put my mind at ease (pretty please)
In Apollo’s humble opinion, there are few feelings better than the excitement of winning a hard-fought case. There’s a thrill and a rush to being stuck in a corner, convinced the case has spiraled out of his control, just for him to find that one detail that turns everything around on its head. There are also absurdly satisfying moments when Apollo’s winning and slinging contradiction after contradiction in the prosecution’s face. And then there’s the relief and sense of accomplishment with every “Not Guilty” Apollo receives.
But all this pales in comparison to being shoved into a darkened broom closet and getting kissed within an inch of his life by Klavier Gavin. This isn’t a pastime Apollo ever thought he’d, uh, indulge in, but damn if he doesn’t enjoy it. Klavier’s more enthusiastic than usual today (which is saying something because he’s… a pretty enthusiastic guy) and backs Apollo into one of the closet walls hard enough for some cleaning supplies to tumble off an adjacent shelf.
Apollo gasps into the kiss, breaking it, but dives right back in as his hands roam the expanse of Klavier’s very fit chest. And god, it’s exhilarating. Not just because Klavier is good at what he does (and he’s very good), but because no one else knows about it. This… thing between them has been going on for a couple months, and they agreed it would just be their little secret for now. Although Apollo is too bashful and anxious to be the one dragging Klavier into courthouse closets, he’s more than happy to follow Klavier’s lead. There’s always an urgency to these asides they have since they’re on borrowed time. They don’t go out to lunch together or hold hands in public, so when they do get some time outside of either one of their apartments, it’s always so charged and frenzied. Overwhelming, but in the best way.
It’s not unlike how they got together, honestly. Apollo still doesn’t quite understand how it happened. Apollo’s always been (begrudgingly) attracted to Klavier—hard not to be, have you seen him?—but Apollo never in a million years thought that attraction was mutual. But then, there was that night at the bar—Klavier saying all the right things, the couple of beers they had making them more honest than they would otherwise be, Apollo sliding his hand over Klavier’s, Klavier asking if he wanted to get out of there and Apollo replying that he did. Apollo thought it was all a dream the next day, but then he woke up in an apartment way fancier than his to the smell of eggs burning and knew it was all real. There was no saving the eggs, but the fact that Klavier was sweet enough to try his hand at cooking gave Apollo enough courage to ask him to dinner that weekend.
And weirdly enough, they keep getting dinner, though it’s always Apollo cooking at his apartment or take-out at Klavier’s. It was at Klavier’s suggestion they keep their relationship secret for a while, since he didn’t want Apollo to be harassed by the paparazzi—a suggestion Apollo was more than happy to go along with. It’s not like he wanted other people snooping in his business, anyway. He could just see the headline now— “Modern day heartthrob, rockstar, and verifiable sex god Klavier Gavin confuses fans every where by dating average-looking defense attorney.”
Maybe a little dramatic, but he’s pretty sure that’d be the general response to the news.
But, whatever. For now, no one knows. For now, Klavier Gavin is kissing the length of his neck, so who cares?
“Hey, you’re gonna leave a mark,” Apollo says. He had hoped to sound admonishing, but his voice is husky and wrecked, and he can feel Klavier’s lips turn up into a smile against his skin.
Klavier hums, sending shockwaves throughout Apollo’s body and he clutches Klavier’s jacket tighter. “I could leave marks where no one would see them, Liebling.”
Jesus fucking christ.
“Don’t think we quite have time for that, Klav,” Apollo says, which is just about the most restrained thing he’s ever said in his life.
“Mm, later then.”
Klavier lifts his head and places a palm against Apollo’s cheek, then presses kisses to the opposite jaw, slow and indulgent. That’s another thing Apollo’s surprised about—beyond Klavier finding him attractive, it’s even more unbelievable that Klavier is so tender and selfless with his affections. He’s always so concerned with making Apollo feel good, and every time Apollo’s reminded of that, his knees turn into butter left out in the sun.
“Schatz, you were incredible in there,” Klavier whispers, his voice low and rumbling. “You really had my back against the wall, ja?”
Apollo hums as Klavier presses more slow, sweet kisses along his cheek. “I think I’m the one with my back against the wall.”
“Ach, I had to return the favor somehow.”
Apollo scoffs. “Why does losing make you want to kiss me?”
“What can I say? It’s sexy when you pull a contradiction out of your ass.” Klavier’s free hand runs the length of Apollo’s side which, in turn, sends shivers up his spine.
“Hey. You make it sound like there’s no skill involved.” Apollo slips a hand underneath Klavier’s shirt, just enough for him to brush his thumb back and forth over Klavier’s hip bone, which he knows drives him up the wall. “It’s hard work going up against you, y’know.”
Klavier’s eyes soften at the praise before he catches Apollo’s lips between his again, the tip of his tongue sliding along the seam of Apollo’s top lip. Apollo’s breath hitches but he doesn’t hesitate to reciprocate, happy to fill his senses with Klavier all over.
Being with Klavier like this… it’s good. A little messy, a little inconvenient, but it’s simple and easy, and Apollo likes Klavier more than he knows what to do with.
He doesn’t want that to change.
They spend a little too much time in the closet, so much so that Apollo has to wait out his red face in a bathroom stall before he can go back to the Wright Anything Agency offices to grab his jacket and briefcase.
He’s hoping he can get in and out of there, because he and Klavier are going to watch Bladerunner on Klavier’s huge OLED TV with bowls of gourmet popcorn Apollo would never be able to afford in a million years. Look, he’s not dating Klavier for his money, but having a rockstar for a boyfriend has its perks, okay?
When he gets to WAA, Trucy and Mr. Wright are there too. Not for the first time, Apollo curses Klavier for being such a good kisser, because he had hoped to get back here before the Wrights finished their victory lunch at Eldoon’s.
“Oh, hey Apollo,” Mr. Wright says from his desk. “How’d that important lunch date go?”
Right. Apollo had forgotten he’d sidestepped the customary Eldoon’s trip by telling everyone he promised to meet up with someone important. Since it wasn’t technically a lie, Trucy’s perceive alarm bells didn’t go off. Apollo’s gotten very good at being truthfully vague since this whole thing between him and Klavier started.
Still, he’s not much of an actor, and his shoulders hike to his ears. “Oh, good! Yeah, uh, we had a good time.” Apollo tries not to wince.
“It wasn’t the same without you, Polly. It was your win we were celebrating, after all.” Trucy pouts at him, but he knows she’s just teasing.
Apollo grabs his jacket off the couch and crosses to his desk. “I’m sure you were fine without me.”
“Did you see Prosecutor Gavin when you left the courthouse?” Trucy asks, and Apollo nearly slams his hand in his desk drawer.
“What? What do you mean? I mean, yeah I saw him. Why wouldn’t I see him?” Smooth, Justice. Real smooth.
Trucy tilts her head and places a finger on her chin. “Well, I was just wondering, since this was the first time you went up against him in a while, right? He was so cool.”
“Cool?” Apollo says, annoyed. “I was the one who won. I always win.”
Trucy shrugs. “Yeah, but Prosecutor Gavin always loses in style. Aw, c’mon Polly, you’re not still jealous of him, are you?”
“I’m not jealous!” And okay, maybe he didn’t need to say it quite so loudly because Trucy and Mr. Wright both wince. “I just—isn’t it more cool to win?”
Trucy and Mr. Wright share a look that Apollo has no idea how to interpret. He’s starting to wonder exactly what the topic of conversation was today at Eldoon’s.
“In any case, it was fun watching you two again. You make a good team.” Mr. Wright smiles as he opens up one of his case files. As he does, Apollo’s eyes flit to the gold chain at Mr. Wright’s breast pocket and his chest twinges painfully.
Trucy and Mr. Wright are being nice about it now, but what would they think if they knew Apollo is dating the man responsible for Mr. Wright’s disbarment? Well, no, not responsible. That’s not fair to Klavier. But he… did his part. Even if it wasn’t his fault. Apollo can imagine that both Wrights have mixed feelings about Klavier. It’s one of the reasons why Apollo was more than happy to keep their relationship a secret. He just worries Trucy and Mr. Wright would see it as a betrayal, though he knows that’s not giving them much credit.
“Hey, Polly, how ‘bout we invite him to Eldoon’s next time?” Trucy tucks her hands behind her back and bounces on her feet. “I bet he’d come if you asked.”
Apollo grabs the file he’d been looking for as heat gathers at his ears. “What makes you say that?” Trucy hums. “Oh, I don’t know. I just kinda think he has a soft spot for you is all.”
“H-he does not.” Apollo needs to get out of here quick, before Trucy starts probing too hard. She’s probably already noticed that the last thing he said wasn’t quite truthful. “And I doubt Kla—Prosecutor Gavin would be interested in going to a place like Eldoon’s anyway, so let’s not and say we did.”
“Aww, c’mon, Polly.”
“I’ll think about it…” Apollo shuffles toward the door, desperate to leave before Trucy starts asking more questions. “But anyway, I gotta get going. See you tomorrow.”
Apollo’s finally able to make it out the door, but not before he catches a wicked little smile on Trucy’s face.
There’s something a little bit magic about Klavier Gavin. It’s not the flirting or manufactured charisma. Apollo thinks it has to do with the weird way he makes Apollo feel relaxed and safe when they’re alone together. Even now, when they’re just cuddling on Klavier’s expensive couch watching Harrison Ford in an old sci-fi movie, Apollo’s anxieties melt away.
He’s lying on top of Klavier, his head tucked beneath Klavier’s chin, and a blanket covering them both. Klavier keeps sneaking kisses to the top of Apollo’s head and at his temple and it’s just… nice. It’s so nice. Apollo feels like he can breathe easier here than anywhere else, even his own apartment.
When the credits roll, Apollo groans because he doesn’t want to get up. But he knows if they just leave the bowl of popcorn remnants out, Vongole will get into it and that’s a no-go.
“Mm leaving so soon?” Klavier says, his face warm and sleepy. Apollo’s weak to do anything else but kiss him. Klavier kisses him back, his lips tasting of salt and butter, and when Apollo pulls back, Klavier’s eyes are lidded and his mouth is upturned in a dopey smile. Klavier hums and places one more kiss to Apollo’s jaw before Apollo takes the popcorn bowl to the kitchen.
Apollo dumps out the kernels in the trash and goes to Klavier’s (way too fancy) sink to clean the bowl. It takes him a while to notice, but as he’s washing, he catches himself smiling at nothing like a fool.
Apollo looks up from the bowl and sees Klavier standing on the other side of the kitchen counter, fidgeting with the tufts of hair on his forehead. Is he nervous?
“Everything okay?” Apollo finishes rinsing out the bowl and puts it to the side so he can give Klavier his full attention.
“Oh, ja, fine. I was just thinking, Schatz…” He worries his lip a bit. “What do you think of going public? With us, I mean.”
Apollo freezes, suddenly very aware of how wet and cold his hands are. He turns away to grab a towel off the oven and to tear away from Klavier’s gaze. “What brought this up all of a sudden?”
“Ach, well, I had hoped to give us some privacy, ja? Some breathing room without all the pressure of the paparazzi. I know it’s really overwhelming when you’re not already part of that world, and I wanted to give us a chance to…” Klavier trails off and Apollo looks back at him, wringing the towel in his hands. “To make sure this was for real. But I think… it’s for real, ja?”
Oh. Oh. That’s really sweet, but why does Apollo suddenly want to bolt out the door? That safe and relaxed feeling has gone up in smoke and now, Apollo feels like he’s being hunted down by a predator.
He takes a couple breaths, tries to keep his head on straight, because this should not be a hard thing to answer. It’s not a hard thing to answer. He knows the answer immediately, but he still feels terrified out of his mind.
“Yeah, no, of course,” Apollo says as Klavier watches him with wide eyes, eyes that clearly say how much Apollo’s reply means to him, “it’s real. It’s real, Klav.”
Klavier beams at him and comes around the counter so he can take Apollo’s hands, towel and all, and kiss him square on the mouth. “Schatz, I’m so happy to hear you say that. You’ve made me so happy the past couple of months.”
“Y-you too, uh I—” Apollo stops himself and swallows something hard in his throat while his heart rate tries to break world records in his chest. He’s not great with this stuff—the honesty, the vulnerability, the whole… voicing your feelings thing. And he does think the relationship is real and Klavier does make him happy, but being told that is so overwhelming and he’s scared. Of what, he doesn’t know. But he does know one thing. “I don’t think I’m ready for us to go public yet. The whole ‘paparazzi nitpicking every part of our relationship’ thing is still too much for me right now, I think.”
Klavier’s bright blue eyes dim a shade darker, but he keeps his easy smile and nods. “Ja, ja, I understand. We’ll take it at your pace. Whatever makes you comfortable.”
“Thanks, Klav. I appreciate it.”
In reply, Klavier hugs Apollo around the shoulders and holds him close, and Apollo melts into it, pressing his cheek to Klavier’s chest.
The safe, relaxed feeling comes back, chasing away all that anxiety and fear like it never went away in the first place. It’s clear to him now, though, that a part of him doesn’t want them to ever go public. What they have now is so sweet and good, and Apollo doesn’t want to change a thing.
Whenever Trucy wants to do something impractical, Apollo always sensibly says “no” before he inevitably does it anyway. That’s just the nature of their relationship. Why it always ends up this way is as much a mystery to Apollo as it would be to anyone else, but he suspects that Trucy’s impressive puppy-dog eyes and his pathetic tendency to be a pushover has something to do with it.
Today’s scheme happens to be a lunch picnic, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it still requires Apollo to bike him and Trucy to People Park while Trucy stands on the spokes and holds his shoulders, nearly giving him a heart attack. Not to mention he was the one who had to prepare the picnic basket. He’s a busy guy, okay? He shouldn’t have to make lunch for his sixteen-year-old sort-of boss.
By the time they get to People Park, Apollo is sweating through the pits of his white shirt due to Trucy’s extra weight and once again asking himself why did I agree to this?
Trucy climbs off the back of the bike and grabs the picnic basket. “Lock up your bike and let’s find a spot!”
Apollo does as she says, then helps find a good place to lay the blanket, which is frustratingly difficult because every spot Apollo points out “isn’t right.” Eventually, Trucy finds a place under a big oak and declares it perfect for a picnic. They fan out the blanket and settle in, Trucy taking off her boots and wiggling her toes, clearly pleased to be getting some fresh air.
Apollo has to admit it’s a beautiful summer’s day, and it’s nice to get out of the office. As far as elaborate Trucy schemes go, this one is pretty tame, so he can’t complain too much.
Trucy starts pulling out food from the basket—roast beef sandwiches, homemade egg salad, halved strawberries, and a bag of fudge bars for dessert. She clasps her hands together and beams at her spoils. “Polly, you make the best packed lunches.”
“So that’s why you wanted to go on a picnic,” Apollo says, grabbing a paper plate out of the basket. “For my food.”
“Aw, c’mon, for the company too. But the food helps.” Trucy sticks her tongue out and hits her top hat with her fist, before she starts shoveling egg salad onto her plate.
Trucy takes a bite out of one of the sandwiches and sighs. “Mm, no really! I feel like I hardly see you anymore, Polly. You’ve been so busy lately.”
“Oh, well…” Apollo scratches the back of his neck, grimacing. “Yeah, sorry, I—it’s nice to get to hang out. You’ve been pretty busy with your big show coming up.”
“See? You need to have more faith in my ideas. I know what I’m talking about.” She takes a spoonful of egg salad and practically melts on the blanket. “Polllyyy, this is so good. You’re such a genius for not putting any pickles in egg salad.”
“Why would I ruin my egg salad by putting pickles in it?”
“Exactly,” Trucy says, then stuffs more of it in her mouth. As she does, she sideyes him, an expression Apollo doesn’t like at all. “Gosh, you’re such a good cook, though. Why is it that you don’t have a boyfriend?”
Apollo chokes on his roast beef sandwich and spends the next thirty seconds coughing it up. “What?”
“What? You’re a total catch, Polly.” She taps her finger against her chin. “Well, I mean, when you’re not choking on sandwiches, that is.”
What is happening right now? Apollo knows damn well he isn’t a “catch”. He still can’t believe Klavier would want to be friends with him, let alone date him, so he can’t imagine what Trucy’s trying to get at.
“I—what brought this up?”
“Oh, I was just curious.” Trucy shrugs innocently, but Apollo doesn’t trust it for a second. “You’re so hard on yourself. I just think if there’s someone you like, you should tell them before it’s too late.”
Apollo lowers his plate to his lap and eyes her suspiciously. “Is there someone you had in mind, Trucy? Is that what this picnic was about? Are you trying to set me up?”
Trucy waves a hand dismissively. “No, no, no. You got it all wrong, Polly. I think you already like someone.”
If Apollo were still eating his sandwich, he’d choke on it again.
“Why is my love life such an interesting topic all of the sudden?” Apollo says, his ears growing hot.
Trucy shoots him a mischievous grin. “So you do like someone?”
Trucy’s grin expands, making it positively Cheshire-esque. “Yes, you do.”
Shit. He let himself get flustered and lied, so of course, Trucy can see right through him now. Trucy looks at him expectantly, waiting for him to spill his guts no doubt, and for a moment, he wishes he could tell her. It’d be nice to have someone to talk to about him and Klavier, but he’s still not sure how she’d react. She’d probably take it better than Mr. Wright, but still… he’s worried what he has with Klavier now is still too fragile to tell others. What if one dissenting opinion ruins everything? Apollo doesn’t want to risk it.
“It doesn’t matter,” Apollo says, picking his plate up again and hoping Trucy gets the message that he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Trucy stares at him for a while, her smile gone, but she doesn’t bring it up again.
Trucy doesn’t broach the topic of Apollo’s “crush” again, though he catches her looking at him sometimes, like he’s a new magic trick she’s trying to figure out. In all honesty, he appreciates the space, because every time he thinks Trucy’s about to broach the topic, his heart starts jack-rabbiting in fear.
He needs to tell her and Mr. Wright. He knows that, but every time he tries to think of a way to tell them, he freezes up. Sometimes he imagines just blurting it out and getting it over with, but he ends up leaving the office as soon as it’s five o’clock instead.
There’s still the solace of Klavier’s apartment, though.
Tonight, Klavier’s set up his dining room table with a rose and a candle while Apollo makes them pasta for dinner (“Can I help, Schatz? Do you need help cutting tomatoes?” “For the love of god no, the last thing I need is you bleeding all over the cutting board.”). Apollo serves it up on Klavier’s fancy plates, Klavier giving him a look that says “can’t wait until dinner is over” as he carries the food over to the table.
“Ach, Schatz, what did I do to deserve you?” Klavier eyes the pasta appreciatively, already grabbing his fork.
Apollo presses a kiss to Klavier’s temple as he places the plate on the table. “Hmm, I dunno, but let me know if you figure it out.”
“So mean to me even though I set the table,” Klavier says, pouting.
“Yes, thank you so much for lighting one candle.” Apollo sits down opposite Klavier, his voice dressed in a teasing lilt. “What would I have done without you?”
“I set out the rose, too! I risked so much. Its thorns could have pricked my guitarist fingers. Do you know how much money my hands are insured for?”
Apollo laughs, thankful he hadn’t started eating yet. “You’re such a dork.”
Klavier beams and finally starts diving into the pasta. They talk as they eat, Klavier asking about Apollo’s day and Apollo asking about Klavier’s. Not exactly thrilling conversation, but there’s something Apollo loves about the mundane with Klavier. He likes the little moments and the way Klavier pays such rapt attention, whether Apollo’s talking about some wild murder case or which sandwich he ordered at the deli for lunch that day. It’s fun listening to Klavier, too. He can make even the most boring of situations seem interesting with just the way he speaks—he’s always so animated and he can effortlessly find the humor in any moment.
“Liebling, you’re staring,” Klavier says, propping his chin on his hand. His hair is loose tonight so it frames his face softly, and Apollo’s always been weak for the way that looks on him. So, yeah, not surprised to find out he’s been staring.
Doesn’t stop him from blushing all the way to the tips of his ears, though. “Sh-shut up.”
“You like my hair down.” It’s not a question, but a statement—equal parts teasing and pleased.
Apollo sighs. No use in denying it. “I like your hair down.”
Klavier hums and moves his free hand slowly across the table until their knuckles press together. Apollo uncurls his fingers in response and Klavier slots his own fingers between them, their hands making a tiny temple on the table.
“Now you’re the one that’s staring,” Apollo says, lips quirking in a smile.
Klavier hums in agreement. “Guilty as charged, Liebling.”
There’s a change in Klavier, then. His smile fades and his grip tightens around Apollo’s fingers. “Apollo?”
“You okay, Klav?”
“Ja, fine. I just…” He puts down the hand supporting his chin and studies the table for a moment before seeking out Apollo again. “I just wanted to check in about going public with our relationship. Do you think you might be ready now? I don’t want to pressure you, but I thought it might be good to visit the conversation again…”
Apollo’s stomach churns, the pasta not going down so easy anymore. “Oh. Um, well… I don’t know, Klav. I guess I’m still worried about the whole paparazzi thing and I still haven’t figured out the best way to bring it up to Trucy and Mr. Wright, and—”
“Ach, ja, I see.” Klavier pulls his hand back, tucking them both under the table, and Apollo feels like someone just carved a piece of him out with a jagged knife. Klavier isn’t looking at him, studying his half-eaten pasta and biting his lip. Apollo doesn’t need his perceive abilities to know he’s holding back his hurt.
“You’re upset,” Apollo says, feeling like a total asshole. “Klav, I’m really sor—”
Klavier shakes his head. “Nein, I’m not upset. It’s just that I love you and you make me happy and I want to share that with—”
“Klavier.” Apollo says his name in a breathless whisper, all of the air squeezed from his lungs.
Klavier looks back up at him, blinking in confusion. “Was?”
“You—you just—you said…”
It takes Klavier a moment, but Apollo can see the moment he realizes when his eyebrows raise and his jaw drops, his lips slightly parted. He props his elbow on the table and buries the top half of his face in his palm. “Scheisse… Apollo, I—” He looks back up at Apollo, his eyes full of genuine worry. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to tell you like that. I wanted to say it once we went on our first date out and ach, I’ve made such a mess of it, but Liebling… I mean it. I love you. I’ve felt this way for a while now.” He gives Apollo a small, hopeful smile and Apollo feels like he’s being stabbed. “I don’t want to pressure you. You don’t have to say it back, but I… I’m happy. And it’s hard for me to hide that happiness.”
Apollo is stunned. He’s never—no one has ever—
His heart rate is spiked, his chest is painfully tense, and the room is starting to lose focus. He’s having a panic attack and this is the worst—absolutely worst—time to have a panic attack. God, god, god what’s wrong with him that his anxiety is rearing its ugly head now of all times, when Klavier’s just said something he should be so, so happy about but, shit, shit he has to leave. This isn’t like the other times when they’ve brought up going public and he’s wanted to bolt: this time he actually has to leave. Right now.
“Apollo? Mein Lieb? Are you alright? You don’t look well.” Klavier’s voice sounds so far away, like he’s on the other side of a long tunnel. But it just makes everything so much worse because Klavier is always so kind and gentle about everything, and Apollo’s about to be such a dick.
“I’m so sorry, but I—I have to go home, Klav.” The words come out tight and breathy from his throat closing, and Klavier’s clearly pained expression makes him wish the apartment floor would swallow him whole. “I’ll text you, I promise. I just—” He stands up, Klavier watching him with the most hurt look Apollo’s ever seen on him, and Apollo desperately wants to say something that will reassure him, but he can’t find the words. All he can think about is how much he has to get to his own apartment. “I have to go home but I—” His throat closes up again and he doubts there’s anything he could say to make this better. Instead, he presses a brief kiss to Klavier’s forehead and hopes beyond hope it’s enough to at least convey I swear this is not me breaking up with you.
Based on Klavier’s face when Apollo turns to run out the door… it’s not.
Apollo bikes all the way home, a storm raging inside of him, and does none of the calm breathing exercises he’s supposed to do when he’s on the verge of a breakdown like this. Instead, it all stays bottled up in his ribcage until he finally closes his apartment door behind him, scoops up Mikeko, and holds him tight as he sobs on his ratty, garage sale couch.
It’s a relief, honestly. He just has to cry and get it out when an attack comes on, and he definitely, definitely didn’t want to do that in front of Klavier. He’ll explain, he swears he’s going to explain everything, but he just has to ride the attack out, get his head back on straight. He knows all this, but it doesn’t stop him from feeling terrible.
That should have been such a special moment and it was, even if Apollo isn’t ready to say it back yet. But he went and ruined it, and hurt Klavier in the process. That’s not ever something he wanted to do. He was just… powerless. Apollo needed his apartment, he needed Mikeko, he needed to be alone.
Mikeko purrs against Apollo’s chest and looks up at him with his big amber eyes. Not for the first time, Apollo is very grateful he has a cat. He’s calming down a little now, his tears finally slowing down and his breathing easing up.
Once he feels mostly back to normal, he’s exhausted but opts for a shower so he can clear his head. The water works on him like magic and helps soothe all of his tense muscles as he thinks of what to say to Klavier when he gets out of the shower. Anxiety still creeps into his chest, since he’s scared he might have ruined the best thing he’s ever had, but his rational brain starts working again. Klavier knows Apollo has anxiety, if he just explains and apologizes, it should be okay. Hopefully.
He dries himself off and slips into some pajamas, feeling much, much better, then grabs both his phone and Mikeko before he gets into bed. First things first, Apollo picks up Mikeko, who immediately curls into the warmth of his chest. Then, with a deep breath, Apollo looks at his phone.
There’s only one message from Klavier:
[Klavier Gavin, 9:43 PM]
when you get a chance, just let me know you’re ok, ja?
Apollo groans, feeling guiltier than ever. Why does Klavier have to be so damn thoughtful all the time? Apollo takes a moment to think out his message and starts typing.
[Me, 10:52 PM]
Hey, yeah, I’m okay. I’m really, really sorry, Klav.
I had a panic attack and I needed to be home.
[Klavier Gavin, 10:53 PM]
i’m so sorry i was the cause, schatzi. if i had any idea that it
would have caused you distress, i wouldn’t have said anything.
Apollo groans again and runs a hand down his face.
[Me, 10:54 PM]
omg no, Klav, seriously. It wasn’t your fault at all.
[Klavier Gavin, 10:55 PM]
so i didn’t just ruin everything?
[Me, 10:56 PM]
YOU ruin everything? After what I just pulled, I wouldn’t be
surprised if you never wanted to see my face again.
[Klavier Gavin, 10:58 PM]
mein lieb… do i have to remind you how
i feel about you? if this was enough for me to
never want to see you again, then i doubt my
affections were very sincere in the first place.
[Me, 11:01 PM]
Still, I’m sorry it happened. I… I really, really like you.
You’re really kind and funny and, I don’t know, but it’s just fun
when we’re together. I don’t want you to think I panicked
because I don’t like you. I think I need some time to think
about what you said, but I just… I didn’t panic because
I suddenly didn’t want us to stay together or anything.
[Klavier Gavin, 11:02 PM]
i’m glad, liebling. may i ask what made
you panic? if you know…
Apollo sighs. He knew this was probably going to come up, and he still wants to tell Klavier the truth, but a part of him wishes they could sidestep it.
[Me, 11:06 PM]
It’s just… no one’s ever said that to me before? And
I think it freaked me out. You know what it was like
for me growing up, so I think it’s hard for me to accept
or keep a cool head about this stuff. I don’t know. I guess a
part of me is scared this is all a big joke even though I
know you’re not lying to me. It’s not… rational, whatever it is.
[Klavier Gavin, 11:07 PM]
i think i understand. that sounds hard, schatz.
though, i find it hard to believe no one’s said it to you
before. do you think it would upset you if i said it again?
A smile slowly spreads across Apollo’s face and a warmth that has nothing to do with Mikeko gathers in his chest.
[Me, 11:08 PM]
No, I’m okay now.
[Klavier Gavin, 11:08 PM]
I love you.
And it’s like Apollo’s body finally catches up to what he knew he should have felt at dinner. Tears gather in his eyes, but they’re the nice kind of tears born from feeling genuinely touched instead of panicked. It’s overwhelming how understanding Klavier is, how good he is to Apollo. Apollo’s not ready to say it back quite yet, but he’ll get there.
[Me, 11:09 PM]
That means a lot to me. I care about you a lot too, okay?
Just give me a little more time. I’m sorry you have
to keep waiting for me.
[Klavier Gavin, 11:11 PM]
ach, for you i would wait a thousand years.
don’t worry, mein lieb. i know i take things pretty fast.
i meant it when i said we could take it at your pace.
same with us going public, ja? we can wait until you’re
ready, however long that may be.
[Me, 11:12 PM]
Thanks, Klav. I really appreciate it.
[Klavier Gavin, 11:13 PM]
ofc. but ach, we should get to bed, ja?
though i am lamenting how cold mine is without you
Apollo scoffs, though it’s probably closer to a burst of laughter.
[Me, 11:12 PM]
Really? I’m pretty warm since Mikeko’s
with me [image01.jpg]
[Klavier Gavin, 11:14 PM]
sigh~ once again i am forgotten over the katzchen.
but i begrudgingly admit this is adorable. glad he’s with
you, though. gute nacht, schatzi. i will talk to you
[Me, 11:14 PM]
Night, Klav. Talk to you then.
Apollo stares at his screen for several minutes after their conversation ends. Klavier… loves him? It’s not that he’s trying to be self-deprecating or anything, but it’s hard to understand why someone like Klavier Gavin would feel that way about someone like him.
He decides then that he really wants to try harder, be better, for Klavier. He can’t let Klavier be the one who’s always putting in effort. It’s just hard. Being in a committed relationship is hard. Honestly, Apollo never thought he’d be in one. Hell, he’s not sure he wanted to be in one, but with Klavier, that’s all changed. If this is going to work out, then he’s going to have to put the effort in.
With his resolve bursting anew, Apollo falls asleep, silently wishing Klavier was with him too.
The next day, Apollo can’t get Klavier out of his mind. Or the next. Or the next. He spends hours replaying the scene at dinner in his mind over and over again, the words permanently etched in his brain:
“It’s just that I love you and you make me happy…”
It’s like Apollo’s nerves are filled with buzzing fireflies, warming him from the inside out every time he relives that part of the memory. He’s even started sneaking peeks at his phone so he can read Klavier’s texts over again and Trucy keeps calling him out on it (“Who ya textin’ Polllllyyy?” “Nobody! Shut up!”).
Apollo hasn’t seen Klavier since that night. They agreed to give each other a little space to think, which was hard to say, but Apollo needed it. It’s given him some perspective. But it’s also turned him into a useless, pining ball of mush, hence the daydreaming and compulsive phone checking.
Speaking of phone checking…
Apollo pulls his phone out of his pocket as he walks back to the office after grabbing lunch from a nearby café and grins when he sees he has a message.
[Klavier Gavin, 1:14 PM]
hope you’re having a schön day today, schatzi.
mine is frightfully dull. i might steal herr payne’s toupe
and dust my office with it for something to do.
[Me, 1:15 PM]
[Me, 1:15 PM]
If he sues you, I’ll take your case pro bono
[Klavier Gavin, 1:16 PM]
ach, my hero. i will talk to you soon.
i must plan my toupe heist.
[Me, 1:16 PM]
K, good luck. Talk soon.
[Klavier Gavin, 1:16 PM]
ty. love you <3
Apollo’s heart does a flip in his chest and he sends a heart emoji back in response, the tips of his ears heating and a smile pulling unbidden on his lips.
It’s so… much lately. It’s like his body can’t contain all of his emotions, like he’s a balloon that will pop if someone so much as bumps into him. Something changed between them that night; something changed in Apollo that night. And for the first time in Apollo’s life, it’s not a bad kind of change. He’s… happy. Light. Is this what it feels like when something in your life goes right for once?
Or next to right, at least. Apollo’s reaction to Klavier’s proclamation of love definitely could have gone better, but hey, they worked it out. They might be taking some time for themselves, but they’re still texting every day, though Apollo does miss him.
That sudden thought sends a spike right through Apollo’s chest. God, he misses him. It’s been three days and he’s already missing Klavier enough to hurt. What does that mean?
Shit, is he about to spiral over this whole thing again? Because what does it mean when you miss someone so much that your ribcage feels broken? He needs to get it together because he’s due back at work in one minute even though he thinks he might be on the cusp of a romantic revelation. Oh, God—
Somehow, he’s in front of the WAA’s door, his feet moving on their own through his everyday routine.
You’re at work. You can have a breakdown over how… how whatever you are with your boyfriend when you get home.
He takes a deep breath and puts his hand on the door handle. He’s Apollo Justice and he’s fine. He can refocus for three and a half more hours.
When he opens the door, he finds Trucy and Mr. Wright looking over a case file next to Charley.
“Oooh, Polly, you’re just in time!” Trucy says, bouncing on her feet. “Daddy just got a new client while you were gone. Sounds like it’s full of mystery.”
Apollo rolls his eyes. “You always say that. Are you taking the lead on it, Mr. Wright?”
“Oooh, Polly, that’s the best part!” Two “Oooh, Polly’s” in a row? It must be something exciting.
Mr. Wright hands the case file to Apollo. “Actually, the opposing counsel is Prosecutor Gavin. I thought I’d give this one to you, since you two are such a good team and all.”
“Oooh, can I be your assistant again, Polly?” Trucy clasps her hands in front of her chest. “I got a new Gavinners poster and I want to see if Prosecutor Gavin will sign it.”
“Trucy, you have to actually help if you go with him.”
“Aw, Daddy, I will. It’ll only take a second and I’m sure Prosecutor Gavin won’t—”
Apollo can’t explain what comes next. Maybe it’s his nerves, or the weird collision of his personal feelings for Klavier and his professional ones, or maybe it’s because it’s been a long time coming and he just needed to say it, but the next thing out of Apollo’s mouth is:
“Prosecutor Gavin and I are dating!”
And yes. Yes, he did indeed say this at full Chords of Steel decibels. Trucy and Mr. Wright both gape at him like he announced the sky is falling, and well, he’s gotten this far. Might as well keep going. “I’m sorry! I know it’s probably super unprofessional to be in a relationship with opposing counsel and I know it’s probably weird for you both to hear we’re together, but I really like him and I—”
“Whoa, whoa, slow down, kid.” Mr. Wright scratches the back of his head. “Truce and I knew something was up with you and Prosecutor Gavin, but we thought you two hadn’t figured it out yet. How long has this been going on?”
Apollo shrinks into his shoulders. “Almost three months.”
“Three months?” Great. Trucy and Mr. Wright are in sync now.
“Polly,” Trucy says, the hurt in her voice making Apollo wince. “Why did you think you needed to hide this from us?”
Apollo fiddles with the file, needing something to do with his hands. “I—I just thought you guys would have mixed feelings about him, considering everything that happened seven years ago. I didn’t know how to tell you.”
“Polly.” Uh-oh. Two “Polly”s in a row, she must be mad. “We wouldn’t be mad at you for dating Prosecutor Gavin. We want you to be happy! Right, Daddy?”
“Yeah, of course,” Mr. Wright says, and Apollo’s bracelet doesn’t tighten. Which is… something. A part of Apollo knew Trucy wouldn’t be upset, but he figured it would be a hard pill to swallow for Mr. Wright. “Gavin’s a good kid. We have a past, sure, but I’m not holding a grudge. And even if I was, that shouldn’t have any bearing on who you want in your life, Apollo. I meant it when I said you two were a good team.”
Mr. Wright’s not lying. Not a bit. He’s seriously okay with this?
If that’s true, then why does Apollo still feel so anxious? Why does he feel like he’s just opened a can of worms and there’s no putting them back in no matter how hard he tries?
“You really didn’t tell us because you thought we’d be upset?” Trucy asks, her blue eyes round and full of concern.
Apollo rubs his thumb over the tip of his nose. “I guess I just thought it’d be like a betrayal.”
Trucy squints and gives him the once-over before she hums thoughtfully. “Is that really why, Polly? I don’t think you’re being completely honest.”
“What? I’m—no, I’m not lying. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I…” Apollo wracks his brain and tries to figure out what Trucy could possibly mean. Sure, there’s been multiple reasons why they kept the relationship a secret—they didn’t want the paparazzi meddling, they both wanted some privacy as they figured the relationship out, and there was something kind of fun about the clandestine nature of it…
But those things stopped mattering to Klavier weeks ago. It was only Apollo who was holding on. If he wasn’t really concerned about how Trucy and Mr. Wright would react, then what?
There’s a little voice in the back of his mind that raises its hand and speaks up: hey, maybe it has to do with why you had a panic attack when he told you he loved you.
Yeah, because once you tell everyone, once you love each other, then it’s real, another part of his brain replies.
And shit. Fucking shit. God, he’s such an unbelievable asshat.
“Polly? You okay?” Trucy says, waving a hand in front of Apollo’s eyes. “You look a little… out of it.”
Trucy’s voice shakes him out of it and he snaps his head to look at Mr. Wright. “Mr. Wright, can I please take a half day?”
“You… what?” Mr. Wright blinks at him.
“A half day! There’s somewhere I really have to be!” Apollo accidentally kicks in the Chords of Steel again and makes both Mr. Wright and Trucy wince, though Trucy’s giggling through it.
“Sure, kid,” Mr. Wright says, his lips quirking into a half smile. “Go get ‘em.”
That’s all the confirmation Apollo needs and he’s out the door, heading to the Prosecutor’s office.
Apollo’s never biked so fast through LA traffic in his life, mostly because he values his life (LA’s not known for having the most considerate or safe drivers), but, dammit, he has to see Klavier right now. He can’t go one more minute without seeing him.
Because it’s all so frustratingly clear now—Apollo Justice is a piece of work and a terrible boyfriend. Not to mention a selfish coward.
But, nope. No. Not anymore. Apollo’s setting this right if it's the last thing he does.
(Which it might be because, again, he is not being a defensive bicyclist right now.)
He lets out a huge sigh of relief when he sees the prosecution building and works his poor, burnt-out calves to the limit just to get to the bike rack that much faster. The way he chains his bike is so criminally half-assed that he, quite frankly, deserves to have it stolen, but he doesn’t care. Which, holy shit. He must really have it bad if that’s true.
He rushes through the doors and darts toward the elevator, slamming the up button. The elevator doors don’t open immediately, so he starts tapping on the button furiously like that’s going to make any difference. There’s a couple of people waiting with him and they all give him sideways glances, which normally would send his anxiety into overdrive, but priorities.
The doors finally open and he rushes inside just to press the button for the top floor while the other three people in the elevator press buttons for three different ones. Apollo crosses his arms and taps his foot, doing his best not to glare at all of them for the massive inconvenience they’re causing him. He must look absolutely deranged, because all three of them are standing as far away from him as possible in the little square of space they’re trapped in for thirty more floors.
The elevator’s pace is absurd. This must be the world’s slowest elevator. Perfect. Sure. Just your typical Justice luck.
Finally, finally, after what feels like hours, all of the other passengers are out and the doors open to the top floor. Apollo bolts out of the elevator like it was depriving him of oxygen and desperately searches the fancy office. It’s where all the high-profile prosecutors’ personal offices are including Prosecutor Blackquill and Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth, so of course it’s dressed to the nines. There’s a lovely skyview, the fanciest watercooler Apollo’s ever seen, and a full kitchen in one corner. Most of the prosecutors are out, talking with secretaries, scanning documents, or passing off files—all except one of them…
It takes Apollo exactly one step toward Klavier’s office for Klavier to appear himself, holding a file in one hand and closing his office door behind him. Apollo freezes. As soon as Klavier looks up, his eyes find Apollo’s, and he freezes too.
There he is. The thought floats through Apollo’s mind like a melody, maybe because that’s just how Klavier is—seeing him is a song: Apollo’s heart doesn’t just sing at the sight of him, it belts, it croons. He can’t believe he survived three whole days without seeing him. He’s so ridiculously distinct to Apollo, the kind of distinct where he could find him even in a sea of thousands of people. Klavier’s familiar to him, a place you come back to. A home, Apollo realizes.
Apollo loses his mind. Maybe literally? Because the next thing he does is race toward Klavier—forgetting that they’re not in one of their apartments, forgetting they haven’t gone public yet, forgetting that they’re surrounded by California’s most prestigious legal minds—and kisses him. Grab-him-by-the-lapels-and-act-like-tomorrow-will-never-come kisses him.
For a moment, a brief shining moment, everything is perfect—Klavier’s lips move against his like they were born to do it, Apollo’s entire body is buzzing with how good it feels to embrace him again, and all is right in the world.
But then reality sets in. There’s a chorus of muffled gasps, the sound of jostled paper sliding to the floor, and Klavier gently pushing Apollo back at his shoulders.
“Schatz,” Klavier says low—half in wonder, half in admonishment.
Oh, god. What has he done?
Apollo slowly, ever so slowly, turns his head to look back at the rest of the office, and of course, every single pair of eyes is locked on them. Simon Blackquill is glaring with a disgusted grimace. Franziska von Karma—oh, god, Franziska von Karma—looks like she’s about to strike him with her whip.
And then, Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth is looking at him with an absolutely horrified expression that says you’re doing this in the office?
“Gavin? Justice?” Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth says in a tone that reminds Apollo of a school principal giving a lecture to a kid who severely disappointed him.
Apollo gapes at him, mortified. “I, uh—”
“Apologies, Herr Edgeworth.” Klavier’s smile is as easy as ever, like Apollo didn’t just completely embarrass them both in front of all his coworkers. “If you’ll just give me a moment. Herr Justice and I need to have a conversation, but then after, I’ll come talk to you, ja?”
Klavier doesn’t give Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth a chance to finish as he opens the door to his office, grabs Apollo’s hand, and yanks him in.
The click of the door is weirdly loud despite all the black foam in Klavier’s office that makes it sound proof. But with as quiet as the room is, the silence after the door’s click is deafening.
Klavier watches Apollo for a moment. Then, two. Apollo can’t even begin to describe his expression except to say it’s inscrutable, terrifying in its neutrality. That might be a bad sign. Like, “Klavier might be super, super mad” bad.
And then the silence is finally broken—not by a thunderous roar over what an idiot Apollo is, but with laughter. Bright, bemused laughter.
“Schatz, you Dummkopf,” Klavier says through fits of giggles, one hand pressed to his forehead and tears forming at the corner of his eyes. “We spend three months doing everything we can to make sure not even our closest friends know, and you kiss me in front of all my colleagues like it was as common as shaking hands.”
Apollo groans and shakes his head. “God, Klav, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. It kind of slipped at work that we’re together and I just had to see you and when I did I just missed you so much I—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down.” Klavier moves his way to Apollo and holds him at his shoulders, his hands moving over them in a slow, comforting pattern. “You told the Wrights?”
Apollo nods. “I’m sorry. I know I should have talked to you first. But Mr. Wright was going to give me a case against you because he said he thought we were a great team, and I was already losing it because I couldn’t stop thinking about you, so it just came out and after, I had to see you, so I biked over, and then I saw you and—”
“Didn’t know you had such a romantic, spontaneous streak in you, Liebling.” Klavier kisses his forehead. “I like it. But don’t worry, ja? I think this will mean we can’t work on the same cases anymore, but we expected that. I’ll talk to Herr Edgeworth and we’ll fill out all the necessary paperwork. As for the others, well, I’ll just stick Herr Payne’s toupe on their computers if anyone sees fit to give us a hard time.”
Apollo stares at him, his entire chest overflowing with something, some warm, suffocating emotion that’s either healing him or tearing him apart. Because how is Klavier this good? How is he so gracious? How is he taking care of Apollo even now after he just royally fucked things up?
How is he willing to be all that for Apollo?
“Schatz? Are you alright?” Klavier gives Apollo’s shoulders a squeeze. “If you still want to keep things private, I can talk with everyone and tell them to keep it quiet. I’m sure they’d understand—”
Apollo gets a hold of Klavier’s wrists. “No, Klav. No, I want everyone to know.” Apollo hears a catch in Klavier’s breath, small but pointed and it sends a flock of butterflies through Apollo’s insides. He takes Klavier’s wrists off his shoulders so he can hold both his hands in front of him. “I want to tell everyone about us.”
“Are you sure? Before you—”
“Before, I was stupid. And scared.” Apollo takes a deep and squeezes Klavier’s hands tighter. “I didn’t want to tell anyone, because if we started telling people, it would make it real and if it was real that meant I could lose it. I could lose you. And I really, really don’t want to lose you. Because I—” Apollo squeezes his eyes shut tight to ground himself before he opens them again and finds Klavier’s river blue eyes. They’re open and waiting, watching Apollo so intently that Apollo forgets where he is, forgets to be scared over what he’s about to say next, and instead of saying it through a whisper and wince, he says it easily with a smile: “Because I love you, too. And I don’t want to hide it anymore.”
Klavier’s breath hitches again. His jaw drops for a moment before he beams at Apollo. “Schatz. Really?”
Apollo laughs. “You think I’d kiss you in front of the Chief Prosecutor if I didn’t love you?”
“Ach, you’re right. I should have known then,” Klavier says, laughing too. He takes one of his hands out from Apollo’s and hooks a finger underneath Apollo’s chin. “Hope you didn’t get a taste for it, because I think I’d like to kiss you now, without a Chief Prosecutor in sight.”
“Asshole,” Apollo says, rolling his eyes, but there’s no bite to it, only embarrassingly obvious fondness. He lets Klavier tilt his chin upward, lets their lips meet again, and it’s everything the last kiss wanted to be—full and passionate and without interruption.
It’s almost like it’s their first kiss all over again, but different. Better. Because this isn’t just a first kiss between two people who have been walking circles around each other for too long, it’s the first kiss after they found out they’re in love. It’s a title page on a whole new chapter. A guidepost to come back to.
Klavier pulls back, eyes lidded and breath ghosting over Apollo’s lips. “Mein Lieb… you know I’m not going anywhere, ja? I’m here to stay.”
Stay. It might be the first time someone’s ever done that for him. “I am, too.”
When Klavier kisses him again, Apollo doesn’t need a magic bracelet to know they’re both telling the truth.