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[personal profile] mllelaurel
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Title: Halfway to Sunlight
Characters: Ensemble, with focus on Apollo and Klavier
Pairings: Apollo/Klavier, some Wocky Kitaki/Vera Misham
Rating: M/R
Warnings: Some fairly pervasive emotional abuse themes. Some discussion of sexual abuse, late on, though nothing graphic/on-screen.
Summary: As if trying to emotionally disentangle himself from his former mentor after the Misham trial wasn’t enough, Apollo winds up with a copycat case falling into his lap, and said mentor’s younger brother a growing presence in his life. But neither of the tasks facing him will be easy, and everyone's got secrets they may or may not want to reveal.


Klavier worked quickly. There was a message on Apollo’s phone, when he woke up at six in the morning, saying they should meet up again.

“I’ve got recordings of the relevant interviews,” Klavier told him, over coffee. “Thankfully, the lovely Fraulein Waitress in question gave me her full permission to do so.” That’s because you blinded her with hotness, Apollo thought, and couldn’t bring himself to feel jealous.

“Alright, show me what you’ve got.”

Klavier pressed play.

“Yeah, that’s her,” a female voice said. “Or should I say ‘oui, zis is le damme.’ ...I’m not even French, this is stupid.”

“The restaurant has a policy of fake accents?”

“I know, classy, right?” The woman snorted. “But that’s Walt, in a nutshell. Not gonna speak ill of the dead, but he was a cheesy, pretentious shit, who liked playing grabass with the female employees.” Charming, Apollo thought.

“So anyway, yeah, that’s Kitty. She showed up a few nights ago, with some sketchy-looking date. Poor kid. No way she could afford this place, even when she worked here, and… Well, maybe she’s got a better job now.”

“Could you tell me a little about Frau Dvoynaya’s former employment at Le Grand Jour?”

“Sure thing, Mr. Gavin. She got hired five years ago, worked here for two. Not a bad waitress, the customers liked her, got along okay with the other staff. She had us over for dinner coupla times; she was a pretty good cook. Might have made it into the kitchen itself, if she’d stayed on.”

“But she didn’t?”

“Nah. Not sure what happened, but Walt musta found some reason to fire her. We come back, day after New Years, and he tells us she won’t be coming back.” That sounded like a motive for killing him, though after a three-year wait?

“Hey, you’re trying to ask if I think she killed him, aren’t you?”

“Do you think she had?”

A scratchy pause on the recording. “Hey, all I know is she was there that night. She did, she didn’t? Who the fuck knows. I didn’t witness it.”

“And there you have it,” Klavier said. “Not quite a witness, but we do have proof our suspect was on the scene, or close to it, at least.”

***

At long last, Katerina Dvoynaya’s home and surrounding area were open to investigation. Apollo met Detective Gumshoe on the scene, holding the leash of an elderly-looking Shiba Inu. “That’s Missile, Pal,” Gumshoe told him. “He may be getting doddery, but there’s no better dog than him, when it comes to sniffing out anything hidden.” Right at the moment, Missile seemed more interested in apprehending Apollo’s Egg McMuffin than anything else.

Vera stepped forward from behind Apollo, holding her hand out to the dog. The look in her eyes when Missile’s tongue darted out to lick her was priceless. “Oh! You’re wonderful!” Missile whuffed, tail thumping. Apollo made a note to check out pet stores, when shopping for Vera’s birthday. It’d have to be a well-behaved pet, though. One who didn’t eat paints.

“Come on, guys,” Trucy called. “Let’s get cracking!” They had a lot of stuff to go through.

Trucy was the one who found the first item of note, in the living room: a black-bound appointment book. She flipped through it. “Aww, I can’t read any of that. I bet it has her schedule, too. And it looks like some notes.”

“May I see?” Vera asked. “I’m wondering if it might be in Russian. I’m not great at it, but…” She shrugged.

“You’re better at it than me,” Apollo said, and handed it over. All the Russian he knew boiled down to ‘da,’ ‘nyet’ and ‘idiyot,’ which was more or less the same word in Russian and English. “Does it say anything special on the nights before Mizuiro or Harrow’s murders?”

Vera chewed her lip, poring over the text. “The entries stop before we get to Ms. Mizuiro, but there’s definitely something on Mr. Harrow’s night. It says ‘Bol’shoi Den’.”

“And that means what?”

“The, um… big day.” No kidding, Apollo thought. Killing a guy counted as pretty big. Vera trailed off, eyes locked on a suddenly-digging Missile. “It looks like he found something too. Come on!”

Missile’s paws had barreled through the turf, and he held something blackened and burnt-smelling in his teeth. Detective Gumshoe took it from the dog, turned it around in his large hands a couple of times. “Huh, I have no idea what this is, anymore.”

“Something someone wanted to burn and hide,” Apollo mused. “Which makes it evidence.” He poked the charred mess with one gloved finger. “Does that look like it might have been cloth, at some point?”

“I think so,” Trucy said. “Do you think that’s the glove Jason was talking about?” There was no way to tell for sure here. Maybe Ema would know.

“If she did the burning,” Gumshoe said grimly, “then she’s gotta be destroying evidence. Look sharp, when you’re looking, you lot.”

Apollo’s eyes lit on the garbage bags piled outside and he sighed. He knew it would come to this, he just knew. “I hate my job,” he said, to no one in particular.

Items found in Dvoynaya’s garbage: four (4) shards of greenish looking glass, with no traces of label or other identifying features. Seven (7) disposable syringes, complete with needles.

“Anyone know if Dvoynaya’s got a drug problem or medical condition?” Either way, Ema would be getting a speedy delivery of sharps, and Apollo definitely owed her a nice present. No chocolates.

Oh yeah, there were lots of potato peels, eggshells, tissues and a used tampon in there, too. Some of the eggshell had managed to wedge itself in Apollo’s cuffs. He really hated his job. Whoever called law glamorous had been lying like a rug. Or maybe that was just his life. He’d bet Klavier’s boss’d never had to go digging through garbage. Or Klavier himself, for that matter. Fucking prosecutors.

“Is that it for the great outdoors?” Maybe he could wash his hands, inside, before he touched anything else. Trucy looked up from her own trash bag and threw a wadded up tissue at him. Lucky Vera was standing off to the side. Or maybe not so lucky, considering the reasons she wasn’t supposed to touch questionable materials on a scene which might contain atroquinine.

Their big indoor find, aside from the planner, came in the form of a locked drawer in Dvoynaya’s night stand. Detective Gumshoe fumbled out a tiny key, from one of his pockets. “Found it in her purse, when the police took her in for questioning.”

The drawer unlocked. Inside was a small glass jar containing some kind of clear liquid. Apollo had a funny feeling he shouldn’t open said jar, or let its contents get anywhere near his skin.

He dialed Ema’s number. “Hey, no particular reason, but what do you want for your birthday?”

“Playstation 6,” she said, deadpan. Yeah, that would set Apollo back at least three hundred bucks. “Lemme guess, you have more stuff you want me to do.”

“Science stuff!”

“You really know how to sweet talk a girl, Justice. Shame you’re gay.” He heard a joking sigh over the phone. “All right, but I’m holding you to that PS6.”

***

He got the chance to talk to Vera, as they were finishing up. “Hey, remember the guy we met in the park, a while back?”

Vera nodded. “The Kitaki boy, right? Wocky?”

“You got it. He was wondering if he could have your number. Let me know if you want me to tell him to get lost.”

“Why would I do that?” Vera replied, surprisingly vehement.

“Give him your-?”

“No! Why would I want to tell him I don’t want him to contact me?”

Apollo rubbed the back of his head. “Cause he’s kind of a thug?”

“Not much of a one,” Vera said. “You think I’m bad at reading people, don’t you?” she asked. “I’m not, you know. I may not have a great deal of experience, but I can still tell when someone means well, and when they don’t. I think this Wocky meant well, when we met. I would like to talk with him more.” She had him there. She’d pegged Kristoph as the Devil at twelve, after all.

He pulled up Wocky’s number on his phone and handed it to her. “Here, you want to call him yourself?”

“Right now?” Vera’s face flushed and blanched at the same time.

“Nah, just copy it over for later.” She took his phone and did so.

“I won’t promise him or you that this will come to anything, necessarily. But the door is open for me now, and I won’t close it to the possibility.”

“I think that’s all he’d ask,” Apollo said, and she smiled.

***

Before he knew it, it was time for the trial again. He had just enough time to go back home and change. The Judge and opposing counsel might not care if he smelled like garbage and had streaks of dirt on his face, but he’d care, and so would their gallery.

“Ready for action?” Trucy asked as he rejoined her. Apollo pushed his hair out of his face, made the ends of it stand up as firmly as he could.

“Time for Justice,” he said, and she laughed.

“Definitely still a dork. Hey, dork, guess what?”

“What?” No point in even refuting his relative coolness. Such a lost cause.

“Italian,” she says.

“Huh?”

“Especially Sicilian, apparently. Ooh, and tiramisu! But he’ll eat almost anything, and he says he likes trying new things, so you’ve got a challenge!”

“No, really, Trucy, what?

“You said you didn’t know what foods Klavier liked. Told you I’d find out.”

He buried his abruptly red face in his hands. “Why-when-how? And if you say ‘fansites,’ half the info on those isn’t even accurate.”

Trucy just gave him a look. “I called him. You know, with one of these?” She wiggled her phone in his face. “If you want to know something, you’ve got to go after it, get that confession.”

“Yeah, way to make my love life sound like a court trial.”

“What, like it’s not?”

“Not guilty!”

“Guilty as charged.” And she ran ahead, toward the metal scanners, before he could retort.

Romance like a trial, huh? Okay, so you had the evidence, in the form of action, or maybe gifts. The human factor - that spoke for itself. Witness testimony. Things the people involved were willing to talk about at length, and things they never wanted to deal with. Secrets, confrontations, a final decision at the end of it all.

Apollo guessed it worked, sort of, but call him crazy, he could think of better metaphors.

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