It wasn’t immediately obvious, at least, not at first. After all, Apollo and Ema had returned from Khura’in with a renewed sense of self, a well-earned confidence that hadn’t been there before. Neither of them were quite so easy to provoke anymore, though Apollo still had the occasional ear-splitting outburst when things got too out of hand, and Ema could still be found furiously crunching her way through a bag of Snackoos if the situation called for it. The little things no longer bothered them as much, including a certain person who was infamous for riling them up like he had nothing better to do.
In the end, it was Trucy who noticed it before anyone else, because of course she did.
“That’s strange,” she remarked. She was sitting on the stone fence lining the outskirts of the crime scene, swinging her legs idly like it was just another day in the park.
“I’m sure it’ll make more sense once Ema gets the blood spatter analysis back,” Apollo replied.
“Not the murder, Apollo! I mean that.” She pointed further down the vast backyard of the abandoned house they were visiting, where a body had reportedly been dumped by Apollo’s latest client. Lingering on the back porch steps were their usual crime scene companions, Klavier and Ema, standing closer together than usual. She was looking up at him with a rare shine in her eyes, while he appeared to be telling her quite the animated story, hand gestures and all. “Wouldn’t she usually push him away by now?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile like that before, let alone at him,” Apollo admitted. “But I’m sure it’s nothing, Trucy. Even guys like Gavin can be funny twice a day.”
“But what if it is something?” Trucy persisted. “Maybe when Ema came back from Khura’in, she realized that her feelings of resentment towards Prosecutor Gavin were feelings of love all along!”
“D-don’t be ridiculous!” Apollo exclaimed, privately wondering how Pearl was somehow the bad influence between the two of them. It certainly sounded like something she would say, at least.
“Why would it be ridiculous? He’s a good person, lots of people like him for a reason,” Trucy said, frowning. “Even you have to admit it, Apollo.”
Sighing, he spared another glimpse in their direction, only for his eyes to widen at what he saw. Ema now appeared to be teasing Klavier about something, prodding him in the arm with her finger, causing him to blush profusely. Apollo couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen Klavier blush; he just didn’t seem like the type. He’d been caught off-guard before in court, sure, maybe angered, surprised, stressed, even, but embarrassed?
Curiosity got the better of Apollo despite knowing his attention was supposed to be on the crime scene. He meandered over in what he hoped was a casual manner. “Hey, Ema? Any thoughts on the blood pattern?”
Both of them fell silent the second Apollo was in earshot, though Ema looked seconds away from bursting into giggles. For once, he suspected it had nothing to do with her glee over forensic science. “No analysis yet, but if you ask me, your client doesn’t seem like the type to bring a body all the way here and create fake spatter,” she said thoughtfully. “They probably had an accomplice.”
“Or they didn’t do it at all,” Apollo protested. “Look, we’ve established the victim wasn’t actually killed here. Just because they found some of my client’s belongings in the house doesn’t mean they’re squatting here, or that they committed the murder, or that they moved the body. This is clearly a set-up!”
“We’ll see about that in court, ja, Forehead?” Klavier said, smiling easily. “The truth will make its intentions known eventually.”
“Unlike some people,” Ema muttered under her breath. Klavier cleared his throat loudly.
Apollo glanced back and forth between them in confusion. “Uh...are you guys okay?”
“In the words of a certain defense attorney, I would say I’m doing just fine,” Ema replied, tilting her tinted glasses in mock salute. She then glanced up at Klavier with a smug grin. “How about you, Prosecutor Gavin?”
“Fantastisch,” Klavier said tightly. Apollo’s bracelet tensed, though he wasn’t sure if he cared enough to press on. He was, however, starting to think Trucy’s theory had some merit, even if he didn’t want to admit it.
“Speaking of fantastic, have you been working out lately, Apollo?” Ema asked, reaching over to squeeze his upper arm. “Your shoulders look broader than I remember. Your biceps seem bigger, too!”
“You went jogging with me every morning in Khura’in on Athena’s request so we wouldn’t die of heart failure at thirty, remember?” Apollo said, shaking her off. He was now suspicious that Ema really had snorted fingerprinting powder at some point in her life, if not earlier that morning. “Y’know, New Year’s resolutions and all that? A-anyway, what is with you today? You’re being really...weird.”
“Am I not allowed to be in a good mood?” Ema retorted, furrowing her brow in an expression that was far more familiar to him.
“N-no, it’s just you’re usually so, um…” Apollo trailed off, glancing at Klavier in a panic to see if he could somehow salvage the conversation - not that he was ever successful when it came to Ema - but Klavier was adamantly not looking at him.
“Fräulein, I think I’m done for the day. Investigations, they’re a bit too tedious for my taste,” Klavier drawled. Oddly enough, his face was reddening once more, and it definitely wasn’t from the cold. “Should we be going?”
“Aw, you guys are leaving?” Trucy had finally joined them, sidling up beside Apollo and beaming happily at Klavier, completely oblivious to what was going on. “Just you and Ema, huh?”
“I’m afraid so,” Klavier said. “We have things to discuss...privately.”
“Ooh, I see how it is,” Trucy giggled. “Have fun, you two! We’ll see you tomorrow at the courthouse.” And with that, Klavier was quick to practically drag Ema away from the crime scene like someone had lit a fire underneath his feet (or perhaps more accurately, Apollo mused, set his guitar on fire).
Apollo hadn’t even realized he’d been staring at nothing until Trucy snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Wh - hey, what was that for?!” he exclaimed, swatting her hand away.
“You spaced out! Is something wrong?” Trucy asked.
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“I dunno. You look...sad, I guess.” Trucy squinted at him, scrutinizing every inch of his expression for clues. He was sometimes a little too easy to read, despite all attempts at trying to be otherwise. “Are you jealous?”
“Huh? About what?” Apollo turned away, discomforted by how close she’d gotten.
“You’ll find the perfect boyfriend someday, Apollo, don’t worry,” Trucy reassured him, looping her arm in his and pulling him back toward the taped-off area. “Oh, and then you can go on a double date with Prosecutor Gavin and Ema! Wouldn’t that be great?”
“Fantastic,” Apollo echoed, his heart sinking.
Once Apollo noticed what was happening, he couldn’t stop noticing it. Every crime scene, every trial, it was like Klavier and Ema suddenly had some sort of inside joke that no one else was privy to. Exchanged glances, hushed whispers, even the occasional secret smile. The weirdest thing about it was how Ema was the one instigating everything, while Klavier seemed more reluctant, another word Apollo had never associated with him until now. They didn’t seem particularly affectionate, either, though Trucy speculated it was because Klavier didn’t want anyone to know about their relationship.
“To protect Ema from the paparazzi and his fans! They still follow him everywhere, even though the Gavinners broke up a while ago,” Trucy had explained. “It’s so considerate of him, don’t you think? He must like her a lot.”
One trial in particular seemed to get both of them especially riled up, though Apollo couldn’t fathom why. Even with Athena as his co-counsel, she’d commented that their emotions were all over the place, difficult to decipher, even for her. “Do you want me to try anyway?” she asked.
“They aren’t the ones on trial here!” Apollo complained, though it was hardly the first time he’d felt that their control as the defense team was slipping out of their grasp. Klavier and Ema were having a conversation entirely on their own, him at the prosecution bench and her at the witness stand. The judge was too enraptured in their banter to stop them.
“If you want my professional opinion, I think the victim was in love with the defendant’s brother but never got the chance to tell them,” Ema said, smirking. “Maybe if they’d taken that leap of faith - ”
“I called you to the stand for your forensics expertise regarding the gunpowder traces found on the defendant’s coat, fräulein, not your personal opinion on the text exchange between the defendant and the victim,” Klavier reminded her, narrowing his eyes in frustration. “Bitte, stay on topic so we can wrap this up, I have an interview scheduled for the afternoon and need to get my hair done in advance.”
“Now, now, there’s no harm in getting a little outside perspective, Prosecutor Gavin,” the judge said, chuckling good-naturedly. “And I would have to agree - the victim dying before getting the chance to tell the person they loved how they felt? Why, if I had never told my wife how much she meant to me, who knows where I’d be today!”
Klavier didn’t respond, though he appeared to be gritting his teeth, his mouth set in a hard line. Apollo couldn’t help but pity him for once, though really, he just wanted the trial to be over, too. “Your Honor, if we could get back to the gunpowder?...please?”
And then, it happened, just shy of a month after Trucy first noticed their strange behavior.
KLAVIER GAVIN SEEN GETTING COFFEE WITH PRETTY BRUNETTE, the headline screamed. ROCKSTAR PROSECUTOR HAS FOUND A NEW LADY LOVE, another shouted. GAVIN’S SECRET GIRLFRIEND - WHO IS SHE, REALLY? a third one demanded to know.
“Those magazines are terrible!” Ema cried, wrinkling her nose when Trucy waved a stack of tabloids in front of her face. “I’m an accomplished career woman, not an accessory. I belong to no one but myself!”
“I agree!” Trucy said, nodding enthusiastically. “We should write to them and tell them exactly who you are so they never forget it.”
“O-oh, that’s not exactly what I meant - ”
“Fräulein, I hear we’re madly in love,” Klavier announced, walking into the museum (a historian had been murdered and their apprentice was Apollo’s client, though apparently no one in the room cared enough to talk about the actual case at hand) with his usual confident stride and a travel mug of hot tea. Apollo raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment. “I hear we may also be engaged, pregnant, or secretly related. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’m sure it’s somewhere on my to-do list, probably before world domination but definitely after going to kickboxing with Athena,” Ema deadpanned. “You know, I’ve been seeing you around at crime scenes a lot more often these days, Prosecutor Gavin. I wonder why that is.”
“Because he wants to see you?” Trucy suggested. Apollo, who was inspecting the broken glass scattered across the entrance of the historian’s private office, was resolutely not listening to their conversation.
“I’m not sure it’s me he wants to see,” Ema mused, glancing at Apollo. He was now bent over in an awkward position so he wouldn’t accidentally cut his exposed forearms on the glass. Klavier followed her line of sight, then blinked and turned away to gulp down a scalding mouthful of his tea. “Apollo, are you wearing jeans?”
“Hmm? Oh yeah, I am. I got paint on my pants when I was helping Trucy build her new set last night.” He straightened up and turned around, only to find the others staring at him. “Ugh...okay, what now?”
“They look super tight,” Trucy observed, tapping her finger thoughtfully against her mouth. “Are they too small?”
“N-no,” Apollo mumbled, tugging uncomfortably on the waistband.
“Relax, Herr Forehead, there’s nothing to fuss about,” Klavier said, trying not to laugh. “As you know, tight pants are part of my image, ja? You just have to own it...and maybe not bend over quite so much.” Ema didn’t even try to conceal her snort this time.
“I don’t need fashion advice from you, Prosecutor Gavin,” Apollo snapped, clenching his fists. “If no one’s going to take this case seriously - ”
“None as seriously as you, clearly,” Klavier teased, sauntering closer so he could get a better glimpse of the fire blazing in Apollo’s eyes. “You know...you get this wrinkle between your eyebrows when you get mad. Keep making that face, and it will become permanent. What a shame that would be.”
Apollo looked seconds away from exploding; even Trucy seemed a little apprehensive of him. “Th-this is exactly what I’m talking about! And Ema’s right - why do you keep showing up at crime scenes if you never do any actual work?!”
“According to the tabloids and your sister, I’m here to see meine Freundin,” Klavier replied, gesturing in Ema’s direction. She made a face that suggested she clearly disagreed. “But I’d be delighted to hear your summary of the events that happened here.”
“Really?” Apollo looked skeptical.
“Tell me what’s on your mind,” Klavier urged, nodding for him to continue. For a moment, Apollo wasn’t sure if he was talking about the case or referring to something else. After a pause, he walked back over to the glass, kneeling beside it, and began to explain what he’d surmised, with Klavier hanging onto his every word. Trucy stayed back to watch them. She snuck a glance over at Ema, only to see her wander off to inspect the bloody fingerprints on the window, completely uninterested in their conversation.
At Trucy’s insistence, a surprise birthday party was wrangled together for Ema’s twenty-ninth, an age she’d been bemoaning for months by the time it came around, lamenting how quickly time had gone by. Phoenix was the one who convinced her to visit the Wright Anything Agency with the promise of a birthday gift - a portable digital microscope, to be exact, paid for by Edgeworth - and that was all it took to get her to show up. However, she was less than pleased when she got there.
“Mr. Wright!” she protested after everyone had leapt out from behind the desks to surprise her, causing her to nearly faint from shock. “Don’t get me wrong, this was really sweet of you and Trucy to do for me, but this is too much!”
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll be saying that in a second,” Phoenix said with a mysterious twinkle in his eye.
Ema blinked. “Huh?”
“Happy birthday, Ema.”
She whirled around and gasped at the sight of the newcomer lingering in the doorway. “Oh my god - Lana?!”
Trucy watched with a happy sigh from her spot on top of her father’s desk, Apollo and Athena standing on either side of her, as Ema collapsed into her sister’s arms with tears of joy streaming down her face. She then nudged her brother with her elbow. “Daddy never mentioned Ema having a sister until you brought it up, Apollo. Thanks to you, this is probably Ema’s best birthday ever!”
“Oh, w-well, you know how closely I followed his cases from back in the day,” Apollo said with an embarrassed cough. “I only gave him the idea, it’s not like I was the one who secured her early release.”
“Mr. Wright did say Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth has a soft spot for Ema. It’s sweet of him to help, isn’t it?” Athena added with a grin. “And after all those stories we heard about Lana, I can’t wait to meet her and ask her about everything!”
“Um, I hope you don’t mean literally everything,” Apollo said, wincing. “I bet SL-9 is still a sore spot with both of them, even after all this time.”
The three of them fell silent for a minute or two, letting the sounds of conversation and music fill their ears. The agency had never been so crowded before, filled with people who loved Ema. The birthday girl herself only had eyes for her sister, chatting animatedly with Lana about every little thing that came to mind, both of their faces lit up like Christmas trees. Seeing them so happy together sent a rush of warmth through Apollo’s chest, one that had him leaning into Trucy’s side. She patted him affectionately on the leg.
“Aw, Apollo, I knew you were a big softie from the moment we met,” she teased. “Oh, that reminds me! Athena, did I ever tell you about the time Polly cried because he thought Mr. Hat kidnapped me?”
Apollo recoiled, immediately leaning away from her. “Trucy! - ”
“No way! Tell me everything,” Athena demanded, much to his dismay.
“Hey, look - Prosecutor Gavin finally decided to show up,” Apollo interrupted, gesturing wildly at the door. They turned to see that he was actually telling the truth, though most of Klavier’s face was obscured by the enormous bouquet of sunflowers he was carrying with him. He approached Ema and Lana with his usual charming grin, bowing exaggeratedly as he offered the bouquet to Ema, who rolled her eyes but accepted it anyway. Lana then introduced herself, which he responded to by kissing the back of her hand.
“Ooh, meeting the family! That must mean they’re getting serious,” Trucy cooed.
“I mean, I think it would be weirder if he didn’t introduce himself to Lana,” Apollo pointed out. “This isn’t exactly a ‘bring the boyfriend home to meet the parents’ kind of thing, it’s her birthday party.”
“Don’t spoil the fun just because you’re jealous, Apollo,” Athena said, frowning.
“What? I’m not - ” He deflated instantly when Athena merely tapped on Widget’s face. “C’mon, that’s not fair.”
“What isn’t fair?” The three of them jumped, having not realized that Klavier had sauntered over their way. He laughed good-naturedly, pushing his bangs out of his face, revealing how startlingly blue his eyes were under the agency’s cheap fluorescent lights. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be here earlier for the reveal, by the way. My meeting ran longer than expected, even when I told them I wouldn’t dare disappoint Fräulein Investigator.”
“I’m sure she understands,” Trucy replied, smiling. “So sunflowers, huh? I would’ve thought you were going to bring her roses! They’re more romantic, after all.”
“I suspect roses aren’t to her taste...not that sunflowers are much better,” Klavier admitted. Over his shoulder, the agency members watched Ema gingerly set the bouquet beside her new microscope, probably debating whether they were worth keeping for scientific purposes. “In fact, I’d say sunflowers are more suited for someone else in this room, ja?”
“Who do you mean?” Athena asked.
Klavier pulled out something small from the inside pocket of his jacket and held it up for them to see. It was a single sunflower, carefully dried and pressed into a resin paperweight in the shape of a half-sphere. It was beautiful in its simplicity, catching the natural light streaming in from the windows just so. “Oh, wow,” Trucy breathed. “It’s so pretty!”
“Ah, isn’t it? I saw this in a shop the other day and I couldn’t resist,” Klavier said, carefully depositing it into Trucy’s outstretched hands. She cradled it as if it were something precious, though Apollo suspected that its cost meant it probably was. “For you, fräulein, to remind you of your brother.”
“Wait, it’s really for me?” At his nod, Trucy’s smile blossomed. “Ah! Thank you so much, Mr. Gavin!” She hopped off the desk to throw her arms around Klavier, nearly knocking him right off his feet as she did. He looked surprised by the embrace but recovered quickly enough to hug her in return.
“Uh, first of all, I’m not dead,” Apollo retorted. “And also...what?”
“Apollo is the god of, among other things, the sun,” Klavier explained patiently. “While you might not be the most optimistic person in the world, you can be very...bright.”
“O...kay.” Apollo wasn’t sure what else to say. He couldn’t tell whether to interpret Klavier’s odd hesitation as careful consideration or an unintentional insult. Trucy seemed blissfully unaware of his confusion, recruiting Athena in her hunt for something to use with her paperweight, and the two women quickly disappeared into the crowd. It left Apollo and Klavier standing by themselves at a distance from the rest of the party.
“She has a permanent residence at the Penrose Theater now, so I thought it would be a nice keepsake to have in her dressing room,” Klavier continued, though he looked slightly worried now. “Er - did I say something strange, Forehead? You keep looking at me like I’ve done something wrong.”
“N-no, it’s just - it was really nice of you to get that for her,” Apollo said, averting his gaze. “I’m guessing it wasn’t cheap, either.”
“What’s a little present between friends?” Klavier shrugged. “I saw it, I thought of the two of you, I bought it, so einfach ist das.”
“Sure, but it seems more expensive - and more personal - than what you got for Ema,” Apollo pointed out. “Not that I know much about how relationships work, but...aren’t you supposed to save the better gifts for your girlfriend?”
Klavier’s smile was strained. “That’s quite a lot of assumptions you’re making there, about quite a lot of things.”
“Um, right.” Apollo awkwardly scratched the back of his neck, grasping for a conversation topic that wouldn’t make him feel like he’d put his foot in his mouth. “Anyway, you should really go spend more time with Ema while you’re here. If anything, I’m sure Lana has all kinds of stories from when she was a prosecutor.”
“I’m sure,” Klavier said hollowly, straightening up. He left Apollo’s side without another word, crossing the room to rejoin the Skye sisters. Apollo felt unnerved all of a sudden, like he’d taken one too many turns and couldn’t figure out how to retrace his steps. He never thought of Klavier as someone who was easily offended - he was a perfectionist at times, sure, but he was usually reasonable about what he demanded of himself and others - so maybe he really was as protective of his relationship with Ema as Trucy had said. Something about it made Apollo uncomfortable, but he couldn’t put his finger on why.
He was just about to go searching for Trucy and Athena, who had somehow managed to disappear from view inside their tiny, cramped office, when he heard a shriek of surprise. Apollo turned to see Ema clutching a book in her trembling hands, staring up at Klavier like she was seeing him for the first time. “A signed first edition of The Bone Woman?! How did you even get this?” she exclaimed. “This is amazing, oh my god - ”
Time seemed to momentarily stop when Ema threw herself into Klavier’s arms. Or at least, that’s what it felt like to Apollo. She seemed to linger there, wrists draped over his shoulders, standing on her tiptoes to reach, his large hands splayed across the small of her back to keep her steady, to keep her in his embrace.
In reality, she stepped back only seconds later, clearing her throat hastily and smoothing down the front of her lab coat. Lana appeared to be trying her best not to laugh. “I mean - what do you know, Prosecutor Gavin? You can be kind of decent when you try.”
“The highest of compliments, fräulein, I’m happy you like it,” Klavier replied with a warm chuckle. “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag.”
Apollo turned away; there was a lump in his throat. A hand then reached out to squeeze his shoulder. He looked up to see Athena looking back, eyebrows knitted together in concern. “Hey, is everything okay?”
“Oh, y-yeah, I’m fine,” he said, far too quickly.
“Uh huh,” she said, unconvinced. “What’s really on your mind? Don’t make me use the mood matrix on you!” His responding silence, his averted gaze, led her to looking around for the cause. Her eyes landed on Klavier and Ema, now chatting animatedly about the book, the sunflowers long forgotten. “Oh.”
“Uh huh,” he echoed, still refusing to look at her.
Athena settled into her spot by his side. “You know you don’t need a romantic relationship to be happy, right?” she murmured. “After all, you’ve got us! Me and Trucy and Mr. Wright, all the clients you’ve made friends with since you got them acquitted, the people back in Khura’in who practically worship you…”
“I know, I know. Seriously, Athena, I really am fine, I-I just feel weird about something dumb. And with all the craziness that goes on in our lives, it’s kinda nice to think about something stupid for once. It’s not life or death or revolutions, y’know?” He smiled faintly. “But, uh, thanks.”
“You got it,” Athena chirped, patting him consolingly on the shoulder. “And if you need someone to talk to, I’m your girl! Well, if I’m not busy with my own cases or something.”
“Same,” Apollo offered. “Er, not that I’m good at giving advice, but I can always listen.”
“Now that’s what I like to hear.” With one last satisfied smile, Athena took Apollo by the wrist and began tugging him in the direction of the designated snack table (it was really just Apollo’s desk covered with a plastic tablecloth, but no one needed to know that). “Come on, Trucy told me Mr. Wright also bought a cake! We should really remind him to do this for us the next time one of us has a birthday. He sure is spoiling Ema rotten.”
Another few trials came and went before Apollo was up against Klavier again. He almost welcomed it this time after having an unfortunate streak of cases against Blackquill; not that he had much of a problem with the man anymore, it was more Taka and his sharp talons he could do without. Klavier, however, wasn’t without his own set of problems.
“Prosecutor Gavin! Can we quote you on your stance towards doctors in our next article - ”
“Nein, I was simply talking about the defendant and their particular lack of respect for HIPAA compliance, not doctors as a whole. I have the utmost respect for those in the medical profession, and I would hate for people to think otherwise.”
“Prosecutor Gavin, the public has been curious about your nickname for Mr. Justice for a while now, where did it originate from?”
“They only need look at State v. Kitaki to understand the context behind my nickname for Herr Forehead...or perhaps just his actual forehead.”
“What about your relationship with that forensic investigator, Ema Skye? Are you two romantically involved?”
There was a hesitation that made Apollo look up from what he was doing. He usually settled into his post-trial routine, ignoring the bombardment of reporters’ questions for Klavier as he was swarmed on the front steps, and was more focused on unlocking his bike and reviewing his next investigative steps with Trucy. Today, even at a distance, he could hear Klavier’s pregnant pause.
“I understand the curiosity, but Fräulein Skye did not ask for scrutiny when accompanying me on investigations. Bitte, respect her privacy and don’t ask me about her again,” Klavier finally said. “Speaking of investigations, if there is nothing else about the case at hand, I really should be going. I can’t let Herr Forehead beat me to questioning the doctor’s ex-wife, don’t you think?”
Trucy nudged him. “Hey, Apollo? We should really get going, too.”
“Oh, r-right, sorry.”
The doctor’s ex-wife, a veterinarian, was about as helpful as any other witness, which was to say she wasn’t remotely helpful at all. It left Klavier, Apollo, and Trucy standing in the parking lot of her practice, disgruntled and left with more questions than they’d arrived with. Apollo leaned against his bike to rifle through his case notes, trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, while Trucy approached Klavier with her usual cheerful smile.
“I heard what you said to the reporters about Ema,” she said. “It was really nice of you to protect her like that! Tabloids can be so nasty to just about anyone. The other day, there was a review of my new set at the Penrose Theater, and they spent most of the article talking about the time I was accused of killing Mr. Reus like I’d actually done it!”
“Unfortunately, something I know all too well myself,” Klavier replied with a sympathetic nod. “My music career, my law career, not to mention rumors about whether mein Bruder had any influence on my courtroom tactics. People who do nothing but spread gossip and lies aren’t worth our time. Still, if I can stop even just one person from bothering Fräulein Investigator or friends like you and Forehead, I’ll do what I can.”
“You’re the best, Mr. Gavin,” Trucy grinned, rocking back and forth on her heels. “Speaking of Ema, do you know where she is today? We were going to make plans for a girls’ night with Athena, Juniper, and Pearl. She wanted to do face masks while having a Forensic Files marathon or something.”
“Ah, that sounds like fun. Care to include me and your brother for girls’ night? I’ve been neglecting my skincare routine,” Klavier said, sighing dramatically. “And nein, I’m not sure. Have you tried texting her?”
“You don’t know where your own girlfriend is?” It slipped out of Apollo’s mouth before he could stop himself, sounding far more accusatory than he’d meant it to be.
Klavier frowned. “I have no need to track her like a lost pet. She has her own life, ja?”
“I-I didn’t mean it like that!” Apollo protested, shamefaced.
“And besides, you know she isn’t really my - ”
“Hey! I thought I told the three of you to clear the premises, or I’m calling the cops!”
With a yelp, Apollo and Trucy hopped onto their bikes, while Klavier plastered on a false smile to flash at the veterinarian, who was shouting furiously from the doorstep of her business. Even waving didn’t seem to do anything to placate her; then again, both Apollo and Klavier were pretty certain she was the actual murderer, so that was to be expected.
“See you in court tomorrow, Prosecutor Gavin,” Trucy called, and the Gramarye siblings were on their way.
“Achtung, wait! - ” Klavier dropped his arm, staring at the spot where they’d been just seconds ago, completely perplexed. “But...she isn’t really my girlfriend.”
Apollo walked out of the courtroom with a relieved exhale, his heart racing with the adrenaline rush he’d come to equal parts love and hate, clutching onto his case files like they were his lifeline. Phoenix and Athena had come to watch from the gallery but had since left to head to another courtroom for Phoenix’s latest case, while Trucy had ducked out to go to the bathroom, so he had a rare moment to himself to settle down and really think. He only had a fifteen-minute recess, and he didn’t want to waste a second of it.
However, it would have been easier said than done if he wasn’t distracted by the urgent voices whispering on the other side of the lobby doors. At first, he thought it was the bailiffs, who often liked to comment on trials when they thought no one was listening. But as their conversation grew louder, it became clear to Apollo exactly who they were.
“Wait! You don’t mean - they still think - ”
“Unfortunately for us, ja, they do. I thought we were all in on a fun little joke at first, but now that I know they were serious, things are getting out of hand.”
“Huh...well, I guess we should’ve said something earlier. But I gotta admit, it’s kind of hilarious that they believed it. Especially when I was actually trying to help you!”
“Help me? I think you did a better job of embarrassing me than anything else. Ach, I should have never confided in you.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault you haven’t told him yet. I thought you were supposed to be good at this!”
“I was going to say something after he came back, but we’ve both been so busy with work and all the other little things in life. You know how it is in this line of work - relentless, unpredictable.”
“Not busy enough to pull him aside and ask him out, sheesh! You know, I have more important things to be thinking about than your love life, like the new blood testing kit they brought to my office, and also the fact that I have an office now? I have a window, Prosecutor Gavin! I have a window, and a chair that spins, and a desk for my new microscope from Mr. Wright, with extra space for succulents - ”
“That sounds lovely, fräulein, I’m so happy for you.”
There was a moment of silence. “Sarcasm sounds really weird on you. Please don’t do it again.”
“I’m not being sarcastic, getting your own office is a wunderbar accomplishment. Would you like me to help install a sound system for you? I’ve perfected the bass in my setup; the Gavinners have never sounded better.”
“Oh my god, you are insufferable!” Ema let out a disbelieving laugh. “Just ask him to dinner and a movie like a normal human being instead of sitting around and pining like you’re the main character in a Jane Austen novel, or else I’ll do it for you. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, yeah, he might turn you down - he probably will - but it’s not like he’s gonna be mean about it. It’s just Apollo.”
Apollo had to slap his hand over his mouth to stop himself from shouting. Admittedly, he hadn’t been paying attention to his work for the last several minutes, intrigued by the revelation that Klavier and Ema weren’t actually together. But now...what the hell am I supposed to do?! he thought wildly, clutching at the bench seat to keep himself upright before he could collapse into a mind-spiralling heap. He can’t seriously be...I mean, about me?!
“Whoa, sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!” Trucy exclaimed, holding her hands up defensively. “Wow, you must’ve been concentrating really hard. I hope you didn’t lose your train of thought.”
I think my train has been parked at a different station for a while now, Apollo thought, glancing down at his untouched notes. “Uh, recess is almost over, l-let’s head back in and get a jumpstart.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” Trucy said with a skeptical glance, following him back inside.
Once the trial resumed, Apollo found himself noticing things again, things he couldn’t stop noticing, only this time, it wasn’t Klavier and Ema, it was Klavier and himself. The way he smirked and folded his arms challengingly in Klavier’s direction without hesitation, how Klavier would genuinely compliment him if he made a good point, the fondness in Klavier’s voice when he referred to Apollo as young, loud, impulsive, or, of course, “Herr Forehead”. Trucy eventually had to elbow Apollo to stop him from staring so intensely.
“I know Prosecutor Gavin looks really good today, but you gotta concentrate, Apollo!” she whispered. “You need to press the witness about the phone call to her brother. Look at how she’s tugging on her sleeve when she talks about it!”
“Is there something on my face, Forehead?” Klavier teased, leaning forward like he always did. “If you’re searching for your argument, I’m afraid you’ll have to direct that glare of yours elsewhere. Or perhaps it doesn’t exist at all?”
The judge blinked. “Er...Mr. Justice, what exactly are you objecting to?”
“O-oh, um…” Apollo shrunk back a little. “I object to the prosecution’s personal remarks?”
“That’s strange. You’ve never complained before,” the judge observed. “I just thought you enjoyed teasing each other in a friendly manner, like an old married couple.”
“What?!” Trucy nudged him again. “I-I mean, Your Honor, that’s, I mean, it’s not - ”
“You remind me of Mr. Wright and Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth sometimes,” the judge continued, almost wistfully. “Anyway, Mr. Justice, if you don’t have any actual objections, I’m afraid I’ll have to hand down a penalty.”
“Let’s not be hasty, Herr Judge,” Klavier said with a lazy smile. “I think Forehead is simply distracted today, possibly because of his pitiful lack of proof. Perhaps we give him one more chance before we strike him down where he stands, ja? Not that it will help, of course.”
“Objection!” Apollo cried.
“You already said that, Mr. Justice.”
“Wait, no, I mean I have an actual objection this time.” Apollo deflated further. “The phone call, I have evidence that proves that it couldn’t have possibly taken place at the time that the witness stated.”
As he shuffled through the call records, Trucy passed him the page he needed, eyeing him carefully. “Pace yourself, Apollo,” she reminded him. “I don’t know what’s going on, but you have to stay calm. You have to focus!”
He shot her a grateful smile. “Thanks, Trucy.” He then held up the page in question, looking directly at Klavier, who responded with a warm nod of acknowledgement. “It’s right here in the records, Your Honor!”
“Prosecutor Gavin!” Apollo’s voice echoed down the vast hallway of the twelfth floor of the prosecutor’s building, far louder than necessary. Klavier, who was used to excessive noise, barely flinched. He did, however, look up from his work laptop to see Apollo standing in his office doorway.
“Herr Forehead! I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon after that last trial. It’s been, what, less than an hour?” he said lightly.
“You left the courthouse before I got the chance to stop you,” Apollo accused, as if Klavier somehow had the ability to read his mind, and wouldn’t that be terrifying.
With a curious smile, Klavier shut his laptop and got to his feet, walking around to lean back against the front of his desk, cool as he pleased. “Stop me? Did you have something you wanted to talk about?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing,” Apollo replied.
Klavier hummed for a moment, mulling it over. “Ah, I think I know what you mean. I was going to tell you and Trucy that Fräulein Investigator and I aren’t actually in a relationship; we didn’t realize people actually believed the rumors. All that gossip is tiresome, ja?”
“I can only imagine,” Apollo said, shuddering. “I’m surprised you didn’t catch on earlier. I think Trucy was practically planning your wedding in her head!”
Klavier laughed. “That’s very sweet of her, but there will be no wedding bells in our future. As much as she’d hate to admit it, Ema and I are friends. We talk about work, family, hobbies. Finding common ground, you know? Nothing romantic to it.” When Apollo didn’t respond, clearly lost in thought, Klavier tilted his head consideringly. “Something still bothering you, Forehead?”
“N-no, I’m fine!” Apollo exclaimed. “There was, uh, just something else I wanted to ask.”
Klavier nodded, intrigued. “Go on.”
“Are there...are there security cameras in your office?”
“Achtung, that might be the strangest thing you’ve ever asked me, and you’ve said some very strange things in court,” Klavier remarked. “Ja, we have a thorough security system in the prosecutor’s building. There was a murder in Herr Edgeworth’s office many years ago, and he’s been very diligent about keeping it up-to-date ever - mmf!”
Apollo, irritated and impatient, had stomped across Klavier’s office to grab him by the jacket lapels and yank him in for a kiss, which admittedly wasn’t the most graceful of kisses. Klavier seemed to freeze on the spot, completely and utterly caught off-guard, before wrapping his arms around Apollo and pulling him closer.
After a minute or so, Apollo pulled away, breathless, his cheeks burning with both embarrassment and pride. “Th-that’ll teach you not to have loud conversations with Ema directly outside of the defendant lobby, huh?”
Klaver blinked, dazed. Apollo couldn’t help but feel pleased that he was the cause of Klavier’s disoriented state. “...lesson learned.”
“Were you ever planning on asking me out?” Apollo asked. “I didn’t think I was that intimidating.”
“I was going to eventually,” Klavier said defensively, cupping Apollo’s face in his hands, running his thumb gently across Apollo’s cheek as if to soothe him. “I needed to find the right moment. I’m a romantic, schatz, I can’t just go around asking you to dinner on a whim. Not to mention we’ve both been so busy.”
“Right, gotta fit me in somewhere on your busy schedule,” Apollo drawled, smirking. “I’m sure you put ‘ask Apollo on a date’ between ‘fixing my motorcycle’ and ‘world domination’.”
“Mmm, there’s that snarky attitude I absolutely adore,” Klavier murmured, kissing him again, then brushing his lips across the crook of Apollo’s jaw, then another kiss along the length of his neck. Apollo shivered involuntarily; his mind couldn’t help but wander back to the security cameras. He certainly didn’t want to put on a show for the afternoon shift. “What is it with you and Ema and world domination? Should I be concerned that you two are conspiring behind my back?”
“Apparently, i-it was you and Ema who were conspiring behind my back.” Apollo was quickly losing his train of thought. It was hard to think straight when Klavier’s hands were cupping his backside, squeezing possessively. “Why were you guys acting so weird lately?”
“Is that jealousy I detect in your voice, liebling?” Klavier gazed up at Apollo from underneath his eyelashes, a wicked smile spreading across his face. “Long story short, she found out how I felt about you. Ever since, she’s been demanding I tell you while simultaneously turning it into an exercise of embarrassment. Her unconventional way of showing her support, I suppose, but ach, when she mentioned those jeans of yours - ”
“Yeah, you sure got a tight grip back here,” Apollo teased, prying himself out of Klavier’s grasp, then patting him affectionately on the chest to placate him. “Hey, um, I really gotta get back to the office before the others notice I’ve been gone for so long, but...uh…”
“Ah, should I finally ask you to dinner now?” Klavier said, grinning further when Apollo narrowed his eyes at him. “If you’re free tonight, I’ll make us something at my place. Come by at seven?”
“Okay.” Apollo’s returning smile made Klavier’s heart thump pathetically beneath Apollo’s fingers. “Surprise me.”
“Ja, I plan to.” Klavier tugged Apollo back in for one last kiss, one that was less violently chaotic than their first. As Apollo slid his arms around Klavier’s waist, deepening the kiss, he decided he had at least one more minute before he really needed to go.
Three months went by before Apollo and Klavier told the others. Or, at least, that’s how Apollo would have wanted it to go (in his typical fashion, Klavier didn’t mind either way, though Apollo suspected he was more the “sooner rather than later” type) had it not been for a certain someone who discovered the truth a mere week later. In the end, once again, it was Trucy who figured them out, because despite claiming her perception abilities were weaker than his, Apollo was starting to think otherwise.
A brand new client had Apollo and Trucy visiting a crime scene in an area they had become too familiar with. Apollo was sitting on a bench in People Park, flipping through his case notes and trying to put together the sequence of events. Trucy, who had been circling the spot where the body had been found, suddenly sat down beside him without warning. She looked at him expectantly.
“So Prosecutor Gavin isn’t dating Ema after all, right?” she asked.
“Uh huh,” Apollo replied absent-mindedly. The question had barely registered in his brain.
“Because he’s dating you,” Trucy continued.
“Uh huh - wait.” Apollo nearly dropped all his notes in his haste to turn and look at her. “N-no, Trucy - where did you get that idea - ”
“I’m not stupid, Polly!” she huffed, frowning. “You two were flirting during that last trial like you always do, and then you sent me back to the office while you went to visit him at his office. You never visited Prosecutor Gavin without a reason before.”
“That doesn’t mean we’re dating, why would you even - ”
“Herr Forehead, is that you I hear shouting up a storm?” They both looked up to see Klavier and Ema walking towards them. “If you’re trying to scare all the morning joggers and squirrels nearby, I’d say you’re doing an ausgezeichnet job.”
“Ugh,” was all Apollo could manage.
“I also heard something about dating?” Klavier continued smugly. “Fräulein, don’t tell me you still think that Ema and I are - ”
“Ugh,” Ema echoed, shuddering.
“Oh, not at all. I have a different theory now, Mr. Gavin. Do you wanna hear it?” Trucy asked, a dangerous glint in her eye.
“Ja, I would love to,” Klavier replied. Apollo and Ema rolled their eyes in eerily perfect synchronicity.
“I think you and Apollo started dating after that last trial,” Trucy suggested, getting to her feet. “He’s been happier ever since he went to see you at your office!”
“Has he now? I can barely tell the difference,” Klavier said dryly. He knelt in front of Apollo, who refused to make eye contact with anyone or anything but the autopsy report in his case dossier. “What are your thoughts on the matter, schatz? Is there any merit to Trucy’s theory?”
Before Apollo could deny it, Klavier cupped Apollo’s jaw and leaned in to kiss him softly, sighing in satisfaction when he felt Apollo fighting the urge to smile against his lips. Trucy cooed admiringly, while Ema huffed, muttering something about contaminating the crime scene. Apollo broke the kiss first, though he was reluctant to do so. “Th-this is very unprofessional of you, Prosecutor Gavin.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve said that to me.” Klavier straightened up. “Now, I was going to get Fräulein Investigator to fill me in on the details of the murder, but since you’re already here, I think I’d like a change of tour guide. How about it?” He held out his hand for Apollo to take.
Apollo continued to grumble about Klavier’s lack of professionalism as he tucked his files back into his bag. He stood and began to walk right past Klavier to where the body had been found, pointedly ignoring Klavier’s hand. “Fine, but only the facts, okay? You don’t get to hear my theories or anything. We’re still on opposing sides, you know.”
“Ja, liebling, I’m well aware,” Klavier chuckled, following Apollo across the grass, watching him with open admiration. The two of them began to converse about the crime, having completely (albeit accidentally) left the women behind.
Trucy sighed. “They sure are cute together, aren’t they?”
“You only think it’s cute because you didn’t have to put up with the fop’s swooning over the past several months,” Ema grouched, ripping open a new bag of Snackoos. She knew she couldn’t be too upset, though, not when she had lunch plans with Lana once they wrapped up for the morning. “At least it’s finally over now, no thanks to him.”
“Huh? You mean you think Apollo was the one who initiated everything?” Trucy asked.
“Oh, I’d bet my entire forensics kit on it,” Ema smirked, holding out her bag in offering. “Snackoo?”