A/N: Yooooo guys and guyettes! It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, you can thank ME; AAI for this little fic. It's spoiler less, though, so you're safe. This is my apology for being MIA for so long, and for all my Persona 3 fans, if you read this, sorry about going 'poof'. I'm pretty sure this fic has inspired me for another bit with Franny, so…we'll see where this goes. Um, as always, R and R, and I hope I stayed in character well enough. Enjoy ;3
"How was your lesson, Franziska? Was it…perfect?"
With a pleased, confident little smirk, the young von Karma did a bow and nodded. "Of course, Father," she replied, and proceeded to follow her father into the von Karma estate. The grandeur and elegance never failed to bubble up a strong pride in the young girl, and all she could ever imagine was how one day, she would be the successor--the true successor--to this home and the family name. As Manfred von Karma spoke to her about the importance of her perfection in everything, even the riding lessons she was taking, Franziska trailed after him into his elaborate and book-covered study. As she did so, she noted a vase was missing from the hallway, but chose to say nothing. If her Papa said nothing, it was best she held her tongue.
From behind his desk, Manfred stood and smirked at her in a prideful, intimidating sort of way. However, as young as she was, Franziska met it with confidence and watched her father in return, and Manfred chuckled.
"You're developing into a powerful, strong young woman, Franziska. Someday, and someday soon, you will be making your court debut…and then you will control and dominate the system with the graceful and commanding perfection known only to a von Karma!" The tone of the man's voice made shivers of excitement trail up the girl's spine, and she happily jerked her riding crop (which, since its success in beating her horse into submission, not to mention her instructor and her least favorite 'relative', was with her at all times) out.
"I will be the perfect, shining example of a perfectly perfect Prosecutor, Papa. I already outshine that foolishly foolish fool that is--"
"Do not speak his name to me right now," Manfred suddenly growled, causing Franziska to pause and stare, before apologizing lightly. Her father scowled and stared out the window his student. "That ungrateful, pathetic young man is currently being punished. No man, child or not, shall ever speak to me as he did today." Saying no more, Manfred allowed Franziska to go about her own business, and hopefully, studies, but instead of immediately heading to her room to read her book on human logic, she studied the hallway.
What exactly had happened here?
Well, what was better practice than a real mystery? Any dirt on Miles Edgeworth made Franziska's day better. Before she went to harass him for what happened, she would see what she could figure out on her own. The excitement made her crack her crop eagerly, and from there, the young von Karma explored the long and ornate hallway.
The first was the vase that had seemed to be missing. Its pedestal stood boldly, but it displayed nothing. There was no dust, of course, to confirm the vase had ever been there--any speck of dirt and dust was shameful and embarrassing!--but the faint impressions in the carpet showed the heavy pedestal, at some point, had been upset and pushed to its side. From there, when Franziska got on her knees to look at the carpet carefully, there was a tiny fragment of the faint white that was the color of all of their vases.
The vase had broken when the pedestal had been bothered. So there must've been time to have the maid clean it up, and since it wasn't broken before Franziska's hour and a half riding session, it meant that it had to happen at least ten minutes before she came home. Her father wasn't openly angry upon her arrival, so that meant he must've had time to cool off as well. Franziska tugged on her crop thoughtfully, leaving the spot on the carpet and starting for the upstairs bedroom that belonged to Miles.
The argument--one-sided or not--ended with Miles being shoved into the pedestal hard enough to knock it, and the vase, over. There was no way it was the other way around; Miles was far too skinny and short to lay a finger on her much taller (seeming even taller by her own short stature) father. So the real question became the motive and context. What had Miles done to anger her father to the point of physical punishment? It wasn't as though Miles didn't receive his fair share of physical punishment; her crop and the occasional smack from her Papa kept him in line and on the way of shaping into a professional.
Not even bothering to knock on the door, Franziska just burst into Miles' room. She stared for a moment, blinking at Miles, who looked back to her.
The teenager was looking into his mirror, his top resting neatly on his flawlessly straightened bed, and examining a gruesome bruise that lined his back. Miles was at a stage where his development was in full swing; his body was shaping into the body of a man, and not a boy, and his face was losing the baby-round look almost all boys had. With it came normal embarrassment. Miles snatched a frilly shirt and hurriedly dragged it on, scowling.
"Franziska," he scolded dully, once he had his chest covered. "One knocks on a door before they open it, you--gwahh!" He flinched as the crop slashed across his arm. Rubbing the spot, he glared down at Franziska.
Franziska smirked and then snapped her crop, pointing it out at Miles. "You and Papa got into a fight, and you're inevitably rightfully deserved punishment broke the vase and caused that bruise. I demand to know what you fought about."
Miles snorted. "You haven't a shred of evidence, Franziska, and either way…Whatever happened is far from your business."
Franziska gripped her crop and tugged tightly. "I do too! The broken piece of the vase I found and the pressed-down part of the carpet proves a struggle!"
"Then ask your 'Papa'," Miles barked, the rare and fleeting glint of true, bold anger crossing across his features. Franziska would be lying, of course, if she said it didn't give her something of a jolt. Miles was genuinely, honestly in a rage. At first, it seemed hilarious, but as she stood there and watched him moved about his room, straightening things that seemed to have been disheveled, it occurred to the young girl that Miles…
Miles gave her a fleeting glance, before he stared at the too-straightened bed he was re-straightening. "I…apologize," he murmured. "I let my emotions get the better of me. I owe my mentor an apology as well. Perhaps if I go to him now, he will be less angry with me."
"What did you do?" Franziska persisted, ignoring the apology. There was still too much heart in Miles, and they both knew it. There was emotion and passion buried in him that came from his former life, from his childhood--even as a girl, Franziska realized it was exactly the opposite Manfred wanted out of Miles. Franziska's eccentricities could be overlooked, and her obsession with her crop seemed to only made her father happier. Miles' 'eccentricities' weren't so commanding and powerful; his only made him weaker and vulnerable.
Miles fluffed his pillow a few times, before he stopped and fidgeted his collar on his loose undershirt. After a moment, he shook his head. "I asked if I could visit my hometown," he said softly. "And when he scolded me for such thoughts, and for being ungrateful, I suppose I let my feelings take over. I yelled at him and he very rightfully so responded with the aggression I needed to get my head back on straight."
"One of the many things Papa knows how to do absolutely perfectly," Franziska prided. "Yelling at him was a very foolish thing to do, Miles," she added, sounding smug enough to make Miles look vaguely ashamed. It made her happier, but she didn't expect Miles to suddenly crossed his arms and look very hard at her. Or rather, through her. That eagle-glare of his always unnerved her.
As she moved to his bed and sat on it just to mess it up, she looked at him staring at the floor where she had been, until finally he pushed a hand through his dark bangs.
"Franziska?" he asked, sitting beside her. "You don't think I'm worthless, do you?"
The question surprised her, and she thought for a moment. "This is unbecoming, Miles. Doubt is the worse enemy of the perfect prosecutor," she replied, stalling, before she finally gripped her crop and stared at her feet. "That being said…No…No, I don't think you're entirely worthless."
"Thank you," he mumbled, head hung. "I…It wears on me, to hear things to that effect. I simply assume that it's because I am still a child that I overreact to the words, but I hope to outgrow it soon. I won't be a child much longer."
Franziska smirked. "I'm already far more mature than you, Miles."
"Really now?" Miles replied, raising an eyebrow and giving her a faint smirk. "I didn't know being so competitive was mature."
"Being obnoxious isn't either," the girl countered, and Miles chuckled a touch. The two sat by each other in silence for a little while, before Miles pushed a hand through his locks again, then moved to straighten the hair back out.
"I miss an old friend, which I was why I wanted to visit my old home."
Franziska tutted, but then saw a flicker of emotion behind Miles eyes, and she stood. With a few solid snaps of her crop, Miles was standing and rubbing at his chest. Once his real emotion had faded behind his faint annoyance, Franziska's lip curled. "Think of it this way. The only friend you ever need is yourself! There is no one better to depend upon than your own mind. But just for you, I'll make an exception, and let you be my occasional friend. Do not get me wrong, I still get annoyed just looking at you, but it would seem you still need to be babied. I, on the other hand, am mature enough to give you just the coddling you seem to need, and need no coddling myself."
"Don't repeat those statements, ever," Miles muttered. "I don't need to feel my skin crawl at the idea. Anyway, I must dress more appropriately and apologize to Mr. von Karma." At the dismissively motion of the hand, Franziska huffed at being told what to do, but paused when Miles cleared his throat. "Franziska?"
"Thank you." And the door closed behind her.