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Part one of a story for karnimolly! As it got longer and complicated than expected, I decided to start posting it in parts so that she wouldn't have to wait longer. The next part won't take nearly so long; sorry for the delay!

Title: Moment to Moment (Part I)
Characters/Pairings: Apollo/Klavier (others to come in later parts)
Word count: 3900
Rating: PG13
Warnings: References to murder, death; spoilers for Apollo Justice.
Summary: The captive Kristoph Gavin made his escape--then vanished. Months have passed. His disappearance has had quite an effect on the people he knows, but what will happen when he returns?
Notes: Set in the year following Turnabout Succession.



It was four thirty at the courthouse when Apollo realized his bike had been stolen.

People say your whole life can change in an instant, and that's true. Life can change in any length of time. Some of those instants aren't as instantaneous as they seem. The change seems to happen in a second, but there were many previous moments leading up to it. Maybe years' worth. That was what Apollo thought when he looked back on his first trial, when he'd defended Mr. Wright. The minutes passing in the courtroom had gone by so fast, and his life had changed completely during those swift moments, but as it had turned out, that trial had been years in the making. Sometimes you'd never know when something really started, or when it was truly, and finally, over.

Apollo wasn't thinking about how many years or how many questionable choices had lead up to the jerk who'd stolen his bike deciding to steal his bike, because he was too angry to be philosophical about it. Instead, he kicked a lamppost. He immediately realized this had been a bad idea, drawing his foot back with a pained groan. Now he had a sore foot to blame the bike bandit for.

He was both seething and incredulous. Who would steal a bike from in front of a courthouse? It was a bold crime, almost reckless. If Apollo had been profiling the criminal--and he was, if only in an amateur sense--he'd have said they were not only foolish, but also rude and sloppy. Or maybe they had a keen sense of irony. More important than his profile was the question: how had law enforcement allowed that to happen? What was wrong with the cops in the city? Were they not paying any attention to anything? No, they probably weren't. This wasn't a great year for justice, as far as he was concerned. Things had been going steadily downhill since January. Sometimes he found it difficult to remember all the way back to autumn, when his problems had been wrapped up for the most part, and life had returned to a state of normalcy, or as normal as life could be for an employee of the Wright Anything Agency.

He wasn't sure what to do about his bike at first. Should he talk to the cops? That was the most obvious course of action, but it sounded like it would be a pain. He wasn't in the mood to talk right away, and if he did, he might end up being more critical of local law enforcement than he would mean to be. He needed a cooling down period, however brief. He could call and report the theft tomorrow, or maybe go down to the station himself, if there was no other work for him back at the office, which was likely to be the case. He sighed. Losing his bike was the last thing he needed. It wasn't that he couldn't buy another bike, but he'd rather not have such a big expense this month. He wasn't the high paid kind of lawyer. More importantly, it wouldn't be his bike, and most importantly, it was the principle of the thing.

Principle was important to Apollo.

As a matter of principle, he did not catch a cab, but started to walk home. He was grumbling about it as he went, but it was a noble grumbling, and he felt justified in it. He was so wrapped up in his own nobility, in fact, he hardly noticed when a dark car that was driving past him hesitated, then slowed. Apollo didn't turn and take in what was happening until the car had pulled up to the curb beside him, and its back seat window rolled down, with a faint hum.

Once he had turned, Apollo started as a shadowy figure addressed him from the car's interior. "Get in."

Apollo blinked, then relaxed. "Oh, it's you."

"Ja. Of course it's me."

"You shouldn't sneak up on people in your car like that, Klavier. It's creepy."

Klavier was not bothered by this accusation of creepiness, but replied good-naturedly: "As this is a large car, and I was waving at you from inside, I thought you would have noticed."

Now that he was noticing, Apollo saw that the dark car was not black, but a very dark purple. That did not surprise him. "What happened to your motorcycle?" Apollo asked.

"What happened to your bicycle?" Klavier countered, without answering the question.

This made Apollo forget about his own unanswered question at once. He had some very strong feelings on this subject. "It was stolen," he said, with a sense of righteous outrage.

"Stolen?" No one responded to righteous outrage quite like Klavier Gavin. No longer a shadowy figure, he was leaning out the car window with his eyebrows raised, his face the very picture of lawful concern. "This is terrible. Have you contacted the police? We can't let this crime go unpunished."

Apollo felt a bit guilty. He had been more focused on his personal annoyance than the noble goal of stopping a criminal who might strike again, depriving someone else of their beloved bicycle. He felt his words rang hollow as he replied, "I thought I'd get around to it tomorrow." This wasn't his finest hour. "I had to get back to the office."

There was no judgment in Klavier's eyes where his delay was concerned, but Klavier was never the sort of person to blame the victim. "Don't worry yourself, Herr Justice. I'll be sure to speak to someone at the precinct about it," he said, as he opened his car door. "Get in. This is much faster than your bicycle."

Apollo liked walking, but it had been a few weeks since he'd seen Klavier, so he decided to accept his offer of a ride. "Why the whole car and driver thing?" he asked once the car started forward. He nodded toward the front seat, where a grave-faced man in a suit sat with his hands on the wheel, navigating his way through the traffic.

Klavier leaned back and seemed all at once to grow smaller. Apollo immediately regretted asking about it, because when he paused to think, the answer to it was obvious. He tried to think of a way to change the subject, but Klavier did the work for him, helpful as always, though his voice had grown a little sadder and a little softer. "Where should I take you? Back to the office, or are you on your way home?"

"Home." He had been thinking of returning to the office, but when asked the question, he decided there wasn't much point to that. He wasn't even sure if Mr. Wright was there. He wasn't quite sure where Mr. Wright was. One could never tell, with him. "Not much to do at the office."

Klavier nodded. "Herr Wright has not yet learned how to drum up business?" A wry smirk turned up one corner of his mouth, but it quickly faded. "Then I will take you home." He gave the driver directions, then turned back to Apollo. "You are being careful, I hope?

"I'm always careful."

"Good. Never stop." When he smiled again, it was a sorrowful smile, and Apollo wished Klavier would return to the way he was when he'd first appeared, waving and leaning out of the car. Apollo could see clearly now, how he'd grown thinner over the months of this year. It had been a hard year for all of them, but it might have taken the greatest toll on Klavier.

Last October, when they'd last faced each other in court and Vera had been proven innocent, might as well have been a far distant time, in another world. November and December had passed quietly, if with the usual festivities. This year had started out on a promising note in a bright January, with Apollo and Klavier both focusing on their law careers. Even Mr. Wright had been considering retaking the bar, and he'd been working very hard on procrastinating where that was concerned.

Apollo hated to blame Klavier for anything that had happened to disrupt that peace. It hadn't been his fault, and no one could have rationally thought he was responsible. It was possible the same thing would have happened anyway, even if Kristoph had remained in prison. Who could have faulted Klavier for not wanting his brother to die? It had seemed like a good idea, having him declared mentally ill and transferred to the institution. It had been a high security facility, but Kristoph had had a little more freedom and a few more people to interact with. He'd been a model inmate. His past clients had brought him gifts and done him favors, as they had when he'd been in prison.

Kristoph had had time since the trial, time in which to gather his wits, assess the situation, and rebuild his calm, cool façade. All smiles, he had charmed the doctors and his fellow patients. In the end, his escape had been simple: no act of violence, no elaborate plot. He could be very charismatic when he wished to be. At times like that, everything Kristoph said sounded so sensible, so right, that it was hard to see how it could be otherwise. In spite of all the evidence against him, Kristoph could make it seem like he was innocent, like he'd been wronged somehow.

That was exactly what he'd done. He had made friends with a member of staff. He'd sensed a weakness in the man, identifying him as someone easy to manipulate, and he had exploited it. He wanted to escape not for any selfish reason, but to clear his name and bring to light the identity of the real criminal. Apollo knew enough about Kristoph that he could imagine how plausible it had seemed, delivered in that low, soft voice. Though anyone who had taken the time to examine the facts and remember what Kristoph was capable of could have seen right through it.

Kristoph's new friend hadn't been so insightful, and he'd been taken in. He'd been all too willing to play his part in Kristoph's plan. It had been a perfectly simple plan without the complications that had doomed his other plots. It had been as simple as walking through a door. Kristoph had simply--left. His accomplice had been apprehended and arrested, but as for Kristoph Gavin: no one knew where he was, or so much as where he might have gone. It was as if he had stepped through the doors of the institution and disappeared. Just like that.

Klavier had taken it hard. Apollo didn't blame him, but Klavier blamed himself. It was obvious that he did, and it was equally obvious that he didn't believe Kristoph's seemingly simple plan was really that simple. He behaved as if he suspected a second stage. He'd taken a sabbatical from work. Based on what Apollo had heard, both in the press and from people who knew the younger Gavin brother, he'd been growing more and more reclusive as the weeks had passed. He didn't take interviews, and he was rarely glimpsed outside. Now it seemed he'd given up his motorcycle and hired a driver. It was as if he didn't trust himself or his brother. The man who so loved to ride his motorcycle was now sitting safely in the back seat, hands off the wheel. It wasn't like him at all.

"What have you been up to lately?" Apollo ventured.

Klavier waved a hand. "You know. This and that. I try to keep busy."

"Doing what?"

Klavier glanced away, out the window at the traffic. "I play music, and I study. I read my law books. I don't want to grow rusty, so that's what I do."

"That's good," said Apollo, encouraging. "I'm sure everyone misses you at court." Which sounded more stupid than he'd realized it would, now that he'd heard it spoken out loud. It wasn't easy to bring up a painful subject, even when you thought it was the right thing to do. He didn't want to come out and say that Klavier shouldn't be letting his brother have so much influence over him. No one could fault Klavier for wanting to be careful, but it was as if he was letting his brother run his life, even in absentia. Was secluding himself really going to keep him safe?

Klavier probably guessed Apollo's thoughts, but he said nothing about that subject. He limited himself to Apollo's comment. "Perhaps they do, but there are many quite talented men and women at the Prosecutor's Office. You might say I'm giving them their time to rock."

"What about your time to rock?" asked Apollo, before he realized that that sounded even more stupid than what he'd said before.

Klavier laughed, but fondly. "Ja. My time. Maybe I need a little rest, that's all. I've always pushed myself so hard. Time for an intermission, baby."

Apollo frowned. Klavier sounded so depressed when he said that. "Hey, you know, maybe--instead of me going home, we could do something."

Klavier turned to face him again, eyes a little wider. His lips weren't in the shape of a smile, but he might have been considering smiling. Just maybe. "Oh? And what do you propose we do, Herr Forehead?"

Apollo didn't appreciate the return to that nickname, but he forged ahead. He was also glad he hadn't said "forged ahead" out loud, because Klavier probably would have laughed and said "forged forehead" or something like that. "Whatever you want to do," said Apollo. "We could just hang out."

"Just hang out." Klavier smirked. "That makes me feel like I'm in high school again. You've got to work on your game, Herr Justice."

"What?" Apollo blinked, twice, before he realized what Klavier meant. "Oh--no. I wasn't. I just--"

"Relax, Apollo." Klavier put a hand on his shoulder. "I was teasing."

"I'm not worried," said Apollo, and he wasn't. He was embarrassed, yes, and he wouldn't deny that, as it was probably written all over his face in bright red, but he wasn't worried.

"I'm glad to hear it." Klavier's laugh was warm now, and Apollo consoled himself with the thought that he was at least having some kind of positive effect on him, if only by giving him ample opportunity for teasing. "I wouldn't want to think I was frightening you, though I know my rakish good looks and my brilliant legal mind can be intimidating."

Unlike him, Klavier had a way of defusing tense situations and making people feel better, which was frustrating, because Klavier was the one in need of cheering up. "Right. I can hardly bring myself to speak in your presence."

"I learned that very well during our time in court together," said Klavier. Apollo opened his mouth to protest, but Klavier's quick addition forestalled him. That's going to be difficult for you when we're just hanging out today, I think."

"So you want to? Hang out, I mean?" Apollo wished he couldn't actually speak in Klavier's presence, because it would have been better to say nothing than the kind of silly things he was coming up with. He decided to act as if what he'd said sounded perfectly fine. He'd brazen it out. Klavier might have been better at conversation, but he was better at--he wasn't exactly sure what, off the top of his head, but lots of things, he was sure. He wasn't intimidated.

Klavier may have noted his determined look, because he didn't smile, but nodded and replied quite seriously: "I would like that very much, Apollo. I could do with some socializing. Would you like to come back to my apartment with me?"

"Sure, that'd be great," said Apollo.

If Apollo's bike hadn't been stolen, he would have left the courthouse earlier. He likely wouldn't have met up with Klavier at all, and everything would have turned out differently. It was that one incident that changed everything, although Apollo didn't realize that at the time. He was more concerned with not saying anything else ridiculous, and he never had been much good at predicting the future.

Klavier's apartment building would have made Apollo's look shabby if they'd been placed side by side, and Apollo was aware of it, but he stubbornly thought to himself that he preferred his own old, brick-faced building to the pale and modern assemblage that rose above them. The metal and glass of the building's front gleamed, although the sun was already starting to set. Klavier was joking about a mutual acquaintance as they walked through the door into the lobby, but he drew up short in the midst of walking across the floor. "I wonder where the doorman is?"

"Is one always here?" asked Apollo, who knew little about the ways of doormen.

"No, not always, I wouldn't say." He shrugged. "But it is a little odd."

"Maybe because of the elevator?" Apollo suggested, as he noticed a gold-colored sign with black letters had been placed on the elevator door, proclaiming it was Out of Order.

"That could be," Klavier agreed, though he didn't sound entirely sure about the connection between those two circumstances. "Well, we will take the stairs. It's not too arduous a climb. I don't think it will tax you too much."

"I'll try not to slow you down," said Apollo sarcastically. His own building had an elevator, if not so broad and fancy as the one in this building, but as often as not, he took the stairs. The elevator could be slow, and he could never quite trust it not to break down. Reflecting on the matter, he realized it never had broken down, yet here was the elevator in this much newer and much pricier building, not doing what it was supposed to. A grander and more spacious elevator wasn't much good if it didn't go up, unless you were looking for a plush little room to stand in.

"That's odd," said Klavier, as he opened the door to the stairwell. "The lights are out in here."

"Maybe whatever messed up the elevator messed up the lights too, some kind of electrical problem."

"Yes," agreed Klavier, though it was clear from his tone that he was more hesitant. "It is very dark. It must be an electrical problem."

"There's the exit light, that's still on," said Apollo helpfully. It was a bright, red light, so he saw that as a good omen, stepping ahead of Klavier into the shadows. He could understand why Klavier was jumpy, but he was sure it was fine. "Come on."

Klavier must have been reassured enough, because he followed Apollo through the door, then took the lead again, regaining some of his confidence. "You're right, of course." He ascended a few steps, but his calm was short-lived, and he stopped suddenly. "What was that?" he asked sharply.

"What was what?"

"I heard something--on the stairs above us somewhere." It was dark, but by the red glow of the exit light, Apollo could see the very real alarm on Klavier's face.

Apollo hadn't heard anything. He didn't doubt that Klavier had, but he was sure it wasn't anything important. "Probably one of your neighbors," he said. Klavier didn't look convinced, so Apollo set out to prove it to him, raising his voice. "Hey, who's up there?" The words, the proud result of his Chords of Steel in action, echoed through the stairwell. As the echoes faded away, Apollo thought maybe he heard something, a very faint noise, almost drowned out by the echo of his voice. If anything, it was a door closing as someone left the stairs for one of the floors. He couldn't blame whoever it was for not shouting back. He knew his ringing voice could be intimidating, and maybe they'd thought it was weird. Nothing had obligated them to respond. But in that case, at least he'd cleared out the stairwell for Klavier.

"Thank you, Herr Justice. You have a--rather boisterous and straightforward way of dealing with problems."

"You're welcome," said Apollo.

"I think you're right. There's nothing to be afraid of." Klavier started up the stairs again, yet by the time they reached his floor and stepped into the full light of the corridor, Apollo was sure that all was not well. The strain had returned to Klavier's features, and the tension to his body. Apollo gave Klavier credit: he welcomed him in. He tried to smile, to play the good host, keeping up a light patter of jokes and pleasantries, but there was an undeniable tension in the air. He seemed to wait only what he felt was an appropriate amount of time before announcing, "I apologize, Herr Justice, I am not feeling as well as I thought. Would you mind if I cut our hanging out short?"

"No, it's fine. I understand," he said, because he did.

"I'll call my driver and have him take you home."

"That's okay." Apollo would have felt weird being driven around in a big car like that, especially as he didn't know Klavier's driver. "I'd rather walk. It's nice out."

On his way downstairs, he took the stairwell again. It was quiet, still dark. Apollo paused, listening. He didn't hear anything, but suddenly, he felt afraid, as if Klavier's fear was contagious. Maybe it didn't mean anything. Maybe it was a nervousness that was natural to experience in a closed, dark space, but he felt a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he didn't want to venture any further into the darkness. He allowed himself to think about the person neither he nor Klavier had mentioned: Kristoph. Apollo pictured his cool blue eyes that had no real feeling behind them unless he was angry, his placid yet cold smile. They'd both been thinking about him and where he might be: a thousand miles away, or closer to hand, in a darkened stairwell? Either option was possible. He might be anywhere right now.

Apollo's breath quickened. He stood where he was, not moving. He might have remained there for some time, listening to the silence and watching the dark, but a noise jolted him from his trance. It was the click of a door opening, followed by a loud, friendly clamor. A group of people, most likely heading out for the evening, emerged from the floor above and started downstairs, talking and laughing as they went. As if their presence cast a spell, or broke one, the stairwell was safe and normal again. Apollo let out a sigh of breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding in. He joined up with the descending cluster of friends, following a little ways behind, and they hardly noticed him.

In the lobby, the doorman was had returned to his proper place, no concern on his face. Apollo almost started toward him to ask a question about the elevator, but he thought better of it. Nothing seemed to be wrong, so why bother the man? Apollo stepped outside. It was an ordinary day which had become an ordinary evening. There was nothing to worry about. Or so it appeared in that moment, when Apollo started down the sidewalk. He knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that at any second everything might change. That was always the case, but he couldn't live his life looking for the next big change. He had to live in the present, head forward, and make his own way home.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
sam_cc
Aug. 1st, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh! I won't lie, I dropped everything else when I saw this on my f-list in order to read it. xD

It's pretty exciting to see you writing a multi-chaptered AJ story with such an interesting basis. The set-up here was pretty intense and I don't even want to hazard a guess at how Kristoph will factor into the story. It's going to be interesting though.

you did a good job with the suspence at the end, it was easy to feel as uncertain as Apollo did heading down the stairs the second time around. We've all felt like that at times before.

Looking forward to seeing more of this. :3
foxysquidalso
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much, Sam! It's nice to hear that you dropped everything in order to read this, that's very flattering! ♥ I really appreciate it.

I'm so glad you like the story so far, and that you're finding it suspenseful! I was trying to infuse it with the necessary amount of drama for a story like this. :D It's been a lot of fun to work on.

I hope you'll like the parts to come, too.
omlteaufromage
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
OT: Love your icon!
sam_cc
Aug. 14th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! The world always needs cute Klapollo icons. x3
popo_licious
Aug. 1st, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Hnnn! As sam_cc just said above, when I see that you've posted something, especially Klavier/Apollo, I completely drop everything so I can read your fantastic stories! *U*
foxysquidalso
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! That really means a lot to me. I'm really glad you enjoy my stories. And of course, I love Klavier/Apollo--they're so fun to write about. ♥
redvelvetaddict
Aug. 2nd, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh mannnn, I was so glad to see this when I could finally access my computer again! Everything after what I had read before is ALSO GREAT <3 I've missed your adorable Polly/Klavier interactions, awww.

WHO COULD THAT DASTARDLY BIKE THIEF BE??? ;3
Can't wait for more!

Also, found some things:
"Apollo hated to blame Klavier for anything that had happened to disrupt that piece."

and

"I learned that very well during our time in court together," said Klavier. Apollo opened his mouth to protest, but Klavier's quick forestalled him. That's going to be difficult for you when we're just hanging out today, I think."

foxysquidalso
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! ♥ I'm really glad you're enjoying the story so far. And that you can use your computer again, yay! I'll try to have the next part done soon.

I really appreciate the typo-catches, too. *goes to fix*
karnimolly
Aug. 3rd, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
Oh my, I was so excited when I saw this, and I wasn't even at home and actually had no time to read it.
Now I finally did have the time and so can't wait to see more of it.

I just can't put into words how much I love your depiction and description of Apollo, it makes my inner fangirl squee all over the little guy. How he's so enraged about somebody stealing his bike! Well, this is a quite infuriating matter how I know from personal experience, but still the way Apollo is upset about it is so cute~
I wonder what consequences all this will have~

Also Klavier seems to be pretty nervous (if not paranoid). Cutting his hanging-out-time with Apollo short because of something like this... I really believe Klavier would be the one to cope with something like this the worst. And I definitely like the idea of him trying to get help for Kristoph in a mental institution rather than to see him in jail. We'll see if it was such a good idea though.

Also I actually cannot believe how there's practically nothing much happening during the scene on the stairs, and still when I read it my heart was racing. You really managed to capture me there.

I want to apologize again for not giving you much base and instructions to work with! m(_ _)m You're doing a fantastic job so far and I can't wait to read more!
foxysquidalso
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥ I'm really glad to hear that you're enjoying it so far and that you like my take on the prompt! I'm working on the next part now; it shouldn't take me too much longer.

I'm glad you like my take on Apollo as well--he's one of my favorite characters, and so much fun to write about. I was always able to relate to him in the game.

Yes, Kristoph has a terrible influence on poor Klavier, so he hasn't been dealing very well with his brother's disappearance. I've also always liked the idea of Klavier going out of his way to make sure that his brother is treated humanely, even in spite of everything.

And there's no need to apologize! It's been fun to work on, though sorry again for my slowness.
winhall
Aug. 6th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful!
The way Klavier is obviously afraid and how that in turn affects Apollo is so very well done, one is almost equally afraid as they are on that dark stair case. And nothing is even happening, which makes it all even better, more realistic. Neither of them knows whether there's a very real reason to be afraid, or of their nerves are getting to them.

This looks like a really good story, I'm curious to see where you take it. =)
foxysquidalso
Aug. 10th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm really happy to hear that you're enjoying it so much. I hope you'll like the later parts as well. ♥

The staircase scene was especially fun to write, so I'm glad you liked that--I enjoyed including the uncertainty of them not knowing whether there's really anything to be worried about.
omlteaufromage
Aug. 12th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Wow. You have an awesome way of making the reader share the anxiety and fear of the characters. I'm looking forward to the next installment! ♥ (Would it be presumptuous of me to ask when it's coming?)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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