollo I’m so proud

-Athena Cykes: can i point out that apollo and pg are probably in the same room as each other arguing via text rn tho

Klavier burst out into laughter as Apollo’s cheeks turned red.

-Kay: Make that two murders

-Herr Forehead: Athena I was cool for like 10 seconds

-You: We’re arguing out loud, too ;)

Apollo’s blush began to spread to the rest of his face. “Did you just make fun of yourself to bring me down with you?”

“I told you I was on the side of the truth,” Klavier replied with a smirk.

-Athena Cykes: apollo u were never cool

-(213)555-3473: omg you kids give me hope for the future entertainment value of our legal system

-Ema: When did you two start casually hanging out? I thought you had standards, Apollo

- Herr Forehead: I'm spending my Friday night texting my coworkers about our bosses’ love lives. I'm not sure where you got the impression that I have standards.

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: The defense attorney attempts to make a joke, but his rival prosecutor doesn't seem amused. He may have to reconsider his tactics if he wishes to impress him.

-Ema: Wait are you talking about your dad or Apollo

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Apollo stared at his phone in sheer mortification, and Klavier smirked. “I’m flattered, Forehead.”

“Pretty sure the most impressive thing I’ve done this week is correctly use chopsticks,” he mumbled.

-Athena Cykes: probably the boss, apollo doesn’t have to try very hard to impress pg

Klavier was not an easily flustered person, but that single text was causing him physical pain. It took everything in him not to visibly react, but there was only so much he could do to stop his face from heating up. Fortunately, Apollo’s eyes were fixed on his phone.

-Herr Forehead: Thanks, but I’m really not all that impressive.

Well, Klavier could think of only two explanations for that comment. Apollo was either legitimately that oblivious, which seemed impossible, or he was trying to deflect the comment to avoid making things awkward. Considering his social graces, that seemed equally impossible.

It was at that point that Kay sent him a text apart from the group.

-Kay: So im pretty sure you could kiss him square on the lips at this point and he would have no clue that you like him

-You: Do you really think he doesn’t know?

-Kay: Ok story time

-Kay: At one point in college he went out to dinner with a girl who had been hardcore flirting with him for about a century and afterward she asked him to come back to her apartment with her. 99% of people would’ve been able to figure out what that meant but this is apollo

-Kay: He said yes, and apparently she took off like half of her clothes and he was like “aren’t you cold???” and they watched netflix for more than an hour before he told her he should probably go home and study

-Kay: TO THIS DAY he denies that she was into him. At all. Like he honestly thinks all of that was platonic friendship and he cannot be convinced otherwise

-Kay: So i think youre good. Unless you changed your mind and actually wanted him to know. Then you might need a whiteboard and like four different colors of markers

How someone could solve a murder based on the twitch of a finger but fail to interpret basic social cues was beyond Klavier’s comprehension, but it did make him feel significantly less nervous.

- You: I haven’t, but if I ever find myself in need of a whiteboard, I’ll be sure to let you know.

-Kay: :D

The next hour was filled with more ruthless teasing and dramatic narration of an otherwise not particularly eventful first date, but Klavier felt considerably more relaxed. Gumshoe joined in at one point to ask why he had 473 new messages, only for him and Miss Fey to start telling stories about how Mr. Wright and Mr. Edgeworth originally got together.

And then the crowd went wild.

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: The spiky haired lawyer takes the hand of the frilly prosecutor, running a thumb over his knuckles. He leans in towa THEY’RE KISSING OH MY GOSH THEY’RE KISSING

-Ema: NO WAY

-(213)555-3473: DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY YEARS I’VE WAITED FOR THIS MOMENT

-(213)555-3473: I don’t but it sure feels like a lot

-Gumshoe: 7 or 8, pal.

-Kay: PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN

-Athena Cykes: TRUCY WE NEED PICTURES

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: [attachment]

Klavier opened it without much thought and felt slightly uncomfortable when he saw it; gossiping about your boss having a good date and seeing your boss having a good date were two different things entirely. “Well. She wasn’t lying.”

“Wait, let me see!” Apollo leaned over very much into Klavier’s personal space, shoulders pressing together and Apollo’s temple close enough to his jaw that Klavier had to tilt his head to prevent Apollo’s hair from stabbing him in the eyes.

“Don’t you have it on your own phone?!” Klavier sputtered a bit gracelessly. He felt like his blood was carbonated in every place they were touching, which was a significant percentage of his skin.

“Not unless I delete four pictures first,” Apollo mumbled. “Oh. Uh. Glad to see that worked out for them,” he said, pulling away and looking at Klavier’s face. He laughed. “Glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s weird to see my boss kissing someone.”

“Hmm?”

“Your cheeks are kinda red.”

Ah. Right. That was why he was blushing. “Ah. Ja, I suppose thinking about something and actually experiencing it are two very different things.”

-(213)555-3473: All right, I can die in peace now. Still really hoping for the lesbian burger place owner but if I died tomorrow I would not die with regrets

-Athena Cykes: thats SO CUTE

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: Um so I forgot my flash was on and I think they saw me so now I’m hiding out in the girl’s bathroom

-Kay: Do you need help escaping

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: Not sure. I’m in disguise so they might not know it was me but if they do I’m soooo grounded.

-Kay: On my way. I have a blue badger costume in case I need to distract them. Mr. Edgeworth is terrified of the blue badger

-Athena Cykes: Isn’t everyone terrified of the blue badger

-*~Fraulein Magician~*: Yeah

-(213)555-3473: Yup

-Ema: You have no idea

-Gumshoe: Hey!!! I made him with love!!!!!!

Apollo laughed, and Klavier switched back to his private chat with Kay.

-You: Can you help ME escape?

-Kay: Omg what did you do

-You: I’m not strong enough for him to have no sense of personal space

-Kay: HAHAHAHAHAHA sorry man, there’s not much my blue badger costume can do for your gay ass.

-You: >:(

Apollo laughed again, and Klavier glanced at his smiling face, wishing it was socially acceptable to stare at someone for more than 3.2 seconds at a time.

Well, even though it seemed like everything else in Klavier’s life was unstable and a bit chaotic, at least his relationship with Kay was back to normal.

Chapter Text

March 4, 10:34 am
Residence of Klavier Gavin

It had been eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds since Apollo heard the shower turn off, and he wasn’t entirely sure what Klavier was doing. He normally wouldn’t have cared, but staring at his phone, he couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious.

-Polly, do you remember that dragon setpiece you started painting a while ago? Are you feeling well enough to finish it? It apparently needs to be done by monday…

He hesitated to bother Klavier, but he had to consider Trucy’s feelings, too. She was becoming increasingly stressed about her upcoming show, and the last thing he wanted to do was give her another thing to worry about.

Klavier tended to take being bothered in stride anyway, so Apollo walked up to the door of his bedroom with a cup of coffee in one hand and his phone in the other. “Hey, Klavier…?” He flinched when the door opened immediately. “Oh. Hi.”

“Morning,” he said with a smile. He looked a bit different than usual, aside from the fact that his hair was wet and hanging loosely around his shoulders, and it took Apollo a few seconds to place that it was probably because he wasn’t wearing makeup. “Did you need something?”

“Oh. Uh. Yeah.” Apollo blinked a couple of times. That was how he looked naturally? “I, um, I was wondering if… Well, more like Trucy was wondering if she… Er, I would be able to help her paint her props today. She said they need to be done by Monday.”

Klavier furrowed his eyebrows, quite possibly in an attempt to decipher what the hell Apollo had just said. “...That’s awfully early. Didn’t you say her show was in late April?”

Question. He’d just asked Apollo a question. “Yeah. The 22nd.”

“Hmm. I suppose props are a bit more important to a magic show than a concert, but requiring them to be painted more than a month in advance seems strange to me.” He shrugged. “Producers will be producers, I suppose. As far as you helping her goes, I can certainly drive you there. I could probably help out myself, if she wanted. I’m no Michelangelo, but I can color inside the lines.”

“I’ll have to ask her about that,” Apollo said, yanking his gaze away from Klavier’s eyebrows and focusing on his phone, only to question why he was even looking at Klavier’s eyebrows in the first place. What a sexy feature to fixate on when looking at your crush, Romeo , he thought.

Yeah, I can do it. Do you want Klavier’s help, too? Apollo typed. He barely caught himself before he hit send, changing Klavier to Prosecutor Gavin at the last possible moment. He would never have lived that one down.

“I’m not particularly invested either way, but I would like to know if I need to change pants,” Klavier said. “I like these jeans a bit too much to risk getting paint on them.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her it’s a fashion crisis,” Apollo said, not looking up from his phone. If he was getting tripped up by Klavier’s eyebrows, he definitely wasn’t going to make the mistake of looking at his pants.

-Well, everything’s done but some top secret magic props and the dragon setpiece, and that one’s yours. Tell him thanks for the offer, though! <3

Apollo laughed. “Apparently, I’m the only one allowed to paint the last setpiece.” He tried not to think too deeply into Trucy’s apparent association between him and dragons, because that gave him an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Is that a no, then?”

“I guess. Although it’s kinda weird that she wouldn’t want you there just to keep us company.”

“Perhaps she was hoping for a bit of one-on-one time.” Klavier shrugged. “I’m sure there’s a coffee shop close to such a large facility. I’ll just hope that nobody takes a particular interest in my presence.”

“What are you going to do, sit there and drink coffee all day?”

Klavier shook his head. “Most of us humans have a limit on how much caffeine we can ingest. ‘Most’ being the key word.” He smirked. “How many cups have you had so far this morning?”

“...This is my third,” Apollo admitted.

Klavier laughed. “It’s no wonder you’re so short.”

“Objection. Caffeine doesn’t stunt your growth. Sleep deprivation does, but unless you drink coffee at night, it isn’t a problem,” Apollo argued, embarrassingly prepared for that comment. Klavier wasn’t the first to link his short stature to his caffeine addiction, and he probably wouldn’t be the last.

“Right... And how sleep deprived were you in your formative years?”

“...Enough that I needed coffee to get out of bed in the morning,” Apollo admitted, and Klavier laughed. “My questionable habits aside, what exactly are you going to do at a coffee shop?”

“Ah... I had a lot of trials last week, and trials mean paperwork.”

Apollo frowned. “It seems like you never catch a break.”

“Achtung, you should’ve seen my caseload in January after Herr Edgeworth dismissed half of our prosecutors. There were a few days where I didn’t even bother going home.”

Apollo winced, and Klavier laughed. “No worries; prosecuting usually gives me more energy than it takes. Even the paperwork-- it gives me a chance to sit down and listen to music.”

He seemed serious, even if that was difficult for Apollo to imagine. “If you say so.”

“Well, I should probably finish getting ready, because I’m currently wearing only one contact and it’s starting to give me a headache,” Klavier said, closing one eye and grinning.

Apollo laughed. “Why did you even open the door?”

“Well, I wasn’t going to talk to you through it.”

“If you’d said, ‘Hold on a sec, I can only see out of one eye,’ I think I would’ve been able to handle waiting thirty seconds.”

“...Hold on a sec, I can only see out of one eye,” Klavier said with a smirk.

Apollo whirled around with his back to the door. “Okay, point taken,” he said, dramatically throwing his hands up.

Klavier laughed, and the second he closed the door, Apollo buried his face in his hands and tried to only groan internally. Real smooth, Justice. Your social prowess is truly something to be feared. At least Klavier seemed to think he was funny and not downright embarrassing.

But it was probably a good thing that he was going to be spending the day with Trucy.

~O~

“Hey, Polly!” Trucy said, abandoning a prop in favor of greeting him. She’d replaced her stage outfit with a white t-shirt and paint covered overalls, and it was strange how normal she looked.

“Hey. It’s good to see that you’re still in one piece after the trouble you got into last night. Did you ever get caught?”

“I don’t think so. Then again, Daddy could be putting some massive revenge plot together while I’m out of the house.” She grinned.

“Ugh. Good luck with that,” Apollo said, sitting down next to the dragon setpiece where Trucy had left a styrofoam cup full of purple paint. Trucy laid down on her stomach next to what looked like a panel of some sort and began to paint it green.

“Eh. At worst, I’ll have to spend a few hours trying to get glitter out of my hair. Personally, I think whatever you were up to last night seemed much more interesting,” Trucy said, grinning.

“Uh… Eating Chinese food and texting my coworkers really isn’t that exciting,” he said, despite knowing exactly where she was going with this.

“You ate dinner with your crush and spent the entire night flirting with him! That’s like something out of a movie!” She rested her head on her fist with a far-off look in her eyes as she twiddled her paintbrush between the fingers of her other hand.

“I wasn’t flirting.”

“Oh my gosh.” She slapped her paintbrush down. “You aren’t trying to deny that you have a crush on him.”

“I’m not admitting to it.” As a cheap ploy to avoid eye contact, Apollo reached for a paper towel to clean up a dot of green paint that she’d splattered onto his dragon in her excitement.

“But you aren’t denying it.” Her eyes were glittering when he looked up, and the longer Apollo stayed silent, the wider her smile grew. “Oh boy, you’re far gone.”

Apollo sighed. “How obvious is it?”

She held up one finger and dug through her pocket for her phone. She pressed a few buttons and slid it in his direction.

“You’re even obvious from a scientific standpoint, Polly.”

-Ema ☁☼☁e: Okay but really, when did Apollo start dating the fop

-You: Lmao they aren’t. Unless there’s something polly’s not telling me?? XD

-Ema ☁☼☁e : You’re telling me that neither the hypersensitive fidget detector nor the paragon of playboy magazine have caught on

-Ema ☁☼☁e : I know what’s going on and I have the romantic intuition of a packing peanut

-You: Well, I only know for sure what polly’s told me, which is nothing

Apollo moaned. “Really obvious, I guess. Although she makes it sound as if he likes me back.”

Trucy shot him a face that truly put the word dead in deadpan. “Oh, Polly…”

He read through the texts again. “You don’t really think I would date someone you know without telling you, do you?”

“Of course not,” she said, and Apollo’s bracelet squeezed his wrist so quickly he was surprised it didn’t make noise.

But what did that mean? “Your eyes tend to shift around a little when you force yourself to keep eye contact with someone, you know,” he said carefully, trying to avoid directly accusing her of lying.

“Oh…”

That really was strange, though. “Why don’t you think I would tell you, Trucy?”

He was expecting a surface-level explanation like, “I thought you might be too embarrassed,” but it apparently ran deeper than that. He watched the life drain from her eyes, and her expression darkened to the point that Apollo felt cold. “I dunno. There are a lot of things you don’t tell me, and it’s not like you’ve spent enough time with me to say anything, even if you wanted to.”

“What have I not told you?” Apollo asked, and realized how stupid of a question it was a few seconds after it was already out of his mouth. “What have I told you?” might’ve been a better question.

“I… I don’t want to talk about it,” she said, and Apollo swore a lightbulb or two went out in the room. “I’m sure you don’t, either.”

Apollo was actually very tempted to return to talking about his love life and pretend that neither of them had said anything, but Trucy very rarely let down her guard like this. She was such a resilient person that it was terrifying for her to crack. “Trucy…”

“I don’t see you enough anymore to spend my time with you being sad,” she said, picking up her paintbrush.

“...Trucy? There was nothing wrong with my relationship with Trucy.”

“Huh. I guess I assumed that there was something wrong since you haven’t really been talking to each other as much.”

Well. Shit. Way to go, hypersensitive fidget detector. Your powers of observation were always truly impeccable.

“Trucy… I am so sorry,” he said, regret igniting in his chest with a heat that made his hands sweat.

“It’s okay,” she said with a voice that clearly said the opposite.

“No, it’s not. I’ve been avoiding you, and you don’t know why.”

“Oh, I know why...” she said, lowering her voice. “It’s the same reason you asked me to take care of your cat, isn’t it?”

He clenched his teeth. “I…”

“When you told me your landlord wasn’t letting Calico stay in your apartment anymore, you kinda failed to mention that your cat wasn’t the only one he kicked out.”

Apollo closed his eyes, head spinning with anxiety. He should’ve known she would figure it out, but the passive-aggressive note in her voice unnerved him. She was usually so direct in the way she spoke. “How long have you known?” he asked, barely audibly.

“A few days before you went to the hospital,” she said quietly. “I mean, I thought you might’ve had some financial trouble long before that, since I’m the one who does payroll. Not to mention that you were avoiding me and you gave me your cat.”

She sounded eerily similar to how her dad did when he was upset-- uncharacteristically serious and logical. “I figured you were staying with Ema or something. But once you started getting sick, I got worried about you biking alone… So I followed you.”

Apollo tried to think of something to say beside “I’m sorry,” which seemed much too weak, but words failed him.

“I thought that if you got sick enough, you would ask for help, so I didn’t do anything. I guess I was worried that if I said something, you’d push me away completely. Which was really selfish of me... and put you in the emergency room.”

She was blaming herself for this? Apollo’s eyebrows furrowed. “I’d say I put myself in the emergency room, but I wasn’t even smart enough to take a bus to work, let alone seek medical help. I was the one who should’ve reached out, Trucy. None of this was your fault.”

“I just… Ever since you took a leave of absence and everything… I’ve been afraid that I’m going to lose you somehow. I really thought… thought you might...” Her voice cracked, and Apollo threw down his paint brush and lunged to give her a hug.

“You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

They stayed like that for a minute or so, the room quiet except for Trucy’s occasional sniffles. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?” she eventually asked, pulling away enough to look him in the eyes. Despite her runny nose, it didn’t seem like she was going to cry.

“I don't know. I guess I thought I could deal with everything on my own without bothering anyone else.”

She put her hands on her hips and glared at him weakly. “Not asking for help was a lot more bothersome.”

“I know... I thought that if I did everything myself, nobody else would have to be in pain. But I didn't realize that the people around me were too damn empathetic to see me suffer and not feel pain themselves.”

“We’re empathetic because we care about you. Polly, promise me that if something like this happens again, you’ll tell someone. It doesn’t have to be me, but someone. Because I never wanna see you like that ever again.”

“...I think I can promise that.”

“Is that an ‘I’m considering it’ or a ‘Yes, Trucy, I promise’?” She was obviously a lawyer’s daughter.

He put his left hand on his chest and raised his right hand. “I, Apollo Justice, solemnly swear not to be such a complete idiot ever again.”

She smiled, and the room seemed brighter again. “Thank you.”

“You don’t need to thank me for saying I won’t put myself back in the ER.”

“Not just for that. I’m thankful that you worked things out with Daddy, too. And you came to help me with my props. And you’re a really good listener, even when I’m mad at you. After everything that happened, I’m really glad you’re still here.”

“Hey, I care about you a lot, Trucy. I never wanted you to feel like I didn’t want you around. Even if it was really stupid, I was hiding all of that stuff because I didn’t want you to be upset.”

She crossed her arms. “Why would I be upset?”

“Well, I thought you might try to blame yourself, since you’re the one who does most of our office finances.” He’d always thought it was questionable for the 17-year-old in the office to be in charge of the money, but Mr. Wright was hopeless with numbers, and Trucy was technically the agency’s boss anyway. It worked out well for her to do it until it came to situations like these.

“Isn’t that the same reason Daddy hid a bunch of stuff from us?”

“That’s exactly why I said it was stupid.”

Trucy laughed. “Well, it wasn’t exactly a problem I could solve anyway. But I guess that if we keep winding up as murderer target practice, we could probably invest in agency health insurance. I’m sure Daddy would agree. He’s always worried I’m going to cut myself juggling knives or something.”

“...I would assume he’s more concerned for your safety than your medical bills.”

“But you can’t dazzle an audience without taking some risks! Performing magic is like walking a tightrope-- there’s always an element of danger!” she exclaimed, clenching her fists.

“An element of danger that can be eliminated with proper safety precautions like a harness and safety net.”

“See, this is why you’re a lawyer. You can’t keep an audience on the edge of their seats if you don’t stand on the edge between living and dying.”

Apollo sighed. “My job makes me queasy enough without the added fear of plummeting to my death, thanks.”

She giggled, and she seemed so genuinely happy that Apollo couldn’t help but smile, too. “Gosh, I missed you. Daddy doesn’t make nearly as funny of facial expressions.” She hugged him gently, giving Apollo the impression that she was trying not to make him cough. “And I missed you for a few other reasons, too.”

“I didn’t go anywhere,” he protested softly. “...But I missed you, too.”

Trucy let go and grinned. “Well, we have a lot of painting to do, so we should be able to make up a little bit of lost time. Starting with a detailed account of everything that’s happened between you and Prosecutor Gavin this week.”

Apollo practically had whiplash from how quickly she had bounced back to being her usual self, and it took him a few seconds to catch up. “Oh, right. I almost forgot why we started having this conversation in the first place.” He thought for a moment. “Can I make another promise first?”

“Yeah, but it better be a good one.”

“I solemnly swear that if I ever get a boyfriend, you’ll be the first to know.”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, nearly knocking her styrofoam cup of paint over in her excitement. “Wait.” She froze. “If you don’t tell anyone else, that means you wouldn’t have to tell me.”

“...You’ll be the first to know, and you’ll know within 24 hours,” he amended.

“YES!!!”

~O~

By the end of the day, Trucy had gotten more green paint on Apollo than any of her props, and Apollo had left a few good swipes of purple on her arms, too. When Klavier arrived later in the evening, it took approximately ten seconds for him to make a joke about Apollo being a greenhorn, which Trucy laughed a bit too hard at, despite Apollo’s protests that he’d been a lawyer for two years now and could hardly be considered a rookie.

Apparently, Klavier had a difficult time getting paperwork done, and although Apollo argued that he could’ve gone home if the fans he spent the day with were that bothersome, Trucy invited him to sit in the audience and work the next day.

“I’d say you could paint with us, but Polly’s the only one who can do the dragon.”

Klavier put his hands on his hips and grinned. “Oh, that's no problem. As much as I love making my own art, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and see someone else onstage.”

Trucy burst out laughing, and Klavier’s gaze briefly flickered over to where Apollo was, bending over to paint the dragon’s foot. “Perhaps I should’ve phrased that better,” he said, turning back to Trucy with a grin that had regret written all over it.

Apollo shrugged. “I mean, I understood what you said. Then again, I guess I’m used to you being cryptic.”

Trucy started laughing all over again. “Really, Prosecutor Gavin, can’t you just say what’s on your mind?”

“Achtung… At this point, I’m not sure why I still bother with inhibition.”

The next day was probably more enjoyable for Klavier and Trucy than it was for Apollo, but he did have a decent time being mercilessly teased for hours on end. Having an excuse not to look at Klavier when he talked put Apollo at ease, even if Trucy knew exactly what he was doing and poked fun at him for it from time to time.

By the time he was done with the dragon setpiece that Sunday afternoon, he had to admit he was a bit attached to it. Then again, it was hard not to get attached to something you had to apply multiple coats of paint to over the course of two days.

“Well, thanks for your help, Polly! I gotta finish putting all of this together, but if you two stick around, it’ll ruin the magic. Well, for Polly, at least. Are you coming to my show, Prosecutor Gavin?” she asked hopefully.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Fraulein.” Klavier smiled, and Trucy’s eyes lit up.

On the way out, Klavier turned to Apollo and smiled. “It’s good to see her looking so chipper again. She’s been awfully worried about you.”

“Oh, she told me as much yesterday.” Apollo sighed. He’d have to tell Klavier what Trucy had figured out later, but there were too many people around for him to explain it now. “But she does seem happier, doesn’t she?”

“Ja. It’s incredible, how she’s managed to live the life she has and come out smiling. I have to wonder how she does it.”

“A lot of determination, and probably magic.”

Chapter Text

March 6, 12:07 PM
Los Angeles Prosecutor’s Office

The meeting rooms of the Prosecutor’s Office were strange places. They were designed for prosecutors who needed to collaborate on cases, but they were more often used for napping, private phone calls, and other irresponsible behaviors.

It felt a bit strange to use one for its actual purpose, and a bit stranger that Klavier was the only one who had showed up on time. Being alone in a meeting room made him feel as if he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to.

Needless to say, he was relieved when he could hear Kay’s voice through the door from the other end of the hallway, and even more relieved when the door finally swung open.

“Hey, Gavvy! What’s up?” Kay asked with a wide grin.

“I was just in the middle of deciding that I never want to be punctual ever again.”

She pulled out her phone and checked the time. “Ooh, you are early. You must’ve been infected by Apollo’s responsibility,” she said as if it were a curse word. And as if being present seven minutes after the meeting officially started was early.

“It must be a truly contagious disease, if I’ve caught it and not bronchitis.”

Kay tugged on her glove and smirked. “It’s not like I’ve done extensive research on WebMD or anything, but Apollo’s bronchitis stopped being contagious a while ago. At least, if it’s viral. Is it viral?”

“Bacterial.”

“Ooh. He’s one of the 10 percent. Okay, that one stops being contagious once he’s done with antibiotics.”

“...He actually took his last pill this morning.” That probably shouldn’t have made him so anxious, but he’d just lost his simplest excuse not to get too close to Apollo. Which was probably exactly what Kay was going for.

“Then you’re good! Not sure what you're going to do with that information, but…” She looked at Klavier expectantly.

“Probably not all that much,” he said quietly, and Kay sunk a little. “We should probably start getting some work done. Where is Herr Samurai? Or Herr Gumshoe, for that matter?” he asked, somewhat blatantly changing the subject.

“Well, our defendant was refusing to let the police question him, so Quilly went to try and persuade him to talk. I’d say he’ll be back in 20 minutes, tops,” Kay reported, switching to business mode just as quickly. “I’m not totally sure where Gummy is.”

Klavier couldn’t exactly make any headway on his own case without Blackquill’s presence. The case should’ve been simple; two masked robbers had broken into a house to steal whatever they could find, but they found a husband and wife inside. Instead of running away like reasonable criminals, one robber held the wife down as the other robber shot and killed the husband.

Klavier and Blackquill were each prosecuting one of the robbers, and both robbers were claiming that the other was the murderer. To avoid false charges, Klavier and Blackquill were determined to figure out which robber was the guilty one before taking them to court.

“I mean, we could always try talking about the case without them,” Kay offered.

“Nein, we might as well wait until Herr Samurai gets here. If we’re lucky, he might get a confession out of one of them and save us all a lot of time,” Klavier replied.

“Yeah, sounds like a good plan,” Kay said, adjusting her scarf with a serious expression. “So, uh, what do you wanna do in the meantime? We could talk about… um… I dunno. Hear any good songs recently?”

“A few.” Klavier stared at a knot in the glossy wood surface of the table. “I… I apologize for my short temper with you as of late.”

“No, it’s okay! I’m the one who keeps asking questions I know I shouldn’t.”

“True, but you’ve been asking me invasive and insensitive questions since the day we met. I should really be used to it by now.”

Klavier had actually met Kay years ago when he caught her shuffling through his desk drawers several weeks after Phoenix Wright was disbarred. Apparently, Mr. Edgeworth’s grief over the situation led her to take the investigation of Wright’s forgery into her own hands, quite literally. At that point, he was still arrogant and had nothing to hide, so he did paperwork at his desk and sarcastically offered her snacks while she searched through his belongings with a scowl.

“Yeah, but back then it was for justice. I guess technically, it’s still for Justice, but… you know. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable for the sake of my own curiosity.”

Klavier shrugged, taking off one of his rings and examining it. “I can’t exactly fault you for being curious about my love life. Given what I was doing on Friday night, that would be a bit hypocritical.”

Kay’s eyebrows shot up. “Are you offering to tell me why you won’t date Apollo?”

“...I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, in all honesty.”

“Sending me mixed messages,” she answered bluntly.

Klavier fidgeted with his ring. “I apologize... It’s a bit of a sore subject.”

“I can tell. Which is weird, because I can’t remember you ever getting touchy about your love life before.”

Klavier couldn’t decide if he should tell her. Not because he didn’t trust her to keep a secret, but because he didn’t want to think about it. That was probably a good indicator that he should talk about it, but…

“You okay?” Kay asked, concerned. “I didn’t push you too far again, did I?”

“No, I just… I’m an external processor, and I haven’t externally processed any of this in years.”

“Well, if you needed to externally process…”

“Let me internally process first.” He tapped his fingers on the table for about a minute, trying to think of what to say. “I am… decidedly not very good at maintaining relationships,” he finally said, eyebrows furrowed. “Platonic or otherwise. Particularly the latter.”

“Now that you mention it, you did use to be a bit of a serial romantic,” Kay said thoughtfully. “So you’re worried that you and Apollo wouldn’t last very long? Like, he would break up with you?”

Klavier frowned. “Yes and no. For every relationship I was in, without fail, I would be absolutely enamored with the other person... for about two weeks. The candle was lit, it would burn, and it would die. That person would go from being my entire world to just being a face in a crowd.”

He rested his face on his hand. “Eventually, I just… gave up. I’d dated so many people and never had anything last, and I felt overwhelmingly guilty for treating human beings like items to use until they lost their allure. I’m just… incapable of any sort of lasting affection.” He paused to look at Kay, who frowned.

“So to answer your question, ja. Apollo is truly an incredible person. He’s deeply devoted to seeking the truth, but he’s also astonishingly empathetic, and he frequently puts aside his personal ambitions to care for other people. He sees the world so differently than I do, which ignites my imagination. And he’s so serious and passionate, but still manages to make me laugh more than anyone else can. And that doesn’t even account for all that he’s done for me personally.”

The thought of Apollo had lifted his spirits slightly, but reality kicked back in and insecurity overtook his face again. “But no. I’m not afraid that he would break up with me, because I would be able to accept that. Assuming he likes me in the first place, a question I’ve refused to consider. I already know that I don’t deserve him. It’s the alternative that terrifies me. That the moment I allow myself to feel the feelings I’ve been suppressing, I’ll find that they don’t run very deep. That I’ll grow tired of him.”

Kay didn’t say anything for a minute or two, thoughts swirling behind her eerily solemn green eyes. “Damn. Well, I can see why this is a sore subject,” she finally said. “You obviously care about him a hell of a lot.”

Klavier nodded. “I do.”

“And I don’t think your feelings for him are that fragile, Gav.”

He sighed. “I wish I could believe that.”

“I’m serious. I mean, you’re worried that your feelings are going to fade, but all the reasons you just gave for liking him aren’t based on feelings. Apollo’s always going to seek the truth and be empathetic and have a unique perspective on things, and those traits are always going to be valuable to you.”

“I suppose.”

“This might not make for a top 40 love song, but you’re a pretty logical person deep down. Up until now, it seems like you were kinda following your heart in relationships, only to figure out there was no substance there. Like, it was just a feeling. But it seems to me that you like Apollo with your head, and your heart’s kinda just along for the ride.”

Something about that thought was enticing, but it didn’t ease his anxiety. “Perhaps you’re right, and I’m not as shallow as I believe I am. But the potential benefit doesn’t seem worth the risk.”

The door suddenly banged against the wall, and Klavier flinched. “Ah. Herr Samurai.”

An especially exhausted looking Blackquill glared back at them. “Well, he confessed to the murder.”

Klavier’s eyes shot open. “Which defendant?”

“Both of them.” Blackquill glowered at him, and Klavier empathized with his irritation on a spiritual level. “Where is Gumshoe-dono?”

“We were wondering that ourselves. Maybe he texted me...?” Kay checked her phone and burst out into a giggling fit. “I guess he thought we were meeting down at the precinct. He sent that to me about twenty minutes ago, so he should be here in ten.”

“When have we ever met at the precinct?” Klavier asked.

“When has Gumshoe-dono ever made reasonable assumptions?” Blackquill retorted. He sighed. “Have the two of you made any progress on the case?”

“Well, we were going to, but we figured we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without your profound insight and endless wisdom.” Kay grinned sheepishly.

“Flattery is a coward’s sword, Fara-dono.”

“Hey, it’s better than being totally unarmed.”

That actually made Blackquill chuckle in that unsettlingly deep voice of his. “Judging by the heart attack Gavin-dono had when I walked in, am I correct in presuming you were talking about Justice-dono?”

“See what I mean about the profound insight and endless wisdom?” Kay asked Klavier, gesturing toward Blackquill. Personally, Klavier didn’t think someone with endless wisdom would bring up his love life after seeing how he’d reacted to it last week, but he digressed.

“Two weeks,” Blackquill said, looking at Kay.

“You think so? I haven’t bugged Apollo enough recently to know how he’s feeling. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that he’s trying to impress him, but the man has the self-awareness of a french fry. I doubt he realizes why he’s doing it.”

“He does,” Blackquill said with an unsettling amount of confidence. “Not that it matters; he wouldn’t be the one to take initiative anyway.”

“Oh, it totally matters. If Apollo knows, it won’t even be one week.”

Blackquill crossed his arms. “You overestimate Gavin-dono’s self-confidence.”

Kay crossed her arms right back. “You overestimate Apollo’s ability to control anything that comes out of his mouth.”

“You honestly think Justice-dono will be the one to take initiative?”

“Yes. And within the week. I’d bet six dollars on it.” Kay crossed her arms and looked up at Blackquill with a smug grin.

“I’m right here,” Klavier said, glaring at them both. “Besides, I don’t think either of you are in a position to be placing bets. I distinctly recall you describing Fraulein Newman as the ‘finest specimen of the masculine spirit in the history of the planet,’” he told Blackquill, “And don’t you already owe someone six dollars for your failed romantic predictions, fraulein?”

She dug through her purse and held up a plastic bag of loose change. “Exactly! I gotta make it up somehow.”

Klavier sighed. “I would gladly give you six dollars to stop talking.”

“But that wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as victory,” Kay replied. “Although based on how defensive you’re getting--” she placed a hand on his shoulder, which immediately tensed-- “I guess I’ve probably bugged you enough for the day. And we have a case that gives me a really good excuse to get Little Thief out. So I’ll have to talk about this behind your back later,” Kay told him.

“You have my gratitude,” Klavier retorted dryly.

She tilted her head and grinned. “Were you serious about the six dollars, though? Because I’m broke as hell, and Quilly here keeps telling me he’s looking forward to my salary review... Despite me being so much more competent and so much less evil than his last detective.”

“If you have to compare yourself to Foolbright to make yourself appear halfway decent, you likely require that salary review,” Blackquill retorted.

Klavier pulled his wallet out of his pocket and found only five dollar bills. He pulled two of them out. “I’ll give you ten. Now can we please return to discussing the case? Aside from my discomfort with the current subject, I’m rather intrigued by your Little Thief device. I’ve heard it was used to solve a murder related to one of my first concerts, but I haven’t the faintest idea what it does.”

Kay pocketed the money and grinned, pulling out a device with a strong resemblance to Apollo’s so-called cell phone. “I know full well that I’m being slain by the coward’s sword here, but it’s the coolest thing ever. If I just input the necessary information to run the simulation…”

Blackquill could call him whatever he wished for resorting to bribery and flattery, but he couldn’t deny their effectiveness.

~O~

Klavier had been nervous about seeing Apollo throughout his entire drive to the agency, and not even listening to music loud enough to potentially be a safety hazard had helped. But actually seeing Apollo put him at ease, like the funny way he kept his back perfectly straight when he walked and wiggled his fingers when he waved reminded Klavier that Apollo was the same as he’d always been.

“Evening,” Klavier said as soon as the door was open.

“Hey,” Apollo said, getting into the passenger seat. “Anything interesting happen at the prosecutor’s office today?”

“I witnessed the power of Little Thief for the first time.”

“That device Kay has?” Apollo smirked. “Was she using it to solve a crime or commit one?”

“Solve one. Though she did describe the time she used it to help an ‘anonymous college boy’ steal all the toilet paper from a fraternity?”

His cheeks turned a bit red. “...No clue who that could be. I’m sure he had a very compelling reason to do it that she didn’t tell you, though.”

Klavier raised his eyebrows, surprised that Kay hadn’t just made that story up. “Any theories on what his motive may have been?”

“Who knows? Could’ve been that there was a campus contest to see which dorm could use the least water and electricity during Earth Week. And maybe the fraternity in question raided all the other dorms and left all the showers, lights, and sinks on. And maybe a young and reckless vigilante took it upon himself to teach them the value of protecting trees.”

Klavier laughed so hard that he was glad his car was still in the parking lot, because he probably would’ve crashed it. That would’ve been interesting to explain. I’m very sorry I rear-ended you. I’m at that point of attraction where every joke they make becomes about twenty times funnier than it really is, and I forgot how to use my brakes. It appears I’m too gay to drive straight.

“I’ll have to hear more stories about this vigilante. I find him incredibly intriguing,” he said, realizing a bit too late how flirtatious that sounded. Not that it mattered; Apollo really did have the self-awareness of a french fry. “Did he have a good day today?”

“...I don’t know yet,” Apollo said, furrowing his eyebrows.

“What do you mean, you don’t know? Surely there are some questions you don’t have to contemplate for twenty minutes before answering,” Klavier teased.

Apollo held up two envelopes. “Well, my entire day kinda rests on these, so…”

It took Klavier a moment to realize that he was probably holding the results from his cases. He recalled Apollo mentioning that he would get them today. “I can’t believe that completely slipped my mind,” he said, eyes widening. “Why haven’t you opened them yet?”

“Yeah, I wonder why I wouldn’t read secret, emotionally sensitive content under the nose of my co-worker who can hear feelings.”

Klavier considered that. “Ja, I suppose that’s sound reasoning. But why didn’t you open them the moment you got in this car?”

“I’d been waiting to open them all day. One more minute wasn’t going to kill me, and I figured I'd say hello before I had an emotional breakdown.” Apollo ripped open the envelope, but he hesitated before he could take out the paper.

“Are you alright?” Klavier asked.

“Yeah. I’d just like to enjoy what very well may be my last moments of having not broken hope for the future.”

“If it is broken, it’s broken whether you know it or not,” Klavier joked, and Apollo let out a breath of laughter. “I also recall you saying you would be fine regardless of the outcome.”

Apollo nodded and pulled the piece of paper out. “I’m fine,” he mumbled, most likely to himself.

Klavier’s eyesight wasn’t quite good enough to read over Apollo’s shoulder, and that was probably an invasion of privacy anyway, so he watched Apollo’s face instead as his eyes widened with shock.

“Not what you expected?” Klavier asked.

“Holy shit.” Apollo’s eyes were unfocused, and Klavier could see the thoughts swirling in his mind. “Holy shit.”

“Is that bad surprise or good surprise?” Klavier nudged him, but he’d apparently been rendered entirely incapable of verbal communication. “Forehead, you’re killing me. Can you give me a thumbs up or thumbs down?”

Apollo raised his thumb. “I… I don’t even need to open the second one. As in, this covers everything. And more.”

Klavier was almost expecting him to cry, but he didn’t even sniffle. Apollo’s eyes continued to scan the page, clear and bright, and he finally laughed. “I got money for my emotional pain and suffering. And that’s not even including the punitive damages.”

“I would hope they would have to pay punitive damages for attempting to kill you.”

Apollo ripped opened the second envelope and shook his head as he read the paper inside. “I can’t… My brain can’t process this.”

“You must’ve had a good lawyer.” Klavier smiled.

Apollo looked up at him, eyebrows furrowing again. “I was my own lawyer.”

“I’m aware.”

“Oh.” There came the inevitable post-praise blush. “You’re saying I’m a good lawyer. That was a compliment.”

Ja,” Klavier said, nodding his head slowly and grinning.

“Oh, leave me alone. Does it look like I have the mental capacity for socialization right now?” Apollo retorted, staring at his paper with a far-off look in his eyes. “Dang it, I need a calculator.”

Klavier unlocked his phone, opened his calculator app, and handed it to him. “Do you need a pencil, too?” he asked, smirking.

“I’m pretty sure that was sarcastic, but I’m going to say yes anyway.”

Perhaps Klavier should’ve made sure he actually had a pencil before asking that. He looked around his car for a pencil and found a pen wedged between his car seat and the door, which he dropped onto Apollo’s lap. “You’ll have to settle for ink.”

He grabbed it and immediately began scribbling numbers down on the envelope, and although Klavier didn’t want to invade Apollo’s privacy by reading what he was writing, he had to appreciate Apollo’s handwriting-- highly legible, but not so neat that it lost its personality.

Apollo clicked the pen closed with his index finger and grinned. “Even with the debt taken off, I officially have more money right now than I’ve ever had in my entire life. At least, I will, once they send me the checks.”

“I take that to mean you’ll be able to start looking for an apartment?”

Apollo nodded enthusiastically and adjusted his tie. “Yeah. Time to find a landlord who will accept me and my terrible credit score.”

“Ah, I’m certain it will be incredibly difficult to find someone who will offer you a home.”

Besides you.” Apollo’s smirk faded into something more serious. “But really, Klavier… Thank you. I really don’t… Yeah. Thanks.”

“Of course.”

“Can I, like, hug you?” Apollo asked, smiling sheepishly. Klavier laughed and nodded, and they hugged about as well as two people with a significant height difference can hug in a sedan. It felt like it lasted a few seconds longer than it probably should have, but it wasn’t as if Klavier was going to be the first one to let go.

He tried to commit the feeling to memory after Apollo pulled away from him, but it was something that couldn’t quite be described with words, stuck in the truth between paradoxes. Tense but relaxed, confined but free, bubbling but motionless. Something he desperately wanted to last, but something he knew would fade.

“You look kinda sad. You aren’t going to miss me, are you?” Apollo teased.

“Absolutely not,” Klavier replied with a smirk, wishing with everything in him that he was wrong.

Based on how Apollo reached for his bracelet with a surprised smile, he might be.

Chapter Text

March 7, 6:48 PM
Wright Anything Agency

“Evening,” Klavier said, taking out his headphones as Athena and Apollo burst through the door of the agency. He seemed to be in a good mood, to Apollo’s relief.

Prosecutor Gavin I’m so sorry this was entirely my fault so please don’t blame Apollo --” Athena began to ramble quickly as Apollo walked into the agency behind her with a bright yellow towel around his shoulders, feeling significantly less panicked than his companion.

He was sure they looked ridiculous. They were both dripping water onto the carpet-- Athena had dry clothes and wet hair, he had dry hair and wet clothes, and a now-damp towel was the only thing stopping Apollo from shivering from the cold.

“It was only, like, 85% her fault. I did agree,” Apollo admitted sheepishly, out of breath from climbing the stairs up to the agency.

“Thanks for your spirited defense, buddy,” Athena grumbled, accented by a crack of thunder from outside.

Klavier laughed. “I see why you called to warn me not to let him into my car. Did you two investigate a crime scene?”

“You’re not angry. Like, at all.” Athena seemed shocked, silently mouthing a “wow” when Klavier shook his head.

“Why would I be?”

“I don’t know. You had to wait on us, he’s soaking wet, and I talked him into walking a few miles when he’s supposed to be resting.”

Klavier shrugged. “I’m hardly worried about his illness at this point, and he’s had to cope with my lack of punctuality for the past two weeks. And you kindly insisted I sit in the agency and do paperwork while I waited.”

“...I honestly can’t believe you’re a prosecutor.” Athena turned to shoot Apollo a look that pretty clearly said marry him before she turned back to Klavier. “But no, we weren’t at a crime scene. We, uh…”

“Went apartment hunting,” Apollo finished.

Klavier seemed surprised. “Did you tell her, too?” he asked Apollo.

“I mean, I told her I was looking for an apartment close to the agency,” Apollo replied, hoping he would get the hint that Athena didn’t know as much as Trucy.

He did. “Ah. Did you find one?”

“Wait, we gotta tell the story,” Athena said. “But first, does anyone else want tea? Because I’m freezing my butt off, and Apollo has my only clean towel.”

“Sorry. But hey, at least you have dry clothes. And yeah, tea sounds nice.”

“I would love tea, fraulein. And I must say I’m interested in hearing this story.”

“It really wasn’t that exciting,” Apollo added as a bit of a disclaimer.

“Perhaps not compared to some of your other life experiences.” Klavier smirked, and Apollo shot him a warning glare. “But I’m certainly curious about this one.”

“Okay. So, in our defense, we had absolutely nothing to do today. We couldn’t even go help Trucy with her show, because we’ve been officially banned from Penrose Theater until her dress rehearsal so we don’t have the magic spoiled for us. Mr. Wright probably got banned, too, but I have no idea where he is.” Athena picked up the teapot with a disgruntled expression.

“Probably on one of his secret missions,” Apollo contributed.

“Maybe. Regardless of where he was, it wasn’t here. So I cleaned for, like, five hours, and by then I was so bored I couldn’t stand it anymore.” She ducked into the bathroom to fill up the teapot with water.

Klavier’s eyes scanned the room. “If this is what your agency looks after five hours of cleaning, I’m not sure if I want to know what it looked like beforehand.” It didn’t look especially terrible, but it definitely didn’t look tidy. Not that Klavier was a particularly organized person himself.

“Oh, she spent most of the time dusting and alphabetizing the bookshelves. You know, the priorities,” Apollo said with a grin, making Klavier laugh.

“I mean, Apollo and I cleaned up our own things, but the majority of the clutter is Trucy’s. And I’m not touching any of Trucy’s props with a ten foot pole. Ever since Myriam Scuttlebutt sliced open Hugh’s hand for snooping, I’ve been waiting for a knife to come at me any time I touch anyone else’s stuff.”

Apollo smirked. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

“Wow, thanks,” she huffed, pretending to be insulted. “So after cleaning everything within my domain, I realized that Apollo had been in the other room for a solid two hours, and when I went to bother him about making me clean everything by myself, I found him looking up apartments.”

“With pretty much no luck. Trying to find a place that was close by, pet friendly, and within my price range was pretty much impossible.” Apollo crossed his arms. The closest option within his budget that would take in Calico was 17 miles away, and that was assuming they approved of his disaster of a credit score.

“So I thought my own apartment complex might be a good fit. It didn’t have any vacancies listed, but it would be within his price range, assuming I don’t get paid more than my senior partner here.” She laid her hand on Apollo’s shoulder. “Not to mention it’s cat friendly, only three miles away, and I’d get to bug him whenever I wanted.”

Apollo wasn’t sure how he felt about that last part. It wasn’t difficult to picture Athena knocking on his door at 5am to ask if he had milk.

“...That does seem like it would be ideal. But you can’t exactly create a vacancy simply because you want one,” Klavier said with a frown. Apollo and Athena both snickered at that, and Klavier raised one eyebrow. “What did you do?” he asked dryly.

“Oh, we didn’t do anything,” Apollo said, grinning. “But last week, a tenant just happened to get kicked out of the complex after being convicted of murdering his boss on camera.”

Klavier’s eyes glittered. “You’re kidding.

Athena smacked her fist into her open palm with a slapping sound. “Nope! That meant my landlord was pretty reluctant to put it up for sale. Like, she didn’t want to sell it to anyone without warning them who the last owner was, but I’m also sure she didn’t want to write in big letters on the internet, ‘Hey! We had a murderer living in this apartment complex! Come join our big, happy family!’”

“So, given my complete and utter lack of other options, I felt kinda tempted to investigate, but also kinda obligated not to walk three miles there and three miles back while I’m still trying to recover.” That was probably for good reason, given how cold and wet he was now.

“And I said, ‘Oh, don’t worry! If you collapse on the side of the road, I could always run home and get my car!’ I probably should’ve gotten my car to begin with, but I had a lapse in judgement due to severe feelings of boredom. And hindsight’s 20/20, right?” she asked sheepishly. “I mean, I did drive him back here, at least.”

“The fact that he considered his health at all is a vast improvement from where he was before.” Klavier smiled warmly at Apollo, and for a moment, he forgot how stiff his fingers were and how much water he was dripping onto the floor.

“True. And we honestly would’ve been fine if the sky hadn’t decided to unleash its fury on us like it was trying to extinguish the fires of hell and not the hopes and dreams of its innocent victims,” Athena mused.

“...How long were you out in the rain, exactly?” Klavier asked.

“Fifteen minutes, probably. We were already almost at my apartment when the rain picked up. And I swear we were already inside by the time the lightning started, or we would’ve taken cover inside of a cafe or something like reasonable adults,” Athena assured him.

“I can see why you wanted tea. You both must be freezing, ja? It can’t be more than 45 degrees outside.”

Apollo nodded, and Athena put a hand on her hip. “Yeah. I feel bad for him especially; he didn’t have dry clothes to change into once we were in my apartment. All I could really offer him was a towel and a hairdryer.” He felt her fingers run through his hair, and he grimaced. “I still can’t get over how soft and fluffy his hair is without the gel.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about it,” Klavier said, looking at him from a distance.

“I know! Like, it’s so cute like this, but it doesn’t suit him at all.”

“All right, that’s enough from the peanut gallery,” Apollo grumbled.

“Aww, don’t be a wet blanket, Apollo!” Athena shot back, tugging on his towel and earning a burst of laughter from Klavier.

“I’d be a dry blanket if I could,” Apollo muttered.

“Oh, speaking of freezing our butts off, I think the water’s been boiling for a while now,” Athena said, looking at the teapot. “What do you guys want? We have earl gray, mint, darjeeling... english breakfast... chai, and vanilla caramel. Ooh, and orange spice,” she added quietly, like she was hoping nobody would hear that was an option.

“Chai sounds lovely,” Klavier said.

“Which ones are caffeine-free?” Apollo asked. Athena picked up a pouch and examined it.

Klavier clutched his chest in exaggerated shock. “Herr Forehead. Are you actually considering limiting your caffeine intake?”

“It’s, like, 7pm! I possess some levels of moderation.”

“Last time I checked, caffeine didn’t stop a freight train.” Klavier smirked, and Apollo snickered.

“I feel like you two are on a totally different plane of existence from me right now,” Athena commented, clearly amused. “All right, Apollo. Mint, orange spice, or vanilla caramel?”

“The last one.”

“Good, because there was only one of the orange spice left, and I really wanted that one,” she said, putting each packet into a mug and pouring the hot water into them. Apollo bit back a retort about how there might be more of the orange spice if she didn’t guzzle it by the gallon.

“So, did you ever end up checking out that apartment?” Klavier asked, apparently enjoying her enthusiastic though sporadic storytelling style.

“Oh, right!” Athena grinned. “So we went to go look at it, and my landlord was inside. She seemed pretty stressed, so I told her I had a friend who needed an apartment.”

“She immediately confessed that the previous tenant was the same guy you prosecuted last week, which made me laugh. As soon as I explained why I thought that was funny, she seemed to like me,” Apollo said, adjusting his towel with a smile.

“Yeah, I don’t know which part of ‘lawyer with no criminal record who’s good friends with a prosecutor’ was so appealing,” Athena teased.

Apollo thanked her internally for referring to Klavier as a ‘good friend’ and not a ‘special friend’ like she’d done repeatedly with her landlord earlier.

“We tested the place with Luminol, and there wasn’t any more blood than you might expect from someone accidentally scraping themselves.” Not like that would’ve bothered him too much in the first place, given that he was currently standing about twenty feet from the site of a murder. “And we tested the lights, outlets, faucets, and appliances, and they all worked.”

“And your cat is permitted to stay there, you said?” Klavier asked.

Athena giggled. “She said, and I quote: ‘As long as you’re a halfway decent human being, you and your fluffball can do whatever the hell you want.’ Pretty sure she doesn’t know what she’s getting into with Apollo’s chords of steel.”

Klavier laughed. “I haven’t gotten to experience much of his vocal training due to his current lack of lung capacity. I’m not sure whether this is a relief or a tragedy.” He thought for a moment. “Though if he did get noise complaints, I know several things about acoustics.”

Several?” Apollo asked. More like he’d solved several murders with his knowledge of sound.

“Then I’ll make sure you know if he’s irritating my sensitive ears,” Athena told him, taking the tea bags out of the mugs and throwing them into the trash. “Prosecutor Gavin, I hope you aren’t too fancy for tea bags. My foster family in Europe would’ve had my head if they saw me drink anything other than loose leaf.”

“I know several people like that, which makes bagged tea all the more satisfying,” Klavier replied, and Apollo distinctly recalled seeing a loose-leaf tea infuser in Gavin Law Offices. “And feel free to make use of my first name, if you’d like. ‘Prosecutor Gavin’ seems oddly formal for someone making me tea.”

“I dunno, I think it’s the opposite. You’re a celebrity; everyone uses your first name. Calling you Prosecutor Gavin makes me feel like some sort of insider.”

Klavier chuckled. “You aren’t incorrect. But feel free to use whichever you prefer.”

“Is that an, ‘I’d rather have you call me Klavier but I’ll put up with you calling me Prosecutor Gavin’ or an ‘I honestly don’t care?’”

“I have no preference. A Klavier by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Apollo would never admit it out loud, but Klavier really did smell nice. He got the distinct impression that Klavier had gone through a women’s perfume section trying to find the most androgynous scent possible, but in a good way. There was probably a more romantic way to describe it, but he wasn’t much of a poet.

“Was that a Romeo and Juliet reference?” Athena asked, shooting Klavier the grin she usually gave Apollo when she was making fun of him.

“...Not an intentional one.”

She snickered. “That’s probably for the best, Juliet. The agency doesn’t have the best balcony for professing one’s love.”

“I think the lack of a Romeo is a bit more significant than the lack of a balcony,” Klavier remarked, looking the slightest bit wistful.

Athena’s eyes went straight to Apollo. “Eh, I’m sure you’ll find him soon,” she said with the slightest bounce of her eyebrows. Apollo was glad he didn’t have his tea yet, or he probably would’ve spit it out.

Athena picked up all three mugs of tea in a precarious manner and put them on the coffee table, pointing out which mug was whose. “Wait, let me put a hair tie or something on Apollo’s, because they all look pretty much the same. I normally wouldn’t care, but I really don’t want to catch what he has.”

Klavier smirked. “Ah, a friend advised me that his bronchitis is no longer contagious through his saliva. I’m not sure why she felt the need to tell me this information, but…”

Athena squealed with laughter, nearly spilling Apollo’s drink in the process. “That is kinda weird,” Apollo said, causing Athena to burst into laughter all over again. Klavier seemed amused, too, but Apollo didn’t dare ask what was so funny, opting to take his tea before Athena burned him with it.

“So you’re going to be getting this apartment, then?” Klavier asked as Athena sat down on the couch. It felt a bit strange to be the only one standing, but he didn’t sit with them to avoid soaking the couch.

Apollo nodded. “I think so. I told her I’d sleep on it and tell her my decision tomorrow. I doubt I’d find a better opportunity, if I found another opportunity at all.” He’d sort of wanted Klavier’s affirmation before buying it, which was kinda weird, in retrospect.

“Pretty sure you aren’t going to beat the discount she’s giving you on your rent,” Athena added.

Apollo nodded slowly and looked up at Klavier, who gave him a reassuring smile.

“But I’m sure it’s going to be fun moving all of your furniture,” Athena said, frowning. “And by fun, I mean tedious and exhausting. It was really hard for me to get anything inside of my room when I first moved in. The doors are really narrow, and the elevator’s pretty small.” It was true; the door was only about two feet wide, from what Apollo could remember.

“I’ve actually already sold most of my old furniture.” He’d had about a month’s warning before he’d been evicted, which he’d used to sell most of the things he couldn’t keep. Not that Athena needed to know that was why he’d sold it.

“It’ll be a fresh start,” Klavier said with a small smile. “She has a good point, though. How exactly were you planning to furnish your apartment?”

“Um. Not sure. I just knew I needed to get rid of all my old stuff.”

Athena frowned. “It sounds like you have a lot of emotional baggage tied to your last apartment. Maybe it’s good that you’re letting it go.”

“You’re not wrong,” Apollo said, sipping his tea. “But a bed with emotional baggage is still better than sleeping on the floor.” Not that he would know. He hadn’t slept in a bed in five weeks.

“You could probably find some inexpensive stuff online,” Athena suggested. “But then you’d still have to figure out how to get it through the door.”

“...He could always go to IKEA,” Klavier suggested with a small smile.

Athena laughed a bit. “Good luck with that. Although their stuff would probably work. It’s on the higher end of my budget, but still in my budget, and he definitely wouldn’t have to worry about the door.”

“Um… Isn’t IKEA just a furniture store?” Apollo asked.

Athena nodded. “The idea is that you get to see the pieces of furniture in the store and then buy them in boxes so you can assemble them in your own house. But it can be a little… overwhelming.”

“It doesn’t sound too bad,” Apollo said. “Although I can’t say I’m an expert at building furniture.”

Klavier smiled. “You don’t have to do it on your own.”

“...Are you trying to get me to ask for help?” Apollo asked, smirking.

“I’m merely pointing out your options. And my availability on Saturday.” Klavier stretched his elbows behind him to rest on the back of the couch, and Athena put her mug down so she could cross her arms skeptically.

“If you want to help, you can,” Apollo told him.

“No way!” Widget beeped, bright yellow. Athena’s astonishment sent her eyebrows up so high that they threatened to jump off her face. “You aren’t going to insist on doing it yourself?!”

“...You act like I’ve never asked for help before.”

“I mean, you’ve asked for help on cases. When your clients were in active danger of lifelong prison sentences. But this is about you. And you aren’t even at risk of imprisonment or certain death, here .”

She had a point. And he couldn’t exactly make the “Well, Klavier offered to help” argument either, since he’d been actively resisting Klavier’s offers of help only a week ago. But this felt different, somehow. “I mean, if he says he wants to help… I trust him.”

Apollo was a bit surprised by his own choice in wording, because the concept of trust was a dangerous combination of being both vague and emotionally charged. It wasn’t as if he distrusted Klavier, but he wasn’t entirely sure what trusting Klavier would entail.

He was right about it being an emotionally charged word, though, because Athena looked like she might cry, and Klavier seemed shocked. “It would be my pleasure.”

“You two don’t sound like you’re talking about moving furniture,” Athena mused.

“I don’t think we were.”

“I mean, I was talking about the furniture,” Apollo said, watching Widget turn from a bright green to a dark blue out of the corner of his eye. “But… Not just the furniture…?”

Klavier’s eyes met his, as if determining how serious Apollo was. It should’ve been a heartfelt moment, but Apollo couldn’t help but get distracted by those piercing blue eyes. Klavier’s gaze softened a bit, probably having confirmed Apollo’s sincerity, but he didn’t look away.

Apollo was startled out of whatever trance he’d fallen into when the door knob turned. “I wasn’t aware pyrotechnics were permitted in--” Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth peered into the room with narrow eyes, taking in the scene critically. “We have company.”

Mr. Wright peered over his shoulder into the room. “Huh. I thought the two of you would’ve gone home by now. ...What’s up with Apollo’s hair?” he asked with grin.

“Oh, it’s the boss! Where have you been?!” Athena asked, springing off the couch.

Mr. Edgeworth seemed unimpressed. “Did you not tell them?”

“It, uh. May have slipped my mind.” Mr. Wright shot his partner a sheepish grin. “One of Trucy’s props apparently went missing, so I had to try and find a replica. But it’s apparently pretty important to her show, because she refused to tell me anything about it... So I’ve been on a wild goose chase all day trying to figure out how to buy a sword I know absolutely noth--” Mr. Wright froze. “Is that Prosecutor Gavin?”

Klavier’s back was turned to the door, so he managed a carefully placed wince in Apollo’s direction before he jumped off of the couch with a radiant smile, walking over to where Apollo was and resting his forearm on his shoulder. “Ja; I apologize for the intrusion.” It was a casual gesture, but one that screamed, Apollo. Help.

Mr. Edgeworth looked at Klavier curiously. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to see one of my own here.”

“Oh, he’s been looking out for Apollo since he was in the ER. Although…” Mr. Wright’s eyes fixed on Apollo, shifted to Klavier, and then back to Apollo. “I’d think Apollo would be healthy enough to fend for himself by now.”

Apollo and Klavier both tensed at the same time, and Mr. Edgeworth smirked, which was somehow more unsettling than his characteristic glare. “Well, I’m sure Gavin’s taking good care of him.”

Klavier’s arm jumped off Apollo like he was a hot stove, and Mr. Wright snorted with laughter. “He better be. I’m going to have to gossip with Trucy about this later.”

Apollo was very confused, because it sounded like they knew why he was still staying with Klavier, but that shouldn’t have been a laughing matter. Apollo looked up at Klavier, who had an uncharacteristic deer-in-the-headlights look, and felt like he was in an entirely different conversation than everyone else was.

“Should I even ask what you were doing while I was out?” Mr. Wright asked Apollo, grinning.

Mr. Edgeworth crossed his arms. “Unlike you, I do keep tabs on my employees, so I can assure you Gavin and Blackquill were still working on their disaster of a case when I left at at five.”

Klavier echoed the word “disaster” under his breath, and Apollo snickered.

If Mr. Edgeworth noticed them, he didn't show it. “And given that he isn’t soaking wet like the other two, logic would dictate that he wasn’t involved in whatever trouble your cohorts caused.”

“Oh, you and your logic. My cohorts are responsible adults. Does it look like I need to keep tabs on them?” Mr. Wright asked, pointing dramatically at the very professional looking pair.

“Yes. While I have nothing but the utmost respect for their legal abilities, your abhorrent lack of professionalism appears to be corrupting them.”

Mr. Wright huffed. “Well, you’re the one who claimed they weren’t goofing off with Gavin all day. But it’s not like they were out investigating a case, either, because Apollo isn’t nearly stressed out enough for that.”

Klavier laughed at that, earning a light kick to the shin from the heel of Apollo’s shoe. “Ah, they were attempting to find Herr Forehead a new apartment, but were caught in the rain. He was planning on moving before he fell ill, so it was only natural for him to take the opportunity to move while already staying with a friend, hence the extended stay.”

Right. And I’m sure your tea party also has a rational explanation?” Mr. Wright grinned. What did that have to do with Apollo living with Klavier?

“Naturally. I wanted him to air dry indoors before allowing him near my car’s leather upholstery.”

“Good to see someone can respect leather upholstery,” Mr. Edgeworth grumbled, glaring at Mr. Wright.

“Leather comes from cows! Cows get wet. Why don’t cows shrivel up and die when it rains?”

“Your logic is atrocious.”

Despite having only been together for a matter of days, they bickered like an old married couple. Though Apollo supposed they’d dated before, and been friends for years before that, so that was probably to be expected.

There was a lull in the conversation as Mr. Edgeworth glared down Mr. Wright, which Athena immediately hijacked. “Boss, why are you here this late?”

“Oh, right. Trucy’s got a trick where she throws a deck of cards, and for some reason she needs a new deck of cards every time. I don't question it. So apparently there’s a crate with a few hundred decks of cards in here somewhere.”

“A few hundred?” Klavier asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Yup. Trucy won’t perform a trick onstage until she’s done it perfectly a thousand times in a row. She ran out of decks today after 133,” Mr. Wright explained.

Klavier whistled. “And I thought the Gavinners had high standards.”

“She really is amazing. Last night, she made it to 867 before she made her sword disappear and couldn’t make it reappear. Of course, after I spent 12 hours trying to figure out how to get her a new one, it finally showed up exactly where it was supposed to be. I’m pretty sure someone moved it just to mess with her, but she was determined it was her fault.”

“That definitely sounds like Trucy-- her magic, her responsibility,” Athena replied. “...Is the crate the one under the spaghetti? Because I’m not touching the spaghetti.”

“It’s made of plastic,” Mr. Wright pointed out. “...Probably.”

“You want to move it, then?” Athena asked, crossing her arms.

“Not particularly,” he replied.

Apollo sighed, deciding to be the bigger person, and used his towel to pick up the plate, yelping when he was engulfed in a cloud of silver glitter.

“I knew I wasn’t just being paranoid!” Athena exclaimed over the consequent uproar of laughter from Klavier.

“Huh. I guess that’s why Trucy said to pick it up by the fork if I needed to move it,” Mr. Wright mused, one hand on his chin in an unsuccessful attempt to hide his smirk.

“...That information would’ve been helpful about ten seconds ago,” Apollo retorted, glaring at him.

“Try to squint more when you glare,” Mr. Edgeworth suggested. “You currently look more intimidated than you do intimidating.”

“Are you teaching my employees how to glare?!” Mr. Wright protested.

“It’s a necessary skill, if he works under you.”

“The only skill I really need right now involves the removal of glitter from my person, but I appreciate the thought,” Apollo retorted, using the maximum amount of sarcasm he dared to use with the Chief Prosecutor. This was what he got for trying to be a good person, he supposed.

“I think we have duct tape somewhere,” Athena said, frowning.

“Scotch tape works better, and it has a lesser chance of damaging clothes,” Klavier replied, plucking a tape dispenser off of the coffee table. He wrapped the tape around his hand until it resembled a glove. “Though this may be a better job for hairspray. I have no idea how so much of it managed to spread so high in the air,” he said, patting Apollo’s shoulder and examining his makeshift glove critically.

Apollo stared at Klavier with wide eyes. “You actually know how to get glitter off of clothes.”

He smirked. “Oh, this is my element. I didn’t earn the title of ‘Glimmerous Fop’ for no reason.” He tried patting Apollo’s shoulder again and frowned. “It isn’t sticking like it should.”

“Ooh, he just got done bragging about his glitter expertise, and he’s already having problems,” Athena teased. “Sure you don’t want duct tape?”

“...This isn’t normal glitter.”

“It’s probably just sticking better than you’re used to because his clothes are wet,” Athena pointed out.

“Nein, that shouldn’t matter. There’s something off about the glitter itself.”

“What kind of glitter master blames the glitter?” Athena challenged.

“That’s like asking a banker why he doesn’t deal in counterfeit bills,” Klavier protested.

Mr. Wright laughed. “I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as counterfeit glitter.”

“In his defense, it is special, magical glitter. I’m sure it’s been cursed by a certain sorceress to be extra sticky,” Athena teased.

“They mock me now,” Klavier muttered under his breath. “Though I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some ‘magical’ property to it.” He put his hands on his hips and stared at the ground, deep in thought. “Oh.”

“Are we having a revelation?” Athena asked him with a smirk.

“An observation,” Klavier corrected. “I was merely noticing that the glitter is sticking to me, too.” It was clinging to a spot on the bottom of his shirt, and Klavier examined it for a few moments before he grinned. “That’s genius.”

“Whatever he’s about to say, he’s bluffing,” Mr. Wright claimed.

“Oh, I don’t need to say a word. Watch and weep.” He fiddled with his weird chain belt until one of the chain links became detached, splitting into two pieces. He held them up to Apollo, and the glitter was immediately pulled off of him.

“Woah!” Athena’s jaw dropped.

“Steel foil cut to look like microplastic. I thought it was strange how it billowed up into the air when all Forehead did was pick up the plate.”

Mr. Edgeworth crossed his arms. “Hmph. I expected nothing less of my subordinate.”

“Oh, come on, Miles. You thought he was full of BS, too.”

“Your belt’s magnetic?” Apollo asked.

Mr. Wright muttered something under his breath, earning a “ Wright!” from his partner and a howl of laughter from Athena.

“Naturally. Having a long chain attached around my waist seems like a tripping hazard at best. I needed it to be able to disconnect when tugged.” Klavier explained before turning to glare at Mr. Wright. “Do I want to know what you just said?”

“This is one of the few times I must agree with the sentiment that ignorance is bliss,” Mr. Edgeworth muttered.

“I’ll text you,” Athena silently mouthed to Klavier, handing him a large magnet from off of the refrigerator.

It didn’t take a whole lot of time for Klavier to get the glitter off with his newfound knowledge, and Apollo was very thankful that Klavier didn’t have to pat him down to do it. In the meantime, Athena and Mr. Wright safely obtained the chest of cards and carried it outside as Klavier and Mr. Edgeworth jointly decided Apollo was probably dry enough not to damage Klavier’s car seat.

“If that’s the case, it’s about time all of you got out of my office,” Mr. Wright decided.

“Gavin, in spite of the day’s events, I expect the paperwork on your murder robbery case to be finished before the trial tomorrow,” Mr. Edgeworth said, adjusting his glasses.

Klavier silently reached into the messenger bag he was carrying and handed Mr. Edgeworth a folder. “I’m a responsible adult,” he joked, and his boss seemed vaguely impressed when he opened it to find what were presumably the papers in question.

Once they were in the car, Apollo got the feeling that Klavier didn’t care all that much about the car seat, but assumed Apollo would feel bad if he damaged it, because Klavier’s wet umbrella was placed in the back seat without much thought.

Klavier looked at Apollo with a small smile. “You still have glitter in your hair.” He lifted his hand to pick a piece off of the top of Apollo’s head.

Apollo’s scalp was sensitive to his touch, and it felt nice enough that Apollo had to force a scowl when Klavier ruffled it, sending a shower of sparkles into the air. Which was annoying, because Apollo had no problem looking irritable when Athena played with his hair earlier. “The more you touch my hair, the more glitter you’re going to have to clean up later,” he warned.

“What a tragedy. Everyone will be able to see through my tinted windows how glimmerous I am,” Klavier joked, which Apollo would later remember in support of his theory that Klavier didn’t care all that much about the aesthetics of his car.

But for now, all he could think about was how close Klavier’s face was-- as close as another person’s face could be without hurting to look at-- and how the streetlight sparkled through the raindrops on the windshield, illuminating his face with a warm yellow glow.

Suddenly, Klavier seemed magnetic and Apollo felt glittery. Not moving seemed to require physical effort, but moving required a bravery Apollo lacked, so he sat motionless for what felt like a long time.

He could lean forward. He wouldn’t, but he could.

Apollo was relieved when Klavier finally lowered his hand from Apollo’s head to pick up his keys. “Your hair is soft without the gel,” Klavier murmured, turning the gas on.

“Uh. Thanks.” He turned away from Klavier to look out the window, raindrops splattering against the glass as he made an attempt to pull himself together.

Saturday. He just had to make it through Saturday.

Chapter Text

March 11, 1:26 PM
Residence of Apollo Justice

Bare walls, scratched hardwood floors, and several rooms that seemed small even before they had anything inside of them.

“It’s not much, but it’s mine,” Apollo said, dropping a box onto the floor of what was presumably the living room.

“It’s yours,” Klavier agreed, looking around at the blank white walls as if they were unpainted canvases. He grinned.

“You seem to like it.”

“It’s empty. There are so many things you can do with it.”

“Except paint it. Or drill anything into the wall. Or change the flooring.” Apollo smirked.

“You don’t look nearly as grumpy as you sound,” Klavier said with a knowing smile.

“...I’m kinda excited.”

“I’m sure you’ll be more excited once you have furniture.”

Apollo groaned. “Oh, dammit. We still have to build it.”

“Did you forget?” Klavier asked with a laugh.

“No. But I’m so tired after IKEA that collapsing on the floor and taking a nap is looking kinda tempting.”

“Resting for a few minutes doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” Klavier replied, and Apollo responded by leaning against the wall and slowly sliding down onto the floor.

IKEA had certainly been an adventure, well-documented through his text log with Kay.

-You: He can’t be this oblivious. He CAN’T.

-Kay: Omg what did he do

-You: We’re currently in the children’s section at IKEA, so I teased that he could finally find furniture his size. He immediately pointed to a tiny desk chair and argued, and I quote, “There’s no way my butt could fit in that thing.” And it’s my job as a prosecutor to fully consider the defense’s evidence

-Kay: Gavvy. XD

-You: Long story short, he caught me observing his backside. As in, commented in a way that indicated he saw where my eyes were. And thought it was platonic.

-Kay: LMAOOOOO

-Kay: Im not sure what’s funnier, apollo not being able to spot the most obvious crush in the world or you using the word “backside” to refer to his ass XD XD XD

-You: Not everyone delights in being vulgar.

-Kay: YOU WERE STARING AT HIS ASS I DONT WANNA HEAR YOU CALL ANYONE VULGAR

He hadn’t replied to that, probably because she had a very good point, until he sent her a picture of Apollo wearing his sunglasses about half an hour later.

-Kay: OH MY GOSH

-Kay: HOW DID YOU GET HIM TO WEAR THOSE

-You: Apparently sensitive eyesight and a room filled with several hundred lit lamps are a bad combination

-Kay: Aww poor kid

-Kay: Those glasses and his face shape are a bad combination. XD

Now he had a new text from Athena, which he was the slightest bit terrified of. But it was merely a question of whether or not it would be a good time to pop over with a gift for her new neighbor, which he replied yes to. Apollo didn’t look like he had any plans to get up in the next fifteen minutes, his eyes closed and the hood of his red sweatshirt acting as a pillow between his head and the wall.

He still wasn't over the conversation he’d had with Athena a few nights ago.

-You: What did your boss say?

-Athena Cykes: well apollo was like “wait your belt is magnetic???” so mr. wright was like “oh, like he doesnt know how to get gavins belt off”

-You: He did NOT

-You: WE WERE BOTH RIGHT THERE

-Athena Cykes: i like how he jumped from “wait are they dating??” to “they're definitely banging”

-You: ...Believing we were dating was a baseless enough assumption

-Athena Cykes: in his defense, the chief prosecutor also thought u were dating, so there had to be a little bit of base. maybe not fourth base, but like .99th base

-You: Clever pun, but I don’t think we’re that close to first base, personally :/

-Athena Cykes: whyyyyyyyy i know u arent as dense as he is. u know he has a massive crush on u. i get that ur prob trying to be chivalrous and shit by not asking him out while hes living with u, but hes moving out!! los gehts!!

It was getting difficult to assert that Apollo didn’t have a crush on him, despite his best efforts. It was originally easy to explain away the blushing and stuttering as social awkwardness, which was probably why Klavier had been able to deny it for so long.

But after Blackquill of all people stated with absolute certainty that Klavier’s feelings were reciprocated, he began to look for it. Lingering glances, incessant tie fiddling, superfluous physical contact. The attention Apollo gave him when he spoke, laughing a bit too hard at his jokes and recalling more of Klavier’s words than Klavier did.

It was surprisingly subtle-- nothing Blackquill should’ve been able to catch onto unless he’d been gossiping with Athena, and nothing his boss and boss-in-law (a term recently coined by Kay despite Mr. Edgeworth’s protests that they weren’t married) should’ve been able to catch onto at all. The thought crossed his mind that he and Apollo might be acting like their bosses had when they were younger, but he banished that thought to the same part of his mind that housed trigonometry and the lyrics to Ocean Man.

But aside from the surge of elation he felt when he considered that Apollo found him worth liking, knowing his feelings were reciprocated made everything worse. It meant that dating Apollo was less of a daydream and more of a yes or no question--that he was standing at the edge between dating him and not dating him, and one sentence or movement could send him over. If he lost his resolve for a single moment, he couldn’t count on Apollo to push him away.

The sound of knuckles on the front door surprised him. “Who is that?” Apollo asked, perking up a bit from his slump on the floor.

“...Fraulein Cykes,” he remembered suddenly. “She texted me; I forgot to tell you.”

“Oh. You can come in!” he shouted a bit louder than necessary, and the front door swung open.

“Hey, guys! I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” Athena asked.

“No,” Apollo answered. “Did you need something?

She looked the slightest bit disappointed. “I have something for you. I didn’t have anything to wrap it in, but I figured you wouldn’t care,” she said, handing a box to Apollo.

“...You got me a toaster?” he asked, something between confusion and amusement written on his face.

“It’s a housewarming gift!” she exclaimed, much too excited about her pun.

“Get out of my house.” He held a serious deadpan for all of two seconds before he cracked a smile.

“Wow, I see how appreciated my neighborly gestures are,” she huffed, putting a hand on her hip. “Do you guys still have a lot of stuff to carry?”

“Not a ton. We only really got the bare essentials,” Apollo replied. Maybe not even that. Klavier would argue that a table should fit under that umbrella, but Apollo decided he didn’t need one if he could eat at his desk or on the couch. The cat furniture, on the other hand, was entirely non negotiable.

“Well, I’m going to head back to my apartment, but if you guys need any extra muscle, text me. I’m sure it’ll be a long trek to get here, but I’d do it for Apollo.” She put her hand over her heart.

“I’m glad I’m worth the sacrifice,” he retorted. “But I think we’ll be fine on our own.”

“All right. You two have fun!”

“Thanks for the toaster,” Apollo told her as she reached for the door.

“You’re welcome! It heard it was a hot seller,” she said, a sly grin creeping onto her face.

“...Consider yourself un-thanked,” Apollo said, rolling his eyes. Athena left his apartment laughing.

“So, are you ready to unload the rest of your belongings?” Klavier asked, standing up.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” He put the toaster on the ground and hopped to his feet, clutching his new house key in his fist.

~O~

It didn’t take long to move everything, but the actual assembly of the furniture was a bit more difficult. Apollo was meticulously following the instructions as he built the ottoman, but Klavier was so frustrated with the instructions for the couch that they lay abandoned on the floor. They weren’t written in any sort of recognized language, and he didn’t want to play a game of charades with a cartoon character to figure out which pieces of wood went where.

But there was something strangely intimate about assembling someone else’s furniture-- he was leaving his handprint on Apollo’s everyday life where it would last for years. But fortunately, if Apollo didn’t realize there was something intimate about Klavier staring at his ass in the middle of IKEA, he probably wouldn’t read into this much. Especially not when he was busy being irrationally particular about his furniture.

“Wait, Klavier. You're putting that on backwards.”

“What do you mean, backwards?”

Apollo was apparently finished building the ottoman, because he’d picked Klavier’s abandoned instructions manual off of the floor and was staring at it critically. “The smooth side is supposed to go outward.”

“It can't. The holes wouldn't match up that way. Not to mention it would look ridiculous.”

Apollo looked at the arm of the couch Klavier was holding and frowned. “You're not wrong.” He read the directions again, tilting his head a bit. “...I think that's the left arm.”

“I already put the left arm on.”

He looked up with a faint smirk. “That’s the right arm.”

Klavier sighed. “Does it matter? It's going to be covered with fabric by the time we're done anyway. Nobody will know.”

I’ll know.”

“Which is a perk, really. Your apartment will forever be furnished with proof that Klavier Gavin is too impatient to decipher hieroglyphics and too proud to fix his own mistakes, and you don’t even have to sacrifice the aesthetic appeal of your couch.”

Apollo laughed. “I'm not sure what sounds more satisfying, making you fix it or never letting you live it down.”

“Oh, I'm not fixing it. If you insist on having a perfect couch, you're going to have to put down your beloved instructions manual and fix it yourself.”

“Never letting you live it down it is, then.” He smirked.

“Do as you please. You’ll find I don’t feel nearly enough shame for that to be effective.” Klavier fit the holes in the pieces of wood together and looked up. “Can you hand me the screws and the… ah…” The only word coming to mind was muttern, and that was decidedly not English. “Twisty things?”

Apollo laughed. “Twisty things?”

“Achtung, you know precisely what I’m speaking of. I apologize that my worldly expertise does not extend to hardware.”

“Neither does mine, but I still know what a nut is.” Apollo sat on the other side of the arm of the couch and dropped a handful of screws into Klavier’s palm. “If you stick them through, I can put the twisty things on.”

This would be a solid plan if Apollo’s face wasn’t so close to his, brown eyes meeting Klavier’s and eyebrows rising slightly. Fortunately, putting screws into holes didn’t require a whole lot of thought, because his cognition was currently split between contemplating exactly how a person could be so cute and how funny it would be to text Kay that he and Apollo were technically screwing together on a couch.

And of course Apollo had to draw attention to their proximity, because this was Apollo. “How does your breath smell minty? We had buffalo chicken wraps for lunch.”

“Didn’t you know that rock stars naturally salivate perfection?”

Apollo looked unimpressed, so Klavier pulled a plastic gadget out of his pocket with his free hand and showed it to him. “Breath spray.”

“Huh.” He thought for a moment. “Wait, why do you care what your breath smells like? We were at a furniture store.”

Klavier could think of about a million reasonable sounding lies to cover up that he was wearing it for Apollo’s sake-- I always use it; you never know when you’ll run into a fan; I hate the aftertaste of chicken-- but it was better to tell the truth and have Apollo not pay attention to it than lie and get caught.

“I have a friend with a knack for ending up within my bubble of personal space,” he said, meeting Apollo’s eyes with a smirk.

“Huh? ...Ack!” He jolted back about a foot. “I didn’t reali… Sorry!” His face flushed a deep shade of red, eyes wide in a way that screamed, “He knows.”

“I do know. But I don’t mind,” he wanted to say, but he didn’t. Instead, he laughed. “Your social graces never cease to amaze me.”

Apollo secured the last screw extremely quickly in an obvious attempt to not look at Klavier. “Ah ha ha. I’m sure I’m very impressive. Well, looks like step 14 is done! I’m just gonna go grab the instructions before something gets, uh, screwed in wrong…” He jumped up to his feet and snatched the paper off of the top of an unopened box.

It had been quite a while since he’d last seen Apollo this flustered, but it was as adorable as ever. “Um… If this board is supposed to connect to the left arm, do you think it should go on the right arm on the left side or the left arm on the right side?”

Part of Klavier wanted to tease him for the abrupt change in subject, but it was probably a good idea to let that slide. “I think we should try it on one side, see if it works, and if it doesn’t, try it on the other.”

“That sort of reasoning is exactly what made you switch the sides in the first place,” Apollo said, unimpressed. He seemed to have recovered a bit of his composure, if he was composed entirely of dry humor.

“Which means we should continue to use that reasoning if we want it to work, ja?”

“...All right, but if we wind up having to undo the entire thing, I’m blaming you.”

They didn’t, thank you very much, and once the couch was done, you definitely couldn’t tell that anything was on backward. “Told you it didn’t matter.”

“You sound like a vindicated five-year-old,” Apollo teased.

“I feel like one, too.” He laughed. “What else do we still have to build? The bed and the desk?”

“And the cat tree. But that should take all of fifteen seconds.”

“I should be able to manage the desk.” He wasn’t touching Apollo’s bed with a ten foot pole.

“Are you going to read the directions this time?” Apollo teased.

“Oh, I already have. All zero words.”

“I’ll take that as a no.” Apollo smirked. “Well, I’ll work on the bed, and follow the instructions like a reasonable human being.”

“Achtung; be sure to heed every letter.” Of course, this meant Klavier couldn’t refer to the directions at all; his pride was on the line. Fortunately, there were only four pieces in the box, and two of them were identical, so it wouldn’t be too difficult.

There was a large piece of wood that was presumably the desktop, a wire frame, and two T-shaped legs. The wire frame was the same shape as the desktop, and there were holes in the same places, so he screwed them together. There were two holes for the legs to screw into, so he estimated the distance with his fingers and placed the legs that far apart on the floor.

The long, flat part of the T’s lay on the ground, so the legs could easily stay upright, but balancing the desktop on top of the legs seemed somewhat precarious. He got it to stay by lowering it from underneath, but the moment he reached for a screw, the whole thing toppled over with an inordinately loud crash.

Despite not being the one who had forty pounds of wood fall on him, Apollo yelped much louder than he did. “Klavier!! Are you okay?!”

“Ja. That sounded much worse than it was.” He pushed the piece of wood into his lap and sat up.

Apollo let out a sigh of relief, but his look of concern only lasted a few seconds. “Aren’t you supposed to flip the desk upside down while you’re building it?”

Well. He was a genius. “That... is a thought I probably should’ve had.” Klavier laughed, and Apollo shook his head, smiling slightly.

“You’re an idiot.” He picked the instructions booklet up off of the floor and shoved it into Klavier’s hands.

It took the two of them no more than fifteen minutes to finish their respective projects, and by the time all the furniture was in place, the little apartment looked much cheerier. Apollo was especially enthusiastic about the cat tree, which Klavier found cute.

“Do you have everything you need, then?” Klavier asked, having already helped Apollo put away necessities like towels, hand soap, and toilet paper.

“I’m sure we forgot something important, but I know I’ll remember what after I go grocery shopping with Athena tomorrow.” They hadn’t actually bought any food, as Apollo was too exhausted from being out in public to do any more shopping, and he apparently had enough ramen packets and instant coffee to tide him over until the next morning. Klavier couldn’t imagine getting tired of shopping, but that was probably his extroversion speaking.

Klavier shrugged. “If you don’t remember, it couldn’t have been that important.”

There was a pause, and it occurred to Klavier that there wasn’t really anything left for him to do. Apollo was back on his feet-- better than that, really-- and when Klavier went home, it would be the end of whatever strange experience this had been.

Apollo must’ve been having the same revelation, because his face looked a bit solemn. “Thank you,” he said quietly. “For everything.”

“Thank you, too. I think you’ve done more for me than you realize.” Klavier was sort of expecting Apollo to hug him, but he seemed frozen. It took a moment for Klavier to realize that Apollo was probably remembering his comment about personal space from earlier. “May I hug you?” Klavier offered instead.

Apollo’s eyes widened a bit and he nodded. Klavier wrapped his arms around him and Apollo squeezed him back tightly.

“I’ll miss having you around,” Apollo admitted, loosening his vice grip.

“You say that like I’m going to a foreign country and not my house a fifteen minutes’ drive from here.”

“...You say that like you aren’t going to miss me, too.”

Klavier smiled. “It really was a pleasure. Though I’m sure you’d like to get some sleep-- it’s been a long day, ja?”

“Yeah,” Apollo replied softly. “Are you heading out, then?”

“I suppose so.” Klavier hadn’t thought much about what he’d do once Apollo was gone. Before, he’d been perfectly content to keep everyone in his life safely at arm’s reach, but now that lonely existence seemed dismal.

“Well… Take care, I guess. I’ll… I’ll see you around?”

But his relationship with Apollo would inevitably change. Their busy careers would keep them separate; they’d grow distant, even with their best attempts to find time to spend together. They’d remain friends, of course, but they’d never be this close again. “Ja.”

He pulled his coat off of the doorknob and paused before he could open the door, fingers lingering on the cool metal, afraid that once he turned it, his relationship with Apollo would start to decay. That terrified him-- losing Apollo felt like losing a part of himself. Not in the sappy you-complete-me sort of way soulmate stories were made of, but in the recognition that Apollo’s presence acted as a catalyst for Klavier’s development as a person.

Apollo was more than a friend or romantic interest. He spurred Klavier to be braver, kinder, stronger. To laugh more. To think differently. To confide in others. To become the person he wanted to be.

But Klavier knew he couldn’t stay. Their affection for each other was a ticking time bomb, and if it went off, there was no way for it to end well. Apollo would be happier this way, and if Klavier had to choose to lose Apollo slowly or quickly, he’d choose the former in a heartbeat.

He twisted the doorknob and pushed the door open, stepping out into the hallway.

“Klavier, wait!”

Klavier whirled around, startled. “Did I forget something?”

But Apollo met his eyes with a potent stare, fists clenched and ready for action. “No.”

Ah. He should’ve known Apollo wouldn’t let him give up so easily.

Chapter Text

March 11, 6:07 PM
Residence of Apollo Justice

About a thousand thoughts were swirling through Apollo’s mind. Something felt wrong, and judging from the way Klavier’s hand hesitated on the doorknob, he felt it, too.

It wasn’t like Apollo couldn’t live for ten minutes without Klavier. He was pretty far gone, but not that far gone. But there was this ambiguity about the whole thing that Apollo found unsettling. That everything might return to normal, the two of them to their own lives, and they would both forget that any of this had ever happened.

“Klavier?” Apollo asked at the same moment Klavier swung the door open. He walked out slowly, like he was treading through water.

“Klavier, wait!” Apollo ran to the door and the metaphorical water evaporated, Klavier quickly turning to face him.

“Did I forget something?” he asked, blue eyes a bit wider than usual.

“No,” Apollo replied, and Klavier looked at him expectantly. Oh, dammit. Now he actually had to come up with something to say. “I, uh. Was wondering if you… If you wanted to stay for dinner.”

That made it sound like a date, Apollo realized a bit too late. Wait. Was it a date? He wasn't actually sure, but he felt like asking someone out should be a conscious decision, not an impulse he acted on while his inner monologue was busy spitting out the word “shit” repeatedly like it was trying to play a scratched CD.

“Did you forget how to eat it without me?” Klavier teased, though his smirk was undermined by a look of genuine enthusiasm.

“No! I just… Um… You mentioned a while ago that you’d like to spend time with me. Like, when we didn’t have to. And, uh, I realized this is kinda our first chance to do that...?”

Klavier looked at him thoughtfully and stepped back into his apartment, closing the door behind him and hanging his coat back on the doorknob. He stared at Apollo for a few moments, contemplating something. “Forgive me if I'm entirely off-base, because it will be very awkward if I am.” Based on the way his fingers trembled as they reached for his hair, Apollo could guess what he was about to ask.

“I-I mean, most of the conversations I have are awkward,” he said, trying to think of any potentially awkward topics Klavier might be thinking about other than the obvious.

Klavier let out a short laugh at that. “I can’t argue with that. But… I…” Klavier analyzed him for a moment with a serious sort of expression, apparently regretting something he hadn’t even said yet. “Are you asking me on a date?”

A hot, sickening sort of horror settled in the pit of his stomach. Apollo definitely saw that coming, but that didn’t mean he had any idea of what to say other than a long slur of expletives. “Uh. I was kinda… kinda wondering the same thing, actually. How… How awkward would it be if I said yes?”

Klavier smiled, but in an unreadable sort of way that made Apollo nervous. “Very much so. You'd be asking me on a dinner date when you have no food.”

“Oh. Uh… Right.” Apollo’s stomach lurched at first, but when his brain caught up with the rest of him, his eyes widened. “Wait. Would that be your biggest objection?”

Klavier took a deep breath. “You’ll have to give me a moment. I’m still attempting to process that Apollo Justice just asked me out.”

“Actually, I’m still not sure whether or not I did.”

Apollo had never seen someone look so impressed and unimpressed at the same time. “You don’t know?” Klavier asked.

“I mean, I just really didn’t want you to leave yet. Not sure whether that was because of platonic attraction or romantic attraction, because it easily could’ve been either.” He smiled sheepishly at the realization that he’d officially confessed to his crush.

“This was entirely unplanned?”

Apollo looked him dead in the eyes. “Klavier. I don’t have food. Does it seem like I have any idea what the hell I’m doing?”

“Not particularly, no.” Another smile that Apollo couldn’t interpret.

He sighed. “Can you please tell me what’s going through your head?” He just wanted a definitive no so he could finally put his irrational hopes to rest.

Klavier’s hand rose to play with his bangs as he thought. “In all honesty? A very strong urge to kiss you suppressed by a debilitating fear that this won’t work out.”

Apollo’s face burned when he realized that wasn’t the rejection he’d been anticipating. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it was definitely not a no. “Like. That we aren’t compatible?”

“That’s… not my concern.” Klavier’s cheeks had a slight pink tinge to them. “It’s more that I haven’t been particularly successful with relationships in the past.”

“I mean, I haven’t either. That’s kinda why we’re single.”

Klavier considered that. “It sounds simple when you put it that way.”

“But, uh. Is that the main problem here? As in, you, um…”

He smiled. “Are you trying to ask if your feelings are reciprocated?”

“Yes. That.”

His eyes glittered with amusement. “I just told you that I wanted to kiss you.”

That was very much not a no. Apollo felt like his chest had been hit like a gong, the shock of it vibrating through his entire body. “I mean, that could’ve been an ‘I wish I liked you, but I don’t, sorry.’”

Klavier laughed. “It’s not. I’m very much attracted to you.”

His bracelet lay still on his wrist. “Like. Romantically.”

Klavier nodded. “Romantically. What about that is so difficult for you to believe?”

“The fact that my bracelet isn’t reacting,” he said incredulously. There was no way that could be right, but there was no way that could be wrong, either, because even if Apollo’s bracelet was somehow malfunctioning, Klavier wouldn’t lie about something like this. “I mean, you’re beyond out of my league. I’m not even in a league.”

Klavier’s gaze softened. “I should’ve guessed that your obliviousness stemmed from insecurity.”

“What do you mean, ‘obliviousness?’”

He smiled. “My crush on you hasn’t exactly been the most subtle. Not to mention that your coworkers have been teasing me for it... In front of you.”

Wait, really? “There’s no way. I... I mean… If you were hiding that from me, my bracelet would’ve…” Apollo’s eyes widened. “My bracelet.”

“Hmm?”

Now that he thought about it, his bracelet had been reacting at strange times over the past few weeks. “My bracelet went off when you were talking about me invading your personal space. And when you said you were flattered that I was trying to impress you. And… The entire time we were talking about going and getting my stuff from Eastbrook, but that one still doesn’t make sense. I kinda figured that one was my fever.”

“...Was that when you weren’t wearing a shirt?”

“Yeah,” Apollo replied, only for the implication of that to set in. “ Oh.” His cheeks burned, and Klavier’s turned a bit red, too.

Klavier glanced off to the side. “You look good,” he said quietly, playing with his hair with a sheepish smile that looked very out-of-place on his face.

Coming from Klavier Gavin, that was quite the statement. “But… But you’ve always made fun of the way I look!! Like, that I’m short. And I have a big forehead. And I have weird hair. And you… you’re constantly saying nice things about my personality, so it’s not like you aren’t the complimenting type.”

“Ach… Consider it this way: if I didn’t want you to know that I liked you, I could appreciate your personality and still pretend that my feelings were platonic. But the moment I started to appreciate your backside would be the second I lost plausible deniability.” He laughed when Apollo recoiled in shock. “Not as if you thought much of it when you caught me doing exactly that this morning.”

Apollo’s jaw dropped. The thought hadn’t even occurred to him that Klavier might be checking out his ass, but in retrospect, it probably should have. “...Well, hindsight is 20/20,” he mumbled, embarrassed that he could remember the exact moment Klavier was referring to.

“In more ways than one,” Klavier added, stifling a laugh. Hindsight. Hind end. Ugh, Apollo couldn’t believe he’d helped set up that pun. “Though... it would probably be best for both of us to continue to act as if my feelings were only platonic.” His smile faded.

Apollo’s sheepish grin disappeared, too, the flustered excitement pulsing through his veins slowing. Right; Klavier wasn’t interested in a relationship. Apollo had suspected that for a while now. “I can respect that.”

But seeing the self-resentment creeping into Klavier’s eyes made Apollo’s skin crawl, and if that was what he was agreeing to respect, he wasn’t sure he could keep that promise. “...If that’s really what you want.”

Klavier hesitated, fists clenching, and if he thought his prolonged silence could get Apollo to drop the subject, he was going to have to outwait a very patient introvert with a PhD in awkward silences. “What I want is irrelevant,” he finally said, words barely audible.

“Not to me.”

Klavier sighed. “It’s irrelevant because it’s impermanent. I... have a history of being unable to maintain affection for others. Growing bored of my significant others and pushing them out of my life.”

“And you think you’ll do that to me?” Apollo asked, crossing his arms to better project his skepticism. Klavier looked ashamed, and Apollo was having none of that.

“...I know you don’t like to believe I’m a shallow person. But that’s what I am.”

Of course this would come back to Klavier not believing he was a person of substance. Apollo knew exactly what was wrong with his logic, but he didn’t know how to put it into words.

Metaphor. He needed a metaphor. “Klavier. Which fish is more likely to be unhappy: a big fish in a shallow pond or a small fish in a deep pond?”

“Assuming that fish have feelings, the big fish in a shallow pond.”

“So who do you think is more likely to be dissatisfied: a person who requires depth in a shallow relationship, or a person who doesn’t require depth in a deep relationship?”

Klavier considered that. “You don’t know if my prior relationships were shallow.”

“No, but I do know that you’ve never had your significant others inside of your house, which is kinda the same thing.”

“...Perhaps. But I…” He trailed off, looking conflicted. Which was good, because he couldn’t fight himself unless some part of him believed Apollo was right.

Apollo met his eyes with ferocity. “I don’t like to think you’re a shallow person because you’re not. The fact that you can believe that about yourself honestly baffles me. Like, you’re a logical person. You should be able to see how little evidence you have to support that.”

“There are several dozen people I thought I loved who I grew tired of and pushed away. I have plenty of reason to fear that I might do it to you, because I’ve done it before.”

Apollo shook his head. “No. You haven’t done that before. Not to me. You dragged me here, Klavier. I didn’t have the luxury of being pushed away. And… And you’ve seen me at my absolute worst. I’ve kicked you hard enough to make you fall over, coughed on everything you’ve ever owned, spilled stuff on your carpet, had several emotional breakdowns, and acted so stubborn I managed to irritate myself. So if for some godforsaken reason you still aren’t tired of me...”

Apollo shrugged. “I don’t want to pressure you into something you don’t want or aren’t ready for. But... if all that’s stopping you is a fear that you wouldn’t be a good boyfriend, I think I’m the one who gets to decide whether or not you’d be good for me. And I swear you would. You’re a better person than you realize.”

“...You really do believe in me,” Klavier murmured.

“Of course I do. I just asked you out!”

Klavier smiled slightly, an amused smirk that Apollo was very familiar with, which came as a relief. “I thought you were unsure.”

“Yeah, well… I think I made up my mind.”

Klavier closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Well… I’m not sure if I trust myself. But if you honestly believe I’m not the person I think I am… I trust you.”

His gaze dropped to Apollo’s clenched fist, which he reached out to touch with the back of his hand. Apollo met his gaze questioningly and relaxed his hand, opening his palm, and Klavier interlocked their fingers, rings pressing against his skin.

“Is that a yes?” Apollo asked, smiling.

“To what, exactly?” Klavier seemed all kinds of nervous and apprehensive, but there was also a joy in his eyes that made Apollo feel lighter.

“Well… Sitting in my apartment while I attempt to order pizza, finding some way to entertain ourselves with nothing but a deck of Uno cards, and calling it a date.”

Klavier laughed. “I’d love to.”

Apollo shook his head slowly. “I still can’t believe you like me.”

Klavier’s free hand rose to gently lift Apollo’s chin with rough fingertips. “If it’s evidence you need, I still have a very strong urge to kiss you.”

Klavier’s sudden flirtatiousness caught him off guard-- where had his prior hesitation gone?! “I, uh. Have plenty of evidence. It’s… It’s mostly the emotional comprehension thing that’s lagging.” Apollo shot him a lopsided grin. “But... But I’m guessing you were just trying to be smooth.”

Klavier nodded, looking more amused than irritated. “Trying.”

“Um. How… How confident are you in your friend who told you my bronchitis wasn’t contagious?” Apollo looked at Klavier’s lips, suddenly acutely aware of what he was proposing, and his own separated involuntarily.

“Would Kay Faraday lead anyone astray?” Klavier smiled.

It took Apollo a moment to process the question. “Yes.”

He laughed. “Well, perhaps I’m being a bit reckless in trusting her, but if worst comes to worst, I’m quite used to you taking my breath away.” He leaned closer with a smirk.

Apollo’s cheeks burned, and they only got redder when he thought about how smitten he had to be to blush at such an obvious attempt to be suave. But there was something about Klavier’s signature charm being directed at him that made his heart race, especially when Apollo realized how still his bracelet was on his wrist.

“I. Um.” Apollo could feel the warmth of Klavier’s breath as his lips hovered just inches above his own, apparently waiting for some kind of permission. “Should probably stop you. But I won’t.”

Klavier’s lips met his gently, but it felt like it had the force of a hard hit to the head with none of the pain. Everything spun and Apollo found himself tipping backwards, but the hand under his chin caught his shoulder and pulled him closer before he completely lost his balance.

Apollo had only just regained his bearings when Klavier pulled away and smiled, eyes glittering. “That wasn’t so difficult.”

“It wasn’t,” Apollo breathed, heart racing and suddenly very alive, lips tingling from a mixture of exhilaration and the cool mint of Klavier’s stupid breath spray.

Before he knew what he was doing, he bounced up to reach Klavier’s mouth again, who let out a small “Mmph!” in surprise. Klavier released Apollo’s hand so he could thread his fingers through Apollo’s hair, and Apollo wrapped his arms around Klavier’s back. His lips were soft and warm and a pang of shock rippled through his body because this was Klavier’s mouth, the one that could form a thousand smiles, captivate entire audiences with just the sound of his voice, and speak truth when nobody else could see it.

Apollo was out of breath far too quickly, pulling away so he could gasp for air, and he met Klavier’s eyes with a smile. Klavier licked his lips and grinned back, looking absolutely delighted.

“What happened to the guy who was afraid that this wouldn’t work out?” Apollo asked.

“Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m terrified,” he replied, glancing off to the side. “You mean a lot to me, and I… I worry I’ll do something to lose you,” he admitted, looking incredibly vulnerable. “But… This isn’t just about me. I shouldn’t think I could lose you as if you were a pair of keys and not a very determined force of nature.”

Apollo couldn’t suppress his snicker quickly enough. “Sorry. This is serious; I know.”

“What’s so funny?” he asked, more curious than offended.

“I… I just remembered the sort of luck you have with your keys.”

Klavier thought for a moment before his smile flattened. “If you go missing and I find you in the hands of a dead man, I’m going to throw a fit.”

Apollo laughed. “I don’t think I’d be too happy, either. But…” He tried to look more serious. “Realistically, you’re going to screw up. I will, too... I mean, I just asked you out on accident.”

“...That was cute.”

Apollo sighed. “If you thought that was cute, you’re in for all kinds of adorable. But… Even if we do make mistakes-- as in, real ones-- figuring stuff out is kinda what we do. We’ve solved bigger problems together than this.”

Klavier nodded slowly. “We have. And truly… This very well may end up not being a problem at all. Life rarely happens as I expect it to.”

“I hope so. You’re about due for a good surprise.”

“I suppose I am. And I do recall saying that you tend to be the exception to most of my rules.” Klavier smiled warmly at him.

“Does that make me a good surprise?”

“Well, I like you a great deal, and you tend to be surprising.” Klavier lifted a hand to his jaw and ran his thumb over Apollo’s lips, eyes dropping a bit to look at them and betraying his intentions long before he leaned closer.

Well, Klavier wasn’t particularly surprising, but Apollo liked him, too.

Kissing Klavier was intoxicating in a decidedly sober sort of way-- he was hypersensitive to every smell and touch and sound, but he was more focused on how they felt than what they meant. This slight disconnect from reality meant that the sound of knocking on the door startled him enough to shove Klavier off of him and into the wall with a thump.

“Sorry!” Apollo whispered fervently, relieved to see that Klavier looked more amused than in pain. “Who the hell is that?”

“Why are you asking me? This is your apartment,” Klavier replied just as quietly.

“You knew who it was earlier!” Apollo pointed out. “Did someone text--” He covered his mouth, remembering his own texts. “The cat. I completely forgot. Trucy was going to bring my cat.”

Klavier snickered. “Well, don’t leave the fraulein waiting.”

He clearly didn’t understand the level of freak-out Trucy would have when she figured out what was going on. Apollo remembered the vow he’d made with her to tell her if he started dating someone and hoped she would believe it hadn’t been 24 hours yet. Or 24 minutes, even.

“Stay here,” he told Klavier quietly, approaching the door like a gunman was on the other side. He opened the door just wide enough to expose his face.

Heyyyy, Trucy. ...Did you bring my cat?”

If she’d heard him and Klavier talking, she made no indication of it. “Yup!! He’s out in the car. I didn’t want to move him if you didn’t have things set up for him yet.”

Apollo crossed his arms. “You don’t have a car.”

“Daddy’s car.”

“...Your dad doesn’t have a car, either.”

“My other daddy.” Ah, Mr. Edgeworth. She put a finger to her chin. “That is gonna get confusing, isn’t it? I’ll have to think about that. Anyway, do you have everything for Calico set up? Your hair’s pretty messy, so I’m gonna guess you’ve been moving stuff around. Can I see?” she asked, bubbling over with enthusiasm.

Oh. He raised his hand to his hair and tried not to visibly cringe. He hadn’t thought about what Klavier’s fingers had done to it until just now. “Uh…”

Her enthusiasm quickly faded to suspicion. “What’s with the ‘Don’t give me a penalty, Your Honor’ face?”

His face flushed a bit at Klavier’s muffled laughter. “Well. Um. You know how I said that if I started dating someone, you’d be the first to know?” he asked sheepishly. Trucy covered her mouth with one hand. “Well. You’re the first to know.”

Trucy burst through the door to hug him, high pitched squeals of excitement close to rupturing Apollo’s eardrums. “What?! When?! How did he ask?!”

A tan hand rested itself on Apollo’s shoulder. “He asked me about twenty minutes ago, and it went about as smoothly as a jar of crunchy peanut butter.”

Trucy gasped, eyes wide. “Wait, he’s here?!” She tackled Klavier with the same bone-crushing force she’d flown at Apollo with.

Her assault startled him, but he looked cheerful when he recovered. “It’s nice to see you too, fraulein.”

She took a few steps back and put her hands on her hips. “Now, what did you say?! Apollo asked you out?!”

It was a few minutes until they’d given her enough details to satisfy her. “So that basically means you’re my brother-in-law now, right, Prosecutor Gavin?” she asked Klavier.

Apollo crossed his arms. “Um... I’m not your brother, and we aren’t getting married.”

But Klavier just smiled, ignoring him completely. “If you’re my sister-in-law, I think you could use my first name.”

Trucy gleamed with excitement. “Really?!”

Klavier nodded, looking adorably pleased with Trucy’s enthusiasm. “Of course.”

“Klavier, then.” She sighed happily. “...This has been the best week ever. Aside from the part where I got covered in glitter as revenge for narrating my dads’ love lives. Which I totally saw coming.” She put a hand on her hip. “Speaking of which, I should probably go and get Calico before they think I got kidnapped. Or worse-- they start making out.” She shuddered.

“You may not want to leave us alone for too long, then,” Klavier joked.

Trucy giggled at Apollo’s growing blush. “You guys are cute. But my dads are in this terrible combination of having lots of experience with each other and being in the honeymoon phase. It was adorable for, like, two days.” She grimaced. “Anyway. You’re ready for your cat, right? I’ll be right back.”

She left the door open when she left, so Apollo shut it quietly. “What’s up with you suddenly wanting people to call you by your first name?” Apollo had never considered how rarely Klavier used first names before, but now that the thought had popped into his head, it seemed significant that Klavier would suddenly alter an otherwise small part of his personality like this.

Klavier shrugged. “It’s overdue, ja?”

Apollo thought about that for a moment-- this had to run deeper than just a manner of speaking. “What’s overdue? People using your first name? ...Or you wanting people to use your first name?”

“Perceptive as ever, I see.” Klavier let out a huff of laughter. “It’s definitely both... There are a lot of wonderful people in my life who I’ve kept at arm’s length for far too long. But I was perfectly content with that arrangement before all of this-- I was constantly surrounded by friendly faces without having to compromise my sense of emotional security.”

It was almost funny how much Apollo could empathize. “And then I ruined everything.”

“And then you ruined everything,” Klavier agreed with an affectionate note to his voice. “Which I’m quite grateful for-- I’ve built up relationships with Trucy and Kay and Athena and even Herr Samurai in the past few weeks, and I have you to thank for that.”

“Er… Not really. I mean, I haven’t seen Prosecutor Blackquill since I defended his sister, so any bonding you two did was entirely on you. And it’s not like I made you become friends with the other three, either-- you’re the one who’s been asking people to call you by your first name.”

“True… But the fact remains that I wouldn’t have pursued those relationships if you hadn’t come along.”

“Well… I’m glad your bitter introverted friend could help you restore your faith in humanity,” Apollo joked.

When Trucy returned with Apollo’s cat, he had an excessive burst of ecstasy that resulted in him exclaiming his love for his “girlfriend”, Calico meowing in terror, and Trucy and Klavier wondering why Apollo referred to his male cat as his girlfriend.

“Well, he was neutered when Clay and I first found him, so we thought he was a girl. It was a while until we were able to take him into the vet, so by that point, Clay had already made a few too many jokes that Calico would be the only girl I ever had in my bed.”

Klavier chuckled and Trucy’s eyes widened as she broke out into a fit of giggles. “Of course, Calico turned out to be a boy… Which means I’m too gay to even jokingly sleep with a member of the opposite sex,” Apollo lamented, causing a renewed surge of laughter from his companions.

After being given a thorough tour of all 500 square feet of Apollo’s tiny apartment, Trucy decided to let them finish their date in peace. She passed on congratulations from Mr. Edgeworth and disbelief from Mr. Wright (he’d apparently refused to believe that Apollo and Klavier weren’t already dating, to Apollo’s chagrin) before leaving Apollo to try and order pizza over the phone.

“Graceful as always,” Klavier teased as soon as he hung up.

“The day I manage to make a phone call without you making fun of me…” Apollo mumbled, searching through his backpack. “Gotcha.”

“Got what?”

“My deck of Uno cards.” He held it up and grinned.

“Ah, I didn’t realize you were serious about playing Uno.”

“I’m always serious about Uno.” Apollo smirked. “Fair warning, I’ve played with this deck so many times that I can identify most of the cards from the back based on where they’ve been bent. So we’ll either have to sit back-to-back or you’ll just have to do a really good job at hiding your cards.”

“How many times have you played this game?” Klavier asked, faintly surprised.

Apollo handed him the box of cards. “See for yourself. I play with the rule that the winner gets to sign their last card in sharpie, so if there are 108 cards in a deck and each one has at least one name on it…”

Klavier looked at the first few cards for a moment, impressed, before he passed them back to Apollo. “I’m not sure if I trust the protege of a poker player to shuffle cards,” Klavier teased as Apollo riffled and bridged the cards, taking some pride in the amateur cardistry abilities Trucy had forced upon him.

“Oh, it’s my job as a magician’s assistant you’d want to worry about.” Apollo smirked.

Klavier eyed him suspiciously. “...Is our fledgling relationship going to survive this game?”

“It’s not that intense. You wanna cut the deck?”

Klavier warily placed the top two cards on the bottom of the stack, to Apollo’s amusement-- the deck was too old to do any decent sleights of hand with, even if he wanted to. Klavier dealt the cards on the floor so Apollo couldn’t see the backs, and Apollo sat facing away from Klavier on the couch.

“This would probably be easier if you had a table,” Klavier teased.

“It’s Uno, not Catan. Though if I’m going to be having company more often, I’ll probably need one at some point, huh?” Apollo picked up his stack of cards from the floor and looked at them, and Klavier did the same.

“...I’m not even entirely sure what this card is.”

“The blue draw two,” Apollo replied, smiling.

“How do you know? I don’t even know, and I’m the one looking at it.”

“I’m guessing you can’t tell because it’s got Clay’s name written on it fifty times. That was his lucky card. And by lucky, I mean he always refused to play it unless it was his last card.”

“And yet he still managed to win so many times?”

Apollo leaned back to press his shoulders against Klavier’s back. “Well… We had a few added rules that made ending on a draw two easier. I’ll have to show you sometime when we have another person… It doesn’t work very well with two people.”

They played for quite a while-- by the end of the night, Apollo had new signatures on his cards, a cat in his lap, and an empty box of pizza sitting on top of the desk chair they were using as a makeshift table. He didn’t want it to end, but his lackluster victory cry when he slapped his last card down seemed to catch Klavier’s attention. “Tired?”

Apollo let out a noncommittal noise as he scribbled his name onto the card, so Klavier suddenly turned his back to the couch. With his human backrest gone, Apollo fell backwards into Klavier’s lap with a squawk. Calico sprung off of him and glared at him in disgust.

Klavier took one look at Apollo and laughed, tilting his chin up to get a better look at his drooping eyelids and checking the time. “I suppose it’s getting to be a bit late... Not to mention you were exhausted before dinner.”

Apollo scrambled to sit up, swinging his feet onto the floor. “Are you going to head out, then?”

“I think so…” Klavier stared at his phone for a minute, thinking about something. “Unless you wanted to first update our gossipy coworkers on our relationship status.” He smirked, and Apollo glared blankly back at him.

“You’re not sending a picture of us kissing to the group chat.”

He laughed, shoulders shaking. “Kissing is not mandatory.”

“But you do want to take a picture.”

Klavier snapped his fingers. “Well, our alternatives are allowing everyone to find out from the Wrights--”

Ugh, anything but that.”

“--Or sending only a text, which would immediately spur a ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ from Kay. And consequently some degree of stalking on our next date.”

“...You know, suddenly the picture doesn’t sound too bad.” Apollo’s scowl faded as he considered Klavier’s words. “Next date?”

Klavier smiled slightly. “Ja. Generally, when one announces to their friends that they are dating someone, it means they are planning to go on a second date.”

Well. He had a point. “What makes you assume I’ll say yes?”

He chuckled. “Something about the fact that you asked me on the first one and would apparently rather fall asleep on me than ask me to go home. Not to mention you agreed to the picture in question.”

“I agreed to nothing,” Apollo replied as Klavier turned on his phone camera. He wrapped one arm around Apollo’s waist and tugged him closer until Klavier’s chin pressed up against Apollo’s temple. Apollo’s smile was mostly involuntary.

“You also disagreed to nothing,” Klavier said, looking at his phone. “...That’s not a bad picture.”

Apollo had to agree, despite his rather disheveled appearance. “I see why Trucy commented on my hair.”

Klavier ran his fingers through it with a smirk. “Oh, sorry.”

“You don’t seem very sorry.”

“Neither do you.”

It was refreshing to see Klavier like this: cheerful and self-assured, confident that Apollo wanted to be with him. Apollo knew his doubts were still swimming around in his head somewhere, but that didn’t make Klavier’s smile any less genuine; it just made him more resilient if he could smile in spite of them.

Klavier laughed at Apollo’s phone, which had begun to buzz with all the fury of a beehive. “And so it begins.”

“If we’re quiet, we might be able to hear Athena scream,” Apollo joked. Klavier legitimately paused to listen, and Apollo rolled his eyes and leaned his head back on Klavier’s shoulder.

“Ach, I should probably leave before you actually fall asleep on me,” Klavier said, standing up.

“I wasn’t going to fall asleep,” Apollo mumbled, rising from the couch with a scowl that probably looked more like a pout.

“Ah, are you going to miss me?” Klavier teased. “No worries. If you need me, I’m sure you can find me in your dreams.”

Apollo shot Klavier the most disgusted glare he could muster, taking care to squint for added disdain. Klavier doubled over laughing, clutching his stomach. “You know I spent eight years writing love songs, ja?”

“I do. Which is why you shouldn’t have to rely on romantic cliches.”

“Oh, all it means is that I have every romantic cliche known to man sorted in my head by which ones rhyme.” Klavier took his coat off of the doorknob and put it on. “Speaking of which, do I get a goodbye kiss?”

“...I’ve unleashed a monster,” Apollo mourned, drawing closer to him anyway. He knew Klavier was a flirt, but somehow he hadn’t anticipated that dating him would intensify that. He hadn’t anticipated much of anything, really-- all of this still seemed so absurd, and part of him was waiting for everything to return to normal again.

But this was the new normal, he supposed, like his heart didn’t begin to race when Klavier’s hands rested on his sides and his lips met his own. Like he wasn’t kissing the most impressive person he’d ever met, head spinning and hands trembling as his senses flooded with warmth and the smell of Klavier’s cologne-- a sweet, clean, tropical sort of scent, like how a candle company would say a beach smelled like.

Klavier pulled away just enough for the tips of their noses to touch and smiled, leaving a light peck on his forehead as a sort of afterthought. “Should’ve seen the forehead kiss coming from about a hundred miles away,” Apollo joked.

Klavier laughed. “I wasn’t even thinking about that!” He kissed it again, for longer this time, and let Apollo go. “With that, I should probably take my leave. But I… I’m very glad things turned out the way they did.”

“Me too,” Apollo replied, interlocking his fingers with Klavier’s. “I’ll see you soon, right?”

“Of course. I believe we have a second date that you didn’t disagree to, after all.”

Apollo laughed. “I’d like that.”

“Then I’ll text you once I have some semblance of an idea where to take you. Until then…” Klavier smiled warmly at him. “Take care, Schatz.”

“You too.”

Klavier let go of Apollo’s hands and walked out the door, leaving Apollo to ponder the new turn their relationship had taken with a dumb smile.

Calico watched him curiously from the the couch. “Well, that turned out better than I expected,” Apollo told him, sitting down next to him and staring blankly at the ground. He picked up an Uno card contemplatively, looking at Klavier’s name and the heart that followed it.

If someone had told him a month ago that things would turn out okay--that he’d be sitting safely in his apartment with a stable bank account, good health, and a cat licking his hair-- he wouldn’t have believed it. But not only had he achieved the bare minimums for staying alive, he’d found the sort of things that made staying alive worth it, too.

He’d planned on months of hopelessness and fear and wound up in the arms of someone who cared deeply about him. And not just anyone-- Klavier. Dazzling to look at, cool and collected, warm and friendly; the guy whose smiles could melt ice cubes. The guy who laughed in the face of his world crumbling around him and never once abandoned his convictions. The guy who was always there to guide him in the moments when he felt completely and utterly powerless.

Apollo usually hated it when his life didn’t go according to plan, but he couldn’t say he minded this time.

Chapter Text

-Klavier: Are you all happy now? ;)

-Athena: AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

-Athena: TOOK YOU GUYS LONG ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Athena added Simon Blackquill to the conversation-

-Ema Skye: I’m not sure if I should feel relieved or disappointed

-Simon Blackquill: Cykes-dono. Didn’t I already tell you I wanted no part in this?

-Athena: ITS PG AND APOLLO

-Athena: dont lie simon we all know ur invested in this

-Kay: HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT

-Kay: Wait does Apollo actually know what’s going on bc cuddling and messy hair are not conclusive with him

-Athena: HAHAHAHAHAHA I DIDNT EVEN NOTICE THE HAIR

-Trucy: Yeah this is legit. I went over to give Apollo something and talked to them <3 :*

-Kay: HEARSAY IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN COURT

-Kay: I NEED TO HEAR THIS FROM APOLLO HIMSELF

-Athena: i like how simon hasnt left yet but is pretending not 2 care

-Simon Blackquill: My interest is limited solely to wanting Gavin-dono to stop whining at work.

-Kay: Right, that’s why you bet money on this.

-Kay: SPEAKING OF WHICH WHO ASKED OUT WHO

-Ema Skye: Who do you think

-Kay: Assuming that Apollo actually knows wtf is happening? XD

-Kay: I know Gavvy seems to be the obvious choice. But since neither of them have a backbone I’m gonna have to go with the one who’s more likely to say dumb things without thinking (love you apollo <3)

-Trucy: Yeah it was Polly

-Kay: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS KISS MY ASS QUILLY

-Athena: WAIT WHAT

-Ema Skye: There is no way

-Athena: APOLLO I NEED DETAILS WHERE ARE U

-Kay: Well, if neither of them are responding… XD

-Ema Skye: Getting laid, probably

-Kay: HAHAHAHA I WASN’T GONNA SAY IT

-You: Um… You guys realize this was our first date, right?

-Trucy: Oh, there he is.

-Ema: I guess one person in this relationship has a fraction of a standard

-Athena: APOLLO YOU ASKED HIM OUT?????!!!!!

-You: Kinda…

-Athena: HOW DO YOU KINDA ASK SOMEONE OUT

-Kay: YOU SAID SOMETHING DUMB ON ACCIDENT DIDNT YOU

-Trucy: Yup!!!

-Kay: I DARE YOU GUYS TO TELL ME IM NOT A GOOD DETECTIVE BECAUSE I SAW LITERALLY ALL OF THIS COMING

-Simon Blackquill: Don’t tempt me.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Athena: U STILL HAVENT GIVEN ME DETAILS

-You: That’s because there are a lot of them. You can interrogate me when we go grocery shopping tomorrow.

-Athena: ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

-You: I have a question for you, though.

-Athena: Yeah?

-You: Why did he call me shots? Is that a reference to something?

-Athena: OH MY GOSHHHHHHHHHHH

-Athena: im guessing he said schatz

-You: What does that mean?

-Athena: its german for “im super gay”

-You: Somehow I doubt that.

-Athena: ok it translates literally as “treasure” but same difference

-You: Welp. If he was trying to fluster me, he succeeded.

-Athena: if he was trying 2 fluster u he wouldve translated. i think he just said it out of the gayness of his heart XD

-You: What did I do to deserve this???

-Athena: well u didnt do anythinf to deserve the past 3 months so i think u deserve a smitten rockstar bf personally

-You: He's not my boyfriend.

-Athena: he went on a date with u and called u treasure u dimwit

-Athena: u better not be 1 of those ppl who makes the distinction b/w dating and being boyfriends

-You: It's totally different!!

-Athena: THIS IS COMING FROM THE GUY WHO DOESNT MAKE A DISTINCTION B/W LADDERS AND STEPLADDERS

-You: They do the same thing!!!

-Athena: SO DO PPL WHO R DATING AND PPL WHO R BOYFRIENDS

-Athena: also watch out. direct quote from simon: “If he jeopardizes Gavin-dono’s emotional wellbeing, I’ll cut him.”

-You: I wasn’t planning on it!!!!!

-Athena: hahahahaha its good to see simon making friends who havent murdered anyone. i was worried about his transition to working from the prosecutors office, but hes become a real gossip!

-You: Somehow, I have a hard time picturing Prosecutor Blackquill gossiping…

-Athena: given how much time we spent debating how long it would take for you and pg to get together, i definitely dont XD

-You: You did what

----

-Mr. Wright: Should I worry about you fraternizing with the prosecution?

-You: You’re one to talk.

-Mr. Wright: Hahaha. Just kidding. You’ll die of high blood pressure before you stop taking your job seriously.

-You: Is that supposed to be a compliment…?

----

-You: As much as I want to kill you for meddling, I have to admit that Klavier and I probably wouldn’t have kissed if you hadn’t spend 15 minutes on WebMD.

-Kay: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

-Kay: I TOLD YOU ID GET YOU A BOYFRIEND SOMEDAY

-You: I’m just glad you’ll finally stop bothering me. Maybe you can be Blackquill’s wingman now.

-Kay: IM SO DOWN WITH THAT IDEA

-Kay: But back to you. I’m dying to know what you and Gavvy did on your impromptu date

-You: Uno and pizza.

-Kay: Uno?? Really??

-You: Was that sarcasm?

-Kay: Nah. Im actually surprised you still want to play it after… you know…

-You: I gotta admit it’s been a while. But you’d still play it, wouldn’t you?

-Kay: Well, yeah. But I wasnt as close to clay.

-You: I think he’d be mad if I didn’t. Get all dramatic about me destroying his legacy.

-Kay: Hahahaha he would though. Im sure hed approve of you using uno to seduce boys, too.

-You: Oh, yeah. Even if we couldn’t play his version with only two people.

-You: You’ll have to play it with Klavier and I sometime. It’s been too long since we last hung out.

-Kay: Omg are you inviting me to haze your bf

-You: No.

-Kay: Awwww come onnnnn

-Kay: It says a lot about your relationship with gavvy that youre willing to play uno with him though. Like, I think that’s really brave of you.

-You: It’s just a card game.

-Kay: Oh, bs. Not only would it have to bring back memories for you, but you basically handed over a list of every friend youve had in the past ten years. And if anyone knows how much you hate talking about the past, its me.

-You: Thanks.

-Kay: But i swear. If you dont tell gavvy any more about your past than youve told me, ill kill you

-You: I’ll be sure to tell him the name of my elementary school.

-Kay: I STILL DONT GET WHY YOU WON’T TELL ME

-You: At this point? Sheer spite.

-----------------------------

-You: I’m very glad you have friends, but if they would stop threatening to kill me I’d appreciate it.

-Klavier: What did you do?

-You: Kiss you.

-Klavier: :)

-You: Oh, “:)” all you want, you aren’t getting death threats from Simon Blackquill. And Kay, but that’s nothing new.

-Klavier: Herr Samurai??? He’s usually the one threatening me.

-Klavier: What did he say?

-You: “If he jeopardizes Gavin-dono’s emotional wellbeing, I’ll cut him.”

-Klavier: Aww I didn’t know he cared <3

-You: Oh, I’m sure it’s adorable.

-Klavier: You left a pack of ramen here. I’m holding it hostage until I see you again.

-You: Are you trying to bribe me into a second date?

-Klavier: Ja

-You: With ramen.

-Klavier: Is it not working? ;)

-You: Pretty seductive, I won’t lie

-Klavier: Hahahaha

-You: Although I still don’t know what I’m being bribed into.

-Klavier: I don’t either. Dinner and a movie is off the table if you don’t like to watch TV, and if I do anything too romantic, you’ll spend the entire time making fun of me.

-You: I’ll spend the entire time making fun of you regardless of what we do.

-Klavier: True. Long walk on the beach at sunset it is, then.

-You: Gross.

-Klavier: Haha, kidding. I was thinking something more along the lines of coffee.

-You: ...This is exactly why I said you’d be good for me.

-Klavier: I’d hope there would be several other reasons. ;)

-You: Several.

-Klavier: Tuesday, then?

-You: Sounds good to me.

-Klavier: Excellent. Well, I’m beat, so this will have to be goodnight.

-You: Oh. Sleep well, then.

-Klavier: You too-- try not to miss my couch too much.

-You: Heh. I’ll try. Good night.

-Klavier: Good night <3