Edited for continuity issues! /edit
Warning: SPOILERS FOR THE THIRD ACE ATTORNEY GAME, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS. SOOO MANY SPOILERS. It will destroy the entire game for you if you haven't beaten it all the way to the end! So yeah. Don't freaking read it if you haven't, because this game is too amazing to be spoiled. It is. Trust me.
Summary: Now that you've all finished Trials and Tribulations, we're going to examine Iris in all her glory—as well as her family, friends, and her "sweetheart". Called Irony because, well, since you already know how the story goes, the dramatic irony will be stifling! I have no idea where this is going.
Dahlia Hawthorne was not pleased. To start, she had been questioned relentlessly about an incident she had nothing to do with (Well, no one could prove she did, anyway.) and had lost a lot of sleep over the past week. And so, she went about her day sleep-deprived, thinking about how she was going to get through her oral presentation when she hadn't even had time to read the material—and her boyfriend saw fit to break up with her over a misunderstanding. Wonderful. No matter. She had planned on leaving him anyway, since she was technically cheating on him.
She regretted it though, since the idiot she had replaced him with came with and endless supply of grief.
Two months. They had been dating for two whole months already. She hadn't planned on it lasting this long—but the buffoon didn't understand the phrase "Give it back," apparently. Did he seriously think she was joking? It was getting increasingly difficult to keep her innocent facade up, and avoid strangling him. No, that would only complicate things even more. She didn't need a second murder on her head, at least not yet. Her situation wasn't that desperate.
It was pretty desperate though, she thought as she made her way to the bus stop next to the university. Phoenix had a late class today, and she wasn't about to wait for him. Not that he would mind; he was at her every beck and call. It was nice, to a degree. She had someone to buy her things (not that he could afford much, of course), carry her books, and most importantly, keep the other filthy males from swarming around her, attempting to win her heart. She was taken, albeit by a completely lovesick fool. The boy tried so hard, and all for naught.
But yes, her situation was desperate. She figured she could deal with his ever-present gaiety and goofy smile. She could, for the first week. It got old after that. Not only that, but he insisted on telling every single person he met about the wonderful, amazing true love they shared. And then... he would show them that. And that was the reason she had to stay with him, why she couldn't just ditch this fool and find someone else to play with. She had to get it back, whatever the cost.
But now, the cost was a little more than she could handle without committing yet another murder. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that, but she was prepared to do whatever it took to silence that boy. She sat down at the bus stop, and pulled out her phone.
She never thought she'd see another day when she would be forced to ask her useless sister for help.
Iris shivered as she made her way away from the small village she called home. It was the middle of fall, and so naturally it was starting to get colder—though not nearly as cold as it would be during winter. She could handle it, she thought as she pulled her hood tighter over her head. It was only for a little while, anyway. She clutched her cell phone with cold fingers as she made the trek to the bridge. That place seemed to have the best reception, when there was any at least.
Her sister had insisted that she get a cell phone a while ago, in order to "keep in contact with her dear sister," as Sister Bikini put it. At first, Iris was excited. Sometimes she felt a little lonely, with only Bikini to keep her company. She longed for someone of her age to talk to and share her life with. Did her sister finally see her as worthy of such interaction?
Dahlia never called. Not once. Of course, Iris was disappointed—though it was her fault for getting her hopes up. She would never be good enough, "useful" enough for her dear sister. That is, until today.
Iris kept her phone charged and ready at all times, in case someone should call for any reason. It wasn't a hard chore, after all. She didn't make it a habit of checking, though; once a week was enough. She knew she could possibly miss a call, but her skepticism outweighed the credulity she gave the idea. Lucky for her, the call had been made only minutes before when she spotted the light of her cell in the corner.
It was a voice message, apparently. She hadn't had a chance to listen to it, since the reception up there in the mountains was spotty at best. She reached Dusky Bridge, and shivered again. She held up the phone, and opened it. The messaged flashed, practically begging to be listened to. Iris took a deep breath and pressed the green button, then brought the phone up to her ear under her hood.
"You have one unheard message. First unheard message—left Thursday, October eleventh."
Iris held her breath. She was almost positive it would be her sister. Dahlia was the only person other than Sister Bikini who knew her cell phone number, after all. What would she sound like after so—
"Hello, my dearest sister. That's an interesting personal greeting you have there. I recommend changing it to avoid further humiliation." There was a pause. "It seems I've fallen into a little predicament, again. You don't mind if I ask you for a little assistance, do you? Hurry up and call me back. Soon I'll be on the bus, and people will hear our conversation."
"End of message. To delete this message, press seven. To save it in the archives, press nine. To hear more options, press ze—"
Iris pressed the number seven immediately. She knew her sister would reprimand her if she left any kind of evidence that they were related. She shivered, then ended the call and went to her contacts. The mere two contacts read "Hazakura" and "Sister". Bikini mentioned wanting a cell phone, but she'd never got around to getting one herself. It was a little pointless, after all, since the only reception point that anyone knew of was right next to the phone at Dusky Bridge. Not only that, but Bikini had no use for the complex messaging system that was such a craze, these days. She didn't need to worry about if her conversation was secret or not.
Iris knew right away that her dear sister was in some great peril, or she wouldn't have contacted Iris at all. And more than likely, Dahlia was the cause of it all. It was ominous, and Iris didn't like it. But what else was she supposed to do, ignore the only real family she had? She called her sister, and stood shivering next to the bridge.
It rang twice before the other person picked up.
"Took you long enough."
Iris bit her lip. "I'm sorry, I had to find a signal." She was suddenly very excited. She was talking to her sister! It had been over a year since they last spoke, and she still hadn't had a chance to ask how her sister had been. Dahlia was all business that time...
"It's fine, never mind. I need to ask a favour from you."
Iris frowned. The last time she heard that, it had been to help with something rather... disreputable. Her voice shook as she replied, either from the cold, or from anxiety. "What do you need help with, sister?"
The voice on the other end sounded frustrated, and maybe a little apathetic. "This time you're not going to run away, are you?"
Iris flinched. If she was talking about that incident, then it couldn't be good. But at the same time, she couldn't hold it against her sister. Dahlia always did everything right. She was smart, beautiful, strong... everything that Iris herself was not. The only reason the incident turned out the way it did was because she had run away. She had ruined everything. Iris gathered her small amount of courage and answered, "N-No, I won't..."
Her sister's mood improved, albeit slightly. "Good. I don't need any grief from this, you hear? It will be quick, and easy." She paused for a moment, and Iris felt her heart rate quicken at the possibilities. "I need your help silencing this acquaintance of mine. He's dense as a rock, but if I don't get him to keep quiet, people are going to find out about me."
Iris bit her lip. She knew exactly what her sister was talking about. She had no problem with... "silencing" people who talked too much, and got in the way of her plans. Her heart ached as the thought of last year's incident plagued her. "I-I see..."
Her sister went on, either oblivious to Iris' discomfort, or indifferent to it. "I'll need you to meet me at the train station. Call me when you arrive and we'll go from there. Understood?"
Iris grimaced. Her instinctive response was to agree with her sister. Dahlia needed her help, and it was her fault that Dahlia was in such a predicament. If she hadn't run away that one time, then no one would have—
That was it. No one else was going to die because of her weakness, and her lack of courage. She would help Dahlia, but in a different way. "W-Wait, please."
Dahlia frowned, her mood fouled again. "What is it? You told me thirty seconds ago that you wouldn't back out."
"I will help you. But... please don't hurt the man. Please."
Dahlia paused. Was she shocked at her sister's resistance? Iris hoped she wasn't angry with her...
"Then what do you suggest I do? If I don't get my necklace back from that oaf, I'll be found out. And he just doesn't get it. There's no other way."
Iris thought. She had no confidence in her planning, that was Dahlia's job. But if Dahlia had no plan, then... "I-I... Mm..." She had no input to give.
The silence on the other end indicated that Dahlia was thinking. "I may have another plan."
Iris widened her eyes a fraction in surprise. "Y-You do?"
Iris couldn't see her sister's sinister smile, but she could hear her sister's tone change. "It's something you might actually enjoy. Wouldn't that be marvelous?"
The hooded girl frowned. Something she would enjoy? Her heart rate quickened, and her mind raced as she thought of a reply. "I-I suppose... What is it?"
Dahlia was still smiling on the other end. She was about to get exactly what she wanted, she knew without a doubt. "I need you to go to college for me. For a while."
Iris blinked. Had she heard correctly? Was her phone defective in some way? Or had she just heard her estranged sister ask her to attend the university for her? All that she could come up with as a reply was, "... W-What?"
Her sister pressed on. "I need you to attend Ivy University as Dahlia Hawthorne. You'll take my place. Surely you find that thought at least a little appealing?"
The girl stammered, "I-I, yes! Yes, I do! I just... I don't understand why you would want me to. I am unfamiliar with the city, and I haven't studied as much as you have-"
She was cut off before she could start rambling. "It doesn't really matter. If you mess up my degree program, I'll just do it over. Right now, that does not matter. I have... other things to worry about."
Iris paused. Other things...? Were her suspicions justified after all? She didn't want to think about what kind of trouble Dahlia had gotten herself into. She pulled on her hood tassel and listened for an explanation. She didn't want to have to ask.
Dahlia sighed into the phone. "You see, I have a boyfriend. And he's a little, how should I put this... He's an idiot. I hate him. He's annoying. And I want to put as much distance between me and that buffoon as possible." She struggled to keep her voice even, so as to be better understood over the phone.
It was strangely disappointing, and relieving at the same time. Iris felt a weight lift from her shoulders as she realized no, her sister wasn't in trouble. She just had a few boy issues, that's all... Right? She fought to make her answer assertive, since she was offering advice to her dearest sister. She knew absolutely nothing about relationships, but this one seemed obvious. "Why don't you break up with him, then...?"
Dahlia clicked her tongue in response. "Don't you think I would have done that by now? Really, you should know better than that. I have to get my necklace back from him before I break up with him. I've been trying every single day, but he's such an idiot that he doesn't realize I'm serious. I can't deal with him anymore, and I want you to do it." She was as blunt as could be, when she had nothing to hide. Maybe that was a good thing; it showed how much she trusted Iris.
And Iris relished that moment like no other. She would probably never again feel such acceptance from her sister. She would do anything to make this moment last forever. "Wh-What do you want me to do about it?"
There was a pause before Dahlia answered. "Did you not make the connection? I want you to come to Ivy, take my place, and get my necklace back from my boyfriend. Once you get it back, you can go back to that temple of yours." She managed to combine ridicule with pity as she broke the news to her poor sister. She would have to spend time with that dunce until he gave her back the necklace. Hopefully it wouldn't be too long—
Iris blinked again, as she finally made the connection. If she took Dahlia's place at the university, in order to get Dahlia's necklace back from her boyfriend—
"I'm supposed to... date your boyfriend until I get the necklace back?" The words came out surprisingly calm. The surprise came after Iris realized what she had just said. "Y-You want me to date him?"
If Dahlia had her way, there would be angels singing overhead as she finally broke free from her idiotic prison. "Yes! Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I want you to spend time with this idiot, and get that necklace back. And I'm sorry, but he's a complete idiot. I'm sick of him, and he won't be able to tell us apart anyway. Hell, you might even get along with him. He's your type."
Iris' heart thundered in her chest. Was she really hearing this? "M-My type...?"
"Yes. The naïve, ignorant, pushover type. You'll fit perfectly with him." She paused. "So... do we have a deal?"
Iris couldn't believe her ears. Dahlia was offering a chance to to go college, and have a significant other? It was something she'd never even considered before! She had always lived at the temple, in order to keep out of her sister's way. She had very little experience with society outside the school of Kurain. This was a chance to grow, and to learn, and...
"What does he look like...? Iris' timid voice was barely heard over the phone.
Dahlia laughed. "Nothing special, that's for sure. I'll send you a picture to keep you busy while you pack. Well, you won't need to pack much, will you? You'll be needing new clothes, and you'll need to dye your hair... I'll help with all of that. Just get to Los Angeles, as soon as possible. We'll meet as a secured location once you've arrived. Is everything clear to you?"
Iris had to fight to keep from hyperventilating. One thought kept running through her mind, and it was making it very difficult to think, or form words. Is this really happening? Is this really, really happening? Since when did I become the luckiest woman in the entire world? She eventually found the word she was looking for.
Dahlia sounded very, very please. "Wonderful! Now, get over here as soon as you can. Call me when you arrive, and we'll meet. We've got a lot of work to do, my dear sister."
Dahlia hung up after that. Not so much as a good bye, or a good luck. But that was to be expected. Even so, how could Iris expect anything more from her sister, who had just given her the most exciting thing that's ever happened to her? She couldn't. She didn't deserve any more. She didn't deserve anything, but it had been so readily given to her. If life were a fantasy, Iris would be bursting apart with happiness.
She made her way back to the village, determined to tell Sister Bikini all about her conversation. Dahlia wouldn't mind if one person knew, right? Bikini was like a mother to her, after all. She wouldn't tell anyone else. And if Iris didn't tell someone quick, she would, well... she just had to tell someone!
What would he look like? It suddenly occurred to Iris that she never asked for this man's name.
Reviews and critiques and flames are all welcomed!
Some of you may have noticed the inconsistency in time, how many times Dahlia and Phoenix met, etc... I explain here!
Dahlia stayed with Phoenix for two months instead of one day. This is because HEY, Iris dated Phoenix for six months before Dahlia took over and messed everything up with the whole Doug Swallow murder thing, yeah? But the time between when she met Phoenix and the Doug Swallow incident, that is eight months. That is what I have figured. Someone please prove me wrong before this fic gets too far 8I
I noticed in the game that Iris mentions how she had to BEG her sister to let her try something, to avoid killing Phoenix. I changed that part of my fic to fit that.
Another thing: Iris has a phone, but can only use it at Dusky Bridge. In the game, she mentions that she can go to a nearby town and use a computer, and she "can even use a cell phone". I'm not sure if she meant that she has to go there to use it or not, but yeah. And also Bikini mentions that they have cell coverage up there in the mountains, when she yells at Phoenix for not having a cell phone at the time. So yeah, I just put the cell coverage next to the phone by the bridge.
I am a huge sucker for details 8I