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The Smell of Hot Citrus

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Wearing his coat is comforting, in a way. He wasn’t your dad, but you sure wish he had been, and sometimes you tell yourself that he could have, in another life. After all, he was the first one to ever call you Raymond, and anyone who doesn't know their child's name can’t really be called a parent.

It feels wrong to put his badge aside, though. So you let it be and put yours in your pocket instead. You look at your reflection one last time in the mirror, rubbing his little sunflower with your thumb and wondering if he'd be happy to see how much you have grown.

You're in debt to an Edgeworth, so the least you can do is to save the other one.

 


 

When you first arrive at the courthouse, you can’t find your co-counsel anywhere. No traces of your client either. You can’t allow yourself to get stressed already, so you have to think and act quickly.
Maybe tea will calm your nerves.

Of course, the vending machine doesn't have Ceylon, so citrus will do. You remember that veteran attorney who came for a lecture, back when you were a student at Themis, always rambling about his youth and the scent of fresh lemons. Perhaps that was what he was referring to. You will ask him, should you meet again.

(You then push these thoughts aside, because your time at Themis is not a period of your life you look back on fondly.)

 


 

Finally, here she is — Jill Crane, fellow defence attorney and your co-counsel for today. Stern and proper. Slightly intimidating, but this will do. You aren’t quite familiar with her, to tell the truth, but it’s a good thing. She’s only here to guide you through this country’s confusing new procedures, the changes you’ve missed when you were working overseas. She will make sure you don’t mess anything up, nothing else.

And since you aren’t friends and never were, she won’t ask you what you were doing before coming back.

(Mostly boring paperwork, you often euphemize — stressful paperwork, just to make sure that the things that should be dead stay so and never resurface.)


This trial promises to be challenging, she says with a detached smile, complimenting your courage. You thank her, but know she has no idea what really is at stake right now, why you’re more interested in the prosecutor you will face in a few minutes than your very client.


Jill is someone who is hard to pin down; when asked why she stands in the courtroom, she replies that it's mostly revenge. Revenge over what, you don't dare to ask. But something feels wrong, because Gregory surely wouldn’t approve of it — you will only understand what your guts were telling you six years later, in the PIC meeting room.

The procedures been heavily shortened, she tells you. She puts the blame on a trial that was dragged out for months and months, and upon hearing the vitriol towards all the parties involved in her voice, you are unsure whether you should yell at her or run away. Eventually, you stay, and stay silent.

(This makes you end up thinking of Kate, sweet Katie-pie, oh my God you haven't contacted her for ages, you coward, she must hate you now, and everything Edgeworth.)


You just want this trial to start already.

 


 

It’s him, there is no mistaking it. But the way he acts, the way he talks to down to you, how he presents evidence that is just a bit too perfect and calls witnesses that are just a bit too well-prepared… You even start to doubt if that child you once knew still exists under all these frills and ruffles.


He might be Gregory’s son, he might have his traits, you can’t not admit it. These are cold, hard facts.

But you have his coat, his hat, and most importantly, you have his ideals.

You are the two halves of the same legacy, there must be a way to make you one again. 


Still, whoever — whatever even, you are not sure if the smirking creature who faces you is still human — doesn't share your vision. In your silent fight, you feel incredibly alone.

 


 

You lost, obviously. The Demon Prosecutor was true to his reputation, perfect in every way.


You don’t know if it was due to a failure on your part — you totally forgot about your client’s existence, even Jill had noticed it —, or if the dice were loaded from the start. Either way, you’re the one to blame. Had you not been a scared and broken teenager, twelve years ago, then maybe he wouldn’t even need to be saved in the first place.

(But if you could really go back in time, you would have tried to prevent Gregory’s death altogether, so his son would never have been in the need of a new guardian.)


When he gets out of the courtroom at last, you leave Jill with your client — she definitely hates you now, or at the very least finds you incredibly unprofessional — and rush to get his attention.

The emotion on his face, or lack thereof, is impossible to decipher. 

Some part of your heart aches and you want to hug the evil out of him, to ask him who dared to do this to him, to gently cradle him in your arms as you were doing years ago, and bring him back home.

(You put the collar of your coat back in place, and hope that he is watching you, helping you.)


You gather your courage and greet him — again, as if he didn’t reduce your credibility to shreds a few minutes ago — and ask if he remembers you.

He does. As the kid who used to be his father’s assistant. A spineless young boy, always eating paper. You don’t know if it hurts more than if he had no memories of you whatsoever. 

You remind him that you were ten years older than him, that he used to call you uncle, and he replies that what is past is past. 

(If only you could grab him and shake some sense into him. But he’s untouchable — and not only because he’s a respected prosecutor.)


Silence.

It is over, and he leaves without turning back.

And you flee. Jill can probably handle the rest by herself, anyway.

(You coward.)


This isn't a job for you, you tell yourself. Maybe it's someone else's, but you? You’re no hero, you’re no saviour.


You can't be the Demon Prosecutor's guardian angel. That's what you report to Gregory this evening, between sobs and apologies.