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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
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.


He found himself swept up into Klavier’s arms, almost as soon as he exited the courthouse. “Well, that’s that, then. You should debrief with your client, because I’ve got a claim on you, for the rest of tonight.” Apollo laughed, a little uneasy, and the prosecutor pulled back.

“It’s not you,” Apollo said. “I just don’t like leaving it unfinished like that.” Klavier’s arm tightened around his shoulders for a moment, comforting.

“You know, you might want to leave something for Frau Dvoynaya’s own trial team. Our prosecutors get paid well enough you don’t actually have to spoon feed them every last detail, ja?”

“I know, but-”

Klavier’s lips brushed over the side of his throat. “I know. I’m frustrated too.”

“Yeah, sexually frustrated, maybe. We’re right in front of everyone, stop that!” Apollo said, flustered but without much heat. “We’re gonna get arrested thanks to you, or fired, or held in contempt for collusion, or something, and oh God, I think Trucy’s watching us.”

“If this is the worst public display this courthouse has ever seen, I would be shocked,” Klavier said, “and I don’t shock easily.”

“Yeah, no ki-” Klavier’s mouth covered his, and Apollo thought, fuck it. It’s been a long day, and I deserve something good. Even if I still feel like I failed.

“Relax,” Klavier whispered in his ear. “We can look further into it later. Tonight, I’ve got you. Tonight, let me take care of you, please.”

The low, rolling timbre of his voice was utterly, entirely unfair. Trucy’s presence was literally, literally the only thing that kept Apollo from moaning and melting into a puddle, crowd be damned. He was so going to get Klavier back for that, later. With interest!

“Give me five minutes to talk to Denise and Trucy, and after that, I’ve got a claim on you for the rest of tonight.” His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten anything since early that morning. “...Maybe food first, though.”

***

Denise’s thanks were solemn and quiet, but genuine. Apollo couldn’t fault her lack of enthusiasm. She may have escaped a wrongful prison sentence, but the woman she loved was still senselessly dead, and there’d be no bringing her back.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Apollo told her again. “If there’s anything else I can do, please, just ask.”

“There is one thing,” she said. “Kyouko’s left behind a number of documents, as well as some personal notes. The trouble is, they’re all in Japanese. I told her I’d learn someday, but…

“I know you managed to find a Russian translator on short notice, so I was wondering…”

“Well,” Apollo said, “that depends.”

“On what?”

“How do you feel about gangsters?”

***

It was strange, waking up in someone else’s bed and knowing he didn’t have to be anywhere else that day. Good strange, but strange nonetheless. Apollo reached over the edge, snagged a pillow that had fallen onto the floor in the night, stuffed it back under his head.

He would have thought Klavier was the sort to sprawl, sleep diagonally, take up as much space and blankets as humanly possible. Instead, the rock star seemed to crave contact above all else, wrapping himself around Apollo like he was some kind of bony stuffed animal. The warmth was nice, especially since he wasn’t used to sleeping naked, but there had been a moment, around maybe four in the morning, when he had half-woken, with the weight of Klavier’s arm on his ribs, and nearly jumped out of his skin because he couldn’t move. He’d listened to his own heart hammering away for five minutes, before wiggling out and rolling off to his own corner. It wasn’t anything personal, just overheating and a touch of something like extremely minor claustrophobia. Apollo could swear that Klavier had whined about it in his sleep, though.

Klavier was still asleep, snoring faintly. (It was cute now, but no relationship stayed in the ‘cute’ stage forever, and Apollo made a mental note to buy earplugs.) His hair looked longer when it was down, almost reaching his shoulder blades, the ends of it curly and slightly matted. He had a feather from one of the pillows caught in the loop of an earring, and his nose wrinkled slightly at whatever he was dreaming about.

Waking him up seemed unfair, but Apollo’s hands apparently had ideas of their own, stretching out to trace the other man’s mouth, the line of his neck, the muscles in his arms. Yes, his fingertips seemed to conclude, this is real, all of it.

Klavier stirred, made a ‘gmmph’ noise, and insistently rolled Apollo up again. “Gidbackere.” Apollo didn’t protest too hard. His whole body felt languid, utterly exhausted and relaxed all at the same time. Yeah, okay, no getting up yet. He could do that.

***

He didn’t have the chance to update Kristoph on the case, the way he’d promised to do, until the weekend was over. The man was spoiled for visits anyway. He could wait. More worryingly, Kristoph seemed to already know everything that had transpired, even before Apollo arrived.

“I suppose that didn’t go too badly,” he mused, pacing up and down the length of his luxury cell. "You managed to unravel one case out of the two. You were lucky the evidence spoke for itself.”

“I was,” Apollo agreed. “Not to mention having the detectives on my side. That helped.”

“Helped, yes, but not enough.” Kristoph pushed up his glasses. “I wouldn’t wish to see you growing over-reliant on others, and unfortunately, that’s precisely the trend I’m seeing, right now.”

“What, others like you?”

Kristoph chuckled. “Oh, I’m merely assisting in the most unofficial capacity. Barely any help at all, more in it to assuage my own curiosity than anything else.” He shook his head. “But there is something else I’ve heard which concerns me more. I thought it might have been the case before, but now I am certain. It seems you’ve been letting my little brother have his way with you, Justice. And really, do you think that was the wisest of choices?”

“I don’t see how it’s any of your business,” Apollo retorted.

“So you’re not bothering to deny it, then.”

“Why should I? Not like it’s been illegal anywhere in this country since 2003, let alone California.”

“Ah, yes, Lawrence v. Texas, of course, of course. I didn’t mean to imply something wrong with your actions. Merely your choice of fellow participant.”

“There’s nothing wrong with him, either.”

Kristoph sighed. “You don’t know Klavier as well as I do.”

Apollo’s jaw tightened. “Wanna bet?”

“Oh, I’m confident the house will go on to win that wager. It’s my fault, in part, I’ll admit that much. Our parents could never deny Klavier anything, and I was no better. He never learned how to want for anything, though he certainly knows how to want. And oh, he knows how to smile and pout. Knows all the right words to say, in order to get what he wants from someone.

“I won’t say he’s a bad man, by any means, but he’s certainly a spoiled and selfish one, who won’t stop to think what vulnerabilities he’s taking advantage of in others.”

“‘Taking advantage,’ right. You are aware I’m not a minor?”

“Would I have hired a minor? Of course not. But your pre-existing desires and inner conflict make you vulnerable to my little brother nonetheless.”

“Come again?”

Kristoph sat down on his bed, motioned for Apollo to take a seat in an overstuffed armchair. “Do you think I remained unaware of your little infatuation with me, Justice?”

The floor refused to swallow Apollo whole. Fuck floors.

“I admit, I’d expected better, when it came to your level of professionalism, but that isn’t my point today. My point is that you had only recently lost someone you’ve invested a great deal of emotion in, and here he comes. Someone who looks so similar to your object of affections. Who understands the complicated connection you might have shared with me. Who is there for you, in your time of need. And the next thing you know, you find yourself in his bed.”

“Because apparently I’m too fucking stupid to make my own decisions or know who I’m sleeping with?”

“I know you’re not inclined to listen to me anymore. I’m afraid I was rather harsh with you, during our formative visits in this place, but you have to understand, I was angry. You would have been too, if I were responsible for your imprisonment. But anger and previous altercation doesn’t devalue what I’m saying right now. Yes, frankly I do believe you used him as a displacement for me, in your life, and he was more than happy to let you.”

“Oh, so now I’m using him?”

“Subconsciously, perhaps, yes.”

Apollo breathed out through his teeth, counting backwards from ten. “So maybe you should be warning Klavier about me, instead.”

“Maybe I should. If he would ever visit.” He reached over to brush Apollo’s bangs out of his eyes, oddly tender.

“Do you miss him?” Apollo found himself asking.

“Terribly,” Kristoph replied, and there was something almost genuine in it.

***

Apollo was several blocks away, before he realized that his wrist was throbbing dully. Once again, he’d forgotten about the bracelet, while in Kristoph’s presence. He couldn’t even recall when it had warned him, and when it had not. All he’d have to unravel the man’s words was his own judgment. It would have to be good enough.

“You’ll tell me if you ever feel like I’m using you, right?” he asked Klavier, out of the blue.

Klavier’s fork froze on the way to his mouth. “Beg pardon?” The look on his face spoke of honest, dumb confusion. “Herr Forehead, don’t tell me you’ve been checking my credit card PINs on the sly, or collecting my unmentionables, to sell on eBay.”

“You think I’ve got what it takes to be a master thief? Cool.” No, Justice, this is not a good thing to feel flattered about. Don’t grin. Also, you’re drifting off topic already, how good is he at that?

“Well,” Klavier said, “it’s always the unassuming ones, isn’t it? Though I’d hardly call you quiet.”

Apollo threw a roll at him. “Be serious, for a moment.”

Klavier’s face sobered. “I’m all ears.”

“I swear to you,” Apollo said, “that I’m not just… you… this. Because you look like him, or…”

It took Klavier a moment to parse that. “Well, I certainly know it’s not because I act like him. If I ever start, please, just shoot me.”

“Actually, you guys are pretty much polar opposites. And that’s good! That’s why I… I mean, not just that, it’s not all about him, even in reverse, and am I even making sense or sentences, right now? It doesn’t sound like either, in my head.”

“Oh, I would be comfortable with you using the criteria of ‘opposite to Kristoph in every way,’ when it comes to selecting your partners. In fact, I’d count that as a mark of your good taste.”

“You’re more than him, though. There’s more to you. He doesn’t define you.”

“Of course there is. He can’t rock worth a damn, for one thing.” Klavier closed his eyes.

“Still, thank you. I know that about myself already, but sometimes I forget, ja? A reminder never hurts, and I’m grateful for it, every time. But Apollo… What gave you the idea you might be imposing on my good faith?"

“He didn’t exactly say that,” Apollo reassured him, kind of un-reassuringly. “More like the opposite, really.”

There was a brief flash of incandescent fury on Klavier’s face. “Let me guess, I can’t accept not having something or someone, and I will use every trick in my bag to get what’s mine.”

“Including ‘using my crush on him as an in.’” Scare quotes included. “There’s just one problem with that theory. I’ve seen Ema turn you down like a million times. And okay, you keep flirting with her anyway, but what I’ve never seen was you taking it personally or acting like she owes you.”

“That’s because she owes me nothing. She’s a stunning, brilliant woman, and I would adore her if she had any inclination toward me, but I can’t simply expect it of her. To sulk or disrespect her for having tastes in men which don’t include yours truly would be, well-”

“Gross?”

“Very gross. And the same standards apply to you. If you had no interest in men at all, or no interest in me, in particular, then, well, I would keep flirting with you, probably. You make the best embarrassed faces! But I would not push. There are plenty of people out there who’d be more than happy to have me in their beds. Why fixate and make everyone miserable?”

A flash of terrified worry crossed Klavier’s face, even as he spoke. “I haven’t, though, have I? I haven’t pushed where I should not have and taken the advantage Kris spoke of? Have I?”

“Right. Remember who made the first move? I sure do.”

The worry melted. “Ja, so do I. You are- you are always surprising me. And right after I said you weren’t a romantic, too.”

“Because proving you wrong is awesome is why.”

“You look smug.”

“Yeah, what of it. Eat your- what is that, anyway?”

“Gnocchi al pomodoro. It’s a simple dish, but-” Klavier cut himself off. “It’s a kind of pasta made with potato.”

“I thought rock stars couldn’t have carbs.”

“Ah, but that’s the privilege of being a former rock star. I can stuff my face whenever and with whatever I want to. Besides, have you seen our dance routines, back in the day? Those things could work off a cow.”

“I’m just…” Apollo took a fortifying bite of his own spaghetti. “I’m used to listening to him, even when I know I shouldn’t.”

“Because he was your mentor?”

“And because I got used to him being right.” He shook his head. “There were days when it felt like he was doing my thinking for me. Like he was two steps ahead of me and already knew what I was going to say, before I said it.

“He helped me pay my college loans, did you know that? I never asked him to. Didn’t even mention it in the office, but I must have said something about eating lots of ramen, or… I don’t even remember. And the next day, I got an e-mail from Sallie Mae, telling me law school had been paid off, just like that. I thought the bank was going to own my ass for years to come, then, boom. I'm all set.”

“The easiest way to own a man,” Klavier said, “is to buy him outright.” It was shockingly cynical, coming from him. Something about Klavier always darkened, whenever the subject of his brother came up, though Apollo supposed that was to be expected. The degree of it startled him, that was all. “Do someone enough favors, and if they’ve got a selfless bone in their body, they start feeling like they should do something nice for you in return.”

“Does that mean you’re okay splitting the bill, here?” He could probably trust a favor or two, from Klavier, but best not to set up a pattern.

“Going Dutch? I don’t see why not. I’ll even go as far as to say I look forward to you taking me out somewhere nice, when your boss starts paying you a decent wage.”

Apollo cracked up. “Don’t hold your breath unless you really like salty noodles.”

“I love salty noodles,” and Apollo was going to murder, him, for making that sound sensual. Damn the man and his voice. He’d never be able to look at Eldoon’s the same way again.

***

Winston Payne managed to secure Katerina Dvoynaya’s conviction in the murder of Kyouko Mizuiro, as well as attempted murder of Denise Laroquette, but he didn’t get any further on Harrow than Apollo had. Much as Apollo wanted to roll his eyes and get annoyed, he’d been the one to set that failure of a precedent. He’d left Payne a message of congratulations and veiled apology and received a snippy reply.

It was about two weeks after the end of Denise’s trial, when Apollo was woken up by the tinny version of Guilty Love coming from Klavier’s cell phone. He shook Klavier’s shoulder, then shook it again, until the prosecutor batted his hand aside groggily. “Well, I wasn’t going to answer that for you.”

“Could’ve just let me sleep,” Klavier mumbled, and picked up. “Ja. Speaking.”

Apollo watched all sleep and color drain from his face, as he listened to whatever the person on the other end of the line had to say. “Was? ...Sorry, what?” Followed by a stream of what must have been extremely colorful German profanity. “Ja, I understand. Thank you- thank you for telling me. I’m on my way.”

In the gray light of the morning, Apollo could see him shaking, first his hands, then his shoulders, then a shudder rolling through his entire body. “What’s wrong? Please, tell me.”

Klavier’s voice sounded rusty, when he spoke. “It’s Kristoph. He’s in the hospital.”

“The hospital? But he was in solitary, so he couldn’t have been attacked-”

“It wasn’t a fight,” Klavier said. “They tell me it was poison. They say- they say there’s a very real chance he won’t wake up.”

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