...I am soooo going to die for this...
Umm, hello all. This is my first contribution to the Ace Attorney world of fanfiction... and I'm nervous to an extreme. I know that the only reason you're even bothering with this is because of the summary, so... please don't kill me. I'm not that insane. It makes a good deal of sense to me.
...Maybe I am that crazy...
Good Memories and Nightmares
The dream world was an interesting place, Phoenix noted. It truly did have a way of fitting itself to the dreamer's mood and personality, and making it seem as though they were the only people there.
Perhaps that was why the 33-year-old ex-lawyer found himself sitting on a bench outside of a self-consciously created Sunshine Coliseum, with every passer-by having no face, no way to distinguish identity. An ideal place to gather ones thoughts, and that was exactly what Phoenix wanted to do.
All the information he had gathered in the last seven years… most of it was all too much to bear. The death of Drew Misham, the forged evidence that sealed his fate as a lawyer, Trucy's missing father, the identity of Lamiroir, even, to an extent, Apollo's orphan-hood; if he didn't know any better, he would never have been able to connect any of it together, let alone connect it to the one person anyone least expected.
Most people found it odd when Kristoph confessed to the murder of Shadi Smith; after all, what possible reason would he have had? But Phoenix knew better.
Oh, he knew.
He knew what lied beyond the lies that man said and his reasons behind them, and had known since the very beginning. He smirked; it was a tad ironic that he knew so much now, as opposed to knowing nothing when he still had his badge.
But still, despite the carefree attitude, Phoenix was still worried. Tomorrow was the last day for the trial of Vera Misham, and the trial that would seal the Jurist System back in place in the court of law. How he even managed to take a nap in his office and have this self-reflecting dream, when the defendant was in critical condition nearing death, was something he'd never understand. He had told Apollo everything he knew, everything he had collected in the past (excluding his and Trucy's mixed genealogy, of course; he'd leave that to Lamiroir), but… would it be enough to tie all the loose ends?
Phoenix jumped up, and slowly –ever so slowly- he turned his head. That voice… it can't be…
The voice was feminine and silky, its owner just the same. His eyes trailed her body: the white dress that just went above her ankles, the pink-laced parasol resting delicately on her shoulder, the bright red, painstakingly braided hair, and those eyes; those soft, hypnotic eyes...
He could only stutter. "D… Da…"
Dahlia Hawthorne smiled. "Yes, Wright, it's me. Long time, no see. Though I must say…" She gave a small laugh. "…you've certainly seen better days. When was the last time you shaved, man?"
"What do you want?"
Her face returned to its natural, pessimistic look. "Please don't glare at me like that; you look far too much like your prosecutor friend for comfort." Dahlia responded, flipping her hair as she did. She gestured to the bench. "May I sit?"
Still taken back by her sudden appearance, Phoenix cautiously made room for the woman on the bench. Dahlia wasted no time in sitting beside him, smoothing out the front of her dress as she did. And so they sat, sat, watching the faceless people inside Phoenix's mind walk by.
"You haven't answered my question, Dahlia." He said suddenly.
"Hmm? Oh, you mean why I'm here. No, I suppose I haven't."
"So, do you mind?"
"No, I don't especially." Dahlia said, eyes never leaving the empty horizon ahead. "I'll be frank; I came here to talk to you."
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why do you want to talk to me?"
There was a pregnant pause, followed by a sigh from the red-head. "Again, let me be frank; I'm… concerned for you, Wright."
Phoenix was certain now that he was dreaming. Dahlia Hawthorne, the woman who tried to murder him, who had turned his life upside-down and had made him go through one of the most terrifying experiences of his life, was concerned for him? She should be trying to kill him in his sleep!
…Which, he supposed, would be hard for her to do, given she was a spirit and couldn't hold solid objects. Was there such a thing as spirit knives, he wondered? That would make a lot more sense than her thrashing her arms through him in an attempt to beat him to death…
"Wright? You're spazzing again."
Phoenix saw the hand waving in front of his face shook his head, moving the hand away. "Just why would you-"
"-Be concerned?" She finished. "That's a very legitimate question, Wright. But I would assume that one would feel concern for the person they feel indebted to."
Phoenix's once narrowed eyes flared open. "Indebted'… to me?"
Dahlia nodded. "Yes, Wright. To you."
He jumped off the bench, staring at Dahlia in shock and mild fear. "What… what for? What could I have done that would possibly make you of all people feel indebted to me?"
"Well, because of you, I died."
Phoenix sat back down, regaining his composure. "…I'm not seeing the 'indebted to me' yet."
"The afterlife is a strange place, Wright." Dahlia explained. "All people will eventually make it to Paradise, but depending on the person –and the severity of their crimes- they must go through a stage of atonement." She paused, making sure she had his full attention. "The first stage –this is what most people only have to do- is a self-reflection of crimes. Basically, it's Purgatory. The stage before hand –what criminals, like myself- go through is a state of working to make up for your crimes, to show you can earn eternal peace."
"Again, still not seeing the connection."
"I went to the working stage, as I'm sure you can assume, and there I met… well, he's not technically Satan, bless his soul, but he did run the stages of atonement. Poor old thing was working since the dawn of mankind; he was ready to retire, but there was no one he could trust to take over for him. But then… well, you know…" She gave her parasol a slight twirl, eyes brimming with memories Phoenix would never know. "…he met me."
"So you're the Devil now, is that what you're saying?" Phoenix's head fell back. "Anyone could have figured that out!"
"I'll ignore that jab for now, but didn't I just say my predecessor wasn't Evil Incarnate?"
"Then what exactly are you now?"
Dahlia brought a finger to her pursed lips in thought. "I… suppose you could say I'm like the "CEO of Afterlife Inc.", but that's not the point. The point is, I gained something with the position."
"That something, being?"
The flower's eyes poured into his a seriousness that he could not look away from. "My humanity, Wright. Because of you, the deceased Dahlia Hawthorne is now who she was meant to be before her execution." She softened her gaze, and smiled in such a smile that, truthfully, bore no grudge or hidden meaning. "I'm at peace because I died, and I died because of you. It's you I have to thank."
"How… how do I know that's the truth?" Phoenix said, disbelieving every word; and with good reason to do so. "How do I know that you're not lying and trying to kill me in my sleep?!"
"What, am I some sort of B-grade horror film monster who kills through dreams now?" Dahlia said, a small smirk on her face. "If you don't believe me, try using the magatama."
"How do you about the-"
"You forget I was a Fey before I was a Hawthorne. The system of the Psyche-Locks was one that the branch family used to protect the main family… well, in a few cases, anyway. But go on; try to see if I'm lying. I can assure you, there won't be one lock."
Phoenix reluctantly pulled the tiny gem from the pocket of his jeans. Even in sleep, he could feel the spiritual power it possessed. He held it before Dahlia, not even bothering to keep it secret. "…Dahlia Hawthorne." His hands clenched the stone tighter. "Has everything you've told me been the truth?"
Dahlia's face was unchanging, and suddenly Phoenix realized just where he had gotten his unbreakable poker face. "No, I have not lied. Everything I've said has been the absolute truth."
And just as Dahlia had, there was not a single Psyche-Lock.
Phoenix nearly dropped the magatama in shock, but his fingers clenched the stone even harder. How… how could this be? He was talking to Dahlia Hawthorne! The evil, conniving, deceiving demoness-in-disguise that had caused him and all those near him pain!
…Well, except Edgeworth. DL-6 probably would have happened regardless of Dahlia (she was what, six when it happened?)… and then Franziska, her pain was kind of his and Edgeworth's combined fault, so really…
This time, Dahlia was snapping her fingers. Phoenix blinked a few times and regained his composure. He quickly raised the magatama again. "So then… is there any other reason for you coming here, other than to thank me?"
Dahlia paused, as though she was weighing her options. Phoenix thought he had caught her in the act, but even then she surprised him. "…Yes, actually. I want to know how you intend to end the trial."
This time, Phoenix placed the gem back into his hoodie's pocket, yet his hand never left it. "You know about the State vs. Vera Misham?"
Dahlia nodded. "I had a feeling that your misfortune seven years ago would lead to something like this… the same as you, I suppose. So… how's it going to end?"
"I don't know." Phoenix said. "If you've been paying attention as much as you say you've been, then you should know that this is a test trial for the Jurist System. The verdict is in the hands of the people, this time."
"I see. …Will Kristoph Gavin be found guilty as I've hoped?"
For what may have been the hundredth time that dream, Phoenix was shocked. "You knew?"
"Didn't I just mention I'd been keeping tabs since seven years ago?" Dahlia chuckled. The ex-lawyer's shock really was quite amusing. "But even so… not even I had black Psyche-Locks, and just look at who I was."
This was very true, as much as Phoenix did not want to admit it; when Dahlia had been channeled all those years ago, her Psyche-Locks were as red as anyone else's. "But what possible grudge could you have against Kristoph, Dahlia?"
"Well… this is a bit embarrassing for me, but I suppose it had to have been early on in my 'career', when I still held resentment for you. I used to say things like 'There's only one person who can mess with Wright's life, and that's me!' or 'I'll be the one to claim his soul, and unfortunately for the world it's not his time!'- you know, childish things like that."
Saying you're going to kill someone and torture their soul in the afterlife is childish? …oh wait. It's Dahlia. Phoenix thought, but he let Dahlia continue.
"Over time though, I realized my mistakes, and saw Kristoph Gavin for what he was; not a lawyer trying to steal my thunder, but as a pitiful excuse for a man who will never live up to the title of 'defense attorney'. Not as long as he continues to only care for his reputation; we've all seen what that does to a person."
"But is that any different than how you were?" Phoenix asked.
"Kristoph is a man who fights for pride, you know. I fought for the sake of surviving. It's a pretty thick line, wouldn't you agree?" Dahlia gave a small scoff with a wave of her hair. "Not to mention, I had a legitimate reason for my actions. I'm not so fickle that I'd murder two people, manipulate my sibling, blame a daughter for murdering her father, and let a man who was quite skilled at and actually liked his job lose it along his reputation and credibility, all because I lost game of poker." She paused, then added, "And before you compare any of that to what I did, I already know, so save your mental breath."
Phoenix slumped in his seat. "Well, you got me there."
"Right. Speaking of siblings… how are they?"
"Iris… and Pearl. What are they doing now?"
She didn't meet his gaze, but Phoenix clearly saw her pale hands wrench her parasol. But it wasn't in resentment, oh no, but rather… regret…?
"Pearls and Iris… they're with Maya and Edgeworth right now."
Phoenix sighed. "Maya… she really grew up after the incident at Hazakura Temple. She saw the imposing threat the branch family presented not only to her, but to all the other Masters of all other channeling schools. So when Edgeworth was ready to go back abroad…"
"…Maya went with him… I see." Dahlia said. "And Pearl and Iris?"
"Well… Iris had to serve her sentence, naturally." Phoenix said, his voice a little softened from the wonderful memories with her. "Pearls wanted to stay behind… just until it was over, and then they would meet up with Maya. They've really grown close, like they knew each other their whole lives." He chuckled to himself a little, but paused when he looked at Dahlia's face.
Her smile was still there, and her hands had relaxed, but… her eyes. It was her eyes. They harbored a sadness that Phoenix could not see the end of. A sadness that was there instead of the normal calculation and anger, but what shocked Phoenix most of all…
…was that it was, indeed, human.
He cleared his throat; he needed to change the topic. "…They got married, you know."
Dahlia's head snapped back up. "I'm sorry, but who?"
"Maya… and Edgeworth."
The information extracted an expected response from the melancholy woman. She quickly raised a hand to her mouth, trying to prevent herself from laughing, but it was in vain; her shoulders were soon shaking, the edge of her parasol tapping the ground lightly as she doubled over in mirth. "O-Oh, that… that is rich, Wright! I don't see why you became a poker player instead of a comedian."
"Actually, I wasn't joking."
Dahlia stopped at once. She slowly raised herself up, staring him without so much as a blink. Phoenix inwardly chuckled at her face; it was like a deer trapped in headlights. "R… Really, Wright…?"
Wow, stammering too? This must be my lucky nap! He thought. "Yep. They're expecting kids pretty soon, too."
Dahlia bobbed her head in an attempt to nod, as she returned her attention to a tree across the bench. "Ah… T-That's nice…"
A moment later, their eyes met again.
And the laughter commenced on both sides.
It wasn't as awkward as Phoenix might have imagined. It really did seem that it didn't matter what Dahlia did or didn't do while she lived; right now, they were like two friends, catching up on old times and sharing new ones while apart.
…And besides, the idea of Miles Edgeworth and Maya Fey, of all people, being married and becoming parents was hilarious…
The bursts of friendly laughter soon quieted. Phoenix leaned back in his seat while Dahlia wiped some tears –real ones, Phoenix noted- from her eyes. A peaceful silence followed, but even the most perfect moments can be ruined by one simple question…
"So…" Dahlia started. "While we're on the topic of marriage…"
Phoenix nearly jumped out of his seat. "W-What? Why would you-?"
Dahlia shook her head. "Wright, please. Anyone could see what you and my sister have. So I ask again: when is it going to happen, and can I follow you to the ceremony?"
Phoenix sighed, adjusting his hat over his eyes. "Well, first, we need to be in the same country."
"I meant aside from the obvious, Wright."
"Yeah, well… then there's the issue of the ring, and my lack of money for obtaining said ring."
"Wright, you can't lie for your life, especially not to a ghost." Dahlia said, a victorious smirk on her face. "I know full well you already bought one; I saw you looking at it a few days ago. Very nice one, I must say. I'm glad you remembered Iris didn't like diamonds, or gold for that matter."
"Y… But you don't have any pro-"
"Apollo Justice's desk. Second drawer to the right. It's under a false bottom."
He could only blink. "…Oh… Oh, you're good."
"What can I say? It's just years of practice on my part."
"And that fact that you can go through walls and no one can see you didn't help?"
She shrugged. "That's cheating."
"You still did it."
"…Yeah." Dahlia mused. "I guess old habits die hard, huh?" She smiled and gave a weak chuckle.
Phoenix turned to her, an air of comforting seriousness around him, and placed a hand on her shoulder. He could feel the red-headed woman jump slightly as she looked into his eyes. "…No. It's OK, Dahlia. Don't beat yourself up."
Somewhere in the back of his mind, his common sense questioned his sanity, but the little figment in the ex-lawyer's mind known as Turnabout Man was screaming, "Remember! You can't cry until it's all over!"
"It's… never been easy for you and I. I'll be honest; what you did –both me and Maya- scared and confused me for a good part of my life." Phoenix continued. "But… it's pretty obvious now that you've repented. I can see it in the way you remember us."
Dahlia smiled. "You've been spending too much time with your daughter."
"Well, Trucy is my daughter. She and Apollo have just rubbed off on me, I guess."
"Like father, like daughter. Like brother, like sister." She replied.
"Ahh, so you know about that too, do you?" Phoenix asked slyly. "Did you follow me to the club to hear that?"
The answer surprised him. "No, actually. …I spoke with Zak after he died."
Dahlia nodded. "He had to come over and see me, kind of like he was checking into a hotel. He wanted to work on the lower level."
"But why?" Phoenix asked. "Zak didn't do anything wrong."
"Exactly what I said. But no, Zak Gramarye wanted to work. He wanted to work for the sake of his wife, his daughter, his friend, his master… and you."
"…Me?" It sounded too incredulous to be true.
"Yes. You. Among his regrets in the last seven years, you losing your badge because of him was one of his biggest. Right next to giving up Trucy, in fact."
Phoenix remained silent.
"His considered you one of his greatest partners. If you don't believe me, he wrote an affidavit before beginning work. I can go get it if you'd…"
Dahlia stared at the man sitting next to her. He had slumped over, his head in his hand. "…Wright?"
"…What if it fails?" He asked suddenly. "What if, even if Apollo does get Vera an acquittal… what if it never ends…?"
"You're talking about Kristoph, aren't you?"
His still silence gave her the answer.
Gently, Dahlia moved her pale hands forward and cupped his cheeks, pulling his face towards hers. His blue eyes were large with forced back tears; cute, she thought. He always had been cute. A little spacey when they first met… but still cute.
"Listen to me, Phoenix." The use of his first name made his eyes widen further. "You've come this far. There is no force on earth, spirit or no, that could possibly stop you now. Apollo Justice will win. Trucy Wright will win. Klavier Gavin will win. …And Phoenix Wright will win."
If their eyes weren't in line with each other before, they certainly were now. "You are twice the man Kristoph Gavin will ever be." She leaned in and left a chaste kiss on his whiskered cheek.
Even in his thirties, Phoenix could still blush up a storm, but even so, he smiled; it was a smile that showed off his boyish charm, the one Dahlia hadn't seen since they met all those years ago. And that was a very cute smile. "Y'know, it's a real crazy statement when the lady who tried to kill me massages my ego."
"You live in a craaazy time, Mr. Wright. Crazy!" With that, Dahlia stood up. "Well, it nearly time for you to wake up. I'll be taking my leave now." She began to walk away.
Dahlia stopped in her tracks, and looked back Phoenix. He was standing as well now, as a gust of subconscious wind blew past them. She couldn't help but smile. "One for the dramatic, are we?"
"Hey, my dream." Phoenix shrugged. "But I just have to ask, and I can't believe I am, but… will I see you again, Dahlia?"
Dahlia sighed, and shrugged. "Who knows? I'll be watching the trial, of course, but I may pop in every now and then to check on you… after the Bar Association gives you back your badge, of course." She smiled. "However… you may put me to fault if, should you ever visit Mr. Gavin after he's convicted again, he mentions that he's suffered from recent nightmares of a red demon clad in white."
With that final shared laugh, Phoenix woke up.
The ex-lawyer sat up straight, blinking his eyes to adjust to the bright light. Sure enough, the park of his mind was gone, leaving him laying on the sofa in the front room. He absentmindedly scratched behind his head. How long had he been…?
His hand pulled back as he realized something was missing, but what? Oh, his hat. Where did that thing go? he asked himself as he rummaged through his front pocket. I could have sworn I was still wearin…
Slowly, Phoenix pulled out the two items in his pocket; the first, being his hat. It had been folded in half, but upon grabbing it, Phoenix felt something crinkle inside. The other, the magatama; the magatama that should have been in his jean pocket, the magatama that only left said pocket when…
His thoughts stopped there. Before he knew it, Phoenix had opened his hat and removed a piece of paper with a small message written on it:
Stop worrying. Apollo is going to do fine in court. After all, you taught him all your tricks. He knows his way around. He's a big boy; I'm sure he can handle the truth, just Trucy and Klavier can.
I know it's hard for you, seeing the person who befriended you in your despair be sent to jail, but remember; he totally deserves it. He's a criminal in both the law and in his personal life. For goodness' sake, he's a straight man who wears nail polish! …NAIL POLISH! I suppose his brother must wear the Ariadoney brand lipstick…?
…You can't cry, not yet. I probably don't need to tell YOU, of all people, this, but a lawyer is someone who doesn't cry until the end. Your badge may be gone, but it applies to you as much as it ever did.
Good luck tomorrow. Remember, I'll be there watching in spirit… literally.
My eternal gratitude
Everything was going exactly as he planned, Kristoph mused as he fell asleep. Soon, Vera Misham would die, and with her, the fear that nearly eclipsed him for the past seven years. If she didn't… well, no offense to Apollo (he really did have amazing potential), but an acquittal just wasn't possible.
He supposed he did feel a little guilty about the whole situation; killing a few people, orphaning a kid, lying to your brother, and getting somebody fired does put a little weight on your conscience, after all. But still, it was inevitable; he had to step on a few people to get what he wanted, even if his fame wasn't exactly given to him in the way he wanted…
Kristoph looked over; being in front of a warped version of Sunshine Coliseum with faceless pedestrians staring at him wasn't exactly the dream he had been hoping for. Though he supposed the lovely girl standing a few feet away from him was to compensate for that.
"Ah, good day to you, Miss, or rather "good dream", I should say." He said, taking her pale hand and kissing it lightly. "May I know the name of the beautiful creature who is gracing my subconscious with her presence?"
Dahlia Hawthorne gave her sweet smile, giggling a bit to further the act, slowly turning the nailed baseball bat hidden behind her back around. "Oh… just a little demon."
...Please don't ask me why I like Dahlia and hate Kristoph, I really don't know why...
(If you do ask, my best argument is that Dahlia is pretty and has red hair.)
So please, review... no flames, if possible...