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[personal profile] mllelaurel
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Title: Way Stations of the Heart
Characters: Apollo Justice, Klavier Gavin, Kristoph Gavin, Phoenix Wright, ensemble.
Pairings: Klavier/Apollo, Phoenix/Edgeworth, past Phoenix/Kristoph and Klavier/Daryan
Rating: M
Warnings: Sexual references, and some violence (I can't tell where the graphic vs. non-graphic violence line lies, unless, like, people's guts are falling out.) Prevalent themes of emotional abuse, gaslighting and general creepiness. Major character death, right at the start.
Summary: Klavier thought he’d grown used to dealing with the deaths of people he loved, even Kristoph’s execution, but nothing could have prepared him for his brother’s voice inside his mind, or the inexorable loss of control over his own life.

In which there is possession, journeys to the center of the mind, too many close calls, and a love confession or two.


“Both?” Apollo’s eyes bugged out. “What do you mean ‘both’?”

Klavier’s vision nearly grayed out with bled-over fear, adrenaline crashing through his veins.

“There’s another man inside that man,” Pearl said.

Phoenix frowned. “But I thought I’d be able to… Pearls, what does this other man look like?”

Pearl chewed her lip for a moment, concentrating. “Kind of like the first one- whose name I still don’t know, by the way! - but older.”

Klavier could see Phoenix, mouthing the words ‘son of a bitch,’ but no sound came out. “Kristoph…”

This can’t be happening.

Really? You’re a ghost, and you don’t believe in mediums? Klavier felt like cheering, relief lending him strength and leaving him drained, all at once.

Cornered once again, the elder Gavin sprung into action, bowling past Wright and the girl, and rushing outside. Klavier saw Wright grab for his sleeve and miss, empty hand whooshing through the air.

From inside the office, he could still hear Apollo yelling, “could someone please explain to me what the fuck is going on here?”

***

They ran. The world rushed past Klavier like a film reel, sped up to the point of tearing, a blur of green and cars.

It’s not over yet.

So close. He was so fucking close… If Wright caught up. If he could make Kristoph slow down a little… Then it would all be over.

His brother would be gone for good. Beyond death and into whatever followed. The thought of it sucker-punched him, left him unable to act. Kristoph’s puppet to the bitter end.

You wouldn’t care if it was me, would you? You wouldn’t even think twice, if it was a choice between your oblivion and my death. And yet…

Kristoph hailed a cab. Jammed himself inside, sleeve caught in the door. Home, for money and weapon, then the airport- No, the bus depot. Less conspicuous, less obvious. Couldn’t be instantly traced, unlike Klavier’s car or motorcycle. Bus to Santa Barbara, then a red-eye to Berlin. Go from there. Pick up his life in Europe, if he couldn’t do it here - and damn Wright forever, for that.

Why is this infernal bucket on wheels moving so slowly?

Are you going to just leave Vongole behind?

Klavier hadn’t expected the faint streak of guilt emanating from his brother. I’ll call the kennel, once I’m in transit. They have keys…

To my apartment? Kris was starting to slip, making simple, stupid mistakes.

I’ll leave the keys for them to find. I could hardly take her with me. She’d only slow me down.

You know what else slows you down? A physical body. Feel free to leave this one behind. I won’t get upset or anything.

They stumbled inside, fumbling the keys in the lock, slamming the door behind them. Cash, gun, ammunition. Food and water in the dog bowls, check. A regretful ruffle of the retriever’s ears. “Be a good girl.”

Why are you acting so human? That’s the last thing I want from you, right now.

Whatever did you think I was? Frankenstein’s monster, created to make you repent your sins? Contrary to what you might believe, there’s a world beyond your nose, Klavier. We all have lives outside of your silly little purview.

Oh yeah, just like Wright had a life outside of yours. Or Enigmar, or Misham. Or Apollo.

The taxi was still waiting outside. They were on their way, when Klavier’s phone rang. He dove for it. “Guten Tag?” It didn’t even occur to him that he’d seized control back from Kristoph, till the words were out of his mouth.

“There you are.” Ema’s voice, tense as a wire. “Keep talking to me, Gavin. Don’t hang up.”

“Bus station on Magnolia,” he managed to choke out, before he lost his voice, once again. “Is there a problem, Detective Skye?” Kristoph asked. Good luck making that transition.

“My life’s a problem,” Ema told him, deadpan. “It’s weird, you’re weird, and I’m not drunk enough for any of it.”

She knew! Wright must have called her.

Kristoph pushed the phone’s power button, switching it off mid-call. His fingers twitched around the butt of the gun, hidden in a half-open bag by his feet. Too late to switch course, order the cab driver to take him elsewhere. Where? His mind ground over the question, over and over again.

Meticulous plans, he was good at. Thinking on his feet and adapting, when the rug had been yanked out from under him - that was more Klavier’s specialty, their strengths and weaknesses complementing perfectly, were they not in direct conflict.

The bus depot was almost entirely deserted. Just a tattered-looking man sleeping next to a shopping cart, and a businesswoman, talking loudly into an earwire. The ticket sales had long since been automated, and the security booth stood suspiciously vacant. He could hear the whir of traffic, the distant chirping of birds.

Kristoph’s eyes glanced off the red convertible, at first. He wouldn’t recognize it, but to Klavier, it was almost as familiar as his own hog. Hard for it not to be, when he saw it in the Prosecutor’s Office parking garage every morning, or when he’d discussed its sweet, smooth mileage with its owner. Give me this baby and the Autobahn, and I am golden.

Herr Edgeworth’s car, which meant, in turn, Edgeworth himself. Kristoph caught up with him the moment he thought it, breaking into a sprint. Not that it would help him. The bus would arrive when it arrived, and not a moment before.

Bet you wish you’d put on a hoodie, or something else inconspicuous looking. Blonds may be dime-a-dozen in LA, but I’d like to think I’m still pretty recognizable.

The convertible was empty, having already disgorged its passengers. Kristoph’s eyes darted about, like a speedometer needle on a car driven by a nervous teen, then closed, as he composed himself. Stop flailing about, like an idiot. You need to sweep the perimeter. You need a plan of action. He hadn’t meant for Klavier to overhear him, that much was certain.

There was definitely something wrong with the universe, seeing Kristoph like this, from so intimate an angle, where he couldn’t hide from the scrutiny. You were supposed to be the one who always knew what he was doing.

The sound of rushing feet, from two different directions. “There he is!” Blackquill was the first to catch up to them, his voice almost melodic in its roughness, familiar from long afternoons at the office.

Wright wasn’t far behind him, panting for breath. “Man, oh, man, I am way too out of shape for this. Right. Joining a gym, first chance I get.”

“It would be easier if you wasted less oxygen, carrying on,” Tactful as ever, that Blackquill. His drawn blade glinted in the sun. Looks awfully sharp, to me.

No sign of Edgeworth, though he must have been somewhere nearby.

“Phoenix. How charming to see you again.”

Wright’s face clouded over. “Think we’re still on a first-name basis, Gavin? You’ve lost that right a long time ago.”

“Have I now? How soon you forget those who’ve stuck with you, through thick and thin.”

“That’d hold more water, if you weren’t the cause of all my problems.”

“All of them? Really? You give me too much credit.”

“Will you just shut up!” Blackquill’d had enough. Klavier could feel the edge of the katana suddenly flash all-too-close, pricking his sternum. “I wouldn’t make any sudden moves, either, if I were you.”

Kristoph smirked. “Are you in such a hurry to return to prison? Some men never truly leave, you know. Never readjust to the outside world. Are you one of those men, Simon? If you’re not, I suggest you stand down. I know you don’t have it in you, to kill or maim this body, and if you do go through with it, I guarantee you, not even the Chief Prosecutor’s nepotism will force anyone to believe your story, this time.”

“It’s over, Kristoph,” Wright said.

“So much for you rescinding the use of first names.”

Wright shrugged. “Comes with the territory, when you’re not the only one with the surname.” He sighed. “You’re dead, for God’s sake. There’s nowhere left for you to run.”

“Perhaps you’re right,” Kristoph said, and Klavier felt something inside him settle. “Perhaps it really is over.” He pulled out the gun in a single, fluid movement. Klavier felt Blackquill’s sword slice a thin red line along his chest, but Kristoph was right about one thing. The taller man wasn’t willing to kill his colleague.

Kristoph’s hand didn’t shake at all, as he trained the barrel at Wright’s head. Inelegant, but I suppose it will have to be done this way, after all.

So, this is how it ends.

Indeed, -

Klavier cut him off, wrenching away his arm, and pressing the Sig Sauer’s barrel into his own temple.

What the hell? What are you doing?

Stopping you. Kristoph had been ready to pull that trigger.

You wouldn’t. You’re not capable of it, any more than Blackquill is.

Klavier’s fingers tightened.

It’s not someone else’s life I’m talking about here. Just mine. The only one he had any right whatsoever to dispose of.

Kristoph turned livid. You fool! You’d put a bullet in your brain for Wright?

The man in question had turned pale. “Whoa, hey, what are you- Let’s not be hasty!”

It’s the least of what I owe him. Klavier’s trigger finger felt numb and shaky, weak and unpredictable all at the same time.

There was at least one man out there who owed Wright his life. My fans might miss me, but that’s about it.

Apollo might miss me. The last person he wanted to think about, right now. What he needed was resolve, not hesitation.

All right, you win. Kristoph’s voice turned placating. That idiot gets to live. Just put the gun down. Toss it aside. That’s all.

It sounded so simple, so common-sense. Throw the gun away, and neither of them would be able to use it. But there was a trap in it, Klavier realized, almost too late. Agreeing with Kristoph right now, following his advice at all, would make a gateway for him, allowing him to take hold once more. The moment Klavier agreed to do what he said, he’d he shoved out of the way again.

Trying to have your cake and eat it too, are you, Bruder? Like you’d let me drop the damned thing, if you could trick me into handing over the reins, instead.

Klavier’s stomach churned, mind filling with pop culture references, in lieu of anything useful.

Guess you’ve got an evil hand now, Kris. What are you going to do about it? Cut it off and replace it with a chainsaw? Better not move, or this is gonna be your Boomstick.

...If these were his actual final words, he’d never live it down. After-live it down. Whatever.

His pulse pounded out a sick drumbeat against the rifling of the barrel. They wouldn’t need to identify where the bullet had come from. Not with this many witnesses, he thought, vaguely hysterical. About time the law enforcement around here got an easy case.

Would it hurt? They said that a head-shot, done right, would kill you almost instantly. Not a lot of time left to feel pain.

Assuming he ‘did it right,’ whatever that meant. He locked his muscles in place, as Kristoph fought for control.

At least I know there is an afterlife… That helps.

“Wait, please!” Wright’s eyes were huge.

Why’s he scared? Klavier wondered.

You don’t want to die, Kristoph reasoned with him.

I don’t, Klavier agreed.

So, then…

There are more important things.

Like what? Throwing your life away, in a showy flash of suicidal ideation, with the rescue you hoped for just around the corner?

Or maybe it’s that you can’t deal with the possibility of false hope, when you’re so close. Better to pull a ridiculous act of self-sabotage, than to face disappointment. That’s so like you, Klavier. Always running away.

His own memories, pulled up as exhibits of damning evidence in the Gavin court of law.

The aftermath of State v. Enigmar. His phone turned off, lying somewhere in a corner of the kitchen. Headphones slapped on over his ears, losing himself in dissonant guitar chords, rather than having to think about what had just happened, or what he might have just done. The first call he made, when he finally picked up the phone again, was to Daryan. The second was to their agent. “You know, Nancy, you were right. Now’s the perfect time for a tour. Get the band off the ground, while we’re still young and hot, ja?”

And later, same agent, different call: “No, Nancy, I don’t think we can just keep going. Not after all of that. Nein, I do not think simply getting a different guitarist is going to fix it.” Slamming the phone down on the counter. The Gavinners would never be the same. Not after Daryan.

In court again. “Someone clear up those doubts, or I’m off the case.”

The moment it gets hard- the moment it stops being a vehicle for your ego, your perfect escape, you turn and run.

And for a split second, Klavier wondered if he was right. If Kristoph was telling the truth, and this really was it, the answer to every single action, every single ‘why?’

In his moment of resigned confusion, Kristoph seized control once again, prying the gun away from his head.

“See what you almost did there, Wright? Haven’t you cost me enough already? If I lose my little brother as well, thanks to you, there is no hell I won’t escape from, all so I can hunt you down. Now. Get. Out. Of. My. Way.”

It would have been better for you had you simply tossed it aside. You and your needless theatrics.

Blackquill had remained uncharacteristically quiet throughout the exchange, katana still keeping Kristoph immobilized, waiting for an opening.

Waiting for something, but what?

He hadn’t heard the third person approach. Didn’t notice her at all, until he saw a yellow-clad arm flash in his peripheral vision, felt the sting of a needle piercing his shoulder, through the clothes.

How could I have missed her? Kristoph gasped.

Guess I was just that good at distracting you, huh? He hadn’t been. Something else was going on, here…

“Did it work?” Trucy’s voice, still invisible, to his eye at least.

“I think so,” Athena replied, puzzled. “But he’s still conscious, and I can’t sense anything from him. It’s not even discord, it’s like white noise!”

His fingertips were starting to go numb, vision blurring. He stumbled- away from the sword, not into it, thank heavens for that, at least.

Kristoph fired. Once, twice. The first bullet went wide, hit the ground several feet away from anyone. The second…

Klavier couldn’t be certain. The world had gone gray around him, the ground coming to meet him. Somewhere in the distance, he heard Athena scream. Heard Blackquill’s voice yelling something, muffled and rough with anger. Heard Wright shouting...

The last thing he felt was the thud of someone else’s body against his, another’s arms wrapped around his torso, slowing his fall.

It was a lot like falling into himself, when Kristoph had first taken over, only there hadn’t been anyone there to catch him, that time.

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