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24 June 2010 @ 11:37 pm
(FIC: ADRIAN/FRANZISKA) If Love is Surrender - Chapter 5  
Title: If Love is Surrender
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Spoilers: Major JfA spoilers, particularly, and this chapter has some references to AAI.
Pairing(s): Adrian Andrews/Franziska von Karma
Genre: Drama/Action.
Summary: Adrian Andrews saves herself.
Warnings/Rating: [Click for boilerplate warnings list]
Notes: In which Franziska von Karma loses at Hungry Hungry Hippos. Um :/ Thanks to prunesquallormd for holding my hand throughout this, particularly at the points where all I could think was, "LOLWUT".
Disclaimer: S'cool, Capcom. I'm just borrowing, I promise.
Previous Chapters: [CHAPTERS 1&2] [CHAPTER 3] [CHAPTER 4]


CHAPTER FIVE: "HOLD MY HEART IN TWO"


The prosecution bench towers over her.

Franziska draws back her whip, but instead of the satisfying, snake-like swish of its length, the riding crop that has replaced it jerks awkwardly, missing her target by several feet. She hasn't used the crop in years, and it shows: it's not something you forget, rather like riding a bicycle, but nevertheless she is embarrassingly out of practice. She hears titters of amusement from the gallery, and she pushes herself up on her tiptoes, struggling to see over the bench.

"I - what is the meaning of this?"

"Bailiff, would you please get Manfred von Karma's daughter a box?" comes the Nickel Samurai's voice from the Judge's Bench, shaking with barely suppressed laughter. "After all, what use is a Prosecutor who can't see who they're prosecuting?"

"I can do my job perfectly well as I am," Franziska snaps, although she can feel her face reddening with frustration. She fumbles with her files, attempting to recall her opening statement.

"Er, the Prosecution... the Prosecution has - "

"We don't have all day, Manfred von Karma's daughter," says the Nickel Samurai.

"My name is Franziska von Karma, and you would do well to remember it," Franziska retorts hotly, bristling. "And I was just getting to the point, if you'd be so kind as to let me finish. The Prosecution would like to call a witness to the stand, Your Honour."

"Very well. The witness's name, if you please?"

"The Prosecution calls the defendant, Adrian Andrews, Your Honour."

"The defendant, hmm?" says the Nickel Samurai, clasping his gloved hands gravely. "I see. Does the defense have any thoughts on this?"

"Oh, you mean me?"

Franziska peers around the edge of the bench, searching out the source of this new voice. Phoenix Wright has his feet up opposite her, a newspaper sprawled messily in his lap. He looks vaguely surprised to be called upon in this manner. She cracks her riding crop impotently against the Prosecution bench, cursing its short range.

"Phoenix Wright! This is a court of law!"

"Yeah, I guess it is, huh?" he says mildly, scratching the back of his neck. "What's a little kid like you doing here, then? Call me when you've got a proper Prosecutor in, will you, Your Honour?"

"I was thinking the same myself, to be honest," the Nickel Samurai replies, twirling his gavel idly. "I mean, dude, I didn't come all the way from Neo Olde Tokyo for von Karma's third in command, you know?"

"Tell me about it. At the very least, they could've gotten in Edgeworth," Phoenix says, with a pitying glance at the top of Franziska's head. "At least he's a challenge."

"I assure you, I am a perfectly capable Prosecutor!" Franziska cries angrily, to roars of mirth from the gallery. She flexes the riding crop in frustration, fighting the childish desire to stamp her foot. "Your Honour, if you could just call the witness - "

"Oh, yeah, the witness - I totally forgot, dude," the Nickel Samurai says, smacking his forehead. "Bailiff, could you bring in Adrian Andrews? Manfred von Karma's daughter says so, after all."

"I hate to repeat myself, but it's Franziska von - "

"Give it a rest, short stuff. We heard you the first time," Phoenix says, doodling on a page of his newspaper lazily for a moment, before turning to the newly occupied witness stand. "Oh, hey, Adrian. The Prosecution want to question you - that's cool, right?"

Franziska grips the edge of the bench, raising her eyelevel to the witness stand. Adrian Andrews doesn't look at any of them when she answers, her gaze instead fixed on unravelling the tangle of rope in her hands.

"Oh, I don't know, Mr Wright... I'm very busy right now. Could it wait?"

"Probably, I dunno," Phoenix glances across at Franziska, offering her a mock salute. "What d'you think, Princess? Can it wait?"

"No, of course it can't wait!" Franziska barks, outraged. "Adrian Andrews, this is a trial! You will state your name and occupation for the court!"

Adrian sighs impatiently, not taking her eyes from her task. "All right, then. My name is Adrian Andrews. And I'm the defendant, I suppose." She holds the rope up in front of her, tongue poked out in concentration, apparently appraising her progress. "No, that's not right..."

"Thank you. Witness, your testimony if you please - "

"I'm afraid that's not possible."

"What - ?"

Adrian doesn't look at her. Her fingers are a deft blur, knotting and reknotting the coil of rope before her. It's almost as large as she is. "I refuse to testify."

"What foolish nonsense - ?" Franziska snaps, cracking her crop against the bench. "I haven't even asked you anything yet!"

"It doesn't matter. I can't be forced to testify about something if it might incriminate me. As such, I refuse to testify."

"Ooh, she's good," Phoenix breathes, raising his eyebrows at the Nickel Samurai over the top of his newspaper. "Man, I wish I'd thought of that."

"But - why? Surely you realise that by refusing to testify, you are in effect - "

" - admitting my guilt? Hmm. Maybe so, or maybe not. What do you think, Ms. von Karma?" Adrian looks up at last, gaze fixed on the prosecution bench. In her hands, the rope has become a noose.

"My personal thoughts are irrelevant: the evidence and facts of this case will speak for themselves, if you would just - "

"Thank you for the rope, by the way," Adrian interrupts, smiling pleasantly. "I think this will be perfect, don't you?"

There is a sharp rapping from the front of the court; the Nickel Samurai is leaning forward once more, chin resting on his hand. He lifts his mask slightly, the scarred skin underneath twisting into a commiserating smile, which he directs at Franziska.

"Well, I guess that wraps that up after all, doesn't it, Manfred von Karma's daughter? Thank you for sorting this matter out so swiftly, Ms. Andrews."

"That's quite all right," Adrian replies politely, slipping the noose over her head. "I do so hate to waste time."

"Oh, me too, Ms. Andrews. I have to get back to saving Neo Olde Tokyo from the Evil Magistrate, after all!" the Nickel Samurai says jovially, and now Franziska sees sharp teeth tugging the edges of his lips as he bangs his gavel. "Right then. To business, dudes!"

"But I haven't even explained the case against her yet! It's much too soon to declare a verdict - "

"I don't know, hasn't this been about 3 minutes?" Phoenix says thoughtfully, gesturing at her with his watch. "Your daddy would be proud, huh, short stuff?"

"What? I - no - !"

"You're right! Almost three minutes exactly, dude," the Nickel Samurai replies, nodding at Phoenix. He clears his throat, before raising his gavel for the final time. "Anyway, like I was saying... This court finds the defendant, Adrian Andrews...

G U I L T Y!"

Confetti explodes around them like so many stars, covering the floor, the benches, stinging her eyes. She looks around helplessly, crop useless and limp at her side. Was that it?

A horrible choking sound from the witness stand meets her dazed ears. Adrian Andrews twists and shakes like a leaf on the breeze, rainbows of tissue-paper falling around her. Franziska is there before she realises her legs have started moving, reaching up desperately to help.

She's too short.

Her hands barely graze Adrian's dangling, twitching feet, and she cries for assistance, but no one's listening, why won't they listen to her, can't they see Adrian's dying right here in front of them -

---------------------------

When Franziska wakes, drawing back a shuddering breath, she quickly realises that she can only have been asleep for a couple of hours at the most. She can hear the metallic clattering of lunch trays in the corridor outside, the scent of something masquerading as food; it stirs a distant ache inside her - (when was the last time she ate, yesterday morning? She skipped lunch, as usual, too busy with preparing a case) - but she knows without a doubt that she's too on edge to even entertain the idea of real food, let alone whatever muck this hospital is serving.

She also knows there is no point attempting more sleep now, even if she wanted to, that to do so would be tantamount to inviting the nightmares back. The pain of before has grown significantly in its magnitude, and by the time she has manoeuvred herself out of bed her jaw is aching with the effort required to keep from vocalising it. The last thing she wants is for that foolish doctor to return and pump her full of morphine once more; she can still feel the lingering effects of the previous dose, a foggy, fugue-like state, like her veins are filled with treacle. As soon as she regains some measure of composure, she reaches for her cell phone, surreptitiously checking the door before turning it on.

There's the usual snowdrift of new messages building up in her inbox, but none of them are what she wants to see. Her fingernails press themselves white around the screen, and she has to make a conscious effort to relinquish her grip, reminding herself that a broken cell is going to get her precisely nowhere. Scrolling quickly through the other new messages, she sees one from her sister - (Miles called. We're on the first flight out - please don't do anything silly, Franny. Love you xxx) - and has to push back an unexpected catch in her already-sore throat. She punches out a message in response - (Don't be ridiculous, everything's under control. Talk later.), appraising her own lie sourly before hitting send. Franziska is well aware Gabriele will see through it in an instant; indeed, it looks laughably false even to her own eyes, but she can't bring herself to say more, for once in her life grateful for the brevity text-messaging allows. Part of her longs for Gabriele to appear and make everything stop hurting for a while, in that effortless way she always used to when Franziska was small: the other part of her, the brutal, grown-up part, insists she's fine by herself, and besides, Gabriele has a proper family to look after now. She doesn't need to be flying halfway across the world to see what new scrape her foolish little sister has wandered into. As usual, this side of her wins out, and she hopes against hope Gabriele's flight is cancelled, knowing that to be the only way Gabriele would be even remotely deterred in her mission.

As she sits scrolling through the other messages, looking for anything useful she may have missed, her cell vibrates to indicate an incoming text: the words "SHI-LONG LANG" flash up on screen, causing her to tut irritably. (Sis, just heard. You okay??? Say the word and my men will be at your side within the hour.) The very last thing she needs right now is those foolish brutes milling around, getting in the way of the investigation, but nevertheless she considers his offer for a moment, if just for the satisfying mental images it brings up - mostly, it has to be said, of Matt Engarde having gratuitous violence visited upon his person by various members of Interpol's finest. And the extra manpower wouldn't go amiss, either...

Shaking her head as she flicks back to her inbox, still mulling her response, she sees one other new message - and the name on it makes her heart leap, even as she realises the time-stamp puts it at least an hour before Adrian was taken. She holds her breath as it loads, her lungs feeling as fragile as glass.

MESSAGE FROM ADRIAN ANDREWS (CELL), RECEIVED 21:58:
Where are you? Not eating, I hope - I have a surprise
planned! See you at home, love x


The mundane nature of it is what hits her hardest, the flickering silhouette of what should have been. She's always been one to torture herself with "what if?"s - always wondered what she could have done differently, more perfectly, in a situation. Now, she sees herself noticing Engarde in the hallway, before he even got anywhere near Adrian: a satisfying Quick Sixer right in his smug face, the police called, all of it over with minimum bloodshed. The perfect capture of the most imperfect of fugitives...

Franziska lets out a breath she had forgotten she was holding. Closing the message is unsettling, and it takes a pathetic amount of her depleted reserves of strength to put her cell back down on the nightstand without another glance. She can't shake the thought that this might be the last thing she'll ever hear from Adrian, this little pixellated snippet of a one-sided conversation - and the idea that Adrian might even now be dead (and even inside her head the word is unusually sharp, hard; she's used to death, to dead people, but she can't think of Adrian as one of them - dead people don't break their glasses on a weekly basis; dead people don't eat plain toast with tea every morning, without fail; dead people don't wear that inconceivably deliciously-scented perfume that even now leaves her slightly weak at the knees - ) without her having said anything in response, without for once swallowing her foolish pride and using that one little word that seems to come so easily to the other woman...

"Get a hold of yourself," Franziska says aloud, needing to hear her own voice, even if it is a cracked, raw shadow of its former self. She clears her throat, looking back out into the corridor. It's time to put her escape plan in motion, she can see that much - the longer she stays here, the more her own uncharacteristically maudlin moping seems to swell in intensity.

My god, how she hates hospitals.

----------------------

Getting properly dressed is going to be the most troublesome part by far, but it is an essential she cannot overlook; she knows she could never stand to be seen in public anything less than fully-armed and ready for battle. Unfortunately, this means somehow finding a way to make her shirt fit around that ridiculous cast, or at the very least over it. She sets herself a time limit for the procedure: any longer than three minutes, and she will do something drastic.

It's minute eight by the time she gives up, cursing herself with every breath. Scissors in hand, her lip curled, she runs the sharp edge carefully along the seam of her right sleeve. It is a dreadful waste of a perfectly good dress shirt, but in the circumstances she reasons that it is the lesser of two evils, that she would rather sully her own clothing than admit defeat and spend another goddamned hour in this building. Besides, being dressed, however imperfectly, seems to boost her resolve even further - she feels more like herself with every hard-earned button over her chest, more like Franziska von Karma, Prosecuting Prodigy and not some foolish, pitiful invalid.

Half an hour after she began her mission (having carefully avoided looking at her own reflection in the thoughtlessly-placed bathroom mirror, sure that the sight of her damaged face will do nothing for her spirits), she is finally making for the door. They will not stop her: to even attempt it would be suicide. Whip or no whip, she is Franziska von Karma once again and she is leaving.

Well, she would be if it wasn't for the stack of brightly-coloured boxes and squishy flesh that trips her up upon her first step into the corridor. How she abhors things that are not part of her plan, she thinks, whilst struggling not to swear violently with the renewed pain in her right side.

"Franziska! Where are you going? We came to see you!"

Maya Fey's eyes, just visible over the top of the unwieldy tower of boxes, are wide with concern (an emotion Franziska finds frankly bizarre, given their past relationship). Beside her, she recognises the woman's young cousin, Pearl, and with a twinge of unwilling respect she notes the slightly more uncomfortable look on the girl's face - at least one member of the Fey family has managed to hold a grudge with dignity, she thinks.

"Maya Fey," she says shortly, ignoring the woman's question in favour of attending to her throbbing arm. "Don't you have some kind of mortal peril to be in?"

Maya laughs easily, which makes Franziska frown - she hadn't meant it to be humourous.

"Hey, I'll have you know I haven't been in mortal peril for at least a year now," Maya replies, grinning. "Although... does food poisoning count as mortal peril? 'Cause I think it definitely should..."

"Yes, it should!" Pearl pipes up fiercely. "I thought you were going to die! If Mr. Nick hadn't taken you to the Emergency Room, I don't know what we would have done... oh, I told you that burger wasn't cooked properly!"

"You don't even eat meat, Pearly, how would you know?" Maya says, and in lieu of having her hands free she bumps her hip affectionately against her cousin's. "Well, okay then, if you say so. I guess that means it's more like three months without mortal peril. I'm three months mortal peril-free!"

"Is that a personal best?" Franziska says dryly, although by this point she's no longer fully with the conversation: the unexpected arrival of this pair of troublemakers has made a considerable delay in her exit, not to mention the added pain of having taken the brunt of their collision with her bad arm. Every moment she remains on her feet seems to drain her further, and she leans into the wall, gritting her teeth in frustration. At the end of the corridor, she spots an officer looking at her curiously; she fixes him with her nastiest glare, and watches with satisfaction as he bobs off around the corner hurriedly. When her attention returns to the two girls crowding around her, Pearl is fixing her with an equally vehement stare.

"There's no need to be mean," she's saying, anger colouring her heart-shaped face. "We came to keep you company!"

"I don't need company," Franziska mutters haughtily, rubbing her shoulder. It comes out even ruder than intended, the blinding pain in her arm running roughshod over any remaining vestige of formality. Pearl's fists ball around her collection of boxes.

"Yes, you do! Now more than ever! I can't believe you're still so - "

"Pearly!" Maya interjects quickly, raising her eyebrows at her cousin. "It's fine, okay? Come on, you two, we've got all these games to get started on - don't fight!"

"Games...?" Franziska repeats. Even through her exhaustion, she begins to register a sinking feeling that tells her she may yet be spending some more time in this hospital if she doesn't shake these two off. "I have to decline - I have work to do."

"He said you'd say that," Maya says, winking. "We have permission to sit on you if we have to, you know."

"You honestly believe that would stop me?"

"Well, no. He kind of said you'd say that, too," Maya concedes. She nods towards the end of the corridor, and with a groan Franziska sees yet more police officers congregating in what they obviously believe to be an inconspicuous manner: the one she previously sent scuttling has apparently felt compelled to rally the troops. "But they probably could, if they had to. I mean, they're meant to be looking after you, but I think stopping you doing something stupid kind of comes under that heading, right?"

Franziska, still stuck on the "he" Maya keeps mentioning - undoubtedly referring to her foolish little brother - feels the fingers of her right hand jerk convulsively for her whip. When she remembers its absence, with a horrible pang of emptiness right in the pit of her stomach, Maya seems to sense her opening for attack.

"Come on, Franziska - he said you used to like chess, right?"

"Hmph," Franziska snorts, narrowing her eyes. "Typical Miles Edgeworth and his foolishly selective memory. I liked beating him at chess, nothing more - there is a difference."

"Well, then, it's probably a good thing that we don't have a chess set!" Maya says, her smile not wavering for a moment. "I mean, we were going to try and borrow Mr. Edgeworth's fancy one, but he got kind of touchy when I said we'd have to put it in a cardboard box to bring it here. He's a bit precious about his chess set, isn't he? But look, we brought Hungry Hungry Hippos instead!"

"Hungry... hungry... hippos?" Franziska is beginning to feel faint. Oh God help her, she would gladly trade her broken right arm if she could just have her whip back. Worse still, thinking of her whip makes her think of Adrian, and in that abrupt instant her desire to think of something - anything - else that doesn't make her heart ache like it's about to shatter surpasses her desire to end this farcical conversation. "I don't believe I've ever played such a game."

"What, never?" Maya's eyes widen dramatically. "Oh, we have to fix that - it's amazing! See, there are four hippos, and you have to catch the marbles by hitting the little lever, and whoever gets the most marbles wins!"

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds distinctly like a game intended for children."

"Well, yeah, children - and the young at heart," Maya says, quirking an eyebrow at Franziska. "Not to mention defence attorneys on their lunch break!"

"That is the most singularly depressing, foolishly pathetic thing I have ever heard."

"You're just scared you'll lose," Maya winks at her maddeningly; on any other day, such an action would be beyond reckless, but today it's all she can do to return the other woman's challenging gaze with as much venom as she can muster. "Come on, my arms are starting to ache."

Before she knows it, she is being buffeted back into her room by twin, surprisingly strong clouds of noisy, pastel-shaded silk. As she is forced back down onto her bed, the only thought going through her fuzzy head is, "I lost to a man who spends his lunch break playing Hungry Hungry Hippos?"


----------------------

Within fifteen short minutes, her immaculate room is in ruins, and she is infinitely repentant for her previous dark thoughts about the merits of morphine.

"Ooh, you haven't eaten your jello!"

"That's because it's a disgrace to the very concept of food," Franziska replies, eyeing Maya sceptically as she rips the lid off a plastic cup of luminously orange matter. Seeming to remember her manners at the very moment she is embedding a spoon into it, Maya meets her eyes.

"Can I? I mean, if you don't want it? It's such a waste otherwise!"

"If you must."

Maya clasps her hands in that characteristic way of hers, before swallowing an improbably large, undulating lump of jello with a pleased grin. "Yum! Hey Pearly, you want some?"

"No, thank you," Pearl replies brightly, sitting back on her feet on the end of Franziska's bed. Before her, on the sliding hospital table, is the most pointless, perverse looking piece of plastic Franziska has ever seen. "Look, it's all set up now! Which colour do you want to be?"

"I thought I might just observe, actually..." Franziska answers. She has calls to make, after all - whilst she may be trapped here by her own foolish weakness, there is definitely nothing to stop her using the telephone to devastating effect. Starting, of course, with Miles Edgeworth...

"Which colour?" Pearl repeats staunchly, pursing her lips. "There's orange, yellow, pink or green. I'm usually the pink hippo, but if you want it..."

"Er, no, that's fine," Franziska says awkwardly, feeling her cheeks flush. Why does this child always leave her feeling so verbally challenged? "... but, ah, thank you for the offer, I suppose."

"Well, if Mystic Maya's having orange - ?" Pearl casts a glance at Maya, who nods vigorously over her cup of pudding, " - then that leaves you with either green or yellow."

Why is there no blue? she wonders vaguely, leaning back into the pillows as the medication starts to take its full blissful effect. I like blue. Everyone likes blue. Blue is a perfectly respectable colour.

"Yellow," she says eventually, and in her mind's eye she watches blonde hair fall through her fingers like sand. Her eyes slip closed momentarily, and she lets the memory saturate the seemingly constant ache in her chest, enfolding it like a blanket.

"Okay, yellow it is!" Maya sits up now, flicking her empty cup into the bin. She raises a cocky eyebrow, her eyes dancing in a way that tells Franziska she knows exactly how to ensure her co-operation in this particular situation. "You'd better be prepared to admit defeat! I won't go easy on you like Nick does in court, either."

Franziska narrows her eyes. "You are a fool who dreams the foolish dreams of a thoroughly foolish fool, Maya Fey." She rolls up the sleeve of her good arm, placing her fingers firmly over the lever of her hippo. "And it is you who will admit defeat before this day is through, I promise you."

Maya grins, and Franziska decides to let her have this victory, because within five minutes she is sure to have had that smile most satisfyingly wiped from her face. Maya rolls up her own sleeve, setting up her hippo.

"That's more like it! You're on, Franziska von Karma!"

----------------------------

"That was a fluke!" Franziska cries forcefully, pounding her fist on the table. "My hippo malfunctioned at a crucial moment! I demand a rematch!"

Maya, apparently not listening to a word Franziska is saying, is laughing helplessly, holding her stomach. Across from her Pearl smiles shyly, clutching the winning fistful of marbles.

"How about we try for best out of three?" she offers, tipping her winnings back on to the board. "You could switch to the green hippo, if you like."

"I think not," Franziska says dismissively, already collecting up the remaining marbles. "We will see this through to the bitter end, Pearl Fey. You will know defeat!"

Pearl is giggling now, too, but Franziska finds she doesn't mind as much as she usually would - it must be the drugs, she concludes, watching the youngest of the Fey clan lolled on the end of her bed, cheeks pink with amusement. Most definitely the drugs.

-----------------------------

An hour - and innumerable rematches - later, Franziska emerges triumphant, as she knew she would. Admittedly, both of her opponents conceded defeat half an hour into their tournament, but that is a mere triviality, she feels, in the face of her overwhelming victory. She leans back against her pillows, her good arm aching almost as much as her broken one, but nevertheless feeling some small part of her crumbling insides remember what life was like before yesterday, before the only person who has seen her every shameful imperfection and loved her anyway was ripped away to god-knows-where...

"Hey, can I see what's on?"

Maya, lying on her stomach at the end of the bed, is gesturing at the television set idly with a spoon, having procured yet another pot of jello from Franziska's untouched lunch tray. Franziska tosses her the remote, closing her eyes against the burgeoning exhaustion that has managed to hone in on her co-ordinates once more. She should be doing something, anything...

There is a burst of familiar music, and Pearl, cross-legged on the chair beside her, looks up.

"Ooh, the Steel Samurai!"

Franziska feels her limbs freeze, one at a time, a nauseating tide of recognition sending her fatigued body spiralling straight into shut down. She stares at the screen blankly, not even noticing the fingers of her left hand curling into a tight fist. The character on screen is different from the one she remembers - she doesn't know enough of the series to place the various incarnations in order, fortunately - but the basic design is similar enough that her muscles begin to spasm wildly with fear, telling her to run or fight or maybe even both - and oh god, Adrian, the pain of thinking about her almost takes her breath away -

Suddenly, Pearl's hand is on her arm.

"Ms. von Karma, are you all right?"

In moments, Maya is fumbling with the remote, hitting the off button hard before turning back to Franziska, mouth a perfect "O" of anxiety.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry! I didn't think - oh god, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry! Do you need a doctor? Franziska - "

Pearl is already on her feet, racing towards the door, when Franziska finally gets a grip on herself. Her first emotion is complete and utter humiliation at having reacted in such a way to a children's programme, of all things, and she holds a hand up to Pearl, shaking her head unsteadily.

"No, don't - really, I'm all right, there's no need for that - "

Pearl pauses, uncertainty twisting her features; she looks to Maya, biting her lip. Maya's eyes are equally doubtful, but she covers it so quickly Franziska can't help but grudgingly admire her control.

"Hey, Pearly, I know - why don't you go and see if you can find that vending machine, huh? I'm sure Franziska would feel better for a drink."

Pearl's hands are bunched worriedly in her robes, but she takes the handful of coins Maya passes her, shooting them both a searching look before hurrying off into the corridor. Maya closes the door carefully behind her, turning back to Franziska with that same worried intensity back in her eyes. Franziska, still struggling to return her breathing to some kind of normality, averts her own gaze, uncomfortable in every sense of the word.

"How can you continue to watch that... thing?"

Maya's eyebrows contract in puzzlement. "What, the Steel Samurai?"

Franziska nods, unable to find further words. Against her will, her hand goes to her shoulder. She hates it, that scar, but some measure of twisted pride has always prevented her from taking the logical step and having further surgery on it, as she could so easily afford to do. She feels like she deserves it somehow, like some of her Papa's guilt spilled into her and that clean, dark line of scar tissue is the only way she can correctly commemorate the transition.

Sometimes, only sometimes, Adrian will trace the scar with those gentle fingers of hers, and in those moments it doesn't feel quite so shameful anymore...

"That case... surely it affected you more than most."

"Well, I was only kidnapped, really," Maya says, with such startling casualness that Franziska has to meet her eyes now, if just to check she's serious. "I mean, it was really scary at the time, but I think it was harder on Pearly and Nick, to be honest. And I didn't get shot, did I? That's much worse than being kidnapped, right?" She pauses, sticking her tongue out thoughtfully. "Although... come to think of it, I was super hungry. Starving, in fact. At least you guys had jello! Yeah, you know, you're right - I totally had it worse."

"That is just..." Franziska begins slowly, shaking her head, "...the most ridiculously convoluted, foolish, nonsensical logic I have ever heard. And I work with Scruffy."

Maya rolls her eyes. "You sound just like Nick."

Franziska's own eyes narrow. "You will take that back, Maya Fey."

Her outraged hands fly instinctively for her whip: she remembers all at once - but much too late - that it's still missing, that her arm is still in that horrible cast, that Adrian is, for all she knows, lost to her forever. The combined realisation, and ensuing wave of nauseating panic, are enough to leave her doubled up, clutching herself desperately for support. Maya's eyes widen again, and she crouches down beside Franziska's bed, looking into her face anxiously.

"Seriously, should I get a doctor? Remember, I'm psychic - I'll totally know if you lie to me."

"I know your powers don't work that way, you know," Franziska grumbles, wishing Maya would stop looking at her with those ridiculously earnest eyes of hers. Maya tuts.

"Now you're just avoiding the question. Do I have to yell 'Objection!' for you to give me a straight answer? Because I will."

"The gloves are off now, I see," Franziska raises her eyebrows testily, grimacing when the action causes another exhausting shoot of pain to take root behind her eyes. "It's nothing. Really. I am just sorry to have upset your cousin."

Maya sighs, exasperation written all over her face. "Pearly's stronger than the both of us combined, honestly - she's just worried about you, not to mention Ms. Andrews. She was so upset when she heard."

"Don't - " Franziska begins automatically. She can't talk about Adrian right now, not when it's taking every bit of control she can scrape together to hold her heart in one piece. If she talks about it, acknowledges the desperation of their situation, she will break, she knows it...

"Look," Maya says, and to Franziska's dismay her tone softens considerably. "Do you want us to go? You must be tired..."

"I - " Franziska is sick of this, feeling so unsure of everything she's ever known, of this new role as the helpless victim she has been assigned without her consent. It's like the rules have been rewritten, and no one even took the time to inform her. "No. I'd - that is, if you could stay, that would be..."

She can't finish the sentence, her pride won't let her, but Maya seems to understand. She moves backwards, sitting down in the chair beside her bed, and rests her chin on the heel of her palm.

"Okay. We'll hang around as long you want us to, right? Pearly's point-blank refusing to go back to Kurain until they've found Ms. Andrews, anyway - and she can be pretty scary when she gets mad. Just ask Nick."

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[CHAPTER 6]
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Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Regina Spektor - One More Time With Feeling
 
 
 
Evee! At The Disco: -edgeworth: getting ready-if_i_had_you on June 25th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Really enjoying this so far. ♥ Please to be continuing - your characterization is spot-on.
Berlioz, apparentlyperverbially on June 26th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you! That's just incredibly flattering to hear, honestly :3
withpractice_ff on June 25th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
I don't even know where to start.

The imagery of Adrian hanging from the noose with the confetti falling around her was thoroughly horrific and sent a chill down my spine. I'm not generally one for dream sequences, but that alone was enough to sell me on this one.

Every single line dealing with Franziska's dread and heart ache over Adrian--especially the bit about what she could have done different--was completely devastating. It got that same tight feeling in my chest that I get when I think about what it would be like if anything happened to Mr. withpractice.

And God, the bit with her struggling to get dressed. I just wanted to hug her.

And the bits with the Feys offered some much needed levity. I was actually laughing out loud at the mortal peril bit, because it is so. true. And the part where she was lamenting her losses to a man who plays Hungry Hungry Hippos on his lunch break. And the imagery of Phoenix playing Hungry Hungry Hippos on his lunch break.

So much to love!
Berlioz, apparentlyperverbially on June 26th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
*glows all over the place*

Your comments kill me. I'm going to blather at you now, okay? Just a warning.

I'm not generally one for dream sequences, but that alone was enough to sell me on this one.

Me neither, to be honest - I really dithered over that one, but in the end I just knew the allure of giving Franziska a whacked-out morphine!nightmare was too great for me to resist :3 Plus, I wanted to find some way of addressing the court case that never was, as I think it would be on her mind a lot at this point. I'm glad to hear it wasn't too cheesy :)

And the bits with the Feys offered some much needed levity. I was actually laughing out loud at the mortal peril bit, because it is so. true. And the part where she was lamenting her losses to a man who plays Hungry Hungry Hippos on his lunch break. And the imagery of Phoenix playing Hungry Hungry Hippos on his lunch break.

It's such a relief to hear you say that <3 I really wanted to give Franziska some point of emotional connection with someone outside of Miles and Adrian - because obviously, Adrian's out of commission, and Miles is off doing his thing (plus, you know, he's Miles and she's Franziska and they don't do that shit unless pushed) - but I was pretty anxious about the whole thing being massively jarring in context with the rest of the fic.

So... I guess I'm just trying to say that it really is wonderful to hear that you liked it, heh. Thank you ♥ I'm still painfully new to writing like this, so your feedback really is invaluable.
‹ˆ▪̞▪ˆ›: [Phoenix Wright] Franziska Whipwolfie on June 25th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Wow, I didn't realize how long this chapter was til I started scrolling further and further down. I must say I loved that feeling. ^^;;

Um, that said, WOW. I am remembering now with incredible clarity why I love Maya so much. Just her bubbly nature, her kindness, her childish nature with just the right hints of maturity where it counts... Your Maya accounts for all those things. Please don't forget her later, even if she's not the focus of the story! I'm begging you! lol

Um, also, I seriously had to stop because I was laughing so hard about here:

"Maya Fey," she says shortly, ignoring the woman's question in favour of attending to her throbbing arm. "Don't you have some kind of mortal peril to be in?"

JUST BECAUSE. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE, AND TRUST FRANZISKA VON KARMA TO EXPOSE IT. XDDD

Ahem, but yes. I'm sure Maya would've stood no challenge at the chess board, so it's all just as well.

Also, of all the imagery you used in this chapter, I found the picking of the hippo color part to be the most stark one in my mind. Beautifully simple.

Rawr. Okay, I'm done flailing now!
Berlioz, apparentlyperverbially on June 26th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
*flails right back*

WHY ARE YOU SO LOVELY ;_;

Wow, I didn't realize how long this chapter was til I started scrolling further and further down. I must say I loved that feeling. ^^;;

Yeah, this chapter kinda surprised me with its unwieldy length, honestly. I seem to have gone from being unable to write a sentence without hating it, to having no self-control whatsoever. THERE IS NO IN BETWEEN D: (...I should totally work on that, shouldn't I?)

Um, that said, WOW. I am remembering now with incredible clarity why I love Maya so much. Just her bubbly nature, her kindness, her childish nature with just the right hints of maturity where it counts... Your Maya accounts for all those things. Please don't forget her later, even if she's not the focus of the story! I'm begging you! lol

Wow. Wow. I've never written Maya before, and for you to say that...? I am so flattered, god :3 I absolutely adore Maya, so if I've got even a fraction of the things that make her awesome right in this... well, wow. *wibble*

Just. Thank you. Seriously <3
‹ˆ▪̞▪ˆ›: [Digimon Tamers] Renamon Attentivewolfie on June 26th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Haaaah. Yes, I adore her personality, even if it can be bothersome at times. Or is it simply bothersome that she's in mortal peril every time we turn around...?

Incidentally I wasn't originally going to, but you might find my piece, The Unlucky Urn, fuzzily cute. It won first place in the contest it ran in, but I don't know that it was deserved. :p

Oh oh, and I meant to mention - you had an instance where you use sceptically and I believe you meant to use "skeptically." ^^

*flails a couple more times before running off* XD
Berlioz, apparently: Yaydrian :Dperverbially on June 27th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
Heading on over for a read now - expect irritating comments of squee :D MAYA AND MIA, YAAAAY ♥ I love the Feys so much, even if they are a classic example of how not to be sane.

Oh oh, and I meant to mention - you had an instance where you use sceptically and I believe you meant to use "skeptically." ^^

Urgh, I guess that would be my lol!Britishness showing through, heh :] We're kind of wacky, I know.
‹ˆ▪̞▪ˆ›: [Maria-sama ga Miteru] Chuwolfie on June 27th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
Oh, dear... I'm very well aware of British spelling differences, but I must admit that is one I had not yet seen! lol

Apologies. Carry on. XD
Berlioz, apparently: oh shitperverbially on June 28th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't worry about it, I know how ridiculous these things can be at times :/ (What's particularly weird for me is writing in a canon that is already a little... um, complicated, in its localisation? Kind of a mindfuck, really - like, is it a car park or a parking lot, would Franziska use a cell phone or a mobile (I have German relatives: WHY THE HELL DON'T I KNOW THIS D:), and the whole thing with the deli in chapter 1... that was so much more complex than it should have been :3)

Still, um, I guess that was a roundabout way of saying that I like to learn, so do correct me if something seems off to you! :D
‹ˆ▪̞▪ˆ›: [Sailor Moon] Haruka & Michuru: Wewolfie on June 28th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, yes~! And well, I am much the same. This one caught me off guard, though. XD

We'll still have fun... look forward to your next chapter. :3
fun-filled Haven!: heaven and hellburnt_heaven on June 26th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
That morphine nightmare in the beginning was wild. I have to admit, I was mildly amused through most of it until the part where there's confetti and Adrian hanging from a noose. The contrasting parts of that--the celebration of the confetti and the fact that someone's committed suicide--are really interesting, as well as the fact that it's basically the situation Franziska's in right now from her point of view. Adrian's hanging and she just can't do anything about it at the moment...a very interesting metaphor.

And then you have the rest of the chapter, which is mostly hilarious moment after hilarious moment with interludes of Franziska having her mind brought back to the situation at hand. I really liked the lighthearted feeling most of this chapter carried; it's been a pretty dark fic up until now, so the break in mood is appreciated.

Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter is Maya and Pearl visiting. Not only does it leave us with several memorable quotes ("mortal peril", Nick playing Hungry Hungry Hippos (which is totally canon now) and, of course, Franziska's opinion on Pearl: at least one member of the Fey family has managed to hold a grudge with dignity) but it really gives Franziska a chance to have a personality and interact with others outside of the situation the main plot puts all of them in.

Your characterization was really nice. Franziska in particular I enjoyed reading; she acted much like one would expect her to act when faced with playing Hungry Hungry Hippos or interacting with Maya/Pearl but she still wasn't completely separated from what was happening, as the periods of panic/sadness showed. This is a pretty important balance to keep--having fun and having the situation crash down on her--and you kept it very well. I liked the way you handled the Fey cousins, as well, especially Pearl; the fact that you kept that small grudge she had towards Franziska in the game made her that much more realistic. (And I totally "awww"'d at Pearl's resolution to not leave until Adrian was found. Very Pearl.) Maya was spot on, as well; still bubbly and happy, but there's also a grounded part of her that's in touch with what's happening.

All in all, the characters were realistic, the morphine nightmare was insane and this is probably my favorite chapter of the fic so far.
Berlioz, apparently: Yaydrian :Dperverbially on June 27th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Wow.
What an amazingly thoughtful comment to receive! You've actually single-handedly made my day here - thank you so much, I can't even put into words how chuffed I am right now :D God, this fandom ♥ I'm really trying to respond coherently here, but all I'm coming up with is a lot of ridiculously self-involved squeeful wharrblegarrble, so, um, yeah. Just, gah ♥

I should say, though, that this is going to be the lightest chapter for some time, unfortunately. We're back with Adrian next time round, and for her it's going to get worse before it gets better... D: (But it will get better, I promise! Hang in there, Adrian <3)
fun-filled Haven!: origamiburnt_heaven on June 27th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
Re: Wow.
You should've seen me right after I read it. If I had left a comment then, as I was going to, it would've basically been a long, slightly coherrent squee-filled comment.

I figured as much. Plots seem to do that to the characters. I'll be over here, holding my "Go Adrian!" sign and gaping at the train wreck that's sure to be coming up soon.
Simon: Oh karen ♥ ♥ ♥prunesquallormd on June 26th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
I just love this chapter. It's moving, and adorably cute and hilarious, all in one.
And I'm so happy that you're getting the love for this that you deserve :)
Fabulous work, and I'm very proud to have been able to help, even if it's only to provide hand-holding and the occasional overly pedantic suggestion :)
<3

(Did you see Doctor Who, by the way? It was awesome :))
Berlioz, apparently: Yaydrian :Dperverbially on June 27th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
I saw the very end, which was torture, because I didn't know what was going on :( iPlayer, here I come!

And I've told you before, but I will say it again: your pedantry is amazing. Like, I actually need it. So don't you ever stop, okay? That's totally an order. You are brilliant ♥
josshouse: Klavier <3josshouse on July 8th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)
This is so delightful and heart-wrenching to read! And so many deliciously Ace Attorney-esque moments. Please never stop!