Get Your Armor
Très Bien Restaurant, February 10, 2019, 6:30 pm
The two prosecutors sat silently at the table of Très Bien. They had been the first to arrive at the French restaurant for the dinner celebration proposed by Dick Gumshoe after the Hazakura Temple trial. They were currently awaiting the arrival of the Detective and his new wife, Maggey Byrde, Phoenix, Pearl and Maya, and Larry Butz, who Miles fervently hoped had since ceased his pitiful weeping, as the man had left a puddle of tears in his wake at the courthouse.
Despite putting on a normal front in the presence of their friends at the courthouse, Franziska had barely looked at or spoken to him the entire ride to the place, and hadn't said a word to him in the last fifteen minutes. Miles hadn't the foggiest notion of why, and it was beginning to unnerve him. He desperately wanted to ensure any discrepancies between them would be resolved before the others arrived. He was by and large still an intensely private person, as was Franziska, so he knew she whole-heartedly appreciated and supported the discretion act of them behaving as if they were merely colleagues in front of mixed company.
Living in Europe with the love of his life meant that he'd been able to keep his affairs mostly confidential – not that he was ashamed of being with Franziska, far from it! – and not let anyone back in the States know of his personal relationship.
Oh, Wright knew, of course, and consequently Maya did as well, as he'd kept in touch with both of them via phone and email, but nobody else. The surprisinglystill-unofficial duo had managed to be even more astoundingly discreet with their secret knowledge. Which was just as well. There was no reason for the others to know anything at the moment. It was none of their business.
"I know Gumshoe offered to foot the bill tonight, but you know we can't let him do that, right? The man makes in a year what you and I do in a month! I think we should at least offer to cover our own tabs, Franziska. Although, from what Miss Fey and Wright told me about this place's cuisine, I believe Monsieur Jean Armstrong should be the one to pay us for consuming his apparently substandard fare," Miles joked, looking expectantly across the table at his dining companion.
"Hmmmm…." Franziska said noncommittally, while keeping her eyes glued to her menu and refusing to look at him. Confused, Miles tried again to make conversation.
"I sincerely hope Butz is done throwing himself that pity party he forced us to attend at the courthouse," he said with forced joviality. "But I think we managed to convince the poor man that he's not completely useless and is at least an adequate artist."
Still no reply from his lover.
"Well, we can at least accredit him for having good taste in artistic inspirations, meine dame. After all, he did beg to make a portrait of you!"
Still no response from Franziska. She remained sitting there in sullen silence from him across the table, arms crossed protectively across her chest as she still avoided looking at him.
Miles was officially fed up by now. They had been together nearly a year now, living in domestic bliss in Germany. It'd been the most gratifying time of his life, and he'd assumed hers as well. Franziska completed him in every way he could ever have dreamed of, mentally, emotionally and physically. She had never been the clingy type to make a fuss when at times his investigations took him around the globe for weeks at time, like his last case in Zheng Fa had. In turn he'd been very supportive of her whenever she had international assignments with Interpol – which she'd taken leave from in order to fly back to the States and prosecute in the court. They had always returned home to each other despite the long absences that parted them, closer, happier and more in love than ever.
So why was it that after almost 12 months of intellectually stimulating days and fiery, passionate nights, the woman he loved felt like she couldn't discuss her grievances with him and was instead opting for this cold, maddening silent treatment?! Enough was enough!
Without further warning, Miles slammed his hand down on the table between them, courtroom style, uncaring that the action made both Franziska, and the silverware on it, jump slightly.
"Have I displeased you somehow, meine dame?" He asked coolly, leaning forward across the table so their noses were nearly touching and she had no choice but to look at him. "I am in the sincerest of hopes that you would take the adult route, should you have a grievance of some sort, and tell me as such, as you always have in the past, as opposed to playing this childish game of trying to make me read your mind."
"Surely you're not such a daft fool that you truly have no inkling of why I would be upset with you, are you, Miles Edgeworth?" She snapped, matching his stern expression with her own glacial one.
Miles Edgeworth? She hadn't called him that before they'd gotten together. Something was truly awry here indeed!
"Forgive me, Franziska," Miles deadpanned. "I had to return Wright his magatama, so my ability to read people's hearts, or see their psycholocks now, completely eludes me."
"You are unbelievable!" Franziska hissed, her cold glare now replaced by a fiery one of pure fury. "You almost made a complete fool out of me in court yesterday, and you have the nerve to sit here and make jokes?"
Miles' mind flashed back to the previous day at the courthouse, when he'd been roped into acting as defense attorney for Wright to defend Iris Hawthorne. Normally he would have rejected such an outlandish request, but his childhood friend had been in the hospital, and under the most extenuating circumstances, how could he have refused the man who had kept him out of prison?
"Are you angry that you were not forewarned that it would be meacting as the defense council in court, instead of Wright, when you arrived unexpectedly to prosecute?" He asked mildly.
"Damned right I am angry!" She fumed, a pout marring her pretty face. "I had to square off against my lover, completely unawares, in court today! How could you just have left me with no preamble whatsoever, and risked having me wind up with egg on my face? Whatever would you have done if I hadn't been so quick on my feet to lie to the judge when he asked me if I knew you?"
Miles smirked. At last he understood. So she'd been worried about smearing her perfect professional reputation by being caught off guard. Ah, that infamous Von Karma pride.
However, there was one huge contradiction underneath that perfectionist, arrogant…hell he may as well admit it, bitchpersona that was Franziska Von Karma. While these predominant traits had softened slightly since she'd been with him, along with the force and frequency of her whippings, but would probably never truly be eliminated.
But neither would her steadfast faithfulness and loyalty.
Regardless of how wounded her pride had been at being kept in the dark and in spite of how outraged she'd been at being left unprepared for him in court, when push had come to shove, she hadn't let her wrath turn her petty and vengeful. She hadn't sold him out. Instead, she had committed false witness to a court judge. To protect him. Because despite how much she loved and took pride in her profession, ultimately, she loved him more. Moreover, without being asked to, she'd proven it.
Franziska could be as tempestuous and temperamental as she pleased. He would always find a way to overlook or tolerate that about her, because in the end, the good outweighed the bad. The woman was a keeper.
One he could seriously see himself spending the rest of his life with.
The realization brought a broad smile to his face as he spoke, his tone rich with amusement. "Ah, yes, I do believe your exact words were, 'there is no such weakling as this man among those at the Prosecutor's Office', were they not? And then you whipped him for good measure to reinforce your point?"
"What would you have liked me to have said instead Miles? 'Oh, of course I know this Genius Prosecutor, he's been sharing my home and my bed for the past year?' Or should I have gone into details of how well I know you and elaborated on the fact that you had me bent over a motor scooter in the park three nights ago?"
"Don't be ridiculous. Of course not." Miles cleared his throat gruffly and tried to squelch the scorching images of said night now flashing through his mind like a neon lit sign. "Might I remind you that it was I who rescued your prized possession from that judge when he demanded it be confiscated from you after you had your little lash attack?"
"Normally I would thank you for that," Franziska grumbled. "But the fact that the man who claims he loves me didn't see fit to tell me he was going to be in court – on the opposite side of it, yet! – still has me too infuriated to be gratuitous with gratitude at this time."
"Franziska, you were away on duty when I got the call from Larry in the middle of the night that Wright had been hospitalized, so I had no opportunity to let you know I was coming back to the States," Miles gently reminded her. "Also, you aren't always immediately accessible when you're away on assignment either. And the very next morning I was no less gobsmacked than you were to see youwere the prosecutor in the courtroom. With what time did I have to tell you anything? You never told me about your intentions either, yet I am not raking you over the coals or trying to claim you were duplicitous, although I very well could."
"You're right, liebling." Franziska turned crimson at his words. "I did not. I was unsure you would approve my overly zealous intent to take one last opportunity to vindicate myself against that fool, Phoenix Wright. Especially since you insist on holding that man in such high esteem and see him as a friend." She smiled guiltily at her boyfriend. "But I wasn't going to keep it a secret from you, Miles. I was going to tell you…after I'd emerged as the victor of that trial against him the way it was intended!"
"And if you hadn't won against him?" Miles grinned and raised an eyebrow at his lover, relieved that the worst appeared to be over.
Franziska flashed him a mischievous smile. "We are a couple, and should have no secrets from each other. I absolutely would have told you if I lost to that fool…eventually."
"Well danke for your honesty, however delayed it may have been." He shook his head and chuckled. "It was sort of fun squaring off against you in the courtroom though, meine dame. You are a formidable adversary, and it was incredible seeing you in action. I actually do slightly regret not being able to see things through to the end with you though. Ours was a white flag courtroom battle, at best."
"We can pick up where that battle left off when we get home, liebling," Franziska gave him a saucy wink. "Say, perhaps, in the boudoir?"
"Get your armor then," Miles flashed her his best shit-eating grin, just as he looked up and saw Gumshoe and Maggey walk in. "Although whenever you and I tend to have full-body combat, are there ever truly any losers?"