A/N: ...this is the first story that I've been able to finish in ages, and it's probably the only thing that I'll be able finished for awhile more...
The inspiration I got after finishing "Apollo Justice" gets all the credit for this story.
Oh, and this story contains minor Spoilers for Apollo Justice, and case 4-4 in particular.
For the Sake of Business
Three months and two cases following the first test trial for the Jurist System, it occurred quiet suddenly to Apollo that he was all but living at the Wright Talent Agency. Behind the main office there were two bedrooms—one for Mr. Wright and one for Trucy— a kitchen and a spare room filled with old case files and all sorts of new law books which Mr. Wright was studying whenever he got the chance in preparation for retaking the bar examinations. Somehow however, most of Apollo's worldly possessions were strewn haphazardly about that room, and for some reason he'd been sleeping on the shoddy little couch that'd been inhabiting the room for god knows how long. He'd been staying with the Wrights so long in fact that Trucy called the spare room Apollo's room. What was even worst was that Apollo himself had even begun to refer to the Agency as "home", and that just wouldn't do. The Agency was his workplace, his office, not home…and the Wrights weren't his family either, no matter how lovely of a thought that was. Apollo didn't have a family. He'd been an orphan for as long as he could remember, and now that he was legally an adult…well, it didn't matter anymore. It shouldn't havemattered anymore…
But somehow it did; but really, there was no use thinking about it, so Apollo promptly took his train of thought and shoved it rather forcefully into one of the corners of his brain where it would hopefully be forgotten.
The point was however, that it wouldn't do for him to get all nice and cozy in that little back room that didn't belong to him. And it wouldn't be good for anyone if he ever started to really think he had a placein the bizarre world that was the Wright family. And it wasn't as if he wanted to be a part—aw, who was he kidding? He envied them and their sheer close father-daughter-ness. He would have given up the world once—and god, he still would—to have had something like they had. So Apollo figured that it would be for the best to move all of his things that had mysterious migrated to the back room back to where they belonged: his apartment.
…the only problem was that he couldn't find his key anyway. And his landlady wasn't exactly nice, so there was no way she'd open the door for him, or that she'd provide him with a spare key for even a second…
"What're you doing on the floor Apollo? Lost something?"
Apollo glanced up briefly before returning to looking under the couch. "I'm looking for my key Mr. Wright." He told him, "…But I can't seem to find it. Have you seen it?"
"Key?" Phoenix Wright asked, quirking his eyebrow ever so slightly, "What key?"
"The key to my apartment." Apollo told him, "Maybe its hidden with the case files…?"
"It's not." Phoenix assured the young red-clad defense attorney before asking, "Why do you need that key? All your stuff is here."
Apollo shook his head, "I'm sure that not everything I own has made it's way over here…"
"But it has." Phoenix told him casually, "Theirs nothing in your apartment anymore. Well, nothing that belongs to you anyway."
"…Wait." Apollo slowly got to his feet, and turned to face the man that has somehow become a mentor of sorts to him. "What do you mean by saying that?"
Phoenix shrugged and looking quite unmoved, he pulled a clean white envelope from his pocket. "This, I think, contains the answer you're looking for."
Apollo gave Phoenix a questioning look and silently opened the letter. After reading a few lines, Apollo's eyes bulged out of his head. "T-This…this is an eviction notice!" he exclaimed, "F-from my landlord! W-when did…?"
"Oh, a month ago." Phoenix replied casually, studying his nails in a bored manner as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, "You forgot to pay your rent. Oh, but don't worry; I made sure to pick up all your stuff, and I took care of the paperwork and everything. You have nothing to worry about."
"B-but my apartment…I never even got a notice reminding me to pay my rent! My landlord always sends out a notice…!"
Phoenix shrugged again, acting far, far to casual for Apollo's taste. "Who knows," he replied vaguely. "But of course, Trucy has been in charge of picking up all your mail on the from your PO box for the past few months since the Wonder Bar is so close to the post office. It's certainly possible that she… misplaced them."
Apollo wanted to believe Phoenix Wright, but his tightening bracelets made it impossible to do so. "I-I don't think so Mr. Wright, I mean… you're lying, which means that Trucy was purposefully hiding the notices for my rent…The only question is why you would—"
"For the sake of business." Phoenix replied curtly, cutting Apollo off, "What other reason would there be?"
"….Business?" Apollo asked, not quite sure he wanted to know, "What does business have to do with anything?"
"How does business not have everything to do with it?" Phoenix asked, "Look Apollo, it's all very simple. What we're running here is a business, and until you, the Wright Talent Agency only had two employees. Since our numbers are so limited, every employee, ever job, every paycheck counts. We cut it close sometimes when the mortgage's due, so as a business we've all got to stick together to have a better chance of pulling through in the end. That's what business partners do Apollo; we look out for each other."
"…And how is you stealing my mail add into this equation?" Apollo asked, "And what's all this babbling about "business"? It sounds more like you're talking about fa—" Apollo froze, the unsaid word lodged quite thoroughly in his throat as his mind caught up to his mouth.
Family; it sounded like he was talking about family, and the way he was talking…like I was…was…
Phoenix smiled mysteriously at Apollo. "You're a part of this business now Apollo. You have a hand in this office, not to mention that a part of your paycheck goes to paying for some of the business's expenses. This particular situation is mutually beneficial to us all. And besides, it's best to have our little attorney here in case a client comes with a case in the middle of the night, right?
Apollo didn't quite know what to say. His bracelet was buzzing confused against his wrist. Mr. Wright wasn't lying, he just wasn't being straightforward and saying exactly what he meant… But that didn't matter. Apollo had been able to perceive the true meaning behinds Phoenix Wright's words anyway because Mr. Wright hadn't been trying lie to him; not really.
"O-o.k." Was all Apollo finally managed.
"Excellent!" Phoenix exclaimed, and just then Trucy jumped out of nowhere to exclaim that he was "stuck with them for the long haul now!"
"We'll see about getting you a proper bed the next time my paycheck from the Borscht Bowl Club comes; since theirs only three of us, we all need to always be at our best, and that means getting good night's sleep."
Apollo felt warm. It was January, and the heating in the Agency never functioned quite right, but… just then, he felt warm somewhere in his chest. And he felt lighter then he had in a long time. He was apparently a part of this fam—er, business now, and there was no getting out of it if the finality of Trucy's comment that he was "stuck with them" was to believed.
Just then there was a series of frantic knocks at the front door and the muffled sounds of a voice. Trucy scampered off to answer the door, and only moments later she yelled back excitedly to Apollo.
"Come quick, it's a client for you Apollo!"
"See?" Phoenix told him, "This is the reason we want to keep you close: it's best that you stick around in case clients come late like this."
"Right." Apollo conceded quietly, going into the Wright Talent Agency's cluttered main lobby to meet with his new client. Apollo accepted then that he was probably in for a long couple of days because his clients were always difficult and completely loony, but…. despite the all that, Apollo found himself smiling, because even without his perception ability he could've told you that Phoenix Wright had been lying about the reason Trucy and him had wanted him to stay with them.
And somewhere in the corner of his mind, an old childhood dream sighed contentedly, and at long last Apollo thought that maybe, just maybe he knew what family was more so then he ever had before. So maybe they weren't exactly conventional, but… Apollo didn't mind. Nothing in his life had exactly been "conventional" or "normal" anyway.
"And besides," Apollo told himself as he watched Trucy scare his client with her startling "Amazing Mr. Hat" routine, "normal is overrated anyway."
A/N:..(…It is in this author's humble opinion that Phoenix's next "recruit" for the "business" will be a certain cravat-wearing Prosecutor. But that's just me. ;))
Reviews are loved.