Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission.  This fic is rated NC-17 for adult male/male content and some violent material.  C&C welcome and appreciated.




One of Every Color

Chapter 8

Friday, September 20h, 2019.  9:40 am




"You don't look so well…Mr. Wright."


Phoenix's shoulders drooped.  He had stepped off the bus that morning knowing full well he would have to face several people he would rather not, but to be first greeted by Urami Shikabane indicated the day was not off to a good start.  Despite having paid particular attention to his appearance--his suit was freshly dry-cleaned and his hair especially spiky--Urami's grim salutation only reminded him of his sleepless night, and how visible the effects of it must be. 


"Thanks, Urami."  Phoenix straightened his tie self-consciously.  Who could sleep after yesterday anyway?  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since-- He cleared his throat when he felt himself beginning to blush.  "I'll be fine."


"Good.  I'm…looking forward to the trial."  She turned toward the courthouse with a slight smile.  "Shall we?"


"Yeah, sure…."


Phoenix walked with her up toward the building, and was momentarily blinded by a sudden camera flash.  He shielded his eyes but was determined to keep moving.  "Lotta?"


"Go get'm, Wright!" Lotta's familiar voice carried.  But she wasn't the only photographer gathered on the steps that morning; in fact, there was a flock of reporters, and as Phoenix drew near they all started snapping away at once.  It had been a while since Phoenix had drawn such a crowd, and he winced as he pushed his way through the shouting, sparkling mob toward the doors.


"Mr. Wright!  What made you take this case?"


"Mr. Wright--are you really working for the mob!?"


"Do you have any comment on the fire at the Prosecutor's Office?"


"N-No comment!" Phoenix called, taking Urami's arm to help her through the bustling audience.  As they reached the top of the stairs a pair of policemen stepped forward to keep the reporters back, and Phoenix started to breathe a sigh of relief.  He then ran smack into a broad figure in the doorway.


"Hey, Pal."


Phoenix flinched at the stern tone, and glanced up into the face of an uncharacteristically terse Dick Gumshoe.  The detective had his arms crossed over his chest as he frowned at the pair.


Urami didn't miss a beat; she nodded politely and stepped easily around him.  "Good morning, Detective…"


Gumshoe watched her pass with a careful eye.  "Miss Shikabane."


"Morning, Detective," Phoenix greeted cheerily.  He tried to sidestep and continue on as Urami had, but Gumshoe turned, following him into the building.  Despite all his foolish antics of the past Gumshoe was still a much larger man, and Phoenix felt only a little ridiculous for being intimidated.  "Can I help you?"


"Shouldn't have taken this case, Pal," Gumshoe said, matching him step for step, even when Phoenix tried to speed up.  "Haven't you caused enough trouble around here?"


"Me?"  Phoenix puffed himself up indignantly.  "You're one to talk."


It was a low blow, really, which Phoenix blamed on stress and lack of sleep.  But it didn't seem to affect Gumshoe at all.  "I don't know what ya said to him, but cut it out, all right?  Hasn't he been through enough?"


Phoenix frowned, feeling his blush threaten to resurface.  Did Edgeworth say something to him?  He glanced ahead, where Urami was continuing without looking the slightest bit interested in their conversation.  He knew she was listening.  "I don't know what you mean."


Gumshoe grabbed him by the elbow, jerking both of them to an abrupt stop.  His tough guy act had already failed, and gived way to honest concern.  "He finally came home," he told Phoenix seriously.  "This city needs him."


Phoenix felt his chest constrict briefly; Gumshoe's expression of sincerity was almost moving.  He gently peeled the hand off his arm.  "Detective…I know.  Don't worry--Edgeworth's not going anywhere."  He turned to continue after Urami, and this time Gumshoe didn't follow.


Not until we've had a long talk, at least.


He caught up with Urami just outside the Defense Lobby.  "What was that all about…?" she asked lightly.


"It's nothing."


They entered together and there met with Phoenix's latest client.  He was startled to see Chassie in normal clothing.  She was dressed in full black: a long, narrow skirt that slit to her knee, and a fitted suit coat with silver buttons and a man's silk neck tie.  Her black hair had been combed straight and she even appeared to be wearing a light application of make up.  In all she was much too gothic for Phoenix's tastes, but even he had to admit she looked rather pretty.  In a creepy, ceramic, vampire doll kind of way.


"Do you like it…?"  Urami moved around to Chassie's side, taking her hand in both of hers.  "It's a big day.  I thought she should…look her best."


"It's fine," Phoenix assured.  He was strangely relieved; seeing his client in something other than a prison jumper helped him imagine what she might have been like before the incident four years ago.  It was pretty clear that she and Urami were friends, at least.  "How are you feeling, Miss Gander?"


"Nervous," Chassie replied.  Though her face was still, her hand was clenched around Urami's.  "Will I testify today?"


"Maybe.  It depends on how long April's testimony takes, and if the Judge is convinced by our evidence."  He managed a reassuring smile.  "Everything will be fine.  You trust me, right?"


Both girls nodded.  "We're counting on you, Mr. Wright," Urami said.


It's finally starting.  Phoenix checked his briefcase one last time as they waited for the bailiff to call for them.  I'm glad.  It won't be an easy trial, but at least then it'll be over.  As stressful as court was, Phoenix was used to it by now, and the routine helped to put his jumbled thoughts into order.  Don't worry about Edgeworth.  Just focus on the case.


The door opened.  "Mr. Wright, Miss Gander--the court is ready for you."


Phoenix led the way outside with Chassie and Urami close behind, down the hall to the courtroom they had been assigned.  On the way he ran into Detective Gumshoe again, but this time he wasn't alone: he and Miles were heading toward the same entrance from the other direction.  The sight of the suited prosecutor made Phoenix's breath catch slightly.  Their eyes met, and Miles greeted him with a slight incline of his head.




"Edgeworth," Phoenix replied, though he noticed his voice wasn't quite as collected and nonchalant as his friend's.  If Miles even remembered the afternoon before, it didn't show in his face.  We have to talk.  He licked his lips and started to suggest it.  We have to talk about it, don't we?


Before Phoenix could say more, Gumshoe pushed the courtroom doors open, and the excited chatter of the gallery startled him quiet.  They'd managed to draw quite a crowd.  Faced with such an audience, Phoenix lost his nerve and instead continued on to his bench.


Chassie was guided to a separate seat closer to the Judge's podium, but as Phoenix took to his position behind the defense desk he was startled to find Urami still next to him.  He blinked at her uneasily.  "You're not going to watch from the gallery?"


"You usually have co-council, no…?"  Urami smiled up at him.  "I want you to feel comfortable."


Phoenix did his best not to grimace.  "Gee, thanks."  Great.  All I need is a blinking light over my head that reads "Mob Lawyer."


Opposite them, Miles was getting settled behind his own desk--Gumshoe had left him to instead watch from the gallery.  He looked as prepared and confident as ever, for which Phoenix was oddly relieved.  Phoenix had worried that given the short time Miles had been given to prepare, he might have had to scramble to collect himself.  Despite what it meant for him he was glad this didn't appear to be the case.


The Judge entered then, and everyone stood as he made his way to the bench and settled.  It took a few hits of his gavel to quiet the overly anxious crowd.  "We have quite an assembly here," he remarked, glancing around.  "Well, we might as well get started.  Court is in session for the appeal of Chassie Gander, for five counts of murder.  Is council ready?"


"The prosecution is ready, Your Honor," Miles said easily.


"The defense is also ready, Your Honor," Phoenix added in turn.


"Very good.  The Prosecution may begin."


Miles tilted his chin up.  "Due to certain circumstances, Miss Starr will not be able to appear in court today to repeat her testimony.  If the defense has no objection, I will be reporting on the particulars of the case myself."


The Judge looked to Phoenix, who took a brief moment to consider.  He would have preferred Angel on the stand, as he had a feeling she would have sided with him more than Miles, but there wasn't much he could do about it.  "The defense has no objections."


"Mr. Edgeworth, you may proceed."


This is it, Phoenix thought as he braced his fingertips against the desk.  Don't let him get away with anything.


Miles shifted the police report to the top of his evidence files.  "On October 2nd, 2015, at 3:25 am, an emergency call was received by the operator on duty," he related to the court.  "It came from the residence of a small west side duplex, which had been set on fire.  The fire department and two police units were deployed to the scene, and arrived at 3:40 am.  The fire was put out, and afterwards paramedics discovered five bodies inside.  Each was burned almost beyond recognition but they were positively identified as the tenants.  The fire department concluded the fire was arson, having been started in the basement washroom both apartments shared.  All of this information was recorded by the officers at the scene and thus far no accusations have been made to its credibility."


He shot Phoenix a look, who took a deep breath to respond to the subtle accusation.  "We're not contending the facts of the case, Your Honor," he told the Judge.  "Just the police's suspect."


Miles snorted lightly and continued.  "The intensity of the fire destroyed most forensic evidence in the building.  But thanks to remaining chemical evidence, and the bits of melted glass discovered in the basement, our scientists deduced that the fire had been set using bottles of alcohol that came from Mr. Hoff's apartment."


"And how did the police determine it was Miss Gander that started the fire?" the Judge inquired.


"Several pieces of evidence," Miles replied precisely.  "An eyewitness who was at the duplex that night placed the accused at the scene.  When police visited Miss Gander's home to confirm, they discovered her in a state of confusion, with fresh lacerations on her hands and traces of alcohol on her hair and clothing.  She could not provide an alibi for her whereabouts the night of the arson, and once motive was confirmed there was little doubt."


"Motive was never 'confirmed'," Phoenix interrupted.  "You only assumed."


Miles straightened, but this time his hard gaze was on the woman accompanying Phoenix.  "Miss Gander's history as an accomplice to career criminals is well known in the force.  Given the identity of the victims, it would be impossible to assume mere coincidence."


Urami tilted her head down slightly, staring back at Miles from across the court.  Her eyes were narrowed in the closest to real anger that Phoenix had ever seen in her.  Geez Edgeworth, don't provoke her!  Phoenix cleared his throat and tried to get his friend's attention back.  "But it wasn't absolute.  And there are any number of ways a person could get cuts on their hand, or spill a drink on themselves.  That's hardly definite proof."


Miles crossed his arms irritably, but at least he wasn't glaring down Urami anymore.  "It was enough to convict her."


"Mr. Wright," the Judge cut in.  He glanced between the two of them curiously, as if able to sense the unusual tension.  "If you have no more objections, I'll let the prosecution call its first witness."


Phoenix pursed his lips.  It'll be April for sure.  "No objections, Your Honor."


"The Prosecution may proceed."


"The Prosecution calls Miss April May to the stand."


A quiet buzz filled the courtroom as April stepped down from the gallery, clad in a familiar pink blouse and too-short skirt.  She winked at Phoenix as she was sworn in and took to the stand.  "Here I am, Gentlemen," she greeted cheerily.


Please, April, Phoenix thought with a wince.  Just tell the truth.


Miles looked rather calm, and for a moment Phoenix wondered if he might have coached her somehow.  "Name and occupation?"


"April May, personal assistant," April replied, somehow able to make even her introduction sound coy.  "Long time no see, Your Excellency."  She blew the judge a kiss.


Phoenix sighed.  It's going to be a long morning.


The Judge blinked, too baffled for a moment to reply.  "Ah, yes.  'Your Honor' will do, Miss May."  A chuckle rose from the crowd, and the Judge was quick to quiet them with his gavel.  "Please tell the court once more what you saw the night of the arson."


"Sure thing."  April leaned forward slightly against the podium; she seemed to be enjoying the attention even more than the last time Phoenix had cross examined her, now that she wasn't a suspect in the case.  "I went over that night for a little party time with Mel and Libby, bless their souls.  We worked together for Bluecorp at the time.  I don't think Mel was particularly cute but with Libby around every night was a party."


"Please stick to what's relevant to the case," Miles reminded her shortly.


April glared at him, but only briefly, before falling back into character to continue her story.  "Hmph.  Anyway, around two o'clock Libby and I went outside for a smoke and some fresh air.  That's when I saw Chassie.  Jackie must've left a window open, because the little thing crawled right in, Goth boots and all!  I was kinda drunk so I didn't think much of it."


She finished, and smiled sweetly at the Judge.  He cleared his throat.  "And that's all you saw of Chassie Gander?" he asked.


"Sure was.  It was around two in the morning.  I left about thirty minutes later.  If I'd stayed over like Libby wanted, I would've burned up, too!  Thank God for Yellow Cab."


"Yes, well…if that's it, the defense may begin its cross examination."


April looked to Phoenix expectantly--he could almost see the dollar signs gleaming in her eyes.  So far so good, at least.  "Miss May," he began.  "You're sure it was Chassie Gander you saw that night?  You admit yourself you were awfully drunk."


"Of course I'm sure!"  April puffed herself indignantly, though it might as well have just been a chance to show off more of her cleavage.  "I may be a delicate lady, but I can handle my liquor.  Besides, I'd recognize that little weasel anywhere."


"So you'd met before?"  Phoenix frowned--neither woman had mentioned that to him.


"Not really, no," April admitted.  "But I'd seen her picture before.  Bluecorp and Shikabane were like cat and dog in the old days.  Mr. White insisted we know our enemies."


It wasn't a very flattering picture of Chassie, but April probably wasn't lying.  Phoenix could imagine Redd White being that careful.  He glanced at Urami to gauge her reaction, but she remained still and silent.  "So you didn't know Miss Gander personally, but you knew of her."


"Sure did."


Miles was looking impatient, but before he could say anything Phoenix got to the point.  "So did you know she and Mr. Hoff used to be lovers?"


The gallery murmured excitedly, and even Miles looked a little taken aback by the revelation.  Though the impact was good for him, Phoenix couldn't help but feel concerned.  Why did Chassie not tell them this before?  It would have explained her reason for being at the scene.  Could there be something I'm missing?


When the Judge had gotten the court under control, April finally answered.  "No, actually.  I hadn't heard that.  I only met him after he started dating Mel's sister, Ann."


"So it's possible she was there that night to see Mr. Hoff, not to kill Mr. Arky."


April folded her arms in a pout.  Now that she wasn't sure where the questioning was going, she didn't seem to want to be a part of it.  "I suppose.  But she did climb through the window."


"That only makes her more suspicious," Miles finally returned to the proceedings.  "Climbing through the window of an ex-lover in the middle of the night?  You can't say her intentions were pure."


"We can't really say anything about it," Phoenix retorted, "since this fact wasn't even discussed in the first trial."


Another round of murmurs, and this time Miles' fists clenched against his desk.  I'm sorry, Edgeworth. Phoenix licked his lips.  But the truth has to come out.  "Miss May."  His voice, a bit louder than before, helped call the gallery back to order.  "You left at 2:30, correct?"


April jumped.  "Y-Yes.  So?"


Phoenix lifted his own copy of the police report.  "The fire department estimated the fire was started around 3:15 am.  If that's true, your testimony would indicate that Chassie broke into the duplex at 2:00, and stayed for over an hour before setting anything on fire."


"Well…yes, I guess that's what that means."


"And what relevance does that have?" Miles challenged.


"It doesn't make much sense, does it?"  Phoenix set the papers down as he faced his rival.  "Why would she break into an apartment of sleeping people, only to sit around for a full hour?  If her motive was murder, what was she waiting for?"


Miles' hand came down loudly on his desk.  "Isn't it obvious?  It wasn't until after this witness left the scene that Mr. Arky and his guest went to sleep!  If she set the fire while they were awake, they would have been able to leave the building before the smoke became thick enough to suffocate them!"


"He's rather good," Urami remarked.


"Don't compliment the competition," Phoenix muttered.


The Judge nodded thoughtfully.  "It's as the prosecution says.  Unless the defense can prove the accused left the scene before the time of the fire, the time is irrelevant."


Here we go.  "Your honor, I do have proof."


Phoenix pulled Lotta's envelope from his briefcase, taking out one of the photos to hand over to the bailiff.  I have to set up the timeline.  They have to know it was impossible for her to do this!  "The defense submits this photograph, taken by April May the night of the crime."


"This is…"  The Judge accepted the photo, taking his time looking over it as Miles gnashed his teeth.  "Why, that looks like the defendant!"


"It is," Phoenix assured as the photo was finally passed on to Miles for him to see.  "Chassie Gander, in a phone booth outside the building.  Miss May, can you tell us when this photo was taken?"


Miles handed the photo back, absolutely livid as he glared at April.  "And more importantly, why you didn't offer this photo four years ago?"


April shrugged carelessly, which didn't help Miles' temper any.  "I forgot about them.  I take a lot of pictures, after all.  But this one…"  She squinted at the photo.  "What do you know, she is there!"


"When were they taken?" Miles demanded.


"My, so angry.  It was just a few minutes before I left for the night."  She handed it off to the bailiff, who returned it to Phoenix.  "So 2:20, I guess.  Maybe 2:25."


"And you didn't see her when you left?" Phoenix prompted.  "It was only a few minutes.  If she stopped to make a call and then snuck back in, you probably should have seen her."


"Objection!"  Miles pounded again on his desk.  "Chassie had already broken in.  She could have easily snuck back in the same way!  What Miss May should have seen is not the issue!"


"He's going to hurt his hand that way," Urami said quietly in amusement.


Phoenix smiled grimly.  I know the feeling.  "But still--"


"Moreover!" Miles talked over him.  "This evidence is irrelevant!  Not only has it been concealed from the police until now, but it proves nothing!  Chassie could have gone in and out of the duplex as many times as she pleased before starting the fire.  It still doesn't prove she left the scene."


"Maybe not, but…."  Phoenix held up his best evidence.  "This does."


Miles wilted a little as the crowd burst again into curious murmurs, but this time his expression was not one of surprise.  He'd known exactly what Phoenix was handing off to the bailiff long before it reached him.  The Chief Prosecutor must have warned him, Phoenix thought, fighting back a sensation of guilt.  I did have to present it to him to get the appeal filed, after all.  It's no surprise he told Edgeworth. 


"What exactly am I looking at?" the Judge asked, drawing Phoenix's attention back.


"It's a report from the Hotta Clinic, Your Honor," Phoenix explained.  "In the early morning of October 2nd Chassie was admitted to the clinic for several gashes on her hand, which she got from handling a broken wine bottle.  She was there from 2:45 to 3:50 in the morning, as was noted on her chart."


The Judge frowned thoughtfully, and Phoenix waited for him to figure it out himself.  "But that's…during the time the fire was started!"


"Exactly!"  Phoenix took his turn slamming his desk--a little drama never hurt.  "This new evidence, which the police failed to gather, proves without a doubt that Chassie was nowhere near the scene when the fire was started!  It proves her innocence!"


"Objection!" Miles predictably followed.  "The prosecution does not accept this as viable evidence.  Four years after the fact, this magical 'clinic report' appears that can fully exonerate the defendant?"  He lifted his hands in a gesture of disdain.  "It's preposterous.  There's no telling if this document is even legitimate."


"Are you implying it isn't?"  He can't really think I'd forge something like this.  "If you think it's faulty, present your evidence!"


"Ha!  With pleasure!"


"You…what?"  Phoenix blinked in surprise.  He has proof it's fake?  He glanced quickly to Urami, who was no longer looking so amused.  He doesn't really, right?


"In fact, the prosecution would like to call its next witness," Miles continued boldly.  "If we're through with Miss May here."


Phoenix blanked a moment as all eyes turned to him.  He's bluffing.  He must be.  He pulled himself together once more and nodded.  "I don't have any more questions for Miss May."


"Very well."  The Judge pounded his gavel.  "This witness is excused.  The prosecution may call its next witness."


April hopped gratefully down from the stand, and cast a quick, hard glare at Phoenix before moving to rejoin the gallery.  Phoenix barely noticed--he was watching Miles' face for any indication of what was about to come.  I talked to everyone involved.  No one knew about that clinic report until yesterday--not Angel, not even him.  So who is it?


Miles straightened, and called his next witness.



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