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“So I know I said today would be movie night,” Clay said in place of a greeting when he arrived at the door of Apollo’s apartment, “but how would you feel about going out, instead?”

Apollo, answering the door in a faded Doctor Who t-shirt and a pair of flannel pajama pants, narrowed his eyes. “How much would I have to change?”

Glancing him over, Clay frowned. “Significantly. But come on, you said we can do whatever I want. I only have a few months left, you know.”

“It’s not like you’re dying,” Apollo sighed, but his tone was resigned. Clay was right—with the HAT-2 mission fast approaching, the number of weekends they could spend together was dwindling, and Apollo felt it was probably best to indulge his best friend’s whims.

So, after Apollo changed into something more presentable, they ended up at a bar downtown on a Saturday night. But all things considered, Apollo wasn’t too put out; the place Clay had chosen was pretty low-key, mostly populated by groups of 20- and 30-somethings spending time with friends. Honestly, it wasn’t the kind of place Clay usually liked (he preferred more lively venues, where he could spend the evening trying to convince Apollo to dance) but maybe this choice was a sort of compromise, an apology for backing out on movie night.

They grabbed drinks at the bar and settled at tall table away from some of the louder groups. Clay picked up where he had left off with a story about his day at the Cosmos Space Center—something involving a robot and a “harmless prank.”

Apollo idly scanned the bar as Clay talked, until his eyes caught on a flash of platinum hair and he did a double take.

“—and Aura was ready to kill me, I swear—hey, that’s Klavier Gavin, isn’t it?” Clay interrupted himself, just as Apollo made the same observation.

Klavier wasn’t immediately recognizable, which was probably why the atmosphere in the bar hadn’t changed the moment a celebrity walked in. His hair was pulled up into a low bun, and he was wearing glasses—not sunglasses, but a pair of thin round frames.

“Yeah,” Apollo said, squinting to see Klavier across the room. “I wonder what he’s—” Klavier turned slightly, and Apollo’s question was answered when he saw the guitar case strapped to Klavier’s back. “…ah.”

“Ooh, is he going to play?” Clay wondered aloud.

It certainly looked that way, as Klavier took out his guitar and settled on a stool near a window, where a microphone on a stand marked out an informal sort of stage. He was chatting with a waitress as he set up, adjusting the microphone and running his fingers over the strings of the guitar. A few people glanced his way, but no one seemed to make the same realization that Apollo and Clay had, like a change of hairstyle and some new accessories were all it took to conceal Klavier’s identity from people who only knew him from album covers and magazine photoshoots.

The waitress retrieved him a glass of water as he tuned the guitar, and after gracing her with a gleaming smile of gratitude, Klavier turned to the microphone.

He gave himself a brief introduction that went unnoticed by most of the occupants of the bar—just “Klavier,” Apollo noted, as if he was reluctant to bring attention to his identity— and then he began to play.

He started with a popular song that had been a radio favorite several years back—not a Gavinners song—and the familiar tune got him more attention than his introduction had. But it was still background music—a few people watched him when their conversations lapsed, but for the most part, he faded into the bar’s ambiance. There was scattered applause when he finished the song, and he gave an appreciative smile before starting the next.

Apollo was a little puzzled to see the prosecutor here. Klavier had reportedly taken a short leave of absence a few months back, which had come as a surprise to Apollo; he recalled Klavier saying something about leaving his music career to focus on prosecuting. Now it seemed as though he was doing the opposite, although playing in bars was a far cry from his previous fame.

He couldn’t deny that he was a little worried about his once-rival. He had run into Klavier nearly five months ago, after Kristoph’s trial, but he hadn’t seen him since—not in person, anyway. Trucy still enjoyed blasting Guilty as Charged around the office, so the prosecutor hadn’t been far from his mind. Apollo kept expecting him to show up on the opposite bench, but the months stretched on and there was still no sign of him. Once or twice he had considered asking Prosecutor Edgeworth for information, but he had never quite figured out how to broach the subject casually.

His last encounter with Klavier had been a little unexpected, and it still weighed on his thoughts. In the aftermath of Kristoph’s trial, Apollo hadn’t been looking for Klavier, exactly, but something had compelled him to take the less travelled route out of the courtroom, away from the crowds and the reporters.

When he spotted Klavier, leaning against the wall of the empty corridor, his head in his hands, he had almost retreated and left him alone. Then he reconsidered.

“Gavin.”

Klavier had practically launched himself off the wall, brushing a hand through his bangs, blinking away tears, and plastering a smile across his face before he faced Apollo. Apollo winced.

“Herr Forehead—sorry, I was just—”

Apollo held up a hand. “You don’t have to do that,” he interrupted. “You don’t have to pretend.” I’d rather you didn’t, for the sake of my wrist.

For a moment, the pleasant expression remained frozen on Klavier’s face. Then he blinked, sucked in a quick breath, and the smile faded, leaving him looking hollow.

Apollo had taken a step closer, maybe to put a hand on his shoulder, or something—he hadn’t been sure. But watching Klavier’s expression break, he found himself reaching out to wrap his arms around the prosecutor, instead.

For just an instant, Klavier stiffened, but as Apollo pulled him closer, he all but collapsed into his arms, until Apollo felt like he was supporting the whole weight of him. He was entirely still, save the rise and fall of his chest against Apollo’s—Apollo could feel his heart beating, frantic.

Neither of them had spoken. Apollo remembered feeling like nothing outside of them had existed, like the dreary courthouse hallway had faded away and left only the man trembling in his arms.

Then there was the quiet tap of footsteps behind them, and Klavier had flinched out of Apollo’s grasp. Apollo turned to see Prosecutor Edgeworth rounding the corner.

“Herr Edgeworth, I—”

Edgeworth had not seemed particularly concerned to find them together, but his expression was far from cheerful. “A word, if you have a moment, Gavin?”

“Ah…ja, of course.” He started to follow, then looked back to Apollo and opened his mouth, then closed it. He gave a brief nod before turning away.

And then the prosecutor had just…disappeared, at least as far as Apollo could tell. Apollo was left with the memory of how Klavier had clung to him, and with various angles on his empty smile under every headline covering Kristoph’s case.

Narrowing his eyes in the dim light of the bar, Apollo tried to gauge whether Klavier looked any different than he had all those months ago—better? worse?—but with Klavier’s head bent over his instrument, it was hard to tell.

With his investigation stymied, Apollo settled for just watching Klavier, instead. This was only the second time he had seen the famed lead singer of the Gavinners perform, but the two shows were hardly comparable—Apollo had spent the majority of the final ill-fated Gavinners concert with his fingers in his ears, squinting against the flashing lights. Although Klavier seemed content to fade into the background this evening, he held Apollo’s attention far more effectively than the concert had.

He was dressed more casually than Apollo had ever seen him, in a short-sleeved black shirt and dark jeans. A few rings glinted on his fingers, but he had forgone his usual chain-linked jewelry. The rings flashed as his fingers roved over the frets of his guitar, effortlessly, but with a technical precision that had previously escaped Apollo’s notice. He appeared to be singularly focused on the music—his eyes were nearly closed as he sang, and during an instrumental interlude, he bowed his head over the guitar, improvising a riff that didn’t exist in the original song, then smiling slightly to himself as he picked up with the words of the chorus again.

Apollo watched him for half a song before he realized that he was staring.

Of course, it had never escaped his notice that Klavier was gorgeous, but it had always been relatively easy to muster some shred of disdain for the Gavinners jewelry or for the prosecutor’s loose interpretation of the phrase “business casual.” Now, between Klavier's bangs falling to softly frame his face, and the simple, fitted t-shirt, Apollo couldn't find anything to complain about. He wasn’t sure he wanted to try.

Like a slow wave washing up inevitably on a shore, the truth that Apollo had been actively denying for months now came to him irresistibly.

He let his eyes drift from the feathery edges of Klavier’s bangs, to his lips curved in a pout of concentration, and down one lean arm to his fingers confidently plucking the strings of his instrument, and thought to himself, with dejected resignation, I'm fucked.

Maybe it had only been a matter of time—in fact, the time might have been to blame entirely. When he had first met Klavier, he had almost mistaken him for Kristoph, and that had left very little room for being attracted to the man. Now, it had been long enough that he didn't see his former boss in Klavier's features at all. There was none of Kristoph's coldness in Klavier's clear eyes, none of his cruelty or stiffness in Klavier's face or posture. There was just Klavier.

 Just Klavier, Apollo despaired, as though he isn't some kind of quintuple-threat on his own.

“Hey, so why exactly haven’t you gotten me a signed copy of Guilty as Charged yet?” Clay asked, interrupting his contemplations. Apollo jumped. He felt himself start to blush, even though Clay couldn’t have known what he was thinking about.

“He’d probably charge me for it,” Apollo managed to respond, tearing his gaze away from the musician.

“Are you still bitter about that?” Clay asked him.

“I had to pay for a concert I didn’t even want to go to!” Apollo reminded him. “And then someone was murdered!”

“At least you got paid for the defense,” Clay pointed out. “I think you probably netted positive.”

“That’s beside the point,” Apollo maintained. “Anyway, I haven’t seen him in months. I haven’t really had a chance to pester him for autographs.”

They moved on to other topics again, although their attention drifted back to Klavier whenever their conversation lulled.

“Why do you think he isn’t playing Gavinners stuff?” Clay wondered aloud.

“Bad memories, probably,” Apollo said, almost without thinking. Maybe for him, it wasn’t hard to overlook the Gavinners breakup in the aftermath of Daryan’s conviction, but he doubted it was so easy for Klavier. “He said he wouldn’t play the Guitar’s Serenade again.”

“Oh, right…”

“It’s too bad, though,” Apollo mused. “That was a nice song.”

“Still wish I’d gotten to see that concert,” Clay muttered.

“How many times do I have to remind you about the murder?” Apollo replied.

“Still,” Clay grumbled, looking towards the musician. Then his eyes lit up. “Hey, it looks like he’s taking a break, you should say hi!”

Klavier, finishing his latest song to modest applause, was indeed standing from his stool and swinging his guitar off his shoulder to place it carefully back in the case. He stretched and glanced towards the bar.

Apollo sank down in his seat slightly. “I don’t need to—” He glanced in Klavier’s direction, and just happened to catch the moment when Klavier was looking his way, too. Their eyes met, and Klavier’s widened.

He took another minute to reach their table.

“What a pleasant surprise,” Klavier greeted them once he was within earshot, a smile spreading across his lips. He came to stop by their table and rested his hands on the surface. “It’s been a while, Herr Forehead.”

“Gavin,” Apollo replied. “Yeah, it has.”

“Oh, please, we’re not in court, Forehead.” Klavier chided. Apollo raised an eyebrow, and Klavier smiled slightly. “We’re not in court, Apollo,” he amended with a sigh. Then he glanced towards Clay. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure, …?”

“Clay Terran,” Clay introduced himself. “And you’re Klavier Gavin!”

“Last I checked, ja,” Klavier replied with a smile, flipping his fingers through his bangs. “I would offer you a photo, but I’m trying to keep a bit of a low profile tonight.”

“That doesn’t seem like you,” Apollo observed. Klavier just laughed.

“Perhaps not. But sometimes it’s nice to be in company without being the center of it.”

“Still not really tracking, honestly,” Apollo told him, scratching his chin.

Klavier’s smile dimmed somewhat—or rather, the smile was just as pleasant as ever, but there was a shadow in his eyes that caught Apollo’s attention as his bracelet pressed around his wrist. Klavier leaned his elbows on their table and didn’t quite look at either of them.

“The paparazzi has just about died down, after Kris,” he said. His tone was still casual, but he was twisting one of his rings around his finger. “Can you blame me for wanting to remain under their radar?”

“N-no, of course not.” Apollo was regretting his teasing now. “So, uh, how’ve you been, then?”

“Not bad, considering,” Klavier replied. He met Apollo’s eyes, and Apollo was relieved to see nothing like irritation there. “At the, ah, suggestion of my superiors, I took a break, did some traveling. But I think I’ve had enough of that, now.” He gave an ironic wink. “So I’m back, baby.”

“Playing bars?” Jeez, Apollo, maybe chill with the snide comments today? he scolded himself. Sarcasm was his natural defense against Klavier’s charm, but he thought he could afford to be a little nicer given he hadn’t seen the man since his brother was convicted a second time, no matter how inconvenient his recent revelations about his own feelings were.

“Just getting my toes wet,” Klavier said easily, and again, he didn’t sound like he had taken offense, but Apollo was still kicking himself. “I know the owners of this place, so I’m actually doing them a favor after their scheduled musicians were delayed. But I’ve asked Herr Edgeworth to start sending some cases my way, too, so perhaps we’ll start to run into each other more often.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” Apollo told him. There, that’s better.

Klavier looked at him, and the corner of his lips turned up in a smile.

“Me, too,” he said earnestly. He held Apollo’s gaze for what felt like a very long second, then looked away before continuing conversationally, “I hear you’ve been doing rather well for yourself, these days.”

Apollo tilted his head. “Depends on your definition of well,” he said. “Lots of cases, and lots of wins, sure. Clients with money, not so much.” He glanced at Clay. “Which is why my vote today was for movie night.”

Klavier laughed. “Ja, Herr Wright’s agency does not seem to attract the most affluent clients,” he observed. He leaned on the table, chin resting in one hand, and turned his gaze on Apollo. “If that’s the case, maybe you should let me buy you a drink.”

There was a smile playing around the corners of Klavier’s parted lips, and he regarded Apollo over the frames of his glasses.

Apollo blinked. “A d-drink?” he stammered.

This was an expression he had seen dozens of times before—Klavier was always so familiar with everyone, and he tossed out flirtatious grins as easily as business cards and autographs. Apollo had long considered himself to be immune to it. Now he just felt pinned.

“This is a bar, ja?” Klavier tilted his head. “Can I take that as a yes, Apollo?”

Was he imagining it, the way Klavier said his name like he was rolling each syllable over his tongue?

“I-I’m fine,” Apollo muttered at last, nearly forgetting to answer the question. He reached across the table for his glass, but he misjudged the distance and almost succeeded in toppling it over. “I’ve, uh, still got this, so…”

Klavier’s smile grew. “Well, let me know if you change your mind…” Then he glanced towards the microphone. “I should probably get back to it,” he said. “Have a nice evening, Apollo, Clay.”

With a nod to each of them, he straightened up and returned to his stool, swinging his guitar back into his lap. A few moments later, another acoustic rendition of a popular rock tune was filling the spaces between conversations.

Apollo watched him, his heart still beating a little more quickly than he thought it should have been. He picked up his glass, took a large gulp of his drink, and only when he put it down again did he realize Clay was watching him, eyebrows raised.

“So, Pollo…” Clay began, and Apollo was very tempted to stand up and just leave right then, because that smile that was spreading across Clay’s face was never a good sign. “…why didn’t you tell me about your crush on Klavier Gavin?”

Playing dumb was worth a shot. “Not sure what you mean.” He tried not to glance towards Klavier again. He failed.

The thing was, he hadn’t ever thought of it as a crush. He couldn't have a crush on Klavier—he refused. Having a crush on an international rock sensation who was also something like his coworker could only result in misfortune, and Apollo didn’t even want to think about how difficult it would be to face off against his already more composed and eloquent courtroom rival if he had feelings to contend with, too. He had clung to his excuses—Klavier was too showy, and his music was too loud—but now across the room, the soberly-dressed musician was taking up his guitar again and starting a quietly upbeat alternative tune, and those excuses were crumbling.

And then there was that memory Apollo couldn’t shake, of Klavier clinging to him like his life depended on it.

As if sensing his attention, Klavier lifted his head and caught Apollo’s eye, smiling around the lyrics of his song. He got through half a verse like that, his eyes locked on Apollo’s, and Apollo was the first to look away, face tingling.

 He shook himself and glanced back at Clay, who was watching him with a skeptical expression. “Well, he’s definitely into you.”

“He’s not.” That, at least, wasn’t up for debate. Apollo could see Clay about to argue, but he preempted it. “He’s always like that.”

“He’s always flirting with you, you mean?” Clay asked. He rolled his eyes. “Oh, gee, I can see why you would think he’s not interested.”

“He’s not serious,” Apollo returned. “He’s just—”

“Still looking at you.”

“What?”

Clay nodded towards the microphone. “He’s still looking at you.”

Apollo wanted to refuse to check, but he couldn’t help himself; he glanced towards Klavier and found that the musician was indeed looking back at him, although he dropped his gaze to his guitar as soon as Apollo caught him, ostensibly to focus on another improvised melody.

Apollo shook his head. “You didn’t see our trials—I don’t even think he takes me seriously.” He looked down at the table. “And he hardly has any reason to like me when I helped put his bandmate and his brother in jail.”

“Okay, so he doesn’t take you seriously, but he also entirely blames you for two major arrests? I think that’s a—what do you call it again?” He made a show of thinking hard. “Oh, right—a contradiction.”

“Shush.”

“Okay, fine. Then, on an entirely unrelated topic…your love life’s been kinda blah, lately, huh?”

“You’re one to talk,” Apollo shot back.

I’m going to space,” Clay told him. “What’s your excuse?”

Apollo scowled. “I’m busy.”

“Not right now, you’re not,” Clay said. “Unless we’re working on a case I don’t know about? Should I have come in disguise?”

Apollo did not reward the question with an answer. “But this is...I dunno. You time,” he argued. “Since you’re leaving soon.”

“As much as I appreciate that,” Clay began, “that’s not totally what I had in mind for tonight.”

“Huh?”

“I’m going to be in space for a long time, Pollo.” He looked at him, smiling slightly. “And don’t take this the wrong way, but do you have any other friends?”

Apollo paused. “I have...friends.”

“Not including your boss or his daughter or former clients?”

“Well—”

“I just…I’m not trying to be mean, really, because you’re my best friend, too, and I’m not really any better in the social department. I just don’t want you to be...I dunno. Lonely.”

Apollo flipped a coaster in his fingers and gave a wry smile. “So you try to set me up with Klavier Gavin?” He paused, then frowned suddenly. “Wait, did you know he was going to be here?”

Clay avoided his gaze. “I may have…heard a rumor or two.”

“But he said he was just filling in!”

“A very last-minute rumor,” Clay said. “Like, my coworker is sitting over there, and she texted our group chat about it when she heard the bartender mention it to a waitress.”

“I should have known you wouldn’t have picked this place normally,” Apollo sighed, shaking his head. 

Clay chuckled. “So…?”

“So what?”

“You. Klavier. Why not give it a shot?”

Apollo looked down, chewing on his lip. “He’s busy.”

“Excuses, excuses. Well, fine. I don’t mind waiting until his replacement gets here.”

Apollo begrudgingly agreed, because that would be a while, he figured, and by then maybe Clay would have forgotten—

About twenty minutes later, a group of people lugging instruments crowded through the doorway, and Klavier graciously gave up his spot after finishing up with his final song. Apollo watched him make his way to the bar out of the corner of his eye, but refused to properly look at him, nothing to give Clay a chance to—

“Oh, look, Apollo,” said his friend suddenly, “your drink’s empty.”

Apollo, occupied by his surreptitious observation of his former rival, started and looked down at his glass. “What? No, it’s not.” The glass still had a good third left.

“Really?” Clay reached across the table, picked up Apollo’s glass, and downed it in an instant. “Sure looks that way.”

Apollo treated him to an exasperated stare. Clay looked back, unfazed.

“Mind getting the next round?” he said innocently, with a pointed look at his own empty glass. Apollo sighed and resignedly stood to go to the bar.

He squeezed into a vacant spot next to Klavier, who looked up warily before he recognized Apollo, at which point his caution melted into a smile. 

“Herr Forehead,” he said, turning in his stool. “Are you taking me up on my offer?”

Apollo took a breath, and glanced back at Clay, who was talking to a waitress and clearly didn’t need his help obtaining more drinks. “Uh…sure. Thanks.”

Klavier smiled, then motioned to the bartender and said, “Make that two, bitte?”

The bartender soon returned with two glasses, and Apollo took an experimental sip to find he was being treated to a simple gin and tonic.

Klavier squeezed out his lime and dropped it into his glass, then turned to Apollo. “So how are you this evening, Herr Forehead? Celebrating anything?”

“Just Clay’s victory in getting me out of my apartment.” Apollo eyed him sideways. “And I thought I was going to be ‘Apollo.’”

“Ach, force of habit. My apologies, Apollo.”

Does he usually say my name like that? Apollo started to wonder, until he remembered that Klavier rarely ever used his name in the first place. Maybe he just wasn’t used to it.

Apollo took a sip of his drink and realized he could probably be doing more to hold up his end of the conversation. “So you’ve been doing okay, lately?”

He had already asked a similar question back at the table, but now that they were alone, it wasn’t so much of a standard conversation starter. He was thinking about Klavier shaking in his arms.

Klavier caught his eye for a moment, and Apollo thought that somehow he was thinking of the same thing. He gave a quiet sigh.

“I’ve been doing better,” he confided. “Some days I feel alright. Some days I don’t. But that’s life, ja? And I can’t keep avoiding mine forever.”

“Well, it’s good to see you,” Apollo admitted. “I’ve been”—struck by a sudden bout of self-consciousness, he stumbled over his words—“uh. Worried, I guess.” He rubbed his neck.

“If I had known, I would have sent you a postcard,” Klavier joked, but there was honest appreciation in his eyes.

Apollo worried that their conversation would lapse, but to his surprise, he and Klavier had a lot to talk about. Klavier had his travels, of course—“it wasn't all vacation,” he was quick to say, “I did some consulting, too”—but Apollo had a collection of ridiculous cases that Klavier had only read about, and the news never managed to truly capture the experience.

As Apollo recapped one of his more outlandish cases, he realized he had never seen Klavier laugh out loud—he indulged in that little derisive chuckle during trials, but now Apollo was learning that when Klavier really laughed, he did so with his whole body, throwing back his head and brushing back his bangs with one hand, clutching his knee with the other. And when he recovered and returned his attention to Apollo, Apollo found himself losing his train of thought to Klavier’s wide, easy smile.

“And what was your response?”

“Huh?”

“To the witness?” Klavier prompted.

“Oh! Right, right…”

They talked, their drinks were emptied and replaced, and they talked some more. They got on the subject of law school and college, of Klavier’s unusual educational track and Apollo’s more common one, professors they had liked and professors they had hated, old rivals and old mentors…

It shouldn’t have been surprising that, in the flow of the conversation, they eventually made their way around to Kristoph.

“I know the feeling,” Klavier was saying, after Apollo finished a miniature tirade against a particularly strict professor. “Kris used to—”

He broke off, his expression immediately darkening. Apollo’s smile faded as well.

“I’m sorry,” Klavier said after a pause. “It’s been months, but sometimes I still just…forget, almost.” He rested his forehead on one hand, threading his fingers through his bangs.

“Have you seen him recently?” Apollo ventured.

“No.” Klavier looked up. “Have you?”

Apollo shook his head. “Not in…four months? I visited a while after the trial, just…looking for answers, I guess.”

“You didn’t find any.” It wasn’t a question.

Apollo rubbed his wrist, just below his bracelet. “Only lies.”

“Hm.”

They fell quiet, each taking sips of their drinks. Apollo deliberated for a moment before speaking again.

 “Hey, Klavier…” he began. “I just wanted to say, uh…I’m sorry.”

Klavier’s brow creased. “For what?”

“I dunno…Daryan, and Kristoph—”

“None of that was your fault,” Klavier interrupted. His expression darkened. “They made their choices.”

“Well, yeah, but—”

“You helped me see the truth,” Klavier said. “And for that, I’ll always be grateful.”

Apollo made a noncommittal noise and looked down.

“What is it?” Klavier asked.

“Nothing, I just…I guess I was worried that you hated me, for all that.”

Klavier’s eyebrows rose halfway up his forehead. “Hated you?”

“Well, I dunno, I just thought—”

He broke off, because Klavier was laughing again.

“What’s so funny?” Apollo narrowed his eyes.

Klavier shook his head, recovering. “It’s just…nein, Apollo. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Something about that statement struck Apollo as odd, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

“Oh. Well. Good,” he replied instead. Klavier was still shaking his head with residual disbelief, although his expression was slowly sobering.

“To be quite honest,” he said after a pause. He trailed off, biting his lip, and he was quiet long enough that Apollo wondered whether he even intended to finish his thought. “…I thought you might not think particularly highly of me.”

“Huh?”

“Well…Kristoph. Daryan. Right under my nose, and I just…” He let out a breath. “I can’t imagine my oversight would engender much respect.”

Apollo stared at him. “Wh…but you’re...you’re so far ahead of me! I mean—”

“I won against Herr Wright only thanks to my brother’s interference. I am more successful as a musician than as a prosecutor—”

“But you’re—” Apollo paused, reconsidering. “We could keep going back and forth on this all night.”

Klavier blinked, then let out a quiet laugh. “You’re probably right.” He smiled. “Suffice to say we both…well, I’ve been impressed with you since your first trial.”

Apollo wasn't prepared for that admission. “Wait, really?”

“A rookie defense attorney outsmarting my brother? Of course.”

“Well, I had help—”

“Even so. I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

Klavier leaned an elbow on the bar, his gaze fixed on the arrangement of expensive bottles on the wall. He didn't seem at all perturbed by the statement he had just made, and Apollo wondered if he even realized he had spoken aloud. A blush rose to Apollo’s cheeks, and even though Klavier wasn't looking at him, he ducked his head and took a sip of his drink to hide it.

He means...professionally, right? He couldn't stop thinking about me...professionally.

And yet, for some reason his mind was conjuring images of Klavier, sitting in his sunlit office, gazing out the window and thinking of him.

After a moment, Klavier turned to him, and Apollo realized he had forgotten to say anything.

“Oh. Um,” he began. Ever-eloquent, Justice. “I…”

Klavier chuckled. “You were nothing like I was expecting, though.” He smirked. “Much easier to fluster.”

“Hey!”

Klavier’s smirk only widened. “Red suits you, Apollo.”

And then he reached out and brushed a knuckle over Apollo’s cheek. The half-formed retorts on the tip of Apollo’s tongue promptly vanished.

 Klavier’s hand was gone the next second, and he settled back on his stool and took a sip of his drink, seemingly oblivious to Apollo’s staring.

“I’m relieved, though,” Klavier said eventually, his tone growing more serious. He contemplated the ice in the bottom of his glass. “I feel as though I’m never quite able to figure out what you think of me.”

Usually, Apollo would have been inclined to reply with some throwaway remark, but either Klavier’s honesty or the accumulation of a few drinks prompted him to be more frank.

“Well, like I said,” he began, idly stirring his drink, “it feels like you’re so far ahead of me. Like, sure, I won those trials, but…I’m still kinda new at this, y’know? But you, you’re…so much more experienced, you know your stuff, and on top of that you’re, like, cool, and—”

Wait. That one wasn’t supposed to slip out.

Klavier turned fully on his barstool, his face stretched with astonishment. “What was that?”

Apollo slumped. “Nothing,” he grumbled.

Positively grinning now, Klavier leaned closer. “Apollo Justice, I do believe I just heard you say you think I’m cool.”

“I absolutely didn’t. You’re extremely uncool, actually.” Apollo refused to look at him. “Very tacky. Way too glimmerous.”

“Ah, you can’t go stealing the Fräulein Detective’s insults,” Klavier chided. He was still crowded in Apollo’s space. “How about something original, ja?”

Apollo scowled at him sideways. “The German isn’t as sexy as you think it is.”

Klavier’s eyebrows jumped, but the smile never left his lips. “So it’s a little bit sexy, schatzi?”

Electing not to answer, Apollo gave an exaggerated eye-roll—if only to hide the shiver that had danced down his spine at the sound of Klavier’s voice so close to his ear.

Given that cool had already escaped, Apollo wasn’t sure he trusted what he might say next. He glanced around the bar to avoid Klavier’s amused gaze, and realized that the table he and Clay had previously occupied was empty.

“Oh, shoot,” he said, “I abandoned Clay.”

But as if summoned, the future astronaut in question appeared behind him only moments later, and Klavier retracted himself from his distracting proximity.

“Hey, Pollo, this place is kinda dead,” Clay observed. “Want to try somewhere else?”

Apollo didn’t, particularly, but he had a feeling Clay was going to be stubborn. He shrugged, which Clay took as an affirmative.

“There’s a ride on the way,” Clay said, further cementing Apollo’s certainty that he hadn’t really had a choice. Then Clay turned to Klavier. “How about you, Klav Gav, wanna come?”

Klavier’s lips turned down into a pout that Apollo recognized very well. “Please don’t call me that.”

Apollo raised an eyebrow. “Oh, you don’t like that nickname? How’s that feel?”

With a laugh, Klavier reached over and flattened Apollo’s bangs over his forehead. “Perhaps if Herr Forehead wore his hair like this, he could be Herr Justice once again.”

“I thought I was Apollo,” Apollo shot back.

“Ja, of course, Apollo.”

Klavier had to be doing it on purpose now, inserting that touch of contrived accent into the syllables of Apollo’s name. Apollo wanted to roll his eyes again, but Klavier’s fingers were still threaded in his hair, his hand resting comfortably on Apollo’s head. He wondered if Klavier just meant to stay like that until Apollo shook him off. Normally, he would be annoyed by someone messing up his hair, but…

“So, how about it?” Clay prompted, and Apollo realized he had just sort of been staring at Klavier, with Klavier looking back at him. After letting his eyes linger on Apollo for another second, Klavier turned to Clay, releasing Apollo’s hair. His fingers trailed faintly across Apollo’s skin as he did so.

“The night is still young, ja? Did you have someplace in mind?”

Clay grinned, and a few minutes later, Apollo found himself sandwiched in the back seat of a blue Honda Civic between his best friend and the world’s only rock star prosecutor.

“So,” Clay said, looking across Apollo, “why not Klav Gav?”

Klavier let out a heavy sigh. “It’s what the tabloids call me. It triggers my fight or flight response.”

“Okay, fair…” Clay suddenly gasped. “Oh my god, that reminds me. Apollo, have you seen…”

Clay pulled out his phone. From Apollo’s other side, Klavier looked on curiously. When Clay was halfway through typing out a search term, Klavier sucked in a breath, reached across Apollo, and plucked Clay’s phone from his hands.

“Hey!”

“Herr Terran, you’re cruel,” Klavier admonished, locking the phone before Apollo could even glimpse what Clay had been typing.

“What…?” Apollo said, looking back and forth between them.

“Oh, come on, it’s such a funny story,” Clay whined.

“I beg to differ.”

“Well, the picture makes it better, but anyway: Klavier was in…Italy, I think?” Clay looked across the seat for confirmation. Klavier huffed.

“I will not be helping you tell this story.” He slumped against the side of the car, covering his face with one hand while he clutched Clay’s phone in the other.

“Well, whatever. Maybe it was France.” As Clay spoke, he smoothly took Apollo’s phone from his hands and started re-typing his search terms. “And he was staying near the ocean, and…oh, here it is! I present to you the best Klav Gav tabloid photo of all time.

As Clay spoke, Klavier’s eyes shot open. He gasped and launched himself across Apollo’s lap, but he could do nothing to prevent Apollo from seeing the image on the screen, which showed a shirtless Klavier on a beachfront balcony, brandishing a rolled newspaper at a very large, very menacing seagull perched on the railing.

Despite himself, Apollo snorted and burst out laughing.

Klavier groaned and buried his face in the nearest shoulder, which happened to be Apollo’s.

“You don’t even know what a terrible morning that was,” he grumbled, his voice muffled. “I was jet-lagged, and hungry, and that damned bird wouldn’t let me back inside. I had to give it my bagel.”

Apollo patted his head consolingly.

“Sounds rough.” Then he promptly turned to Clay. “But, okay, there have to be memes of this, right?”

“Oh are there,” Clay replied with a grin.

Klavier didn’t lift his head. “Herr Forehead, I do not think I like your friend very much.”

“Yeah, he sucks,” Apollo agreed, while watching Clay scroll through images. “Oh my god, go back, go back.”

“What—oh my god.”

Apollo and Clay dissolved into uncontrollable giggles as the image filled the screen. It was a photo from one of Klavier and Apollo’s earlier trials together, the two of them facing off across the courtroom, but the original Klavier had been replaced by the distraught figure from the hotel balcony.

“Let me guess,” Klavier said against Apollo’s shoulder, “the courtroom one.”

“You have to admit,” Apollo gasped between wheezes of laughter, “it’s really well photoshopped.”

Under Apollo’s hand, Klavier’s shoulders started shaking, and it was a moment before Apollo realized he was laughing, too.

“It is, isn’t it,” he agreed, finally lifting his head.

“There are so many more…” Clay said, but in the dim streetlight-illuminated interior of the car, Apollo had accidentally caught Klavier’s eye. Klavier was still very close, with Apollo’s arm resting around his shoulders. A few strands of Klavier’s hair had come loose from his bun, and every other second, the passing streetlights outlined them in warm orange.

Klavier leaned just a little more into Apollo’s arm as he watched Clay scroll through images. Apollo didn’t dare move. Klavier was warm under his t-shirt, and Apollo had to resist the temptation to pull him closer.

“Is here okay?” the driver asked. Apollo had almost forgotten about her.

“Yeah, thanks!” Clay chirped.

“Man,” the driver added, glancing at them all in the rearview as she pulled up to the curb. “No one is going to believe I gave Klavier Gavin a ride.”

Klavier sighed, but he didn’t look truly exasperated. He pulled a card from his pocket, scrawled a brief message and a signature, and handed it across to the driver.

“Evidence for your claims, fräulein,” he said. “Guten Abend.”

He winked, and Apollo rolled his eyes, but Klavier caught him.

“Jealous?” he asked with an unabashed smile as they got out of the car. “Just say the word if there’s anything you want me to sign.”

“Ooh, I have—” Clay started to say.

“Not you,” Klavier interrupted, with a stern glare. “You’ve lost autographs privileges.”

The club was loud and kaleidoscopically lit, and the dance floor was packed. Clay steered them in that direction anyway, and Apollo decided not to protest for once. Nothing to do with Klavier following close behind him, he told himself.

Apollo thought he wasn’t quite tipsy enough to not feel entirely foolish dancing, but he could always reassure himself that no matter what he was doing, Clay was probably attracting more attention—not because he was any good, but he was spectacularly confident in being bad. Klavier—unsurprisingly—was good at this; the closer Apollo stood, the easier it was for him to get caught up in Klavier’s movements, and dancing almost felt effortless for once. The constant pressure of bodies around them gave him an excuse, and Klavier didn’t seem to mind at all as Apollo intruded on his space and followed his lead.

Klavier was still tentative, though, when he placed a hand feather-light on Apollo’s waist, meeting his eyes with a silent question, which Apollo answered by shifting into his touch, dancing closer. He was surprised to realize he didn’t feel awkward at all with Klavier’s example to follow, his touch like a guide, connecting Apollo to the him and to the music.

Apollo didn’t know where Clay had gone, but he suspected his friend belonged to some of the elbows and shoulders that had nudged him into Klavier’s arms.

“Should we…really be doing this?” Apollo wondered aloud, in a half-spoken, half-shouted voice, and even then the only reason Klavier could hear him was because of how close they were. “Considering we were just talking about seeing each other in court again?”

Klavier’s hand on his waist had become a little more certain, and he smiled at Apollo and raised an eyebrow. “Upon my most recent review of California Legal Code, dancing was not considered a crime, Apollo,” he replied. He was flushed, but it was probably just the heat of the club.

“Well, yeah, but I dunno…Klav Gav and Defense Attorney Caught in Amorous Embrace, end quote, and all,” he said. He didn’t make any effort to put space between them, though.

Is this an amorous embrace, schatzi?”

“Um.” What does that word mean, anyway?

Klavier grinned and spun him around, before pulling him even closer than before, his hand pressed firmly against the small of Apollo's back. Their hips bumped together. “Or perhaps you are saying you wish to go somewhere more private?”

Um…” There were just a few points of contact between them, but Apollo felt electrified.

Klavier released him, taking a step back to give him an incremental amount of space again, as much as the surrounding club-goers would allow. The inches between them suddenly seemed like far too many. “Just teasing, Forehead.”

Apollo’s bracelet squeezed.

UM?????

As one song transitioned into another, Apollo made some excuse about the bathroom and went in search of Clay. He found him near the bar, chatting with a redhead who looked like he didn’t particularly care about all the facts he was currently learning about the Orion nebula. The redhead looked grateful when Apollo hauled his friend aside.

“What’s up, Pollo? Where’s Klav Gav?”

“Uh, still dancing, I think. But he—”

Apollo summarized their exchange.

“—and then the bracelet did the thing—”

Clay looked unimpressed. “Oh, so you believe the bracelet but not me, I get it.”

“Clay.”

“Hey, what did I tell you? He’s into you. Is that a problem?”

“Well, not really, but…”

“What are you so worried about?”

Clay’s tone had turned unexpectedly serious. Apollo met his eyes. “I…”

“I don’t think this is something you need to be scared of, Apollo,” Clay said. “If you’re interested, you should tell him. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just…let him know. This might be an easier place to do that than the middle of the courtroom. Just saying.”

He was right, but…

Clay must have seen the burgeoning protest in Apollo’s eyes, so he took his friend by the shoulder and turned him around, towards the dance floor.

“At least go back to dancing with the rock star we got to hang out with us tonight,” he said, and gave Apollo a gentle shove.

Apollo didn’t bother tossing a scowl back in Clay’s direction. He waded across the dance floor, but when he finally spotted Klavier, he was off to the side of the club at a small table, frowning down at his phone. He looked up when Apollo joined him, and his smile was a touch forced.

“Something wrong?” Apollo asked, nodding at the phone.

“Hm? Oh, nein. Just…” Klavier considered his hands. “I was thinking about what you said earlier.”

“Huh?”

“There was an article like that, actually. About the two of us,” Klavier clarified. “I had it taken down immediately, which I can do in an emergency, as long as I let them have their fun the rest of the time.”

“What was…”

Klavier shrugged. “Just what you would expect. Entirely my fault, I’m sure.” He gave a small self-deprecating smile. “But, my point is, Apollo…my reputation is one thing, but yours is quite another. If that kind of thing worries you, I entirely understand if you would rather not spend time dancing with me in clubs on our off hours.”

For a moment, Apollo just looked at him. Then he shook himself. “No, Klavier, I mean…I was just…it was stupid. I don’t care about that. It’s tabloid stuff, right? Who’d believe it, anyway?”

Klavier’s face fell. “Ja, of course,” he said, glancing away. “Who would believe it…”

Apollo realized the unintended implications of his words a moment too late. He opened his mouth to say something, make some yet-undecided correction—“what are you so worried about?” Clay said in his mindbut Klavier was already talking.

“Even so…I should probably call it a night. Lots of work to do tomorrow.”

He wasn’t lying, but the claim still had the air of an excuse about it. “On Sunday?”

“No rest for the wicked, ja? Nor for those who pursue them.”

“Yeah…” Apollo took a breath. “One more song?”

Klavier blinked at him. “What?”

“Before you go,” Apollo added. “How about…one more song?”

He couldn’t bring himself to look directly at Klavier as he spoke, and when he finally chanced a glance, Klavier was staring at him.

“Ja, okay,” he said at last, almost too faintly to hear.

Apollo hoped the dim lights were enough to hide his blush.

A song was ending just as they returned to the dance floor, transitioning into something a little slower. It still had enough of a beat that it wasn’t out of place, but a few patrons seemed a little perplexed by the choice.

Apollo was trying not to think too much. He wasn’t even sure to what end he had dragged Klavier out here again, and he had a feeling that if he tried to figure it out, he would entirely lose his nerve. He told himself was just bringing the night to a natural conclusion, and assuring Klavier that he wasn’t so concerned about his potential tabloid appearances that he would avoid the prosecutor’s company. That was all it had to be, a dance to smooth away that lingering crease of worry on Klavier’s brow.

They stayed near the edge of the crowd, and now, even without miscellaneous strangers’ limbs encouraging him, Apollo stood close, and lifted his arms to loosely rest them around Klavier’s shoulders.

Klavier’s eyes widened, but Apollo tried not to think about that, either. He also tried not to think about Klavier cautiously reaching out, pulling him closer, guiding him into the music again. Apollo was even more grateful for Klavier’s natural aptitude for this, now, although he thought that his dedication to not thinking was helping him move more naturally, too.

The moment felt undecided. It was both something and nothing, just a dance, but a dance with a potential. Apollo could feel the unanswered questions under their fingertips.

Questions demanded answers, but Apollo had reassurances for himself when not thinking became difficult. They were just dancing, right? Two colleagues at a club, just…

Klavier’s hands gripped him a little tighter, pulled him a little closer. They receded inward from the tide of people around them, the anonymous elbows and shoulders, claiming each other from the current.

Just dancing.

Clay and I never dance like this.

Just—

His hands were hooked around the back of Klavier’s neck, stray strands of hair brushing his fingers. Apollo nearly had his face in Klavier’s neck, close enough to smell his cologne mixed with sweat and the scent of fresh laundry—

dancing.

The music was like an afterthought, now. Apollo could feel the bass in his feet, but the rush of his heartbeat in his ears pounded out a different rhythm. He thought he could feel Klavier’s heartbeat, too, although he had to be imagining that. Or maybe he was just remembering it, recalling the desperate pulse of the prosecutor who had fallen into his arms in that courthouse hallway, months ago.

He tipped his head up just as Klavier looked down, so it seemed only natural to kiss him.

He did it without thinking—using one hand to cup Klavier’s jaw and tug him closer, pressing their lips together softly, unhurried. It was almost too gentle—Apollo might have thought he was imagining the whole thing, until Klavier leaned closer, relaxed against him, tension melting out of his frame. Apollo hadn't even noticed the way his bracelet had been gripping his wrist until then.

He did notice when it constricted again, when he and Klavier parted and their eyes met, and he could see the beginnings of panic in Klavier’s. As though Klavier had been the one to make the move. Apollo, for his part, felt strangely calm.

“Was that okay?”

He definitely spoke too softly to be heard, but Klavier understood him, and nodded.

They weren’t really dancing anymore, just holding each other in the middle of the sea of jumbled bodies. Another song was starting, something upbeat again, and they were jostled like a buoy on a windy day.

Clay’s “let him know” echoed in Apollo’s ear. He had certainly done that, but…what was next? The dance floor started to feel like a refuge—not thinking was less feasible outside the crowds, or at their next courtroom encounter. It would be easier to draw Klavier into the next song, perpetually, but eventually the night would have to end.

Klavier spoke first.

“I should go.”

He leaned close enough that Apollo didn’t have to rely on reading his lips, and so he could hear the regret in his voice. But I don’t want to, was the unspoken second clause.

Apollo wanted to ask why, but maybe Klavier was right. For now, the night could remain in an ambiguous state of significance, something and nothing, until they found a few of the answers to the questions they had started to ask with careful touches and one brief kiss.

“No rest for the wicked?” Apollo joked.

Klavier smiled, and they drifted apart as they broke free of the dance floor. They exchanged only a few more words. “Don’t work too hard.” “Goodnight.” A decisive “see you soon.”

Apollo immediately went in search of Clay. He found him leaning against a wall, on his phone, clearly just waiting for Apollo to find him. Apollo was relieved that he wouldn’t have any trouble convincing him that the evening was over.

“Where’s Klavier?”

“He left.” Clay’s expression was both questioning and expectant. “I…let him know,” Apollo added.

“And?”

“We’ll see,” Apollo replied simply. He usually told Clay everything, but he wanted to keep the details to himself for now, until he knew whether the night would be its own story, or the beginning of one.

And because Clay was only pushy when he felt he needed to be, he dropped the subject. “I can still crash at your place, right?”

Apollo pretended to consider it. “I think that offer was contingent on movie night,” he said.

“Hey, I’m still game for movie night.”

But Clay was too ambitious. They fell asleep halfway through Star Trek II.

~~~

Apollo woke up much too early.

At first he thought it was because the couch wasn’t very comfortable, and Clay was squashing his right leg, but then his phone, which had ended up under him, buzzed with a new message alert, and Apollo sluggishly dug it out and fumbled with the lock button to find out that he had a missed call, a voicemail, and a text, all from Klavier. The text read, “please call me.” Apollo noted the period at the end of the sentence and tried to quell a prickle of anxiety.

He ignored the voicemail, pressing the call button instead.

“Herr Forehead.” Klavier answered on the first ring, a bit breathlessly. The nickname came as something of a disappointment, and Apollo realized belatedly that his dreams had perhaps led him to be a little optimistic about the potential outcomes of last night.

“I’m sorry to wake you,” Klavier went on, and Apollo hastily pushed the distracting memories out of his mind.

“It’s fine.” His voice was still scratchy from sleep, and he cleared his throat. “Uh, what’s up?”

“Ah, well.” Klavier’s words came more hesitantly now. “I’m going to send you something.”

The text came immediately, as though Klavier had prepared it in advance—a single link. Apollo clicked on it, and after closing no fewer than two pop-up ads, he saw why Klavier sounded so urgent.

GUILTY LOVE? KLAV GAV AND RIVAL ATTORNEY STEAL INTIMATE MOMENT AT DANCE CLUB.

The headline was so long, and in such a large font, that Apollo had to scroll down to see the picture.

To his surprise, it wasn’t a picture of the kiss. It must have been just moments before—a blurry cell phone photo, taken in a dimly-lit club, but Klavier was recognizable enough, and Apollo, of course, had insisted on his usual hairstyle. They were close, practically embracing, and Apollo could see what he hadn’t been able to see yesterday—Klavier, his cheek brushing Apollo’s temple, his eyes half-closed, head tilted like he was just waiting for Apollo to turn, for their lips to meet.

The photo was grainy, but it recalled the memories easily enough. Apollo could feel Klavier’s hair on his fingers, and a suggestion of his cologne was caught in his nose. He tried to remember what song had been playing and failed—the music between the two of them, their syncopated heartbeats and close, quiet breaths, had been far too distracting.

“Oh.”

He could almost feel Klavier’s discomfort through the phone.

“I contacted them as soon as I knew,” he said, “but this publication is, ah…stubborn about their ‘journalistic integrity.’ Had I protested any more, there would have been something about gross miscarriages of justice or some other such line to justify invasive photographs and wild speculation.”

Apollo scrolled through the article, expecting to find another photograph of the truly incriminating moment, but there was nothing. “Well…it could have been worse.”

“…ja,” Klavier said slowly.

For having been the one to foretell this exact outcome the previous night, Apollo thought he should be feeling more concerned. But he was strangely calm as he slid off the couch and moved to his bedroom, closing the door so he could talk without waking Clay.

Last night had been left open-ended. Apollo was aching for answers, but he reluctantly dragged his attention to the matter at hand.

“Do you think this will be a big deal?” If an article is published in a tabloid that no one reads, does it really exist?

Klavier drew a breath. “We can ignore it, but we have to be prepared for the possibility that someone will not want it to be ignored, if they can use it to their advantage.”

“Hm.” Apollo tried to think around his developing headache, and he realized there was something he should probably say before they decided on any course of action. “I’m sorry, Klavier, if I hadn’t—”

“Don’t be.” Klavier’s answer came quickly and firmly. “I’m glad you did.”

Leaning against his bedroom door, Apollo couldn’t restrain a smile. “I am too,” he admitted. Maybe that was why he felt so calm—worry couldn’t compete with the glow that filled his chest whenever he remembered how Klavier felt in his arms.

“Even though your worst fears have been realized?” Apollo could hear the wry smile in his voice.

He laughed. “They weren’t my worst fears,” he said. “I mean, so what? If we go up against each other in court again, someone might call foul?”

“That’s the overall concern, yes.”

“So what if we just…don’t?”

“What?”

Apollo sighed. “I dunno, I mean…I like working with a prosecutor who cares about getting the right guy as much as anybody, but…I feel like I can trust you to get the right guy without me keeping you in check.”

Klavier was quiet for a moment. “That really means a lot, Apollo.”

Apollo shared a smiled with the phone. “Well, it’s true. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss it, but…” I can’t think about anything but kissing you again.

Maybe it was a shallow reason—but it didn’t feel shallow, not when he had held this man when he was broken, not when the memory of that full-body laugh made him feel so warm. Not when they had struggled together towards truths that would hurt them both, on opposite sides but with a united purpose. If they only ever had that handful of courtroom achievements to look back on together, then Apollo thought it was more than enough for a lifetime.

“But…?” Klavier prompted. Apollo blinked.

“Oh, uh. But I…um. I don’t really want last night to be a one-time thing,” he managed to say. “Well. Not sure I really want to go to a nightclub again,” he amended, “but…you know.”

“I know,” Klavier confirmed, a laugh in his voice. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

Apollo grinned giddily at his bedroom. “So, if people are going to talk anyway…”

“Maybe we should give them something to talk about, ja?” Klavier laughed. He let out a breath, something like a sigh of relief. “Last night I told myself I was going to wait until tomorrow to call you,” he confessed. “Part of me was glad for the excuse.” He paused. “Honestly, part of me is glad there’s proof. Not that I don’t remember, I just—”

As Apollo’s dreams had clumsily combined the events of the previous night with some of the plot points from The Wrath of Khan, he could understand the feeling. “I know,” he said, then laughed at himself. “Yeah, I sorta can’t believe it either.”

“So Apollo Justice doesn’t usually go around kissing people in nightclubs?” Klavier chuckled. “I feel honored.”

“You should,” Apollo replied. He had to bite his lip to keep himself from smiling even wider at the memory.

“Well, if you were wondering, neither does Klavier Gavin,” Klavier told him, “despite what the tabloids might tell you.”

The thought made Apollo feel strangely flattered. But struck by a sudden curiosity, he glanced over the article again. “Has...this ever happened in a tabloid before?”

Klavier laughed out loud. “No, but you supposedly spent a month with me in Rome. We had a lovely time at the Colosseum, don’t you remember?”

“Seriously? How did Clay miss that one?”

“I would guess because he doesn’t know Italian. But I’m glad I was able to reach you ahead of Herr Terran in this case.”

“Yeah, thanks for calling.” Apollo glanced at the clock next to his bed. “I guess I can forgive you for the seven a.m. wake-up, then.”

“Ach. Well. In retrospect it does not seem like as much of an emergency as it did half an hour ago.” He sounded embarrassed. “I’ll let you get back to, ah, recovering.”

“Does Herr Rock-Star-Prosecutor get hangovers?” Apollo wondered aloud.

“Herr Rock-Star-Prosecutor is not as young as he used to be and is currently waiting for his ibuprofen to kick in,” Klavier told him. “Get some rest, Apollo. We’ll talk soon.”

Apollo echoed the promise, and they hung up. He stayed there, leaning against his bedroom door, smiling at nothing for a good minute before the pounding in his temples and a grumble from his stomach shook him out of it.

As he crossed his apartment to the kitchen, he noticed Clay stirring on the couch. He sat up just as Apollo passed.

“Morning,” Apollo greeted him. “I’m gonna make eggs, you want some?”

He fought to keep the smile off his features, but Clay wasn’t fooled.

“What’s up with you?” he asked, groggily. “You look way too happy for someone who definitely has a hangover.”

Apollo just grinned. He dropped his phone next to Clay, the article still up on the screen.

“Your new favorite Klav Gav tabloid photo,” he proclaimed, and laughed as Clay’s gasps followed him to the kitchen.