Disclaimer: Phoenix Wright and its characters are property of Capcom, and not mine, sadly.

Chapter 1

The heavy wind sends the single piece of paper remaining on my desk to the floor. It's like ice, but I should be used to it by now. Ever since the pen touched that paper I've doubted myself, but I can't let it stop me. I know what I'm doing; it's the only thing I'm sure about now. Of course, the prospect is frightening; no one ever knows what to expect, and the unknown can be a frightening thing. Still, it can't be any worse than this.

I lean forward and peer down at the concrete below, the chilling wind blowing my bangs back from my eyes. No one is there; it's too late in the night for anyone to still be loitering down in the parking lot. Good, it's better that way. My only witnesses will be the street lamps, and they will be silent by the time the morning light can reveal me again. Ah, the sweet sent of acid rain. How I'll miss it beating against my bloodstained face! Such a pleasant sting, a distraction from thought and remorse. The rain has neither of these feelings; what I wouldn't give to be the same!

I've made certain there is no one to hear me scream; they've all left me behind. I am alone in this building and in this world. So much was riding on that verdict, and I was betrayed. I have sacrificed myself for the life of another. I wish them both well, though the sting he left is even worse than that of the freezing precipitation. It is unusually cold tonight. Hah, how fitting.

Enough delays. If I stay too much longer, I'll lose my will. Twelve stories: that's all that stands between me and my salvation. All I have to do is lean just a little further; it's so simple, yet so difficult. Why can't I do it? I won't even feel the impact; I'll be gone before I even reach the ground. Just a fraction of a second I'll have to feel myself falling, then it will all be over. So what am I waiting for? I'm leaving nothing behind me, so nothing should be pulling me back.

No, I need to do it now! I'm hearing things! There…there's a knocking at my office door. No, it's all just my imagination. No one is here; I made sure of it. I take in a deep breath and hold it. It has to be now before…

It comes again, and this time it's louder. No, it's not real! Yet… I want so badly to answer the door. Is this really happening? Is the prospect of someone being there when I open the door really keeping me from doing this? Am I really so afraid of death that my mind is fabricating a presence to stop me.

No! I can't do it! I whip around and make a dash for the door, throw it open, and take off down the lightless hallway. I faintly hear something from behind me, a sharp, high-pitched scream. Still, I'm not stopping! No one can know about this!

The elevator is at the end of the hall. If I just keep running I can reach it. However, just as I know I must be getting close, my vision suddenly goes red. A piercing snap, a sharp, searing pain, another scream, this time from my own lips. I turn around and grab the throat of my attacker in self-defense. Two hands—smaller than my own—grasp my wrist tightly in a struggle to push it away as I feel something hard impact with my stomach. I double over in pain as the taste of copper erupts from my own throat and flows onto my tongue. My hand is pushed away, and there is another snap.

I can't breathe! Blinding pain like nothing I've experienced in many years drives me to my knees. Both my throat and the back of my neck are bleeding now as I gasp for air, but all I breathe in is blood. I begin to gag and soon crumple to the floor, desperately trying to take in the oxygen my lungs burn for.

Someone is screaming, but I can't hear them. I'm panicking; I feel like my body is going into shock as my thoughts and senses begin to leave me. I'm dying… I just know it… I couldn't even have the dignity of taking my own life. This is what I get for being such a coward and hesitating.

Suddenly, all is quiet. I hear no screaming; only the sound of my own ragged breath, although the blood still causes me to make a gargling noise each time I inhale. I feel the urge to cough, but all I can do is choke and gag until at last it all comes up at once. I roll onto my stomach and vomit blood onto the carpet before me. An involuntary moan escapes me as I return to lying on my side, a horrible sick feeling overcoming me.

It is then that I hear my attacker speak my name, a small voice full of confusion and terror.


I'd know that voice anywhere and I could only wish it was my imagination, but nothing could be more real than this pain. A small amount of light invades my vision, the beam of a pocket flashlight I assume. Still, I can't look up; I can't look her in the eye while lying here pathetic and broken as I am.

"Oh my God… M-Miles… W-what were you…?"

I can tell she's panicking. She's having trouble speaking and her German accent isn't normally so thick. I have to pull myself up somehow or else she'll call for help. I didn't want anyone to know about this. I thought I was alone. Why is she here?

I hear movement and turn to see that she is preparing to head back down the hall. She's going for the phone; I know it. I reach out and grab her left heel, causing her to trip and fall to the floor as well.

"What the hell?!" She reaches back and takes hold of my wrist, having no trouble removing my hand. "I'm going to-"

"I know what you're going to do," I mutter as more blood trickles from my lips. "Don't."

She quickly gets back to her feet, and I can feel her cold eyes boring into me, but I don't look at her. "But, you're-"

"I'm fine," I lie as I start to push myself up. I need to get this blood cleaned up somehow. I can't leave any traces of this. I'm shaking badly, but still I have to stand up, no matter how much it hurts.

I finally manage to get to my feet and use the wall for support, but as soon as I begin to move back toward my office, I feel a hand grasp my upper arm. "Let go!" I snap at her, wrenching my arm away.


"I don't need help!" As I growl these four words, I finally turn to look at her, though I didn't mean to. The look on her dimly-lit face startles me, and I can't help but gaze for a moment longer than I intended to. Fear is not something I am accustomed to seeing in her eyes, but it is so apparent at this precise moment. With a sigh, I turn away and proceed to make my way along the corridor. There has to be something in my office I can use to get the blood out, even if I have to bleach the carpet. As long as there is no more blood, I'll be satisfied.

I reach the open door of my office after what seems like an eternity. I want nothing more than to simply collapse where I stand, but I cannot. As soon as I enter the room, the icy wind blowing in from my wide-open window hits my face once more, its refreshing sting reminding me of why I am here in the first place. No, it can't be tonight. I must be alone or else I'll just cause more problems.

I take a few more shaky steps before having to stop and support myself on the small chess table near the door, causing all the pieces to fall to the floor. I don't know if I can go any farther, but I must.

"You need to lie down."

"Don't tell me what I need to do," I hiss through clenched teeth as I feel her come up behind me. I wish she wasn't so persistent; since when is she so concerned?

There is another moment of silence during which I attempt to gather my strength, but then she moves again. That damned piece of paper has caught her attention, and she moves past me to retrieve it. However, my hand instinctively extends forth, clutching the back of her shirt and wrenching her backward sharply. She steps back quickly and drives her elbow into my forearm, forcing me to release her. "What the hell is wrong with you!?" she screams at me, turning on me with her fists clenched.

"Get out," is my reply, my head still lowered as I use the table to hold myself up.

"Not until you explain this!" she protests. "Why you were here so late locked in your office, what that note is on the floor, and why you've knocked the screen out of your window!"

"Goddamn it, Franziska, don't make me repeat myself!" As this sentence escapes me, I lift my head to glare at her, my teeth bared. If looks could kill, she would be lying motionless at my feet. I'm sure that I am quite a ghastly sight to behold, my face being covered in blood and gashes from where I have torn the flesh away. The blood still trickling from my mouth has surely added to this, and her reaction reflects all of it.

She must not have gotten a good look earlier, because the color has just drained from her face and she takes a step back from me. For a long time, she stares in horror, and then finally turns away, leaving the room without another word. With the last of my effort, I close the door behind her and make my way over to my couch. There's no way I will be able to clean up that mess, for I can no longer stand. I allow myself to collapse upon it and don't move again. I dread my waking tomorrow when someone finds me here and discovers that note, or happens upon the puddle of blood in the hallway. Why didn't I do it when I had the chance? Now I've just made things so much more complicated.

Now, because of her, I'll have to face another day of this miserable existence.