A/N: I think I'm making Iris think too much. It's hard to tell how much of the world she notices, and understands :I Either she's naïve and she doesn't notice the little things, or she's naïve but very observant, and she picks up on things. I'm going with the latter.
Disclaimer: I know nothing about the geography of Los Angeles, so I'm improvising using my imagination. Don't hold it against me. Also I am totally using the layout of my own college to describe Ivy. I am sorry.
Was it a joke after all?
No, it couldn't be a joke. Dahlia could be cold, and ruthless at times, but she wouldn't hurt her sister for the sake of making a bad joke, would she? Iris shook her head—Dahlia just wasn't that kind of person.
Then again, it's hard to really know someone you barely talk to.
Iris called four times—once when she arrived, then once every hour after that. That meant she'd been waiting at the train station for three hours. She was beginning to doubt herself, and her sister's plan. It was only natural, right? She doubted her sister would go to such lengths for a joke, but her wandering thoughts eventually led her back to the probability of such an occasion.
While she contemplated the thought of being played by her sister, she gave Dahlia the benefit of the doubt, and worried for her sister. What if something had happened to her? What if Iris had misunderstood something? It had been a little difficult to hear, now that she thought about it. What if she had missed something?
Needless to say, Iris was just about worried sick. She just wanted to see her sister. Once Dahlia appeared, everything would be fine.
Then, as if to mock her, her own phone rang.
She almost dropped the darn thing when it did, but she was glad. She pressed the 'accept' button, and put the phone up to her ear. "Dahlia?"
"Don't use my name, ever. You're supposed to be me, remember?"
Dahlia sounded irritated. Iris tried not to press her, even though she had been waiting for quite a while, and was worried sick. "O-Okay... But, I don't look like you," she said hesitantly.
The young woman huffed on the other end. "I suppose you're right... However, it would be good to get into the habit of calling me something other than Dahlia. Like May, or something. I don't know, just something else."
Iris bit her lip. "Okay... May..."
Dahlia smirked. "There you go. Now then, to business. You're at the train station, yes?"
Iris nodded, then answered verbally for Dahlia's sake. "Yes... I called you a long time ago..." She felt the urge to let her sister know just how worried she'd been, but stopped herself before she could show any more of that taboo assertiveness. She bit her lip once more, afraid of how her sister might respond.
"I noticed. I couldn't answer because that idiot wouldn't let me leave." Dahlia sighed into the phone. "Even I wouldn't wish him upon anyone. That's how much it pains me to be around him. Anyway, walk to the end of the block and turn right, then head to the parking garage a few blocks down. I'm waiting on the second floor next to the elevator."
Iris made a mental map, and memorized the instructions. It wouldn't be good to make Dahlia repeat herself. "Okay, I understand."
Dahlia smiled that incredibly charming smile of hers, but Iris was forced to visualize it using her tone as a reference. "That's a good girl. I'll see you soon."
Iris never really knew when her sister was being sincere, but she liked to think this was one of those few times. "See you soon, sister."
Dahlia hung up immediately following her line, so she couldn't have heard the second half of her timid sister's reply. Iris didn't mind. Dahlia was in a hurry, yes? Iris had to be in a hurry, as well. She drew her small satchel to her chest, and walked in the direction that Dahlia had instructed. She tried not to draw any more attention than she inevitably would, what with the acolyte garments she wore being horribly out of place in Los Angeles.
After a few minutes of walking, she realized that the "blocks" in Los Angeles were huge. If she didn't hurry, Dahlia would reprimand her when she arrived. But which was worse, being reprimanded by her sister, or someone becoming a little too interested in a girl running around in weird clothes? The answer was obvious, so she went on walking as inconspicuously as she could.
She assumed a parking garage was where automobiles were parked, so naturally she looked for a building with cars in it. She hadn't imagined it to be so... big. It seemed everything in this city was big, and fast too. Except for the people. They weren't particularly big, but they were fast. And relatively rude. Iris grimaced as a man bumped into her, pushing her into another woman. The woman scolded her, and made a strange comment about her clothes. Iris couldn't see how people could live in such a place. She kept her head down and kept walking, looking for an entrance. It seemed there was an opening big enough for a few cars to drive through, so she went inside, hoping not to draw any attention.
Her sister said she was waiting on the second floor, by the elevator, so Iris naturally went to find an elevator. But then she wondered, what if she was stuck in the elevator with a stranger? It would be better to use the stairs, since most people would use the elevator instead. Luckily for her, the stairs were right next to the elevator, and so she had no trouble climbing them to the second floor, and finding her sister right where she said she would be.
Dahlia was a peculiar one. Whatever the season, she wore a white strapless dress with a transparent pink shawl, and carried a white parasol. As a result of her wardrobe choices, she appeared the picture of a delicate flower at all times, and charmed onlookers with her innocence and sincerity. Those who looked upon her would never consider that at least one of those characteristics was usually a facade.
Iris, however, was one of the few people alive who knew Dahlia's secret. She knew her sister's past, and the terrible things she had to live through. She understood Dahlia's cold personality, and her tendency to care about nothing and no one other than herself. It was Dahlia's defense mechanism; this way, she could never be hurt by other people, and their destructive and selfish tendencies. Iris could only admire such strength and ingenuity. When she looked upon her sister, she looked past all the deception and lies, and saw only a young woman who needed to be loved and trusted. She started towards her sister, forcing herself not to run. Dahlia would scold her for that.
It had been a long time since she had actually seen her sister in person. Dahlia couldn't be bothered to come visit all the time, and Iris knew it. However, it didn't keep her from wanting to throw her arms around her twin and hold her close.
Dahlia of course would not take affection from that, so Iris restrained herself, and waited for instructions. Dahlia turned her head, and smiled that charming smile of hers.
"Are you ready to go?"
Iris nodded. She suddenly realized how much her sister had matured since the last time they met. Before, she was just a little girl with a habit of getting into mischief. Now, she had grown into a charming young woman, with a lot of different responsibilities. She went to college, she had her own dorm room on campus, she could drive a car... Iris could drive the snowmobile back at the temple, but it just wasn't the same. Dahlia was best in every way. Iris put her head down and walked around to the passenger seat, and got in.
Dahlia folded her parasol neatly and placed it in the back seat with her purse, and started the engine. Iris wondered how she managed to drive with those high-heeled slippers of hers. It was just one more way that delicate little Dahlia demonstrated her skills and resourcefulness.
"I would have called someone to come get you, but I don't want anyone seeing you who doesn't need to." Dahlia sounded less irritated than she had on the phone. It was... pleasant. She backed out of her space, and continued, heading towards the exit. "The university isn't far away, so we'll be there soon. I have all we need there in my dorm.
"Basically, I'm trying to keep all of this a secret. You're lucky I don't have any roommates, or you'd be in a world of trouble. Once I change you into me, I'm getting out of here." She seemed a little more at ease. Was she relieved that everything was going according to plan, so far? Iris felt a twinge of happiness at the thought. "We'll go through the details when we arrive." She definitely wasn't angry, but she wasn't showing any signs of that facade of happiness, either. It was one of the few faces that Iris got to see, and no one else did.
Iris sat in silence as Dahlia concentrated on the road. The events of the last twenty-four hours played in her head over and over, and soon they arrived. Iris looked up in curiosity, examining the cast-iron sign overhead that read "Ivy University". On each side of the entrance there was a brick wall, with ivy growing all the way to the top, with just enough space in between the tangles of green that one could view the red beneath. Beyond that was the administrative building, which rested behind a center of green grass and a few trees. Dahlia pulled inside and took one of the narrow roads off to the right, leading in the direction of the dormitories. Luckily for her, it was a Friday, and most of the students were already home, or about to leave. There was little chance of anyone spotting the twins.
She reached the parking lot of the dormitories, and parked in the space reserved for her room number. Then she grabbed her parasol and purse from the back and got out of the car. Iris figured she should follow, and got out herself.
"Let's hurry in before someone sees you." That time, Dahlia's voice sounded a little frantic again, and maybe a little bit worried. Was that her way of showing that she had nothing to hide from Iris? Perhaps. They climbed the stairs to the third floor of the dorms, and went inside.
Dahlia's dorm room was neatly furnished with varnished wood and thick carpet, and decorated with pink and white fabrics. The color certainly wasn't overpowering, but it was clear who lived there. There was a living room connected to the kitchen, and a hallway that led to the bathroom, and two separate bedrooms. Dahlia's was on the left, and the other was vacant at the moment. Her former roommate had found the need to vacate when she couldn't stand the "disgusting girl colors" anymore. Of course, Dahlia happily saw her off, and took the rest of the dorm for herself. Fortunately for her, management hadn't found her a replacement just yet.
She set her purse down on the end table next to the sofa, and headed to the bedroom. "I have clothes for you in here. Obviously, anything I wear should fit you, yes? Unless you've let yourself go since the last time I saw you, of course." She giggled sweetly, out of habit. She would have snickered if the giggle hadn't been automatic and subconscious.
Iris looked at the floor. It was just a joke, of course. Dahlia had no one else to talk to like this, so she had to bear with it. She followed her sister to the bedroom, and looked around. It was simple, like the rest of the house. But it was definitely pink. Dahlia hung her parasol in the closet and pulled out a dress identical to the one she had on.
"I have two of the same dress, just in case. I have other dresses, but this one is my favorite." She ran her hand down the front of the dress, smoothing it out unnecessarily. "We'll work on your fashion sense in a little while, but for now..." She trailed off, setting the dress down on her bed. "For now, we need to dye you hair."
Iris bit her lip. Her hair had always been dark, and she was rather attached to it. She took unbelievably good care of it, making sure it stayed nice and strong. She saw that Dahlia had beautiful hair as well, but she hadn't been forced to dye it red. Needless to say, Iris was nervous.
Dahlia noticed, easily. "It's not going to ruin your hair, don't worry. It only damages if you dye it over and over. Hopefully you won't have to, since this will be over and done with soon. But it's all up to you how long it takes." She flicked her hair back away from her shoulder, carelessly. "We should start now, since your hair is so dark. We'll have to do multiple washes." She turned and walked to the bathroom.
Iris followed, hesitantly. "Y-You said, it would damage if I dyed it over and over..."
Dahlia turned on the light and grabbed a bottle of dye, examining it. "Even if it does get damaged, you can cut it off and it will grow back just fine." She turned to Iris with a stern look. "Are you going to help me or not?"
Iris couldn't keep eye contact with such a strong look. She nodded, still uneasy.
Dahlia's look softened, slightly. "Good. You promised me. How can you expect me to forgive you if you break another promise? Sit down on the toilet there." She pulled the seal off of the dye and went back to her room for a moment.
Iris winced as regret filled her gut. What she would do to go back and fix what she had caused... She sat in silence as Dahlia returned in more suitable attire—short jean-shorts and an undershirt she wore when she went places that a dress couldn't. She took a towel from the rack, and helped Iris place it around her shoulders. Then she bent and retrieved a pair of rubber gloves from under the sink, and put them on. Iris kept her eyes trained on the floor, afraid to even contemplate the horrors about to be done to her hair.
Dahlia wiggled her fingers uncomfortably in the gloves. She supposed it was better than dying her hands red though. She looked over to her sister, and frowned in exasperation. "If you have something to say, say it."
Iris was startled. Did she have something to say? Well, she did want to say how terrified she was of this whole plan, but that wouldn't help, would it? It wouldn't get rid of the sinking feeling in her stomach, and the fact that she had to suddenly change everything about herself.
Dahlia rolled her eyes. "You'll be fine. I'll be the one taking the heat, since you're acting as me. You won't have to worry about anything. Better?" She grabbed a spray bottle and started wetting the ends of Iris' hair.
Iris stayed silent. She would bear with it, even though she was terrified. Dahlia had it much worse, after all. It was the least she could do to make it easier for her sister...
"Oh, I never sent you that picture, did I?" Dahlia set the spray bottle down and went back to her room. Iris looked up when she returned with her phone. She handed it to Iris, the screen set on a picture file.
"Maybe that will motivate you just a little." She picked up a comb and divided her sister's hair into quadrants, indifferent to her sister's reaction to the picture.
Iris stared at the picture on the small screen. It showed a young man with dark hair, gelled back in a peculiar, yet simple hairdo. He had the brightest smile that Iris had seen on another person in a long time. It even rivaled the ever-jovial Bikini's grin. And his eyes... they were filled with happiness and sincerity. Iris found herself staring into them, unable to look away. Or maybe she simply didn't want to, it didn't matter to her then.
A few minutes passed before she noticed. "You're smiling." Dahlia sounded amused, as she worked the dye into her sister's hair.
Iris turned her head to see her sister smirking, and blushed. "He looks... nice..."
Dahlia scoffed. "Good luck, then. If that's what you think, then you'll last a lot longer than I did. This plan is fool-proof." She smirked to herself, admiring her own ingenuity.
Dahlia went back to examining the man in front of her. He looked like he genuinely loved her sister. In the picture, he wore a sweater from Ivy University, and a necklace with a heart pendant. Strange enough, she thought it looked cute on him. Was this the necklace that Dahlia wanted her to take back? It saddened her to even consider taking it from him. Suddenly, she realized something.
"Um... What's his name?"
Dahlia answered with no real emotion. "Phoenix Wright. His mother's a strange one for sure."
Iris smiled. She thought it was interesting, and creative. Was his mother an artist of some kind? Creative and imaginative people tended to go into the arts in some way or another. "Can you... tell me about him?"
Dahlia rolled her eyes again. "I guess you'd better know anyway, since you're going to be me for a while." She pulled the dye down all the way to the ends and worked it in. "For one, he's an idiot. Naïve, ignorant, and gullible. You've got that in common, don't you?"
Iris listened contently, imagining what this Phoenix Wright would be like when she finally met him. Dahlia went on. "He's loud, and he gets excited over the littlest things. I guess the one good thing about him is that he tries hard. He has enough motivation for ten people, that one."
Dahlia went on, telling Iris the things they had done together so far, which mostly consisted of eating lunch together and him talking about whatever came to his mind. Iris couldn't keep herself from smiling. All those negative things that Dahlia mentioned didn't matter to her. All she could see was a nice boy with a big heart. And he was offering it to Dahlia—which meant her.
Suddenly, dying her hair seemed like a small price to pay for the chance to spend time with this young man. She couldn't wait to meet him.
Reviews and critiques and flames are welcomed~