A Phoenix Wright Fanfiction By
Black Waltz 0
(A/N: Okay, here we go. This would be the first murder mystery that I've ever written, and I'm writing it in a fandom that should center around murder mysteries. Uh-oh. Well, as far as things go this story doesn't really have any proper placement in the game series timeline, as I've only ever played the first game before and know barely anything about the others. Let's hope I'm not ripping off an existing game case without even knowing it. Spoiler wise this fanfic would take place after case four in the first game and before case five in the first game. Also, it might seem a little dark and tinged with odd romance. I dunno yet. Please enjoy the fic.)
The dressing rooms at the back of the theater were usually a no go zone, that was the rule in order to keep theatergoers from flowing in, but this time Maya Fey and Larry Butz had special backstage passes that would let them through. They could go anywhere before the play started, provided they didn't go running about on the stage that was being turned into a battlement for the first act. Their passes hung proudly around their necks and Maya had to continually dodge backgrounds and props, whizzed about by highly-strung stagehands.
"Hey, watch it!" Maya shouted as somebody bumped her with a piece of Denmark's castle. The tickets they had were not cheap, but in actuality they had not cost anything at all. That was probably why Larry had come despite not understanding a lick of Shakespeare in the first place. It made an affordably date for his girlfriend for once, who had decided to patiently wait in the lobby for them while they looked around. Maya didn't understand Shakespeare either, not really, but she was not there for that. She was there to see her friend.
Who was practically invisible within the scuttling pre-performance chaos. Maya kept looking left and right while dragging Larry along by his coat sleeve, weaving around paint pots, weapons and outlandish costumes left lying on the floor. Larry was never given much of a warning as to what was coming next and therefore became practically a disaster on legs, leaving a trail of painted footprints on the floor.
It was only half an hour until showtime so there was no wonder everything was in a rush. Maya turned her head around to look once more, contemplating shouting if just searching wasn't good enough, and didn't notice the sturdy, almost-elderly fellow right in front of her until she bowled straight into him, headfirst against his black satin robe. "Oof!" Maya grunted as she bounced back off him, having Larry run into her from behind.
The elderly man put a hand out instinctively when he saw that Larry's impact was going to shove Maya forward against him again, bracing her at her shoulder. The spirit medium looked up at the oddly dressed man in surprise. He was bearded and robed, with a long gold medallion hanging down upon his front. "Whoa, young miss! Be careful or you and your friend might get trampled." He smiled kindly. "What are you doing backstage? This place is for the actors only."
"H-hold on!" Larry came up around Maya and flashed the man his VIP pass. It had been the first time that he had been able to do it that night and it felt good. "Just a minute, dude. We got invited in here. We wouldn't be crashing around backstage if we weren't." He felt that he'd be having more fun out there in the lobby with his new girl, Amber. She was a real fox, if only she'd get off her cell phone now and then…
The old man squinted at the pass held in Larry's hyperactively trembling hand and then looked at the similar pass around Maya's neck. It was good enough for him, although he couldn't make out any text properly without his reading glasses. "Oh, well that's a completely different story then! Please make yourselves at home!" He beamed brightly, the goings-on of the backstage play beginning to form around them naturally as they stayed still. The old man bowed formally. "What can I do for you? I have a name, but in the suspension of disbelief that all audience members should share you may call me Polonius, adviser to the king."
Maya clapped her hands together in childish delight. In many ways this theater reminded her of the movie studios where all her favorite shows were filmed but in here it was different, everything would be live-action and that made it more fun. "Mr. Polonius! Will we be seeing you in the play? Will it be good? I've never seen or read Hamlet before, you see." All she had heard was that in this play there was a lot of death. She never knew how right she would be.
"I wouldn't be dressed like this if I wasn't in the play! That's a rather unique costume you're wearing yourself, young miss!" Polonius laughed, referencing Maya's spirit medium attire. The girl grinned. "I can't tell you if this play will be good because this is our first performance with a new group of actors, but I do have high hopes for them all the same. Are you looking for somebody in particular back here?" He asked.
Time was getting on. They wouldn't have much of a chance to talk and then get to their seats before the show started. Larry also had to go and grab Amber from the lobby too. "Um, have you seen… well, I guess you could call it if you suspended disbelief, where Hamlet is? We wanted to talk to him before the play starts, wish him good luck and stuff." Maya explained with a thoughtful fingertip on her chin. If she was any kind of fortune teller she knew that he'd be needing it.
"Ah, the new Hamlet? Nervous fellow, kept on throwing up in the men's room about an hour ago?" Polonius questioned in near-recognition. Maya nodded, that sounded about right. Larry was busy checking out Ophelia who had just glided past like a swan. The old man in the black robes understood and pointed in the direction they needed to go. "He would be over there, practicing lines with Rosencrantz." He said.
"Thank you, sir!" Maya announced with a quick bow and then seized the bit of string that held Larry's pass around his neck, yanking him over in that direction and almost strangling him in the process. Polonius watched them go, amused at their antics, then moved on himself. He may have been playing only a minor role, but he was also running the show and needed to make sure everything was set in the short time they had left.
Hamlet was off in the corner of the backstage area with another actor, dressed in clothing made for their respective roles. He was poking the other actor ineffectually with a strange-looking prop sword while he rattled off the lines he was having the most trouble with. The other actor wasn't paying any attention to the pokes, this was most likely a normal occurrence to him and he was wearing a brass breastplate to boot.
"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman either, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so. …God, I can't remember the next part. What is it again?"
"We've been over this a couple of times already. You say that, then I laugh, then you ask why I laughed, then you can continue with the 'he who plays the king' part. I know you remember that one, you did it perfectly a little while ago. Just remember your cues."
"I know. I'm just jittery, I guess." Hamlet admitted and rubbed the side of his neck modestly. "Let's take it from the top, one last time."
"Nick!" Maya called and waved to Hamlet energetically.
Phoenix looked up from the script he was perusing and saw two of his friends rushing toward him, one pulling the other behind them like a tugboat. Rosencrantz let out a little sigh and straightened up from the wall he was leaning against, knowing they weren't going to be doing any more rehearsing here. He left to go and find the new actor who would be playing Marcellus, as he'd probably be having a complete freakout by now. Best to nip that in the bud before anything disastrous would happen, or else would Polonius would end up having his head.
Trundling up to the star of the show, Maya and Larry came into the small corner he was camped out at, for both psychological safety and the safety of not being knocked down by a busy stagehand. Phoenix put his script down on a nearby storage crate and smiled anxiously. "There you guys are! It was getting so close to showtime that I thought nobody would bother to come." He sighed. "It's horrible. I've never been this nervous outside of a courtroom in years. I have butterflies and locusts and hornets in my stomach all flying around together."
"I like your costume, prince of Denmark. You look like how Mr. Edgeworth would dress if he got sucked into one of those medieval-type role playing games." Maya giggled as Phoenix groaned. She was probably right. For the past one or two months they had been getting absolutely no income whatsoever, and because the rent and bills needed to be paid without excuse he, Phoenix Wright, ace attorney, had fallen back on his secondary qualifications to make ends meet. Before he had entered law school he had been enrolled in an acting college for two years, and whatever it took to put food back on the table was fine by him.
Shakespearean tragedies had actually been his specialty in college, and though he had left the course prematurely he had dropped out somewhere near the top of his class. It had been a shame, but law had called out to him more strongly than the theater stage ever could. When Nick had been going through the part-time job listings over a cup of coffee one morning he saw that they had been openly casting for a new performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet. He had auditioned, and through some miracle or another he had sunk the starring role.
Actually it hadn't been a miracle at all but Nick wasn't one to turn up a free job offer, especially when it was a job he could actually handle. Back in college he had played Horatio rather than Hamlet, but he could adapt. The pay was good, the shows were performed in the evening so if he suddenly had a case he could work on that during the daylight hours, and it would honestly be a little fun. That was why he was here, dressed as a prince of Denmark, getting reading to go on stage and act like a nutter for all to see.
It wouldn't be much different to a normal day in court, then.
"Speaking of Edgeworth I sent a pass to him and Gumshoe, but it seems like they're not coming either." Nick guessed cynically. He hadn't really expected Edgeworth to come, not with the awkward way they tended to act around each other now, but still, the extra bit of support would have been great. Even if his acting stunk up the place at least he'd be able to count on the fact that a few people in the front row might be clapping anyway. Two out of four invited people showing up wasn't that bad for somebody with his shoddy luck.
"There's still time for them to show up, so you never know." Maya reassured him, perhaps not being quite as optimistic privately. "Focus on performing good and don't care about who's watching! Just like singing in the shower!"
"Er… I would care about who was watching me singing in the shower…" Phoenix mumbled quietly to himself but could tell what she was driving at. He rarely got stage fright now, and if he did, puking it up before a performance usually helped. He toyed with his prop sword while he spoke, pressing in and coaxing out the retractable blade with the palm of his hand. "I thought that Edgeworth might like stuff like this. Culture stuff."
"I do, but I also have appointments to keep, Wright." Said a voice beside them. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, or from behind a wall of busy people popped out Miles Edgeworth and Dick Gumshoe, appearing with the stealth and spontaneity of a pair of ninjas.
Nick nearly jumped out of his skin. "D-don't sneak up on me like that!" He cried, noticing that his hands had moved faster than his brain and had stabbed Edgeworth in the stomach with his prop sword, all the way up to the hilt. Miles looked down at the gentle pressure on his front with mild interest. Good thing that sword had been retractable and fake. He reached down, took Nick's wrist and forced his hand away.
"Please forgive us for being slightly late. I had a backlog of paperwork in my office to complete and Mr. Gumshoe's watch seems to have stopped." Edgeworth informed them impartially and also a little coldly. For all they had gone through he wasn't quite used to talking to work-related associates outside of a courtroom setting. Usually they were rivals. He had come because loosely, very loosely they were his friends. Gumshoe had practically dragged him along too, wanting to see a Shakespeare play for the first time.
"Yeah, sorry pal! The guy in the alley I bought this watch from said it was completely waterproof, but it broke the second I dropped it in my daily cup 'o soup! Lies and deception! I'll find that lousy mug soon enough!" Gumshoe barked loudly at the others, above the bustle of the area. It wasn't quite certain if he had dropped his watch in deliberately or not. Knowing Gumshoe there was no telling of the truth.
"Hey Nick, you're sword's broken." Maya pointed out earnestly. "It won't stab properly. How are you meant to sword fight with something like that?"
"It's meant to be that way. It's supposed to make the stabbings look more authentic. They have sharper, real swords for the fencing scenes." The attorney turned actor said to his assistant and then looked at Edgeworth closely, then Gumshoe. He glanced back at the prosecutor again. "Edgeworth, where's your backstage pass? I did send you a ticket, right?" Not that the other man wasn't able to afford one by himself, but still…
When Miles smiled there was a bit of smugness to it. He folded his arms. "Hmph. I don't need a pass to come and go as I please. I'm one of this theater's more generous patrons, so I have access to just about anything and anyone. Theatergoing is one of my hobbies, Wright. You didn't know? Some of my previous donations are probably going into your pay packet for this show." Phoenix turned a rather interesting shade of red. Edgeworth didn't know if it was from embarrassment or indignity, or both. Maybe that wasn't the right thing to say. It was hard to curb his defensiveness sometimes. "So put on a good performance for our amusement." He added after a few uncomfortable moments.
Nick felt foolish. He always felt that way when Miles was looking down on him. "Yeah, okay." He said in a soft voice. If he messed up now he'd really have something to regret. "I'll try. Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio…"
"So is this the play with the bear that rides around in the little car wearing a fez?" Gumshoe asked innocently as Maya began to look around for where Larry had gone off to, the bumbling man having followed Ophelia's actress away minutes earlier. Nobody seemed to want to dignify the detective's question with a response. Clearly he was thinking of something else, though whatever it was nobody had a clue.
At this point Rosencrantz came back, only there was something oddly contrary about him this time and his clothes were of a slightly different colour. This was strange, as not nearly enough time had elapsed for him to have changed costumes properly, especially with a costume as elaborate as his. He had a clipboard in his gloved hands and a pencil at the corner of his mouth. "Ten minutes until act one, scene one. All you people get out of here and go to your seats. That includes you too, Mr. Edgeworth."
The moment that Phoenix seemed to hear the ten minute warning he broke out into a fine sweat. Outside of rehearsals he hadn't acted on a stage for over four years. If he blew it he was going to blow it majorly. Nick made his voice calm and smiled bravely, to Edgeworth in particular to show he was completely composed. He was glad the grey-haired man had come. "I'll see you in a couple of minutes. There are three intermissions in this play but you can come backstage during the second one. Tell me what you think of me by then."
Rosencrantz was now trying to usher his friends away manually. Maya waved spastically to him as they left. "Good luck!" She called.
"Break a leg!" Gumshoe shouted out behind her.
Edgeworth was the last to leave, and was probably the most hesitant. "Do your best." He said finally, then turned away before his little smile could spread.
When they were gone Nick put his prop sword down again and picked up his script. He had highlighted all his lines with a pink marker earlier and there certainly were a lot of lines to memorize. He had to stop being Phoenix Wright now and start being somebody else, to be Lord Hamlet, insane prince of the Danes. If he could suspend his own belief things would run much smoother and he wouldn't have to fear. Anyhow, he needed to get into position before the second scene began.
Hamlet looked to Rosencrantz, who had a second job besides acting out his role. He fed out lines from the wings of the stage in case the actors forgot any. Hamlet hoped that he wouldn't have to rely on Rosencrantz too much, aside from when they were both in a scene together. "I feel like I'm gonna die." He admitted with a nervous chuckle.
The other actor appeared to be a little out-of-sorts himself. He was sweating too, though he had performed this play dozens and dozens of times before over the years. "This is Hamlet, newbie. Everybody's gonna die. This play is busting to the seams with murder. There'll be blood in the aisles tonight." He joked.
He was more correct than anybody would ever suspect. The theater and their small performance was about to become host to the play within a play, and that macabre matinee would be cold-blooded killing.
The stage was set.
All the actors need do was begin the dance.