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[personal profile] mllelaurel
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Title: Monochrome Cities
Characters: Klavier Gavin, Ema Skye, Daryan Crescend, Damon Gant, Jake Marshall
Pairings: Klavier/Daryan, Klavier/Ema, background Jake Marshall/Angel Starr
Rating: M/R
Warnings: Non-consensual drug consumption, dysfunctional relationships
Summary: As the date of Lana Skye’s execution nears, her sister finds herself desperate enough to accept the help of a fop of a prosecutor and a shark of a detective. Together, Klavier, Ema and Daryan race against time to finger the real culprit behind the murders of Bruce Goodman and Neil Marshall, over a decade after the fact, with the trail gone cold. But everyone's got their own agenda, and the web they find themselves caught up in may be more tangled - and more of their own making - than any of them have anticipated, when even betrayal is far less simple than it first appears.


My eyes nearly pop out of my sockets. “You… The Prime Minister?”

Daryan shakes his head. “No way! Just… No way. I mean, why the hell would I fry my own bacon that much? Seriously. I was on the scene when he died, that was all.”

“Ain’t-” Gant grits his teeth. “Ain’t what it looks like, in that photo.”

“What photo?”

“Like I said,” Daryan yells. “I was on the scene. I was around. I saw the body, I checked his pulse… Like anyone would.”

Gant smirks. “Just like ‘anyone’ would have the source of the poison used to kill him on their person.”

Poison again. If it’s more atroquinine, so help me God, I’m leaving. “That’s not why I had the cocoon,” Daryan says quietly.

Borginian cocoon. Sheiße. “Why did you?” Ema asks.

“What’s with the third degree?” he shoots back. “I’m not the bad guy here!”

Ema rolls her eyes. “It’s not the third degree if no one’s torturing you. Though there’s an idea, after the night I’ve been having, thanks to you.”

Daryan clenches his fists, starts pacing again. “I owed a friend a favor. A high-paying friend. Said I’d go places, if I got him one of those babies. Think his kid might have been sick, or something. Guess I’m just a sucker for a sob story, huh?” The first part’s more likely. I’ve always known, on some level, that Daryan would do a lot of things for wealth and glory.

“So I get my ass over to Borginia, fucking plane trip and all. No way to get his Borginian contacts into the States. So there I was. Local contact said he’d meet me at the embassy. Handed over the cocoon, everything’s great. And then, the Prime Minister keels over, and I’m stuck with the proverbial handbag, looking like a jackass. Got nabbed by their police.” He’s gone quiet again. “Thought they’d put a bullet in my brain, right then, but I guess they wanted to hold me for questioning. It was about a week, before she managed to spring me.”

“Who?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “Not the foggiest. Called herself Smith. That’s a laugh. I mean, seriously, she laughed like a hyena when she said it, too. We both knew it was a cover name. I thought she was Interpol, but that came back negative. Honestly, I was too busy sucking codeine to care, at the time.”

“And the photo?” Ema still hasn’t let that go.

You’d think Gant would be more cautious about revealing his sources. “One of my enterprising young men found it among your things, while you were in Washington. Does the name ‘Fulbright’ ring a bell, Cressy?”

You’d think.

Daryan glowers. “Don’t ask why I had that on me. Mostly cause I didn’t. Not like whatever I said would matter. The US government would still turn me over to Borginia, if they knew the whole deal of it. To avoid that kind of international crisis? Hell yeah, they would.”

“Wouldn’t Borginia have already requested your-” Fuck, what’s the word? “-Extradition? If they knew who you were.”

“Not if they wanted to keep the whole thing on the DL.”

How does Borginia even work? I’ve never had reason to follow that particular branch of research.

“You know you’re going down, if I go on trial, don’t you, Cressy?”

Ema’s hands clench around the gun. Neither of us can tell where Daryan’s going to jump. Not with his life on the line.

Whichever way he chooses, he doesn’t get a chance to act on it. My vision’s beginning to double and triple again, graying and blacking out at the edges, but I can still hear the sirens. For real, this time. A halo of lights, red and blue, like the Fourth of July. The trampling of SWAT team boots, and the shouting of what must be a dozen men.

Gant yelling at them to apprehend the real culprits, what with him bleeding and Ema holding the gun. Daryan listing off symptoms at the paramedics. The last shredded remnants of my coherent brain recognize the list as the effects of rohypnol.

“No, I promise you he hasn’t had anything alcoholic in the last twenty four hours.” Would have, if Daryan hadn’t swapped it out for that verdammt ginger ale. Isn’t it nice to know he cared enough not to actually kill me. Like dosing my drink wasn’t bad enough.

Good thing I pass out, right then. Not sure I have the energy to yell at him, as much as I’d like to.

***

“He wired himself,” Ema tells me, when she fills me in on everything already slipping out of my brain. My head feels like it’s full of holes, even though I was there for every last bit of it.. She tells it well enough, it’s almost as good. “Crazy stunt like that…” If Gant had thought to search him, Daryan would have… The thought of him bleeding out on that sidewalk steals every trace of warmth from my own blood.

“It was transmitting on ten different police frequencies. He came to me, the day of, asked me to help him tinker with the radio, make the signal clearer.” It must have shorted, when he jumped in that pool, after me, but Gant had already talked, by then.

“You knew his plans?” Was I the only one he decided to leave in the dark?

She shakes her head. “Not the details. I mean, I suspected it was something along the lines of a sting, but I had no idea he was going to drag us into it. Fucking asshole.”

“What about you?” I ask. “What about that phone you told Gant about?” The phone that had finally spurred his confession.

Ema makes a noise between a laugh and a sob. “I was bluffing. Didn’t think it was gonna work, but if I didn’t, he’d have killed you, and it would have been all my fault. So I bluffed. I remembered Crescend’s request, and I bluffed, to make it sound like I’d been the wired one, instead.”

“And the first time someone yelled ‘police?’”

She perks up. “That was me, too. Like my police voice?”

“Better than your Gant impression.”

“Shut up, my Gant impression’s awesome!”

“Ja, but that does not mean I ever want to hear him again.” I’ll have to, though, whether I like it or not. Lana’s execution has been stayed, and his trial is yet to come. I’ve requested to head up the prosecution and had my request granted. Whether that turns out to be a good idea or bad, we’ll just have to see.

It doesn’t escape me that Daryan’s fate will hinge on this trial as well. Knowing what Gant had on him, the lengths he went to with his stupid fucking plan make more sense. But that doesn’t make it any less stupid. Nor any less dangerous or desperate.

He’s always been selfish like that. Always had to be the hero, to take the spotlight and shine, no matter who he had to step on to get there. Always had to do the necessary thing; the hard and cynical one the rest of us would rather leave alone.

I realize, on some level, I’m describing myself. I’m not nearly so blind or so much of a hypocrite as to miss it. I just don’t think I would have gone quite as far.

***

“You roofied my drink.”

Daryan shrugs, tapping out a cigarette and lighting it. “What, you wouldn’t trust Goggles to protect your maidenly virtue?”

“You roofied my fucking drink.” I feel sick.

The cloud of smoke obscures Daryan’s face. “Tell me you could’ve pulled off the act sober, princess. Look, Klavier, I know you. You’re quick on the uptake and you can’t fake worth a damn. Got one of those honest, open babyfaces on you, and unlike most of the ones I’ve seen, it’s all real. Tell me you wouldn’t have put my plan together in half a second and given me the fuck away. One look from you, and Gant would’ve had me swimming with the Borginian fishes. I needed you confused and scared, and I needed it real, so that Gant would let down his guard, let us talk him into confessing. And it had to be you, you know that. Had to prove to him I was willing to hurt someone I loved, so it wouldn’t have even occurred to him I might screw him. Wouldn’t have been enough, if it was just Ema. Besides, his orders were, I kill you both.”

Confused and scared. That’s one way of putting it. “I couldn’t move. I couldn’t fucking think, half the time. Barely knew what was happening, except that you had fucking betrayed me.”

Daryan sighs, loud and annoyed. “If I knew you were gonna be this much of a pussy about it, I’d have told you to stay at home. Taken Goggles and done the sting on our own, while you did your hair. Done whatever I had to do, to make Gant believe me without you. Told him I’d try for you later, or something.”

“You could’ve at least told me about the drugs, you Fotze. They would have still fucked me up enough to make a movie star out of me, but I would have known.”

Daryan’s hand on my jaw, over the bruise, where the gun had pressed down, gentler than I’ve ever seen him before. “Baby. You know I couldn’t. None of us could afford the risk. Think I’d have been the only one Gant killed? You and Goggles both. He’d have killed you first, made me watch. Gotten desperate and done it himself, just like he did, with Goodman, then had me cover him, just like Lana. And then, Lana’d still be stuck in the clink and Gant could get his Al Capone Batman on for all eternity.”

“You talk a lot, but all I’m hearing is that you don’t trust me.”

Daryan sighs. “Maybe I don’t.” I knew that already. May have known it for years, but hearing it still manages to hurt, sharp and hot, like a knife in the guts.

“How long?” I ask.

He stubs out his cigarette on the coffee table. “Since the day I realized I’d rather have you the hell away from me, than come home one night and find your dead body.”

“Gant’s behind bars. He’s not gonna-”

“I ain’t talking about Gant, babe. Won’t be Gant that gets you in the end. No, my bet’s on Justice, or that shithead brother of yours.”

“Daryan, are you drunk? They’re both dead.”

“And I’ve been holding my breath for two years, waiting for you to follow them.”

He thinks I’m going to try and kill myself, I realize. “How long have you fucking known me? Do you think I’d-”

“You haven’t yet. Gonna promise me you won’t?”

“I don’t know. No. Yes.”

“Which is it?”

“I’m not going to kill myself, Daryan. Jesus.”

“That’s not what you just said, half a second ago. Dammit, Gavin, I can’t fix you. I can’t fuck you better. Can’t bring the dead back and close up those holes.”

“Right. Now I’m a fixer-upper. A real weekend project of yours, ja?” It isn’t like I can fix you either, I want to tell him. Took you two years, to tell me about Borginia, and that was under duress. Fixing’s not the point. We’ve all got damage. I just thought we could hang on through it.

“Think I should be doing something better with my weekends, maybe?”

“Maybe you should,” I say, and it hurts worse than any drug or bullet would have. “Get the hell out of here. I don’t really want to talk to you, right now.”

I never want to talk to him anymore, but every time I do, I can’t seem to either shut up or make him.

He nods, taps out another cigarette, puts it in my hand and leaves. His lighter’s still on the table.

I light up. I’m not proud, but what the hell do I have to lose?

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