Author's Note: Hello, all. Have a story that won't leave me alone.
The writing style's going to be a bit different here, as it's a bit more difficult to merge a video game narrative with THG than, say, an animated narrative. Also, this is more of a matter of writing something I need to write rather than created a polished work of art, so the smooth-reading editing won't be happening so much. I do apologise for that; I'll at least try to keep actual errors out of the work. Aside from that, I make no promises.
And for anyone not familiar with Phoenix Wright... Firstly, I recommend it. Secondly, you'll miss a lot of jokes and coincidences, but you should be able to keep up. Lastly, I opened the story in a way consistent with the openings of cases, so sorry if the initial transition seems a bit jerky.
Otherwise... The characters are younger, of course. This only features characters from the first game and the first trial of the second because that's as far as I've played (I'm working on it, all right?). They don't exactly all know each other, and... yeah. It's a crossover. Let's have some fun.
I can feel the sticky blood snaking down my forehead, even when I can't see the ground in front of me anymore. My skull must be breaking into smaller and smaller pieces, the way it feels, and...
I guess this is it. As hard as I tried... I guess it couldn't have turned out any other way.
Maya... I'm sorry that this had to happen. But this... this is the end.
I've just managed to convince Larry that now is not the time to make kissy faces at his girlfriend when the escort draws a name.
Sometimes I have to wonder what's wrong with Larry. Beard Guy up there is about to throw someone into a field full of murder, and he's still acting normal. Or, his "normal."
But even if he does get a little crazy when it comes to his girlfriends, he's a good guy at heart. It's not like he doesn't care about what's going on; he... would just rather make kissy faces at his girlfriend. I guess he wants to enjoy every moment of the week or so he'll have together with this one.
Assuming she isn't about to be reaped.
Holding my breath, I watch the escort take the slip back to the podium in the center of the stage. With his grave expression, he reads the paper silently before looking up at us.
"I declare District Five's female tribute to be—" He holds up the slip, as if everyone beyond the stage can read the words for himself. The sixteen-year-old section gives one of the best views, and I can barely tell that there are two words on the paper.
A girl from the age section just behind me starts to push her way through the crowd. The two giant beads in her hair match her purple overcoat, although the huge bow around her waist is a little more pinkish. As she walks up somberly, the large, white beads of her necklace clack quietly in the quiet of the reaping crowd.
..."F-Fey"! Is she Chief's little sister? The curvy stone in the middle of that necklace even matches hers...!
The escort watches her walk onstage and calls for any volunteers. No one looks ready to throw herself in, even when Maya's eyes start to water. Don't cry, Maya...
Maybe I should do something. I can't take her place, but... She's Mia's sister! I have to do something. Should I volunteer for male tribute, or wait and see what happens...?
I guess I shouldn't be so hasty. This is the Hunger Games we're talking about. I won't be able to protect her very well unless I want to die—not to mention murder the other tributes. And I can't do that. Even if I have no other way to repay Mia for what she's done for me...
Darn it! I-I should have looked after Maya right after Chief died. I thought I had enough to worry about myself, but now it's too late.
I'm sorry, Maya. I wish I could help, but... I can't go in that arena.
The escort moves on to the bowl of boys' names and, closing his eyes to ensure the pick is fair, takes one from somewhere in the middle. Maya is looking down at her feet rather than watching him as he returns to the podium microphone.
"And," he says, "I declare the male tribute to be—" I feel Larry stiffen next to me. I guess he could only celebrate his girlfriend's luck for a minute before he had to worry about his own.
I just stare at Beard Guy blankly, although sweat is already soaking into my undershirt. It takes Larry screaming to snap me out of it.
"Nick! No—Nick!" He grabs my arm. "Don't go up there, man! You can't go! They'll kill you!"
Stammering, I wrench myself out of his grasp, but he doesn't stop blubbering.
"Larry." I inhale and look at him seriously. "Shut up before they think you're volunteering!"
Cutting off in the middle of my name, he chokes and gives up, watching with shiny, teary eyes as I turn towards the stage. Either everyone knows my name or Larry gave it away just now, because the crowd has already parted in front of me.
Hands trembling... Vision... fading...
Shaking myself, I march ahead with my chin up, focusing on my breathing and hoping I don't manage to trip on the way there. I make it over the steps fine and take my space opposite Maya.
Is... this really happening? Us two? We're going to the Hunger Games?
"If there are no volunteers..." The escort pauses, although not as long as he did for Maya. "...Then I present to you your tributes for the Eleventh Annual Hunger Games!"
...This is happening. What am I going to do? How am I supposed to handle a situation like this? If only Chief were here—
"Please shake hands, and then you will be escorted to the Justice Building for your final goodbyes."
Jumping, I look up at Beard Guy, who frowns. "Were you listening, Mr. Wright?"
"Uh, uh, yes, Your Honor!" I cringe. "Sorry..." Rubbing the back of my neck, I sidestep him to see Maya. She's still sniffling, looking at the ground as she holds out her hand. The poor girl. Now that I've been dragged into this, there's no way I can let her try to fend for herself.
I take a deep breath and shake her hand.
"Maya," I say, voice low. "I am going to defend you."
I don't know why they call this the Justice Building. There's nothing just about the place. Does it help free the innocent? Convict criminals? Allow all crimes to be tried in—What did those books call them?—a court of law? No. In fact, it does exactly the opposite; they should call it the Injustice Building! I guess that would be bad for their image, though. Hmm...
The room I get is definitely centered on the color blue. It's a bit eyesore, but at least it matches my suit.
Two chairs face a lumpy couch, where I sit. A Peacekeeper—more like Conflictkeeper!—stands with his back against the door as he stares ahead, unmoving. The wallpaper has a pattern based on the classic atom diagram, and it's peeling a bit. From the shade, I'd guess no one part has been replaced recently. The old carpet is faded between the couch and the door; I guess this room doesn't get much use outside of people sitting here. What else did they do here before tributes were first brought in?
The door swings open with a creak, and I reflexively get to my feet.
"Nick!" Larry charges in as the guard closes the door behind him.
"Larry," I reply, trying to keep my voice steady.
Tears running down his cheeks, he fists his hands a few times. "I'm finished! What am I supposed to do without you, Nick?"
Great to know you have so much faith in me... Although I guess there's really no reason to believe I'll get out of this alive.
"You'll be fine." Maybe not for a while, but... "Just, uh, try to stay out of trouble, all right?"
Sniffing, he nods. "What about you? Are you—are you gonna be okay?"
I slouch. "Um... How are we defining 'okay'?"
"Yeah... Yeah, I guess you have a point." He looks to the side. "I... I just don't know what to say. You're my best friend, Nick. You've helped me out of so many problems, I-I probably wouldn't even be here without you. I wish I could—I should have volunteered, darn it!"
"No, no." I shake my head. "I wouldn't want you to. I-I appreciate it, though."
"Nick..." Sobbing, he just scans over me like he's trying to cement the image in his mind. It's probably the last time he'll see me in person, so I can't blame him. It'll be the last time I see him, too...
Squeezing my eyes shut, I give him a one-armed hug.
"You're my best friend, too. And I owe you a lot. I wish we didn't have to say goodbye like this." Not gonna cry. Not gonna cry...
With Larry bawling in my ear, it's a little hard to keep my resolve, but I at least manage to keep tears from spilling over.
"Sir. It's time for you to leave."
I turn to see the guard frowning at Larry and shrug my way out of the hug.
"Sorry." I sniff, tilt my head down a bit, and smile. "I guess this is goodbye, then."
"Y-yeah." His arms drop to his sides like they're dead. "Bye, Nick. Good luck out there."
"Thanks," I say as the Peacekeeper hauls him out.
Luck, huh? I wonder if anyone could win this thing out of luck. But then again, I guess I won't be winning it. And luck's not going to be enough to protect Maya, I'm sure. I don't think I'm going to be enough to protect her. I don't know how I'm going to pull this off, and... honestly, I really don't think it's poss—
No. I'm going to do this, somehow. There's a chance, as long as I don't give up.
Ha! What would Mia say if she caught me trying to be this hopeless? Wright. Never give in, even when it seems hopeless. Things change depending on how you look at them. You have to believe in yourself if you want to do anything worthwhile. Chin up. You can figure this out.
Yeah. I guess it's hard to imagine how, but I have to believe that I can do this.
I won't let you down, Chief.
Once the guard pries my parents away from me, I'm rushed to the train station. Maya, teary-eyed and silent, walks next to me as Beard Guy leads, holding out his arms to spread the pressing crowd. Apparently the Capitol must have sent over a whole crowd of photographers, because they're closing in on all sides snapping pictures. I hope my hair looks all right. Bah, when does it not?
The escort, seeing that his cries for the paparazzi to move aside in an orderly fashion are going unanswered, picks up the pace as we near the train. One final push, and we're through.
Panting, I check on Maya. She kept up fine, and she's at least looking around instead of gluing her gaze to her sandals.
I do a little looking around myself. The train car doesn't have anywhere to sit but the floor; it must just be some sort of welcome room. The far wall is mostly occupied by what some abstract-painting-lovers might consider art, although I would call it a mistake. A window, showing the shadows of the train station at the moment, runs along above it. On the inside walls are mounted vases and other adornments. While we're standing in front of a double door now, both of the side doors are plain sliding doors with handles. There's not really anything else to wonder about.
I turn back towards Maya. "You doing okay?"
Blinking, she turns towards me. "I guess..."
"If you two are ready," the escort says, "lunch will be served shortly. Take a ten-minute break, and we'll meet in the dining car." He gestures to the door on our left.
Maya puts her hands together and does a little bow. "Thank you, Your Honor."
Beard Guy lifts his eyebrows, but then he nods and steps over to the dining car.
I look at Maya. "That's not actually his name, is it?"
"Huh?" She presses her arms to her sides. "I don't know—maybe it is."
Does anyone know this guy's name? I'm sure he must have told us at some point, but... Then again, maybe he hasn't.
"Didn't you call him that?" she continues.
"Well, yeah..." It was just my mouth running, but... "You want to address him like that?"
"Why not?" She claps her hands together and smiles. "And then, your friends call you 'Nick,' right?"
I pause. Why would she know—Oh. All of Larry's screaming. That might have clued her in.
"Well, Larry calls me that."
"Oh. So what do your other friends call you?"
"Uh... My other friends...?" I catch myself slumping and try to stop it. Putting my arms akimbo to help straighten me up, I say, "You can call me Nick or Phoenix. I don't mind."
She nods quickly. "Okay. I think I'll call you Nick, then. And I'm just Maya. Nice to meet you."
The train jerks into motion, sending Maya stumbling with a yelp.
"Whoa!" One hand on the outside doorframe, I dip and grab her arm before she can fall. The edges of her shoes skid on the floor a little before she rights herself.
"Thanks." She glances at the wall-mounted vase dangerously close to her head.
"Don't mention it."
She takes a big step away from the vase and pauses. After watching me silently for a second, she says, "Nick... Why were you saying that you would defend me?"
I let my hand slide off the slick doorframe. "Because that's what I intend to do." I smile a little. "You seem like a nice girl, so I don't think I'll regret it... But I said that at first because of your sister."
She folds her hands in front of her. "M-Mia? Wait!" She jumps, leaning back. "You're that Phoenix?"
Did... Did you think I was a different Phoenix?
"Yeah, I guess so." I rub the back of my neck with a sheepish grin. "Uh, did she talk about me a lot?"
She looks at her feet as she points her toes together. "Well, some." She looks up. "Okay. I understand, then. Still—" she gives me a big smile—"it's really nice of you, Nick. I'll look after you, too!"
"Thanks." My smile relaxes a little.
We're in a terrible situation here. I don't know how we're going to handle it. But... I think we could work together pretty well. We'll wrestle with the situations when we get to them. I just have to trust that we'll be able to.