Cleo Alvarez (mdseiran) wrote,
Cleo Alvarez

[FIC] The Bitter Taste of Coffee

Title: The Bitter Taste of Coffee
Fandom: Phoenix Wright
Warnings: None.

- Spoilers for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Case 4 and Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, Cases 4 & 5.
- About the law education system: I went with the Japanese system of 4 years total (3 to study, 1 as apprentice) but this would actually fit with the American translation too. Seeing as how the legal system had already changed in the games, it wouldn't surprise me if the education was shortened too. :D

The routine was so familiar to him that he could do it blindfolded. Hands held out, cuffs slipped around the wrists, a hand around his arm gently (or as gently as was normal for a police officer) escorting him to the visitation room. He knew exactly how long the walk would take (two minutes and twenty seconds) and knew all the guards by name. They were more than familiar with him too, which made for a two minutes and twenty seconds walk that was never boring, what with the jokes about the poor sod who'd decided to defend him this or that time.

The thing about lawyers was that many of them looked like carbon copies of each other - cheap but neat-looking suits, a black or brown briefcase, and hair carefully styled not to look too gelled - and he'd learnt to discern which ones were worth talking to fairly quickly. Sometimes, when he didn't particularly care how competent his lawyer of the day was, he'd treat it as a game. If the defense attorney liked coffee he would take him, but if he wore glasses he'd ask for someone else. Some days, that was all he had to look forward to. He didn't like those days.

He noticed the glasses, suit and hair before he was at his chair, and a few seconds after a briefcase appeared and he fought back a snort. "What's your name then?"

The lawyer smiled at him; it looked almost fatherly. "I'm Gregory Edgeworth, your defense attorney. Shall we get started right away? You seem to be in a bit more trouble this time than you usually are."

He leaned back in his chair and smirked. "Lost the draw did you? And I was so sure I'd get Bling again."

"Now why would you think that?" Edgeworth took off his spectacles and gave them a quick once-over with his handkerchief. "I requested your case actually. I have a feeling I might be able to help you."

He snorted loudly, not able to hold it back again. "You and what army?"

Gregory Edgeworth just smiled.


It wasn't that he intended to end up in police custody so often. He wasn't completely innocent, but with most of the crimes counted against him it was simply a case of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Unfortunately not many of his defense attorneys managed to prove that, leaving him with a rap sheet longer than his arm at the ripe age of fifteen. Even he had to admit that sounded just a bit impressive. Not that he wouldn't rather have no rap sheet at all, but he'd learnt early on in his career of not-crime that railing against his fate did neither good nor harm but did exhaust him. So he accepted every new arrest with scorn and sarcastic humor, and constantly reminded himself not to expect any better. Which is why, when "better" did show up, he had a lot of trouble identifying it.

Gregory Edgeworth's defense was impeccable. He'd listened to his explanation and found something to back it up - whether or not he'd pulled it from thin air wasn't certain yet. It had been exciting to watch, resembling a battle with wounds received on both sides but the final victory belonging to Edgeworth. For the first time, he found he had genuine respect for his lawyer and wasn't sure how to deal with it.

The trial ended just in time for lunch, and when Edgeworth invited him to the court cafeteria he was surprised to find himself accepting. Then Edgeworth invited him over for coffee, for dinner, to watch his son's school play. Before he knew what was happening he'd been bullied into resuming his education and had two part-time jobs bartending close to the court house and occasionally babysitting Edgeworth's very mature for his age son (and said son's friends, who were less mature). His life of not-crime slowly fizzled out, and before he knew it he'd spent a year being a semi-normal, semi-happy teenager.

The morning of December 29th dawned cold and snowy, and he couldn't wait to get his regular coffee on his way to work. The line was long, and he tried to distract himself from the cold by reading the newspaper over someone else's shoulder.

Defense Attorney Edgeworth Murdered in Court House Elevator

He turned around and went home. He didn't feel like coffee anymore.


Injustice had always rankled, even when he'd tried to repress it. He had first-hand experience of how incompetent most lawyers were, and had spent many days in his prison cell contemplating how many others currently housed in similar cells were in fact innocent. The more he thought about it, the more he burned with rage, and two years after Edgeworth's murder he found himself standing in front of the doors to Ivy University's Law Department.

He didn't have the intelligence so many of his classmates claimed to have, but he had the determination and the drive to do well. He kept an eye on many of the trials that occurred during his four years of study, intending to scope out both the opposition and his competition. When he graduated, he refused all work offers from prosecutors and law firms alike and instead knocked on the doors of the Grossberg Criminal Defense law firm, demanding a job.

It only took a year for his name to become as well-known as that of von Karma. Sometimes, drive was more important than brains.


His favorite spot to look over case files was in the seats next to the Ivy University track field. The basketball field was too noisy, the tennis field too distracting with its short skirt-wearing female players. The track field was quiet - they had no cheerleaders, and the loudest sound heard in the vicinity was the soft thuds of sneakers running across the ground. He couldn't concentrate in his office, it felt so cramped and the coffee the secretary made was terrible. He still remembered Ivy's coffee with fondness, and usually grabbed a cup or two before heading for the benches. And when the testimonies started blurring together and made even less sense than they usually do, he had a conveniently close distraction.

He left his papers scattered haphazardly across the bleachers and sighed, leaning backwards and watching the track team practice. Despite his lack of knowledge of the sport, even he could tell they were very good - healthy, strong young men with plenty of stamina, all of them the perfect image of a jock. Except for one of the runners. His form was rather lanky for a runner, but he was fast, impressively so. His hair was an odd color too; he couldn't quite decide if it was simply a very strange kind of brown or was, in fact, grey. Possibly an Arts major, on the track team to keep fit, though he looked rather young to be in university already.

He watched the odd young man for a while, enjoying the strength and speed of the way he ran while his thoughts drifted. When the team packed up to leave he gathered up his own work and headed back to his spacious office, mind brimming with the holes in his current case. Sometimes, he didn't think he was cut out to be a lawyer. Then again, neither were most lawyers out there.


Mia Fey made an instant impact on him, and not just because she had gorgeous legs. Her mind was razor sharp and he sometimes struggled to keep up with her, not that he'd ever tell her that. But she lacked confidence and this was her true weakness, so he made it a point to attend her very first trial. The prosecutor was younger than her, also a fresh graduate but with too much confidence, a fact that could end up being his downfall. All he knew of the young prosecutor was that he was Manfred von Karma's apprentice, but that von Karma's apprentice turned out to be none other than Miles Edgeworth almost made him howl with irony.

Miles Edgeworth looked proud and self-assured, and was as ruthless as his mentor. The child who had talked endlessly about his dreams of becoming a defense attorney, someone just like his father, had grown up to be nothing like him at all. Gregory Edgeworth was most likely turning in his grave.


The world was dark when he woke up and he couldn't remember his name at first. The nurse told him, and it sounded familiar so he nodded when she asked if that sounded right. All his memories would slowly return, she reassured him, and he believed her for the simple reason that he wanted to. His vision never would, but there were ways to deal with it, and when she told him about the visor he readily consented to wearing one. He wasn't all that fond of red anyway.

He switched to green shirts, retook the bar and became a prosecutor, because it was obvious that he couldn't help people as a defense attorney when the corruption was all on this side. He often shut himself in his office, absorbed in his work and not interested in the rumors circulating about him, or the ones about Miles Edgeworth. And when the pressure became too much, when he felt like he was suffocating, he would go back to the track field he'd always been fond of. There he would sit and watch the team practice, hours on end, until Detective Gumshoe tracked him down and brought him back to reality.

Sometimes he took his work with him and pretended he was still a defense attorney, and Mia was still alive and Dahlia Hawthorne had never been born. Sometimes, he would see someone running apart from the group, someone with hair that wasn't quite brown and not quite grey either. Sometimes he would see this runner arrive, dressed in dark magenta suits, and he would reflect on the irony of Gregory Edgeworth's legacy being lost to both of them.


Tags: fic, phoenix wright
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