TURNABOUT VOICE COACH
“No you are not making yourself clear, try that again. YOU ARE FINE!”
Klavier winced as he sat in the waiting room of the local voice coaching offices, having overheard the voice coach from inside the treatment room. Ever since his brother had tried to poison him his voice had been playing up. He had had an operation to salvage most of it but it still went hoarse extremely quickly. Which was bad for a singer such as himself, especially when he was a solo artist.
He coughed a little and ignored the strange looks he got from a few people passing nearby. Of course they could not believe that the legendary Klavier Gavin would ever be seen dead in a place like this, and before the incident that would indeed have been the case.
Now however his manager had stated that he needed to do something before his record label dropped him entirely. In all honesty after Kristoph had shown his true colours he had been thinking of throwing in the towel any way but with no other career to fall back on he had reluctantly agreed to this training.
He was in his twenties so if it did not work out he was sure he could find something else, but if he was truthful with himself he had missed his singing.
His brother had taken that from him. All because he had been getting prominent covers on music magazines whilst his brother was all but ‘forgotten’ in the country’s largest orchestra.
Klavier chuckled a little bitterly to himself. It was probably that insistence by Kristoph that he was the person who should be conducting interviews and should be the head of the string section that had got him kicked out.
That was when things had changed. Kristoph had become twisted, bitter even, and paranoid that everyone was out to ruin his ‘career’.
Klavier did not want to become like that.
Hearing the secretary call his name out, Klavier winced. He adjusted his hat and sunglasses and tried to hide that he was indeed that Klavier Gavin from everyone else in the room. As he sauntered past reception he did however spare the time to flash a dazzling smile at the receptionist, Ema Skye.
His action was returned by a glare and a loud crunch down on some snacks.
Oh. Right. He had spoken to her on the phone when arranging this appointment and had completely misread the room. Seemed he had done so again.
Fiddling uneasily with his fringe, he took a deep breath before heading into the treatment room.
Case in point the person who had just walked in, spouting faux German, and the most fake dazzling smile he had seen in a long time.
Folding his arms, his hair drooped a little in annoyance. “Now then Mr… Gavin was it? I do not take kindly to time wasters so if you are not going to take this session seriously you can leave right now.”
“Ach… lighten up, Ja? I was only greeting you in my trademark way. And please, it’s Klavier. It’s what all my fans call me.”
Apollo scowled, unimpressed. This was exactly the kind of person he hated dealing with. The kind who believed he was a star already. He lifted an eyebrow a little as he gestured for the other to take a seat. “All your fans? You mean your family?”
He paused as he saw the other man flinch. Did his family not agree with what he was doing or had this poor guy been forced into talent shows all his life? Apollo had seen plenty of both in his line of work.
“N-nein… I don’t mean my family. I have no family. Not anymore.”
Okay, that wasn’t the answer that Apollo was expecting and now he felt a slight twinge of guilt as he took a seat opposite the wannabe star. “Uh… sorry. But I’m not a counsellor, I’m just a voice coach.”
Apollo watched as the other shifted nervously in his seat and removed his hat and sunglasses. The first thing that struck Apollo was how deep and glistening Klavier’s bright blue eyes were. They were enchanting almost. The next thing that struck him was the very unusual hairstyle. People had commented on his ‘devil horns’ before but what this guy had was… well a ‘drill’ was probably the closest word he could use to describe it. He found himself wondering just how long it took the other to style his hair every morning.
It wasn’t until the other coughed awkwardly that he realised he was staring, and he cursed his inability to keep his thoughts under control. Clay was always teasing him that maybe he’d meet a ‘star at work’ and be set for life.
Honestly, just because his best friend was training to be an astronaut, that didn’t mean he had to live his entire life in a fantasy world.
In a fantasy world, everyone would have wanted to be here, but Apollo had been a voice coach for a few years now and in that time he had seen everything: Singers forced into performing by their families, people who insisted they had the talent to be singers when no one in a million years could even make them say their words clearly, let alone in tune, ageing singers and/or actors who could no longer project their voice in the way they used to and expected him to somehow make it sound like they were 20 again… he could go on.
Most of the time it just made him want to have nothing to do with any of the professions that tended to come to him. Public Speakers, Performers, Actors, Actresses, Politicians… for every one person who genuinely wanted to be here and could improve using his techniques, there seemed to be a dozen who should never have even made an appointment in the first place.
Maybe the past year or so had made him skeptical but he would rather be skeptical than falling head over heels over the first person with any sign of talent that fell through his door like Clay ludicrously fantasised about.
“So… let’s just get down to this shall we? What exactly can I help you with today?”
“Ach… well… I’ve had several platinum-selling albums in the past and…”
Apollo blinked as the other trailed off, slightly surprised. So the other was genuine about having had a career at some stage. But the other did not look old enough for his voice to have given out so soon - unless it was a case of a ‘child star’ whose voice had since broken. Though as the other said he no longer had any family, that didn’t seem likely. Perhaps the record label weren’t happy with his recent performance? That was more likely.
Sighing, he resigned himself to another waste of time.
“Anything you wish to tell me before we start?”
“… Nein. This is what my manager recommended.”
So. Another person not here of his own free will then? Typical. Apollo sighed again. “Right… let’s start with some projection exercises first then. Repeat after me: You are Klavier Gavin and you are FINE!”
As soon as he had tried shouting the word ‘fine’, his voice had cracked and sent him into a coughing fit. He only had himself to blame for not telling Justice about his condition but he had an image to maintain and talking about the way his brother had tricked him went against all of that.
Now he had annoyed someone who he was pretty certain had been checking him out during the first few minutes of the appointment.
Worse, once he had got the coughing under control he could not find his voice at all and after a while the other had sent him packing. If he got another appointment with Justice now it would be all but a miracle.
Sighing softly he put a hand to his throat, tears threatening to fall from his eyes. His brother hadn’t killed him, but right now he had destroyed his career, and to Klavier who lived and breathed his music, that somehow seemed even worse.
Glancing at his watch, Klavier sighed again and revved his motorbike into life. He had had a bad enough day already without getting a parking ticket on top of everything else. Still at least he had had this extra time on his ticket to calm down before setting off for home and bracing himself for an argument with his manager.
Apollo winced at the excited tones he got from Clay as he returned home to their shared flat. He was exhausted and the last thing he wanted to talk about was work, least of all the man who he had a) embarrassed himself about and b) had lost his voice entirely mere minutes into the appointment.
“If you say so. I don’t tell you client names remember?” Apollo replied. He had always prided himself on client confidentiality in an attempt to keep any genuine stars names who came to him for vocal coaching out of the press.
“Yeah but you said multi-platinum albums and hair like a ‘drill’. That’s Klavier alright!”
Apollo rolled his eyes. “Well he won’t be back, whoever he was. He’s wasting my time.”
“No way! Klavier would never do that!”
Sighing, Apollo looked witheringly at him. “Then we can’t be talking about the same person, Clay. He didn’t last five minutes.”
“Sure, ‘Pollo. I know that look in your eyes. Admit it - you were interested in him! And why wouldn’t you be? He’s one of the most gorgeous men on the planet!”
Laying down on the sofa, Apollo put a hand to his head. “I do not have the energy for your fantasies tonight. Don’t you have some space exams to practice for or something?”
“Nope. I’m here all weekend!”
Apollo groaned. Whilst he was happy to see his best friend again, his energy could sometimes be rather… grating.
Uh oh. Apollo didn’t like that tone. Hesitantly he sat back up. “Besides?”
“You didn’t deny that you were interested in him!”
Apollo flinched. Suddenly he wished the floor would swallow him whole. “S-So what? I don’t need to justify myself to you. Besides he sucks.”
The next thing he knew a magazine was being thrown at him, and he found himself staring into those dazzling blue eyes once more - this time in photograph form and over the top of a pair of the most gaudy looking sunglasses Apollo had ever seen. However there was no denying it now. This had been the man who had had an appointment with him earlier. Not only that this issue appeared to be promoting his… fifth platinum selling album?!
Okay. What the hell had happened? Hesitantly he looked back to Clay who was now grinning smugly from ear to ear with a look that said ‘I know you’re a lost cause, you clearly fancy him’. Ignoring that, Apollo instead asked, “These multi platinum albums… I don’t suppose you have any of them do you?”
Several hours later, Apollo had four main thoughts on his mind:
1) Never ask Clay whether he has an album ever again, he’ll insist on playing everything that he owns from that artist.
2) This is some of the loudest most obnoxious rock music I have ever heard
3) Klavier Gavin has one of the clearest most easily projected voices I have heard in a long time so why did he choke today
4) I need to make sure he makes another appointment and get to the bottom of this
He had tried asking Ema about Klavier but the look he had got the minute he had said that name told him all he needed to know about how the conversation when Klavier had first booked an appointment had gone.
Which had led him into some other thoughts. He had been staring at Klavier, that he could not deny, but he did not know the first thing about the man, let alone his sexual orientation.
This was stupid. Why was he so transfixed about this one person? It wasn’t as though he’d seen people who had been successful washed up before. Perhaps it was because the other was around the same age as himself and normally that age it was the ones who had deluded themselves that they could sing or act at all, not someone who had already ‘washed up’. Much as it was a genre that had given him a headache as a vocal coach Apollo could tell that Klavier had had a very varied range there once and could carry his voice to the back of large arenas easily. So what had happened?
Perhaps he should have pried further at their original appointment but he had already made one mis-step by bringing up his family. He had not wanted the other to feel any more uneasy after that.
About to head into his office to start his day, he happened to overhear Ema being particularly rude to someone on the phone before slamming it down and grabbing some snacks. “Ema… we don’t want to annoy the clientele now do we?” True he had felt like doing the same to people at times but that wouldn’t pay the bills and whilst Clay could afford to pay everything once his astronaut training was over, he refused to mooch off of his best friend. He would always pay his fair share.
“Well if you had heard that irritating Glimmerous Fop you would have done the same thing. But then I suppose you’re pleased seeing as you tried to ask after him the other week.
Apollo’s heart skipped a few beats as he realised what Ema meant. Klavier had booked another appointment.
Klavier had booked another appointment and he didn’t even realise that now he was smiling wider than Clay had the night he had teased him about having a crush on a rockstar.
Suddenly today didn’t look so bad.
Which was one of many reasons he had not been back here until now. Not only out of embarrassment but also because his voice had required time to recover from the unnecessary strain he had put on it. He could still remember the condescending tone Doctor Edgeworth had taken with him over how illogical it was to try projection exercises so soon after his operation, although the other had agreed that vocal coaching was probably the best way for his voice to improve again.
Klavier brushed his hair back nervously as he recalled the advice both he and his manager had given him. He needed to be truthful with Justice this time else they would never get anywhere.
But that meant telling a stranger about Kristoph and Klavier wasn’t sure he was ready for that. Not yet at least.
Hearing Ema shout his name, Klavier stood up and hurried quickly into the treatment room. This time he didn’t even try to be friendly with her and that earned him a snack being thrown at him in frustration.
There was no pleasing some people.
Placing his pen down, Apollo forced a small smile of his own. “Klavier,” he murmured, recalling the others insistence at using first names last time, “please. Sit down. And take that ridiculous disguise off. I’m not going to tell anyone you were here.”
He watched with concern as the other pulled the scarf and sunglasses off before placing them , along with his hat, on the desk. “Es tu mi lied, Herr Justice… last time didn’t go that well, ja?”
Apollo sighed and folded his hands in front of him in thought. That was the understatement of the century but something seemed wrong this time. The spark in the other’s eyes had gone. “Klavier, I may have been a little harsh in my judgement last time. I have since listened to your albums…”
“Did you like them?!”
That was better. The spark in those gorgeous blue eyes was back at least. But how to put this diplomatically without crushing him? “… They were not exactly to my tastes.” He held his hand up quickly as the other went to speak. “However,” he quickly added with a reassuring smile, “as a voice coach I can say that you do clearly know how to control your voice and make sure it carries when necessary. In all honesty if I had heard those first I would wonder what on earth I could do for you to make anything better. However… something has happened since then has it not?”
The look Apollo got from Klavier after that told him everything he needed to know. Something had indeed happened to the well renowned rockstar. Something that had clearly shaken the other. The next time Apollo spoke his voice was gentle, yet firm. “Klavier, if there is something I need to know to continue your treatment you must tell me. I will not pry into personal affairs but I also do not wish to destroy someone’s voice. That is what happened last time is it not? Everyone has different needs from a voice coach, so tell me. What is it that you need, Klavier? Not your manager, not your record label, but you. What is it you want?”
“… To be able to sing again. I don’t care if all I can do is ballads, gentler stuff… I just… and I don’t want to lose my voice.”
Apollo nodded. The other’s voice sounded gravely and shaky, though that may have just been from the nerves of saying what exactly was needed. He made a few notes on Klavier’s files. “So… your voice was damaged?”
“J-ja. The doctors weren’t sure they’d be able to salvage it at all.”
Ouch. The other had nearly become mute? Now Apollo understood the others unease all too well. It was incredibly rare he came across vocal accidents, and he wasn’t sure he’d seen this one so severe before. However he did recall how shaken Clay had been after a training session hadn’t exactly gone to plan and his body hadn’t reacted well to gravity for a few weeks. From what Klavier was saying though it seemed he’d needed some kind of surgery on his vocal chords. “… May I ask what happened? You do not have to answer if you do not feel comfortable…”
“Ach. Nein… I… I owe you at least that much of an explanation ja?”
Apollo sighed as the other fiddled with his hair. It seemed to be a form of nervous tick for the other. “Klavier, you do not owe me anything. You have returned and told me more clearly what you need. That is enough for now if you do not wish to divulge anything more personal.”
“… I was poisoned.”
Taking a sharp intake of breath, Apollo’s pen froze on the page where he had been jotting down a plan of where to begin with Klavier’s vocal training. He had been expecting the usual: Sung a song far too out of range, sung a song whilst ill, ate something that they had an allergic reaction to. Something like that. Not that he had been poisoned. “Poison? As in an allergy or…” Apollo asked, hoping against hope that it was just dramatic wording from the other.
“N-nein. I mean someone tried to kill me, Herr Justice.”
Apollo tried to remain professional and calm, even though inside he was illogically angry at someone he had probably never even met before for daring to harm this man. This man who he had only met twice and yet somehow felt as though they had had a connection for a long time. “… Thank you for being up front with me, this time, Klavier. We can start with a few gentle exercises today, however…”
Apollo smiled softly. He was wondering whether this instance on faux German would start to grate on him but he could not find himself to be genuinely irritated with this rockstar right now. “If you are willing I would like some details from your doctor on the exact medical details of the condition. I am here to help you improve your voice, not destroy it further.”
The other was fiddling with his hair again and Apollo knew that that could not be a good sign. “If you do not wish me to -“
“Nein, it’s not that. It’s just…”
“If I had been upfront with you the first time I came here my second session needn’t have waited this long.”
At first, Apollo thought he just meant out of embarrassment, but then he latched onto exactly when in his comments the other had become restless again and swallowed hard. “… Your voice has only just returned properly after last time hasn’t it?”
The disheartened look in the other’s eyes as he admitted that to Apollo was enough for any irritation Apollo still felt to melt away. Coming to a decision he stood up and reached for his coat. “Come with me.”
“… We’re not going to work on my voice? But Herr Justice -“
Apollo shook his head and handed the other his disguise. “Put that back on if you’re so worried about people recognising you. I’m taking you for dinner. Consider it an apology for setting your recovery from an operation back by several weeks. I do not want to risk any more strain on your voice until your doctor is certain you are ready. We can work on your voice once you have got the recommendations from your medical records.”
“An apology, Herr Justice? I was the one at fault.”
Putting on his coat, Apollo shrugged. “Well what would you call this then?”
“… A date?”
Pausing, Apollo’s cheeks flushed red as he turned back towards the other with surprise. He was expecting the other to have a teasing glint in his eyes and an annoying fake smile plastered on his face. As if a rockstar, even one who was currently having vocal problems, would ever be interested in him of all people. No this was just Klavier’s way of getting back at him for making him lose his voice for a few days.
However what he found was the exact opposite. Klavier’s eyes were sparkling as per usual, but the smile he was wearing was genuine and warm. A smile that Apollo suspected no one had seen since he had got poisoned. Plus, the other was offering him his arm.
Trying to get the heat to leave from his cheeks, Apollo shakily took the other’s arm and forced a smile. “If… if that’s what you want it to be.”
“Ja, Apollo. I would very much… like that.”
Relaxing into the embrace, Apollo left out the back with the other, feeling the most at ease with himself that he had done in months.
Even if he could not help Klavier in his professional life, perhaps this was the beginning of something very special in both their personal lives.
Although… he was never going to live this down after telling Clay that he had been right was he?