Characters: Klavier and Kristoph Gavin
Word Count: 1533
Summary: After visiting his brother in jail, Klavier realises what he has to do to turn his own life around.
Kristoph Gavin has the glazed look of a madman. Klavier wonders how long it’s been visible, if it’s always been there, paranoid observation hiding behind the gleam of the glasses. Or maybe it’s recent, a result of everything that’s happened over the past few weeks, of a smile stretched too thinly it broke, leaving nothing behind.
Klavier can feel the insincerity of his own smile, a struggle not to lose his temper, not with his brother sitting here, still cooler, calmer, more collected, even though Klavier can tell the man has lost his mind. Klavier wonders how long it is before he snaps himself, how long he has left – if Kristoph could go to such extremes, could Klavier? They are brothers; they will always be tied together by blood.
Klavier hears his heart thump noisily, hears that very same blood course through his veins and wonders what he’s capable of. How bad does it have to get first? Klavier knows Kristoph was all about his career, that it was all he ever had. The same is true of Klavier now – he’s lost his best friend, he’s lost his brother, and most of all, he’s lost his music. He strums on his guitar most days, but the songs he plays nowadays have no melody, dissonant notes clashing in the stifling air of the prosecutor’s office. His job is all he has left now. He wonders what would happen if he lost it?
Kristoph’s smiling at Klavier through the glass. A month ago, Klavier would have called it pleasant. Now, he looks at it and calls it fanatical. “They will punish me for what he did to you,” Kristoph says, and it’s the same voice Klavier’s been brought up listening to his whole life, tinged with just the right hint of delusion that it’s almost frightening.
Klavier supposes it’s his job to find out what Kristoph’s talking about – he hasn’t been making much sense lately, the guards have told Klavier. Oh, the sentences are structured coherently enough, they make sense on their own, at the least, but no-one can figure out what he’s alluding to. And it’s not their job, anyway. It’s their job to keep Kristoph Gavin alive, so they can kill him at a time and date appointed to the state. Klavier feels his stomach bottom out – he’s sent men and women to their deaths before, but he had always been certain of their guilt. Could he let the same thing happen to Kristoph? He’s a proven criminal – and he knows that, because he helped prove it – but this is his brother.
Klavier knows he did the right thing. He knows he did what he had to do. But it’s so easy to doubt himself when Kristoph looks at him like this. “For what who did to me?” Klavier asks, and the smile’s still there. It feels pleasant, on his face. He wonders what it’d look like to somebody else.
Kristoph pushes his glasses up his nose. “Right,” he says, and the affirmation is more violent than it ought to be for something that doesn’t make sense.
“Right?” Klavier asks, his eyes narrowing – he’s got to focus now, beat Kristoph at his own game. It was so easier to stay calmer in the courtroom, he’s always been good at acting in front of the cameras, but here, so removed from everything else going on the world, just him and his brother, all of his airs and graces are falling apart. But he should be better than that; the best. Got to keep acting, even if the lights are dimmed – there’s no way to tell who’s paying more attention than they ought.
“Phoenix Wright.” Kristoph says the man’s name as if it’s a curse, and Klavier thinks to himself, feeling his false pleasant smile twitch into a smirk, maybe it is. Kristoph leans forward in his chair, strokes an errant hair back into place, and leers.
The fans get this close sometimes, ja? Kristoph’s no fan, though: if the façade falls now, there’s more serious ramifications than a Fräulein’s broken heart.
“Look what he’s done to you…” Kristoph trails off, shaking his head from side to side. “…and they blame me for it – I still read the newspapers, Klavier.”
Phoenix Wright? Klavier barely knows the man, apart from ruining his career seven years ago. They talk infrequently now, working on the jurist system together, but Phoenix Wright, as far as Klavier’s aware, hasn’t done anything to him. “He’s done nothing to me,” Klavier responds, almost dully, to defend the man who he’s grown to respect, if nothing else.
Kristoph seems to pay him no heed. “But either way, it’s all my fault.”
Klavier is more confused than before – is this an admission of guilt? Is Kristoph ready, now, finally, to face what he’d done, to stop hiding behind the delusions any longer? “What’s your fault?” Klavier asks, his mouth straightening into the grim line he uses when he interrogates his witnesses; it’s not a face he uses when he has an audience – but that doesn’t matter, he doesn’t have much of one here.
So then why does it feel like the eyes of the world are on his face?
“You,” Kristoph exhales. “I couldn’t stop you from standing against everything the law represents, for destroying everything everyone’s worked towards for so many years. You stood up to the power of the law, Klavier. It…was a travesty.” There’s a glint in his eyes now, the smile twitches into something more bemused. “And I’m the one who hangs.”
Klavier sits in silence, trying to understand what Kristoph has just said – did he truly believe there had been nothing wrong with the legal system before the jurist system trial? Or was there something else he was alluding to, something deeper, something that Klavier couldn’t comprehend…
“I would tear him down,” Kristoph muses, interrupting Klavier’s thoughts.
Klavier wonders who Kristoph’s talking about now – Phoenix Wright, probably. It’s just that Klavier would think that Kristoph had learnt his lesson by now – knock Phoenix Wright down and he gets back to his feet, stronger than ever before.
“But I feel like a dead man,” Kristoph says, and when Klavier can’t help his eyes from widening, Kristoph laughs. It sounds like the discordant notes that Klavier plays from his guitar these days – why hasn’t he realised until now? He holds his hands over his ears – it’s hard to believe everything would have come to this, hard to believe that this is his brother sitting across from him. Kristoph was never like this, and Klavier is faced with the devestating thought that he never really knew his brother after all.
“And what can a dead man do?” Kristoph asks, and there’s a pleasant upwards lilt at the end of his sentence, almost normal, but nothing is right.
“You’re mad.” Klavier’s already told Kristoph this before, during the trial, but it bears repeating. And it’s so much more worse now. Klavier makes up his mind – he never wants to be like this. He doesn’t want to spiral downwards, doesn’t want to laugh himself all the way to jail. He’s got to put a stop to it, got to pull his life back to get back together, quick-smart, before anything like this happens to him.
It’s selfish, but Klavier realises that he came down today not to help Kristoph, but to help himself. There’s nothing more to say to Kristoph now – he’s so far gone Klavier can’t pull him back. But maybe he can save himself, or at the very least, he can try. “Thank you, Kristoph.” It’s Klavier’s turn to make little sense, and Kristoph just smiles.
Klavier wonders, sometimes, what changed. Wonders if anything ever did change. He should’ve have always realised that Kristoph was capable of telling lies with the most pleasant of smiles.
When Klavier rides his motorbike back to his office, he allows himself to feel the cold chill of the wind on his skin for the first time since that fateful trial. He picks up his guitar, plays a few notes, and fools around, making up lyrics to a song about pleasant smiles. When a knock comes at his door, he answers it, lets the Fräulein detective enter, and maybe she notices something different today, because the first thing out of her mouth once she swallows her Snackoo is, “You okay, Gavin?”
Klavier thinks about this for a moment, feels the smile stretch on his face; and oh yes, he still knows how to act, but for once, it doesn’t feel like an elastic band – maybe this time it won’t snap. “Ja,” he says emphatically, and the detective rolls her eyes, thrusting a manila folder into his hands.
Klavier thanks her, puts his notes down on his desk, and thinks about his song. Maybe he’ll call it ‘Your Pleasant Smile Was Just Another Lie’ - maybe he can consider going solo with this.
But for now, he can get back to his work. His eyes rove over the information the detective has sent over, and for the first time in a while, he allows himself to think: Yeah, maybe everything is going to be okay.