|Phoenix Wright: Ticking Turnabout
Author: C.M. Kearney PM
Set one year after T&T, an AU disregarding the events of Apollo Justice: A victim, a witness, a suspect, a defendant. One of them is a fake. Which is it? Only time will tell. The hour it struck.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Romance - Phoenix W./Nick & Iris - Chapters: 10 - Words: 31,040 - Reviews: 71 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 06-26-08 - Published: 04-23-08 - id: 4214343
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I don't ownzors squat.
And here we go.
July 24, 9:22 AM
Wright and Co. Law Offices
A hand reached for the receiver on the desk.
"Yes? Wright and Co. Law Offices. Phoenix Wright speaking."
"Phoenix Wright? Oh, splendid." a woman's voice spoke into the phone. "I do hope you aren't busy with a case, Mr. Wright."
(Sounds like I'm getting a client. Finally.)
"Actually, I'm not representing anyone at the moment. Do you need an attorney, Miss…?"
"Matilda Barbers. And yes, I do need your assistance." she sounded relieved. "I need you to represent someone for me. My maidservant."
"Um, certainly. On what charges was she arrested?"
"The murder. Of my husband."
(G-gack! I mean…whoa. Note to self: Alarmed monologue doesn't strike me as professional.)
"Oh…I understand. Um, but I need to see you in person first before we could discuss the situation, Mrs. Barbers."
"Is that so? Well, of course. Come to the Gribble Mansion as soon as possible. I'll tell the police to let you in."
And with that, the caller hung up at the other end, leaving a curious defense attorney to his own device.
My name is Phoenix Wright. I'm an attorney at law. For almost four years in precise, I've grown from a rookie to an ace attorney. Not that I can't hold it in, with my badge flashing on my lapel all the time. But almost every case I've taken held some important memories. Memories that took me from greenhorn to pro. Starting with my friend and mentor, Mia Fey, who passed away three years ago. I never would've come this far if it hadn't been for her. Add her younger sister Maya Fey and her cousin Pearl to the mix, and I've got team support. Even a friend I never thought I'd have to face off in court became a trustworthy ally. It's been a year since I've seen them all. Maya, once my assistant now the rightful Master of her family's Kurain Channeling Technique, left the office to answer the call of duty, with Pearl as her guide. Miles Edgeworth…wherever he's gone off to now, I hope he's enjoying himself at least. I was able to say farewell to him last year at the airport, and he did promise to return someday.
Since the start of my career, work had me cut out so much that I couldn't even sit down for a cup of coffee. My reputation as an ace attorney made me renowned; it might have even caught the attention of overseas clients. I know. I've had some pretty weird people in my office lately…not excluding that Count who thought he was a vampire… -shudder- …I never want to go through that case again…
But it's been a really long while since my services were requested. I can't count way back when. But I feel like the length of time I've been sitting here doing nothing took five years from me. It's been boring, to be honest. If I had another job other than this, I would've taken up either plumbing or gardening, or both. Why you ask?
Two reasons: one is that my latest best friend is the toilet whom I look after for almost every week with a scrubber, and two is of course, Mia's plant Mr. Charley. I used to just call him Charley, but I've taken to adding "Mr." before his name.
………Ughhh…listen to me! I'm so bored that I've sunk to the level of giving a plant a gender! -sigh-
Which is why I'm at my happiest at the moment to be taking a case, even if it's murder. Murder? No big. I've taken it on before. In fact, "accused of murder" always seems to be the plaque I'd see labeled on all my clients. Looking back, I can't complain about it anymore. I must literally be a savior to them.
"Murder done by the help?" Phoenix pondered, rubbing his chin in thought. "I was wondering when I'd ever get a case like this…wait…did she say MANSION?"
(Rich people always had a knack for attracting trouble. -sigh-)
(Well, I can't stand here all day. I should get going.)
(So…this is it. I'd be dumb to say that this isn't anything short of extravagant.)
Beyond the iron gates from where Phoenix stood, a towering Victorian masterpiece loomed some ten yards away, concealed partially by the thick forest that seemed to surround the back area, accentuating its detachment from civilization as it were.
(Examining the scene)
"Those walls look to be solid concrete." he noted. "Or is it marble?" he turned his attention to the windows. "There are about six of them from this point of view, all reaching about nine feet from the floor. I'm pretty sure they have tall curtains.
"And the garden's as green as grass. …In fact…they do just have grass. And I thought a little horticulture could spruce the place up. Not that it needs it."
(Hey! Maybe I can do the gardening for them! Fifty dollars an hour! An extra twenty if I plant something for them!)
"Hey, pal! This place is strictly off-limits to people and reporters! Go on, beat it!"
(Uh-oh…I know that voice. It's been some time since I heard it mouthing me and the general public off, too…)
Sure enough, the shabby, low-necked figure of a familiar detective jumped out at Phoenix.
"… Oh! It's you…" he realized with a quirk of his thick brows, and he laughed a little. Whether from surprise or deep-seated sarcasm, it cannot be said.
"It's been a while, Detective." our attorney remarked for the sake of making conversation.
"A real long while, pal…it's been, what? Six months?"
(Six months…? It's been that long…? Where have I been all this time…?)
"I guess time flew fast. I didn't realize how long it's been until you told me, Gumshoe."
"You're telling me, pal? I thought you DIED!" he yelled, quite dramatically.
(Yelling it won't make people care about me...)
"So, you're as busy as always eh, Detective?"
Gumshoe nodded. "Sure am. O-ho! And I bet you're the 'young attorney' that Madame Barbers told me and the boys about!" he chuckled. "Well good for you, pal! Can't be an ace attorney just sitting in a corner and gathering dust, right?"
"That's an interesting way of putting it. So…can I get in?" Phoenix asked him.
"Yeah sure, pal. But don't go wandering around this mansion. The forensics hate it when we trod on the floor like there's clues under our feet that'd break on impact. Just go straight to the master's study."
Another nod. "…Yup. It's the scene of the crime. But I think you should go talk to the victim's wife first, though. She said she got something to tell you."
(Guess I should get a move on.)
The Master's Study
(On first glance, it looks like a room designed for a private library that you can only get into via a secret passage, but the windows ruin that image. Though I wonder if the owner did install a get-away exit………..from what? Realtors…?)
(…Say…how come the curtains are drawn in this room…? It's pretty dark…it's hard enough to see.)
(And now that I think about it…all the curtains in this house are drawn shut. I wonder why…?)
But before he could take a look around, a small noise caught Phoenix's attention.
He whirled around to see a small boy, blonde and with large brown eyes, standing right behind him. From what he could tell in the absence of light.
"Y-Yeow!" Phoenix cried out in surprise.
(…Who's this…? He's not a ghost…is he…? -gulp-)
"Um…" he began.
The boy gave him a wide-eyed look and scampered off.
(…Too late. Who was that kid?)
To his relief, it was a middle-aged woman who approached him in the study. A woman with light brown hair and an oval, kind face.
"Oh, my! Did I startle you?" she asked, a little shocked herself.
"N-n-no! I'm fine! I'm sorry for yelling…"
(They always seem to jump right out at me…)
"You…you must be Matilda Barbers, am I correct?" Phoenix asked her.
"Yes, thank you." she smiled. "I'm so glad you're taking this case, Mr. Wright."
"Why? You couldn't ask anyone else to represent your maid?"
"Actually, I've heard about you and known you for some time." Mrs. Barbers answered. "Phoenix Wright, with a talent to turn any case around."
"Ahaha. Really?" he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.
(I just know I'm blushing right now…)
"When I first considered asking you for your services, I just knew you were perfect for this job." the woman told him with a warm smile. "I'm sure she'll accept you as well."
"You mean your maid?"
"Yes. It's a rather difficult time for us…we are not allowed to leave the mansion for the day, apparently…" she looked away, and even he could tell in the dark that this incident troubled her more than she let on.
"…I'm deeply sorry for your husband…" Phoenix began.
Mrs. Barbers smiled at him again. "Thank you, Mr. Wright. But there's no need to sympathize with me. What's important is that Gimlet gets a full-acquittal."
"Yes. My maidservant's name is Gimlet Limegarn. She's been with us for a year now. And she's very loyal and dedicated to her work. That's why it's hard for me to picture her as the murderer of my husband."
"…About your husband. What's his name and occupation?"
"I'm not sure if you've heard of him, dear. Jeremy Barbers. He's a politician. A good one, at that."
(A politician, eh…? I wonder…)
(Oh yeah…that reminds me…)
"Mrs. Barbers? Did you see a little boy on your way in here?"
"Oh! You've met my son." she replied.
"S-son?" Phoenix repeated, surprised.
"Well, of course. My husband and I had him." the older woman stared. "…"
"…Ack! Sorry! It's just that…he stunned me back there before you came in, granted it's so dark in your house…"
"Oh dear, I'm so sorry about that." Mrs. Barbers apologized. "He's a shy little boy, but he's a dear. And I'm afraid we cannot allow sunlight to filter into our house."
Phoenix decided to just ask her. "Um, what reason would you have for blocking out the sunlight?"
She fell silent and her smile faded, coming to stare at empty space."…That is…he has an illness, Mr. Wright."
"It…has restricted him to the confines of our mansion for the past eight years. Yes. My son, was diagnosed with photodermatitis. An allergy to sunlight." the woman whispered her confession.
"…Ah…I-I'm sorry…I shouldn't have asked…" Phoenix stammered.
Mrs. Barbers just shook her head. "My son grew up trapped in this house, not once having seen the light of day. He's deathly sensitive, that's why we take measures not to let him go out during daytime."
"And that explains all the dark rooms in your mansion…" he concluded.
"He's even been home-schooled, because he can never go outside and play with the other children…" the older woman's forehead began to wrinkle in pain. And Phoenix began to regret ever asking.
(It's obvious that she worries about her son a lot…I can't imagine living away from the world like this…)
The two of them turned towards the doorway to see the lonely little boy, as meek as ever as he fixed his eyes on Phoenix. He looked pale. Sick, even.
(He's staring again…and I admit it's kind of awkward…he probably gets shy around strangers.)
(…Or maybe it's my hair………..but-but my hair's never scary! Is it?)
Mrs. Barbers stepped over to her only son and gently placed her hands on his shoulders. "Sweetheart, this is Mr. Phoenix Wright. He's going to defend Gimlet in court tomorrow." then she turned to Phoenix. "Mr. Wright, I would like to introduce you to mine and my husband's son, Remi Barbers."
Little Remi stared at him for a little more, before bowing his head politely towards their visitor. "M-my name is Remi." came his shy, softspoken greeting. "A pleasure, to meet you, Mr. Phoenix Wright."
(I should at least say something…though he's in a whole new different league from Pearls as a kid…)
"Hi there, Remi." Phoenix greeted him back with the same smile he always gave his clients.
"Th-th-thank you for helping Gimlet." Remi stammered. "Th-they took her away, and I haven't seen her…"
"Y-yeah…the police have her as a suspect."
(Can I really talk about this with a kid who just lost his father…?)
Just then, Mrs. Barbers said, "Remi, why don't you go on back to your room? Mr. Wright and I need to discuss something. Is that alright?"
The boy nodded, rubbing the fabric of his white polo nervously before leaving the study, his eyes on the other man till past the door.
"He…seemed kinda nervous around me…" Phoenix noted as soon as Remi was gone.
"…" Mrs. Barbers looked at him apprehensively. "Truthfully Mr. Wright, he didn't want to be in here…"
"…? Oh, is it because…?"
Somehow, he couldn't find it in him to say it in front of the victim's wife, so he let her.
"As you know, this study was where my husband perished. But my son…he…" she said, looking straight at the young attorney. "…is a witness to the murder."
"Wh-whaaaaat?" Phoenix balked. "You mean to tell me…that he saw his father die…right before his VERY EYES?"
Mrs. Barbers flinched visibly. "N-n-no! Heavens, NO! He…more likely, stumbled upon the body very early in the morning."
"Huh? How early?"
"I'm not sure, and he wouldn't tell me. But…according to my son, he found his father…over there." she pointed reluctantly to the other side of the dark room: towards the fireplace.
(I don't believe this…)
"My husband…he was just lying face down...his head in the fireplace………dead." Mrs. Barbers stuttered, her lower lip trembling. Phoenix couldn't think of a thing to console her.
"Thank you, I'll be leaving now.…………Mrs. Barbers. I promise to get your maid that acquittal, and find out who really did this to Mr. Barbers." he promised.
(I think that's enough for now. I should just ask Gumshoe for the details in his investigation.)
"…Hey, pal. You alright? You look a little somber there." Gumshoe said to the attorney making his way out of the mansion.
(I guess I brought back half the grief of the victim's family from the mansion…)
"Detective, I couldn't really look around since it was so…"
"Dark? Heh…yeah. That poor kid…"
"You knew about that, too?"
"We knew when we tried to rip the curtains open, and the kid screamed blue murder. I didn't believe it at first, but there you go, pal…"
"Other than having to fumble around without a flashlight on me, I couldn't help but think that…well…"
Phoenix hesitated. "The victim's wife…Mrs. Barbers…she was pretty shaken up by the whole thing as much as her son. No matter how calm she looked, she was definitely in pain from losing her husband…I didn't have the guts to press her about how he died or what was she doing that night…"
"You don't think maybe…………..MADAME BARBERS IS THE REAL KILLER?" Gumshoe's bellow echoed across the courtyard.
"HOW CAN YOU COME UP WITH CRAZY STUFF LIKE THAT, GUMSHOE?"
"S-sorry, pal." he muttered, quieting down. "I was just trying to turn the case around like you…"
"…! I…I don't go around pointing fingers without PROOF!" Phoenix protested.
"I said I'm sorry… urk…"
(I think I'll just ask the good detective how the murder was carried out…)
"Detective, can you just fill me in on the murder?"
Gumshoe nodded. "Okay pal, sure. The victim, Jeremy Barbers, was murdered in his study between 2 to 3 a.m. in the morning, July 24, today. The body was found lying facedown on the floor, and he was halfway inside the fireplace headfirst. According to the autopsy, they found that coal was shoved into his mouth, and he choked on the stuff. Traces of it were also found in the lining of his stomach, so he definitely swallowed and died ingesting cinders."
(Autopsy report added to the Court Record.)
(Crime Photo added to the Court Record.)
"Here's a sample of the coal too, pal. Straight from the fireplace."
(Coal added to the Court Record.)
(So Mr. Barbers was force-fed with coal…that's a pretty clean break.)
"Okay, I guess that's it for now." Phoenix finalized. "Thanks, Gumshoe."
"Sure, pal. By the way, did you go meet your client yet?"
"Oh! Not yet…"
Gumshoe quirked a brow. "Well, you better get going. I'm sure Ms. Limegarn will wanna see your face, at least."
"I'll be off then. Thanks again."
(It's time to pay the Detention Center a little visit.)
A/N: I've decided to add a list of the current contents of Nick's Court Record before every chappie. :)
You know, I honestly wanted to put a Psyche-lock on Mrs. Barbers concerning her son's condition, but she's an honest person. And it's not something she's incredibly ashamed of for her and Remi anyway, so she just explained the reason to Feenie. :P