Hey, it's the release day of AA5! So I sat myself down a few days ago with a prompt and a goal and hammered something out. A silly little fic with not much to it. I told myself I had to get it all down before the English release of AA5 and everything in here was jossed. Happy reading. :)
Disclaimer: Ace Attorney isn't mine.
Red was his colour. It had always been his colour – he supposed it did reflect his rather... hot-headed temperament, but it was a powerful colour. Loud, to emphasize his chords of steel. Fiery, like his passion in the courtroom. It gave him a presence that his shorter stature held him back from. Yes, red really did suit him. Baubles and costume jewellery, however, did not.
Apollo Justice let out a long exhale as he surveyed himself in the mirror. He wasn't sure just what had possessed him to don the crimson cape and hat that Trucy had handed him. Moreover, he wasn't sure why he'd been wearing them for what had now been several minutes. The mirror was taunting him.
The events leading up to this had been a wild and confusing whirlwind of twists and turns, and to be quite honest, he wasn't quite over the emotional motion sickness of it all. It had all started with what he thought was an innocuous invitation out to dinner with Lamiroir. Both he and Trucy had been invited out by his former client, which, at the time, he had taken to be a thoughtful gesture of thanks. Not that he'd been entirely incorrect with that guess. Lamiroir said she wanted another opportunity to express her gratitude to the pair, and, confusingly, to ask their forgiveness.
It hadn't been brought up right away. The night had begun with Apollo and Trucy arriving at a low-key (but definitely comfortable, and just a bit classy – definitely no Borscht Bowl) diner. Lamiroir had shown up ahead of time and had already secured them a table with a view – right next to a large window overlooking a wooded park.
What Apollo noticed first, however, was not the spreading reds and oranges of the autumn leaves. His eyes were not drawn to the elegant, shiny finish on the dark wood of the table and chairs. He was surprised to see – though, he supposed, he shouldn't have been – that Lamiroir was dressed down for the occasion. Her dress was simple but suited her perfectly, and she'd gone entirely without her star-embroidered cloak and face veil. But what caught his attention most were her eyes. They were clear and bright, and entirely focused on the arriving pair – she'd undergone her eye surgery, and it appeared to have been a success. Apollo smiled as they approached, and she smiled softly back, looking terribly nervous.
Whether Trucy noticed her nerves or not, he couldn't tell. Something was definitely off in Lamiroir's demeanor, though, and he had no idea why. Shrugging it off for the moment, he took a seat next to Trucy, both of them opposite to the singer.
Dinner had gone smoothly, with the three of them making small talk (if Trucy's energetic stories and theatrics could be considered 'small' talk). Throughout the evening, though, Apollo caught Lamiroir grasping stiffly at her wrist and lightly chewing her lip, seemingly holding back something she wanted to say.
Eventually, when their plates were nearly cleared and Trucy had reclined back with a long, satisfied sigh, Lamiroir cleared her throat quietly. "Thank you both for accepting my invitation to dinner." she said, her light smile still betraying her nerves.
"Of course, we were happy to come." Apollo answered, returning her smile with sincerity (and guarded curiosity).
"I just wanted you both to know, again, how thankful I am for you saving Machi." she said, licking her lips before cautiously continuing. "But I did have another reason for inviting you both here tonight."
Apollo glanced to his side, meeting Trucy's eyes when she did the same. Maybe she had taken note of her nerves much like he had – she was quite perceptive herself.
Still, Lamiroir pressed on. "It was a while ago, now, shortly after I had my eye surgery," she paused, looking back and forth between the two of them, "which, as you've noticed, worked wonderfully." She was rubbing at her wrist again, now, and Apollo had to wonder just what was weighing so heavily on her mind that she was this out of sorts. "Ah, yes, it was not long after my sight returned that my memory followed."
She trailed off, seemingly unsure of what to say next. Apollo offered a beaming smile, hoping to dispel some of her anxiety. "That's great! Isn't it? Now you remember where you came from – your real name and history, right?" he said, still smiling reassuringly. How dark a past could this beautiful, mysterious singer have had?
Apollo's enthusiasm brought a small smile to Lamiroir's lips, though the smile didn't seem to carry to her eyes. "Yes, I thought it would be... right to fill the two of you in before too much more time had passed."
Trucy now had a strange look on her face as well. Apollo noted her brow was lightly furrowed, and she was studying Lamiroir's face in earnest now. Something did seem slightly familiar about the singer, he thought as he followed Trucy's example. Without her cloak and veil, she looked almost like a different person. Still, the sudden feeling that he'd seen someone else that looked quite a bit like her was creeping steadily into his mind.
Under their studious eyes, Lamiroir seemed to shrink back. Trucy was the next to speak up, her voice careful and curious. "What's your real name, Lamiroir?"
Her nerves were still coiled tight – Apollo hoped pressing her on about her true identity wouldn't cause her to snap. Still, he was curious now, too. Cautiously, Lamiroir began speaking again, keeping her eyes down and voice quiet. The two leaned in closer while she spoke.
"When the light returned to my eyes, it did not take long for me to start to remember. It was bits and pieces at first – applause, excitement, I had clearly not been a stranger to the stage in my first life, as in my second life as well. Then, of course, I had been a different kind of performer." she said, pausing now to collect herself. She closed her eyes a moment, then, changing her mind, she looked up directly toward Trucy. "I have to face the truth, no matter the consequences…" she said, her voice a whisper now. "I was a performer in the group known as Troupe Gramarye. My name was Thalassa Gramarye."
Trucy stared. A moment seemed to pass as the two gazed upon each other, before Trucy spoke in return. "Mommy?"
Lamiroir's voice caught when she next spoke. "Do you hate me for what happened – for you ending up alone?"
"No!" Trucy said, her eyes widening. Her hands were moving erratically, reaching out, then clasped together at her chest, then pressed down on the edge of the table. Her face was doubly expressive, clearly uncertain what emotion she meant to be expressing. In an instant Trucy was on her feet, crossing to the other side of the table and closing the distance between herself and her mother. Lamiroir's face lit up in surprise as Trucy slung her arms around her in a fierce hug. "I was never alone. I had Daddy – my real Daddy and my new one, and I have so many more people in my life now, too, and, and–" Trucy pulled back out of the hug, settling down into a seat beside Lamiroir instead. "I always thought you were familiar somehow – even when I first saw you at the Gavinners concert. I just didn't realize…"
Lamiroir sniffed, wiping at her face as a stray tear escaped from her eye. "You aren't upset with me?"
"How could I be?!" Trucy said, incredulous. "You couldn't remember anything!"
Lamiroir smiled as Trucy leaned in for another tight hug. "Even so, when I first remembered, I was too afraid to say anything…"
"Don't be silly!"
Apollo watched the two with a grin on his own face. Lamiroir was Thalassa Gramarye. In his mind, he pulled up the picture of the third main member of Troupe Gramarye from the old commemorative stamp. Lamiroir was a dead ringer for an older Thalassa Gramarye. He wondered why he hadn't noticed the similarity earlier – the hair, the gentle slope of her cheeks, her slim nose. He supposed, with her face and head always covered by her cloak and mask, it was easy to miss the likeness.
She'd certainly come a long way from fearing what her own past might have been in such a short time. Lamiroir had chased away the darkness she'd hidden in for so long, and found herself a daughter in doing so. With a bit of courage, she'd managed to face the light she called unforgiving. Trucy seemed to have forgiven her easily enough.
Lamiroir cleared her throat again as she pulled away from Trucy's embrace. "That… that is not all I wish to tell the two of you."
Apollo and Trucy glanced at each other briefly before turning their attention again to Lamiroir. What other secrets could she be keeping?
"This secret, I fear, may not be so easily forgiven." she said, refusing to meet their eyes again. She looked even more uncertain now, and a little sad. "This is a failing of my character, not my memory. I was still a child myself when it happened, and I was scared." She paused and took a short breath. "Trucy, you were not my first child. I had another when I was very young – his father had been another performer in the Troupe some time ago – but being a child myself at the time, I knew I would never be able to care for him the way he deserved. I left him at an orphanage, with one of my bracelets as the only link remaining between us…"
Apollo reached up to fiddle with the brooch clasping his cape together – a blue spade. It had been a month ago now since Lamiroir – Thalassa's announcement. She'd found the baby boy she'd abandoned when she was only eighteen, recognized him from the bracelet she'd gifted him with, as well as his inherited Gramarye perception. He'd gained a mother and a half-sister in one night, but he hadn't felt elated. Not like Trucy had been.
He wondered if he was being selfish. Trucy had forgiven her instantly – though, what did Trucy have to forgive, really? A belated re-introduction from her amnesiac mother; belated only because of her fear of rejection? In her typical roll-with-the-punches laissez-faire form, Trucy hadn't seemed overwhelmed by anything other than ecstasy in the revelation that she still had a mother. Part of him wished he could let go as easily as her. Upon admitting this, however, she'd given a playful toss of her hands, a genial smile, and asked him if "calling you 'bro' now" would help it sink in.
He rolled his eyes.
He was being selfish, he admitted, but he was going to need some time. He'd done fine without her for twenty-two years already – dropping the 'mom-bomb' on him wasn't going to change him instantly.
Apollo fumbled with the brooch's clasp, suddenly eager to be rid of the silly thing. Apparently, however, he'd stalled too long in front of the mirror. A startled, but excited gasp sounded from the doorway and he spun around to face the source. Trucy was ogling him with a look of pure glee. "You're wearing it! Oh wow, oh wow it looks so good! I'm so glad it fits! It really suits you, I knew I picked the right red!"
All the while he was protesting under her voice; "Trucy, no, I was just, uh, I just thought I'd – uh, I just wanted to see how ridiculous…" His rebuttal sounded weak even to him. He continued to fumble with the clasp for a few minutes before finally giving up.
"You look like a real Gramarye!" Trucy said, bouncing into the room to position herself next to him in the mirror. "Look at us, we're a regular troupe ourselves!"
"I am a real Gramarye – I guess." Apollo muttered, stepping back to keep his feet from being trampled on. "And we're not a troupe."
"Apollo, don't be such a Debbie Downer!" Trucy said, pouting up at him with feigned irritation. Her pout didn't last long, quickly being swapped out for her signature smile. "This is your true calling! You're a Gramarye, just like me – we have to continue the family tradition!"
"I'm a lawyer." Apollo insisted.
Trucy flapped her hand dismissively. "Psh, come on, you can do both! Look at Klavier – he's a prosecutor and a rock star."
"... Somehow I don't think working as a defense attorney and a stage magician will improve my persona."
Trucy shrugged. "Couldn't make it any worse, right? C'mon bro, we can practise for my next show. I'm gonna saw you in half!"
"Trucy I'm not going to – okay hold on a minute, the first trick you do with me on stage is gonna be sawing me in half. Are you serious?" Apollo stared.
"I could teach you a few other tricks I guess. Magic's in your blood, Apollo! C'mon, please?"
Trucy put on her best pout. Apollo put on his best frown.
"Please? … My favourite brother?"
"Your only brother." he said. "Well," his voice slipped, becoming more sardonic, "that we know of."
Trucy's pout shifted to a genuine look of hurt. "Are you mad at Mommy?"
Apollo sighed. "I'm not mad at… Thalassa. I'm not really… anything at her."
The two siblings watched each other for a moment before Apollo turned away to look into the mirror. He shook his head lightly, reaching up and removing the silk top hat. He held the hat out to Trucy with a somber expression. "I literally first met her when we were working with her as our client – when she was Lamiroir, the Borginian singer. To be honest, that's still who I see her as – I've never known her as my mom. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Trucy, but I just don't feel much like a Gramarye."
Trucy reflexively reached out to take the hat from his hands, holding it as he spoke. Her frown deepened. "Okay." she said quietly, setting the hat down on a nearby surface.
Apollo stared. "Okay?"
Trucy's frown softened, but didn't vanish. She shrugged. "Okay."
Apollo's face twisted in confusion. "That's it? Just… okay?" he said, fiddling with the clasp on his magician's cape again. "I… that's not really the reply I expected from you."
"No, I get it." Trucy said, reaching out and putting a hand over his to keep him from undoing the pin on the brooch. "You don't have to feel like a Gramarye – I mean, I guess it is pretty sudden for you. But," she said, a smile returning to her face. "You really are my brother, and I'm gonna make sure you get used to that."
She pulled away, swinging her arms around to rest behind her back as she leant forward playfully. "So! On that note… you're not going to practice with me as a Gramarye."
Apollo looked as confused as ever. "Alright. So I can take this off now?"
"Nope!" Trucy grinned. "You're still going to practice with me! But… just as my brother, and because I want us to do something fun together. Please?"
Apollo stood silently for a moment, trying to seek an appropriate response to escape Trucy's sibling bonding fantasy. "But… I'm a lawyer!"
"Apollo!" she pouted.
He sighed. "Fine, fine." The words had barely left his mouth before Trucy squeaked happily and spun off, calling to him over her retreating shoulder.
"I'll get our first act put together!"
"No sawing me in half!"
He hoped she'd heard his plea – though he doubted she'd comply even if she had. With another long sigh, Apollo faced the mirror again to stare at the tacky cape still draped over his shoulders. It didn't seem to matter how long he stared – he didn't feel any more like a Gramarye. Still, helping Trucy out with a few magic tricks wouldn't hurt. Or, shouldn't hurt, so long as she kept away any juggling knives or rings of fire.
He definitely wasn't ready to accept Thalassa as his mother yet, either. He would try. She wanted to make amends with him, clearly. She'd put herself on the line with her admission, too. He'd helped her gather her courage to face the light – she'd said as much after Machi's trial. He couldn't leave her in darkness again, not when she'd been brave enough to face his rejection. No, he would try to come to terms with his roots. It was the right thing to do.
He doubted becoming a stage magician was the way to do that, however. Still, it did make Trucy happy.
And if he was being totally honest, he almost liked the way the cape hung over his shoulders. Maybe if it was a bit less costume-y and more imposing…
Yes, this was going to take some adjusting.
"Apollo, are you coming? I need you to put on this blindfold!"
A fair bit of adjusting.