foxysquidalso: (the divine mr. gavin)
[personal profile] foxysquidalso
Title: A Game of Cards
Word count: 2,700
Pairings, Characters: Phoenix/Klavier, hints of Phoenix/Kristoph
Rating: G
Warnings: this story contains a musical number of sorts, as well as mystifying references to the film Casablanca.
Summary: Of all the borscht joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Klavier had to walk into Phoenix's.
Notes: Set following the events of AJ. Written for the lovely [livejournal.com profile] sam_cc as a Kristophmas gift! ♥ I had to combine lawyers and card games for her somehow.



He had another long night ahead of him, at the end of which he'd hopefully end up with another few dollars. Though actually, as much as he liked to joke about his impoverished straits, the pay at the Borscht Bowl wasn't too bad, as long as he won, which he always did. He was a lucky man.

Phoenix laughed at that. Lucky. That was a good one. Though maybe he was lucky in some ways, if not so much in others.

He picked at the keys of the piano, idly, waiting for the night's challenger to appear. He had only one scheduled for the evening, which was nice. Sometimes he had a few individual challengers in one night, or a group all at once, which he didn't mind, but it could get stressful.

To entertain himself, he tried to play "As Time Goes By", because he'd always loved that one scene in Casablanca, but his attempt didn't exactly sound like it was supposed to. He got stuck on one part near the beginning. Though he usually didn't care a great deal about the quality of his playing, for some reason, he found himself growing annoyed by his inability to reproduce the song accurately, so he repeated the measure a few times, trying to get it right. None of the patrons seemed to mind. They never did.

"Hello, Wright."

His heart seized up at that familiar cadence, and tightened further as he turned to see a tall blond man standing in the doorway. The moment passed; his heart relaxed. This was a different blond. It was just that for a moment, he'd thought--well, it was obvious what he'd thought, what with the family resemblance and the subtle but undeniable mannerisms the Gavin brothers shared.

"Hello, Gavin," he said. The words came easily. How many times had he said them to someone else?

"Nein, call me Klavier."

The gratuitous German was a comfort. That was something Kristoph had never done. He never would have made a mistake on purpose. His English was perfect, so much so that Phoenix had been surprised to learn he'd been born in Germany. Kristoph Gavin was full of secrets. "Can do." He withdrew his hands from their position above the keyboard.

"Don't let me interrupt your playing, please," said Klavier. "How does that line in the film go? 'You played it for her, you can play it for me'?"

That quote struck a little close to home, closer than Klavier probably realized, but Phoenix only laughed. "That's the one." Yet he didn't start playing again. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I have an appointment."

"You?" Phoenix asked. "You're my challenger?"

"That's right. We're going to play poker."

Phoenix wasn't sure what to think about that, but he did know what to do. He rose from the bench.

"Not yet," said Klavier, and he seated himself at the piano, where Phoenix had been sitting a moment before. He started to play the song Phoenix had been failing to play so miserably. He didn't miss a note.

"You play piano," said Phoenix.

"It's my name," said Klavier. "It would be a little embarrassing if I didn't."

"Speaking of which, is that really your name? Your legal, birth name?"

Klavier glanced up at him, continuing to play even as he looked away from the keys. He smiled. "If I was picking a stage name, don't you think I would have chosen one that was a little more appropriate?"

"Like guitar?"

Klavier frowned. "No, that's a cognate. It wouldn't sound nearly as nice in English. But to answer your question, my father did name me Klavier." He continued to play the song, and he did not stop until he had played the whole thing, without error and seemingly without effort.

Phoenix began to see how it might be annoying to be in a band with Klavier.

Once the song had been performed correctly, Klavier did not hesitate to follow Phoenix down into the Hydeout. It felt a little strange for them to be alone together like this, considering everything that had happened between them, and the person who was the reason it had happened.

Phoenix had already been considering giving up this job, and this made him think he probably should. There were too many memories here. Every time he'd tried to quit, the establishment had offered him more money, which made him look like a good bargainer, if not someone who was determined about quitting. The management didn't have a strong personal liking for him, but he imagined they were eager to hold on to their undefeated poker player. It wasn't as if they could easily replace him, or his seven year winning streak.

Olga was waiting downstairs. She glanced up with a sharp grin as they walked in.

"It's okay, we can do the dealing tonight," Phoenix said.

She looked Klavier over, and her grin faded. Phoenix had a pretty good idea of what she was thinking.

Klavier seemed not to notice, or pretended not to. He smiled politely at her. "Good evening, Fräulein."

Olga shrugged. "Fine with me. It's your call, big shot. I could use a break. Have fun, boys."

"This is cozy," said Klavier as the loudmouthed dealer left with loud footsteps.

"That's one word for it."

Klavier sat down at the table, sitting where his brother had murdered a man. "So, we're going to play poker."

"Right you are." For all of the problems Kristoph's poker playing had caused him, Phoenix had never played a game of poker with that Gavin. Zak Gramarye, the man who had died here, had said one could learn all one needed to know about a man by playing poker with him. Phoenix could guess at what Gramarye had learned from his game with Kristoph, but Phoenix had had to learn those same things in a much more difficult way than with a game of cards. What would he learn about the younger Gavin tonight?

"Wundervoll," said Klavier brightly. "How do we play?"

"What do you mean?" Phoenix asked.

"Poker. What are the rules?"

Phoenix paused to take this in. Was there some way he could be misunderstanding the situation? No, it appeared to be completely straightforward. "Let me get this straight. You don't actually know how to play poker?"

"I haven't the faintest idea," Klavier admitted. "I've never much cared for games of chance."

"Then why did you want to play me, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Ah." Klavier's brightness faded, but he continued to smile, if less brilliantly than before. "I suppose I simply wanted to see you. To talk. And perhaps, apologize."

"You don't have to apologize. You've done nothing wrong, as far as I understand."

"That doesn't change the fact that I played a role. Ignorance is a poor defense, at best."

Phoenix couldn't disagree with that. "You could say the same of me. We both made mistakes. Everyone does."

"You're quite the philosopher, Herr Wright."

"No, call me Phoenix."

"Phoenix," said Klavier.

Phoenix tried not to think of the fact that he said it like his brother did. Somehow, that was one word they pronounced the same way.

"This is difficult for you," said Klavier, "isn't it?"

He was perceptive, like his brother, but Phoenix didn't answer him.

"It's funny," said Klavier, continuing to smile his dimmed smile, "as a child, I was always compared to him. Even now, some people, when they see me, see him first. Such as you and your coworker. With the Gavinners, I was able to escape that for a while, but do you know what the press says now? 'Klavier Gavin's brother is a murderer.'"

It was difficult to know what to say to that. "I'm sorry."

"He's my brother," said Klavier. "I try to accept him for what he is. That is what I've always done. You don't have to avoid mentioning him, or be so careful around me. I understand. You can be honest with me."

Zak Gramarye had been wrong about many things. One didn't have to play a game of cards with a man to understand him. Maybe cards had been necessary for Zak Gramarye, but not for Phoenix Wright. He believed what Klavier said. He sat down across from him.

"Now that that's out of the way, will you teach me to play poker?" Klavier asked again.

Klavier was right. It was out of the way. As simply as that--though it hadn't really been simple at all, had it? It had taken them more than seven years to arrive at this day, but now that they were here, everything fell into place at once. The cards were on the table, and it felt like this was where they had been headed all along. "I would be delighted," said Phoenix. He shuffled the deck.

That was when he realized that Zak Gramarye had been right after all. He did learn something very important about Klavier Gavin by playing poker with him. He learned that the man was the most terrible, horrible, abysmal poker player the world had ever known. Klavier was undeniably intelligent, and he learned the basic rules very quickly, but that was all he learned. His version of a poker face was smiling and laughing whenever he had a good hand. He couldn't bluff. In fact, he steadfastly refused to bluff. Even Apollo was better than Klavier. Even Apollo.

Phoenix had never played so many hands in a single game. He had never beaten anyone so many times in a row. And never had defeat been accepted more cheerfully.

"I fold, Phoenix. You've beaten me again."

"You don't have to fold yet, you know."

"No, it's all right, I know when I've lost."

Phoenix nodded. It wasn't that Klavier was losing on purpose. He was definitely trying. He was simply that kind of poker player, or more precisely, not a poker player at all. "That was pretty good for a first try," said Phoenix encouragingly, sweeping up the cards and reshuffling the deck.

"Are we finished already?" There was an earnest note of disappointment in the man's voice.

Klavier's eyes were very blue. More blue than his brother's. Phoenix realized that he didn't want him to leave yet. It wasn't as if he had another challenger scheduled for that night. "Why don't we play a friendly game of something else? Are there any card games you do know?"

"I know Go Fish," said Klavier. "Also, Old Maid. And War."

"Go Fish," said Phoenix thoughtfully. He used to play that when he was a kid. "That sounds like fun."

"Ja, I'm very good at Go Fish," said Klavier proudly.

"Are you really?"

"I don't think I would be flattering myself if I said I was an expert."

"I see." Phoenix tapped his chin thoughtfully. "That's interesting."

"Is it?"

"You know what that kind of talk means, don't you?"

"What does it mean?" asked Klavier.

"It means it's my duty to take you down a peg. A Go Fish peg, no less."

Klavier's eyes flashed. He snapped his fingers, and his rings flashed, too. "I am up for the challenge, Herr Wright."

"I hope you are, Mr. Gavin."

That night, Phoenix's winning streak ended at last, but as he'd only lost at a game of Go Fish, he was pretty sure it didn't count. Even if it had counted, he wouldn't have traded it for anything, the sight of Klavier Gavin leaping to his feet and shouting, "Go Fish!" as his hand swept forward in a mighty point.

When it was all over, Phoenix sat back and applauded. In a game in which one was supposed to answer questions honestly, Klavier was capable of winning. "Well done! That was masterful."

Klavier bowed. "Thank you. You're very kind."

"You must need some refreshment after all that grueling playing."

"Ja, I could use a little something, now that you mention it."

"How about some grape juice?"

"Just what I had in mind."

"Then follow me. It's on the house, to celebrate your victory. Although--" He lowered his voice to a confidential level. "I'd appreciate, for the sake of my job, that you not tell anyone that you won."

Klavier drew two lines over the center of his chest. "Cross my heart. Your secret's safe with me."

Having played cards with Klavier, Phoenix was sure that it was.

When they returned to the more respectable, less subterranean level of the Borscht Bowl, Klavier was drawn back to the piano. He sat down in front of it again, and Phoenix wasn't about to tell him to sit somewhere else. "I'll be right back," he said. He didn't have to get the grape juice himself, but he didn't mind doing it. For many years, he had suffered from a faint paranoia where other people handling things he was planning to ingest were concerned. While he was seeing about the grape juice, he reported his win to his bosses upstairs. They were not surprised, so he didn't get any warm congratulations, only nods.

On his way back downstairs, he became aware of a loud, but tuneful noise. Someone was singing. It didn't take a lawyer's keen instincts to figure out who. He took the remaining stairs two at a time, and returned to the Borscht Bowl's main dining room to find that something incredible had happened. Klavier was singing and playing the piano, but that wasn't the incredible part. No, what was amazing was the fact that the patrons of the club actually seemed interested. They were paying attention.

Klavier's hands fluttered over the keys, and, showoff that he was, he played without looking, without sheet music, turning over his shoulder so he could sing and smile at the crowd at the same time. Grape juice in hand, Phoenix stood back and shook his head. Klavier Gavin was nothing like his brother. He was a gigantic, glorious, golden ham.

Phoenix didn't escape Klavier's notice for long. He paused in his playing long enough to gesture to him and say, "Phoenix, come here!"

Smiling at the patrons, who were actually looking at him for once, Phoenix crossed the room uneasily.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Phoenix Wright," said Klavier as he approached, and Phoenix was startled to see the audience gaze upon him with respect and admiration.

"Why don't you sing for us?"

"No, I couldn't, honestly. I don't really sing."

Klavier looked up at him with an expectant, trusting smile. This was certainly not the ending Phoenix had envisioned for their evening together, but he would hate to disappoint someone who smiled at him like that.

"You must know the words," said Klavier, and he began to play the opening bars of "As Time Goes By", which Phoenix had so foolishly allowed him to overhear earlier. "Let's sing it together."

Phoenix wished he could retreat into his usual excuse of saying that he didn't do requests, but it wasn't as if this was exactly a request. It was a man forcing him to sing. In front of a crowd. Such an unfair tactic, and typical of a prosecutor. He took a deep breath, and he started to sing.

Klavier waited for him to begin, then joined him as soon as the first note emerged from his mouth. Phoenix could sense at once how Klavier supported him, singing around his voice, holding him up. Klavier knew exactly what he was doing, and he made Phoenix sound ten times better than he would have normally. It was nice. It was even kind of fun. He relaxed into the song.

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh


He tensed again as he realized belatedly that it was a slightly strange song to be singing with another man he didn't know very well, but Klavier was enjoying himself so much, Phoenix supposed he couldn't mind. He put a hand on Klavier's shoulder and returned Klavier's smile. A smile was still a smile, too. They sang together:

The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

Date: 2010-12-23 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sam-cc.livejournal.com
Oh my...

Th-thank you so very much! I honestly wasn't expecting anything like this for Christmas and certainly appreciate it so much knowing how much other writing you've had to do around Christmas that's probably left you with little time for other things. You know how much I hunt for work about these two as well, thank you once again.

The whole scenerio fitted so perfectly in; referencing Phoenix's previous connections to Kristoph and how the similaities between the brothers affected him worked very well. Klavier definitely isn't the sort of man to have a poker face either, but I'm sure he enjoys being such an easy win. ;P There were many lines in this that I loved, particularly that even Apollo was better at playing than Klavier. Also, the bit about his birth name. Because someone has to ask that and Hobo is blunt enough to be that person. It'll be hard to resist not calling Klavier "Cognate" from now on though. xD

The references to Zak were as in-place as th references to Kristoph too. I like stories that acknowledge Zak was wrong about... well, many things, but don't outright bash him. They're rare to find. Olga cameo made me happy too! She's a character I'm fond of for some odd reason. It's interesting to picture her and Phoenix still working together after what happened in the first case.

The ending was so beautiful too. The TV put on some inappropriately sad but beautiful music while I was reading it, which created quite an unusual atmosphere combined with the two of them singing. Reading this has definitely made me want to go watch Casablanca as well! Hopefully HMV will have it in their eternal sales.

This was the best Kristophmas present the world has ever known! But it was so good that there was no suffering involved. :O Do we have to go out and buy some collectable stamps to put poison on to make up for that?

Merry Christmas/Kristophmas too you, dearest Foxy! :3

Date: 2010-12-23 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxysquidalso.livejournal.com
Aw, you're so welcome! I'd been meaning to write you something about Klavier and Phoenix, especially since you have such a hard time finding things involving them. I have a soft spot in my heart for rare pairings, because I know what that's like. And it was my pleasure! I'm so glad you liked the result.

I'm so happy you liked the scenario and what I did with it. Once the idea of them playing cards together came to me, I thought it would be fun to write about, especially if Klavier didn't even know how to play poker. Yes, he never seems to mind losing, as long as he thinks the right person won.

Ha ha, yes, since guitar in German is just the cognate "Gitarre", I figured that was why the game translators went for a prettier, less recognizable word like Klavier, but it's always amused me (as well as many other people, I'm sure) that his name is piano, but he plays guitar. And it seemed like something Phoenix would definitely ask about. :D

Zak was wrong about a lot of things, but I didn't think Phoenix would bash him, in spite of everything, if only for Trucy's sake. And I do love adding a little bit of Kristoph, whenever possible.

I do like Olga, too. Since it said in the game that Olga kept working at the club, I thought it would be fun to include her. I have no idea why the club owners would hire someone who'd tried to deceive them like that--well, it doesn't seem like the most honest club in the world, so maybe they admired her attitude. It does rather amuse me to picture her and Phoenix continuing to work together after all that. I guess they made up!

I didn't intend the Casablanca references as first, but then I picked the song for Phoenix to try to play, and I figured I'd go with it. It seemed to me like Phoenix would identify with Rick in the movie--even though Rick's the club owner and not the piano player.

Hmm, well, I think we're safe enough where Kristophmas is concerned, since computers are bad for the environment--they have poisonous elements in them and can release toxins when thrown away! They could even pollute our groundwater. Whew, that's a relief. ;3

Merry Kristophmas! ♥

Date: 2010-12-28 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sam-cc.livejournal.com
Rare pairings are indeed the best fruit to find in any sort of fiction. :3 Though I admit that prior to Phoenix/Klavier, although I loved a lot of rare pairings, by favourites always tended to be pairings it was quite easy to find work of (Yami/Seto, etc), so I never really appreciated how hard it was for some people to find work of their favourite pairings before.

Thus is the nature of Klavier's character and why I love him so much as a prosecutor. There needs to be some of them who wanted to find the truth more than win right from the start. XD

Gaaaaah, I'm so dumb that I thought the German word for guitar actually was cognate! Forgive me, there are still many English words I don't know. xDDD The writers of the game certainly provided us with much amusing scenerios for Klavier's name. There's a tiny Phoenix/Klavier comm that lists one of the interests as "playing the klavier", which amused me greatly. :P

Perhaps they felt she added to the authentic atmosphere of the club. For, um, pirate month? That's totally it! xD But whatever the reason Olga's continued presence makes her interesting to work with.

When I watch that movie Phoenix shall be Rick, because you said so therefore it must be true. :3

Thank goodness we're hurting the environment over Kristophmas and therefore won't have to worry about it again until the New Year!

Merry Kristophmas to you too, and thank you once again! Sorry for all the comment spam too, you know what I'm like when trying to catch up.

Date: 2010-12-23 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redvelvetaddict.livejournal.com
Such a looooovely Kristophmas present!
Those typical prosecutors and their damnable, undeniable smiles <3

My heart is filled with the reason for the season (gigantic, glorious, golden ham love).

Oh, I caught this:
"The entertain himself, he tried to play "As Time Goes By"..."

Date: 2010-12-23 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxysquidalso.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed reading this and that it could hopefully give you your required daily dose of ham. <3 Ha ha, oh those darned prosecutors, always causing a fuss and making a spectacle of themselves.

And thank you for the catch! The typo has been fixed.

Date: 2010-12-26 04:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] armistice-day.livejournal.com
I adored your characterization here! Note perfect. ;3

A gigantic, glorious, golden ham.
Haha, and oh, but they made me laugh. You have such a great feel for comedy, it's a pleasure to read!
Such a sweet, interesting, natural little story. Also, it gives me feelings

Date: 2010-12-26 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxysquidalso.livejournal.com
Aw, thanks so much, you! I wanted to write something cheerful and fun for this, because Phoenix and Klavier are both such fun characters, and I think they'd need some cheering up after the events in the game. I tried to keep that as an undercurrent, especially with the choice of song, but I'm not sure if that came through or not.

Ha ha, I'm glad you like my exploration of the HAMMINESS of Klavier. <3

And so glad you liked this in general, too.

Date: 2011-01-12 02:54 pm (UTC)
ext_15675: Germany doing the heard hands. (Klavier - Achtung Baby!)
From: [identity profile] winhall.livejournal.com
You know, here I was just sitting and thinking, I'd sure like some Phoenix-and-Klavier-something. And there, browsing through your list of fics, it is, waiting for me. ^___^x

I would add a little youtube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY62QByUYJQ) at the end though, just to finish things off. The song really fits the Borscht Bowl, I think, but I kinda wish I had a rockier version for Klavier. XD (Maybe something like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtVmvJiKfeI), though it isn't quite what I was looking for either.)

Much love for this one as well~!

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