Miles Edgeworth arrived at LAX at 8:15 AM, approximately an hour after he had received the phone call telling him that his eldest adopted sister, Raina von Karma, had been brutally stabbed to death in her apartment in Berlin, Germany.
This early on in the morning, LAX was buzzing with activity—people of all nationalities walking, talking, heading for their gates and planes to take them to faraway places. This was a crossroads; a meeting of people from all worlds and walks of life. Edgeworth strode through; he was dressed as impeccably as usual in his magenta suit. Clutched in his right hand was a slim suitcase—he knew that the von Karma Manor in Germany would have most everything he could need. Although his expression was blank and his stride purposeful, he felt disoriented and confused. How could this have possibly happened?
A gaggle of college-aged girls bumped into him as they walked past, giggling incessantly about the trip that they were about to go on. Edgeworth shot them a glare. How dare they be so happy when he was in such a state of distress?
Such was Miles Edgeworth's state, in fact, that he would have missed the Gate if not for Franziska von Karma.
She had been waiting for him, standing with her back straight, with one hand on her hip (as she was apt to do when she was exasperated or feeling particularly superior). Not a hair on her head was out of place. Her outfit, as per usual, was impeccable. However, it was the little things that clued Edgeworth in to her current state of mind. She wore no makeup. She was continuously twisting her whip in her hands (to the point that airport security guards were watching her with apprehension) nervously. But the most important clues laid in her speech pattern—her very manner.
"Miles," Franziska von Karma said, and though her voice was steady, the self-importance had disappeared from her tone completely. "Miles Edgeworth."
Apparently, there was nothing more for her to say but his name, for Franziska swiftly turned around and walked towards a chair in the waiting area. She sat down daintily, crossing one leg over the other, her eyes affixed on the wall as she continued to twist her whip in her hands. Edgeworth opened his mouth to say something; he had barely begun to form a word when she ordered:
"Sit down, Miles Edgeworth."
Franziska had never been good at small talk, especially in situations such as this.
Edgeworth sat down across from her, remaining quiet for a time. His mind was still spinning, and he shook his head, attempting to clear it. Now was the time for perfect, logical, and rational thought. Emotions would have to be reserved for later, in private. He struggled to find something- anything- to talk about.
"Wright called me on my way here, quite worried. He assumed that the only way you would miss a case against him would be severe injury or death," Edgeworth said, all too conversationally.
Franziska fixed him with an icy stare, pulling her whip taut in her hands. She did nothing with it, however, speaking instead.
"I hope you told Mr. Phoenix Wright to worry about his own health and poor ability as a defense attorney rather than myself," Franziska said wearily. The imperious note came back into her voice, but it was rather fleeting—more than anything, Franziska sounded tired. Miles Edgeworth was confronted with an annoyed feeling, the feeling of ignorance. What was she thinking? The last time he had felt like this was when, upon filling in for Wright and asking a mere question, he had been blasted with those—what had they been called? Ah, that was it—psycholocks.
Edgeworth frowned. He was never quite good at person-to-person interaction, but if there was one person (other than the idiot savant-like defense attorney, Wright) that he knew well, it was Franziska. But he found himself at a loss for words, and perhaps that was just as well. He had seen Franziska von Karma at her strongest and her weakest; he was close enough with her to refer to her affectionately as his sister, though he had renounced her Father and the von Karma family years ago. She, too, had seen all of his weaknesses and strengths, but he imagined she was too wrapped in her own confused grief to recognize his.
And so, brother and sister sat in their uncomfortable, itchy chairs with scarcely a word passing between them. Older and younger were equals as they sat and thought. And their silence remained unbroken, even as the chatter around them was deafening. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Franziska drifted from her thoughts and fixed her steely gaze on Edgeworth. This was the Franziska he was used to. She had let her whip fall to her lap, and settled for hugging herself rather tightly—a rather conspicuous habit she had had since she was a child, noticeable whenever she felt upset or insecure.
"Miles Edgeworth," Franziska said quietly, a hint of anger carrying through both her gaze and voice, "why did you not tell me you were in correspondence with Raina von Karma?"
Miles paused, blinking. This question was altogether unexpected.
"She contacted me after your father was executed. Apparently, he had a hand in stifling any letters she attempted to send either you or myself. I'm sure you could find them in his study if you investigated every nook and cranny well enough. Of course, she contacted you, as well, but I understand that you didn't exactly respond with an open mind to regular correspondence," Edgeworth replied. Of course, he knew exactly what Franziska's reply had been—"I have no sister. Do not contact me again."—but he had more than enough tact to bring it up. "How did you find out?"
"Scruffy," Franziska said tersely. "I told him why I would not be prosecuting this morning and he referenced frequent letters you had him mail to Germany addressed to Raina von Karma. He expressed surprise, particularly as you sent them to her legal office."
"…Franziska," Edgeworth replied quietly, "I had every right to reply to her. You know that."
"Flight 32 to Berlin is now boarding," came a tinny voice over the loudspeakers, "Flight 32 to Berlin is now boarding."
Thankful for the escape, Miles Edgeworth walked towards the place for boarding, Franziska brandishing the tickets like a weapon behind him.
The plane ride to Germany was nothing short of uncomfortable. It took eleven hours, during which Edgeworth fretted and Franziska calmly went over some files. She was currently prosecuting seven cases, not including the one that she had skipped this morning, and she took the opportunity to work through the hours of the trip.
By the time they had arrived in Germany, Franziska had been nodding off in her seat. Edgeworth gently roused her. He stood up, looking behind him to make sure that she was following, and they walked through the airport and into the streets of Berlin.
Tourists and natives alike spilled into the street, and Miles Edgeworth wasn't quite sure where he belonged. Old, rustic-seeming architecture blended with the newer feel of some of the other buildings. It was somewhat cosmopolitan; many stores lined the streets, advertising their various wares in blocky, fluorescent German. The air was cold and biting, but Franziska appeared not to feel it as she purposefully flagged down a taxi with nothing but a steely glare and the crack of her whip. They piled into the cab as Franziska gave the directions to her sister's apartment. Edgeworth raised an eyebrow, glancing at her.
"Weren't we heading home? I do have a suitcase," Edgeworth said.
"I brought no suitcase, seeing as my home has most everything I need," Franziska said smoothly. "We will be traveling to the crime scene; I will be taking on this case through the Berlin prosecutor's office and plan to begin my investigation the very minute we arrive."
"W-What? Franziska, this is a conflict of interest, if there ever was one!" Edgeworth protested.
Franziska glared at him, blue eyes glinting fiercely. She toyed with her whip again, her mouth set in a taut line; Edgeworth couldn't remember the last time she had seemed this angry.
"Miles Edgeworth. I am no longer a child, and you simply cannot decide what is right for me. You are not my father. You are not even a von Karma," Franziska looked away. "This is my decision, Miles Edgeworth. If you attempt to change it, I will ensure that you regret it."
Edgeworth remained silent, uneasy. Franziska was normally zealous in her quest for perfection; if there was a revenge plot of any sort in her mind, what lengths would she go to?
They arrived at the apartment building in one of Berlin's less expensive sections. Edgeworth climbed out, looking around; beside him, Franziska stood, wrinkling her nose as she took in what she considered to be sheer poverty. The apartment building directly in front of them matched the address that Franziska had memorized prior to boarding the plane. They entered through the front door of the apartment building and climbed the stairs to apartment 2B. The door was opened, covered with yellow tape that read, "Police Tape; Do not cross" in German.
If one were to peer through this door into the apartment, they would see a small, sparsely-furnished apartment. A desk sat in one corner of the small main room, and it was between this desk and the door that the obscured body had lain—it was instead replaced by a chalk outline. Bloodstains splattered the desk and floor, and Edgeworth felt revulsion rise in his stomach. It was one thing to step foot onto a crime scene as Miles Edgeworth, cool and collected prosecutor; it was another thing entirely to enter as Miles Edgeworth, brother to the victim. This blood meant something to him, and this body had once been a living, breathing, caring person; she had meant something to him and to countless other people, and suddenly the grief hit him, a thousand times more magnified than before.
Edgeworth grasped the wall to steady himself, glancing at the closed-off, cold expression of his sister.
Franziska stepped over the tape and into the apartment, only to be greeted by a small, wiry fellow. His white-blond hair was gelled into tiny spikes; the tips of these spikes were dyed a very light green. He was wearing what looked to be a modified version of an old military uniform; army green pants were tucked into dark brown steel-toed boots with soles so thick that they may well have boosted his height three inches. An army jacket weighted with an inordinate amount of medals and patches was unbuttoned, revealing a white tank top reading 'Kriminalität musszahlen'in blocky, olive green letters. He was relatively muscular, as well. This serious apparel was offset but the man's very manner, however. He surveyed Franziska, the surprise on his face childlike and evident. His violet-blue eyes were wide, though there seemed to be something competitive underneath the façade of surprised pleasure.
Franziska, conversely, seemed less than pleased.
"Franziska! Mein Gott, is that you?" He exclaimed, smiling. "Hey, what're you doin' here—oh, wait. The victim…heh. I kinda assumed it was a different von Karma, especially given her profession, but I guess—"
"Quiet yourself, Ablen Kungsmanöver," Franziska growled. "What on earth is your foolish personage doing here? I had hoped that when I had left for the United States that I would never see your insipid, pathetic, foolish face again."
"Oh, I'm the prosecutor!" Ablen smiled happily. "Come in, won't you—oh! How rude am I, huh, not introducing myself—you're Miles Edgeworth. I've heard of you. Best prosecutor to come out of Germany, they say—"
Franziska was positively seething.
"I am the best prosecutor to come from Germany, fool! You will not be prosecuting this case," she said, cracking her whip. "I will!"
"Wait, what was this von Karma woman to you, Franziska! A relative, ja? Isn't that a conflict of interest—" Ablen began, before he was cut off by a stroke of Franziska's whip against his chest.
A quiet voice, which sounded from behind this conflict, spoke up.
The speaker was a large, stocky man. He was broad shouldered, with longish blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was smiling, but it had sadness behind it. He was dressed in a detective's uniform—a long blue trench coat over a blue button down shirt tucked into blue dress pants; a detective's badge was pinned to his lapel. Despite his somewhat intimidating looks, he had a gentle air about him; Edgeworth was suddenly reminded of Detective Dick Gumshoe, back in the States. But this was different than Gumshoe. This detective, the German detective, seemed very confident, and ten times more reserved.
"My name is Detective Hans Supp. You are Miles Edgeworth, ja?" He said quietly, completely ignoring Ablen's cries of anguish as Franziska whipped him senseless. "I need to be talking to you."
His English was poor and heavily accented. Edgeworth smiled uneasily, stepping around his little sister and her…spectacle.
"You don't need to speak English for me," Edgeworth said, in fluent German. "I trust that you're the lead detective on this case?"
Hans Supp nodded seriously. "But, ah…I have a matter to attend to first that's just as pressing. Please, come into the kitchen with me. It's a matter of Raina's will…or lack thereof."
Miles Edgeworth followed Detective Supp into the kitchen. It was small, dark, and cramped. A single light fixture hung from the ceiling, illuminating the entire room. Despite its rather small size, however, it seemed almost homey and quaint. The walls were painted a pale off-white that matched the countertops. Edgeworth passed by the large refrigerator, which was squeezed into the corner—it was covered with pictures of a little girl and a woman whom Edgeworth recognized as Raina, as well as pictures that looked as though a child had drawn them in crayon. Edgeworth tore his eyes away from them, feeling the same horrified revulsion again.
Edgeworth turned to face Supp, raising an eyebrow. "Yes, well…what do we have to discuss?"
Supp motioned to a chair that Edgeworth hadn't realized was occupied. In it sat a small child, staring up at the two. Her brown eyes were almond shaped and puffy, as though she had recently been crying. Her skin seemed unnaturally pale—probably due to emotional ordeals more than genetics. Her black hair was tied into pigtails. She was wearing a white sweater, black skirt that fell to her knees, and leggings that tucked neatly into boots. The thread of her left sleeve was unraveling, and she was toying with it nervously. On the child's face was a look of such bereavement and shock, and Miles Edgeworth couldn't help but find both the look and the face terribly familiar.
"This is Maxine," Hans Supp said, almost nervously, "You're her eldest, most responsible living relative. As Raina left no will, the police department had to discuss it…and we decided that, you, Miles Edgeworth, are to become the guardian of Maxine von Karma."
Disclaimer: All your base are belong to us. But all Capcom's Wright doesn't belong to me. Maxie and Raina belong to Reaper-Lawliet. Hans Supp and Ablen Kungsmanöver, however, they're all mine. C:
Hey, readers! I really appreciated the feedback I received last chapter. I was wowed! Reviews put a smile on my face, so all of you, seriously-thanks. Now, um. Midterms week is just about here so please don't be mad if I can't get another chapter out soon. D: I'll be done with all exams by next Friday, though, so that should definitely give me a lot of time to write. Thanks again for reading, and leave a review if you want to (or don't, that's totally fine, too). Until next time!