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Pokemon: Maxie/Archie - Stupid games

slaygirl in gyaku_contest

Week #1: Question

Title: Psyche
Rating: PG
Characters: Phoenix Wright, Kristoph Gavin [non-pairing]
Summary: Kristoph was institutionalized three weeks ago. Guilt brought Phoenix to see him the first time; a lack of answers keeps bringing him back.
Warnings: Spoilers (4-1, 4-4)
Word Count: 1787
Author's Notes: This contains an, um, unorthodox take on the events of 4-1 and some of the plot devices to come up in 4-4. It hit me in the face a few weeks ago, and just decided to fall out of my head in a vaguely coherent manner a couple of hours ago. This may end up being crossposted later; apologies if you see this more than once.




The surroundings contain too many rounded edges to make too much of an impression on Phoenix's mind, though Kristoph looks as proper as he ever did; his back is so straight you could draw a line against it, one leg crossed over the other and his hands in his lap for once. It looks a bit more relaxed at first glance, but the nails on one hand bite into the skin of the other, tighten-release-tighten-release, and Phoenix wants to smack himself when he finds himself wondering what that little motion would look like to Apollo.

He collects himself and tries again.

"You don't have to lie anymore; you can tell me."

"I've given my deposition; I don't know what else you want." Kristoph's intonation is as smooth as always, but the irritation in his voice is obvious just the same. "I have nothing further to say on the matter."

"We both know that's not true." Phoenix sighs, massaging the bridge of his nose with one hand as he tries to think of some sort of catalyst. "Why are you still keeping secrets from me? There's not really any point -"

"You honestly think I won't watch what I tell you?" Kristoph's neck arches slightly as he tips his head back a bit; his voice is rising, and Phoenix can tell they're getting into bad territory. "Especially now? I've told you already, repeatedly - our friendship was never pure - "

"Kristoph."

For some reason, the mention of his name seems to bring Kristoph down off of whatever rant he was starting; his hands seem to relax a bit as well, though Phoenix isn't sure if that's an effect he's having or if Kristoph has realized that he's deepening the scars that were already there.

Kristoph looks at him as though expecting something. Phoenix knows he probably wants more than he'll get.

"All I want is for you to talk to me. That's all I'm asking."

"I'm talking."

"No, you're not - "

"Talking. Speaking. Enunciating. I've spent long enough studying languages, including this one. Do you want more synonyms? They all indicate what I've been doing, and I have no desire to continue doing so unless you have something further to say to me."

Phoenix sighs. "You're never going to accept anything short of a groveling apology, are you?"

"Coming from you, Wright, I don't expect I'll get anything of the sort." Kristoph pauses. "Though after all that's happened, I admit it would be rather nice to see you grovel." A slight smirk graces his features, a twisted version of the smile he used to give Phoenix - the smile he used to give everyone, when it comes down to it - but it's close enough to make Phoenix think he sees someone resembling the man he started a seven-year friendship with. It's a nice change from the generally wild-eyed, slightly twitchy mess Phoenix has been coming to talk to lately.

Even though he would never say that it hadn't been worth it (as it had - the justice system needed to be changed, and Kristoph's crimes brought to light) there were certain things about Kristoph's last time on the witness stand that dragged something like regret to the surface of Phoenix's thoughts. No one had been prepared for him to break like that, though parts of it had been foreseen - ranting, pounding the witness stand, and dissolving into shrieking and cursing someone's name were all things that had happened before, and unsettling though they were to watch, they were no longer cause for major alarm.

It was the way that Kristoph broke down completely - stating the same thing, over and over, in about fifty different ways before dissolving into manic, seemingly uncontrollable laughter - that had scared Phoenix, though showing that reaction to the jury was out of the question, and that breakdown was what made him continue to visit. Kristoph hadn't ever been completely normal - he had always been eccentric, at best - but nowadays Phoenix is grateful when Kristoph is responsive and more or less lucid about it, and though he won't ever say it to Kristoph's face, days where they can argue like this are even better.

Phoenix gives him a slight smile, though the level of warmth behind it is debatable.

"I'm going to ask you one more time." He can see Kristoph's expression tightening, and continues quickly. "It's the last time you'll have to hear this from me, and you're more than welcome to not answer. No one loses anything if you don't answer, except for maybe thirty seconds of time, and as much as I hate saying this, you're always saying you have all the time in the world now. Just spend the next thirty seconds talking to me."

Kristoph doesn't answer, though the way he tips his head lets Phoenix know he's listening - he's not eager, but he's not arguing the point for now.

When it comes to certain people, Phoenix thinks he isn't half-bad at this Perceiving thing himself.

"I need to talk to you about Zak Gramarye."

Kristoph doesn't answer. Phoenix exhales, puffing his cheeks out slightly and scratching his hair through his hat.

"You knew it was him. It's the only way anything makes sense."

"It's the only way your scenario makes sense."

"You confessed to my scenario; you agreed with it. So logically, you knew who he was."

"It would appear that way."

"Then why do you continue to deny it?"

Kristoph lapses back into silence; Phoenix's eyes narrow slightly as something familiar, slight though it is, begins nagging at the back of his mind.

"Why continue to deny the one thing that brings this around? You've always prided yourself on your logic, Kristoph. Show it to me. Don't keep silent."

And then they show up - the chains first, as always, wrapping around in an almost corporeal web both in front of him and behind his back, so many that Phoenix is always mystified that he could never see them before he met the Feys. The locks next; five of them, black and thick with darkness and cold, feeling just as unbreakable as they were last time.

Phoenix stares, trying to make pieces fall into place now that he can study the locks a bit more, starting with the basics.

I've seen these on people. A lot. They show up when they hide things, not before. Show them things, trigger memories. Trigger memories, reveal what they're hiding. Reveal what they're hiding, break the lock. Red ones can be broken; I don't think these can. He's hiding it so deeply that the information is inaccessible...why?

"...Care to tell me what's so fascinating?"

Phoenix startles, looking up at Kristoph with a slightly sheepish expression. "Oh, I...I was just trying to figure something out, that's all."

"It's unlike you to ask me something and then get lost in trying to answering it yourself."

Answer it yourself...and if he can't?

The thought hits Phoenix hard; his eyes widen slightly.

"You can't, can you?"

Kristoph arches an eyebrow slowly. "I can't what?"

"The basement...it's a question of what you were doing there to begin with. If you weren't there to kill Zak Gramarye, you were stating the truth in court - you were there because of concern over the poker game. That's what you said, isn't it?"

"I'm not going to pretend to know what you're driving at, Wright."

"Just follow me for a second. Is that what you said?"

"...Yes."

"And it was true."

"Wright - "

"But if that's true, then your motive for killing Shadi Smith goes out the window, leaving you with no reason at all. But you don't need one." Phoenix realizes that he's managing to feel both incredibly alive and, somehow, incredibly stupid at the same time. "You had no reason to kill Drew Misham; it was all a strange coincidence. Why couldn't Shadi Smith have been a coincidence as well? We've all been thinking that you had a motive for murder, but if you didn't recognize him - "

Kristoph cuts him off, looking skeptical. "So you're saying that I just happened to feel homicidal that day, and Shadi Smith was the lucky man on the receiving end."

"I'm saying that I think you panicked."

Kristoph falls silent.

"I went to call the police - why would he have just stayed there? If he knew about the passageway, and went to leave, you would..." He looks at Kristoph strangely. "You thought you were being threatened somehow, you panicked, and you killed him. You had enough control to clean up the crime scene, but were dazed enough to make stupid mistakes. It's easier to process the idea that you murdered someone than it is that you lost control of yourself because of fear, and that's why you can never give a motive. You're convinced that it was random, and that you don't need one."

Phoenix studies Kristoph's face; there's not much to see, in terms of emotions. Kristoph has resumed being as passive as ever; he's not exactly smiling, though his expression is strangely tranquil. The silence is so thick that Phoenix can practically feel himself breathing it in; there's something deep running through the air, though Phoenix couldn't explain it if he tried.

Kristoph breaks the quietness surrounding them, quickly and abruptly, and though his expression never flickers away from completely neutral there's ice in his eyes. "You're trying to make me out to be a much better person than I am, Wright. How flattering, if completely riddled with lies."

Phoenix studies him for a moment longer before standing up. "Wishful thinking, I guess. Anyway, I should probably - "

"Am I keeping you from something?" Kristoph doesn't join him in standing; he simply watches, tracking with his eyes as Phoenix edges toward the door.

"No; don't worry about it."

"I never really do; were it that much of an issue, you wouldn't show up so often."

Phoenix smiles slightly at him. "I guess not."

"After all, I don't think this is one of your favorite places to be."

Phoenix shrugs. "It's not so bad."

"It's an institution for the mentally disturbed."

The sentence is said so bluntly that Phoenix has a hard time registering that it was said at all. Kristoph looks up at him from his position on the couch; after a moment, he smiles, and it's so normal-looking that it's almost painful.

"I'd imagine you're going to be on your way?"

"Y-yeah." Phoenix swallows, trying to recover himself. "Yeah. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

"Later, then."

Phoenix signs himself out at the front desk, and doesn't look back at the visitor's lobby as he leaves.

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