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They kept it cool leaving the courthouse.

They were faced with an army of reporters, barely being held back by the court guards, and the low rumble of voices only rose like a roar of thunder as soon as the doors were pushed open. Voices all tried to call out over the others and cameras started flashing immediately. Apollo hadn’t seen such a crowd before- most of his cases drew no media attention, some only a little. His biggest case had been clawing Kristoph Gavin down from his pedestal for the last time, but now the ring of reporters was almost twice as large. Apollo wasn’t sure what to do.

He froze up for a split second. He didn’t think he would be able to keep up the false bravado. The cameras went off in his face and there were dozens of questions being thrown at him, all turning into an incomprehensible mess and he couldn’t pick a single one out. His body seized up and the anxiety returned-

And by Apollo’s side, Klavier was immovable. The man reached out and put a firm hand on his shoulder, and tugged him a little closer. Apollo stumbled into Klavier’s personal bubble. The man was warm and stood as tall as a redwood tree, and when Apollo glanced upwards Klavier’s smile was easy.

“Don’t let them see you falter,” He said, quiet enough for only Apollo to hear. “They’ll be all over it.”

Thanks, but I’m a lawyer, not a rock star, He thought, but he was too tongue tied to speak. He stared down at the group, hesitant- but Klavier’s thighs knocked against him, pushing him forward. The guards had kept a path out for them, keeping the people back, and Klavier guided him down. He never took his arm away.

Apollo steeled himself as they walked. He should have expected this. The trial was immense- it was front page news, the kind repeated every half an hour on television. It had raged on for the full three days, only building in drama and scale and the two of them had barely gotten any sleep and spent practically every waking hour together. Apollo had been surprised at that- in retrospect he shouldn’t have been. After realising just how big the case was going to get, Klavier had made a proposition- all of his information and contacts for Apollo’s. If we’re going to prove this man innocent or guilty, we may as well do it with all the information available to us, ja?

Apollo had agreed immediately. He would have been a fool not to- the deal benefitted him far more than Klavier, but the prosecutor didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. He seemed to flourish in a team, easily settling down on the WAA’s plush old sofa and sticking his head into old case files, trying to dig up connections and leads. Trucy and Athena helped as much as they could, Wright even giving some wise words or helpful ideas now and again, but even with all the support Apollo couldn’t beat down the nerves.

He heard the rumours about his client- it seemed everyone had. But Apollo was blinded for once. It seemed likely that Calian had committed the murders, either by hand or by order through his apparent gang connections, but Apollo had no way of telling whether he was lying even with his perception. He was either innocent or the most skilled liar Apollo had ever met. Apollo felt useless, and he had never liked feeling that way.

So he put Klavier to good use. He squeezed him for every little piece of information he and his detectives had, called up almost every contact. He ran Ema ragged, and Apollo knew he would have to send her an extra-large pack of Snackoo’s as apology. They had spent almost their investigation working together, sharing all their information and evidence. They spent most of their time either out of the WAA on their feet, hunting for witnesses or information or sat at makeshift desks, pouring over papers. Apollo had never been so desperate for information in his life.

They barely slept. There was no time for it. They agreed to take turns sleeping when their energy was dangerously low, and they had snatched odd hours when they could. It wasn’t much, but it was something. It was difficult to sleep when such a great weight was resting on your shoulders, but they managed it.

Apollo remembered how strangely peaceful Klavier had looked, curled up and resting in a time of great stress, and he didn’t have the heart to wake him up on the second day of investigation. Klavier slept three more hours than he was supposed to- making five in total- and he had come close to murdering Apollo when he finally woke. Apollo slept after him but woke promptly- and they spent the rest of the night pulling an all-nighter. Wright watched on with sympathy- I haven’t done this since my early days of being a lawyer- before promptly going home to a nice, soft bed.

Apollo hated him sometimes.

But it had all been worth it in the end. Together they had found the evidence that implied he was guilty, and together, they proved him so. Apollo imagined it was a hell of a sight, a defence attorney fighting tooth and nail to disprove the evidence piled up against Calian only to do a 180 moments later to accuse his own client of murder. He supposed he know understood what the prosecution office felt like whenever Klavier emerged as a loser from a case with Apollo- dazed and confused, a little bit indignant.

But justice prevailed once again, and Apollo couldn’t see anything wrong in that. Even if the two of them together were dead on their feet. The difference was that Klavier still looked presentable. Apollo felt like a walking corpse, and dreaded how he might look in the papers tomorrow.

He felt Klavier tug him a little closer, heavy hand on his shoulder still, and they squeezed their way through the gap between reporters. Apollo murmured a vague thanks to one of the guards, one he faintly recognised, but it went unheard over the calls of one eager journalist- how do you feel about your first loss, Mr Justice?

There were dozens of questions being thrown at the both of them, and Apollo could only pick out a few. Is it true that your client ordered the death of several key witnesses? Mr Justice, there are questions about your professionalism regarding today’s trial- would you care to comment? Is there any truth in Calian’s allegations of corruption in the Wright Law Offices? Mr Gavin, who does your hair now?

Apollo heard Klavier snort, the most ungraceful sound he had heard from the man thus far. “Ignore them,” He said out of the corner of his mouth. Apollo did. The questions of corruption had been around for a long time, ever since Apollo’s first trial and quite rightly- he thought about the ace, his trump card, and wondered if he ever wouldn’t feel sick to his stomach- and they all revolved around claims of falsified evidence. Of course, none of it was true- not anymore, anyway- but the rumours persisted. Apollo knew he had a fight on his hands trying to ward Calian’s accusations away.

But it was Klavier who truly had the tough questions- about his hair, about his future in the music industry, about his love life. Apollo didn’t know how he could stand it. They had only recently stopped asking about his new haircut, shorn far shorter than before. Sometimes they actually asked him about law- but that was a rare day.

“No comment,” Klavier said to one particularly enthusiastic man clutching a smartphone, and flashed him a 100 watt smile as they passed. The man’s expression went from excited to dazed in a second, and Apollo laughed at the sight. Klavier apparently had magic to rival Trucy’s.

They made it through a moment later, but Klavier still didn’t release him. “Come with me,” Klavier said quietly, pulling him along. Klavier guided him out to the road, a couple of cars down, and Apollo was almost relieved to see his car parked alongside the street. He had no idea how Klavier managed to park so close on such a busy road- Apollo had to chain up his bike streets and streets away.

Apollo frowned. “What-“

“I will drive you.” The shouts of the reporters were still following them, but the guards were restraining them, preventing them from giving chase. Apollo had never been more grateful for them in his life. “You’ll never make it home with them on your tail. And we need to celebrate, ja?”

“Celebrate?” Apollo parroted uselessly as Klavier pulled his keys out of his jacket pocket. The man unlocked his car with the press of a button, and Klavier moved into the street to open the passenger door for Apollo. Damn European cars. He followed him anyway- he knew Klavier was right as usual.“What, my loss?”

“It’s never a loss if a criminal is put away,” Klavier told him firmly, and pressed down on his shoulder as Apollo slid into the car. He felt awfully like a criminal himself, getting pushed into a police car. The fact Klavier slammed the door behind him didn’t help, and Apollo shot him a look when Klavier appeared next to him. “What’s that sour look for, schatzi? Calian was a criminal, ja?”

“Well, yeah-“

“And you wanted to have him found guilty?”

Ja- I mean, yeah-“

“Then it is good that he was guilty, and that he will not be hurting any more people.” Klavier eyed the reporters in the wing mirror. “We will have trouble with them, I’m sure- but for now it doesn’t matter.” He brought the engine to life, and turned his head to grin at Apollo. The sight was reassuring, even if the man still looked bone tired. “For now, we will rest- share each other’s wonderful company and eat our fill. My treat, considering your unfortunate loss.”

Apollo didn’t reply. He tried not to think about how spending another evening with Klavier- and this time not anxious or stressed- sounded perfect. He settled back in the seat, carefully closing his seatbelt, and huffed out a sigh. “Resting sounds amazing,” He admitted, letting his head thud back against the headrest. “I feel like I haven’t slept in years.”

“The curse of being an attorney,” Klavier said, sympathetic, and even reached over to pat at his hand. He pulled out of the spot carefully, making sure there were no cars in the road. It was unfortunately busy, and it took him a moment to feel safe enough to leave. “Would you like to find a nice restaurant to eat at, or will you fall asleep in your starter?”

“Unless you want me to be declared dead in a soup bowl, save me from all of your fancy rock star restaurants.” Apollo said, and Klavier made an indignant sound. They left the courthouse behind them, but Apollo could still hear the questions in his head, the echoing objections and the sound of the Judge’s gavel bringing the case to a close. He needed a good long break from it all, and the mention of food had his stomach growling. He had forgotten how hungry he was in all the drama.

“I don’t take my friends to all the fancy rock star restaurants,” He said, and Apollo could see the pout forming on his lips. “Only if they ask. I hate them as much as you do.”

Apollo hummed disbelievingly, and he could only laugh when Klavier grumbled something low and German. He still hadn’t bothered to learn a single word, not even Klavier’s new nickname for him that appeared just as regularly as Herr Forehead- schatzi. He supposed it didn’t matter. He closed his eyes, and let out a long breath. He wouldn’t be able to ward off the exhaustion for much longer. “I hope you realise that wherever we go, I’m going to crash and be absolutely awful company, right?”

He could hear Klavier drumming his fingers across the steering wheel and make a huffed laugh. He could only hope Klavier never took his eyes off the road. Apollo would be fairly grateful if he didn’t get the both of them killed. “You’re never awful company, schatzi. Even when you’re incredibly rude.”

“Thanks, I’ll cherish your kind words forever.” He didn’t open his eyes, but smiled. Klavier’s car was cool and comfortable, the seats plush with plenty of legroom. He supposed Klavier’s car was built for people much taller than Apollo himself. The engine was almost silent, only rumbling faintly below him, and the distant sound might have lulled him to sleep if Klavier hadn’t continued talking.

“I will bring you to my apartment,” Klavier told him, and that wasn’t anything new. Over the past few months he had been to Klavier’s place plenty of times, sometimes to pick up much needed folders that Klavier had accidentally taken home or just to spend time together with bad television and overly expensive beer. He still found it weird that they had become friends, and regularly did things that friends and normal people did- he had never once imagined Klavier Gavin to be a normal person, like Clay or Trucy- as normal as those two could be anyway.

He supposed he just proved his own point. No one around him was normal, and Klavier stood out from all of them.

Klavier was still talking. “We can find something that won’t tax our poor brains too much, order in some disgustingly unhealthy food and try not to fall asleep on each other before it arrives, ja?”

Apollo opened his eyes, and leaned his head towards Klavier with a lazy grin. “Sounds perfect,” He said honestly, and Klavier’s responding smile was like the sun appearing from behind the clouds.

-

By the time they reached Klavier’s apartment, things were a little different. Neither of them were smiling anymore, and Apollo was ready to slump over Klavier’s back and sleep the past week away. His companion didn’t seem too much better- it took him three attempts to get the key in the lock, and he swore in muffled German each time he failed. Apollo might have laughed if it wasn’t so despairing. He couldn’t believe he had been stupid enough to get into a car with him behind the wheel.

He was still glad to be by his side, though. He didn’t think that feeling would ever go away, even if he would never admit it out loud.

Eventually, Klavier managed to pull himself together long enough to get them inside, and Apollo was kicking the door shut behind him. Klavier didn’t protest or even send him a dull looked- that’s how he knew he was tired. It was funny what a thirty minute drive could do to a person.

And in turn, Apollo was exhausted, but oddly content. It didn’t make much sense, but he wanted to laugh, to giggle manically because it was finally done. He had lost, but he had won, and he was done at least for the day. All he had to do was keep himself alive for a couple of hours, until the sun went down. He could do that. Probably. He wasn’t quite sure anymore.

He was happy, though. Happy he was living and here and by Klavier’s side and no longer in the goddamn courtroom. Athena could take over from him for cases in the next few months- that was if they got any. Apollo was hanging a do not disturb sign around his life for at least two months. Now it was time to relax.

He heard Klavier huff out a sigh, the deepest he had ever heard. He watch the man step up to his kitchen counter, the bar lined with stools, and collapsed down on one of them. Apollo was worried for a few heartbeats, but then Klavier run a hand through his fringe and pushed it back, and he saw Klavier’s smile. “Thank Gott for you,” He said, gesturing vaguely at Apollo. “If you hadn’t have made that last point, the final nail in the coffin, I think the Judge would have kept us there for even longer than he already did.” He sighed again, and leant over the counter. “I’m exhausted.”

Apollo passed into the kitchen, and patted Klavier on the back as he went by. “It’s okay. The mean Judge can’t hurt you anymore.” He went for one of the cupboards, where he knew Klavier kept his glasses, and plucked out two to fill them with water. He left one by Klavier’s hand and downed the other himself, nearly all the way. It was refreshing, and Apollo no longer felt like he was going to pass out- at least not immediately.

Klavier sipped tentatively at his own glass, and sat up again. “I have never,” He declared, “Ever had a case that’s been so horrifically taxing before.”

Apollo touched his glass to the counter as the exact same time his bracelet shifted, shrinking against his skin. The warm metal pinched around his wrist, a gentle touch that had him tensing- and the lie made his heart hurt. He reached down and rubbed at his wrist, trying to soothe the skin. “Me neither,” He lied, but leant down on the counter next to Klavier. They were close enough for their shoulders to touch. “But it’s over now. There’s nothing left to worry about.”

“Thank Gott,” He said again, and turned his head to face Apollo. He was still smiling. “Although now all I have to do is be a good host.

“You’re collapsed across a counter. Good start so far.”

Klavier groaned, and forced himself up. He rubbed at his eyes with a hand before speaking. “What would you like to eat, schatzi?”

“Surprise me,” Apollo said. As long as he had something in his stomach within the hour, he didn’t care.

“Trash from the garbage it is then,” Klavier laughed at his own joke, endearingly, and turned around to open a draw. Apollo peered inside and realised he had something similar- a random draw filled to the brim with crap. It turned out Klavier was almost human after all. Klavier’s was filled with receipts and broken lightbulbs and batteries Apollo doubted were charged, but he went straight for a thick wad of takeaway leaflets. There was a bright assortment- Chinese, Thai, Italian and Apollo was pretty sure he could see something French. “It’s a little early, but if I ask especially nicely they’ll deliver anyway.”

“You’re a charmer. I’m sure you’ll manage.”

“Damn right I am,” Klavier replied, preening. He lifted up the leaflets. “Sure you want to be surprised?”

“Go for it.”

Klavier disappeared into his bedroom for the moment, already dialling, and Apollo looked after him down the hallway. He noted how the man moved a little slower than usual, with less of a swagger, and he could suppress the worry. He knew that with some food and a couple of hours sleep he would be fine- but he had worked impossibly hard over the past few days, and Apollo didn’t want him sinking into the habit. Not again- not after Kristoph.

He shook his head. Never again. He knew that Klavier was stronger than Apollo knew- if he stumbled, Apollo would be there to right him again, but Klavier would have to depend on himself.

He crossed over into the living room, kicking off his shoes and removing his socks to feel the plush carpet under his toes. It wasn’t the time to think about that- Klavier would be fine. Apollo would make sure of it.

With a huff, he thudded down onto Klavier’s sofa and spread his legs over the length. It was the first moment he had to sit somewhere comfortable without having to speedread some file. Apollo could hardly believe it. He closed his eyes again and settled, letting his tense body ease down into the closest to relaxation he could manage.

When he focused, he could hear Klavier’s distant voice across the apartment. So low and far, he couldn’t hear what he was saying- but he heard Klavier’s laughter, clear and happy, and it made him smile. Klavier’s presence made him think everything might be alright again- and Apollo didn’t want to think about what all of that meant. He would only consider it in the dark of night when the city was still and sleep refused to claim him, and never by the light of day. The sunlight made things too bright, to clear, and he wasn’t going to face his feelings for Klavier head on. Even if he did feel the urge to kiss the man every time he smiled.

A few minutes later, there were footfalls in the hall, and Apollo opened his eyes to see Klavier re-entering the room. He made a beeline for the sofa, and he had changed. He had dumped his jacket and undone a few of his shirt buttons, baring the stark lines of his collar bones. He too had removed his shoes but not his socks, and the most glaring difference about him was his hair. There wasn’t much that could be done for it so short, but the man had pushed back his hair with a hair band made of a plain black cloth. Apollo was half surprised it wasn’t purple like everything else the man owned, but mostly that he hadn’t seen Klavier quite so casual before.

It was almost charming.

Apollo had to move his legs before Klavier slumped on them, and instead sat cross legged while Klavier splayed his much longer legs out. The man lay as gracefully as a walrus. “It’s coming.”

“When?” His stomach was still clamouring for attention. “What did you get?”

“I asked for as soon as humanly possible and promised a large tip, and that’s for me to know and you to find out.” Despite his smug little smile, he reached up to rub at the skin around the band and his touch temporarily faltered. With his face bare, the hair held back, he looked surprisingly vulnerable. “How do I look?”

Amazing, he thought. “Okay, I guess. Kinda strange seeing you without all that hair, though.”

“Oh, Mr Darcy.” He said, dryly, and Apollo couldn’t help but laugh. “You don’t half know how to charm them, Herr Forehead.”

“You’re the forehead now,” Apollo said, nudging him with his foot, and Klavier squirmed, trying to avoid him. They were like children shut away in the room, free from the eyes of their parents. Apollo lightly kicked at them one last time before shuffling away again, and letting the mood became more serious. “Don’t worry. You look good.”

Klavier brushed one strand free, and his eyes didn’t linger on Apollo’s face. “Danke,” He said, quietly and after a moment’s pause, and then shook his head and smiled. He changed the topic again quickly, the mood shifting so fast Apollo almost had whiplash.  “I hope Calian has such a wonderful meal in the detention centre tonight.”

Apollo snorted. “Fuck that guy.” He cast his mind back to every time he met his client in the detention centre or in the court lobby- the needless aggression and condensation he constantly displayed, the way he spoke down to Trucy, the way he spoke back to the Judge. It all pointed to an undeniably guilty asshole, and he remembered the way Calian had screamed and raged when the verdict had been handed down; Apollo couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen it sooner.

Klavier’s smile was almost bitter. “And he nearly he got away with it too.” He paused. “If it weren’t for us meddling lawyers.”

“Oh my god, shut up,” Apollo said, exasperated, and Klavier leaned back his head and barked out a laugh when Apollo shoved at him. Backed up against the sofa, he had nowhere to run. He lifted his hands in self-defence and surrender, showing his palms.

“Assault,” He claimed, “Cruelty and assault!”

“You’re an idiot,” Apollo told him with a tiny smile, even as he tried not to let it show. He lightly whacked at Klavier’s knees, barely moving him an inch. The man was a rock. “How anyone thinks you’re cool, I don’t know.”

“Carefully constructed lies and personas, Herr Forehead.”

Apollo snorted. Ain’t that the truth, he almost said, but now wasn’t the time for useless complaining. They were meant to be relaxing- celebrating. “You were pretty cool in court today. Especially while thrashing me completely and utterly without mercy in front of everyone I respect.” He paused. “Well, most people I respect.”

Something sparkled in Klavier’s eyes that Apollo couldn’t quite place. He wasn’t sure if it was delight or mischief. Knowing him it could easily have been both. “I simple didn’t want anyone realising we had been working together. Is that so bad?”

“You could have been a little nicer about it. I have feelings, you know.”

Klavier grinned, knowing he was joking. Herr Forehead meant barely anything to him now. It was almost a mark of respect or affection. “I couldn’t go without our usual banter, could I?”

“Banter!” Apollo shook his head. “Is that what they’re calling workplace bullying these days?”

Klavier pouted, and knocked their knees together. He folded up his legs to cross them too, and turned to face him. Their knees almost touched where they sat. “Banter, Herr Forehead,” He stressed, but leant his side against the backrest and huffed out a heavy exhale. His eyes were half lidded, and Apollo could hear his stomach faintly complaining too. He hoped food would come soon. “But all of it is meaningless. I don’t mean to be soppy- I know how much it embarrasses you, but I’m a fop, it’s what I do- but I was in it to find the truth. And I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Apollo pulled his own face, scrunching up his nose. “Fop,” He said, but copied Klavier’s own stance. He heard something in his back click, a moment of pain that lead to soothing satisfaction. He rolled his shoulders carefully. He needed a massage or a good long soak in his cramped old bathtub. “But I’m glad too. I thought he was going to get away with it for a moment, and I would have killed you if we screwed it up.”

Rude, Klavier’s expression seemed to scream, but they were on the same wavelength now. They were a team who understood each other, and knew what they meant even if they had a little difficulty saying it. Apollo grinned at him, and he supposed he could have blamed it on the vaguely delirious contentment and the lingering exhaustion when he said, “Honestly, I’m so glad we’re free while he’s not right now that I could kiss you.”

It didn’t dawn on Apollo immediately just what he had said, but opposite him Klavier’s body tensed up in seconds. It was abrupt, so sudden it caught Apollo off guard. He stiffened and sat up just a little, propping himself on his arm and cast his mind back, what did I do, what did I say- and then his heart crumpled up, darkening and curling in on itself like paper set alight.

He covered his face with his hand, hiding his shame. “I am so sorry,” He said, voice muffled. “I have no idea why I said that.” He had every idea why he said that- but his intentions were something completely different. Idiot. You idiot.

There was an awful moment of silence, and Apollo couldn’t even hear Klavier breathing. He wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole, for someone to come in and drag him out and chastise him for being a moron, why did you say that, and the voice sounded oddly like Clay.

Apollo wanted to hide himself in his hand forever- but he couldn’t, as much as he wanted to. He groaned softly, oh god why, and slowly pulled his hand away. He pressed his fingers against his temple out of habit, frowning, and he couldn’t look at Klavier’s face. “I’m sorry,” He said, again. “I’m really sorry, I’m a gillipolas.”

Kill me now, he thought. I have to go, I have to leave. The shame crossed his entire body, sitting heavily in his chest and lingering in his stomach and his wrists, and he was hyperaware that he had ruined everything- they were celebrating a victory, and Apollo fucked it all up, ruined it completely-

He couldn’t even look at Klavier for a second, and he scrambled to get up, frantically apologizing, but a hand reached out and curled warm around his wrist.

Panicked, Apollo yanked his hand away and finally looked up at Klavier’s face, confused and ready to apologize at an even faster pace- and stopped when he saw the pink flush on his cheeks.

Klavier was looking at him with wide eyes, large black pupils circled by the gun metal grey Apollo was ashamed to admit he had dreams about, and there was a dusting of pink on his cheeks. It was a gentle colour that contrasted with Apollo’s ruddy red flush, and it had spread all along Klavier’s throat and even down to his slightly exposed chest, the skin a vague pink that it hadn’t been before.

He’s a full body blusher, Apollo thought, and it was the cutest thing he had seen in years. He wanted to look forever, even in his own embarrassment. He could feel his own face hot and no doubt unattractively bold. “I’m really sorry,” He said again, only once and much quieter. He still wanted to flee, but he couldn’t look away.

Klavier ducked his head down, and Apollo could see the flush glowing brighter. It was undeniably adorable. “Don’t be,” He said, almost too quiet for Apollo to hear. He cleared his throat immediately after, much louder, and looked at Apollo’s hand. Klavier still had his hand half reached out for it, his fingers spread out, and the man leaned forward again, his fingertips brushing Apollo’s skin. “Don’t be,” He said, louder.

His touch was warm, skin against skin sharing their heat, and Apollo was shock still. Klavier’s fingers brushed his inner wrist as if taking his pulse, pushed into overdrive, and then his fingers curled around him again. This time, Apollo didn’t flinch away. The surprise lingered like a bad taste, impossible to cast away, but humiliation was gone to be replaced by anticipation just as heavy but not as overwhelming.

Klavier’s eyes flickered to his face, before dropping to his lips- and Apollo knew what was coming before he even moved. Klavier’s tongue traced his lower lip in instinct, making his mouth shine, and he squeezed Apollo’s wrist faintly before leaning forward, slowly but surely, giving Apollo plenty of time to move away.

He didn’t, and then Klavier’s lips were brushing his with almost exaggerated carefulness. Klavier’s eyes had drifted closed while Apollo’s remained open for a moment longer, and his lips remained still out of pure surprise- Klavier Gavin was kissing him- and then Apollo forced himself to relax, to close his eyes and soften his mouth against Klavier’s, and then their lips were touching perfectly and he was kissing Klavier. He could only wonder faintly what had happened to make the world so bizarre.

Klavier’s mouth was warm and wet and it might have be disgusting with anyone else, but Apollo couldn’t get enough of him. Apollo reached out tentatively with his free hand and touched the man’s shoulder, uncertainly, but when Klavier didn’t move away he rest his hand there. He used it as leverage to tug Klavier closer, and the man made a soft noise against his lips and shuffled closer, placing his own hand on Apollo’s chest. He parted his lips and kissed him firmer.

Apollo thought Klavier’s hand might push him away. It didn’t.

Their noses bumped one or twice, the surging forward a mistake caused by eagerness, and too soon for Apollo’s liking they were running out of air. He ignored it until his lungs burnt, desperate for oxygen, and he ran his thumb across the hard line of Klavier’s shoulder before pulling away.

He managed three heavy breaths and a deep inhale before Klavier was pulling him back, locking their lips again, and Apollo’s laughter was muffled against Klavier’s mouth. The man was harsher this time, more confident, and he overlapped his lips to suck Apollo’s lower lip into his mouth. Apollo knew his mouth was going to be sore and swollen in no time at all, and he didn’t care. There was exhilaration now, a joy and an excitement that maybe Klavier would be his, and then there were teeth, nipping faintly at Apollo’s lip-

Then, there was a hard knocking at the door, three hits striking the wood in quick succession.

Klavier pulled away, sucking in an alarmed breath, and both men looked to the door. Both their chests were heaving, and the hits had led to a thick silence that they felt trapped in. The food, Apollo thought, and he turned to look helplessly at Klavier.

The man’s flush had only doubled, a darker pink, and his lips shone. A little swollen already, Apollo only wanted to tug him forward and kiss him again- but his stomach took the chance to growl, clamouring for his attention, and it broke the spell. Klavier shook his head and jumped up, waving away the dream they had stumbled into without realising. “The food,” He said, tripping over his own words, and there was another louder knock at the door.

He grabbed his wallet from the side as Apollo sat up, shaking his own head. It was in a fog, almost impenetrable and rendering him useless. He heard Klavier answering the door and greeting whoever waited, and then the rustling of bags. A faint delicious smell entered the apparent and greeted him in turn- Italian, Apollo thought.

By the time he was capable of standing, the door was firmly shut and the silence was back. Apollo shifted on his feet, suddenly awkward again, and Klavier had his gaze firmly on the ground when he came back, clutching several large takeaway bags.

Answering the unspoken question, Klavier shrugged. “I ordered lots because I wasn’t sure if we would be hungry again later,” He said, and Apollo could have laughed.

“Thanks,” He said, and swept forward to relieve Klavier of his burden. He took half of them, and made a point of touching Klavier’s arm lightly- the man looked up at him, and his pupils were still huge but his expression was distinctly nervous.

Apollo offered him the most assuring smile he could muster, and stroked his thumb along Klavier’s forearm. He didn’t miss how the touch made the man shiver. “You chose something on Netflix while I sort out the plates?”

It was an attempt at reassurance, telling him that it was okay, there was no need to panic- he didn’t ever think he’d be kissing Klavier Gavin, let alone being the calm one at the end of it all- and Klavier looked reluctant and confused. He looked suddenly smaller than Apollo had ever seen him, even standing several inches taller than him. “Was,” Klavier paused, and then directed a glance back to the sofa. It was bewildering to think that Apollo was kissing him there not a minute ago, and even weirder to feel the ghost of touch tingling on his lips. “Was that…?”

“A mistake?”

“Absolutely not,” Klavier said with surprising force. He pulled a face, then closed his eyes and let out a breath. He opened them again after a few moments, and looked a great deal calmer. He released his tight grip on the bag handles. “Was that okay? I didn’t- I didn’t go too far?”

Apollo shook his head. He dropped his hand from Klavier’s arm. “I kissed you back, didn’t I?”

It took a moment, but Klavier’s expression lightened. He managed a smile, and Apollo wanted nothing more than to kiss him again. He barely cared about the food- but then his stomach whined once more, tired of waiting. Klavier managed a faint laugh when his own stomach called out in response, and Apollo stepped past him, heading into the kitchen.

“Go get Netflix up,” He called back, and flashed a smile. “I’m sure you could find something terrible that we can get bored with and end up kissing through.”

Klavier coughed in an attempt to cover a laugh, and Apollo grinned.