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Old Flames Die Hard

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April 7, 6:35 PM
???


When Apollo Justice opened his mouth, it was impossible not to listen. This was partially because the volume of his everyday speaking voice could compete with a lawnmower, partially because Klavier was gay as hell, and partially because the man had a tendency to stuff critical elements of his life into the middle of his sentences like they were inconsequential details.

Take, for instance, the conversation they’d had earlier that day while walking from Apollo’s apartment to the Wonder Bar for Trucy’s last regular performance before her big show.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of work for me to manage the office while Trucy’s show is running. The thing has so many--”

“Wait. What do you mean, ‘manage the office?’” Klavier interrupted, nearly tripping on a crack in the sidewalk in his surprise. Real cool.

“Oh. Mr. Wright’s leaving the country soon, so I’m going to be in charge of the office while he’s gone. Not a big deal, really. But Trucy’s show has--”

“What do you mean, ‘Not a big deal?’ You’re going to be managing the most famous law office in the city.”

Apollo looked frustrated, probably because he’d been interrupted twice in a row. But if he didn’t plan on using more than three words to explain a major event in his life, he was going to have to be irritated. “My job isn’t going to change much, and Mr. Wright’s only going to be gone for a month.”

“A month. You’re taking over your law office for a month.

“...Yeah?”

Klavier wanted to be mad at Apollo for not mentioning it earlier, but Apollo had been feeling so insecure about his legal abilities since he’d testified against Athena that it was impossible not to feel happy for him. “Schatz, that’s incredible.”

Apollo sighed when he saw Klavier’s wide smile. “You don’t have to make that face... I’m going to be in charge of a grand total of two people and a potted plant.”

“Still, I think it says a lot about the amount of faith your boss has in you.”

Ah, the inevitable post-compliment blush. “Eh… I think he and I both know I’m not really qualified for the job. But all of his other options are even less qualified, so…”

“I think you’ll do spectacularly. Trucy and Athena are so self-motivated that they won’t be particularly difficult to manage… And I believe you just got done saying that this wasn’t a big deal, ja?”

“I mean, if the place doesn’t catch on fire, it won’t be too bad. But what if some major catastrophe happens and I don’t know how to fix it?”

“You have plenty of people who would be happy to help you, and Herr Wright will only be a phone call away. You’re going to be fine.”

Apollo smiled slightly. “Fine, huh?”

“...I didn’t say that on purpose,” Klavier said, smirking. “Achtung, you’re rubbing off on me. At this rate, my voice will start to increase in volume and my hair won’t stay down in the front.” He pressed down Apollo’s hair spikes with a finger and watched them spring back up.

Apollo swatted at his hand, laughing. “Don’t touch my hair, you asshole. You always screw it up.” Klavier laughed too, and Apollo’s smile softened into something warmer. “You look happy.”

“I am.”

“Did you have a good day at work?” Apollo asked, looking at him with a genuine interest in his answer.

“Ja, you could say that. Kay bought me celebratory swiss rolls.”

Apollo looked somewhat suspicious. “What was she celebrating?”

There was absolutely no way Apollo could’ve known, but Klavier had almost expected him to have figured it out anyway. “I’ve officially broken my record for ‘longest romantic relationship since becoming a prosecutor.’”

Apollo’s eyes widened as he thought about that, and his cheeks turned pink with the implicit compliment that Klavier had broken that streak because of him. “We haven’t been together that long, have we?”

“It certainly feels like the shortest relationship I’ve ever been in,” Klavier admitted. Time flew when you actually had a vague interest in your significant other, it seemed.

“I’ll take it you’ll be sticking around for a while longer, then?”

Klavier hummed in agreement. “Honestly, I think I’m more smitten now than I was a month ago.”

Apollo smirked, but it was undermined by how heavily he was blushing. “I think this is the part where I get to say, ‘I told you so.’”

“Ah, feel free to rub it in my face as much as you like,” he said, flirtatiously leaning toward Apollo.

“Klav, we’re in public!” he stammered, fumbling to re-establish his personal space. Klavier laughed and kept walking, and Apollo caught up to him with crossed arms and an exasperated smile.

“I hadn’t forgotten.” They’d both agreed that letting the public in on their relationship was a bad idea, even if Klavier had been out of the spotlight for long enough to be considered a has-been. “But you underestimate how much two men can get away with before the media considers the possibility that they might be gay. Most people are much more oblivious than the people you spend your time with.”

“Eh, you’re probably right. But…” Apollo looked pretty anxious.

“If that worries you, I can tone it down.”

Apollo looked off to the side. “No, it’s fine.”

Klavier raised an eyebrow. “You’re sure?”

“Yeah...” he said in about the least encouraging tone he could’ve possibly used.

Okay Apollo, Klavier would restrain his PDA. No need to be so pushy about it.

“You’ve seemed so happy recently… I just don’t want something easily preventable to take that away. But if you think you’ll be fine, I mean… You know the media better than I do,” Apollo reasoned.

Oh. This wasn't Apollo refusing to voice his own needs, this was Apollo worrying about Klavier. There was something heartwarming about Apollo’s concern for him, and his tiredness faded. “I have good reason to be happy.”

Apollo smiled at the ground. “I’m glad.”

Apollo’s occasional lack of communication could be irritating, but he was proving to be a wonderful boyfriend in every other respect. He was thoughtful in both logic and sentiment-- he’d always been observant, but it was more than that. He seemed to care about what he saw, as well. He was affectionate in private and tactful in public, and every bit as valuable of a companion as he’d been before they’d started dating. It was hard not to be happy.

When they arrived at the Wonder Bar, Klavier darted ahead to get the door. “Thanks… But I can open doors on my own, you know,” Apollo joked, putting his hand on his hip.

“Really? I wasn’t aware.”

Apollo rolled his eyes. “I gotta go take Trucy her briefcase. Do you want to get us seats?” he asked, holding up the briefcase in question.

“Ja, I can do that.”

“Thanks.” Apollo opened a door that Klavier hadn’t noticed was there and disappeared through it. When closed, it looked like a part of the black wall, especially in the dim lighting. It was probably more effective than an “authorized personnel only” sign.

He sat down close to the front in the chair second closest to the aisle, guessing that Apollo would probably be abducted at some point in the show to be an assistant. It wasn’t long until he was joined by Blackquill and Athena. “Greetings, Gavin-dono.”

“Guten abend, Prosecutor Gavin! What’s up?” Athena grinned for not quite long enough for Klavier to actually reply. “I’m guessing that seat’s saved for the nemesis?” she asked, wiggling her eyebrows.

Klavier laughed. “Ja. I believe he’s practicing with Trucy at the moment. Not that he’s told me anything about the show.”

“Well, duh. Magicians can’t reveal their secrets,” Athena told him.

“Oh, I’m more aware of that fact than anyone ever needs to be,” he grumbled. Memories of one particularly grievous rock concert popped into his head. “But while we’re on the topic of revealing secrets, how did that interrogation go?” he asked Blackquill, if only to avoid talking about magicians.

And so the conversation turned to Blackquill’s hilarious streak of increasingly uncooperative defendants. When Apollo returned, Klavier and Athena were laughing at Blackquill’s expense. “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Ah, Forehead!” Klavier tilted his head up to look at Apollo, who smiled at him.

“Simon was interrogating a suspect who refused…” Athena burst out laughing again. “Refused to speak…”

“It really wasn’t that amusing,” Blackquill said, looking at Athena with a blank expression.

“For you!” Athena laughed.

Well, it didn't seem like either of them were going to finish the story, so Klavier did it himself. “He told said suspect that until he testified, he couldn’t leave the room… and they sat there until the suspect unloaded the contents of his bladder.”

Apollo laughed too, and Klavier’s heart felt a bit lighter-- he loved that laugh. He’d always figured that he’d get used to it after a while, that he’d grow out of the honeymoon phase and realize that the man’s laugh wasn’t any different from anyone else’s, but it was always so warm. “Oh, man. Cases like that have to get exhausting,” Apollo said.

“I think that’s the point. If he goes home so tired he can hardly move, he can actually fall asleep,” Athena said bluntly, giving Blackquill a pointed look.

“Hmph.” Blackquill’s silence was about as good as a confession, and Klavier’s eyebrows rose-- he honestly hadn’t considered that Blackquill’s ridiculous caseload might be a coping mechanism, but in retrospect, he probably should have.

Apollo and Klavier exchanged glances of “I don’t think we’re supposed to be a part of this conversation,” and Apollo grinned awkwardly. “I was going to get food, if you guys wanted some.”

“Do you want someone to go with you?” Klavier pleaded.

Apollo definitely didn’t need to be accompanied, but he threw Klavier a bone anyway. “Sure.”

After Apollo refused to supply beer to a minor in front of two prosecutors, Athena opted for a turkey sandwich off of the kid’s menu. Blackquill resented her ‘uncouth’ choice of food, but given that the man had spent seven years eating prison food, Klavier suspected he was just bitter that she was eating a bird.

Apollo and Klavier made a wordless agreement to stall at the bar until Athena and Blackquill had the chance to talk. “Is he all right?” Klavier asked.

“I don’t know for sure, but I will say that those bags under his eyes aren’t getting any smaller.”

Klavier sighed. “He’s not exactly forthcoming with his emotions, but I probably should’ve considered before now that it would take some time to recover from seven years on death row.”

“Yeah, I guess you’ve always been on the emotionally oblivious side,” Apollo mused.

Ouch. “Thanks,” Klavier muttered.

“Hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone in your life who doesn’t think of you as an emotional wreck.”

“I suppose…” That didn’t mean he wanted to be that someone, though.

The lights suddenly dimmed. “Oh, we gotta get back to our seats!” Apollo said, nearly spilling his cherry coke on himself. They snuck back to where they were sitting, and Klavier handed Athena her sandwich.

“Thanks,” she whispered.

Trucy hopped up onstage soon afterwards, giving a quick plug for her show at Penrose Theater with some help from Mr. Hat. After that, it was time to begin. She pulled absurdly large objects out of her magic panties, made people’s personal possessions disappear, levitated objects onstage, and performed with a cheerful ferocity only she could display.

Klavier had been to a few of her magic shows before, and they were always extremely impressive. It wasn’t unusual to watch an entire show without being able to guess how a single trick was done. Usually, he let the tricks go over his head with ease, but whenever Apollo was acting as an assistant, figuring out her tricks became a challenge.

Though Klavier was perfectly content to let Trucy dazzle him, he wanted to be able to figure Apollo out, to know what was going on in his head. Yet he rarely had any better luck figuring out Trucy’s tricks when Apollo was onstage-- in fact, his luck was usually worse. If Trucy was hard to figure out when she was doing tricks on her own, she was impossible to figure out with someone to help her. But Apollo wasn’t a magician, so there was a limit to what he could do onstage. And this was one puzzle that Klavier was very, very determined to solve.

So when Trucy faced the audience and deviously rubbed her hands together, Klavier’s brain went into full gear.

“For my next trick, I’m going to need an assistant. Preferably one who can’t sue the Wright Anything Agency if I stab them,” Trucy said, smiling sweetly. All of the regulars in the audience turned to look at Apollo, and one shouted out his name. “Ooh, Polly, I think you’ve been volunteered as tribute.”

“Why can’t Athena be the one who gets stabbed, for once?!” Apollo demanded, already standing up from his seat next to Klavier and walking up onto the stage.

Apollo had the role of “oblivious assistant” down to a science, and his terrified reactions to Trucy threatening to kill him never failed to make the audience laugh. “Come on, Polly, I’m not going to kill you. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”

“Pretty sure? ” Apollo asked, facing the audience with his arms crossed and a disgruntled look on his face.

“I’m not the lawyer here, Polly.”

“I don’t think you need to need to be a lawyer to know that stabbing people is bad!!!” Apollo shouted, causing a rumble of laughter from the audience. He blushed slightly at the attention, but Apollo was noticeably more comfortable in front of an audience than the rookie lawyer Klavier had met two years ago. But he could be proud of Apollo later; he had a trick to figure out.

“Yeah, yeah. Well, there are at least three prosecutors in the audience tonight, so I’m not going to let you die,” Trucy told him, and Klavier heard Blackquill’s deep chuckle from two chairs away.

Apollo didn’t look convinced. “Um… How sharp is that thing, exactly?”

An apple appeared in Trucy’s hand out of nowhere. “Pretty sharp,” she said, stabbing the apple through her fencing sword all the way down to the base. She wiped the apple juice off of the end of the sword with a handkerchief. “But don’t worry, there’s a magic forcefield around you. The sword should bend before it touches you.”

“Should?” Apollo asked, waving his arm around behind him like he was trying to feel the barrier.

Trucy took a fighting stance, angling her sword directly at Apollo’s back. “Well, there’s only one way to find out!” Apollo clenched the bottom of his t-shirt for dear life, and Trucy plunged the sword directly into his back.

Klavier flinched when he saw the sword stab right through Apollo and emerge on the other side. Apollo stumbled forward, eyes wide. “Ow!!!” he said incredulously. He seemed more inconvenienced than panicked, and Klavier sighed in relief.

“Oops. That wasn’t supposed to happen,” Trucy said, staring at him contemplatively. “What’s up with the forcefield?”

“Is that really your biggest concern right now?!” Apollo shouted.

“Aw, don’t be so dramatic, Polly. You’re fine.”

Apollo looked at her disbelievingly, so she sighed loudly and lifted her foot to Apollo’s back. She grabbed the sword with both hands and kicked forward, pulling the sword out and sending Apollo a few feet in the other direction. Apollo clutched his chest where the sword had poked through and panted for breath. “Thanks for that!!!” There was now a hole in the front his shirt, and he glared at it, balling up his fists.

“Aww, you’re welcome!” Trucy replied enthusiastically. “Now, what happened to the forcefield?” she asked, smacking the air with her sword a few times with a pout on her face. “Did I say the magic word?” she asked.

“Um… I don’t think so,” Apollo replied.

“Hold it!” she shouted, slicing the air again, and the sword suddenly bent midair as if it had hit a wall. “Oh, there it goes.”

Athena was staring at Trucy with a determined fire in her eyes. “How did she do that?”

“Apollo was clearly in on it, since I’m sure he had to have known he didn’t really have a sword inside of him,” Klavier whispered. His best guess was that Trucy had switched her sword, but then she would’ve had to swap the apple on the hilt, too, which seemed like it would be difficult. And that still wouldn’t explain how it appeared to stab all the way through Apollo.

“That’s what she said,” she whispered back, and once he stopped thinking about the trick for long enough to remember what he’d said, he snickered.

After this, Trucy proceeded to do card tricks-- making all of the cards in a deck turn into jokers, asking audience members to pull cards from a deck at random until the last card remaining was the same card Apollo had written on a piece of paper at the start of the trick, and playing a few rounds of poker in which Apollo managed to lose every single hand, to his chagrin.

“For my last trick, I’ve got a deck of cards marked 1-20.” She fanned them out so everyone could see the numbers. “Polly, can you shuffle these for me?”

He shuffled them a bit clumsily, which was suspicious: if playing Uno with Apollo had taught Klavier one thing, it was that Apollo was a very skilled shuffler. Trucy’s eyes scanned the audience with a focused look, finally settling on Klavier. She analyzed his facial expression for a few seconds before she smirked. “Ooh, Polly, I don’t think your rival prosecutor trusts you to shuffle.”

Apollo looked up at him and laughed. “You wanna get up here and do it yourself?” he challenged, smirking.

“If you’re offering,” Klavier said loud enough for the audience to hear, standing up and hopping onto the stage. Apollo sighed dramatically and handed him the cards, which he shuffled briefly and handed back to Apollo.

“Oh, Klavier, you can keep the cards,” Trucy said, and Apollo handed the stack back to him. “Can you read the numbers off of the first four? And Polly, can you write them down on that chalk board for me?”

“Ah… Thirteen… Eight… Fifteen… and Seventeen,” Klavier said as Apollo wrote the numbers down on the board.

Trucy then hopped off of the stage and skipped down the aisle to a girl who was doing homework in the back row. “Hi, there! How’s your homework going?” she asked, to the girl’s horror.

“Oh… I-I’m sorry! I had a ton of math homework due tomorrow, but I wanted to go to your show with my friend, and I--”

“Aww, no need to apologize! I’m in school too, you know-- Daddy always has to tell me that school comes first; magic comes second.”

“That’s my baby!” someone shouted from the back.

Trucy giggled. “What problem are you on? I think I might be able to help.”

“Um… Number 13,” she replied, looking somewhat reassured.

Apollo underlined the 13 on the board. “There’s no way,” Klavier whispered, and Apollo smirked back at him.

Trucy looked down at the paper and frowned. “Ooh, looks like we have to find the third side of a right triangle using the Pythagorean Theorem. Can you tell me what the first two sides are?”

“8 and 15...” the girl said, looking up to see Apollo underlining those numbers on the board. He filled in some symbols between the numbers until it said, “13. 8²+15²=17².”

The girl’s jaw dropped, and she started furiously writing on her paper. “How did you do that?!”

Trucy laughed. “Don’t you know that mathematicians never reveal their secrets?” There was a groan from the audience. “Well, that’s it, everyone! Next time, I’ll see you at Penrose Theater!” She suddenly disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and the audience roared with applause.

Klavier turned toward Apollo to interrogate him, but Apollo had disappeared as well. “Prosecutor Gavin!! Were you in on that?!” Athena demanded from amongst the now chattering audience.

Klavier walked to the edge of the stage and hopped off of it. “Nein, I’m as flabbergasted as the rest of you. I thought Forehead was stacking cards at first, but…” Even if Klavier was in on it, he wasn’t nearly skilled enough to arrange the deck like that.

“Argh, you sound just as shocked as the girl with the homework did!”

“Hmph. No need to get so worked up over mere parlor tricks,” Blackquill told her.

“Oh, you’re just saying that because you can’t figure it out either!”

They talked about the show for five minutes or so before Trucy and Apollo walked back out into the room. “Trucy, that was amazing!” Athena said, nearly barreling her over with a hug.

Trucy grinned widely. “Thanks! Did the rest of you enjoy the show, too?”

“Ja… You never fail to captivate.” Even if he was a little bitter that he hadn’t been able to spot the secret to their trick when it was done right under his nose. And that they’d been confident enough in their ability to trick him that Trucy had specifically called him to the stage.

Even Blackquill seemed impressed. “Your swordsmanship is truly something to be feared.”

“Oh, you’re telling me,” Apollo muttered. “You’re not the one who got stabbed.”

“Aww, but you were so good at it!” Trucy exclaimed.

“...Is that supposed to be a compliment?” Apollo asked, crossing his arms. He looked up and all of his cynicism turned to dread. “Oh, no.”

“What’s wrong, Polly?” Trucy asked.

“Just listen.”

“--that arranging the triangles so that they might form a perfect square would result in a glorious reimagination of mathematical thought as they knew it! It’s no wonder that Pythagoras sacrificed oxen to the numerical gods after such elucidations; I, too, have spilled blood over such findings; namely, dropping my test tube of scientific marvel and slicing my finger open with the shards--”

“Is that who I think it is?” Trucy asked, tapping her lip with her finger.

Klavier burst out laughing, having gotten a good look at Wesley Stickler from his vantage point a head above her. “I’m afraid so. I’m surprised that you haven’t kicked him out.”

“Well, I did for a little while. But I couldn’t banish him from magic forever!! That’s like banishing someone from happiness itself!” she protested. “Plus, he hasn’t been here in a while. I think he’s scared of Apollo.”

“The feeling is mutual,” Apollo muttered.

“Wait, how do all of you know that guy?” Athena asked.

“He was a witness from my and Apollo’s first case together. Nostalgic, ja?” Klavier asked, grinning at Apollo.

“If by ‘nostalgic’ you mean ‘imparting a very specific sense of dread,’ then yes,” he said, sighing. “Maybe we can avoid him if we sneak out on the left side.”

“Never took you to be such a coward, Justice-dono,” Blackquill said, smirking.

“First of all, you’ve been calling me a coward since the day we met, so I really don’t believe that. Second of all, if you wanna go do battle with the guy, you can go right ahead. I’m sure Trucy will lend you a sword.”

“Hey, nice job, you two!” Mr. Wright interrupted, walking over to them with Mr. Edgeworth not far behind. Klavier looked away and played with a strand of his hair-- he never knew how to act in front of the man. Klavier had expected their relationship to get much better or much worse after he’d started dating Apollo, but it was the same awkwardness as always, just more frequent.

Apollo was always extremely deliberate about how he showed affection in public, which made it all the more heartwarming when he reached out and squeezed Klavier’s hand reassuringly. “Hey, that was all Trucy. I’m just her unwilling assistant.”

Mr. Wright shot Apollo a disbelieving grin, but didn’t say anything. “Hey, you five,” Athena said. “Blackquill and I were going to go get soba. Did you want to come?”

“Isn’t Eldoon’s kinda far from here?” Trucy asked.

“Nah, there’s this other place Simon likes. Whet Noodle?” Athena asked.

“Please tell me she’s wrong about the name,” Mr. Wright mumbled, and Mr. Edgeworth seemed to agree with that sentiment.

“She’s correct… For once. Why? Did you have a problem with the shop?” Blackquill asked with a menacing glint in his eye.

“N-No! I just didn’t realize it was a real place!” Mr. Wright stammered.

“Well, Polly and I have to stay and clean everything up. We gotta move a lot of these props to Penrose…” Trucy didn’t look particularly happy about that.

“Aw, if you kids want to go eat, Miles and I can stay back and work on getting the place cleaned up. I think you’ve earned it,” Mr. Wright said.

Oh good, because it would’ve been very awkward to be the only one to tag along. “Thanks, Daddy!” Trucy exclaimed.

It was apparently a short walk away, so they headed out on foot. Stepping outside, the temperature had dropped a full twenty degrees during the show. “It’s FREEZING!” Widget protested. “Trucy, did you make the warm weather disappear, too?!” Athena asked.

“No, I’m not quite magical enough for that yet.”

Apollo crossed his arms, his t-shirt and jeans making him the least prepared of any of them for the chill. He didn’t complain, but he was obviously uncomfortable. “Cold?” Klavier asked him.

“No,” Apollo replied without looking up.

Klavier raised his eyebrows disbelievingly, but Apollo still wasn’t looking at him. “Are you sure? I still have my motorcycle jacket, if you wanted it.”

“I’m fine.”

Athena shot Klavier a tired look, and Trucy stared at Apollo with her eyebrows furrowed in concentration. Half of Klavier knew that Apollo would snap at him if he forced him to put a coat on, but the other half of him knew he would freeze to death before accepting help.

Apollo stared petulantly at the ground, obviously regretting leaving his own coat at home. Why did he have to be so stubborn?

After another fifteen seconds of this, Klavier wrapped his coat around Apollo’s shoulders, waiting for the inevitable backlash, but it never came. Apollo wordlessly slipped his hands through the arms of Klavier’s jacket, continuing to stare at the ground.

Trucy watched this with an omniscient gaze, street lights reflecting off of her blue eyes so she looked like some sort of oracle. “Ooh, Klavier! We gotta take a post-show selfie!” she said, facial expression turning into something much more naive. “Since you were my assistant and all.”

Klavier wasn’t sure what she was up to, but there was definitely an ulterior motive to that request. “Ach, of course, Fraulein.”

She got out her phone camera. “Oh, darn it. I’m out of memory,” she said. “Here, lemme delete some stuff.”

“Oh, there’s no need, Fraulein. We can use my camera, if you’d like.”

“Okay, but you gotta send it to me.”

“Naturally.”

They stopped to take a picture, and Athena laughed. “Oh, man. When the two most photogenic people you know take a picture together and the world threatens to explode.”

It really was a cute picture. Apollo and Blackquill didn’t stop for them, though, so they were about twenty feet ahead of the rest of them when Klavier looked up. He suddenly understood the point of the picture-- Trucy was attempting to separate them.

“Was giving him my coat a mistake?” Klavier asked Trucy quietly. Both girls shook their heads.

“No, he’s been in a weird mood all night. I’m gonna see if I can figure out what’s got him down,” Trucy said, running to catch up with them.

“Men,” Athena grumbled, only to realize she was talking to a man. "Some men. The arbitrary social convention of toxic masculinity,” she corrected offhandedly, and Klavier laughed.

Trucy really was magic-- by the time they got to the noodle shop, Apollo was smiling and laughing again, and Trucy had dragged Blackquill into a good mood, too. Once Blackquill had properly explained exactly how to enjoy soba without being a heathen, they all got their food, and the conversation from there was warm and cheerful.

“Well, I think it’s about time Polly and I got back-- we still have a lot of cleaning up to do, after all,” Trucy said once their bowls had been empty for a while.

“Aww, if you have to,” Athena said. “Guess it’s about time I walk home, too.”

“Not alone, you don’t,” Blackquill growled.

Klavier offered to walk back to Athena’s apartment with her, since his motorcycle was parked at her and Apollo’s apartment complex anyway, which Blackquill seemed to approve of.

“I think she would most likely fare better against potential assailants than me, though,” Klavier pointed out.

“If anyone touches her, I'm more worried about her ending up as a defendant than a victim,” Blackquill told him, which seemed to please Athena.

With that, Blackquill took off into the night, leaving the four of them alone. Apollo took off his jacket, walked up to Klavier, and handed it to him with a small smile. “Thanks,” he said.

“Are you sure you don’t need it?”

Apollo smirked. “As much as I’d like to see you try to ride your motorcycle without a jacket on, I think you need it more than I do.”

“...Touche.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been in such a bad mood tonight…” he said, looking guilty.

“Ach, we all have those days. But if there’s anything I can do, please let me know, ja?”

Apollo sighed, looking at him fondly. “You’re wonderful. Thank you.”

Klavier smiled. “Have a nice night, baby.”

“You too,” he said, heading off in the direction of the Wonder Bar. Trucy skipped after him, and Klavier’s eyes followed him, as well.

Dating Apollo was like watching a magic show, in a lot of ways. Klavier found himself starry-eyed and awestruck, but left with an insatiable curiosity as well. There was so much going on beyond the scenes that he knew he couldn’t see-- untold secrets, hidden motives, and probably a decent bit of misdirection.

Klavier was happy-- happier than he’d been in a very long time. You didn’t have to understand a magic trick to enjoy it, or to get something positive out of it. But he wasn’t satisfied. Still, Apollo was opening up, little by little, and with enough patience, the enigma that was Apollo Justice might become a little bit clearer.

“I like how he didn’t actually agree to let you know,” Athena pointed out once they were a good ways away.

...Or not.

“That man is going to be the death of me.”