The Viper's Daughter
an alternate universe story by Dot
Little Franziska von Karma, crown jewel of the God of Prosecutors, had a bounce in her step as she accompanied Father up the courthouse steps. At last she would be able to see Father's perfection with her own eyes.
Except all that she remembered afterwards was the earth jolting, then a loud crack like a peal of thunder, and Father–perfect Father, strong Father, invulnerable Father–fell to the floor and there was so much red…
The nightmares would haunt her afterwards, even when she learned the details surrounding that incident. To keep them at bay, she began carrying a riding crop with her wherever she went, and no one dared to take it out of her hands.
Thirteen-year-old Franziska graduated to a whip when she stepped into the prosecutor's bench alongside Father. It had a longer reach than the riding crop, though most of the time just the act of cracking it into the air sufficed to keep the foolish courtroom in line.
They had made the mistake of treating her like a child in her first case, as if they were playing teatime with her for Father's sake. They soon learned that he sat as her co-counsel as a mere courtesy because the law did not recognize her as an adult.
But Franziska stood on her own merit, producing the witnesses and evidence she had prepared herself; turning each objection back on the defense with irrefutable reasoning; and finishing with such a strong closing statement that even the opposition's lawyer seemed to doubt his own client.
The gavel came down, and the verdict delivered was to the surprise of none: Guilty.
Franziska allowed herself a small smile. Another win to add to her own growing flawless record, just like Father.
Onlookers packed the gallery during State v. Fawles. This would be Franziska's first time handling such a high-profile case, and a brutal homicide at that. Representing the reprehensible convict Fawles was a rookie even greener than Franziska, the newest product of Grossberg's inept firm.
Franziska read the court brief and almost destroyed her desk in the ensuing fit of rage. Miles Edgeworth. The son of the bastard who had the gall to hurt Father. That the elder Edgeworth had pretty much stopped practicing law and then retired altogether when his son joined Grossberg's office was of little comfort. She would make him regret ever crossing paths with Father.
She would ruin that Edgeworth, one way or another.
The inevitable blossoming from a girl to a woman arrived late in the von Karma household, but when it did, the entire world knew of it. Despite all of her care in keeping her frustration over the changes in her body out of the courtroom, Franziska found the monthly assault on her control to be maddening. Even simple acts like eating or sleeping were a chore.
And then there was that blasted son of Edgeworth.
He was a constant distraction: stopping in the hallway to enquire how she was, dropping by during lunch to see her picking through what the maid had packed for her, slipping a small package of imported European chocolates into her hand before one of her court appearances with a whispered assurance that it would help.
Her dreams began to change, too. They were innocuous at first, just variations on seeing him around so much. And then, to her horror, she began to imagine them being intimate. The details would always get fuzzy as she removed his pants and took him into herself–while she was not unaware of the mechanics of sex, she had yet to experience it firsthand. Nevertheless, she would wake up in the morning with an inexplicable wetness between her legs and heat in her face.
The fantasies sometimes persisted into her waking hours, so much so that she would find herself slipping off into some corner of the mansion to touch herself. She would bite into her sleeve as she climaxed, her body swelling with esctasy while her mind hated herself all the more.
She was seventeen when the path to perfection was denied to her, closed off by one Miles Edgeworth as he defended some flighty wannabe spiritualist for the murder of her sister. The details did not matter any more, not after she had lost. Who cared who Redd White was and who he was blackmailing? So what if one of the names on his little black book had been a suspect in the poisoning of another Grossberg lawyer?
It was over. It was all over. And it was all his fault.
At least this was what she repeated to herself when she confronted him in the parking lot with every intention of whipping him into unconsciousness, except she pushed him against a wall and kissed him full on the mouth instead.
He tastes like coffee, was her last conscious thought as she leaned into the kiss.
He managed to push her away, his face flushed with confusion (and something else, she noted with dark pleasure). "What are you doing?" he demanded. "We can't do this. It's wrong. And besides, I don't even like you that way."
She stepped into his space again, but he evaded her this time. "Your reaction tells me otherwise," she purred, aware of her own cheeks burning with shame.
"Stop it, Franziska. You're confused." he slips into his car and closes the door behind him before she can catch up to him. "And I'm sorry, but I just can't."
When she slept that night, she imagined him in her bed, and this time she welcomed the vision.
She took other cases, of course, but none of them mattered to her. Whenever Edgeworth defended someone, she insisted that she prosecute, determined that she have her revenge on him.
She never got the chance. Edgeworth seemed to possess the devil's own luck. He was also relentless in his pursuit of his laughably naive idea of truth and justice: chipping away at every little inconsistency, objecting at every opportunity, and offering alternate explanations so plausible that even before Edgeworth managed to pull yet another last minute turnabout the Judge seemed ready to declare the defendant to be not guilty and put another proverbial nail in the coffin.
Then Chief Prosecutor Skye was arrested in connection with the death of some two-bit security guard.
Edgeworth ended up physically dragging a furious Franziska out of the courtroom, and she was too upset to take advantage of the situation.
"Unhand me at once!" She screamed, trying to twist out of Edgeworth's grasp. "Let me kill that bastard!"
He half dragged, half carried her into her office. "It's over, Miss von Karma. Even if he manages to avoid the death penalty, he's going to jail for the rest of his life."
"He used me!" Franziska seethed, pummeling her fists into Edgeworth's chest. "That son of a bitch used me, and he dares suggest that he was doing me a favor!"
Edgeworth said nothing while Franziska wore herself out with her tantrum, not letting her go until she had ceased frothing with incoherent rage. "Miss von Karma–" he began, but he never got to finish that thought, for it was at that moment the floor buckled as a record earthquake hit the greater Los Angeles area.
Franziska screamed as her nightmares sprung to life. She was three years old again and Father was bleeding, but all she could do was cry for the help that was so slow in coming.
"Miss von Karma. Franziska!"
Franziska felt strong arms around her shoulders, and she held onto them as if they were her last lifeline. She buried her face into the dark brown cloth and trembled, using every ounce of her self control to keep from crying.
It was not until long after the world had stopped raging that she realized that she had been in Edgeworth's arms the entire time. She shoved him away, feeling her face (and elsewhere) grow warm, and he let her, turning away.
"I'm going to see if everyone else is all right," he muttered, pulling himself to his feet. "Are you–"
"I'm fine, Attorney Edgeworth," Franziska lied. "No need to concern yourself about me."
Afterwards, Fraziska went home and took a very long bubble bath.
Father was assigned the Engarde case, and though Franziska was somewhat disappointed that she was denied this chance at a rematch, her feelings turned to undisguised Schadenfreude when she sat down in the viewer's gallery and watched Edgeworth sweat.
Father was, as usual, perfect. Edgeworth's usual courtroom antics proved futile, and he grew visibly desperate as the day wore on and his feeble efforts made mere dents in Father's ironclad case. The session ended with the verdict all but a foregone conclusion, with only a handful of witnesses left to call.
Then, for the second time in Franziska's life, Father–her Anchor, her Rock, her Pillar–was taken down by a single, tiny bullet.
Franziska did not rage, or cry, or show any emotion on her face for that matter. She did not even lash out at Edgeworth when he showed up at the hospital alongside that useless fool of a detective and pulled her aside, telling her in hushed tones that his legal aide had been kidnapped by the same assassin who had shot Father, and he suspected that Engarde had hired this man to do his dirty work.
Franziska was not moved. "Why should I care about some foolish girl who got herself captured by your own client's pet killer?"
Edgeworth must have expected this reaction, for he did not recoil, but just lowered his head further. "Please, Miss von Karma. Detective Gumshoe is looking into tracking Maya down, but I need more time. When Maya is safe, I'll be more than happy to lose this case."
Franziska stared at Edgeworth now, realizing that he was begging for her help. He needed her.
And she had no desire to let the bastard who hurt Father get away with it, either.
"Very well," she found herself saying. "We are allies. For now."
They were perfect together. No other adjective sufficed for what happened in the courtroom that day, or the day after.
He and she, working in tandem towards a common goal. And in the end, Franziska was even willing to admit that achieving victory had become secondary to unraveling the labyrinthine mystery that was presented to them.
It was not until the kidnapped legal aide was returned to them that Franziska realized the toll these events had taken on Edgeworth. He wept in full view of everyone, including Franziska herself, as he held the Fey girl in his arms and whispered over and over again, "Thank God". Then again, he was the one who was forced to walk a razor's edge between getting his client convicted without costing the life of an innocent bystander, so she should not have been surprised at his reaction.
She was, however, surprised to find herself walking up to Edgeworth and resting a hand on her shoulder. "Go home, Attorney Edgeworth. I am more than capable of handling things here."
Edgeworth gave a start, not expecting this in the least. He wiped his face as best he could before answering. "You should get going, too. Your father–"
"–will be fine. He suffered a minor inconvenience." Or at least this was what Franziska told herself.
"You should be with him anyway." Edgeworth forced a weak smile. "After all, you got your first 'Guilty' against me."
"You give yourself far too much credit, Attorney Edgeworth," Franziska replied, but she found herself smiling as well.
Meanwhile, the fallout of the Gant case gradually leaked to the public, and Father was told that he did not need to return to the courthouse after he recovered from his injury. Franziska had been livid–why were they punishing Father for Gant's sins? She, too, had often relied on Gant to produce the evidence she needed to get her verdicts, and though she never consciously used false testimony she never bothered to check, either.
Hypocrites, all of them. But Father told her to endure, to stay and show them what a von Karma was made of. She would not break so easily, he reminded her. She was perfect.
But then the caseload grew too large for her and Payne to handle, so they added a third man to the office.
Even Franziska could tell that the new prosecutor was Diego Armando sporting the most ridiculous visor she'd ever seen and a (metaphorical) chip on his shoulder a mile wide. But Godot, or whatever the fool was calling himself these days, did a passable job most of the time, even if he looked bored except when facing Edgeworth as an opponent.
Try as she might, Franziska could not ignore the rumors that started flying. Edgeowrth had, after all, apprenticed under Godot while he still had been Armando, at least until a series of unfortunate events put Armando in the hospital. During one of Franziska's visits to Father before he was released to convalesce in the comfort of his own home, she asked a few discreet questions from the staff and discovered that Edgeworth would visit Armando at least once a week and talk to the unconscious man for hours on end.
Godot, for his part, never let slip whether he was aware of Edgeworth's visits. In fact, he seemed to hate Edgeworth with an even stronger intensity than Franziska ever had. Godot didn't even have the courtesy to address Edgeworth by his proper name. He would always call his opponent "Miley", or when he felt particularly vindictive, the other lawyer would be further downgraded to "kitten".
Edgeworth, after the initial moment of confusion had passed, accepted Godot's resentment no matter how wounded he must have been by Godot's barbs and bizarre coffee metaphors. He just trucked on, and though after the Engarde case he took on a junior partner to take some of the load off him–Franziska questioned the wisdom of hiring a former art major whose previous legal expertise was as a murder suspect, but Phoenix Wright proved to be just as effective as Edgeworth at coming up with last-minute turnabouts–she could see a visible weariness in Edgeworth's shoulders that had never been present before.
And then Franziska got a phone call from Edgeworth's cell phone at some ungodly hour. She answered it with the intention of telling Edgeworth off for foolishly daring to abuse the privilege that she had granted him and got an earful of an increasingly panicked Wright blabbering about how Edgeworth was going to die and it was all his fault. Somehow Franziska managed to get Wright to calm down and explain what had happened in detail.
It had taken every ounce of self control to not scream at the fool, but Franziska instructed him in the calmest tones she could to hang up, call the proper authorities, and let them handle things.
Then she changed into her best pantsuit, woke her driver, and told him to get to Kurain at top speed.
He has the devil's own luck! Franziska thought as she saw Edgeworth laid up in the hospital with nothing more than a few bruises, a handful of broken ribs, a light concussion, and a distinctively non-fatal case of hypothermia.
He tried to sit up higher when he saw her enter, staring in open surprise. "Miss von Karma."
"The Prosecutor's office called," she lied. "Something about a situation here."
He managed half a nod. "Maya. She's trapped up there." Franziska suspected that if she had the strength to, he would have leaped free of the bed. "Please, Miss von Karma, you have to find her before–" And here he began to choke up. "I almost lost her once already. Please."
As Franziska found herself promising that she would do whatever it took to save the Fey girl (honestly, she seemed to be in dire peril every other case), she also couldn't help but wonder if Edgeworth would come to her rescue with the same amount of intensity should something befall her.
Of course no case Edgeworth was involved in could ever be simple.
What unfolded in the days that followed was a tale of politics, intrigue, and a family that had enough skeletons in its closet to start its own museum.
No wonder young Maya, despite her mother's protests, threw away her position as potential clan head to be a mere legal assistant. She loved her young cousin dearly, and having already suffered the loss of one family member, was willing to give up everything rather than to be at the center of more tragedy.
But Morgan would not relent. She cooked up what she assumed would be the perfect plot to kill her sister and frame one of her own daughters for it.
It was, Franziska mused, a touch of cosmic justice that Morgan ended up perishing her own web. Pity it was Godot who had served as her impromptu executioner, rather than the state.
Edgeworth was chasing after the police officers escorting the disgraced prosecutor out the door. "Wait, please!"
"Don't tell me you're offering to be my lawyer, Miley," Godot sneered. "I thought you only take clients who are innocent."
This time, Edgeworth didn't take the bait. "Don't you dare face this one alone, Diego, and don't give me any bullshit about how 'Diego Armando is dead, there is only Godot'. Godot would have called the proper authorities and let them handle it instead of taking matters in his own hands."
Fransizka stepped forward as well, twisting her whip in her hands. "I also advise that you do not represent yourself in court, Mr. Armando. To do so would be the height of foolishness."
Though she could not see Godot's eyes, she could tell that he was staring at her. Then he chuckled. "Well, if even Miss von Karma thinks so."
Wright ran up to Edgeworth and caught him before the he collapsed. "Take it easy, Miles! You just fell off a bridge a couple of days ago!"
"I'll live." Guided by Wright, Edgeworth sat down at the last row of the courtroom. "Go on ahead, Phoenix. You still have to wrap up your case. Maya, go help Phoenix with the paperwork–" He smiled when he saw Maya pout at him. "–and I'm sure Pearl could use your company, too."
"You sure you don't need me to call the doctor over again?" Wright was understandably worried. Edgeworth had forced himself out of intensive care against everyone's advise, but he was determined to attend the proceedings in person, so Franziska had arranged for a doctor to be on call in case.
To no one's surprise, Edgeworth was just as resolute to refuse aid while he remained conscious. "I will call him myself if I deem it necessary. Now go."
Wright remained skeptical, but he did have work to do, so he went on his way.
Franziska did not leave–the prosecutor's office would take care of the paperwork, after all, and she had some things she wanted to discuss with Edgeworth in private. As soon as they were alone, she dove right in without preamble. "I thought taking on a junior partner meant you could do less work."
Edgeworth chuckles. "I hope you're not implying that putting myself in the emergency room is a regular occurrence."
"No, impulsive burning bridge crossing aside, Wright is much more the accident magnet." Franziska took a step forward. "I am referring to your borderline suicidal work schedule."
Edgeworth froze for a moment, then chuckled. "It's that obvious, huh?" He put a hand on the back of his neck, a clear sign of sheepishness. "I guess I've been so worried about not being able to put Maya through college that I've gone a little overboard."
Franziska clicked her tongue. "Have you not heard of scholarships, Edgeworth? Even if her previous schooling in Kurain is not recognized by the university, she could still apply for need-based grants for both the tuition and the cost of textbooks. And I presume she is staying with you to save on living expenses." When Edgeworth tried to protest, she raised a finger against his lips, both thankful and disappointed that the cold mountain climate meant she was wearing gloves even indoors. "Go on a vacation, Attorney Edgeworth. You have earned one. Just because crime does never sleeps does not mean you do not have to."
The day that everything changed forever began much like any other day. Franziska was sitting in the dining room, eating her breakfast on the other side of the table across from Father, when her phone rang.
It was Edgeworth.
They had already settled into a regular habit of calling each other to discuss work, but this was the first time he had done so when she was at home.
Somehow Franziska found her voice. "Yes?"
"I'm very sorry, but I'll have to reschedule our meeting."
Franziska frowned, hearing the odd hitch in Edgeworth's tone. "Is something the matter?"
He did not answer for several moments. "It's…my father. He's collapsed suddenly. We're rushing him to the hospital right now."
The question burst forth from her lips without a second thought. "Which hospital?"
Father raised an eyebrow at her as she hung up and hurried through the rest of her breakfast. "What was that about, Franziska?"
She did not answer, knowing Father's opinion on defense lawyers in general and Edgeworths in specific. "One of my colleagues is in a bit of a crisis, that is all."
He sneered. "Do you take me to be a fool, Franziska? You have had your eye on that useless brat for quite some time now. What did he do this time, get himself run over by a car?"
Franziska picked up her whip and made her way out of the dining room without so much as a backwards glance. "It is none of your concern."
Except Father was now blocking her path, towering over her. "It is every bit my concern. You are a von Karma. You should be above such petty emotions."
Franziska stared up into Father's eyes and found herself remembering the Fey girl arguing with her mother on the stand. "Your concept of perfection is quite poor indeed, Father, if one is not allowed to show even minimum concern for a rival." She pressed forward, seeing that her defiant words had taken him off guard. "If you must know, Attorney Edgeworth's father has been hospitalized, and I will stand by him in his time of need whether you like it or not."
This time, Franziska strode out the door unimpeded.
After that, it was all but a foregone conclusion that Franziska and Miles were together.
Father tried everything to stop what had become the inevitable, but every effort only served to bring Franziska closer to Miles. Still, Miles believed it important that he have Father's blessing to wed Franziska–and even more so after his own father passed away at peace knowing that his son was in good hands–so they remained apart. And when Father proved insufferable, Franziska found her own place in the city to live near Miles. (She would have been happy to live with him as his wife, but Miles surprised her with his stubbornness and old-fashioned way of thinking. But then again, he did share his living space with Wright and the Fey girl.)
Despite Miles' reservations, it became clear to him beyond a doubt that Father was resolute in opposing their relationship, and though Father's foolishness also grieved Franziska, she would no longer put her life on hold for him. They wed in the same courtroom where they worked, the Judge himself presiding over the minimalist ceremony.
That same day, Father held a press conference in which he announced that he no longer had a daughter.
And thus ended the story of Franziska von Karma and began the tale of Franziska von Karma-Edgeworth and the new family she found herself a part of.
Franziska became the District Attorney of the Greater Los Angeles area as well as the proud mother to two beautiful children, a daughter and a son. Her reputation was only paralleled by her husband's, whose uncompromising pursuit of truth helped her perfect her own record as well.
Phoenix Wright earned the nickname of "The Turnabout" for his unorthodox methods and the ability to seemingly pull a miracle for his client–Wright was also notoriously picky for only taking clients he believed to be innocent–sometimes at the very last minute.
Maya Fey finished college and graduated with honors, then joined the Ace Anything Agency as a legal aide.
Manfred von Karma died alone and miserable, buried by the children and grandchildren he never knew.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress' Notes:
Another delivery to the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme that turned epic.