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Locks and Loaded Questions

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[Prosecutor's Office, 1:45 PM.]

Klavier stared at the small, green, nine-shaped object in his hand, and leaned back in his chair to glance up.

"What exactly is this, Herr Edgeworth?"

He looked up at the man in question, who had his arms folded across his chest, bunching and un-bunching his fingers against the fuchsia fabric in a trace of an old habit.

"It's called a Magatama," Edgeworth said neutrally. "I need it to be delivered to the Wright Anything Agency, but I was just handed a large case file to review and I suspect I won't have any time to deliver it myself."

Klavier's lips quirked in what might have been a smirk if it were directed at anyone other than the man in front of him.

"This item belongs to Herr Wright, then?"

Edgeworth raised an eyebrow, and responded, "Have you ever seen me with such a quaint looking trinket?"

(Klavier had more self-preservation than to respond truthfully to that— but the image of the Steel Samurai figure in Edgeworth's office still briefly popped into the forefront of his mind.)

"Just wondering how something like this managed to make its way into your office."

Edgeworth colored slightly, not quite able to meet Klavier's eyes.

"It dropped out of his pocket when he came by to deliver lunch."

"Ah, domestic bliss," Klavier said, only half-joking. The softened glare he received in response was worth it.

"That being said, it's a very important artifact to him, and I'd prefer it to be delivered to him sooner rather than later," Edgeworth continued.

Klavier nodded, and fiddled with the magatama in his fingers for a few spare moments before standing up and stowing it safely in one of his front pockets. As he rifled through his desk drawers for the keys to his motorcycle, he hummed a small tune to himself, pleased at the opportunity to take a small break for the day, and at the Wright's agency, no less. Just as he was preparing to leave his office, however,

"Oh, and Klavier?"

"Hm?"

Edgeworth regarded him carefully for a moment, and shook his head.

"...Nevermind. If you're with Phoenix, I'm sure you won't see them."

Klavier blinked, taking several seconds to register what his higher-up had said.

"See what?"

But Edgeworth was already out of earshot, and surely he wouldn't send Klavier off with such a cryptic message if it was meant to be a warning. So, with a shrug, Klavier instead set out to the parking lot.


[Wright Anything Agency, 2:15 PM]

"You can just put the magatama on Mr. Wright's desk," Apollo said, gesturing to a large elevated pile of props where a desk was ostensibly seated underneath. "He's out on an errand right now, but he should be back soon, so I'll tell him to call Mr. Edgeworth when he gets here."

Klavier glanced dubiously around the office.

"This room could use a bit of… organizing, ja?"

Apollo let out a huff of breath that could have been amused or annoyed— sometimes it could be a bit hard to tell.

"Unless you have a week's worth of free time, I'd advise against it," Apollo said, wrinkling his nose slightly in a way that had no right to look as cute as it did. "You'd think this place would be cleaner ever since Mr. Wright got his badge back, but no, I'm pretty sure we need to hire a group of deep-cleaners."

"But if I helped, I'd get to spend more time with my precious Herr Forehead," Klavier teased, causing a pretty red blush to spread across Apollo's cheeks.

"Geez, who even says things like that?" He murmured.

Klavier pulled the magatama out of his pocket, idly twirling it with his fingers as he looked for a suitable surface to rest it on.

"Come on now, do you really expect me to believe you wouldn't be thrilled to spend an afternoon in my company?"

"Har-dee-har," Apollo said noncommittally, and followed him anyway.

Klavier pivoted on his heel to face Apollo with a humored grin.

"That's not a dismissal."

"Fine," Apollo said, exaggeratedly rolling his eyes, "I wouldn't be thrilled to spend an afternoon in the company of a friend like you."

Klavier opened his mouth a fraction, a smooth rebuttal already formulated on his tongue, but dying before it passed his lips.

Clang, clang, clang, clang!

Before Klavier could move a single muscle, it was as if the fabric of space seemed to warp around him. His surroundings darkened as a series of chains both in front of and behind Apollo extended from the floor and walls to the ceiling, accompanied by loud clatters as four large, red locks materialized onto them.

"...was zur Hölle…?"

Apollo, strangely enough, seemed completely oblivious to the bending of reality around him, and furrowed his brows as he glanced around the room, then back to Klavier; "Is there something on my face?" He asked in a tone of voice that sounded too genuinely confused to be false.

"Herr Forehead," Klavier said, bewildered, "How are you not seeing these giant chains and locks?!"

Apollo blinked, surprised.

"What are you talking about?"

He then glanced at Klavier's hand, and let out an understanding 'oh' sound. Klavier let his eyes follow Apollo's, and sure enough, he was still holding the green trinket which was now... glowing?

"You're using the magatama without realizing it, I think," Apollo said, as if any of this was remotely normal. Klavier stared at him, and Apollo stuffed his hands in the pocket of his red slacks as he continued; "Sometimes Mr. Wright uses it in investigations. It's connected to some… spirit medium stuff, I think? Anyway, it lets you tell when people are hiding things. The more locks you see, the deeper or more personal the secret."

Three long, painful seconds stretched by, before Apollo grew visibly tense.

"...Can you please put that down now?"

"Absolutely not," Klavier said, his confused expression morphing into unbridled glee. Apollo grimaced, and Klavier put his hands on his hips, still not letting go of the magatama. "So, Herr Forehead, is there something you'd like to tell me?"

"Absolutely not," Apollo parroted.

"Are you sure? Because based on our past conversation and the four locks that I see in front of you, I'm led to believe you would enjoy spending time with me quite a bit."

"I mean…" Apollo attempted to deflect, but must have thought better of it, because he sighed and pressed a finger to his forehead, muttering something suspiciously similar to ‘why did there have to be four?!’ Eventually, he looked back at Klavier, and said,

"Since you're not going to drop it, I guess you have proof to back up your claims?"

Klavier hummed, and drummed the fingers of his free hand against his thigh. Since this wasn’t exactly a courtroom and there was no official court record, it was hard to think of non-circumstantial evidence that Apollo could easily refute. He let his gaze flicker around the now-clear room as Apollo waited with a surprising amount of patience (maybe it had something to do with the magatama’s influence? Or maybe the entire situation was just a fever dream.)

Eventually, his gaze settled one of the only clean areas of the agency’s main room, which he could assume was Apollo’s desk. He strode over, his smile growing wider as he plucked a familiar, thin loop of rubber off of one of the drawers’ knobs.

“If I recall correctly, this commemorative wristband was one of the last pieces of Gavviners merchandise released before its untimely disbanding… Which was only given out to those who had purchased tickets for the tour.”

“So?” Apollo said, raising a forked eyebrow. “It’s not like that was the best experience for either of us, all things considered.”

“And yet you kept it anyway,” Klavier countered.

Apollo, to his credit, only looked mildly discomforted as one of the locks shattered like it had been made of fragile glass the entire time.

But what else is he hiding beyond that?

“Well, I guess not everyone can say they were a VIP at an internationally-acclaimed rock concert, so I thought it would be cool to at least be able to prove that much.”

“That stings, Herr Forehead!” Klavier said jokingly. “Ah, so am I only here for your clout?”

Apollo looked away.

“There are four psyche-locks on me, aren’t there? You tell me.”

“Three, actually. One of them broke just now.”

“Wait, what?”

“Ach, I forget that you can’t see them like I can,” Klavier said, fussing with the shorter strands of his hair. “Consider this to be us on equal footing, then.”

“What do you mean?” Apollo asked, removing his hands from his pockets and folding them across his chest.

Klavier gestured at his bracelet; “You have a lie detector on your arm, now I have a lie detector in my hands.”

Apollo mulled the thought over in his head for a brief moment, and nodded. “Fair point. But next time I have to go to the prosecutor’s office, I get to interrogate you.

“I look forward to it,” Klavier said, offering a mostly sincere wink.

“How do you just do that so freely?” Apollo asked, more curious than grumpy.

“It comes with being a celebrity. Now, back to business…” Klavier began, tapping a finger to his chin as the magatama continued to glow in his hand, “We’ve established that you enjoy being in my presence, but there are still three locks to be broken.” A moment of thought, and then, “Perhaps your feelings for me run deeper than that?”

Apollo pursed his lips.

Bingo.

“Well,” Klavier said after a pause, “You could at least admit that we’re friends.”

Apollo looked at him strangely.

“You wanted to be friends?”

Klavier mirrored his expression as best as he could.

“You didn’t want to?”

Apollo refused to make eye contact at that point, and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly.

“I mean, I didn’t think you wanted to be anything beyond a sort-of companionable courtroom rival.”

Klavier tilted his head.

“Of course I did. And I’m not the only one who could tell, either.”

Apollo’s eyes widened marginally, and Klavier didn’t miss the way he fiddled with his bracelet, still hanging loose on his wrist.

(Of course Klavier wasn’t lying, though.)

“Well then, who else would know?”

That question was far easier to answer than the last. Klavier made a gesture towards a corner of the room where a mannequin body stood, draped with a familiar cape.

“Fraulein Trucy, of course. If anyone can attest to my interest in you, it would be her.” Klavier glanced at Apollo pointedly; “This isn’t my first attempt to engage in banter with you, though it is the most successful one by far. Ask her, and I’m sure she can attest to my interest.”

Apollo merely stared at him.

Another lock burst into small, fading fragments.

Klavier smiled.

“I’m going to guess another one just broke?” Apollo said, voice somewhat distant. Klavier made a mental note to ask him about it later.

Genau. And it took much less time,” Klavier said, letting his voice stay level. “We’re halfway there already— All that’s left now is to figure out what else you’re hiding.”

And at that moment, something interesting happened.

Aside from the blush that was crossing Apollo’s cheeks (which, if Klavier hadn’t been carefully connecting the dots, might have been mistaken for frustration), he was beginning to avoid eye contact. Normally, when Apollo was having a heated showdown with a client, his eyes would grow almost comically wide as he analyzed the other, searching every word for a hint. But now, he was pointedly looking away in a way that was almost concerning.

“Herr Forehead,” Klavier continued, in a softer tone this time, “You seem discomforted. Is what you’re hiding truly such a secret that you can’t confide in me?”

Apollo blinked, and hesitantly shifted his gaze back to Klavier, though he still refused to look at him directly.

“It’s not that. It’s just… there are reasons why I can’t tell you this sort of thing.”

It was strange, this role reversal of theirs; Almost like Apollo was the client, and Klavier was trying to wring the truth out of him. It was empowering, in a way.

“And what might those reasons be?” Klavier asked genuinely.

Apollo seemed to think about it for a moment, before letting out a resigned sigh.

“You just wouldn’t understand, I think. Not everyone can be as put-together as you.”

Klavier frowned slightly, confused. “What is that supposed to mean?”

Apollo made eye contact with him, finally, and said,

“You can’t be saying you understand my struggles, can you?”

Klavier was almost stunned silent.

“Understand your… Herr Forehead, I think you seem to be mistaking me for some sort of god.”

Apollo snorted, apparently beginning to return to his former attitude.

“Come on, Klavier. You’re a rockstar prosecutor with a nearly-untarnished record. You’re not a god, sure, but even you can’t deny that you and I are two completely different people.”

Klavier narrowed his eyes.

“Are you absolutely sure about that?”

A confused frown formed on Apollo’s lips.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Klavier stepped forward, enough to lean into Apollo’s space while still leaving him a way out. He took a moment to observe Apollo’s bracelet, and steeled his resolve.

“Herr Fo— Apollo. Tell me, is your bracelet lying to you when I say that I don’t think I’m any better than you? Is it lying when I say that you’re the only person who has ever made me feel uncertain of myself, uncertain of my motivations, uncertain of my convictions? And is it lying when I say you’ve made me a better person for it? You don’t seem to realize it, but there are times when I wish I had the strength that you do. Even when facing a truth that is unpleasant, you follow through until the end, believing in what is right rather than what you want to believe. I admire that about you.”

Apollo swallowed thickly, almost gulping as his face turned a deeper shade of scarlet.

With a quiet crackling sound, the third lock broke.

Klavier let out a gentle noise of relief.

“One left. Tell me, Apollo, are you prepared to prove me right as well?”

“You’re not even calling me ‘Herr Forehead’ now?” Apollo attempted to deflect, “You must be more serious about this than I thought.”

“As much as I may tease you, Apollo, I am always serious about you.”

“So you’ve proven, for now.” Apollo admitted. “But… still, I… It’s hard to… to tell you this sort of thing.”

Klavier ‘hmm’ed, and fiddled with the Magatama. It was a risky move, but Klavier had a strong feeling that he knew the secret to the last psyche-lock. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he decided.

And with that, he reached out the hand that was holding the magatama, and clasped it in Apollo’s.

“You have romantic feelings for me, don’t you, Apollo? And you are under the belief that they are unrequited.”

Apollo’s hand tightened around Klavier’s slightly.

“You still see a psyche lock, don’t you?”

Klavier nodded.

“Then…” Apollo started, “If you’re going to finish this, you have to break it.” No resentment was audible in his voice, no traces of a true challenge. It was, instead, almost like he was bracing himself for something, almost like he was pleading for Klavier to say what Apollo himself felt like he couldn’t.

“Can you give me a reason to let it break?”

There was a type of vulnerability in his final request, one that Klavier knew he’d have to tread carefully to pass through. It didn’t take much thought for Klavier to process his emotions; Whatever Apollo was feeling, it was almost certain that it was mutual.

But while Klavier had always been better at expressing through his words and his songs rather than his actions, there was no doubt in his mind that even a million words wouldn’t be as effective as a leap of faith.

With the hand that wasn’t grasped tightly by Apollo’s, Klavier cupped Apollo’s jaw, letting his thumb wander across a soft cheek.

“Will you let me?”

The silence seemed to stretch on for hours, until finally, imperceptible if Klavier’s hand hadn’t been pressed to the side of Apollo’s face, he nodded.

Somewhere in the distance, Klavier could hear the sound of glass fragments falling, chains loosening with heavy clatters, gradually reducing in volume. But none of it really mattered anymore.

Not when Apollo’s lips were firmly yet gently pressed against his own.

(Later, after Klavier left the office, Phoenix returned to find Apollo sitting on one of the office chairs, smiling dazedly and holding the magatama. The smile disappeared when Phoenix told him it was his turn to clean the bathroom again.)