Chasing Demons

Chapter Twenty One: Awakening

Franziska woke up in a strange room, her clothing ripped and dried blood on her hands. To say everything hurt would be an understatement. She had spent a great deal of time reading about crime scenes to prepare herself for her career—but she had never suspected she would become the victim of a crime herself.

Papa…where was he? He hadn't been hurt, had he? If something had happened to him…he would have been right all along. She should never have come to America. The criminals here were worse than the ones in Germany! Why had they done this to her? Were they jealous of Papa's successes? She did not understand. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes and they threatened to fall. She was alone now, surely she would not be breaking the rules if no-one saw. But somehow, she could not bring herself to do it. Crying would be admitting defeat. That someone had bested her in this situation.

There was a rustle behind her and she whirled around, looking for the source. Perhaps she had not been as alone as she had previously thought. An unfamiliar woman with long brown hair, a green jacket and a red scarf was with her, a pitying and almost patronizing smile on her face.

"You're Franziska, aren't you?" the woman asked, walking over to the mat that Franziska was sitting on.

Franziska stalled for a moment; good things never seemed to happen anymore when someone asked that question. But she'd already been kidnapped once—maybe this woman was coming to save her. Her hands tensed against the floor. She did not need saving. In the end, she allowed herself nothing more than a curt nod.

"I'm Lana. Detective Lana Skye."

A detective. Franziska tilted her head to the side, contemplating the woman standing before her. What had Papa said about detectives again? That they tried their best, which was not well enough? The woman must be kind, then, Franziska decided, but somewhat useless. She would have to find out exactly how useless though. "What happened? Where is Papa?" Her voice sounded shakier than she would have liked. She was conscious now. She was meant to be in control.

The woman exhaled a gentle sigh. "He's been injured, Franziska. The ambulance is taking him to hospital as we speak."

Franziska's heart thumped loudly in her chest. Was Papa going to… Maybe Detective Skye heard, as her eyes softened. "He'll be all right after he undergoes surgery."

Surgery. Papa had been hurt, and even when the doctors healed him, he would not be entirely the same again. There were always repercussions when someone visited hospital—that was what her sister had always told her. Papa shouldn't have come all the way here. She was fine now, wasn't she? Sore, tired, but alive. But Papa had been injured; who would do something like that? A kidnapper, most likely. Franziska's hands shook. "Who did it?" she demanded angrily, jumping to her feet despite the way her muscles ached and complained. "Who hurt my father?"

Detective Skye hesitated. It was almost as though the woman thought that the whole ordeal was too sensitive for she, Franziska, to handle. She wasn't a little girl—she was a prosecutor! In the courtroom, she would not let herself be fazed by even the most gruesome of murders. "A man named Peter," Detective Skye finally answered.

The name did not mean anything to Franziska, unfortunately, as she would have loved a mental image of him, to imagine hurting him the way he had hurt Papa. "So it wasn't…Misty…then?" Franziska clarified. Although she had her suspicions the name was false, the woman who had kidnapped her had definitely been too well endowed to be a man.

"…Misty?" Detective Skye replied, her voice surprised. "She hasn't been around in years."

Her kidnapper was a coward, Franziska decided. She had used a false name belonging to a deceased person to avoid facing her crimes. Papa would be able to prosecute her to the full extent of the law, wouldn't he? But…what happened if even Papa didn't know who she was? What happened if the police thought that this 'Peter' man had kidnapped her too? If the police had arrested him…then he would be the one on trial! The one who would be convicted! It was wrong, but it was justice. The police always arrested the real criminals, right? That was why prosecutors could never fail—failure would mean criminals walking free! Maybe 'Misty' had been blackmailed. That could explain it, and for now, Franziska could let it rest. 'Peter' had hurt her Papa, and he would pay for his crimes.

Her subdued silence aroused lingering concern from Detective Skye. "How are you feeling, Franziska?" she asked tentatively, bringing a hand to Franziska's shoulder.

Franziska backed away; she would not let anyone near her again. Not until she knew how to protect herself. This woman might have meant well, but that gave her no right to touch her. "I'm fine," she snapped, raising her arms as she did so. "Look, do you see any injuries?"

Detective Skye bit her lip. "I don't mean just physically, Franziska. You've been through a traumatizing experience, and your family is very worried about you."

She hadn't wanted her father to worry about her. He shouldn't have come all the way here just to try and save her; he was getting older now and wasn't as strong as he once was although he would never admit that. The police had come and done their job, hadn't they? They'd arrested the criminal. In all honesty, Franziska thought that Papa should have just stayed in the courtroom. If anything, Miles should have been the one to come here, but Miles Edgeworth wasn't her brother anymore. Miles Edgeworth didn't care; he was a stranger in her brother's clothes. "Papa should know better than to worry about me," Franziska answered haughtily, hands tightening into fists.

Concern sparked across Detective Skye's face and she shook her head. Franziska glared at her, and Detective Skye's glance hardened. "Look, Franziska, it's not only your father who's worried about you—"

"Then," Franziska interrupted coldly, "what other family do I have?" If Detective Skye mentioned Miles…then he deserved to be worried. He'd stayed at home like a coward while she had run out of the house. He hadn't wanted her around anymore and had only bothered talking to her because her father had insisted on it.

"Your sister," Detective Skye answered promptly. She didn't try to lay another hand on Franziska's shoulder, but it still felt as if the woman was trying to diffuse the situation.

"My sister?!" Franziska asked in astonishment. That answer had certainly caught her off guard. How would her sister, Lisbeth, know what had happened to her? They still kept in touch, and Lisbeth had previously wanted to take her to the beach this summer, but Franziska wouldn't consider Lisbeth a close friend—not in the way that she had considered Miles to be a long time ago, back before he had left her to go to America.

"Elisabeth Paffenholz?" Detective Skye answered, tripping over some of the letters in Franziska's sister's surname in uncertainty.

Franziska nodded, choosing not to correct the detective's pronunciation for now. "My elder sister, yes, but…what is she doing here?" The few times that Franziska did talk to her sister, Lisbeth had never went out of the way to disguise her distaste of America: the country, the culture, the food…she had hated it all the one time she had visited and had vowed never to return again. What on Earth could have possibly changed that?

"Your brother rang her; he didn't know what else to do, I suppose. Of course," Detective Skye said, raising a brow, "he should have rung the police first, but I do not know why he decided not to do so."

Miles and Lisbeth knew each other? That was a surprise – Lisbeth had left home to study medicine before Franziska's birth, well before Miles Edgeworth had joined their family. She hadn't known that they had ever met, but Franziska supposed that maybe Miles just had Lisbeth's number down as an emergency contact – this most certainly was an emergency, by some definition of the word – Papa had been shot. "Where is she?" Franziska demanded, stubbornly staring up at Detective Skye. From what Franziska knew of her, her sister was like Papa in a way – she would always know what needed to be done.

"She's waiting for you in the precinct back in the city," Detective Skye told her, brushing a stray strand of hair out of her eyes. "The police…we're going to have to ask you some questions, Franziska."

Papa had taught her what went on during detective's investigations of crimes, but still, Franziska could not help but feel some trepidation. She would never have expected to be interviewed herself.

Maybe Papa was right. She should never have come to America. Then none of this would have ever happened. She felt the prickling at the corner of her eyes again, and she looked up at Detective Skye, her eyes red and watering. Too ashamed to hold her head up high anymore, Franziska then looked back at the ground, watching as her tears dropped down onto the dusty floorboards. When she opened her mouth to speak again, there was a certain rasping quality to her voice which she absolutely hated. She was Franziska von Karma. She wasn't meant to cry. "Are we going now?" she asked, trying to take control of the situation again, to make sure she always knew what was happening.

Detective Skye must have seen the tears, but Franziska was grateful that the woman didn't comment on them. "Only if you're ready," Detective Skye told Franziska. "Detective Gant will finish up proceedings here for tonight."

So, there was another detective here. That made Franziska feel somewhat better, that there was two of them on the case; there would be a better chance of apprehending the criminal. But they'd already arrested Peter – what would happen to 'Misty'? Franziska bit her lip. She supposed that was what Detective Skye would want to question her about. Franziska looked at her hands again, at the dried blood caked under her fingernails – momentarily, she wondered where her gloves had gone. "I'm ready," she said quietly, the flow of tears stopping. Her hands balled up into fists, and when she looked up at Detective Skye this time, she felt determined instead of useless. Franziska was ready, or as ready as she would ever be.

Detective Skye led Franziska through the manor, and for the most part, Franziska just followed, although she liked to think that she wasn't following the detective, but rather walking alongside the older woman. They had just exited the manor and walked into the chilly night-time air when Detective Skye stopped. Franziska kept walking, unaware that the woman was no longer keeping up pace. "Franziska," Detective Skye called out, and it was only then that Franziska realised she had left the detective several meters behind, and Franziska turned around, the direction of the wind causing her hair, as short as it was now, to billow in front of her face.

Instead of walking back towards Detective Skye, she stayed put. "Yes?" Franziska answered, ensuring that her voice was loud enough to be heard over the howl of the wind.

Detective Skye was the one that bridged the gap between them, but she was careful not to come too close to violating Franziska's personal space again. Franziska noted that the expression of pity was on Detective Skye's face again, and Franziska really didn't think she was going to like what Detective Skye had to say next.

Franziska was right. "Everything's going to be all right, Franziska," Detective Skye assured her, and the empty platitudes made Franziska's blood boil. They were so many things wrong with Detective Skye's assurance: Franziska had been kidnapped by an unknown woman for a reason she could not decipher; Papa had been shot by a likely madman; her little brother had grown into a man she hardly recognised; Lisbeth would be infuriated about being called away from Germany, and Franziska felt like she didn't know herself anymore.

There seemed to be so many secrets over here in this strange country. What had 'Misty' meant when she had told Franziska that she was being brought home? Germany was where her heart was – in Germany, she was Franziska von Karma. She knew how to be everything she needed to be.

Thankful for the cover of the dark, Franziska turned her head away from Detective Skye, looking down at what she assumed was the path that led away from the village, and back to the lights and skyscrapers of Los Angeles. "Don't make promises you can't keep, Detective," Franziska said coldly. She couldn't trust anyone now, especially not a perfect stranger.

Detective Skye said nothing, but the silence was thoughtful. They trudged over the muddy ground towards the police car, and for a moment, Franziska debated the safety of getting into the car with someone she didn't know. But there was no-one else she could trust here – Papa was being taken to hospital, and Lisbeth was at the precinct – and Detective Skye was the only one who hadn't tried to kill her yet. If it took her away from this place, wherever she was, then Franziska could only be grateful.

Franziska wasn't sure if she was supposed to sit in the front or the back, but Detective Skye opened the passenger's door for Franziska, and scowling, Franziska claimed her own grip on the door's handle – she was perfectly capable of opening doors on her own – and sat down heavily in the seat, strapping herself in with the seatbelt almost immediately.

She was grateful that the blood on her hands was dry now, as she didn't want to stain the police car red. It was a foolish thought, however, as Franziska realised that a police car would have probably ended up covered with blood, vomit and other putrid muck that was much more disgusting than the filth she was currently bringing in.

Detective Skye sat down behind the steering wheel, and placed the key in the ignition. "Ready?" the detective asked again.

Franziska gripped the seatbelt where it crossed over her chest. "I'm ready," she repeated, her voice stronger now. Her voice carried loudly in the car, and she wondered if she'd spoken too loudly, considering that they were no longer competing with the wind. Detective Skye seemed reassured however, and soon the car was travelling down the path, away from the events of last night, away from the mysteries Franziska was frustrated that she was unable to solve. Maybe Detective Skye was right. Maybe once Franziska was back home, safe and clean in Germany, everything would be all right again. She'd focus on her career, so that the sort of criminals like the ones she had met over the course of the last twenty four hours could never get away with her crimes. She'd become Germany's – no, the world's - best prosecuting attorney. She'd show her father exactly what she was capable of. She'd show Papa that in the future, she wouldn't need to be saved.