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08 July 2010 @ 02:13 am
(FIC: ADRIAN/FRANZISKA) If Love is Surrender - Chapter 6  
Title: If Love is Surrender
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Spoilers: Major JfA spoilers
Pairing(s): Adrian Andrews/Franziska von Karma
Genre: Drama/Action
Summary: Adrian Andrews saves herself.
Warnings/Rating: [Click for boilerplate warnings list]
Notes: I'm perhaps taking a few liberties with my interpretation of the whole Celeste/Matt/Adrian/Juan train-wreck of drama and intrigue, because in my head Celeste and Adrian had some kind of thing within a thing and I really wanted to delve into that a bit from Matt's perspective. Hopefully it's not too jarring? (Oh, and apparently I just can't resist a good dream sequence/disassociative episode. WTF, STOP IT, SELF.)
Disclaimer: S'cool, Capcom. I'm just borrowing, I promise.
Previous Chapters: [CHAPTERS 1&2] [CHAPTER 3] [CHAPTER 4] [CHAPTER 5]


CHAPTER SIX: "DYING TO TRY ME"


When Adrian finally stumbles from the car, morning has broken over Eagle Mountain. The sky is a translucent pastel blue, a few pale clouds etching themselves on the horizon, and, on any other day, she's sure she would find it achingly beautiful. Now, however, it is all she can do to keep her balance as they set off on the rocky path to the cabin.

Matt shambles along behind her, and she's sure he, too, must be exhausted by this point, not even factoring in the sheer volume of brandy he has consumed. He always had a high tolerance for the stuff, unlike her, but on the journey here he has polished off almost all of what was left in the bottle. The thought alone makes her nauseous, and every time he gets near enough for her to catch a whiff of the heady, fruity scent on his breath, she has to breathe through her mouth to keep from throwing up again. Every part of her body aches with exhaustion; sheer, anxious adrenaline is the only thing keeping her moving, the constant thrumming possibility that somehow she might spot some way out of this. She looks over the edge of the path, down into the raging, foam-white of Eagle River. She couldn't push him, not even after all this. She's not a murderer, is she? She remembers Celeste hanging like a rag-doll, Franziska's broken face... no.

Maybe he'll fall under his own steam, one misplaced step on a slippery rock and this would all be over...

She turns a corner in the path, and finds herself face to face with an overgrown mass of twisted vegetation, under which she can see the glint of what must be glass. How many years has it been since Matt and Celeste last visited, five, maybe more? She swallows hard; now that they're here, she doesn't know whether to feel relieved or terrified. She realises she hadn't thought this far ahead, about what would actually happen once they got wherever they were going.

"What are you stopping for?"

Matt's eyes brighten at the sight of the cabin, his steps quickening until they are side by side on the small, weed-covered porch. He squints against the morning sun, raising the hand with the gun to cover his eyes as he rakes around between the plant-pots, apparently searching for a key. Adrian's right foot gives an uncontrollable twitch, her flight instinct telling her this is the last chance - if she doesn't run now, she might never get another chance to. The gun seems to grow in Matt's hand, and even though it's not pointed directly at her, she knows he'd be more than capable of firing off a shot before she'd even made it off the porch.

A shattering sound almost frays her very last nerve - Matt, too impatient to continue his hunt for the key, has his hand pushed through the opening where a window used to be. There is a rasping click, and the door shudders open. He has the nerve to bow her inside.

"Ladies first, dude."

Run, run, run now! her fatigued limbs scream, a last ditch attempt by her body to do something, anything that is not going quietly into the lion's den. Matt's eyes narrow.

"Get in, for fuck's sake."

She can't. Too late, she realises she has begun to shut down completely: the constant fear, physical and mental exhaustion, and violence of the past few hours all combining to make the adrenaline of before freeze solid within her veins, rendering her incapable of movement. She can't go in there. She can't, she can't, she can't...

He hits her with the butt of the pistol, square between the shoulder blades. She tastes her own blood now; her bitten tongue throbs as she struggles back to her feet inside the cabin, wiping her sweaty, dirty hands on the front of her pants. The door shuts behind her.

This is it her churning insides seem to say, as if deriding her complete and utter failure to escape. Game over. I've done all I can do - you're on your own now, Adrian.

Adrian starts to cry, choking on her own gasping breaths - she can't help it anymore, can't hide from the reality of her situation. She just wants to be home, to go to sleep, to hide her face in Franziska's chest and never see the world again. It's all too much, she's too small, too weak, she can't do this, she just can't...

Matt is looking at her from beside the dust-coated fireplace, disgust curling his lip unpleasantly. "Get a grip, will you? We've got business to attend to, in case you've forgotten."

She laughs hollowly. It feels like the first time in years. "Is that what they're calling it nowadays?"

He wrinkles his nose irritably, but doesn't respond. She watches him fumble with the lighter and a pile of screwed up newspaper, snatching up a rotten old log from a basket beside the hearth and throwing it onto the smouldering heap. When he's done, he stands, looking at her in a bizarrely expectant manner.

"Well, what d'you think?"

Adrian tilts her head, confused. "Of what?"

"The weather," he snaps sarcastically, tapping the pistol jerkily against the mantelpiece. "Of this place, jesus. What the fuck did you think I was talking about?"

She blinks at him, entirely wrong-footed, and not knowing how to respond in a way that won't anger him further. Matt sighs, striding towards her; she flinches, but he just pushes her out of the way, crossing the room to a bookshelf on the opposite side.

"Celeste loved this cabin," he says, tracing a finger through the dust. "It was her dad's, he used to use it for hunting or something. He left it to her, and every time we could get away, we'd come down here..."

He turns back to her, crossing his arms. The pistol shines blackly against his chest. "We didn't use it for hunting, though."

She looks away, not wanting to hear this, not wanting to think about Matt and Celeste when she's already so close to breaking point. There's a metallic click, and when she looks up, the gun is on her once again.

"No. You're going to listen, all right?" he says, and his voice drops to little more than a growl. He advances on her, until the gun is grazing her chin. "This is why we're here, babe. We're going to talk this out, like adults. We owe them that, don't you think?"

"Them?"

He scratches his chin with his free hand, the gun jerking against her throat. "Juan and Celeste," he says, like it's the most obvious thing in the world.

Adrian's mouth goes dry. "I don't owe them anything," she mumbles, the metal cool against her sweaty skin. Then, more clearly, raising her face to his: "I didn't kill them."

Matt's dark eyes flicker, and she waits for this to be over - almost welcomes it in that one, stifling moment, with the weight of all that's happened pressing hard on her heart.

He laughs.

"Hey, me neither. I guess that's another thing we have in common, huh, dude?"

As she stares at him in disbelief, he walks off, still laughing to himself. "Move and I'll blow your head off, okay?" he says cheerily, over his shoulder. He opens a door along the corridor, swearing into the cloud of cobwebs that greets him. "I could've sworn there was a kitchen somewhere along here..."

Adrian has to fight to remain standing now, her body sagging into the floor as she listens to him rifling through Celeste's cupboards. Through the musty, faded curtains, she can see strains of bright sunlight twisting their way across the heavy, dusty air of the cabin. What time must it be, mid-morning? The dream from before seems to be coming back to her: it's always harder to control when she's tired, that urge to just let go of herself and allow her body to slip into automatic, all of her fears so meaningless and far away...

She imagines where she would be right now, if none of this had happened. Her fantasies seem to be made of the same thin, ghost-like cloth as the world around her, the line between reality and dreams fading easily, painlessly. She can smell Franziska's skin, warm and sweet and sleepy, the weight of a hand curled easily around her hip, the way they always wake up together...

"Wake up, Adrian," she's muttering softly, her other hand finding it's way to Adrian's ear; she traces the lobe, before whispering into it once more: "Adrian Andrews, wake up..."

She doesn't want to be awake - it's too early, she just wants to stay here, all warm and safe and loved. "But I'm so tired, Franziska..."

"I know you are," Franziska says, "but you must wake up... it's important..."

"But he's going to kill me..." Adrian says quietly, her voice muffled in the pillow. Franziska doesn't respond, but her fingers continue to trace a smooth, unwavering pattern over her skin, following a route that only the two of them know.

"I can't fight him... Celeste couldn't, could she? She was so strong... and I'm not, I'm not, I'm just... I want to go to sleep so badly..."

"Adrian Andrews," Franziska begins, but suddenly something is changing, and at first Adrian wants to cling to the warmth, the quiet, wants to bury her face in the bedsheets and hide like she did when she was a child, so small and helpless...

Franziska's voice is Adrian's own when it next comes to her, and she is alone. She feels her lips move like a melody. "It doesn't matter what Celeste could and couldn't do. I'm not Celeste."

Her eyes open.


She is just as tired as before, of course. Her whole body shakes with the effort required to hold herself upright, and her heartbeat feels like a violently ticking clock behind her ribs.

There is no one else to save me now, she thinks, but it doesn't scare her like it used to.

I am Adrian Andrews, and I am capable of handling this she repeats to herself, and like a distant memory, she realises it's the truth.

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

"Although, when I think about it," says Matt, smirking into the can of cold mushroom soup he has produced from the cabin's emergency supplies, "that's not quite true, is it?"

"What isn't?" she says tiredly. He's let her sit down now - she's huddled on the hard floor, arms wrapped around her knees. He snorts derisively at her answer, licking some soup from his thumb.

"Juan. What I said - about neither me nor you killing him."

Adrian doesn't even try to follow his line of thought anymore: she has mercifully managed to set herself to just react to his meanderings, rather than trying to figure out where his violently-alternating personalities are going to take them next. "How do you mean?"

"Well. One of us, I seem to remember, visited some quite nasty harm upon the late lamented Jammin' Ninja, didn't they? And I don't think it was me."

"I didn't kill him," Adrian says again. She doesn't add, "you did, technically", but nevertheless the implication hangs heavily in her tone.

"You stabbed him, dude," Matt grins, raising his eyebrows in amusement. "Right in the chest, wasn't it? I know you did it to frame me, but I gotta admit, I kind of respect your balls."

She doesn't say anything, tightening her grip on her knees.

"Did it feel good, knifing the guy you'd been fucking for the last six months?" Matt carries on, his smirk widening when her hands jerk convulsively at his words. In spite of herself, she feels her cheeks begin to burn.

"No, it didn't," Adrian mutters shortly, knowing his good humour won't last if she doesn't rise to the bait. "But I don't regret it."

He leans back on the sofa, toying with the pistol idly, a satisfied spark in his eyes. "I don't believe you," he says, his tone verging on the conversational."Even after all the things he did to you, to Celeste? He deserved it, dude. I bet you smiled when you did it, didn't you? I would have, believe me."

"I'm not you," she replies, her voice retreating inside her until it's barely more than a whisper. She doesn't trust herself to say more, not with that look in his eye. I can handle this, I can...

"Yeah, but you hated him as much as I did, didn't you? Go on, deny it."

Adrian bites her lip. "I'm not you," she repeats.

"He took Celeste from you, right?" Matt continues. Her surprise must show on her face, because he smirks again. "You think I can't work that much out? I'm not just a pretty face, you should know that much by now. How does it feel, knowing she chose him over you?"

"If you knew me half as well as you think you do, you'd know it wasn't like that," she retorts hotly, but even as she says it, she is hating herself for bowing so easily to his taunts. He moves forward in his seat, pleasure at her outburst written all over his face.

"Tell me how it was, then," he breathes, eyes fixed on hers. "Was she fucking you both? Or maybe it was all three of us?"

"You're disgusting."

He laughs humourlessly, not dropping his gaze. "Look who's talking. I'm not the one who stabbed her boyfriend's corpse."

"He wasn't - "

"What, your boyfriend? So, what did that make him?" Matt raises an eyebrow, but she doesn't answer, dropping her head. "Come on, don't hold out on me, Adrian. We both know what he was. He was a means to an end, right? I get that. The truth is, you're more like me than you care to admit. You used him for that note, and then when he went and died, you used his corpse to get back at me, didn't you?"

"He didn't 'die' - you paid for his murder," Adrian says sharply, her control slipping even further. "That was why I did what I did: so that you would be brought to justice for your crimes. So people would know what you are."

"See, that all sounds good on paper, I admit. Is that what you tell your girlfriend - it was all in the name of justice, so that makes it okay? But I know you, Adrian, you forget that - I remember what happened after Celeste killed herself."

A prickle of foreboding makes Adrian shake her head jerkily, covering her face with her hair. She knew this was coming, but the thought of talking about it with him, and now of all times... "Please don't," she hears herself say. Pathetic, weak, disgusting, comes the familiar, creeping voice inside her; she shakes her head again, forcefully, pushing it away with as much strength as she can muster.

"Hey, we're here to talk, aren't we?" he snaps angrily, his voice rising in irritation. He pushes the hair back from her face with the pistol, and she freezes, the sound of her own heartbeat filling her ears. "I know you, Adrian. I know what you tried to do - "

"Stop - !"

"I know that you tried to kill yourself, just like she did," he finishes coldly, watching her face with barely concealed fascination. She starts to shake. I can handle this, I can handle this, I can handle this... "What was it, a day or so after Celeste? Don't tell me framing me didn't make you feel even the tiniest bit good, not after that."

"Good?" she repeats numbly, her head swimming. "Do you even hear what you are saying? What part of that situation was supposed to feel good?"

"The revenge part, dude," he says, and abruptly his face changes, flashing her a swift, predatory grin.

She can barely look at him, but some wild, angry part of her feels compelled to talk, to set him straight. "Revenge, in such a situation..." she begins unsteadily, choosing her words with care, "...it was never about my feelings. It never felt good. It... had to be done. For Celeste, and for myself."

"You're kidding yourself, Adrian," he dismisses her with a shake of his head, his mouth twisting in disdain. "You act like you're better than me, but I can see it in your face - after Celeste, all you really wanted was to watch Juan and me burn, didn't you?"

Adrian doesn't say anything. He stands; the gun is against her temple in one swift movement. For a moment, there is silence in the cabin, and she watches the dust particles dance and glide on the sunlight around them, a strange kind of peace descending on her. Matt's harsh breathing is the only thing that breaks the calm.

"Say it. Say you wanted me dead."

"I did," Adrian agrees eventually, suppressing the emotion in her voice as best she can. "But now... if it wasn't for you turning up yesterday, I doubt I would have wasted another thought on you. I've moved on."

She throws her hands up as Matt raises the gun, some instinctual part of her sensing the blow before it arrives: he brings it back around to her temple with a crash, and she falls to the floor, the world closing in around her until everything is black.

----------------
[CHAPTER 7]
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Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Akemi Kimura - Reminiscence - Steel Samurai's Ballad (a.k.a., sad Adrian is sad)
 
 
 
miss_princemiss_prince on July 8th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
I somehow managed to miss you posting chapters 4 and 5 of this :O

I'm really enjoying the story; I like Matt's brand of crazy, I like the way Adrian is dealing with the situation, and I like Franziska's helplessness and frustration and need to DO SOMETHING. I also really liked the dream sequence from last chapter; it felt very real, so focused on all the things Franziska is/has been insecure about -- her losses to Phoenix, her father's legacy, her height, and of course Adrian. And I really like the way you write Maya and Pearl; you're very true to their characters in the best way.

I can't wait for more!
Berlioz, apparently: franziska skeevedperverbially on July 10th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed putting as many of Franziska's issues as I could into that dream, I must admit. I'm kind of mean to her at times, aren't I? :D

Anyway, just, thank you :3 This is my first longfic in years, not to mention my first longfic in a new fandom, so... well, feedback really is like oxygen, I'm not ashamed to admit that. Thank you ♥
fun-filled Haven!: heaven and hellburnt_heaven on July 8th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
I had to go back and read that last section again because I thought that Matt shot her instead of just pistol whipping her into unconsciousness. Whew, I'm glad I just misread it.

Good chapter. You certainly weren't lying when you said that it was going to get worse before it gets better for Adrian, that's for sure! I kind of liked the dream sequence/dissociative episode that you included; it makes a lot of sense that Adrian wouldn't be completely "over" the trauma she went through with the Matt/Juan/Celeste hellhole. On recovery road, yes, as her mantra and the small regain of strength she has mid-chapter shows, but nowhere near "healed". Very realistic.

Can't wait for the next development in the story! Hopefully Adrian won't be too screwed up from that crack to the head she got, ouch.
Berlioz, apparently: oh shitperverbially on July 10th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Urk, sorry, was it unclear? This chapter possibly needs a little plot-centric housecleaning, I've decided...

I kind of liked the dream sequence/dissociative episode that you included; it makes a lot of sense that Adrian wouldn't be completely "over" the trauma she went through with the Matt/Juan/Celeste hellhole. On recovery road, yes, as her mantra and the small regain of strength she has mid-chapter shows, but nowhere near "healed". Very realistic.

I'm glad it wasn't too trippy :D Actually, apropos of nothing, I'm replaying 2-4 right now, and I found the line again that first convinced me Adrian's dependence would be offset with some kind of disassociation (and for some reason, I really want to blather about it, because I love talking about this kind of thing and don't know when to shut up, so):

But... At the time, I
couldn't control my own body.
It moved on its own.


I mean, I know that kind of experience is quite usual in a traumatic situation, but then I got to thinking "How would she put up with working for a man she hated so desperately all that time?" and boom: a wacky conclusion, heh :D I just hope it makes some sort of sense in context, and isn't too shittily written. It's such a subjective thing, after all... :/

Anyway, thank you, as always, for your wonderful, thoughtful comments :D You always get my brain working! ♥
fun-filled Haven!: slashburnt_heaven on July 12th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
No, it wasn't a problem with your writing at all. I guess I was just having a slow day that day and forgot to read the part where it says that she sensed the blow coming, which would have made it clear that he was physically hitting her, not shooting her. My fault entirely.

I don't think that's blathering. It's interesting to see how another writer comes to the conclusions they put in their fic. Not only that, but usually when people explain why they believe what they do it brings up points in the canon that others (i.e., me) completely missed. So yay to "blathering"!

In regards to 1) making sense in context and 2) being shittily written: 1) it does, and 2) it isn't, at all. Now that you've explained your reasoning behind Adrian's episode it makes even more sense, actually, so thanks for sharing that! (It also convinced me I should probs replay 2-4, since I don't remember...um, most of the stuff about the case. D: )
withpractice_ff on July 10th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
OH NO! ADRIAN!

Hopefully she'll be okay when she wakes up. I'm pretty worried about how she's going to get out of this. I'd have to imagine that after they talk, Matt's going to kill her and then, possibly, himself. He seems... more unstable that usual. Which is what going to prison and having the world discover your carefully constructed persona was just that will do to a person.

I am loving this insight into how Matt felt about everything that was going on. I've never really considered him, he came off as a plot vehicle to me when I was playing the game (ages ago now; maybe it's time for a replay?), and you've given him a lot of depth, making me interested in his view on things.

Simon: Karen Gillan 1 ♥prunesquallormd on July 11th, 2010 09:02 am (UTC)
Love, love, love this. And god, I just want to hug Adrian and make it all better. Even more than that, though, I want Adrian to wake up and find a way to seriously kick Matt's arse. Please to be making that happen kthx :)