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The courtroom is almost entirely on their feet after Apollo’s latest caught lie, and Apollo catches Klavier’s eye, raising an eyebrow.

Klavier nods, reading the unspoken message without any difficulty.

The client is guilty, and now they both know it.

Notin Ocent is sweating on the witness stand now as they draw the case to a close with the ease of long practice, but Apollo’s gotten what he needs out of him, so he pays more attention to the judge than anyone.

“Well, I think that wraps things up. My verdict--” the judge starts, and is cut off by Trucy yelling out a warning.

Apollo turns, but not fast enough to avoid the punch to the gut, and that throws him for enough of a loop that he also takes the follow-up punch to his side.

He falls to the ground, trying to roll out of the way of any further attacks, but a boot to the head is the last strike he remembers before his vision goes black.

--

He wakes up in a place that’s becoming far too familiar - the hospital. He’d spent a while in or around the hospital during the last Christmas season, between his own injuries and Clay’s, but once they’d both gotten out, he’d managed to avoid it for a while.

No avoiding it now, he supposes, and does his best to sit up.

“Polly!” Trucy cries, and he blinks, surprised to see her there.

“What time is it?” Apollo wonders.

“A little after six. Daddy went for food,” she explains. “You should have ducked when I told you to!”

“I wasn’t expecting him to attack,” Apollo protests.

She crosses her arms over her chest with a ‘hmph’. “Still. You should listen to me. I’m always right.”

“I’ll listen to you next time,” he offers placatingly.

“Good!” she declares, and beams at him.

“Hey! You’re awake,” Mr. Wright notices, entering the room with two plates of food. “None for you, Apollo.”

“That’s okay,” Apollo agrees, familiar enough with hospital practices to be used to this.

Which is kind of sad to think about, really.

Still, he gets his own food by the time they’re finishing up with theirs.

“Not quite hamburgers, but you can pretend!” Trucy announces cheerfully, and Apollo looks dubiously from his food to her.

“Sure,” he decides finally. “I’ll pretend this is a hamburger. If it makes you happy.”

“It does!” Trucy declares.

“Eat your hamburger, Apollo,” Phoenix suggests, and Apollo does.

Visiting hours end far too quickly, and Apollo dozes off once his visitors have left, ready to sleep away his hospital stay until he can go home.

--

Visiting hours have barely begun the next morning when his first visitor pops in.

“Clay! I thought you had work,” Apollo notes.

“I asked Mr. Starbuck if I could come in a little late,” Clay explains. “Trucy texted me to tell me what had happened and that you were okay, but I still wanted to visit and see for myself.”

Having done the same thing less than a year ago for Clay, Apollo can understand why.

“I’m fine. Just a little sore, and they were worried enough to keep me a little longer,” Apollo explains.

“Me too,” Clay agrees. “But you’ll be home tonight?”

“Probably. Are you going to be free to pick me up?”

“No, sorry. I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone to do it, though!” Clay offers. “And if you can’t, Mr. Starbuck’ll probably let me sneak out long enough to come get you.”

“No, I’m sure I can find a ride,” Apollo assures him. “But you better head to work soon, right?”

“Yeah, probably. I’ll see you tonight, though!” Clay offers, and then he’s gone.

It’ll be a lonely day now, Apollo thinks, with everyone no doubt busy in the legal world.

--

It takes about fifteen minutes to prove him wrong, when he’s startled by a wooden puppet poking around the door.

“... Trucy?” he guesses, and she jumps into sight with a wave of her hand - the one not controlling the puppet.

“Hi!” she greets.

“Don’t you have school today?” he wonders.

“Yeah, but Daddy let me stay home. And Uncle Gumshoe gave me a ride here!”

“Does Mr. Wright know you’re here?” Apollo checks, mildly worried now.

“Of course, silly! I sent him a Snapchat.”

Apollo’s nearly certain Phoenix’s phone can’t even receive Snapchat, but he also doesn’t intend to let Trucy stay long enough to make it a problem.

She settles in the chair, which doesn’t seem promising for the “just dropping by” theory, but he doesn’t comment on it yet.

If she wants to stick around a bit, he supposes he can’t really stop her.

After all, if Mr. Wright and Detective Gumshoe can’t stop her, how is he supposed to do it as an invalid?

“Do you want me to tell you about today’s case?” she wonders, and he sits up.

“Yes, please,” he agrees, and she smiles and begins.

--

It’s two hours before he remembers he’s not supposed to be keeping Trucy this long, and sends her off to at least eat something if she’s going to stay.

In the meantime, he eats his own, hospital-provided food, and waits for her to return.

By now, he knows her well enough to know she’s going to return.

Instead, the next head poking around his door is Klavier’s, and he frowns at the prosecutor.

“Don’t you have a case today?”

“Ja, we wrapped it early to do more investigating. Which I will be doing as soon as I have finished checking on your well-being, Herr Forehead,” Klavier teases, moving to the chair Trucy had abandoned.

“I think you could have checked on my well-being by texting any number of people,” Apollo points out.

“Ah, yes, I probably could have,” Klavier agrees with a smile. “But I thought I would inform you what happened after the events that, ah, landed you here,” he explains.

“Oh. Go ahead, then,” Apollo suggests.

Klavier’s smile widens, and he starts in on the explanation.

--

Apollo’s surprised that Trucy stays away long enough for Klavier to both explain the events of yesterday and confirm his well-being for himself.

So much so that he actually suspects for a moment that Trucy has wised up and gone home.

Only a moment, though. He knows Trucy Wright well enough by now to know she only goes home when she wants to.

Sure enough, she pokes her head back in about fifteen minutes after Klavier has made his goodbyes, settling back in the chair that Apollo’s starting to think of as hers.

“I ate,” she informs him.

“For that long?”

“No, silly! I made some phone calls, too,” she explains. “To Daddy, to make sure he got my snapchat. To Uncle Gumshoe, to see if he’ll come pick me up in an hour or so. And to Uncle Edgeworth, to make sure he’s gonna get the guy who punched you into a trial soon!”

“I’m sure Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth was already working on that,” Apollo points out.

“Not fast enough!” Trucy declares. “People aren’t gonna get away with hurting you on my watch, Polly!”

Likewise, Apollo thinks, though he hopes he never has to prove it.

Far better if Trucy just stays far away from danger.

Though that’s as likely as keeping her away from the hospital when Apollo’s there, he supposes.

“Oh!” Trucy adds. “I also ran into Athena’s friend, Junie!”

“Oh, Ms. Woods? How is she doing?” Apollo wonders.

“Good! She said to tell you she hopes you get better soon,” Trucy relays.

“I should be out by tonight,” Apollo guesses.

“That’s what I told her! Oh, and Athena called while I was downstairs, too! She said she’s done with her trial for today and she and Daddy are gonna go investigating. Which means I should go back to the office to watch it, I guess,” she sighs.

“Wouldn’t want to miss any clients,” he notes. “I’ll be there as soon as I can,” he adds when she doesn’t immediately perk up.

“You’d better!” she warns, and stands up. “I’ll see you at the office, then!”

“Bye, Truce,” he offers, and then she’s gone.

Apollo settles back against the pillows, hoping his next visitor will be a nurse telling him that he can go home.

--

As it turns out, his next visit is Athena herself.

“Hey, Apollo!” she greets.

“Finished with the investigation?” he guesses.

“Yep!” she agrees, grinning and flashing a peace sign. “I took Mr. Wright back to the office, and brought Trucy with me to come pick you up. Trucy’s just showing your nurse a magic trick, and they’ll be right here.”

“Sounds good,” Apollo decides, impatient to get out of here.

Sure enough, Trucy and the nurse appear within minutes, and Apollo signs all his paperwork quickly, handing the stack of papers back to the nurse.

“You’re free to go, then, Mr. Justice,” the nurse offers. “Someone will be here to wheel you out in just a minute, so sit tight.”

“I’ll go bring the car around!” Athena decides, and heads out.

“Just me and you again,” Apollo supposes, and Trucy offers a bright smile.

“Ace attorney and ace magician!” she declares. “An incomparable team!”

“Always,” Apollo agrees, grinning at her. “Couldn’t solve cases without my investigative partner.”

“That’s right!” she comments, imitating Athena’s peace sign pose from moments ago. “I’m like the sister you’ve never had!”

Apollo just laughs as the orderly comes in, and lets himself be wheeled out of the hospital and back into the metaphorical embrace of his surrogate family.

--