Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission. 



Follow the Fool

However much pride Franziska von Karma took in her mental strength and physical endurance, she, like her father, was mortal. And, having not had a proper meal in almost two days, she found that she was rather hungry. Famished, even. Though the American woman had had good intentions, Adrian Andrews’ attempt at cooking an omelet had been an unquestionable disaster—and the young prosecutor grudgingly admitted that she’d never bothered to learn how to really cook anything more than the simplest of dishes for herself, either. She’d not had the time, after all.

Since, as it turned out, there was no food in Franziska’s pantry worth mentioning, the two women decided to head out to find something to eat. Franziska excused herself, ducking back inside her bedroom to change out of her formal work attire—there were benefits to the weekend, after all. Once the door closed behind her, the prodigy sighed heavily to herself. That went…well, to be perfectly frank with herself, Franziska actually had no idea how that had gone at all.

Some of her worst fears—that
Adrian would hold a grudge, or resent what had happened to her—had been alleviated, yes. And Adrian herself truly seemed better off and more stable now than when Franziska had seen her last. She was actually… grateful for what the lawyer had done, and the German girl would have been lying if she said that some part of her—all right, quite a bit of her—wasn’t touched at the thought. Everything in her conscious mind said that the conversation and her apology had gone rather well.

So… why did she feel so vulnerable, all of a sudden?

My father needed a successor, but I couldn’t live up to that… and I don’t know if I want to. I thought… I thought that Miles needed his older sister, but he was actually better off without me… he doesn’t need me anymore. Maybe he never did.

I thought that
Adrian… maybe she needed a protector, someone to take responsibility for her and guard her. Maybe she did, four months ago. But the woman beyond that door is different… she doesn’t need someone to take responsibility for her. I was deluding myself. She doesn’t need me either.

Franziska closed her eyes, shaking her head to nobody in particular. Was that just it? Did I worry about her for four months just out of some pathetic impulse to be needed? Is that why I memorized the date her sentence ended, or gave Miles that phone number to give to her… or gave a damn about her? Was I trying to fool myself into thinking that there was somebody on this planet who actually needed me?

…that doesn’t feel right. No, I
know that’s not right. But… it’s the only explanation that makes sense. What… what else could there be?

She sighed again, kicking off her boots, for once not caring that they weren’t in their specifically designated spot. Franziska entered her bathroom, twisting the dial on the wall that caused the nearby shower to hiss into life, streams of water cascading onto the porcelain bathtub below.

The young woman disrobed as she waited for the shower to heat up, hanging the various pieces of her usual outfit in her closet or putting them in the laundry basket where appropriate. Franziska, testing the water with her hand to make sure it wasn’t too hot, pulled the curtain to the side and stepped in, closing her eyes as the warm embrace of the water and the gentle caress of the rising steam enveloped her body, washing away two days of frantic work and exhaustion.

Franziska stood in the shower motionless, letting the streams of water dance over her face, dripping down onto her skin and then to the ceramic surface below, letting it rejuvenate and calm her. I’m such a fool. She… who was I to think that she could need me like I imagined she did? Look at her now… she knows more about herself and who she is and what she wants than I ever have. Who am I to place myself above her like that?

If everything I felt towards her, all that responsibility and maybe… maybe even a bit of caring… was that just for such a puerile, selfish reason? I refuse to believe that. But then why haven’t I been able to stop thinking about her?

She was in the middle of washing her short, blue-gray hair when she heard a knock on the bathroom door, and a muffled voice call, “Franziska?”

Who told you you could come into my room without my permission? She wanted to ask, but instead responded, “…yes?”

“I’m trying to make a reservation at a restaurant for us. Do you know anything good, or have any preferences?”
Adrian’s voice was muted through the hard wood of the door and the rushing sounds of the shower.

Franziska shook her head, even though
Adrian couldn’t see the motion. “I… I don’t really eat out much,” she replied, “I have no preference. Pick what you want.” The other woman responded a wordless affirmative, leaving Franziska alone with her thoughts. It makes no sense… the foolish thoughts of a foolishly foolish girl with foolishly foolish desires and foolish dreams.

A minute later, there was another call. “Franziska…?”

The German woman sighed to herself. “Yes?”

“…there’s no section in the dictionary about making a reservation at a restaurant. And they don’t speak English.”

She sighed again. “
Adrian… it’s barely noon. We don’t need to make reservations for lunch. If we do, I will handle it.”

All right.”

Well… maybe she still needs a translator. But nothing more.


Franziska placed the black newsie-style cap on her head, thankful that her relatively short hair dried quickly. She quickly checked herself in the mirror on the sliding door of her closet, making sure that she looked as perfect as one could expect in her situation. She was wearing a dark sleeveless shirt that fit her snugly and exactly, and was just short enough to leave a bit of her midriff exposed. Her pants were black with a white belt more for the visual contrast than to hold them up, a white that was matched by her white pumps that she often wore when not in her formal court attire.

She exited into the main room of her apartment, slinging the thin strap of her purse across her shoulders as she did so.
Adrian, too, had changed into a black halter top of the style Franziska had grown accustomed to her wearing, with a pair of turquoise bell-bottoms that the young lawyer decided it would be best to not comment on. Hearing the door open, Adrian looked up, and Franziska saw her face register something that seemed to be a mixture between shock, surprise, and amusement. “Is… something the matter?”

Adrian shook her head, adjusting her glasses as she stood up, smiling warmly at the other. “No, it’s just… this is the first time I’ve ever seen you wearing something that wasn’t the outfit you always wear.” She looked thoughtful for a moment, though Franziska got the impression that it was a slightly facetious expression. “Actually, I… really never imagined you wearing anything else.”

The American woman smiled again. “You look great in it, Franziska. It suits you well.”

After a moments hesitation, Franziska managed to slip a smile onto her own face as well—for once, not the cocky grin of the confident and collected prosecutor, but a genuine smile that carried up into her eyes. Franziska couldn’t remember the last time she’d smiled like that. “…thank you. Miles helped me pick it out.” With that, she headed to the door,
Adrian following her. The two of them left her apartment, and she locked the door behind them. “So… where are we going?”

“I think I found an Italian restaurant a little walk away,” answered the other woman, idly taking off her glasses and running a hand through her long blonde hair that had caught the drift of a gentle summer breeze. “I… I think so, anyway. Gian DiMarco… or maybe just Marco. It was something like that.”

Franziska nodded, letting the wind’s caress cool her skin for a few moments before speaking. “I believe I know the place. Very well then, shall we?”

The two of them had been walking for about a minute before
Adrian asked, “You mentioned Miles earlier… who did you mean? Who’s this ‘Miles’ that picked out such a cute outfit, because he’s got very nice taste.” She laughed softly and good-naturedly.

The younger woman arched a blue-gray eyebrow silently. “Miles is my younger brother,” was all she volunteered, reading the signs of the various eateries and restaurants they passed trying to find one that sounded like the name Adrian had gave her.

“Oh? What does he do… is he a fashion designer or something?”

Franziska turned her head to look at her companion, a look on her face that seemed to fall exactly between “incredulous” and “ticked pink.” “No,” she said slowly, with a tone that sounded like she was explaining a concept as simple as basic addition to a child. “Miles is a lawyer. You’ve met him before.”

Adrian looked startled, reflexively removing her glasses and blinking her eyes for a moment. “You… you can’t mean Mr. Edgeworth, can you? He’s your brother?!” Franziska said nothing, merely nodding. “But… you don’t have the same last name,” said the blonde woman with a pensive look on her face. “Did he change his name? Or maybe… was he adopted? An adoptive brother?”

With the same tone she’d used before—as though this was the simplest, most fundamental concept in the world—Franziska simply responded, “He’s Miles. That’s all.” She returned to scanning the names of the establishments they passed before seeing a little Italian café that was, sure enough, named ‘Gian DiMarco.’

Her companion’s face brightened at the sight, “Oh! I was right about the name! I thought that was what he said, but he had a very thick accent…” she trailed off.

Franziska signaled to a waiter with a brief tilt of her head, nothing more, and the short, thin little man hurried over to the two ladies, leading them to one of the several outdoor tables that had several other couples seated around them, enjoying the balmy weather. The two of them sat down at their table, Franziska idly drumming her fingers on the meshed metal it was made out of. “Wait…”
Adrian started to say, a puzzled look in her eyes, as the waiter returned with a pair of menus. “So… you said that he was your younger brother, right? Aren’t you eighteen, though? Then… that doesn’t make any sense.”

The prodigy sighed softly. “He’s Miles,” she repeated, but something spurred her to elaborate for the blonde woman. “I’ve known him since I was…” she paused, thinking to herself before admitting, “I actually can’t ever remember life without Miles. My father was… well, he was my father, and the staff wasn’t much family. My sister went to university when I was 5, so she was never home much.”

She smiled, a wistful smile that spoke volumes completely silently. “He was… I guess the closest thing I ever had to ‘normal’ family. I’d already become so preoccupied and… obsessed, really, with my study of the law that I wanted to act as adult and mature as I could. So, I pretended that he was my younger brother and—and he looked up to me as a big sister.” Franziska rested her chin in her hand, staring off into space with no real focus whatsoever. “I don’t actually think my father ever legally adopted him, come to think of it. But… that didn’t matter to me. He was Miles, my little brother. That’s… just how it was. How it always would be.”

Franziska shook her head softly, feeling her face flush in embarrassment. “It’s… it sounds so silly, saying it out loud.” The volume of her voice softened suddenly as she continued to speak. “I… I don’t actually think I’ve ever told anyone that before,” said the attorney, a look of surprise on her face. That was… almost easy. It just slipped out. What… I’ve never told anyone that before!

Something had changed in the time between when she’d frantically jumped out of bed that morning and the present. She could… feel a looseness hanging in the air somehow, as if there had been something plugging and stopping up her breath, and now that thing was gone, and she could speak and talk and breathe and she had smiled. What… what had changed? Franziska prided herself on her skills of deductive reasoning and logic, but this made no sense.

“It’s not silly,” said
Adrian gently, resting her cheek in one hand as she idly twirled a few stray strands of yellow hair with the other. “I think it’s sweet and adorable… thank you for telling me that, Franziska.” Her lips turned upwards in that warm smile that Franziska had so easily shrugged off just hours before—but it was almost like something that wasn’t quite under her control had grabbed hold of her body and forced her to beam right back. It was nonplussing, to say the least. “Your father, though? What sort of person was he?”

“Have you decided what you want to order yet,
Adrian?” Franziska asked, her nose suddenly in the menu. Out of the corner of her vision, the younger girl saw Adrian raise a golden eyebrow, clearly registering the abrupt change of topic, but respectfully saying nothing.

The American woman shrugged to herself, and Franziska thought she saw her faintly blush. “I… I left my book at home,” she said, “I was sort of hoping you… could order for me? Since I don’t know how to say it…”

Franziska nodded to herself as she perused the options. “Okay. I can do that if you want. What do you want me to tell them?”

“…the menu’s in German, Franziska. I can’t read it either.”

With a deadpan look on her face, the young prosecutor arched an eyebrow in disbelief. “
Adrianit’s Italian food. You don’t need to be able to speak German to order Italian food.”

“You do when the course descriptions are all in German!” pointed out
Adrian in a tone of voice that was somewhere between a desperate plea and barely restrained laughter. “Franziska… please order for me? I wouldn’t know what I was ordering. Even… even if it is Italian food. In Germany.” She screwed up her face, suppressing a laugh. “Oh. I… I didn’t realize how silly that phrase just sounded until I said it out loud just now. Can I just get what you get, then?”

The prodigy nodded as she set the menu down on the table. “All right. I was going to just get plain spaghetti, is that okay with you?”
Adrian nodded, and Franziska called the waiter over, placing the order. He scurried off to place it, leaving the two women at the table by themselves.

Adrian,” Franziska broke the silence for once. “Your family… did you tell them about your… your release from prison?” Adrian suddenly looked sad, and Franziska got the feeling that she’d said something she rather wasn’t supposed to say. “If not, that’s understandable, I imagine you’d have been very busy…” her voice trailed off. It was a lame cover for her faux pas and she knew it.

Her companion shook her head softly. “No, that’s not it. I don’t… I don’t really know if you could say I have a family, really. I was an only child, so I never had any brothers or sisters. My mother… she died when I was 9, of breast cancer. My dad remarried but I… I never got along well with my step-mom.”
Adrian looked up at Franziska, shrugging softly. “She meant well, but I think it was just at the wrong time in my childhood for something like that to happen. And my dad was always a chain-smoker but after my mother’s death he picked it up… we found out he had lung cancer when I was 13, and he died of it two years later.”

She laughed, but there was no real feeling behind it and Franziska could tell it was forced. “My step-mom remarried after that. So, I legally have parents, but… neither of them are really my family. I haven’t talked to them since I graduated from high school.”

Franziska’s voice was an ashamed whisper. “I’m so sorry,
Adrian. I didn’t know…” She hadn’t known, and there was no way she could have known, but somehow it felt like she should have known, illogical and stupid as that was. “I shouldn’t have asked.”

Adrian shook her head again, a bit more forcefully. “No… no, it’s okay, really,” she gave a thin smile, but Franziska got the sense that she was actually telling the truth about that. “It’s been a long time. I’ve learned to cope. You couldn’t have known, so don’t worry about it.”

“I… I envy you your ‘little brother,’” said the older girl. “At least you had him. That must have been nice.”

“Miles went to
America to take his bar exam there when I was 12,” said Franziska softly. “My father stayed there most of the time, only coming back occasionally. Four months ago… it was the first time I’d seen him in six years.”

The American woman laughed softly again, more at the absurdity of it all than out of any real humor. “What a pair we are,” she echoed her statement from earlier in the day. “But… at least I had a bit of a childhood, Franziska. Your life—it’s amazing. I can’t even begin to think what it was like…” she shrugged, and the two of them were silent for a few short eternities.

“I only ever told Celeste that story,” said
Adrian at last. “Neither Matt nor Juan… I never told it to them.” She adjusted her glasses, her voice taking on a spiteful tone. “Not that they would have ever paid attention to it or given a damn because it wasn’t directly related to their ratings or earnings reports, of course. Still… you’re the first person I’ve told about my parents since Celeste.” Her expression softened again in a wry grin. “So now that makes us even, okay?”

“What was Celeste like?” Franziska’s conscious mind immediately snapped at her for asking such an invasive question, especially after the debacle with Adrian’s family… but it had just slipped out completely naturally, and Franziska had no idea how or why. To her surprise,
Adrian didn’t look shocked or hurt or upset like Franziska had predicted she would have, but smiled—a sad smile tinged with emotion but a smile nonetheless.

“Celeste… was amazing,” said
Adrian softly, eyes slightly unfocused and looking off into the distance. “You couldn’t help but be drawn to her charisma, her intelligence, and her strength. She was so smart and brilliant and calculating, and she could be such a shrewd businesswoman, but she was also warm and funny and loved to smile and laugh—though she never showed that side of her in public. I met her when I was sixteen, a year after my father’s death. She was nineteen, and already knew what she wanted to do with her life.”

Adrian closed her eyes as she continued to speak. “My step-mom wanted me to go to university after I graduated high school, but I chose to follow Celeste into the world of managing actors… I chose what might have been an entire lifetime career just because I wanted to follow a single woman,” she laughed. “That’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean… I was so devoted to her. I don’t think I kept anything from her, ever. She tried to teach me everything about the business, but I never had her brilliance.”

“She was everything to me,” admitted the blonde woman. “She was everything to me… a friend, a mentor.” There was a pause before she spoke again, as if she was thinking fiercely over what she was about to say. “I guess… I guess I was in love with her,” admitted the gentle American, her cheeks flushing red.

Franziska nodded absentmindedly. “So you’re a… you’re a… a…” she trailed off, stopping the question by sheer force of will alone. The two of them might have been discussing very personal information with as much hesitation or anxiety as talking about the weather—which in itself was inexplicable—but Franziska refused to go that far. That was absolutely none of her business, and yet she found herself inexplicably curious.

Adrian was a remarkably perceptive woman, and laughed softly to Franziska’s chagrin, “A lesbian? I… hm. That’s… that’s a good question.” She thought about it for about half a minute, with the blue-haired German girl too embarrassed by having asked the question in the first place to speak. “I don’t know,” answered Adrian at long last. “I know I had crushes on boys when I was growing up, but not since I’ve been an adult. Then again… when your two nearest representatives of a gender are Matt Engarde and Juan Corrida, it might not make a girl particularly keen on the entire lot of them.” She giggled to herself.

She pushed her glasses a bit farther up along the bridge of her nose before shrugging. “I don’t know. I don’t think it mattered to me one way or another, really. I didn’t feel the way I did about Celeste because she was a woman, I know that much. I loved her because… because she was Celeste. And that’s all that really ever mattered to me.”

As if she’d been deeply struck by a realization,
Adrian fell silent, looking down at the mesh grate of the table. “Wow,” she said at last with a short, incredulous laugh. “That…? I never told that to anyone before. Not even Celeste. It just… it slipped out. I didn’t even mean to say all of that… I never told anybody that.”

Adrian shrugged again, though not to any question in particular. “I… sometimes it’s hard to really believe that she’s gone, you know? It was just so sudden… and I know you read the report about how I tried to follow her but couldn’t even tie a noose properly… couldn’t even kill myself properly. But… she wouldn’t have wanted that. Celeste didn’t feel about me in the same way I felt about her, I know that… but I do know that she cared for me.”

Looking up at the younger prodigy of the prosecuting stand,
Adrian rested her chin in her hand. “She wouldn’t have wanted me to suffer and put myself through what I did for those two years… I’m almost sure of it. Maybe… maybe I’m honoring her memory better by moving on and not dwelling on it anymore. What do you think, Franziska?”

For one of the first times in her life, Franziska had absolutely nothing to say, going over dozens and dozens of potential responses that all felt empty and trite—but luckily,
Adrian laughed and adjusted her glasses, shaking her head once more. “You don’t have to answer that. I don’t know if it’s possible to answer it, really.”

The two of them sat in silence for about a minute, looking anywhere but at the other, before
Adrian asked, a curious tone in her voice, “Just… just out of curiosity, why did you ask? About… about me and… if I was… you know,” she said haltingly.

“Why…?” Franziska’s control wasn’t enough to keep surprise off her face for a split instant. Why did I? It just… I have no idea. She shrugged, keeping her tone even. “Oh… I was just wondering. No real reason.” Her cheeks were hot, and she had absolutely no idea why. Perhaps the exhaustion of the past few days had caused her to come down with a fever?

Adrian answered, falling silent again.

Franziska looked up suddenly, and smiled—it came easily, deceptively quickly. “Thank you. For… for trusting me enough to tell me all that.”

You’re welcome,” responded
Adrian with a soft, matching grin. “Thank you for trusting me enough to listen.”

Then their food arrived, and so Franziska was left wondering what exactly the blonde woman had meant by that.



To Next Chapter