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if you could read my mind

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Dating the one and only Apollo Justice, Klavier discovered early on in their relationship, was not exactly how he expected it to be. Asking Apollo to be his boyfriend, on the other hand, went about as well as Klavier had anticipated - or, more accurately, hoped for - knowing all that he knew.

“Wh-what?!” Apollo had spit out what seemed like an entire cup’s worth of tea all over the table they were sitting at. The other patrons at the courthouse’s café (which had an inferior tea selection, in Klavier and his boss’s opinion, but decent-enough pastries) shot him dirty looks. One of the employees, mop in hand, looked ready to cry. “Wait, Prosecutor Gavin - is this a date?!”

Klavier had been equal parts fond and exasperated, of course. Being in love with someone who was somehow both one of the smartest people he knew and one of the most oblivious people he knew did that to him. “If you want to be technical about it, this is a date in the sense that all of our other meetups over the past few months have been ‘dates’,” Klavier had said patiently. “As in, it is a date if you want it to be, and it isn’t if you don’t. So...tell me, Apollo. Be honest. I can take it if you...if you don’t.”

After spluttering some more and fruitlessly wiping up his mess with every last napkin in their table’s dispenser, Apollo had accepted, though he’d also been justifiably angry that Klavier had waited so long to ask. He was less angry when Klavier kissed him on the steps of the courthouse.

“We should do something different on our next ‘date’,” Apollo had said, his kiss-swollen lips stretched into the widest grin Klavier had ever seen. Klavier’s heart had pitter-pattered pathetically in his chest like he was a teenager who’d finally caught the eye of his crush. “Like dinner or a movie or something, and not, y’know, helping you sort paperwork over coffee.”

“I’d prefer it if you didn’t put verbal quotation marks around the word ‘date’, liebling, but I’d have to agree with you there,” Klavier had replied, happier than he’d been in what felt like a long, long time.

But to the point: asking Apollo out was about as clumsily endearing as Klavier had expected. Dating him was a different story.

To be fair, Klavier knew he didn’t know Apollo the way his co-workers or his family did. He’d spent years being interested in Apollo from afar, running into him in courtrooms and at crime scenes, exchanging wit and sharing the occasional moment before disappearing from each other's lives until the courts called for it. It was only when Apollo returned from Khura’in that they grew closer somehow, and there were so many more things about him that Klavier was looking forward to learning about.

He had his preconceived notions of what Apollo would be like as a boyfriend - careful, like he was about so many things. A lack of interest in public displays of affection, given his penchant for professionalism. Loud and passionate and enthusiastic in ways that Klavier was very much looking forward to.

Instead, he found Apollo was warm and open and affectionate in ways he could have never predicted. He was still as professional as ever during work hours, but he was otherwise the most loving and attentive boyfriend Klavier could have asked for. Apollo sent him witty commentary and law memes (something Klavier didn’t even realize existed) whenever he was in need of a boost on tough workdays, escalated Klavier’s love of German pet names into an all-out nickname war that had their friends gagging at how overly sweet they could be. He also turned out to be a bit of a serial snuggler, though he was too embarrassed to admit he liked to cuddle.

Then there were the quieter moments when both of them were dealing with things they used to deal with alone. Apollo was uncannily good at noticing when Klavier was feeling off, knew when he needed an ear, a shoulder, or some space. Klavier could tell instantly when Apollo was working himself up beyond his usual bouts of stress and anxiety, knew how to keep him grounded, to help him feel supported.

“You two are disgustingly good for each other,” Ema had admitted once during a work function at the prosecutor’s office. “But hey, if you’re happy...I’m happy for you.” She then took a generous sip of champagne. “Though if you flirt your way through your cross-examinations ever again, I will throw my coffee at you.”

“Which one of us do you mean, fräulein?” Klavier had hedged.

Ema’s eyes had narrowed. “I will buy two coffees so I can throw them at both of you at the same time.”

“ can do that?” Apollo had asked dubiously.

“Athena introduced me to axe-throwing the other day, so,” Ema had merely shrugged. Both of them had quickly shut up after that.

Just three months into their relationship, Klavier had never been more in love. He was confident that Apollo was the one, the person he was meant to be with. Then, Apollo dropped a bit of a bomb on him.

“I want you to meet someone really important to me.”

Klavier blinked. “Oh, ah...who would that be? Not your mom, since I ‘met’ her before you did, and...your dad…”

“No, no, I know,” Apollo said with a wan smile. “It’s just...well, you know how I always stay over at yours and never invite you to mine, and I said it was because my apartment sucks?”

“...ja?” Klavier said slowly.

“Not that that wasn’t true, I - like, the water doesn’t always run, my lights flicker so it’s kinda horror movie-ish, there’s this broken floorboard by my front door, and my windows don’t have locks - ”

“Is it too early for me to ask you to move in with me for your safety?” Klavier remarked, raising an eyebrow.

“ - but it’s really because I have, like. The most particular cat in the world,” Apollo finished.

“Ah.” Klavier cocked his head to one side, confused. “I mean...I like cats, süßer. We had dogs growing up, but cats are fantastisch all the same. How particular do you mean?”

“Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit, but…” Apollo leaned in close. “...he doesn’t like Trucy.”

Klavier blanched in complete and utter shock. “What? But...but everyone likes Trucy!”

“I know, but when I first introduced them, she was really loud and did all this baby talk stuff and he hated it. She doesn’t do it anymore, but he definitely remembers. His memory’s like a steel trap,” Apollo said, his voice low and dangerous. If Klavier didn’t know any better, he would have suspected his boyfriend was talking about a recent defendant, not a house cat.

“Regardless, I would love to meet your very particular cat and get him to love me as much as you do,” Klavier replied. Apollo rolled his eyes good-naturedly at that. “What can I do to make that happen?”

“To start, don’t wear any jewelry when you come over,” Apollo instructed. “Especially not your earrings.”

Klavier paused. “Why not?”

“If you wanna leave my place with your earlobes still intact, you’re gonna have to do as I say,” Apollo said darkly.

“...right.” Klavier instinctively reached up to touch his ears and remind himself they were still there. The worst thing that had ever happened to them was a botched Claire’s piercing when he was thirteen, and he wanted to keep it that way. “And that would be…”

Apollo paused. “If I were you, I’d write everything I’m about to say down.”

Another few weeks passed before they both felt reasonably ready for Klavier to meet Apollo’s very particular cat and not fear the loss of any jewelry or body parts in the process. Klavier was surprised to realize he was nervous, standing outside Apollo’s door and feeling naked without his usual accessories, his hair tied up in a secure topknot instead of his usual braided twist (apparently, Apollo’s very particular cat was a hair eater).

He rapped his knuckles on the door. “Guten tag, it’s me,” he called.

Moments later, Apollo opened the door with a strained smile on his face. Weaving between his legs, tail swishing back and forth in the air, was the most beautiful calico Klavier had ever seen, with a sleek black collar, intelligent golden eyes, and a very pink nose. Klavier’s heart softened instantly. He felt silly then, being anxious over meeting a cat. Sure, there were cats who were more people-averse than others, but how bad could it possibly be?

“Hey,” Apollo said, stepping around his cat and nearly tripping as he did. “Perfect timing, I just got the pizza out of the oven.”

“You made pizza?” Klavier asked, crossing the threshold and shrugging off his leather jacket.

“If by ‘made pizza’, you mean I took a frozen pizza out of a box, slapped it onto a baking sheet, and put it into the oven, then...yeah, I made pizza,” Apollo said dryly, taking Klavier’s jacket and kissing him hello. “In my defense, I made brownies that aren’t from a box. German chocolate for my so-called German boyfriend.”

“Ach,” Klavier protested, laughing. “And you got the good shredded coconut I told you about?”

“Would it be German if I didn’t? And that’s also a question for you, ‘Kla-vi-er’,” Apollo teased. Klavier continued to laugh, shutting the door behind him and walking into the apartment, mindful of the cat who seemed fascinated with rubbing up against Apollo’s calves.

“Just because my accent is a little strong - ”

“It literally ‘sounds fake, but okay’, Klav,” Apollo called from the kitchen, where he was transferring the pizza onto a large plate. “I know you’re actually German. I just think you sound like you had a shitty accent coach as a child actor, and now you don’t know how to stop.”

“I...may be exaggerating my actual German accent for the aesthetic,” Klavier admitted.

Apollo brandished a huge pizza cutter at him. “Hah! I knew it!”

His cat then mewled from his spot by Klavier’s feet, indignant about being ignored. Klavier knelt beside him, holding out a hand for him to smell. While he was rather small for a male cat, there was something intimidating about the gleam in his eyes. “Guten tag, handsome,” Klavier said, calm as could be. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

“Be nice, Mikeko,” Apollo said, carrying the pizza over to the tiny dining table behind his loveseat. Klavier took a moment to look around the apartment, which was just as nondescript as Apollo had, well, described it. Plain white walls with a touch of water stains, scuffed wood floors that had seen better days, mismatched furniture that was minimalist in quantity, though not by choice. Maybe his joke about Apollo moving in with him wasn’t going to be much of a joke, after all. “We like this one.”

Mikeko approached Klavier’s hand, his little nose twitching as he sniffed delicately. At Apollo’s insistence, Klavier was wearing a minimal amount of scented product, forgoing his favorite shampoo and aftershave for Mikeko’s sake. After a few lengthy seconds of Klavier holding his breath, Mikeko let out a huff, then turned and stalked away, uninterested.

“Not the glowing review I was hoping for,” Klavier sighed, straightening up and smoothing out the folds of his jeans. “But at least he didn’t try to bite my finger like you said he would.”

“He is somehow both the softest thing I’ve ever touched and the pointest little jerk I’ve ever known. Teeth, claws - ” Apollo stopped mid-sentence at the sight of Mikeko hopping up onto the kitchen counter, innocently sauntering over to the glass dish of still-cooling brownies. “Don’t you dare.”

“Meow?” Mikeko chirped, moving closer. He extended a paw, batting at the glass, his claws dangerously close to grazing the surface of the brownies. Then, in one swift move, he snagged a piece of shredded coconut between his teeth and sprinted off in the direction of the bathroom before Apollo could even blink.

With a sigh that suggested he wasn’t at all surprised, Apollo inspected the dish for stray cat hairs, then pulled his oven mitts off. “Dinner’s ready,” he muttered.

They both settled down to eat and chat, partially about the latest anime Apollo was obsessed with - Klavier, less so, though he adored listening to Apollo talking about anything he was interested in - but mostly about work. Klavier had been working on a high-profile case over the past week, one that Apollo desperately wished he was involved with. Still, now that their relationship was known to everyone else, Edgeworth was a little more cautious about which of Apollo’s cases he would designate to Klavier. Those that involved romantic relationships and high tensions tended to get passed over to someone like Blackquill instead.

Then, as they moved on to talking about Trucy’s upcoming birthday plans, Klavier felt something pulling on his sock. He glanced under the table to find Mikeko playing with a loose thread that was definitely not there when Klavier had arrived. “And what do you think you’re doing, kätzchen?” Klavier said, amused. “These are Italian silk, you know.”

Mikeko rolled onto his back, kneading his paws in the air, showing off his adorably fluffy stomach. “Mrrh,” he said.

“An exposed belly means he trusts me, ja?” Klavier asked, looking up at Apollo.

“It’s a trap. He’s gonna scratch you the second you try to touch him,” Apollo said wearily, also ducking his head under the table. “Mik, go eat your dinner. As in your fancy wet food, not my boyfriend’s fancy socks.” Mikeko sulked off to do as he was told, but not before whipping his tail against Klavier’s ankle in a way that felt oddly threatening.

“Who does he trust, then?” Klavier asked, reaching for another slice of pizza.

“” Klavier raised an eyebrow. “I’m serious, that’s it. Me.” Apollo then smirked. “Does that bother you?”

“I think it’s reasonable to want my boyfriend’s cat to like me,” Klavier pointed out. “I already won over your mom and sister a while ago. Before you, even.”

“Yeah, well...I’m here now.” Apollo’s teasing grin softened into an affectionate smile. “Thanks, by the way.”

Klavier leaned back in his seat. “For what?”

“If you hadn’t asked me out, I probably never would’ve noticed,” Apollo said. “We’d still be...I dunno, spilling coffee on your very important documents and making small talk about case precedent instead of eating breakfast in bed and talking about hypothetical couple’s trips we’re never gonna take.”

“I’m surprised you never figured it out on your own. Everyone kept making fun of me for being so obvious, I was convinced you actually knew but were being kind about it,” Klavier replied, shaking his head in embarrassment.

“I’ve been told I’m incredibly bad at seeing these things,” Apollo said sheepishly. “But I - Mikeko, no!”

Apollo suddenly shot out of his chair and ran across the apartment to the front door, where Mikeko was playing with one of Klavier’s shoes, treating it like it was just another one of his toys. He had wrapped his front legs around the shoe and was bunny-kicking it enthusiastically with his back legs, teeth dug into its leather toe cap. At the sound of his owner’s voice, he startled, leaping to his feet with his tail fur standing on end, eyes wild, and hissed.

“Mik, you have a million catnip kickers. Klavier’s shoes can’t seriously be that appealing,” Apollo scolded, grabbing them and shoving them into the coat closet, closing the door with a pointed click. “Don’t make me put you in the bedroom, alright?”

“Mreow,” Mikeko complained, slinking away.

“Sorry I thought this was gonna be a normal date night,” Apollo said with a frustrated groan, collapsing back into his seat. “Looks like Mik’s got other ideas.”

“The night’s still young,” Klavier reassured him. “Don’t stress about it, liebe. Let’s finish dinner and put on a movie like we planned, ja?”

After they finished eating and washing the dishes, they moved to the couch with still-warm brownies carefully wrapped in napkins to prevent the stray crumbs from falling between the cushions. They spent a few minutes arguing over what to watch (Klavier wanted to watch The Notebook unironically while Apollo wanted to wax poetic about Zodiac) until they finally settled on Groundhog Day, the sort of happy medium that only made sense to them.

Apollo laid his head down in Klavier’s lap a few minutes into the movie, letting out a pleased hum as Klavier ran his fingers through his hair. Usually, they were the other way around, where Apollo would absent-mindedly play with or even braid Klavier’s hair while they relaxed, but Klavier wasn’t about to let his topknot down when Mikeko was still lurking nearby. He was fine with Mikeko biting his shoes - mostly - but he drew the line at letting him eat his hair.

“I miss your TV,” Apollo mumbled against Klavier’s thigh. “I never realized how spoiled we were at your place until now.”

“Personally, I miss my couch,” Klavier added, laughing. “No offense, baby, but this thing is a little lumpy for my taste.”

“Fine, fine, so my cardboard box of an apartment doesn’t measure up to your penthouse.” Apollo swatted his arm playfully. “So I don’t have a hot tub and a home gym - ”

“Don’t forget window locks,” Klavier teased.

“Oh, how could I?” Apollo bemoaned with a dramatic eye-roll. “And here I am with a toilet that doesn’t flush unless you jiggle the handle and an upstairs neighbor who’s learning how to tap dance - ”

“You’re not serious?” Klavier interrupted, his wide grin threatening to split his face open.

“But I do have a weighted blanket and an NES in surprisingly good condition and extra toothbrushes,” Apollo finished. “So there.”

Klavier’s expression sobered. He placed a hand on Apollo’s shoulder, rubbing it gently. “Does discrepancy bother you, Apollo?”

Apollo sat up, turning so they were face-to-face. “I don’t love it,” he confessed. “I made a decent amount of money in Khura’in, so it’s not like I’m falling behind on rent, I’s obvious we’re different in a lot of ways, and...I don’t want you to worry about me because of those differences. I don’t want you spending huge amounts on me, either. Paying for dinner every now and then is one thing, but buying me expensive stuff is another.”

“You said you broke your Switch and your birthday was coming up, anyway,” Klavier protested.

“No, no, that was fine,” Apollo promised. “And doing the custom shells and buttons together was a really fun date, so it all worked out. But when I make comments and jokes about this kinda stuff, I don't want you thinking I’m in this for the money, okay?” He moved one hand to cup Klavier’s jaw, running a thumb across his cheek. “I’m into you for, uh, a bunch of other reasons.”

Ja, like what?” Klavier mumbled.

“You want a laundry list of positive character traits or something?” Apollo teased. “As much as I’m sure you’d like me to stroke your ego right now, I think it’d be better if I just promise you it has nothing to do with how rich, famous, or hot you are. Don’t make that face at me.”

“Face? I’m not making a face,” Klavier said with a shit-eating grin. “Tell me again how hot you find me, süßer?”

Apollo groaned. “Shut up.” He then closed the gap between them, their mouths meeting in the middle. Klavier pulled Apollo onto his lap, knees braced on either side of Klavier’s hips, hands braced on the small of Apollo’s back, and deepened the kiss. The movie continued to play on in the background, completely forgotten. That is, until Klavier felt something tickling his toes.

Apollo leaned away with a sigh that was equal parts annoyed and resigned. “Really, Mik?” he said, turning to look over his shoulder at Mikeko, who was sitting by Klavier’s feet, his expression about as innocent as he was decidedly not. “Do you need something?”

Perking up, Mikeko slipped under the couch for a moment, then emerged with a cat wand in his mouth, a stick with a long string of feathers attached to its end. He leapt up onto the couch, neatly depositing the toy onto Klavier’s lap in the small space between his torso and Apollo’s, then batted a paw on his arm. “Mrrp,” he said.

“I’m starting to think he’s more of a hündchen than a kätzchen,” Klavier remarked, laughing. “I can entertain him for a bit while we catch up on what we missed.”

“If you’re sure,” Apollo said, reluctantly climbing off Klavier’s lap. He reached for the remote, rewinding to where they were last paying attention, and settled back on the opposite side of the couch. Klavier picked up the wand, giving it an experimental twirl before holding it a little higher, making it dance through the air. Mikeko took a running leap, following it back and forth with quick feet and clever eyes. His dexterity and speed surprised Klavier, having never seen cats play so energetically before.

“Where did you get him?” Klavier asked, watching Mikeko snag the ends of the feather with a claw. He then yanked the toy out of Klavier’s grasp so he could wrestle with the string, his teeth and claws on full display. 

“I found him under a park bench, if you can believe it,” Apollo replied. “Male calicos are super rare because of some genetic anomaly, so when I took him to the vet, they were pretty surprised when I said he was a stray. Anyway, they told me he was less than six months old, had no microchip, and was otherwise pretty healthy aside from needing some dental work, so…” He paused to let Mikeko jump back up onto his lap, apparently bored with Klavier’s cat wand skills. “...I wasn’t planning on getting a cat, but the moment I saw him, I knew I couldn’t leave him behind.”

“He seems very clever. Gorgeous, too,” Klavier commented. Mikeko seemed to understand him, sitting up and preening for Klavier as if to agree. “Will you let me pet you now, kätzchen? After all, we shared playtime together.”

Apollo rolled his eyes, though Mikeko wandered over to Klavier anyways, happily kneading his claws on Klavier’s thighs. It would have been a sure sign of affection, had Klavier not decided to wear his favorite pair of ripped skinny jeans. He winced and gritted his teeth with every dig and lift of Mikeko’s paws that snagged on his skin.

“Ach, Mikeko,” Klavier protested. “I’m happy you’re happy, but maybe do that on my sweater instead, ja?” Apollo was less forgiving, leaning over to firmly nudge Mikeko on the back until he stopped. With an impressive stink-eye, Mikeko got down from Klavier’s lap, slotting himself neatly between their legs instead. “I can’t tell if that was a gesture of approval or passive-aggressiveness.”

“Both, definitely both,” Apollo sighed, slumping down to rest his head on Klavier’s shoulder. Mikeko yawned, then stretched across both of their laps, effectively stopping either of them from getting up. He remained there for the rest of the movie, only stirring when he wanted to be pet, his tail swishing in front of their faces until they sneezed or scratched his chin, whichever came first. Apollo was quick to remind Klavier to not go for his belly.

After the movie was over, Apollo gave Mikeko a few goodnight pats before pointedly closing the bedroom door in his disgruntled face. Once he and Klavier had changed and brushed their teeth (“Ah, so there’s that extra toothbrush you mentioned!” “Don’t be an ass, Klavier.”), they collapsed into bed, limbs tangled loosely together while they talked about nothing in particular.

“So you said you had dogs as a kid?” Apollo said quietly, tucking a loose strand of hair behind Klavier’s ear. “I only just realized you brought it up ages ago and I never actually asked about it. You, never really talk about your childhood, and I figured it was because...well. We were both there.”

“It’s not like…” Klavier hesitated, averting his eyes for a moment. “Our age difference was enough that we were never in the same school at the same time. When I started elementary school, he was already in high school, and when I started high school here before going to study in Germany, he was working towards his master’s. Whenever we were together, it was weekends and holidays with our parents. They did their best to love us and support us equally, so...I can’t say if there were ever signs there, that he was capable of such...cruelty.” He swallowed. “We didn’t spend enough time together to know each other that well in the first place. It was only when I expressed interest in law that he paid more attention to me. You know, helped me study, gave me advice, encouraged me to watch his trials. But there was a lack of a...personal touch, I guess you could say. No liebe lost, just...disappointment and anger and...not to go on about it, in any case.”

“Oh.” Apollo nodded, considering. “I guess I should’ve known if he ever seemed, I dunno, ‘off’ to you before, then you would have suspected that - then maybe it would’ve been - I don’t wanna say ‘easier’, but…”

Nein, I...I know what you’re getting at.” Klavier smoothed Apollo’s hair away from his forehead. “But back to your original question - ja, we had a few dogs. All beautiful, affectionate, playful goldens. They weren’t the smartest dogs I’ve ever met, but they were so loyal and so patient with me while I was growing up and learning not to pull their ears and tails.”

Please tell me there’s photographic evidence of you with your dogs,” Apollo pleaded, laughing. “I’m just imagining a tinier version of you, jewelry and leather boots and all, chasing your dogs around and trying to catch their tails for them - ”

“It’s sehr süß that you think I was cool as a kid, but I’m going to have to correct you there,” Klavier chuckled, tapping him on the nose. “I had a bowl cut, Apollo. I wore pinstripe overalls and footie pyjamas and corduroy.”

“ god,” Apollo said, absolutely thrilled. “Is it too late for me to text your mom and request all your childhood photos?”

“Remember that time I said how glad I am that my parents love you so much?” Klavier groaned, collapsing onto his pillow. “Is it too late to take that back?”

“The fact they like me at all means a lot to me.” They were both silent for a moment, absorbing Apollo’s whispered confession. “It’s just, when you were telling me about them, I-I was so anxious about meeting them and living up to their expectations without being obnoxious as hell trying to do it, went so good, it was kinda scary.”

“Considering I spent so long telling them how amazing you are, that shouldn’t be so surprising,” Klavier murmured, rolling over to face Apollo once more. “You should’ve seen their reactions when I told them I finally had the courage to ask you out.”

A slow, sleepy grin spread across Apollo’s face. “Oh, I know. I have a group text with them.”

Klavier blinked. “...Entschuldigung?”

“They’ve given me great book recommendations,” Apollo said defensively. “And your dad wanted me to explain anime to him.”

Achtung,” Klavier sighed. “I bet his students would love to hear about that.” He then moved fully on top of Apollo, pressing him into the mattress, and began running his fingers through Apollo’s hair like before. “Really, though, I am glad they love you so much. But...not as much as me.”

“Ugh,” Apollo mumbled into Klavier’s neck, his hands snaking over his shoulders and coming to rest on his upper back. “You’re a real sap, y’know that, Gavin?” Instead of responding, Klavier slid his hands down from his temples to cup Apollo’s jaw, kissing him slowly, deliberately. Grinning into the kiss, Apollo wrapped his legs around Klavier’s waist, pulling him closer. There was significantly less talking after that.

Everything seemed fine at first. Better than fine, really, in Klavier’s opinion. Apollo’s bed was admittedly inferior compared to his, the mattress stiff and old and creaky, but the bedsheets were decent, the silence was comfortable, and he would never, ever complain about getting to be with Apollo. Then, Apollo’s breath started to quicken, his body warm and pliant beneath Klavier, who had one hand under Apollo’s T-shirt and the other down the front of his sweatpants, and then -


Klavier barely had time to react to Mikeko’s near-feral cry before the sound of his claws scratching insistently at the door had Apollo pulling away and getting to his feet. “Are you serious,” Apollo groaned, straightening out his rumpled clothes. “He can’t handle one night without sleeping in my room?!”

“To be fair, if he’s only ever slept in here, he’s probably confused about why he suddenly can’t,” Klavier pointed out, though his own frustration was also beginning to build. “Should we just...let him in?”

“What? No!” The scratching continued. “...fine. Mood’s killed, anyway.”

Mikeko looked very pleased with himself when Apollo opened the door, rubbing up against his owner’s legs with a contented purr before jumping on the bed. He stared at Klavier for a beat, ears pinned back defensively, hackles raised. Klavier glanced down at himself for a moment to take inventory - while his hair was down and in prime position for hair-eating, he wasn’t wearing any strong scents or jewelry, just an inoffensive T-shirt and sweatpants - then looked back up. “Ah, I know what it is,” he finally said, smiling softly. “I’ve taken Apollo’s attention away from you, is that it? You know the closed door is because of me, because I’m here.”

“Meow,” Mikeko replied sullenly.

“But kätzchen, I was the one who suggested we let you back in,” Klavier continued. Apollo’s eyes were flickering back and forth between his boyfriend and his cat in disbelief.

“Mreow,” Mikeko said in reluctant agreement.

“I think Apollo has enough room in his heart for both of us, ja?” Klavier smiled fondly at Apollo before looking back at Mikeko. 

“Mrrh.” With that, Mikeko’s ears shifted forward, the arch of his back relaxing, and he trotted up to Klavier to snuggle up against his chest. He mewled happily, his purr rumbling throughout his small body, seemingly now scent-marking Klavier as his own. Klavier lifted a cautious hand, then began rubbing Mikeko’s ears, letting out a well-earned sigh of relief.

“What...just happened?” Apollo said, blinking.

“We’ve reached an understanding, obviously,” Klavier replied, leaning down to kiss the crown of Mikeko’s head, like he often did with Apollo whenever they were out together. To Apollo’s astonishment, Mikeko squeezed his eyes shut in happiness; he almost looked as if he were smiling. Usually, any effort Apollo put into kissing Mikeko resulted in claws to the face.

“I...yeah, okay. Let’s go with that.” Apollo got back into bed, gently moving Mikeko aside so he could be closer to Klavier, and threw the covers over both of them. Mikeko paced the length of the mattress for a few turns before settling down by their heads, his whiskers tickling Apollo’s cheek, his tail dancing over Klavier’s nose.

Klavier turned his head to sneeze. “Ach, Mikeko, I just advocated for you. Let me sleep in peace, bitte.” Apollo suddenly began to chuckle, his laughter shaking the entire bed. “What is it?”

“Oh, it’s just - I was, like, stupidly worried about introducing you to Mik and, you know, whether you’d ever wanna come over again if you guys didn’t get along, but…” He turned onto his side to face Klavier; even in the darkness, backlit by moonlight creeping in through his cheap window blinds, Apollo’s smile seemed to shine. Klavier’s heart thumped pathetically in his chest. He was so gone for Apollo, it was embarrassing. “’s nice, seeing you talk to him like he’s human, and him somehow knowing that you’re putting in the effort to understand him.”

“I don’t think it’s stupid to worry,” Klavier said. “Pets are important. He’s your family, of course you were worried, just like you were worried about meeting my parents. I was...a little anxious, myself.”

“Really?” Apollo asked, shuffling closer.

“Well, if we were together, then I would have to make a good impression. For you.” Klavier reached behind his head to pet the half-asleep Mikeko. His purr was starting to sound akin to a smoothly-running car engine, his tail curling around Klavier’s wrist. “Otherwise, you would probably be more hesitant to move in with me - or whatever we end up doing - if Mikeko hated me, ja?”

“True,” Apollo said slowly with a soft grin.

“And if he’s important to you, then he’s important to me,” Klavier continued, retracting his hand. “So now that we’ve reached a truce of sorts, am I not allowed to spoil him, either?”

Apollo hummed. “Well, he could use some better toys since I was kinda cheaping out when I first got him. And I feel bad that I never got him a cat tower. Also, he’s got expensive taste in food and catnip. I think he eats better than I do.”

“So you want me to be his drug dealer, then,” Klavier said in the most serious tone he could muster. Apollo burst into laughter, startling Mikeko awake. The sound made Klavier’s chest feel irrevocably warm. “Ach, schatz, what kind of deal are we making here?”

“I wanna move in with you someday,” Apollo said, smiling sleepily. “And it’s not just because my apartment sucks.”

“If anything, us living together would give me peace of mind that you’ll be safe,” Klavier shuddered. “Your window locks - ”

“Forget I ever said anything about window locks,” Apollo interrupted with an exasperated groan. “Fact is, you make me happy and I feel really good about, y’know, us, and...I dunno, I think it would be the right move. Just - not now, obviously.”

Ja, a discussion for another time,” Klavier agreed, his heart feeling as full as ever. “When we’re not exhausted.”

“When we haven’t been interrupted by my cat,” Apollo said, angling his head so he could glare at Mikeko. Mikeko, now fully awake again, glared back. Klavier was starting to think Mikeko was secretly Apollo’s clone in cat form. “Anyway, we should really get to sleep or you’re gonna be useless at work tomorrow. Night, Klav.”

Gute Nacht, liebling.” They exchanged one last brief kiss before settling down on their respective pillows, eyes sliding shut. The room was silent again aside from the sound of their soft, even breaths and the faint noise of Los Angeles’ midnight traffic continuing on several floors down. Then, after a few peaceful minutes, Klavier’s eyes shot open. “Mikeko, are you eating my hair?!”

After a somewhat uncomfortable night’s sleep that involved a lot of tossing and turning and accidentally lying on Mikeko’s tail, Klavier woke to the sound of the bedsprings creaking as Apollo stood and left for the bathroom. He stayed still for a few minutes with his eyes closed, taking in the sounds of the faucet running and the cars honking below, the conflicting smells of pizza and brownies wafting in from the main living space, and the...heavy, weighted feeling beginning to build in his chest.

Panicked, Klavier sat up, letting out a gasp of breath and reaching to clutch at his heart. Only then did he realize he wasn’t having some sort of medical emergency. He just had an eight-pound cat sitting on his sternum.

“Mrrp,” Mikeko greeted with a lazy smile. He leaned down, nuzzling his fluffy face against Klavier’s cheek, scenting him once more. The sound of his purring was overwhelming this close-up.

Klavier let out a relieved sigh. “Kätzchen, as glad as I am that we seem to be getting along just fine, I could do without the morning panic attack, danke.” Mikeko continued to rub up against him, unperturbed, happily kneading his paws on Klavier’s chest. Klavier felt seconds away from sneezing.

“You trying to steal my cat from me, Gavin?” Klavier looked up to see Apollo leaning against the doorway with his arms loosely folded across his chest, a warm grin on his sleepy face. “Or is it the other way around?”

“Regardless, I think it’s already been done, Forehead,” Klavier teased, making a show of kissing Mikeko’s head like he’d done last night. Apollo’s smile widened at the sound of his old nickname, one that Klavier didn’t call him as much now that he had a whole repertoire of gag-inducing pet names at his disposal. “He’s telling me all about what cat tree he wants me to buy and where to get the good catnip.”

Apollo snorted, crawling onto the bed to kiss him briefly. “Morning.”

Guten Morgen, liebling,” Klavier murmured against his lips. It didn’t take long for Mikeko to start squirming his way out from between their bodies with an indignant meow. “I already said ‘good morning’ to you, kätzchen, don’t be greedy now.” Another long mewl of protest.

“You are such a needy boy,” Apollo sighed, lifting Mikeko off of Klavier so he could finally breathe properly. “And you, apparently, are now his other cat dad.”

“ think so?” Klavier asked.

“I am this close to getting you a bumper sticker for your motorcycle that says ‘my cat is smarter than your honor student’,” Apollo drawled. He then frowned. “Hey, your hair...oh, did Mik get to you?”

“I guess you didn’t hear our fuss last night,” Klavier replied, raking his fingers through his less-than-perfect hair. It didn’t look terrible, exactly, but the front of his bangs appeared as if he’d attempted to crimp them as his own personal love letter to the eighties and had failed spectacularly. “Nothing a little hair oil won’t fix.”

“If you’re sure,” Apollo said uncertainly, getting to his feet. “Okay, boys. Breakfast?”

Klavier went to relax on the couch while he watched Apollo make blueberry pancakes and turkey bacon. Mikeko climbed onto his lap, circling a few times before getting comfortable. Apparently, he was now following Klavier wherever he went, finding him more fascinating than any of his toys. “Are you sure I can’t help you, Apollo?” Klavier called.

“No, no, it’s actually better if you keep Mikeko preoccupied,” Apollo replied. “If he stays over there, he can’t come ‘snoopervise’ and get burned by cooking oil.”

“Is that a...thing that happens?” Klavier glanced down at Mikeko, who cracked open one golden eye, stared at Klavier, then squeezed it shut. It was only then that Klavier noticed a few of his whiskers were significantly shorter than the others, slightly bent and crumpled at the ends. “Ja, never mind, stupid question.”

They ate breakfast on the couch, Mikeko still firmly planted on Klavier’s lap and refusing to let him get up and head over to the dining table. His purr was a constant, almost too loud for them to hold a conversation at their normal - well, Klavier’s normal, Apollo had no trouble - volume. Klavier had to inspect every bite of food for airbound cat hair. “It’s too bad you have to go into work,” Apollo said once they’d finished. “Considering this is the only day off I’ve had in weeks.”

“I know,” Klavier said with an apologetic wince. “But I have a fun weekend planned for us that I’m sure you’ll enjoy, ich verspreche.”

“I’d feel better about your promises if I knew what we were doing,” Apollo retorted. “All you said was to pack a weekend bag for me and Mik. No hints about weather, activities, contingencies - ”

“Do you really want to know that badly?” Klavier remarked.

“It’s like you don’t know me at all,” Apollo said with an overexaggerated sigh, though he took Klavier’s plate regardless and went to put their dishes in the sink. “Please? A hint, at least.”

Klavier laughed. “Fine, fine, but only because you asked. I rented us a nice little lakeside cabin a couple hours out of the city. And before you ask, it does have indoor heating, plumbing, and most importantly for you, internet, with accommodations specifically for people with pets. Mikeko will have his own little covered patio so we can all get some fresh air together. How does that sound?” All he was met with was silence. Apollo had turned away from the sink to stare at him unblinkingly, the kind of stare he usually had when cross-examining witnesses. Having it fixed on him now made Klavier nervous. “...Apollo?”

Apollo then smiled. “Sorry, I just...I love you.”

Klavier let out a relieved sigh. “Ich liebe dich.” He held out a hand for Apollo to take, his grin widening when Apollo walked over to accept it, stepping between Klavier’s knees. “You scared me for a second there. I thought you hated the idea.”

“No no, it’s amazing, It’s just what we needed,” Apollo protested, squeezing Klavier’s hand. “I just needed a second to like, I dunno. Appreciate you. You somehow won over my cat, and now we’re going on a disgustingly domestic couple’s weekend together where you thought about him and what he means to me and I - man, Ema’s gonna give me so much shit for this. Trucy and Athena are gonna want pictures.”

“Then make sure to pack your camera as well.” Klavier reluctantly shuffled Mikeko off his lap so he could get up. Mikeko mewled his disapproval but let him go regardless. “I hate to ruin the moment, but I should get ready for work now or I’ll be late. Do you mind if I borrow your hair products?”

Apollo raised an eyebrow. “Uh...what products? You know I only use hair gel.”

“Ach,” Klavier said, his mouth twisting in mild disappointment. “I only brought my skincare and makeup. I’m going to look like a mess at the office today.”

“What, you don’t like the ‘cat-ate-my-hair’ look?” Apollo smoothed out Klavier’s bangs. “I’m sure it’s very fashionable in...Germany.”

“And what do you know of trends, baby?” Klavier pulled him closer, then dropped a kiss on his forehead. “I adore you, but the most interesting thing you do with your clothes is rolling your sleeves. And that’s only because you have to buy a size up to accommodate for your broad shoulders.”

“You love my broad shoulders,” Apollo mumbled churlishly into Klavier’s chest. His responding laughter caused both of them to shake. “Alright, alright, go get ready for work. I’ll grab a container for all the brownies I’m making you take with you. Whether you eat them or you give them to your colleagues, I don’t care. I just know if they stay in this apartment, they’ll be gone by the end of the day.”

Naturally, Mikeko followed Klavier into the bathroom, hopping onto the toilet tank to watch him do his skin and makeup and attempt to fix his hair. He seemed fascinated by all the little bottles and containers Klavier had precariously lined up on the sink’s edge, batting them with a gentle paw, enough to make them tip, but not enough to knock them to the floor.

“Careful, let’s not make a mess for Apollo,” Klavier warned, massaging his serum into his skin. “But it must be nice for you, kätzchen, not needing a personal grooming routine. What I wouldn’t give to have naturally good skin and hair, achtung. Apollo told me the other day that all he uses is water, the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and cold cream. I nearly cried. How does he have the skin of a newborn baby?”

“Mreow,” Mikeko answered, amused. He wasn’t sure, either.

“And to still have perfect eyesight, no glasses or anything - is it that Gramarye gene, do you think?” Klavier mused while he put in his contacts. “Considering his sister doesn’t wear them, either, though she is still young - ” Mikeko’s hackles raised at the mere mention of her. “Ah, right, I forgot you hold a grudge. You should really let that go, if you ask me. Trucy is wunderbar.”

“Mrp,” Mikeko replied sullenly. Klavier laughed, scraping his hair back into a bun in such a way that he managed to hide the mangled strands in the front. He then turned to Mikeko, a soft smile playing on his lips.

“I hope you think I’m good for Apollo, kätzchen,” he said sincerely. “It’s been a while since my last relationship and I just want to do right by him, you know?”

“Mrrh,” Mikeko purred, climbing into the sink basin so he could rub up against Klavier’s chest, tail curled up to brush along the underside of Klavier’s nose. He didn’t seem to care about dipping his paws into the dredges of water left behind.

“Your understanding of the human language scares me a little,” Klavier informed him. Mikeko continued to purr.

“I can hear you talking to my cat, Klavier,” Apollo shouted from the other side of the apartment. “Not that I’m telling you how to live your life, but if Mr. Edgeworth gives you an earful for being late ‘cos you thought Mikeko was more interesting, that’s on you.”

Ja, ja,” Klavier laughed, packing away his things and exiting the bathroom. Mikeko trailed after him, weaving between his legs and rubbing up against his calves, nearly tripping Klavier on the way into the kitchen. “Easier said than done when Mikeko is trying to injure me.”

“And now you know why I get up early to accommodate.” Apollo slid a Tupperware container of brownies across the counter with a satisfied smirk. “For you. Don’t tell your nutritionist or she’ll actually cry.”

“She’s going to hate this,” Klavier said delightedly, popping the lid open. “Danke, baby.”

“Wait, you’re not eating one right now, are you?” And then, to Apollo’s horror, all he could do was stand there and watch as Klavier plucked off a couple of pieces of shredded coconut and knelt down to feed them to Mikeko, who was waiting patiently by his feet. “Hey, hey, please don’t enable my cat!”

“Just the once, I swear.” Klavier closed the lid, slipped it into his bag, and went to grab his shoes and jacket from the coat closet, inspecting the toes of his shoes for any permanent markings. “Are you free for lunch tomorrow?”

“Uh, yeah, on account of us having a trial together, Klav,” Apollo reminded him. “Though I’m not sure how people are gonna feel if they catch the defense and the prosecution eating lunch and playing footsie in the courthouse café.”

“I have never - ”

“You have attempted footsie with me in public and you know it,” Apollo retorted, poking Klavier in the stomach before stepping closer, wrapping his arms around Klavier’s waist. “Anyway, enjoy your paperwork. I’ll send you some videos of Mik when he was younger if you let your mom send me your baby pictures. I need bowl cuts and pinstripes in my life.”

Einspruch! This is extortion,” Klavier protested. “Auf Wiedersehen, süßer, ich liebe dich.” He then bent to rub Mikeko’s ears affectionately; the responding purr was near-instant by now. “Auf Wiedersehen, kätzchen. Let Apollo have a relaxing day off, ja? No coconut eating, no door scratching, no staring at him while he’s in the bathroom. I’ve heard complaints.”

“Mrrp,” Mikeko answered. The glint in his golden eyes seemed to say no promises.

“Love you,” Apollo murmured, kissing Klavier on the cheek. “Now seriously, get out of here. I don’t wanna be responsible for you getting fired.”

“I would take all the blame anyway,” Klavier promised, tilting his head to kiss Apollo properly.

“As you should,” Apollo said, grinning against Klavier’s lips. Mikeko’s mewl reminded them that he really did need to get going, causing them to reluctantly pull apart.

When Klavier finally managed to leave, Apollo collapsed onto the couch, pleasantly sleepy and not at all interested in doing the dishes or the laundry or inspecting his bedroom door for cat-induced damages. Mikeko padded over to him partway through an episode of a morning talk show he wasn’t really watching, holding one of his ribbon kickers in his mouth, and deposited it into Apollo’s lap. He then rolled over, exposing his belly, and batted playfully at Apollo’s face. Smiling, Apollo rubbed his stomach, enjoying the feeling of Mikeko’s impossibly soft fur underneath his calloused fingers.

“Yeah,” he said, perfectly content. “We love this one.”