"Well," the Judge said after a brief recess."Has the defendant been released from the hospital?"

"She's on her way," Phoenix said.

The Judge nodded. "How is Ms. Ghia, Mr. Pinkerton?"

"She's...fine, I suppose. She's very calm." Pinkerton looked drained. He looked over at Phoenix and smiled weakly.

"That was...quite a trial," said the Judge.

You're telling me, Your Honor, Phoenix thought. He looked over at Mia.

She smiled approvingly and nodded. "I knew you could do it, Phoenix..." She slowly faded away until Pearl was standing in her place.

Pearl blinked a few times and looked up. "Mr. Nick, what happened? Did we-"

"We won," Phoenix said.

"So...who did it?"

"Carmen," Phoenix replied.

Pearl's eyes widened. Then she frowned heavily. "I wanted to like her, too."

So did I, Pearls. So did I.

Just then, the courtroom doors swung open and two bailiffs escorted Licia in. Though she was still pale, she had regained some of her color. She was wearing a plain white nightgown, and her black hair was neatly tied back in a French braid.

She looked nervously at Phoenix, who smiled reassuringly at her.

The Judge brought down his gavel. "This court finds the defendant, Licia Puccini...not guilty."

Licia looked as though she were about to faint. "I...I..." Phoenix carefully walked to the stand.

"Come on," he said, "Let's get out of here."


Phoenix carefully walked Licia out of the courtroom. When the reached the lobby, she began to sob unontrollably on his shoulder.

"I owe you so much, Mr. Wright," she said, pausing to wipe away her tears. "You got me my life back."

"It's...fine, Ms. Puccini, it's really fine. It's just my job..." Phoenix cast a sidelong glance to Pearl, who was rolling up her sleeve and glaring at him.

Urk, if Licia stays this clingy Pearls is going to smack me!

"Mama!" A child's voice rang through the defendant lobby.

Licia pulled away from Phoenix. "Ben!" She crouched down and held her arms open for the small boy in a red shirt that rushed toward her.

Phoenix eyed the little boy with surprise. In the photo, he looked more like Licia, but up close...he looks an awful lot like Pinkerton...

"I was so scared, Mama," Ben said.

Licia pulled him to her chest and hugged him tightly.

"You don't have to worry, baby," she sighed. "Everything's okay now."

Ben pulled away from his mother. "I know."

"How did you get here, anyway...?" Licia asked.

"A scruffy policeman came and picked me up from Carmen's," Ben said. "He's the biggest man I've ever seen, even bigger than Papa! I was scared until he showed me his badge and gun!"

Licia smiled and tousled her son's black hair.

Phoenix shook his head. That sounds like Gumshoe. "Hey, kid, wanna see my genuine badge and pistol?"

"Hey, pals!" Gumshoe lumbered over to Phoenix and grinned. "I'm so glad this turned out okay! I was really worried about Mr. Edgeworth...and Mr. Pinkerton, too. I guess."

"How is he? Pinkerton?" Phoenix asked.

Gumshoe shrugged. "Ask him yourself, pal. He's just over there."

Phoenix looked up. Bram Pinkerton stood a few feet away from Licia and Ben. He was staring at the child with wide-eyed surprise.

Licia looked up. "Bram," she breathed.

He slowly turned his attention toward her.

"There's someone I'd like for you to meet," she said. She gently took hold of Ben's shoulders and pointed him toward Edgeworth. "Bram...this is Ben. Ben...this is Bram."

Ben looked up at his mother with an expression of suspicion. "Isn't this the bad man who said you killed Papa?"

Phoenix couldn't help but smile at the look of annoyance that crossed Pinkerton's face.

Licia only laughed and shook her head. "No, sweetie. Bram is...an old friend of mine." She smiled encouragingly at Pinkerton and motioned for him to come closer.

Pinkerton's face flushed as he looked down at Ben. "I...um...er, it's a pleasure to meet you, Ben. I...um...well, I hope we can be friends."

Ben only nodded.

Pearl gently tugged on Licia's skirt. "What will you do now, Miss Licia?"

Licia smiled and bent down so that she was eye level with Pearl. "Well...I don't know. Maybe I'll take a break from singing for a while and just travel..."

Pearl sighed. "You should take Mr. Pinkerton with you! I think you might be his special someone..."

Pinkerton's face turned redder than an old fire engine, redder even than Edgeworth's suit. "O-objection!" he stammered.


It's funny that I was thinking about that case while I was practicing, Phoenix thought, looking up from the piano. That was the last day I ever saw Pinkerton. That was the last day I ever saw Miles Edgeworth, too. He stopped speaking to me when I was disbarred. I can't blame him, though...as for Licia...she writes, sometimes. She called once, too, just after I lost my badge. Phoenix sighed and looked at his piano, then out the window, and then back at the piano. I should really practice more. I'm not making nearly enough in tips...

He opened up the piano bench and pulled out a book of old jazz standards, which he casually flipped through. Let's see...Scrapple for the Apple...So What...oh, Stolen Moments. I'll practice that one.

He settled in front of the piano and began to clumsily plunk out the melody.

"Hey, Mr. Wright...the mail's here!" Apollo Justice's voice carried through the entire building.

Startled, Phoenix jumped and slammed his whole hand against the keyboard, producing a dissonant yet strangely beautiful chord.

Urk! That kid has GOT to figure out what an inside voice is.

"Coming, Apollo," Phoenix sighed. He stood up, closed the lid on the piano, and walked out into the main part of the building.

"Mr. Wright, you have a letter from New York!" Apollo said as he thrust an envelope into Phoenix's hand. "I didn't know that you knew anybody from New York!"

I don't, Phoenix thought. He slowly turned over the envelope and read the return address. Puccini...huh. That's funny, I was just thinking about that...

He tore open the envelope and eagerly pulled out the card inside.


I heard you had a new apprentice. I hope you're teaching him to be as good as you! (I never could believe you forged evidence, ever, regardless of what anyone says). We're living in New York now. I sing at the Met and Ben is in private school. We'd like to come to Los Angeles and see you sometime, if that's all right. Just let us know!

There was a phone number written below Licia's note.

Phoenix, however, was more curious about a photo that had fallen out of the card when he opened it. He gingerly picked it up from the floor and studied it. The Statue of Liberty towered in the background. A black-haired boy who was close to Trucy's age leaned casually over a railing. He smirked in that way teenagers do when they don't wish to be seen as "uncool". Licia stood slightly behind him, smiling broadly. She'd cut her long black hair into a fashionable shaggy bob, and Phoenix was surprised by how well it suited her. But what caught his attention most was the expression of pure joy on her face.

The happiest I've ever seen her, Phoenix thought. He looked at the photo again. Wait.

A man stood behind Licia, with his arms possessively wrapped around her. His head rested on Licia's shoulder. The breeze caught his brown hair and blew some of it into his handsome face. But what caught Phoenix's eye was the fact that the man was wearing a blue suit that reminded him of an old military uniform.

I'd know that suit anywhere, Phoenix thought. He broke into a wide smile. Bram F. Pinkerton. I'm glad you changed the ending of Licia's story.

[[il fine.]]