This whole fanfic is based around the famous question "What if event X had played out differently?". In this case, I am taking a look at an "option" which the games themselves have already hinted at jokingly.
Expect characters from all Ace Attorney games to show up. Yes, all five of them.
I woke up this morning and found something. Something that shouldn't have been there.
It was a morning which would just progress to get weirder and weirder as it went on. I was asleep and woke up immediately forgetting everything I might or might not have dreamt that night, which is quite normal for me. Maya once told me that writing down your dreams right after waking up helps getting better at remembering them, but, to be honest, I'm not keen on being able to remember every single one of my nightmares in detail. I opened my eyes and turned my head to the side just to take a look at the clock, which is also normal for me. It was 8:07, meaning I woke up around 8:00, which, too, is normal for me. However, this is where things got weird.
As my eyes left the clock, I was already trying to remember if I had anything planned for this day, or if I would just spend it in the office watching TV and eating soup and burgers with Maya, boring myself to death. Which is, actually, still normal, of course. However, my eyes wandered across the nightstand… And there it was.
A Prosecutor's badge.
A neatly polished, shiny and highly attention-seeking Prosecutor's badge. Just like the one Edgeworth had. Come to think about it, I never actually saw him wearing it, or any Prosecutor wearing a badge for that matter. I can understand why though. Seen from this close, that thing is ugly…
The first thought this sight triggered was, naturally, the following:
(…What is a Prosecutor's badge doing on my nightstand?)
Sitting up in the bed, the first thing I did was not to stretch myself and yawn like usual, but to reach out my hand for the badge, which my eyes were still fixed on, and pick it up. I hesitated a little though as the question whose badge this might be crossed my mind. But it didn't take me long to decide that, one way or another, I had to pick it up anyway if I wanted to find out. The first thing I noticed was how it was noticeably heavier than the Attorney's badge. But I think I could have guessed that, it looked heavier in the first place since it was a little bigger and had that cross-like metal piece all over it and that red jewel thing and all. I examined the design closer. It was a lot more… "sharp and edgy" than my badge.
I guess a smile crossed my face here.
Still, I could scratch the idea that it might be his badge right away. Edgeworth never lost anything, he was too neat and he was a perfectionist. And if he did, he'd probably wear a paper bag over his face for three days afterwards out of shame.
I could exclude Franziska von Karma as well. She never visited my office…
…And this was when I noticed the second weird thing, which shouldn't have been possible. In fact, it was even a lot more noticeable than the prosecutor's badge and I seriously wondered how I managed to miss this. I was surprised… well actually, more like "shocked", when I finally noticed it. I fell back onto the bed when I noticed it.
This wasn't my bedroom.
Yes, in case you're wondering, I'm pretty sure I broke into a cold sweat at that point. Waking up in a unfamiliar bedroom, with no idea how I got here? I don't like what this implies. I don't think anybody would like what this implies.
Trying to search my mind for the memory of what happened the evening before, and failing, I jumped out of not-my-bed and started coming up with ideas of how to get out of there, without getting noticed by whoever lived here. I came up with a rather time-consuming tiptoes-stop-listen-tiptoes-again method when I noticed another problem:
I was wearing my pajamas. Well, at least if I could trust that giant mirror before my eyes. A rather unnecessarily pretentious-looking mirror, in my opinion. It was like the owner only bought it so he could spend money on something. I took a look around the floor. My clothes were nowhere in sight. I found nothing but a neat, expensive looking carpet and started to wonder if somebody had actually kidnapped me from the office while I was sleeping. At least that appeared to be the only logical explanation. The only other explanation that kept coming to my mind was killed by the fact that I was rather sure that I knew myself well enough to be able to determine that I would have definitely not done that. Still…
(OK, let's piece everything together.) I thought. (I'm in the bedroom of a house I think I have never seen before, dressed in pajamas and there's a Prosecutor's badge on the nightstand. I have no idea how I got here or what I did last night. Either some rather radical Prosecutor is trying to dispose of me, or I- *gulp* … let's leave it at that.)
It was then that I took another look through the admittedly rather large, well furnished room with the large, white bed which, much to my relief, seemed to be intended for just one person despite its size, the lone pillow and the single blanket I had been lying under just a few seconds ago confirmed this as well, and the equally white nightstand. Also, there was, of course, this Prosecutor's Badge, which was still resting in my palm.
(No wait… that makes no sense… ) I tapped my chin with my finger nervously. (A kidnapper wouldn't lock me in the 'Suite Royal', would he? Also, why would he leave this badge with me? Could he have just forgotten it…? But why put it on the nightstand in the first place? And most importantly… do I have any enemies who would actually do this to me?)
I pondered about this question for less than three seconds before I came to the conclusion "not anymore". Every Prosecutor who had ever hated me held me in at least some kind of regards now… At least I thought they did. I just couldn't come up with a valid reason why I was here, no matter how hard I thought about it. Why would anybody kidnap me? This was just ridiculous.
If Maya had been here, she would have probably come up with a few wild conspiracy theories by now. If Mia had been here, she'd have probably told me to stay calm and take a careful look around.
(…in fact, that's probably what I should do now, I guess…)
Slowly, I approached the door, trying not to make a sound. It was easy since the carpet deadened my steps. It was almost like the designer had been trying to go for the most burglar-friendly design they could come up with. I placed my hand on the doorknob and turned it around. Much to my surprise, the door came open. It wasn't even locked. My kidnapping theory was becoming more unlikely every second… And if it still happened to be true, this was probably the most incompetent kidnapper in the history of kidnapping. However, there was still the old saying, "never praise the day before nightfall", so I decided to act as carefully as possible regardless.
My first steps out the bedroom were rather slow and hesitant, but as I progressed through what appeared to be an apartment in a house with several levels to it, that's what a glance out of the window told me, it became more and more apparent that there was, in fact, nobody here except me. The other rooms I found, among them a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and a bathroom, were all devoid of any other person who could have eventually spotted me. It was a very expensive-looking apartment. The rooms were all spacious and equipped with the kind of furniture I only knew from catalogues or visits at other richer lawyer's offices.
(Uhh… It's places like this that make me wish my clients were a little… richer. Or at least spendable.)
I continued looking around. It took me a long time to find the entrance door, which I can probably account to the size of the apartment and the slightly illogical way everything was set up… To say it bluntly. Even with all the expensive furniture, the place was far from being tidy in any sense of the word, but I knew that I should probably shut up in this respect; Maya reminded me often enough that my office wouldn't exactly win a prize for the neatest place in town.
I had to get back there, quickly. Placing my hand on the doorknob, I soon realized that the door had no keyhole… and noticed that it was one of those locks, which only lock the door one way. Ergo: anybody can get out, but only the owner of the keycard gets in. I made a face in disbelief.
(No… They can't be serious. So I can just waltz out like that? Why even bring me here in the first place?...
…Ok, let's think. This is obviously not a kidnapping. No kidnapper in the world could possibly be that stupid. Which means that I probably entered this place of my own free will. Too bad I don't remember doing that… Well, hello again, bad implications.)
I sighed and wiped away the sweat from my face, wondering what reason I could have possibly had to come here. I remembered that I still had the mysterious Prosecutor's badge in my hand and looked at it again.
(Hm… this badge. I wonder who it belongs to. …Maybe I came here yesterday evening to meet a Prosecutor? But why can't I remember coming here then? Did they drug me? …No way. Or… way? I don't know. Those guys… they can really be unpredictable at times. No, wait… Neither Edgeworth, nor Franziska von Karma would have any reason to lure me here and then drug me into sleep without even locking the door. …And, to be honest, I can't imagine them doing this. Also, they both wouldn't have left their badge behind, right in my reach, not even by accident. Hmm…)
My only way to find out whose badge this was to go out and ask Detective Gumshoe if there were any prosecutors who were recently missing their badge. Then again, if I did do that, they would have probably suspected that I, in fact, stole the badge and that was exactly the kind of trouble I did not want to get into if it was not absolutely necessary. Additionally, leaving the place would have probably not been too good of an idea at the moment anyway, considering I was still in pajamas…
(I need clothes first…) I decided after taking a look down myself. (Otherwise I won't be able to move two steps around in public without ruining my own reputation in record time. I'm already seeing the newspaper headlines… And I don't like them.)
Yeah, had I even seriously considered walking around in the streets like that, it would have probably been perfect journalist bait. Not to mention incredibly embarrassing. There was no way I could do that, no matter how badly I wanted to return to my office. I walked up and down the apartment for a little while, before I finally remembered that there was a wardrobe in the bedroom.
(Yeah… The wardrobe. If I hurry over to my place, switch the clothes and return what I took quickly, nobody will suspect a thing… No, wait. What if whoever is living here doesn't share my size?
...What if whoever is living here is a woman?)
That moment, a very disturbing mental image crossed my mind:
Me in Franziska von Karma's clothes. I almost choked on the very air I was breathing.
(Yikes! Somebody, pass the Brain Bleach, please!)
I don't even know, why I thought of her, but it might have been because of that Prosecutor's badge. Apparently my mind had already set itself on the idea that this apartment must belong to a Prosecutor, which was the most logical conclusion given that I found this badge here.
Still, I had no choice. I had three options: the wardrobe… waiting for the apartment owner to return and find me awake… or wearing my pajamas in the streets. I finally got myself to return to the bedroom and approach the huge wardrobe. I took a deep breath.
(Take the clothes, return to the office, change, return, put the clothes back...) I kept telling myself (Simple. No need to worry.)
I pulled open the doors of the wooden wardrobe, dreading what kind of embarrassing outfit I would be forced to wear now.
I was quite surprised to realize something: The apartment owner apparently had the same taste in clothing as me.
The same blue suit, the same red tie, the same black shoes.
Not just one of each. En masse. I didn't even know that this many of them existed. As the question who was living here finally became so urgent that it actually felt like it was piercing my mind, I started to change into one set of clothes, feeling familiar right away.
(…No way… My exact size too…)
There was no doubt in my mind: this was the same clothes… The same stuff I always wear. Well, except I had no Attorney's badge to pin onto the suit. I just wanted to close the door, but I noticed something near the back of the closet on the floor.
(…Wait a minute… My suitcase!)
I quickly picked it up from inside the wardrobe and opened it, taking a look inside. My suspicions were confirmed: I found some of my belongings inside there, which ensured me that this was, in fact, my suitcase. Among my belongings in it an eighteen-year-old photo of me, Edgeworth and Larry Butz. However, I soon noticed that several other things were missing all of a sudden. The photo of my victory in the Hazakura Temple Case for example, or the photo of Maya and Pearl eating noodles with me at Eldoon's stand…
(Why would anyone take those away? That makes no sense… Hm?)
Between my fingers, I suddenly held a photo of me during my time at university. Iris and me, to be precise.
Of course, Iris, Dahlia Hawthorne's' twin sister, dated me in order to sustain the illusion that Dahlia and me were a couple, but eventually fell in love with me herself. How could I ever forget her…?
The problem was that I couldn't even remember taking this particular photograph with her during my time at university, and I especially couldn't remember keeping it in my suitcase like that. What really confused me was the location it showed: Kurain Village.
I was never in Kurain before I met Maya. I didn't even know about it. So how could a photo of me visiting it as a nineteen- or twenty-year-old young man possibly exist? I was used to dealing with contradictions, but this one just made my head hurt. I decided to put away the mysterious photograph for a moment and to check on my other belongings in the suitcase.
I found several photographs of my elementary school time, most of which I was sure I never put in there, a cell phone which, for some reason, responded to my pin-code, but was a much newer model than my own, a model I wouldn't be able to afford in a hundred years, and my Magatama. I picked it up and sighed.
(Well, at least I didn't lose the Magatama. Maya sure wouldn't take it lightly if I did.)
What I couldn't find was my Attorney's badge. I frowned. So I apparently had been drugged in an unlocked room in an unlocked apartment by a Prosecutor's-badge-owning thief, who specialized in blue suits and red ties, and who just happened to share my size and taste? I had worked on weird cases before, but this was just too stupid to be true. It probably wasn't anyway, but I just couldn't come up with a better explanation.
I found my wallet buried under my belongings and not-my-belongings at the very bottom of the suitcase and was surprised by how unusually heavy it was. So I opened it and found… money. Lots of it. So much that the wallet looked like it was about to burst. I gasped.
I had never seen that much money in one place before. Especially not in my wallet.
(OK, I give up… why would anybody drug me and then fill my wallet with money? It makes. No. Sense! )
I held one of the one hundred dollar bills from the wallet against the light in order to test it. It appeared to be the real thing, watermark and all…
I sweated. I had to find out what happened that night… At any cost. I took a look at my watch.
(9:15… Rather late. Maya will wonder where I am and be worried… First stop: my Office. Everything else comes later.)
I picked up the suitcase and left the apartment quickly, taking the mysterious Prosecutor's badge and the extra items in my suitcase with me. Of course, the thought that taking them from the apartment would probably count as 'theft' struck me, but they were my only evidence about whose apartment this might be. There was no name written on the door, after all. Also… I just had a feeling that I would need it with me in order to find out how I got into the apartment in the first place.
I ran along the corridor, planning to go down taking the steps, but I scrapped this plan when I saw a sign saying '20th floor' right next to the elevator. I took a sharp turn and tried to run back and call said elevator instead, but then I suddenly felt something bumping into me.
Opening my eyes and looking at the floor before me, I found the 'something' to be a blonde girl with a lollypop in her mouth, which she now quickly removed with a fast move of her hand. She threw me an angry glance as soon as she opened her eyes.
"Eh… Sorry, I didn't mean to push you over." I quickly said. "Do you need a hand?"
The girl didn't answer, but stared at me with the same expression for about three more seconds before she stood up, sighed, went past me without even paying me a single glance and disappeared through a nearby door.
(Sheesh…What kind of manners are those? I told her I was sorry, didn't I?... Argh! I have no time for that now!)
I hurried into the elevator, went down all the way, and left the building. I caught the first taxi I could get.
On the way, I tried to call Maya, but for some reason the voice on the phone kept telling me that her number didn't exist. I guessed that I was probably misremembering it. And since that other phone, despite using my pin-code, did not have her number stored, I had no choice but to let her wait for me to arrive at the office.
The time just sitting on the taxi's back seat and watching the scenery pass by was killing me… I knew that something was very wrong, the feeling just wouldn't leave me alone.
I had no idea how correct this feeling really was…
The world had suddenly decided to take a joyride on the road of irony, and had decided not to take me with it.