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December 2008

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Ace Attorney: Kristoph/Phoenix - Darker

slaygirl in gyaku_contest

Week #2 - Alone

Title: To Change The Things You've Been Through
Pairing: Phoenix Wright/Kristoph Gavin
Word Count: 2160
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Non-graphic discussion of an attempt at suicide (and are we still warning for spoilers? Because hi there, 4-4.)
Summary: Despite their deceptions and their betrayals, Phoenix is still there - whether either of them want him to be or not.
A/N: This started out as being written for this prompt, then shifted over to serve as a fill for a request on the Kink Meme, and after verifying with the mod that it's okay, it's here now, if a bit edited. And I promise I can write things involving characters other than these two, and I can leave the Psyche-Locks alone; I just don't know what's been wrong with me lately. XD Constructive criticism and feedback is, as always, completely welcome and encouraged - feel free to tear my writing apart, guys.


Phoenix will probably never get over Kristoph's cell.

It's so ornate that it borders on ridiculous, but somehow it doesn’t look overdone; it's beautiful, but at the same time, it's very obviously a prison cell - and no matter how gilded the cage, it's still surrounded by bars.

Kristoph himself still looks so proper that he matches the surroundings well; his hands are folded in his lap, and he remains expressionless as Phoenix is allowed in, save perhaps for a slight narrowing of his eyes. He's in that chair that he seems so fond of nowadays, legs crossed at the knee; he doesn't stand up, deciding to abandon any pretense of playing host that he usually adopts when Phoenix comes to visit.

"Gavin," Phoenix says, his tone noncommittal. He nods slightly in Kristoph's direction; Kristoph smiles at him, and though his eyes are cold, he's faking warmth as well as he always has.

Phoenix wonders how he didn't see it before.

"Wright," Kristoph says. His fingers twitch; Phoenix glances down at the movement, tracking with his eyes, before returning his gaze to Kristoph's face. "It's been a while."

"I wanted to come to visit you sooner, but - "

"Did you..."

Phoenix doesn't miss the sardonic tone behind the words. "But apparently you were unavailable. Decided not to take visitors, Gavin?"

"I don't get many as it is, so I didn't think refusing to see people who aren't there would cause any problems." Kristoph smiles again, briefly; there's no longing or regret in the expression. "So yes, I put in a request to the guards; no one was allowed in for a while."

"What made you decide to do that?"

"I haven't been feeling well. I doubt you would want to catch the latest disease this place has to offer, so you weren't missing out on anything."

"All right." Phoenix glances around the cell, then seats himself on Kristoph's bed; there's not really anywhere else for him to go, but Kristoph arches an eyebrow anyway.

"Comfortable?"

Phoenix shrugs. "I didn't think you'd mind."

"If I minded that much, you wouldn't still be sitting there."

Phoenix inclines his head, conceding the point; he smiles slightly, though the level of openness in the expression is arguable.

"You seem to be doing well, Wright," Kristoph continues. "I've no doubt you've been keeping yourself busy." He adjusts his glasses then, pushing them back up onto the bridge of his nose before returning his hand to where it had been settled on top of the other one; he appears to be shivering slightly, though there's something else that's off. Phoenix tips his head slightly to the side before he glances quickly around the cell.

"Did they take your nail polish?"

Kristoph's gaze flicks down to his hands, seeming to examine them before he looks back at Phoenix. "Is it that obvious?"

"I don't think it would be obvious to everyone, if that's what you're asking," Phoenix says, "but I've seen the way you take care of your nails."

"Ah..." Kristoph glances at his hands again. "They didn't want me having access to things of that nature after the trial."

Phoenix looks at him oddly. "Were they afraid that you'd poison yourself?"

"Ridiculous, isn't it?"

As soon as Kristoph says it, Phoenix is startled by the locks.

Four of them suddenly slam into being, sealing off a thick web of chains. Phoenix is momentarily grateful at the realization that they're red this time; then other realizations set in. He stares at Kristoph until the chains vanish; he notices that Kristoph is giving him a strange look, but Phoenix doesn't feel sheepish about it - not like last time.

"Is something the matter? You look pale."

"Gavin...can I ask you something?"

Kristoph doesn't look eager, though he nods slightly. "Go on."

Phoenix hesitates, takes a deep breath. "Did they have a reason to think that you would do something like that?"

Kristoph shrugs. "The revelation dealing with Vera, I'd imagine. Although I hear she survived?"

Phoenix nods, though his expression becomes stern. "Don't change the subject."

"Interesting. I suppose the nail polish dilutes it to the point of ineffectiveness..."

"Do you know that through experience?" The words are out there before Phoenix can stop them; Kristoph looks at him, most his expression not giving away much, though his eyes are blazing.

"I know plenty of things, Wright, and not all of them are through experience."

Phoenix exhales sharply. "Look, just answer me. You say you haven't been feeling well...but that's not all it is, is it?" He hesitates again. "You actually tried to kill yourself, didn't you?"

"That's enough, Wright," Kristoph says coldly. "I've been ill, and I tire faster than I normally would. I'm sure one of the guards will - "

"Stop it."

Kristoph falls silent at the force behind the words; his left eye twitches slightly, but he does as he's told; he looks away, reaching up and brushing his hair out of his eyes. Phoenix studies him, taking more detailed note of the slight shake in Kristoph's hand as he does so, the tremors in his arm that branch upward and cause strange, jerky trembling in his fingertips.

Phoenix watches him for a moment before he continues.

"Tell me what's going on. You're not the type to do things like that; I know you, and you never just...give up."

"But you don't really know me, do you?" The tone of voice Kristoph uses is so mocking that Phoenix flinches. "You had no idea that I was the cause of your undoing; you can't even begin to understand the things I'm capable of. The fact of the matter is that you're just too stupid to understand that anything we had wasn't genuine in the least. Now go."

Phoenix can feel his eyes narrow. "It's not that I'm too stupid to understand; I just choose not to listen to you when you get like this. You're not credible when you're angry, and you're definitely angry now."

"No one is angry. Except you, perhaps...and I don't want to have to ask you again. Please leave."

"You can keep trying to push me away if you want, Gavin; I'm not leaving. You don't get to decide if I care about you or not...stop lashing out and let me help you for once."

Kristoph looks slightly thrown off by this, though he recovers quickly; the tic near his eye increases in severity. "I don't need your help. You've been so determined to see me die - why can't you accept that I might want to do so on my own terms?"

"I don't want you to die."

"Of course not. Because you care about me - you care so much that you felt the need to seek my punishment for a capital crime. Using forged evidence, no less!" He laughs then, bitter and hollow, before continuing on. "Whether I'm forcibly injected with it or administer it to myself - what's the difference? It's all poison in the end."

"I sought your punishment because you killed people!" Phoenix can hear his voice rising, and he has to work harder than he would like to quiet it down. "Why don't you understand that? People are dead and others are suffering because of you - because of what you've done. You were a defense attorney; did you even understand what that badge meant?"

"You've told me already, Wright. A good friend enlightened you on this subject years ago." Kristoph smiles, and from the way it's done, Phoenix knows something cruel is about to follow. "Tell me, where was Miles Edgeworth when your badge was stripped? Because somehow, despite all the time you spent with me, I don't recall ever meeting him."

"You still don't understand," Phoenix says, his voice full of quiet anger. "I know that no one was there for me; I've talked to you about it countless times. No one was there...but you were. And your kindness, your generosity...they might not have been genuine, but you're a major part of the reason I'm still alive."

"Why do you continue to cling to that?" Kristoph snaps; his hands twitch, and even though Phoenix understands why, he still finds himself feeling grateful that Kristoph doesn't have anything near him that's heavy enough to do damage if he were to feel like throwing it.

"Because even though you didn't care, you were there when I was alone, and when I wanted to give up...whether you really wanted to be or not." Phoenix sighs, more out of frustration than anything else. "You helped me; just let me return the favor. We can call it even."

To Phoenix's surprise, Kristoph visibly loses interest in continuing to argue; even though he still looks slightly peeved, he falls silent for a moment before answering, a bit of a cautious note in his voice. "And how are you planning on doing any of this?"

"Well..." Phoenix pauses, thinking. "You can't exactly come to me, but you can write letters and I can come here. We'll figure something out."

"Exciting."

"We don't have to really talk when I'm here, if you don't want to; I just want to make sure you don't do anything stupid."

Kristoph looks at him strangely. "I suspect that you just don't want me on your conscience."

"If it makes you feel better to word it that way, go ahead." Phoenix shifts slightly, stretching his back in an attempt to get out some of the tension he hadn't been aware was building.

"And there are no conditions you're expecting to be met?"

"Outside of being alive when I come to visit you? Not really."

"It's no wonder your law offices didn't make very much," Kristoph says, a strange sort of smile gracing his features. "All this pro bono work will drive you to bankruptcy."

Phoenix smiles as well - one of the first genuine expressions he's given during the visit that isn't a display of agitation.

Kristoph pauses. "Not to be anticlimactic, Wright, but can we do this...soul-searching, or whatever it is you think we're going to do, later as opposed to right this second?"

"Tired?"

Kristoph nods, an extremely slight motion that wouldn't be obvious unless one really watched. "Exhausted."

Phoenix leans forward to get up, but stops before he does so. "Hey, Gavin...how did you get poison in here to begin with, anyway?"

Kristoph arches an eyebrow. "I'm capable of preparing ahead, Wright; I had another bottle of Ariadoney already prepared. It was among the things that were cleared out of my office when I was arrested; I had Klavier retrieve it and bring it to me."

Phoenix blinks at him. "You had Klavier bring it? Did he...?"

"Know what was in it? Of course not." A darkly amused expression flickers across Kristoph's face. "Say what you want about my brother; he's nowhere near as cruel as I can be. I told him I'd used up the last one - I doubt he would have brought it at all if he had known."

"I...see."

"Apparently the guards thought the same thing you did - I'm not the sort to attempt things like that. I suppose not waking up for a few days showed them otherwise, didn't it?" His tone is so self-deprecating it's almost painful; Phoenix stands up, moving a bit closer to Kristoph but stopping before he invades his space any more than he has to.

"It's...good that you're still alive," Phoenix says. "I'm really not wishing death on you, Gavin...you don't know how lucky you were to wake up at all."

"Am I?" Kristoph watches him, though he doesn't move. "Let's see - I'm slated to be executed and I'm going to spend whatever's left of my life in this...box. I was convinced that I had everything figured out, only to have seven years' worth of work unraveled by my own pupil. I can't even commit suicide properly, and now the time left until I die isn't going to be at all pleasant physically, considering the poison did a number on my nervous system and I'm having difficulty making myself stop shaking." He pauses for a moment. "Lucky indeed."

Phoenix doesn't know what to say to that; he stares at Kristoph for a moment, then closes the distance between them and reaches out, resting a hand on his shoulder. He can feel the tension in Kristoph's shoulder, as well as a strange twitching through Kristoph's clothing; he closes his eyes for a bit and is surprised when he feels cold fingers closing around his, and even though they're trembling, the grip is still firm.

"You're going to be okay," Phoenix says, because there's nothing else to say; he shifts his hand around to hold Kristoph's, breathing deeply. "You'll be okay. You'll see."

"While I appreciate the sentiment, Wright," Kristoph says as he tips his head slightly, resting his cheek against the joining of their hands, "lying really doesn't suit you."
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