Title: Like Water Off a Duck's Back
Fandom: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney: Following in the footsteps of Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice steps up to defend his client in court against a rock 'n roll prosecutor who flirts with everything that moves. And possibly some things that don't. I DON'T OWN IT, THEY'RE ALL PROPERTY OF CAPCOM!
Taunt: My fandom has a never-ending supply of panties.
After the conclusion of the Vera Misham trial, there was a new rule in the legal profession. It started in the prosecutor's office, and made its way from the Chief Prosecutor all the way down to the newest kid working in the mail room. From there, it traveled by word of mouth to the police and to the courthouse itself. It was whispered between the security guards, and shared by the detectives.
That rule was simple: Do not mention the name of Kristoph Gavin in the presence of his brother. Ever.
Klavier Gavin had changed after that trial.
Most didn't notice it. To many people, he was the same glimmerous fop (to borrow a phrase from Detective Skye), just as he had always been. He teased and cajoled and flirted, his accented English sprinkled with German words and little phrases. He smiled at everyone. And he appeared in court, taking on cases in his usual manner.
But those who knew him best and who had spent the most time around him noticed the small changes. They saw how the flirting was never quite as dramatic, how his teasing was more of an afterthought than a habit, and how the smiles never seemed quite as bright as they had been and tended to fade far sooner than they used to. And though he smiled and was pleasant, he avoided people when he could. He no longer signaled his victory in court by a ceremonial air guitar.
It was only when someone mentioned his brother within earshot that he clammed up and grew tense or angry. After a few words were spoken regarding a comment about his physical resemblance to his disgraced sibling, the word had spread regarding the Rule.
When he announced that the Gavinners were disbanding, he said it was because nothing could rock as hard as that trial had. It seemed a strange reason, but no one questioned it. Still, there were whispered rumors that it had less to do with that trial and more to do with the trial he had worked just before it, in which his bandmate and close friend had been convicted of murder. Losing his brother and his friend to murder charges in such close succession had destroyed the joy of his music, it was suggested…
But great care was taken to keep those words from reaching the prosecutor's ears. Kristoph Gavin might have lost it all, but Klavier Gavin was still a good, respectable man with a good reputation.
Those closest to him saw the changes, and many were worried. In spite of his best efforts to appear normal, it seemed like the rock 'n roll had been drained from the rock 'n roll prosecutor. But no one had found the right opportunity to ask, to find out what was going on inside that blond head of his. And he was not inclined to share.
Apollo wavered for a moment, then decided that it would be better to go ahead and take the shortcut through the park to get home. He had been working at the Wright Agency, keeping far later hours than usual, and he had glanced up and been alarmed at the realization that he needed to get going if he was going to make it home before dark. The sun was setting as he passed through the park gates.
He had been back in court today, his first trial since the Vera Misham case; the case was a murder trial, and he was relatively certain he could find a way to prove his client's innocence. There were too many questions for it to truly be an open-and-shut case. It felt surprisingly good to be back at the defense table. But he had faced off, once again, against Prosecutor Gavin.
He was still startled at how difficult it had been to face Gavin in court. Granted, there was little chance of the prosecutor doing or saying anything completely unprofessional or personal, and indeed the matter had not even been mentioned or alluded to. But it was twice now that he had proven the elder Gavin guilty of murder.
And Klavier had vanished immediately upon the judge's announcement that court was adjourned for the day. There were no words exchanged in the lobby regarding the day's proceedings, no questions or comments on the evidence or testimonies, no teasing or calls of Herr Forehead…nothing. He had absented himself quickly and without a word to anyone.
It was awful. Apollo knew he had done the right thing, and he knew that Klavier didn't hold it against him. He had done nothing more than reveal the truth of a painful matter. But while the prosecutor might not have begrudged him for it, he also was not seeking out his company. And Apollo felt a twinge of guilt over it all.
He shook his head. He needed to stop thinking about it for a while. Tonight, he would go home, he would take a shower, and he would lose consciousness for at least eight hours. Tomorrow was another day, and he was due back in court.
Squaring his shoulders with renewed determination at his plan, Apollo lifted his chin…and immediately stopped dead in his tracks, eyes widening.
Klavier Gavin was walking along the path, not too far ahead of him. His back was to Apollo, and he gave no indication of any awareness that there was anyone around him. He had something in his hand—it looked like a simple plastic shopping bag. As Apollo watched, Gavin walked off the path and onto the grass, making his way up a slight incline only to disappear down the other side.
Apollo frowned. Where was he going?
Making a quick decision, he followed the prosecutor's path into the grass. He walked up the incline, and found himself looking down at a small pond, nestled comfortably amidst the grassy area of the park. The water shone prettily, reflecting the light of the setting sun, and there was the steady call of numerous ducks quacking at each other as they swam or chased each other around the lake's edge.
Oh yeah…I forgot this was here… he thought, feeling a bit silly.
He paused, though, when he spotted Gavin. The prosecutor was sitting down in the grass near the water's edge where the ducks were. Many of the birds went waddling off, quacking up a storm at the intruder in their midst. It really was a strange picture, though, to see a bona fide rock star sitting there like that, looking every inch the singer women screamed over.
And he only added to the picture of strangeness when he opened the plastic bag he'd brought with him and withdrew a piece of bread. He began tearing it into pieces and tossing it on the grass and water towards the birds. The ducks realized that it was food, and went after it.
Several possibilities of what he might see when he walked over that hill had flickered through Apollo's mind. This particular scenario hadn't even made the list. But the scene did not change: Klavier Gavin was sitting in the grass…feeding the ducks.
For a moment, Apollo was torn. Was this a private moment, and he should leave? Or…
Before he really realized what he was doing, he was walking across the grass. Gavin didn't look up until he seemed to notice the shadow falling across his legs; he looked startled. "Forehead?"
"What are you doing?" Apollo couldn't stop himself from asking, though it was fairly obvious.
Klavier looked mildly discomfited at the question.
"…do you want me to leave?" Apollo asked.
"Nein, nein…" Klavier sighed and smiled slightly; he looked surprisingly tired. "Sit?" When Apollo had taken the proffered seat in the grass beside him, the prosecutor handed him a piece of stale bread. "I come here sometimes. It's very calming."
He was right, Apollo realized quickly as he began tearing the slice into smaller pieces and tossing them towards the birds on the water. His curiosity about everything faded into the sound of the ducks quacking, the quiet rippling of the water, and the lights of the setting sun. The trials, the bad memories…everything melted away, if only for a moment.
"…I see why you do this," he commented, dusting the crumbs from his hands.
"It's calming, ja?"
"Ja—I mean, yeah. It really is." He paused, then decided to venture the question. "…you okay?"
"It's probably not my place to ask," Apollo went on, "but you haven't been acting like yourself lately. Ever since…that trial." Mentioning it was probably a risk, but he took it in the hopes that not all good intentions paved the road to hell. "A lot of people are worried about you."
Klavier shook his head. "I doubt that, Forehead." So far, he didn't seem too bothered by the questions.
"It's the truth. But no one really wants to ask you about it."
"Oh?" Klavier said archly, raising an eyebrow. "Why is that?"
Apollo pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them; he looked down, studying the creases in his slightly-wrinkled pants. "Everyone likes you, Gavin. Or at the very least, they respect you. So no one wants to offend you. Or bring up the wrong topic."
There was a moment of silence before Klavier sighed. "About…Kristoph, ja?"
"That would be it."
It went quiet again, the silence between them tempered by the quacking of the ducks and the soft slap of the water hitting the stones that ran around its perimeter. Apollo couldn't quite ignore that little voice in the back of his head that kept telling him he had destroyed the admittedly odd friendship he had managed to cultivate with his cross-courtroom rival.
"…everything went so far south so quickly," the prosecutor sighed after that long moment. He looked unusually distant. "First Daryan, then Kristoph, one right after the other. How did this happen? How did—" He stopped himself and glanced off to the side. "…I don't understand."
Apollo followed with his own moment of silence. This was a side of the German prosecutor that few probably saw. And at some level, he had always known that there was a shy side somewhere underneath the glamour and rock 'n' roll and air guitaring and cries of "Achtung, baby!" Even after everything happened, he still held to the image his fans adored. But…if he was letting that down for a moment, did it mean that he trusted Apollo to see it?
Or was it the setting? Klavier mentioned that he'd come to this place before. He probably wanted to be alone, and Apollo had intruded. Despite protests that it was fine, he had to wonder. But the fact was that he was there, and Gavin was unhappy. He had to do something…
Finally, after that second of internal debate, he spoke up very quietly. "Do you want to talk about it?" At the strange look he got in reply, he hurriedly added, "I know I'm probably not the person you want to talk to, and if you don't want to say anything, that's okay, but…I'd be willing to listen."
There was another pause, one of so many…
And then Klavier turned his eyes back to the pond and the ducks, and he started to talk. In a hushed voice, he talked about his brother.
They were all little memories, some going all the way back to when Klavier himself was merely a child. Nothing exceptional or truly extraordinary, but a verbal collage of two brothers growing up.
How he had gotten in trouble for putting on Kristoph's glasses, running into a wall, and breaking them.
How he had been forbidden to cross the street by himself as a young child, and so he would habitually kidnap Kristoph for the occasion and force his long-suffering older brother to hold his hand and walk him to his destination.
How Kristoph had threatened, in no uncertain terms, to find out exactly how long a wooden guitar would burn if Klavier didn't keep that racket down while he was trying to do homework.
How Kristoph had described his first performance gig as "not quite ear-breaking" and offered that trademark smile in lieu of outright congratulations, but Klavier insister that he knew what he meant.
How he had gone into law and been completely thrilled to learn that he would face his own older brother across the courtroom in his first trial as a prosecutor…
The more he talked, the more Apollo got the impression that his presence had been outright forgotten. Klavier seemed to be talking more to the orange-painted sky, the water, and the ducks then to the friendly rival sitting in the grass beside him. The memories and anecdotes just kept pouring out, rolling along like water off a duck's back—a more fitting comparison truly never existed.
And as he drew out of the distant past and into the harsh present, his voice grew quieter and quieter until he finally fell silent altogether, staring out across the scenery and listening to the ducks calling each other. In the course of their conversation, the sun had continued to move, sinking further and further down in the sky. The horizon was painted in a bright array of warm colors; it would be dark soon.
"Do you feel any better?" Apollo asked after a moment, offering a smile.
"…I do," Klavier admitted. "Somehow, I do." He glanced at Apollo and opened his mouth, then closed it again as though he wanted to ask something but did not dare to.
Apollo decided to risk a joke. "I know this isn't rock n' roll. So I won't tell your fans."
The prosecutor stared at him for a moment…and then started to laugh. "I appreciate that, Forehead." He stood, brushing loose bits of grass from his pants, and offered Apollo a hand up. "Where are you off to for the evening?"
"Well, I was heading home," Apollo said, accepting the proffered hand. But he was nearly knocked over when Klavier slung an arm around his shoulders, preventing immediate escape. "…or I might be getting kidnapped for something?"
"Very good," Klavier purred. "I think I owe you a round."
Apollo glanced up. For the first time since the Misham trial, the smile on Klavier's face looked completely genuine. And he just couldn't say no to that. "All right. But you're buying." But as they started walking towards the park gate, Apollo couldn't help but pipe up again. "Klavier Gavin likes to feed the ducks. I wonder how much I could get for a photo of that—"
And then he had to run as a mildly-irate prosecutor barked something in German and gave chase.
PS. My first attempt at an Apollo Justice story. I just fell in love with the odd little friendship between these two. As to the reasoning behind them feeding the ducks…I just liked the image. And feeding ducks is fun and very relaxing. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!