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[personal profile] mllelaurel
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Title: Halfway to Sunlight
Characters: Ensemble, with focus on Apollo and Klavier
Pairings: Apollo/Klavier, some Wocky Kitaki/Vera Misham (I like making new pairing tags on AO3.)
Rating: M/R
Warnings: Some fairly pervasive emotional abuse themes. Some discussion of sexual abuse, late on, though nothing graphic/on-screen.
Summary: As if trying to emotionally disentangle himself from his former mentor after the Misham trial wasn’t enough, Apollo winds up with a copycat case falling into his lap, and said mentor’s younger brother a growing presence in his life. But neither of the tasks facing him will be easy, and everyone's got secrets they may or may not want to reveal.

The next time he parked his car outside that gray prison building, Apollo forgot to unbuckle his seat belt. Just sat there, in the parking lot, and stared into space like it held all the wonders of the universe, hands gripping the steering wheel. Half an hour passed, by the dashboard clock. He pulled out of his space, gave the guard an apologetic nod, and drove elsewhere.

Machi’s age meant that he’d be held in a juvenile delinquent center, for his adventures in smuggling. After maximum security, it didn’t look that bad. Brick building, couple of trees. Apollo wasn’t sure they’d let him in, since he wasn’t exactly a parent or legal guardian, but it wasn’t like Machi had either of those. Not in this country, anyway, and who even knew what kinds of people he’d left behind in Borginia? “I’m his lawyer” turned out to be good enough. The badge opened a lot of doors, even if Apollo hadn’t represented the young pianist since the murder trial.

He looked different in jeans and a t-shirt, without the ruffly clothes that seemed so ubiquitous to him, with his eyes visible, but those eyes lit up when he saw Apollo. “Mister Yoostis! You come see Machi?” A small huff. “Took sweet time.”

Apollo ducked his head, chagrinned. “Sorry, sorry.” He’d meant to visit earlier, just… Things happened.

Machi shrugged. “At least you don’t forget Machi exist. Worst thing, to be forgotten. Famous one day, then you don’t exist the next. But Lamiroir visit. Mister Gavin visit, too.”

Klavier had? Now Apollo felt like even more of a dick. “He scary in court,” Machi said, “but I know him when Lamiroir met him. He silly, with her. Serious, but silly. Hard to think scary, after that.”

Apollo laughed. “Yeah, Klavier’s pretty squishy. Especially for a prosecutor. You should hear about some of the others! Apparently, there was a guy who kept throwing coffee cups at Mr. Wright’s head.”

“With coffee in them?”

“Uh, probably?”

Machi winced in sympathy. “He okay? Boiled water on face hurt.”

All Apollo could do was shrug. “Hey, that’s the same guy who got hit by a car, thrown thirty feet and didn’t even get a sprained ankle. I’m starting to think he’s immortal.”

“We get people like that, in Borginia,” Machi told him, very seriously. “They say God-chosen. Suppose to do big thing. Nothing bad happen to them, till they do thing they supposed to do. After that, bad things happen to them, though. Sorry.”

Apollo hoped not. “I think lots of bad things have already happened to him, Machi.”

Machi grinned. “That okay, then. Better lot of bad things, but okay in the end, than other thing.”

Great, now he was going to be up all night, worrying about Mr. Wright getting killed. Especially after he’d succeeded in re-instituting the jury system. That was pretty world-changing, right? This, in a nutshell, was why Apollo didn’t do religion.

“How are you, Machi?” he changed the subject.

Machi made a face. “Boring. Piano here sound like dropped from window. English teacher think I’m stupid, cause I don’t speak stupid grammar that make no sense. Crescend was better!”

“Detective Crescend taught you English?”

“He bored on train. Mister Gavin too, a little. Bassist, too. Said had sister like me.”

“But… you’re a guy.”

Machi shrugged again. “Bassist confused. Not smart. Plus I already know little English, then.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Apollo asked. It didn’t sound hollow, this time. Didn’t make his stomach drop. “They told me you can’t accept gifts, but…”

“Visit,” Machi replied.


“Machi tells me you came to see him.” Klavier beamed at him, the next time they ran into one another. Apollo rubbed the back of his head, didn’t feel deserving of praise.

“He’s bored and lonely in there. Least I can do, right?”

“Ja, that was my thought, too. He’s a good kid. Besides,” Klavier swiped a hand through the spiral of his hair. “It’s not as though I can’t relate.”

“You? Lonely? That’d be the day, rocker boy. I saw that pile of fan mail you keep on your desk.”

Klavier flicked his fingers against Apollo’s forehead. A careless, casual gesture. “And I’ll have you know, I answer every one of those letters. It takes courage and means a great deal, to speak your mind to someone you care for. I may have broken some hearts in my day, but not like this.”

“Wait, you answer fan mail in your office? At work? When you’re supposed to be working?”

“Ja, and Herr Edgeworth will skin me for a rug, any day now.” He sounded utterly unrepentant.

Apollo shook his head. “Law, music, letters… Do you even sleep?”

Klavier gave him a very solemn “Nein.” It figured. Maybe Starbucks was giving Klavier sponsorship money, at least. Apollo wished someone would give him sponsorship money. Or, you know, pay for a case.

“Seriously, though, I’m a desperate man, Forehead. I’ve taken to calling my manager and asking her out for drinks.”

Apollo’s sympathy knew no bounds. “Yeah? What’s wrong with that? What, does your industry frown on workplace romance?”

Klavier nearly bent double laughing. “I suppose you wouldn’t have known. My manager is at least ninety percent a lesbian, and she claims to lose two more percentage points of her waning heterosexuality, every time she talks to me. I consider it to be a personal service to the women-loving women of the world. The kindness of my heart, and all that. ...Come to think of it, I might be having the same effect on our lovely Fraulein Detective. If so, there are some truly blessed women out there. All my envy and encouragement goes out to them. May they be luckier than I.

“And so,” he gave a small bow, “I thank you for keeping me company, last week. I trust my presence won’t have an adverse affect on your sexual orientation as well.”

Apollo’s face was uncomfortably red. “I don’t know, I think I’m starting to find men less and less appealing, even as we speak.” Oh, awesome, this had shifted into a ‘let’s discuss Apollo’s sexuality’ discussion, and also fuck his life. Not like Klavier didn’t know already, after their bar room heart-to-heart.

“Et tu, Forehead? You wound me!”

“Take it up with the hospital and/or judge, Gavin. And drop the Latin. You’re already speaking way too many languages.”

“Very well. For you, I’ll only speak the language of love.” Apollo had no choice but to reach over and smack him over the head.

“Are you actually hitting on me?” Or was this just another brand of patter, like half the things to come out of Klavier’s mouth. The question came out angrier than he’d intended, and Klavier held up his hands, placating.

“All right, all right, I can take no for an answer.”

Did Apollo want him to?

“Can you stop by our office, later tonight?” he asked.

Klavier blinked at him. “Apollo, mixed messages are not very nice. First you turn me down, then you ask me on a date. What’s a man supposed to think?”

Apollo buried his face in his hands. “It’s not a date! I was going to ask you if you could help out with Machi’s asylum paperwork. He’ll be out in a couple of years, max, and I’m not letting them ship him back to Borginia. I figured you’d know international statutes better than me, with all the traveling you’ve done.”

But that wasn’t all it was. Maybe Klavier was playing him. Maybe it was nothing but but a twist to their verbal back-and-forth. But he didn’t think the rockstar was lying, when he talked of being lonely. The Wright Anything Agency lit up like a beacon in the dark, inside Apollo’s head. Home for those who weren’t even sure what ‘home’ meant. What did it hurt, after all, to share that with others, even if the others were cocky overachievers like Klavier Gavin?


The cocky overachiever in question knocked on their door at 7:00 PM sharp, arms full of legal files and donuts from a local bakery. Trucy let him in, practically levitating, especially after he agreed to sign all of her Gavinners merchandise, a random shirt, and Mr. Hat. (The Mr. Hat autograph came with a stern handwritten note about impersonating kidnappers in a court of law, which made Trucy giggle.)

“He’s so nice!” Trucy stage-whispered in Apollo’s ear. “Thank you for inviting him!”

Apollo wanted to reply with something grumbly, but truth be told, seeing them laughing like that left a warm feeling in the pit of his stomach. Okay, so watching Trucy be happy was always kind of infectious, but he hadn’t expected the same effect from Klavier. He got up, waved the paperwork in front of Klavier’s face, earned himself another forehead flick. Found himself thinking that this wasn’t half bad, despite himself.

At first, Mr. Wright was noticeably absent from the main office space as they worked, busy with more phone calls behind a closed door. He emerged as they were finishing up for the night (or at least as Apollo was reaching a critical level of frustration with Borginian extradition laws,) stretching and yawning.

“Someone remind me that I’m going to have to deal with Payne again, if I get my badge back, next time I start thinking that’s a good idea.”

“You’re going to have to deal with him anyway,” Apollo said, deadpan, “since I have to deal with him. And if I have to deal with him, then so do you.”

“Objection! Spurious logic!”

“Herr Wright,” Klavier chimed in, “it seems to me like you greatly desire to be practicing law again, considering how you keep shouting ‘Objection’ at your apprentice.”

“It’s a catchphrase.” Apollo could hear Mr. Wright rolling his eyes.

“Well, I, for one, would love to see you back in court.”

“I’m sure you would,” Mr. Wright said, with absolutely no inflection, and sat down at the old piano, which must have been office property from before the disbarment. Even Apollo could tell that it was badly out of tune, and Mr. Wright’s utterly wretched playing didn’t help any. Apollo winced and made a mental note to buy headphones with his next paycheck.

For once, though, someone else looked more offended at the racket than he did. He watched Klavier march across the room to lean over Mr. Wright’s shoulder, folding his hands over the piano player’s. “Herr Wright, I beg you. You are killing my ears with that G-flat and that C-far-too-sharp. I will teach you, if that’s what it takes.” His fingers pressed gently, pushing Phoenix’s into the keys. It would have seemed almost seductive, if he weren’t in full-bore perfectionist mode.

It might have been a little seductive anyway.

“Just please, please stop this ätzend lärm.”

“Make up your mind, Prosecutor Gavin,” Phoenix’s voice sounded strained, to Apollo’s ears. “Either insult me or drape all over me, but not both. ‘Neither’s’ also an option. Just so you know. In fact, ‘neither’ comes highly recommended.

Klavier pulled back, hands in his pockets. “Can I ask you something, Herr Wright?”

“You just- Nah, I know, that joke’s old.” Phoenix raked a hand through his messy hair. “Shoot.”

“Do you still hate me?”

Apollo didn’t think he’d take that long to answer. “Hate you? No. I’m still angry at you, sometimes. You were a dumb kid who got used, and it’s not fair, but there you have it.”

Klavier shook his head. “Sounds fair enough to me.”

“You have a messed up definition of the word-” He turned around. “Hey, Polly, are you eavesdropping?”

“I was in the room!” Whoops, he hadn’t meant to bring out the Chords of Steel for that.

Mr. Wright stuck a finger in one of his ears. “Loud, Polly. The neighbors are going to complain.”


He had no reason to get up early the next morning, so he slept in. By the time he got up, it was around ten. He shrugged on some clothes, grabbed a cup of tea, pulled up the news on his phone-

The headline stared at him, accusing. It took several tries to slide his fingers across the screen, make the text bigger: “Atroquinine Poisoning Claims Another Life.”


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October 2016


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