The Ghost of Me
Notes: The characters are not mine and this ficlit is! It takes place between cases 4 and 5 of Ace Attorney. It is a birthday giftfic for Lisa, on her request, and I hope it came out alright. Happy Birthday, Lisa! Thanks to Kaze for plot help!
For quite some time he had lived in an apartment.
It was a very nice apartment, really--more of a suite, on the second floor of a complex that only the wealthy could afford. It was furnished with expensive chairs, couches, and a bed--all maroon, of course--and other necessities such as lamps and tables. Having been raised in Germany for most of his teenage years he had acquired a taste for certain art, and several pieces decorated the extensive rooms. When he had free time, he also enjoyed books, and quite a few thick volumes were on shelves at the back of the living room.
He had become a prosecutor at age twenty, and until this past year he had never lost a case. He had put everything he had been taught by von Karma to good use, never caring if his methods ever leaned toward being underhanded. All that mattered, von Karma had said many times, was to ensure the guilty verdict would be reached.
In every case he had tried, had he imagined himself as the defendant--a man with a deep and dark past who had committed a crime he did not consciously remember? Someone who needed above all to be punished? How many innocent people had he condemned to prison, or worse, without a second thought?
Even he, himself, in the end had been proven innocent. Wright had exposed all of von Karma's treachery last month. Sometimes it was still almost incomprehensible that such a burden had been lifted from his soul.
And how strange it was, that one small act of his as a child had made a large enough impact on Wright to carry over fifteen years to when they had met again at long last. Perhaps stranger still was that Wright had been planning their reunion ever since he had learned of his old friend's reputation as the "demon prosecutor." After countless failed attempts to make contact, Wright had determined that the only way to see Miles again and to try to help him would be in court.
And through an outlandish set of circumstances, it had happened.
Miles never would have thought of himself as having friends. Well . . . long ago he had, perhaps, before his father had ever been killed. But then for years von Karma had drilled into him that friendship was pointless and only weighed one down. He had swallowed everything that had been taught to him, despite the fact that some lessons took longer to learn than others.
Then had come that treacherous time several weeks ago when he had been arrested for a crime he had not committed. If not for a friend whom he had not wanted, he would have been imprisoned and likely sentenced to death. Von Karma had had his precious perfect record until that case. When Miles had learned that he, his old mentor, would be the prosecutor, all had seemed utterly hopeless. And then Wright had somehow turned everything around, largely through dumb luck but actually somewhat through using his mind to piece it all together.
Oh, how he had changed since then. He had somehow found himself speaking to Wright after court today. It had been an odd conversation, and terribly unexpected.
He blinked in surprise at the sound of his name being called. Court was just letting out, and he had moved into the waiting room. Now he was trying to thread his way through the crowd without being trounced upon or otherwise halted and . . . Wright was calling him.
As he turned to look, he could see that the spiky-haired defense attorney was holding two briefcases--and trying to keep them from becoming entangled in the throng. At last Wright approached, satisfied as he held out one of the satchels.
"You left this in the courtroom," he explained.
Miles frowned, slowly accepting the proffered case. "I see," he said. It was quite discombobulating, to know that he had done something so completely absent-minded. And suddenly he also felt extremely awkward. Expressing open appreciation for a good turn was still something he was not used to. But it was something he felt he should do now.
"T-thank you," he mumbled at last, stepping further to the side.
"You really don't have to act like saying it is poisoning you, Edgeworth," Wright remarked.
A bit of crimson began to sneak over Miles' face. He promptly looked away. "Yes," he said, "I realize that, Wright. But it's still new to me."
"Oh well," Wright said with a bit of a smile, "you'll have time to get used to it."
Miles paused as the implications of that sentence sunk into his mind.
"Perhaps I will," he said then, still in an embarrassed mumble.
Now he was sitting in front of the fire, frowning into the blaze. It was such a small incident, and yet it was making him think deeply.
Several weeks ago, who would have brought his briefcase back to him? Well . . . Detective Gumshoe would have, if he had seen it. But Miles never would have thought of the man as a friend before. And now there was Wright . . . and Larry as well, if he allowed his thoughts to go that far.
His previous self never would have. He would have scoffed at the very idea. The only person one could rely on was oneself, and sometimes even that failed. Of course, if it did, then what did a man have left? He had pondered on that many a time. And he had never gained a satisfactory answer.
Did that old him still exist, or was he now a mere shadow, a ghost? Had he changed that much?
Sometimes it still felt as though his past self was watching him in disapproval. He was becoming weak, soft, just as von Karma had warned him.
But could anything that man said be believed anymore?
It was a strange feeling--relying on others at times. In some ways, he did feel weak--but mostly embarrassed and not wishing to impose.
And yet at the same time, he felt as though at last a secret yearning had been filled in his heart.
He was no longer alone.