Crossover! Between the Oracle Betrayed trilogy, and Phoenix Wright. Strange combination, but hear me out.
Spoilers for both, as its set after the last book of OB, and during/after Apollo Justice.
Phoenix Wright is feeling particularly down about his disbarrment and the fact he plays the piano for a living. Trucy's the only thing that makes him smile anymore. Meanwhile, Alexos and Oblek have travelled to this world from their own and are on a quest to bring the people songs. And who better to give them to than the piano-man at the Borscht Belt Club?
Yes, I know Oblek wouldn't have a clue about LA or plastic water bottles or pianos or whatever, but this is a fanfic. Anything goes :D
disclaimer: I don't own either the Oracle Betrayed trilogy, or the Phoenix Wright games. Sadly.
The protest was aimed at the person who had just walked into the Borscht Belt Club. He was a big man, although that was due more to fat and not muscle, with a shiny bald head and a gold ankh earring hung through his left ear. He looked up with a scowl.
The bartender folded his arms and nodded at the young boy, dark haired and strangely beautiful, that had accompanied the big man in.
"This is a club. Children aren't allowed in here. Take him to daycare."
The big man looked annoyed, and slowly looked around the club. Customers fell silent from their chatting, suddenly fearful, and in the corner, a young girl doing magic tricks stopped while pulling a string of knotted handkerchiefs out of her hat. Even the piano silenced.
The big man's eyes fell on the young magician, then looked back at the bartender. His glare made the smaller man falter.
"That girl there is a child."
The bartender licked dry lips. Suddenly, he wasn't entirely sure of his own courage. He hoped this wouldn't end up in another brawl – he was still on half-pay from starting the last one.
"Trucy works here – that is, she is a valued member of the staff, and as such she-"
The big man's scowl deepened, and he cut across the now sweating barkeep.
"-is still a child, and younger than him at that."
With a note of finality, Oblek sat down at the bar, ignoring the glare from the man standing there, red with annoyance and embarrassment. Slowly, the club reverted back to its loud, boisterous state. Oblek wondered why they had come here, then remembered it had been the Archon's insistence. Alexos jumped up on the barstool next to him, eyes bright and looking around him with great curiosity.
"Look, Oblek, they need a fire to keep them warm!"
The bartender looked even more astonished and suspicious, but Oblek gave him a steely glare that told him that there was nothing to see, here. Then he spoke.
"Water. Two glasses."
Alexos looked up at Oblek with a shy smile.
"Oblek, it's rude to not ask for things."
The musician sighed, then added a muttered 'Please'. The man at the bar gave him a look that conveyed both surprise and distain before reaching under the counter and bringing up two plastic bottles and two glasses. Alexos smiled, and for a moment his voice was the god's.
If mortals were nicer to one another, perhaps there would be fewer wars.
As Oblek handed over the money – foolish, paper money, nothing like a good old stater, he thought – he saw the bartender's eyebrows rise even further. Without a word, he took the water and turned abruptly on the stool, so his back faced the bar. He muttered sidelong to the boy.
"I know it was you who insisted on coming here, old friend, but we should be more careful. We're strangers in this world as it is, a world that doesn't believe in the god!"
It terrified and angered him, that a world did not heed the words of the Bright Lord. Didn't even know them! But Alexos just laughed.
"But we came here to help people. Open my drink, Oblek, I'm not strong enough myself."
Oblek smiled to himself at that, that an Archon that could turn stones to water and bring jewelled scorpions to life couldn't open a bottle, but gods were fickle like that. He obeyed the boy's command, before opening his own and taking another look around the club.
It was a very run down, broken sort of place, even compared to the oldest and cheapest drinking places in the Port. Oblek got the idea that only people with no other place to go came here. Yet there was colour.
The girl in the corner, the one he'd pointed out earlier, she was a blaze of colour amongst the grey. A laughing smile on her face, she produced a small rodent from under her hat, a bunch of tissue-paper roses from the inside of someone's mug of beer, numerous cards from behind the ears and up the sleeves and under the seats of spectators, who ooh-ed and ahh-ed at regular intervals.
Alexos had spotted her too, and was watching in delight, clapping excitedly after every trick. Oblek saw the girl catch the Archon's eye for a moment, and she sent him a friendly wink before proceeding to make a set of Russian nesting dolls disappear, one by one.
Oblek took another sip, half-smiling. The girl's performance was good, but by the god, the piano playing was awful. He winced, his musician's ears wounded by the dreadful playing coming from the stage. Out of time, out of tune, with broken notes in any old order. He looked over.
He could see, right away, that the man sitting at the piano had no songs. Although he had glanced up at the girl, and a genuinely fond smile touched his mouth, the second he'd looked back down at his piano the light had gone from behind his eyes. The eyes that matched that ridiculous hat he wore in terms of the brightest blue colour.
He looked dishevelled, worn, as though he had seen eternities and was weary of them all, even though Oblek could see the man was young, maybe even the same age as the newly reinstated Lord Osarkon. His attire was shabby, and his face was stubbled, but it was the tired eyes that caught Oblek's attention. They were empty, just like his own had been when the songs stopped coming.
He swore softly over the top of his glass.
"Maybe we should have brought water back from the Well of Songs for the man over there, huh, Archon?"
Alexos looked around, distracted.
"Sorry, Oblek? I was watching the girl with the rabbit. Look, she can make illusions, Oblek!"
The musician sighed fondly, and shook his head.
"I was saying how that man at the piano could do with drinking from the Well of Songs. Too bad we didn't bring any back with us."
The boy looked up at him, and the club was reflected in his dark eyes.
"But we did, Oblek."
The big man paused, looking at the boy questioningly. He wasn't sure if this was another of the riddles the boy often spoke in, or the truth.
"What do you mean, old friend?"
Alexos was picking at the damp label of his water bottle. His voice was preoccupied, child-like.
"Fox brought some back. In a flask."
The musician spluttered.
The boy's face was serious.
"After Seth stopped dying, and after Hermia died, before the cave flooded with the water from the Well. Fox put some in a flask, and put it in his pack."
Oblek gently set his glass down, looking the boy-god in the face.
"Why didn't you say so before, old friend?"
Alexos pouted, suddenly a child again.
"I didn't know he had it until after I returned from the Underworld. I was walking around the Den, Oblek, where the thieves lived, remember? And I found it, on the floor. It had been left behind, in the evacuation, and I took it to the Jackal, and he said it belonged to Fox. I was so angry, Oblek! It's like stealing from the Rain Queen, and that never ends well."
Silently, Oblek agreed.
"Where is it now?"
Alexos smiled, a bright, happy smile.
"I've got it with me. I thought it might help if we ever needed to help people find the songs. It's my duty to bring to songs to the people, isn't it?"
As he finished, he brought out a flask. To Oblek's dismay, it was small, smaller than his fist.
"There can't be much more than a mouthful in there, Archon."
Alexos looked down and sighed.
"I know. But it's enough for Phoenix, isn't it?"
Fleetingly, he wondered what a fire-bird had to do with it all, when he felt the flask being pushed into his hands and heard the god whisper.
Hurry, Oblek. Here's your chance.
He looked up. The man at the piano had picked up a bottle and brought it to his lips, before frowning and lowering it. Empty. He turned and gestured to the bartender, who scowled, but disappeared into the back room. As Oblek watched, he re-emerged with a crate of bottles similar to the one, now full of empties, that stood by the piano-man's foot.
Oblek stood. Coming in front of the bartender, he took ahold of the crate in his hands, glaring over the top of it at the anxious-looking man.
"I'll take it. For the trouble earlier."
The man seemed about to protest, but Oblek was about a foot taller than him and three feet wider, and he evidently decided he would choose life. He relinquished the crate and ducked quickly back behind the counter, seizing a rag and the nearest glass, cleaning it as if his life depended on it.
Oblek smirked, making his way over to the piano-man. The man in the beanie looked up briefly, then did a double-take, surprised. Oblek grunted and placed the crate at his feet. He blinked.
He reached down for a bottle, but Oblek was faster.
"Here, let me get that for you."
The man didn't look sure whether to be grateful – Oblek's voice had been gruff – but he smiled uncertainly anyway as Oblek popped open the drink.
With his nimble musician's fingers moving quickly, no one but Alexos saw him pour the water from the Well of Songs into the bottle before handing it over. The man's smile widened.
He took a big gulp, his eyebrows going up slightly in surprise. As Oblek turned away to go back to his stool, he heard him mutter, 'Funny, tastes sweeter than usual.'
The big musician slid back onto his seat, exchanging a look with the young boy who now turned to regard the piano and the beanie-hatted man sitting at it.
There was slight confusion in the blue eyes. An acknowledgement that something was different, but he wasn't quite sure what, yet.
The man's hands reached out, fingers rested on the keyboard. And began to play.
Even though the same magic had happened to him thanks to the Well, even though he himself had regained the songs from the water, Oblek started in surprise. For the melody that was coming from the keys of the old piano in the corner was soft, sweet, and beautiful.
It took a little while before the other patrons and staff members began to realise something was different. Only when the man at the piano seemed to gain confidence, his fingers moving faster over the keyboard, increasing the volume of his playing until no one could not notice, or ignore, it, and everyone was looking at the man on the stage.
The music moved like water, like a stream or brook trickling over rocky floor, suddenly hushing before coming back louder and more beautiful than before.
The player's face was aglow, with all the magnificence and awe of having the songs flow through him, and for a moment Oblek could see the god was in him, even if the player didn't know that.
The tune rose one last time and fell, in a final soft breath of notes that faded into silence.
Then applause. Alexos was clapping delightedly, the staff members slowly applauding, as if stunned, and the patrons were exchanging looks and whispers, asking who was this man, why hadn't he played so well earlier?
The man at the piano seemed to be both astonished and humbled by the sudden applause. He smiled out at them uncertainly, but Oblek saw the raw delight in his eyes that came with the songs. He especially could appreciate that.
The little magician girl squealed and ran to the man, hugging him tightly.
"Oh Daddy, that was beautiful! Play that song again, please!"
Oblek felt a touch on his arm, looked around to see Alexos looking at him with those eyes that were too old for his age.
Come, old friend. I think we're done here.
His fingers, small, damp, closed around Oblek's much bigger ones.
The piano-man didn't see the big man or the beautiful young boy leave, much the way he'd hardly seen them enter. But this was for a different reason. This was because he was too busy running his hands over the keyboard and marvelling at the melodies that came out because of it.
He was too busy listening to the songs, and seeing Trucy's delighted expression, feeling a similar one upon his own face, his first real smile in so long.
Yay, happy ending ^^
I was listening to the piano cover of Owl City's Meteor Shower whilst writing this, a cover I think is absolutely beautiful, and in my head, that's what Phoenix is playing. I suck at writing music, so look it up on Youtube, then read the music-bit again. It should make more sense :D