Miles and Franziska: Bullet For My Valentine
Renowned genius prosecutor Miles Edgeworth had
always been a methodical, logical individual. The reputation that proceeded him
was that of a lawyer who was respectable, but cold and ruthless, a side-effect
to his chosen legal profession. It was par for course. Defense attorneys were
the good guys who protected the innocent, and consequently prosecutors were
deemed the bad guys who tried to fry said innocents.
However, those encompassing traits had been the reason why up until lately, he'd been known as the Demon Prosecutor. Never one to show emotion, Miles had never let on that the unfair label had hurt and affected him quite a bit. Sure, he'd had a perfect-win record up until recently, but he'd never bribed judges and falsified evidence, like the propagandist papers claimed. Such had been tactics more applicable to his late foster-father, the cold, corrupt and ruthless Manfred Von Karma.
The legal mastermind but morally bankrupt German who had raised Miles alongside his own daughter, Franziska, had ruled their lives with impossibly high expectations and an iron fist. This was probably the reason that Miles and his whip-wielding foster sister had wound up as such emotionally-constipated, over-achieving perfectionists in the first place. The one tie that had bound each of them together was that they had all lost their flawless courtroom victory records against Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright.
Defense lawyer Phoenix Wright, his biggest courtroom rival, was the anti-Edgeworth in almost every way. Impulsive, passionate and hot-blooded whereas Miles strove to be methodical, calm and collected. The two men were one-time childhood best friends, bound together by trust.
Recently, the two had reformed their bond, and their courtroom rivalry had softened from a bitter, scathing, mud-slinging one into a friendly one, based on mutual respect and admiration.
Phoenix had grown into the earnest, heroic man that Miles had always strived to be when he grew up, until the fateful DL-6 case had changed everything. Miles both revered and envied him this, so consequently he still maintained his lofty exterior towards the other man whenever there were witnesses around. After all, he still had a reputation to uphold.
Phoenix claimed Miles' fervent defense of him in the fourth grade when he was falsely accused of stealing lunch money against the whole class was what had inspired him to become a defense attorney. Phoenix , in turn, with his sometimes naïve but unshakable loyalty and belief in his clients, had been a large part of what had caused him to reconsider his values and ways of conducting legal matters. Shortly after their friendship had resumed, Miles had left the States for some deep soul-reflection time in Europe.
Miles had returned to Los Angeles a changed man, much more relaxed about his morals and personality, and became less antagonized. He was also now less focused on guilty verdicts in favor of seeking the truth. While his indomitable nature didn't allow him to be fully capable of outright telling Phoenix what his role had been in his inner transformation, he sensed his friend knew anyway. It was that huge heart, and moreover, deeper intuition that the defense attorney possessed, the one that made him so in tune with the finer details of cases that Miles often overlooked, that made him not only an undefeatable attorney, but a great friend.
Of course, the most tangible evidence of his new found magnanimous nature was his assistance in helping Phoenix take down infamous actor Matt Engarde, the murderous son of a bitch who had been responsible for the kidnapping of Phoenix's beloved friend and legal assistant, Maya Fey.
Maya was a cheeky, ever-enthusiastic spirit medium, with a contagious smile and overall cheery disposition. She was also one of the few people in his life privy to know about his secret Steel Samurai obsession, which she also shared. It was their little secret, or so he needed to believe.
Alongside Phoenix, Maya had also gone to bat for him in court, even risked her life in order to secure evidence proving his innocence when he'd stood as the defendant on trial for his father's murder. Miles had never forgotten this, and it was all the more reason he'd been willing to go above and beyond all means to ensure the safe return of the irrepressible young woman his dear friend loved so desperately, a fact that everyone seemed to be well aware of, except for Maya, and even Phoenix himself.
They had all banded together and gotten on board to help out with the Engarde case, everyone from his subordinate, the bumbling but well-intentioned Detective Dick Gumshoe to Franziska herself, which was most telling, since she'd never forgiven Wright for destroying her perfect-win record. In fact, she had been the original prosecutor of the case initially, until fate, in the form of an assassin's bullet to the shoulder, had intervened and dramatically changed everything
It was also the moment that changed the course of his relationship with his foster sister, forever.
The Hotti Clinic, March 22, 2018 3:30 p.m.
Miles had practically worn a groove into the ground of the hospital emergency room as he paced back and forth, anxiously awaiting news on his foster sister's health.
She'd looked so small and pale and helpless as they'd wheeled her in on the gurney, and in so much agonizing pain it had nearly brought tears to his eyes to see. It was unfathomable how a tiny bullet could have taken such a toll on the normally formidable Franziska. She was such a pillar of strength. The smartest, feistiest, toughest girl he'd ever known. He admired those traits of hers so much. If he were to lose her now…
Miles raised haunted, bloodshot grey eyes and saw a kind-faced, snowy-haired doctor standing in front of him.
"I'm Doctor Weller. I've been the surgeon in charge of Ms. Von Karma's case."
"Is my sister…?" For once in his entire life, the normally articulate attorney couldn't find the right words to the form the question he was too terrified to ask.
"It was a shoulder wound, Mr. Edgeworth," the ER doctor assured him, smiling at the worried-looking prosecutor. "Good thing you were there – you got her here just in time. We were able to successfully remove the bullet. She's lost some blood, and we will have to keep an eye on her for a few days, but she's been medicated and is resting comfortably. You can go see her now."
Franziska woke up in a foggy haze to hear two pieces of news. First, the extraction of the bullet had been successful, and that despite her protests, she would be kept in the hospital for observation for the next few days. Second, her hard-earned trial, her ultimate triumph over that dummkopf, Phoenix Wright, had been taken away from her. And by none other than that traitorous fool of a Little Brother!
Neither surprised her. She had suspected as much. She was just peeved beyond belief that all her careful preparations would now go in favor of him rather than her. She felt no qualms admitting that Manfred Von Karma had been quite successful in his endeavors of pitting them against each other. It was sibling rivalry at its best. Or worst, depending on how you looked at it.
She glared as said fool entered her room, as refined, elegant, and, she was loathe to admit, handsome as ever, despite the slight disarray of his normally perfectly styled greyish-black hair and the faint worried crease of his well-groomed eyebrows.
"Franziska," he murmured, looking relieved upon seeing her awaken. "How are you feeling?"
"Just fine," she snarled, sparks flying out of her icy gray eyes. Although his appearance was welcome, it didn't do much to ease her mood. "Why are you still here? You've done your good duty of the day, have you not? You already did the heroics of rushing me here whilst driving like a madman in that sports car of yours. Surely you comprehend that you should leave me be now, so that I can rest?"
"I do," Miles agreed, frowning. "But I wanted to see you with my own two eyes, Franziska. Surely you can understand how I cannot be so heartless that I wouldn't worry about my Big Sister, as she's the only family I have left?"
"You always were a sentimental fool, Miles Edgeworth," she scoffed, unwilling to show how touched she was by his words, yet how inexplicably irked she was at his reminder that he indeed saw her as his kin. Which was ridiculous of course. What else did she want him to see her as?
Not his sister, but an actual woman mayhap? One that he had come to see for reasons other than obligatory pity?
Franziska cursed herself for her foolish train of thought. She blamed the medication. She figured it was best to keep her words to a minimum to keep her from uttering any foolish drivel that could later be used as incriminating evidence against her.
Miles didn't appear to be too affronted by the barb. He simply shrugged and offered her a half-smile, instead. "Guilty as charged, I guess. I shall not, however, repent being in ownership of a heart any more than I would expect you to atone for your lack of one."
The words stunned her. They stung. Unexpected tears sprang to her eyes at the onslaught, but she was too proud to let them fall.
"If you're done sharing your unsolicited observations on the presence of my vital organs," she said coolly, turning her head away from him. "Might I suggest you leave now, so I may get my aforementioned rest?"
"Don't you want an update on the investigation?"
"Fine." Her voice was wooden. "Go on then."
And Miles told her everything, De Killer's calling card, Celeste Inpax's suicide note, and the rescue team he had dispatched in search of Maya.
"The Fey girl has been kidnapped?" Franziska ceased her listless plucking of her hospital bed blanket, which she had been doing the entire time he was speaking in order to avoid looking at him. However, her head jerked up upon hearing this last detail.
"I hope you find her alive and well, fast. We both know what a complete mess that fool-hearted Phoenix Wright is without her. He would hardly be a worthy courtroom adversary to either of us if he's even half the emotional wreck he was the last time she was out of the picture. You told me how despondent he was when she left for home last time. He must be out of his mind right now, as that fool is so madly infatuated with her."
"A fact that all parties seem to be aware of except for Wright and Miss Fey," Miles grinned. "I will not fault Wright for his ardor however, as I am quite fond of her myself…"
"Really?" Franziska cut in, feeling the first irrational pangs of jealousy unfolding within her and thus hating herself. "How sweet, Little Brother. Does that fool attorney know that he has romantic competition for the fair damsel in distress's heart?"
"Whatever nonsense is this you are speaking of, Franziska?" Miles looked flummoxed at the words. "If you had allowed me to finish my sentence, what I was actually going to say was, I am quite fond of her myself, as she's done much for me in the past. I feel that I should at least return the favor."
"Ah yes, I remember you telling me now," Franziska mumbled, embarrassed by her outburst. She resumed her blanket plucking so he wouldn't see her pink cheeks. "Reckless girl, although admittedly admirable. She was present at Papa's trial, wasn't she? The one who secured some important evidence that secured your acquittal."
"Yes…" Miles appeared to be lost in thought for a moment, then looked at her with a knowing smirk all of a sudden. "How curiously odd that you, with your perfect memory, should forget such an important detail."
"Have you forgotten, you fool, that I am on very heavy medication?" Franziska scowled, despite turning a deeper shade of red now. "You would think you would cut me some slack, hence!"
"I would, without question," Miles said quietly, with a look in his eyes she'd never seen before. "But that would require me to have a heart now, wouldn't it?"
Franziska was speechless, for once in her life. She felt a stinging sensation behind her eyes and looked away, praying he wouldn't gloat about his victory in this particular battle of wits. She was just as foolish as he was, allowing him get to her this way and letting her emotions get the better of her. She was a Von Karma, after all, and shouldn't allow herself to be blinded with such trivial matters. Well she'd be damned if she even let him suspect…
All thoughts vanished from her mind as she suddenly felt the unexpected warmth of Miles' hand clasped over her own.
"I'm glad you're alright, Franziska."
She huffed, although she allowed their hands to remain linked. "Don't get all mushy on me now, you fool," she muttered, although her face was still slightly flushed as she stared down at their interlocked fingers, still refusing to look him in the eye. "I'm not a little girl. I don't need my Little Brother's pity."
"It's not pity," he murmured, and his hand tightened around hers.
Something in his voice made her force herself to look up at him then, and she caught her breath at the sudden intensity of his gaze.
"And I think deep down, you know that's not the case here. Just as surely as you must know that I've ceased regarding you as my Big Sister for quite some time now…"