Defendant Lobby No. 3
There were several people waiting in the Defendant Lobby by the time Apollo and Trucy got out of the courtroom.
"Apollo, you did it!" Maya rushed forward and enveloped Apollo in a bone-crushing hug. "That was incredible! I wanted to channel Sis but then I would've missed it!" She released him and turned to Phoenix. "It was just like watching you, Nick!"
"I must admit, the similarities are striking," someone cut in before Phoenix could reply. Iris and Pearl moved out of the way as Edgeworth entered the Lobby, Klavier following him. "The same carelessness, the same reckless disregard for courtroom procedure…"
"Hey!" Phoenix and Apollo shouted in unison. They stopped and looked at each other in surprise.
Edgeworth smirked at Apollo and took a bow. "I underestimated you, Justice. You're a worthy opponent."
Apollo rubbed the back of his neck and glanced at Phoenix. "Yeah, well…I have a good teacher."
Phoenix coughed awkwardly, hoping nobody would notice the slight blush colouring his cheeks. "So, Edgeworth…you planning to stick around?"
"Perhaps," Edgeworth replied. He tilted his head and smirked slightly. "I would like to be involved in the investigation of the State Penitentiary, if my schedule allows it. This was supposed to be a brief visit, after all."
"But you'll come back soon, right, Edgeworth?" Maya asked. She put her hands on Apollo's shoulders. "You just got beaten by a greenhorn! You can't not have a rematch!"
Edgeworth began to reply, but the door to the lobby opened again. The laughter in the room ceased as Kristoph entered, escorted by prison officers.
"Justice," he said in a half-whisper, his face nearly grey. "I…I thank you for…saving me."
Apollo rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "…You're welcome." He shifted on his feet, and added, "It's what I do."
Kristoph flicked his tongue over his lips. "Is what you said in there…about Armando taking a mood stabiliser…is it true?"
Iris answered instead of Apollo. "It's true," she said. "He would never have hurt you."
Kristoph gazed at her for a moment, then calmly leaned over and vomited into a trashcan. Klavier moved behind him and pulled his hair back from his face. Kristoph looked back at him in surprise once he had finished. The brothers gazed at each other for a few seconds before the guards pulled Kristoph back upright and led him out of the room.
There was an awkward silence for a few moments, until Maya broke it with,
"So am I the only one who didn't just lose her appetite?"
Phoenix laughed. "Burgers?"
"You bet!" Maya replied, a mischievous look on her face. "Mr. Edgeworth's paying!"
"Me?" Edgeworth exclaimed.
"Losers pay!" Maya answered. "Right, Nick?"
"I gotta agree with Maya on this one, Miles," Phoenix added.
"Then why aren't you putting your hand in your pocket, Wright?" Edgeworth asked with a smirk.
Phoenix pantomimed being hit in the stomach. "Ooh, low blow!"
As the good-natured argument continued, Klavier moved towards Apollo.
"Forehead," he began, and stopped, collecting his thoughts before continuing. "I can't say I'm…happy right now." He played with his bangs, a nervous grin on his face. "But you did remind me that the most important thing about being a lawyer is uncovering the truth." He smiled – the first genuine smile Apollo had seen on Klavier's face since the investigation began. "Thank you."
"Hey you two!" Trucy shouted, pulling a camera and tripod from her magic panties. "Picture time!"
Everyone crowded in, Phoenix, Edgeworth and Klavier at the back, Maya, Apollo and Iris next, and Trucy and Pearl kneeling in front. They were only just in time before the flash went off.
After the photograph was developed – maybe it was a defect on the film or a trick of the eyes – Apollo swore there were two extra figures present, a man and a woman, standing together arm in arm.
"I still have things to do in Europe, Wright. But I'll be back to battle Mr. Justice again. If you reconsider taking up your old profession…give me a call."
"Since they took the warden to the county jail, there's a new sheriff in town – yours truly. Looks like I owe you another favour, hombre."
"And the new chief medical officer made me head nurse. I hear we're getting a new psychologist too…although no-one seems to know his name."
"Well, I'm out of here for a few months, Forehead. Mr. Edgeworth's invited me to accompany him to Zheng Fa to study their judicial system. Watch Vongole for me, will you?"
"Can you believe this? First the fop takes off to Asia, and then they throw some high-profile arson cases my way! I'm practically living in the crime lab! Life is sweet!"
"You're coming to the reunion, aren't you, Mr. Apollo?"
"Of course he is, Pearly! He's part of the family! One of us, one of us!"
"We accept him, we accept him!"
(Just what am I becoming part of, exactly?)
"NIIIIIICK! Edgy was in town and you didn't tell meeeeeee? HOW COULD YOU?"
"…Larry, I haven't seen you in forever! How was I supposed to tell you?"
"…That's no excuse!"
"Yeah, Daddy! You have to work at friendships if you want them to last!"
I've been expecting you to call. First things first – you don't have to worry about me. Mia's here, she's forgiven me, and that's all I've wanted for the past eight years.
Second – tell Trite there was no murder. I was trying to get Gavin down on the floor away from the smoke. He wouldn't co-operate. Can't say I blame him – I spent six weeks making sure he was good and scared of me. Anyway, I pulled him, the bunks toppled over, I wound up cracking my head open. No one's fault but mine. Ha…! Guess I never did learn not to take the law into my own hands.
Take care of yourself, kid. I don't want to see you till you're an old lady, you hear me?
All my love,
Thanks to all of you who read, reviewed, favourited or passed this link around over the last year, and waited patiently through the dry spells for an update. You all rock so hard.