There was a soft spot in his heart for the blond. He could swear up and down that it wasn’t true, deny it all he wanted, but the truth as was clear as day. It took a few months shy of a year for him to finally admit that soft spot was there. Another three months for it to lead anywhere. Two to even consider the thought of moving in, and even then Apollo never thought it’d be a permanent thing. Never wanted it to be.
“Just to test the waters, ja?”
“Ja… I mean yes.”
Always the sass, the playful looks and teasing that Apollo knew he shouldn’t take to heart. Klavier promised that it wouldn’t change anything. It would only get weird if they let it. Plus there was nothing wrong with two colleagues spending time together, romantically or otherwise. Nope. Nothing wrong with it at all. Nothing to get antsy about. Nothing they couldn’t get used to, but…
Living with Klavier was a whole other experience in and of itself. Nothing like being in the courtroom, each behind their respective benches with a whole stretch of tiled floor and a witness stand between them. There was no audience, no judge, no defendant - just the two of them in close quarters with more than their game faces exposed. They actually had to deal with each other for a majority of the day, outside of work. As more than lawyers. Hell, more than lovers. Just…as normal people. It was different than when they went on their casual “dates” - Apollo was never quite comfortable with throwing the word around - where their time together was limited to a few hours of innocent fun. Nothing like flirting over the phone or through email. This was round the clock, nearly twenty-four hours of opening themselves up to each other even more than before, chipping away at their own walls at a hesitant pace. And what a dance it was.
The intimacy they’d steadily built was kept to a minimum for the sake of settling in, though the hints were there. Subtle touches. Light pecks to the forehead. A friendly squeeze of the tush. (“Come now, Forehead, no need to squeal.”) And then the simpler moments, like their talks after a long day’s work. Or the quiet dinners while sprawled out on the couch, watching TV. Or the nights where Klavier just felt like blasting his music in spite of the protest, always turning it into a dance fest. It wasn’t always pleasant.
The first week consisted of nothing but awkward encounters between the two, especially during their scrambles to work. Mr. Cool and Composed was not a morning person and quite the bathroom hog, to Apollo’s annoyance. It was disconcerting to see him switch from a sleep hungry diva to something so pleasant. It was a side he wasn’t used to. And the mess! In every room, every inch of the house. He never missed a moment to complain about the constant clutter he had to sift through, which only earned a flick to the noggin in response. Praise the stars above, at least, that it wasn’t anywhere near Wright’s brand of messy.
It was some manner of madness Apollo learned to get used to. He supposed it wasn’t the first time he stumbled into a new house, forced to adjust to the way things were done. The usual weariness he had to his new surroundings would fade, yes, but there was always the fear that he’d have to get packing yet again. No place ever felt right. No family fit for very long. It was expected. Moving from foster home to foster home had that affect.
But this felt different, less like he was being told the conditions of his staying there, and more like… Like he had a say in the matter. Like he could adjust on his own terms, at his own pace, without feeling like a burden. Like his new partner was okay with giving him that space without putting up his own emotional wall. The phrase “home is where the heart is” came to mind. Cliched if nothing else, sure, but for once in his life he had a place he could call his own and actually mean it. He realized that soon enough.
So when he woke up one Saturday morning to the sound of Klavier plucking random chords, filling the air with some lazy tune, singing along in German - no, Apollo couldn’t deny the sense of ease that washed over him. Most times he could never get the man to shut up long enough to sit back and truly enjoy the musical quality of his voice, and when ol’ Rock Boy thought no one else was listening it held an innocence, a sweetness more genuine than anything Apollo had ever heard.
He couldn’t fight off the smile that crossed his lips when he stopped in the living room doorway. ”You know, it’s hard enough getting any sleep with you rolling around in the middle of the night. Now you gotta keep me up in the morning, too?”
The blond simply sang louder, letting his head roll back on the couch so he could get a good look at his boyfriend. The way his eyes lit up at the sight of Apollo was enough to stop the heart, but the brunette merely cleared his throat and trudged his way towards the bathroom before his blush could show. ”Keep it up, you might wake the neighbors.”
Klavier just smiled and kept singing.
Are they really your friends?
The same question, the same nagging voice. The same shadow of doubt growing in the back of his mind. That doubt had persisted in the past few weeks, building up to the point of annoyance, morphing into discomfort, and then finally into some emotion he couldn’t quite describe. No matter how many times he tried to ignore those feelings and that patronizing voice, the louder they seemed to become. And it got worse with each moment he spent with his friends, almost like a reflex.
It hurt to look into those faces—faces he’d grown up with and became so familiar with over the years—and think that, maybe, that was all they were and all they would ever be. Just faces that smiled at him every morning, that spewed all the silly things friends were supposed to just to keep up the ruse. Olette always expressed concern, even if he never said anything about it. Pence always had some wise crack or joke to snap him out of his funk, usually poking fun at his moodiness. Hayner always said something to the effect of suck it up, that it was nothing. Nothing weird about that. Just normal responses from normal kids worried about their friend. Normal.
Roxas didn’t know when the questions started or why, just that each one became increasingly difficult to answer with each passing day. He used to dismiss it as pessimism, but now… They felt like warnings, whispers from some long ago friend trying to reestablish…something. Something. Someone important.
Try as he might, he couldn’t shake the fear from having forgotten in the first place.