Ghost of a Goodbye

Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth gives the eulogy.

Ema watches him closely, trying to keep her expression somber and attentive, to not let any other emotions—any emotions that shouldn't be present—show on her face.

The casket is closed, of course. There isn't even a body in the casket, as pretty much everyone at the funeral knows. The majority of the body was cremated nine months ago, when it seemed that there would never be an identification made, that there would be no new clues or breaks to help the investigation along. Only certain parts were saved—acid-scarred fingers; mutilated eyes so that some portion of the retina could be examined, though both retina were torn beyond easy comparison; pieces of tissue to use for DNA analysis.

It was forensics that saved the day, really. Forensics and Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, acting on a hunch and ordering the fastest DNA comparison ever run. What would have happened if he hadn't been able to prove that the real Detective Bobby Fulbright was dead? Would they still be working with the Phantom, a killer held close and protected in the heart of the police force? Would Simon Blackquill and Athena Cykes be dead or worse-than-dead, sacrificed to international espionage that Ema still doesn't understand?

Why does it matter who reaches the stars, so long as someone does?

Why do foreign nations assume aggressive reasons for the development of missiles, when Ema just wants to see people touch the universe?

Clay Terran just wanted to touch the stars.

(Ema attended Clay's funeral two days ago. His was a very different funeral. Clay is recognized as a hero, just as Fulbright is, but Clay wasn't part of the police force. The uniforms of the people bearing his coffin were those of GYAXA—even Apollo wore a GYAXA uniform, wore Clay's uniform, Ema is fairly certain, the sleeves too long, his eyes so bright and dry it hurt her to watch him.)

The officers who carried Fulbright's empty coffin are in full dress uniform, dark blue jackets, dark blue dress slacks with a black line down the outside of each leg. Medals glint and gleam on their chests.

Ema's dress uniform is stiff and uncomfortable, fitting awkwardly. She hadn't worn it since she acquired it, almost two years ago, and she hopes she won't have to wear it again for a very long time.

The day is beautiful, the sun hanging high and pale in the sky. A small scattering of clouds scuds from west to east, just slightly whiter than the washed-out paleness that they skitter through.

And Edgeworth speaks, calm and cool and professional, pausing only once to push his glasses up on his nose.

"—a fine and noble officer, eager to give assistance whenever needed—"

There are some people crying, Ema realizes as her eyes scan once more over the assemblage. A few of the younger patrolmen are sniffling, their eyes fixed on Edgeworth. It isn't the overwhelming display of grief and frustration and loss that there had been at Clay's funeral—there is no police line keeping back crowds of howling fans—but there are tears.

Fulbright's father doesn't cry. Ema wonders, sometimes, if he really knows what's going on, the old man's head nodding when he is spoken to but his eyes otherwise seeming to stare off into empty space.

(Clay's father cried. Clay's father bawled, an outpouring of grief and emotion that made Ema turn away. Only Apollo taking the man by the shoulders and steering him gently into a sea of waiting hands had made it possible to close the coffin and carry Clay's body to the waiting hearse.)

"—Robert Fulbright died a hero, a man committed to justice—to finding true justice, despite the often-difficult path to determining what that is."

Ema can feel bile rising in the back of her throat, swallows and raises her eyes to the sky again, looking above Miles Edgeworth.

Clay died a hero, yes.

Bobby Fulbright... it took them a year to notice that Bobby was even gone, that a monster had taken his place, and Ema finds her teeth clenching so tightly that her mouth hurts. Is it right, for them to do this—for them to stand here, in their pretty uniforms, and fold up a flag to present to a grieving old man, when none of them noticed?

But if they don't...

His son has been dead for a year, murdered and mutilated, and he didn't notice, either.

"And so we stand together this day, in sorrow. But we remember the man that Robert Fulbright was, the man who strove for justice with every breath, and in those memories and each other we find solace." Edgeworth takes a step back, clearly finished.

The flag is folded, carried by a girl who can't be older than eighteen to the elder Fulbright and pressed carefully into his hands.

The salute is fired, once, twice, the gunshots causing more than one person among the audience to flinch. Prosecutor Edgeworth stands steady and solemn, though, and Ema keeps her own feet still, watching him.

The priest steps forward, intones the familiar words. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

The empty coffin is lowered into the grave, Senior Detective Dick Gumshoe coordinating the efforts with monosyllabic orders from his place at the top right-hand side of the coffin.

Prosecutor Gavin steps up beside the priest. He is dressed all in black—a rich, deep black that Ema suspects is silk or something similar, something far outside her pay grade, a black that absorbs the light. He seems to have overcome his usual problems with buttons, the collar of his shirt fastened to the top, his shirt tucked in properly, no extra skin showing. No rings glitter on his hands today, and his hair is tied back in a simple ponytail with a black ribbon.

His voice is beautiful. She recognizes the hymn he sings, having heard it in both Spanish and French when she was studying in Europe. She has never heard it in German before, but it sounds just as haunting and beautiful—more so, perhaps, and she is impressed by how smooth and melodic Klavier can make the language sound.

The priest stands with his head bowed in prayer for the first handful of lines. Then he sprinkles a handful of dirt over the clean coffin lid, and takes a step back. Recognizing their cue, the line of mourners begins moving forward slowly. Flowers were provided by the elder Fulbright to anyone who wanted them—bright red flowers, their petals the dark crimson of just-clotting blood. Each mourner drops either a handful of dirt or a flower onto the coffin lid—soft thuds or a barely-audible shush as the plants settle into place.

Ema chooses the flower.

She thinks she had more interactions with the Phantom than she did with the true Bobby Fulbright—can't remember if some of the times she has talked with Bobby Fulbright, some of the times he has given her a grin and a thumb's up or a bag of chocolate Snackoos, were before or after Bobby died. But from what she is certain of, what she can trust, she thinks he would have liked the flowers better.

She follows the line of mourners around after dropping her flower, takes step by slow step forward until there is no barrier of warm human skin between her and Robert Fulbright's father.

She doesn't know his name, she realizes with a start. She saw it, somewhere, in one of the obituaries; she has likely heard it, in the eulogy or somewhere else. But now he is studying her with slightly foggy brown eyes, the flag that had been on his son's empty coffin held close to his chest in trembling hands, and she can't even remember his name.

She mumbles out something, a spatter of platitudes, and retreats as though the old man were a monster from a nightmare when he smiles and nods at her.

Her feet finally bring her to rest at what seems to be the edge of the funeral congregation. Strange, how people naturally seem to spread out in circles—is it a hold-over from the days of hunter-gatherer society? An instinctive fear that if one is too far from the center of the group one is prey? Do people distribute in similar patterns to other herd animals? Could one predict how people will stand in situations like these based on the way antelope, sheep, or cows distribute, or would one do better to look at prairie dogs, or at predators such as wolves or hyenas? Could someone make a mathematical formula to predict how a group will distribute if they know how predatory they are?

Does it matter?

Many of those on the outskirts of the crowd have pulled out cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, are using the pretense of saving everyone else's lungs from the detriments of their bad habits as an excuse to be asocial. Or... not asocial. To be asocial would be to not be here, or to have run away.

What is it that they are, these people lingering on the periphery of this site of grief and mourning?

Would they have been here two weeks ago? If this weren't the funeral for a man dead for over a year, a man most of them thought they were trading banter with seven, eight, nine days ago, would the density of their gathering be changed?

Ema's arms are crossed in front of her chest, and she shivers, though the wind that blows is unseasonably warm today. A good omen, a sign that Bobby Fulbright forgives them and wants this to be as pleasant as it can be? A bad omen, a sign that hot rage is ready to be unleashed if given the opportunity?

A simple trick of meteorology, she knows. If it is a sign of anything, it is a sign that global warming continues to worsen, their environment dying just as surely as the victims they try to avenge with their broken justice system.

But sometimes, just sometimes, when she has been spending a lot of time around some of her more superstitious colleagues, it seems that there should be something more implied by the caress of the wind.


"Mister Edgeworth." Ema turns to the smartly-dressed man—also in black, though not pure black like Gavin is wearing, his shirt a snowy pristine white, his waistcoat a dark charcoal gray that would look black if not for the black suit jacket that sits over it. "That was a beautiful speech you gave."

"I'm glad you think so. I certainly tried." Edgeworth takes two steps closer to her, so that they are standing side by side gazing out at the rest of the empty cemetery, away from the funeral they are a part of. "It was an honor to be asked by Mr. Fulbright."

"He asked you?" Ema regrets the question as soon as she speaks. Of course Edgeworth was asked. No one invites themselves to give the eulogy at someone's funeral. It's just... hard to imagine the silent, still old man asking anyone for anything.

"He did, just as he asked Prosecutor Gavin to sing, and Detective Gumshoe to lead the pall bearers." Edgeworth take his glasses off, toying with the ear pieces, his eyes downcast for a moment. "It seems Detective Fulbright spoke often and highly of his colleagues to his father."

The words are a sword cut across her composure, the wound clean and deep. Ema finds herself taking a step away from Edgeworth—from a man she respects, from a man she trusts—her arms hugging herself tightly. At least she doesn't make any sound, keeping the whimpers and snarls and furious, frustrated sobs locked inside her chest where they belong.

She was barely friends with Bobby Fulbright, after all. It isn't her place to mourn loudly, messily, not when she has seen people who have suffered worse loss standing stoic and still.

(Apollo, so calm and collected, steering Mr. Terran from section to section at Clay's funeral, and Ema had wanted to hug him so badly—to do anything, to touch him, to tease him, to help bleed away some of the terrible, wounded energy that hung over him like a thunderstorm ready to break. It had been Trucy who broke through Apollo's wall in the end, though, the young woman doing what none of the adults present had the courage to do. It was Trucy who threw herself through the invisible lightning when the coffin had been lowered into the ground, the final platitudes read, and cried until Apollo had no choice but to cry with her.)

"I'd worked with Bobby Fulbright off and on for years." Edgeworth doesn't close the distance between them again. He just stands, head bowed, his glasses in his hand. "Never closely—only when Detective Gumshoe wasn't available to assist me, or when I was working with another prosecutor. But enough that I trusted him—was willing to have him guard Prosecutor Blackquill."

You didn't know. The words stick in Ema's throat. They have been said often over the last week, have lost any meaning they might once have had.

"There was no way for any of us to know." Edgeworth slides his glasses back on, peering down at Ema with an expression she rarely sees. Sympathy is in that expression, and kindness, and a weariness that Miles Edgeworth is able to show to very few people, and it cuts just as deeply as his earlier words. "That's what the Phantom did, after all—how he was so good at his job. He became the person he was replacing, completely and fully, but without any of those pesky human emotions that could lead to sympathizing with his targets. We did eventually break the case, but it sometimes seems like far too little, far too late."

"It wasn't." Ema closes the small distance between herself and Edgeworth, reaching out to tentatively touch the back of his hand. "You saved Simon Blackquill. You figured out what was going on. You caught the Phantom."

"Something I couldn't have done without all of you." Edgeworth's hand shifts, clasping hers for just a moment before he crosses his arms in front of his chest. "I would not have been able to do what I did without people who trusted me enough to follow orders that must sometimes have seemed nonsensical. Without a solid, trustworthy base that I could rely upon to handle other cases—and you were an integral part of that, Ema Skye."

"I know." Ema finds herself looking away, biting down hard on her lower lip. She misses her bag, misses having something to wrap her hands around.

She misses a lot, these days. She misses when she used to help Edgeworth investigate crimes under the radar, when it was a passion and not a job. She misses her days at school, when she had her whole career mapped out, the righting of all the wrongs in the world, justice delivered via the simple expedient of science. She misses the girl who would have been thrilled to be standing here talking with one of her heroes, who would have beamed and accepted his words, not wondered whether they were true or not.

"Do you?" Edgeworth's hand falls on her shoulder, and he turns her so that she is facing him squarely, capturing her other shoulder as he does. "I don't think you really do, Ms. Skye. I don't think you really understand how important a great many people have been. We've won, and the cost was high and the taste of victory this time is very bitter, but it is victory. And Bobby Fulbright would not want us to forget that—to forget what we have done. The harm we have stopped in the future, the lives we have saved, though they are invisible and hard to measure, will be worth the cost we have paid."

"Yeah?" Ema forces her eyes to focus on Edgeworth's, on the certainty shining from that silver gaze. If Edgeworth, who has been through so much, who has seen so much corruption, fought against it for over a decade, can say this... Ema draws a deeper breath, and a tentative smile touches her mouth. "Yeah."

"We'll make it worth it." Edgeworth's right hand clenches tight. "Sometimes you can't help what's happened. Sometimes you can't make up for the past. But sometimes... sometimes you can. Sometimes you can take what's happened to you, turn it around, and come back swinging. We've both seen it, right?"

Or perhaps that word is meant to be Wright, from the way Edgeworth's expression softens, and Ema knows—half the precinct and a good two-thirds of the prosecutors know, though Edgeworth has tried to be discreet about it—how much Phoenix Wright helped in the investigation. How much it meant to Edgeworth that he was able to face off against the defense attorney again and, once more, make something good come of the whole experience. Make truth come from the nightmares; make hope bloom again for a people who had forgotten what it looks like; make justice rise from the rubble around them to stand proud, battered and scarred but unbroken.

Throwing caution to the wind, Ema leans forward and wraps her arms around Miles Edgeworth, hugging him tight. She clings to him, her face buried against his shirt, as though she were sixteen again instead of twenty-six; as though they were simply friends instead of him being her sort-of boss; as though they were alone, with no one watching.

(As though she were Trucy and he were Apollo, because even Ema's sixteen-year-old self wouldn't really have dared to do this. But there is healing to be found in touch, comfort to be found in contact, and she thinks, though he has been speaking so forcefully and with such certainty, that Edgeworth is hurting just as much as the rest of them are.)

He stiffens, at first, his body becoming a taut bow that tries to bend away from her. But after barely a second, before she can pull back and apologize, his left arm falls across her shoulders; his right hand pats gently at her head.

Ema doesn't stay there for long. She isn't a child anymore, after all, and there are still some rules of propriety that she should observe.

When she pulls back, Edgeworth raises one silver eyebrow. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah." Ema smiles, feeling her cheeks heat. "Sorry. And thanks, Mr. Edgeworth."

"It was nothing. Anything I can do to help, I will." Edgeworth's head moves, just a fraction, but Ema can see the furrows on his brow deepen as he glances back toward the grave that is still the center of the gathering.

Ema follows his line of sight, noting detectives, patrolmen, and prosecutors, not certain exactly which one has caught his eye. Or perhaps it's all of them, the combined weight of grief and unfocused fury and fear that is weighting down the Chief Prosecutor's shoulders right now. "You're worried about someone?"

"I..." Edgeworth hesitates for a moment before inclining his head the slightest bit. "I'm worried about the detective."

Ema blinks, not understanding. There is only one person that Edgeworth means when he says the detective in that tone of voice, but surely she's misinterpreting. "Senior Detective Gumshoe?"

"Yes." Edgeworth's eyes don't flick toward the object of their conversation, a sign of clear self-control. "I know that this entire affair has been... hard on him. Hard on all of us, but... the good detective... he..."

"He's having to be strong for a lot of other people right now. And... and everything." She doesn't want to summarize it, again, the horror that the entire Phantom affair has been. "Want me to talk to him?"

"Would you be willing?" Relief smooths some of the lines from Edgeworth's face. "I don't want to impose, when you have your own worries and grief..."

"It's no imposition. Detective Gumshoe's my friend, too." Ema smiles up at the Chief Prosecutor before snapping out a clean salute. She finds it easy to salute him—hopes, with Edgeworth as Chief Prosecutor and more people in their camp among the detectives and prosecutors than ever before, that maybe she will find it easy to salute all of her superiors soon.

Then she turns towards the center of the group, picks Gumshoe's tall, broad frame out of the crowd, and begins angling towards it, the sun seeming to beat more warmly on her head with each step.

She doesn't approach him immediately. Gumshoe is at the center of a crowd of fellow detectives and patrol officers, standing like some strange lightning rod next to Mr. Fulbright. At a soft word that Ema can't hear from her position towards the back of the crowd, Gumshoe offers the old man his arm and slowly, steadily walks him to the parking lot and a waiting car.

Ema stays at the rear of the crowd, watching in admiration and pride as Gumshoe offers a smile here, an arm around a shoulder there, and slowly divides the milling people into groups and sends them off to their cars and the reception in waves. This is where Gumshoe excels, working with and coordinating people, and it's good to watch him in his element.

Except his smile falters, when he slaps Meekins on the back and sends the patrolman staggering towards his car. When the crowd has faded away, and no one is looking up to and depending on him, Dick Gumshoe looks up at the blue-gray sky and sighs as though his heart is breaking.

Ema takes that as her cue, walking up to stand beside the mountain of a man. "Hey there."

"Ema!" Gumshoe smiles down at her, and the expression is so earnest and clear that she thinks it must be real. Then he scratches at his right temple, looking sheepish. "I mean, Detective Skye."

"I've told you—" Ema has to bite her tongue to keep from calling him detective, eight year's worth of habit dying very slowly. "You don't need to worry about using my first name. We're friends as well as coworkers."

"Yeah, but I know some people are saying nasty things about how you got your position." Gumshoe's hands creep into his pockets. "About you having an unfair advantage what with knowing Mr. Edgeworth and me. I try to tell them to stop, but maybe if I can be a bit better about using your proper title—"

"I don't care what anyone says. There were lots of rumors about everyone. Part of the whole Dark Age of the Law thing." Ema's hands have crossed in front of her chest again, and she frowns down at them. "We are friends, right, Detective?"

"Course we are, Ema." Gumshoe's hand lands on her head, ruffling her hair as though she were a child again.

"Then don't worry." Smiling up at Gumshoe, Ema pokes him in the shoulder. "Besides, I can point to my test scores and my track record and prove wrong anyone who thinks there was nepotism involved in my appointments."

"True enough. You're one sharp young lady. Always have been, always will be."

Ema decides that pointing out it is physically impossible for her to always be a young lady likely won't help make Gumshoe feel better. Which is, really, what she's supposed to be doing, and she casts a surreptitious look around the cemetery.

Most of their party has left already, though, piling into cars and either going home or following Mr. Fulbright to the pot-luck reception he had arranged for lunch. A scattering of people are still present—blue uniforms, a shock of silver hair that must be Prosecutor Edgeworth, a glint of gold that can only be Prosecutor Gavin still standing by the grave—but no one who is paying her and Gumshoe any mind. Laying a hand on Gumshoe's left arm, Ema looks up into the large man's face. "How are you holding up?"

"Me?" Gumshoe points at himself. "I'm just fine."

Ema continues to stare up at Gumshoe, hoping that he'll say something more. Perhaps she wasn't the best person to pick for this job. Gumshoe is the one who's good with people. Ema is good with science, and science never lies to you, never says that they're fine when they aren't.

(She didn't ask Apollo if he was fine, knowing that he would lie, knowing that he clearly isn't fine. She has been on the receiving end of that question too many times when the answer is obvious, and she didn't want to put him through that, not when his hurt burned so clearly. So instead she stood awkwardly at the funeral for a man she didn't really know, hurting more with each sobbing breath Clay Terran's father took and each soldier-steady step Apollo made, not certain if it was right or not for her to share their grief.)

Thankfully Gumshoe doesn't make her ask again. Instead Gumshoe turns so that he's facing the cemetery, the grave where the stragglers from their party—group, because to call it a party is too wrong—stand. His hand finds hers, clasps it firmly, and his voice is a soft, husky whisper. "It's... it's been hard."

"Yeah." Ema swallows, her hand tightening. "I can imagine."

"Partly 'cause I'm not like you and Mr. Edgeworth." Gumshoe smiles down at her, though there is a sad edge to his expression now. "I'm not smart like you guys."

"You're plenty smart!"

"Not like you. Not like him. I'm not so good with the logic and the science and all that." Gumshoe shrugs. "But I know people. I've got a pretty good sense of people, and I do good with directing and assigning people and making sure things get done. Surprisingly good, Mr. Edgeworth says."

Ema nods, knowing where this is going. "You think you should have been able to see through him. He was just some stupid spy, and he pulled the wool over our eyes for so long..."

"He wasn't stupid." Gumshoe shakes his head. "Would of been nice if he was. Would be nice if all evil really was stupid, but I think it tends to be smart. Smart and selfish, that's the evil we've been seeing an awful lot of."

"At least the kind that's hardest to find and get rid of." Ema squeezes the detective's hand again. "But we're getting there."

"Yeah, we are. Step by step and smart kid by smart kid." Gumshoe's smile is almost blinding as he grins down at Ema. Then his eyes glance toward the grave again, and he sobers. "I'm glad you're a detective, Ema. With you as a detective and DeBeste and Gavin as prosecutors and Wright's crazy kids as attorneys... things are turnin' around. Too slowly, sometimes, but they're turnin' around."

"Eloquently said." Ema smiles.

"Oh, geez, now, don't go sayin' things that ain't true." Gumshoe laughs. "Eloquent's what Mr. Edgeworth and attorneys are."

"And sometimes detectives." Ema's eyes flick toward the silver-haired man currently speaking with another senior detective. Dropping her voice, to make certain that Edgeworth won't hear, she tells Gumshoe something she's certain he'll appreciate. "He's worried about you, you know."

"Who?" Gumshoe follows her line of sight, startling visibly. "Mister Edgeworth?"

"Yeah." Ema tugs on the detective's arm until he stops staring towards Edgeworth. "He knows this has been tough on a lot of the detectives, and that you've been helping everyone else out. He's worried that you're not taking the time to help yourself out."

"Mr. Edgeworth's worrying about me." Gumshoe's smile is wide, but he shakes his head as he turns back to her. "He doesn't need to be. I'm just fine. Well... honestly, it sucks."

Ema has to bite her tongue to keep from laughing. This is not a laughing situation, really, but there's just something so... right about the statement. Trust Gumshoe to sum up the situation quite succinctly.

"It's awful, and it's shaken up a whole bunch of people. Shaken me a bit, yeah, truth be told. But..." Gumshoe squares his shoulders, frowning down determinedly at the ground. "There's lots've people who've been through a lot worse. Lots of scars to go around, at the office, even if some've 'em are invisible. And lots of examples of what to do with those scars. How to go forward when bad things have happened. How to bend and not break."

Ema blinks, finding that her eyes are watering as Gumshoe slowly stumbles his way to his thesis statement.

"I've had the privilege to watch Mr. Edgeworth face his demons. To watch Phoenix Wright rise an' fall an' rise again. To watch a little girl fight like hell for her sister, against all the odds and all the nightmares, and when that battle was won, get up and keep fighting, even when it seemed like the monsters were winnin'." His eyes rise from the ground, and his smile is so genuine, so open, that she doesn't care that tears have started to trickle from her eyes. His thumb whisks them away, more gently than she could've imagined. "I wish I'd seen through the Phantom earlier. I wish we all didn't have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, we'd been a little closer with Bobby, a little more attentive... but we can't know. So we accept it and we keep goin'. I've got the best people in the whole wide world standin' at my back, and even though this whole damned mess hurts... so long's I've got those people, to lean on and be strong for, I'll be just fine. You can tell Mr. Edgeworth that, okay?"

"I'll make sure to tell him." Ema swipes at her eyes, trying not to sniffle like a child. Giving Gumshoe's shoulder a little shove, she smiles. "You know, I was supposed to be making you feel better, not the other way around."

"You did." Gumshoe rubs at his neck again. "Gettin' to help make someone else feel better, especially someone I like... no feelin' like it in the world. Plus, you told me Mr. Edgeworth's worried about me, and that's somethin' I wouldn't know otherwise."

"I guess." Ema draws in a breath and lets it out in a long sigh. "You'll tell me or Mr. Edgeworth or someone else if you need anything, right?"

"Of course, Ema." Gumshoe shoves his hands back into his pockets, turning from the cemetery towards the scattering of cars remaining. "You planning on goin' to the reception?"

"I think I will." She'd been thinking she wouldn't, if she could find some way of bowing out politely or if the crowd was thick enough that she thought she could get away without being noticed. But hearing Gumshoe talk about how they need to stick together, watching the way he talked with the others... well, perhaps it won't be so bad. Perhaps she can even do a bit of reaching out of her own. "I'm just going to round up a few of our strays, and I'll catch up to you there, all right?"

"All right." Gumshoe waves to her, cutting a zigzag path through the graves toward Prosecutor Edgeworth.

Ema makes her way back to the grave—the nearly-empty grave, that contains so much and so little—and the man still standing staring at the gravestone. "Prosecutor Gavin?"

He turns to her, smiling as he does. Glad to see her, glad of any company, probably, and she notices the slight hint of redness to his eyes. "Fraulein detective."

(He didn't cry at Clay Terran's funeral. He didn't even enter the actual funeral parlor, but Ema had seen him when she entered with Athena and Phoenix and Trucy, a point of spreading calm in the sea of angry mourners.

And everyone had seen him when they exited, when the coffin had been carried past the crowd and Trucy had escorted a sobbing father past the throngs who mourned his son but turned away in uneasiness from his obvious distraught grief.

We are all star-stuff, Klavier Gavin sang, and it wasn't one of his songs but it fit, and it spread, was picked up by other, less talented voices. Became a rallying point for the grief, and those were the words that Mr. Terran mumbled over and over as his son was lowered into the cold earth.)

"It's been a long day." Apparently her newfound determination to be more social hasn't given her any better clue about how to start conversations.

"A long day. A long week. A long year." Klavier tilts his head back, closing his eyes as the sun beats down with more warmth than it should have. "And, I suspect, the start of a long decade."

"But... not a bad one." Ema crosses her arms in front of her chest. "Despite the way it's started, not a bad one."

"No?" Klavier lowers his head, smiling tentatively at her. "No, perhaps you are right. It has been a long, dark start, but the dawn is finally coming."

"Or here." Ema nods her head in the direction of the parking lot. "You coming?"

"I..." Klavier hesitates before inclining his head. "Ja. And you, Fraulein Skye?"

"Can't shake me if you try to. Come on, Gavin." Ema smiles as she turns towards her car, seeing that the rest of the cemetery has emptied. "Let's go work a little bit harder at keeping that dawn going."

The sun shines down on them as they walk to their car, warm and welcoming, and the part of Ema that has been spending too much time with her superstitious coworkers thinks it must be an auspicious start to the Bright Age of the Law, after all.