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The Flowers He Exhaled

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“I actually feel kinda bad for coming here…”

Apollo bit into his spring roll - it was probably the best food he had all week. Klavier shrugged and stole one roll from his plate.

“At least we know now where to go when we actually want to have good food for once… The spring rolls are really good.” He eyed Apollo’s plate with even more interest now, and the younger man hunched defensively around his plate.

“Don’t you dare, pretty boy!”

That lured a delighted laugh out of Klavier, and he stretched in his chair.

“I am full anyways.”

The both of them had started to eat together twice a week - the superior goal was to find a food place even worse than Eldoon’s Noodles. They had been dining together for a few months now, and they hadn’t succeeded yet. Klavier wasn’t sure if they should just give up and declare Eldoon’s Noodles for the worst food cart around here, but he didn’t want to miss their time together. So he said nothing.

His stretch turned into a yawn he tried to stifle, but he didn’t succeed.

Apollo chewed solemnly and looked the older man over; then he swallowed.

“You look exhausted.”

The blond man considered his options:

  • A. Flirt his way out of it (a thought that made him antsy)
  • B. Play his fatigue down (Apollo had already commented on the dark circles around his eyes upon meeting him)
  • C. Being honest (Apollo always made him want to spill out his heart, and to be honest with him and himself)

C it was then.

Klavier simply nodded.

“It was a hard week. The case I am working on is… Taking its toll on me.”

Their eyes met for a heartbeat and the genuine worry in Apollo’s eyes made Klavier’s breath hitch for a second, but he continued.

“There was an armed robbery… The girl didn’t make it. We have two suspects, but they are not talking… One of them had her family heirloom necklace, the other one her engagement ring…” Klavier shook his head. “We don’t even have the weapon. Fräulein Detective is still running some tests… The trial is on Monday. And I have absolutely no clue who of them did it.”

He swallowed and looked away - a tiny spot on the table cloth suddenly seemed to be the most interesting thing in the world- as if he could escape Apollo’s eyes by averting his gaze.

“You’re feeling responsible.” Apollo’s words upset Klavier, and he lifted his gaze again to protest, to tell him that he was indeed responsible, but when he opened his mouth Apollo continued to speak. “And of course you are. But is there anything more you can do right now? I bet you have interrogated both of them at least nine times, talked to every witness thrice, spent your lunch break and long hours at the crime scene, made Ema run every test she possibly could in, what? Two days?”

Klavier nodded and Apollo cocked his head.

“Looks like you have done everything you can.”

Apollo’s gaze went from patronizing to concerned again.

“It won’t help you to solve the case if you work yourself to death in the process. You look like hell warmed over and if you don’t take care of yourself you will get sick.”

Klavier smiled - not a genuine smile, but one of the practiced ones, the ones that didn’t reach his eyes.

“Ah, I didn’t expect you to care this much.” His hands found the way to his bangs, and he played with them, giving Apollo a cocky smile and a batting of his eyelashes, he had practiced in front of a mirror.

The younger man scoffed and rolled his eyes, putting his chopsticks away and leaning towards Klavier on the table.

“Of course, I care. You are probably one of my closest… friends and I really like spending time with you.”

Klavier’s fake smile faltered, and he felt a cough rising up in his chest. He simply nodded and inevitably coughed into his elbow.

“Look! You are getting sick! If you are running a fever think of me, telling you that I said so!”

That coaxed a smile - real this time - out of Klavier and he nodded.

“I will make you my emergency contact, and when I call an ambulance at 3 AM because I sneezed two times, you are the one who gets called.”

Apollo laughed and the sound made Klavier’s cheeks heat - a thought that made him cough some more.

He really must be getting sick. The blush on his face must come from a fever. His voice sounded a bit rough when he spoke again.

“You are probably right… I think I am going to leave now.”

Apollo nodded, put the last spring roll in his mouth and stood up.

“I’ll take you home.”

Klavier picked a flower petal from his shirt and shrugged into his blazer.

“You don’t have to.

The prosecutor gave him his most reassuring smile.

“It’s not far and probably nothing a good night’s sleep won’t fix.”

Before Apollo could protest, he had out his wallet and put more than enough money on their table.

“I will text you when I get home, so you don’t have to worry. Promise.”

Apollo seemed not so convinced but nodded anyway.

“Okay… But you will call me if you get worse, yeah?”

Klavier nodded and pulled Apollo into a brief hug.

“Gute Nacht, Apollo.”

Before Apollo could answer Klavier had already left the restaurant, hurrying home.

 


 

The cold air seemed to do nothing for Klavier, he even felt worse. There seemed to be a constant itch in his chest, and he suppressed the urge to cough on the whole way to his apartment complex.

When he finally hit the button of his floor at the elevator, he pulled out his cellphone.

The little envelope button had a tiny one floating over it and he tapped on it, to see who texted him. 

I hope you feel better tomorrow.  See you soon, I will maybe share my spring rolls with you. Good night.
- Apollo

Klavier’s throat felt like it exploded in a cough - he felt tears pricking in his eyes, he felt dizzy and like he couldn’t get enough air without.

When the fit had finally stopped, the hand he had coughed in was covered in red, and for a second, he thought it was blood.

But it was even worse.

The elevator pinged when it reached his floor, but he stood still for a second.

There was no blood on his hands.

It was tiny bright red flower petals.