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perverbially ([personal profile] perverbially) wrote on June 7th, 2010 at 01:17 am
(FIC: ADRIAN/FRANZISKA) If Love is Surrender - Chapters 1&2
Title: If Love is Surrender
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Spoilers: Major JfA spoilers; other games, too, if you squint.
Pairing(s): Adrian Andrews/Franziska von Karma
Additional Character(s): Matt Engarde, Miles Edgeworth, Maya Fey, Pearl Fey, possibly others in later chapters.
Genre: Drama/Action.
Summary: Adrian Andrews saves herself.
Warnings/Rating: Oh, my. Let's see. Strong violence, both physical and psychological, very real suicide triggers, mental illness (in particular, disassociative symptoms), foul language, alcohol abuse, drugging, and to top it off... mentions of self mutilation. So. Um. Adult?
Notes: This is the longest thing I've written in years. My god. My eternal gratitude goes to [livejournal.com profile] prunesquallormd for sharing their betaing talents with someone still struggling to find their writing feet once more :3 You are invaluable, love. Other credit goes to Frou Frou, for their beautifully eerie song, "Psychobabble", from which the title of this fic (and subsequent chapter titles) have been taken.
Disclaimer: S'cool, Capcom. I'm just borrowing, I promise.


CHAPTER ONE: "WHOSE WAR"


"Can I bum one of those, dude?"

The guard beside him looks up, a curl of smoke rising from his lips. He grunts. "More than my job's worth, Engarde. Sorry."

Matt shrugs, rolling his free wrist rhythmically on the arm rest. He's always needed something to do with his hands, particularly when he's bored, and the sight of the guard puffing away lazily has him twitching. God, he'd kill for a brandy right now.

He looks out of the window in an attempt to distract himself, tapping out the Steel Samurai theme tune idly on the seal. The scenery is familiar, somehow, tugging at some long lost place deep inside him - until abruptly the pieces fit themselves together, and he realises they must be near LA. The thought curdles in his stomach bitterly, and the tune stops.

"Look," he says, wearily, turning back to the guard. He drops his voice to just under a whisper, even though there's no one sitting near them. The bus is, in fact, empty, save for several guards at the front, and the driver. "We could add it on to our arrangement, yeah?"

The guard laughs roughly. "Desperation doesn't suit you, buddy."

He hands him his cigarette, and Matt takes a pitifully grateful drag, cringing a little at having to share with this dick. How much does he earn per annum, maybe 5% of Matt's total worth? Jesus, and here he is, begging smokes off him like a naughty teenager. The guard is right, he thinks darkly: desperation doesn't suit him, not at all.

He's just handing the cigarette back when a miracle occurs.

The screech of metal colliding with glass comes first, but before he can work out where it's coming from he is bodily thrown from his seat; his handcuffs, attached to the guard's wrist, are the only thing that stop him going straight through the window, although they damn near dislocate his arm in the process. When he manoeuvres himself upright - the task made infinitely more difficult with his left side attached to the guard's dead weight, as he has to twist himself over his own arm - the scene that greets him strikes him as almost beautiful in its destructive perfection.

The bus is on its side, the smoking, bleeding wreck of a Sedan embedded in its underbelly. He can't even see the guards at the front for flames, although he can hear the driver yelling desperately for help. He ducks under the wreck of his seat, crouching beside the guard who gave him a cigarette, to whom he is still attached.

"Dude, you all right?"

The guard is in a bad way, even Matt can see that, but he cracks an eyelid at the voice above his head.

"What the hell - ?" he begins, his voice constricted with pain.

He doesn't get to finish: Matt stamps down hard on his face, a satisfyingly raw crunch drowning whatever words he had left in him as he slips back into unconsciousness. Matt doesn't waste time in searching the guard's prone form, coming up with a bunch of keys, a pistol, and - most importantly of all - a packet of smokes. He flips the lid, counting off 18.

He's always been one to make the best of a bad situation, after all.

"Thanks, dude," he mutters, unlocking his handcuffs with a click. "Although I guess the deal's off, huh?"

He doesn't know where he's going when he first throws himself onto the hot tarmac, breaking into a run as soon as he has his balance. The only thing he clings to is the distant shadow of the city, and the idea that the woman he has been waiting so long to see may still be in it.

-----------

When Franziska lets herself in, dropping a load of case notes on the table beside the door, the phone is already ringing off the hook. She sighs irritably - surely, in the time between her leaving work and her return home, the local police haven't found yet another way to fail in their duties? She decides to take her time, removing her coat and hanging it carefully on a peg, before crossing the hall to the phone.

The distraction and subsequent delay are foolish and near fatal mistakes, she will later realise, for the combined events conspire to mean that, for the first time in her entire life, she doesn't lock the front door immediately behind her.

As it is, there is not even time to draw her whip before a fist to the back of her head sends her world black.

-----------

After the fifteenth ring, Adrian gives up. She hits the end call button with a shake of her head, turning back to the Deli counter. Her small frame is slightly overbalanced by the basket on her arm, and she glances at her cache rather proudly, smiling to herself; in it, she has carefully selected the makings of what she hopes will be the least expensive, but ultimately best slap-up meal Franziska has ever eaten. There's wine (the kind she knows Franziska actually likes, as opposed to just drinking it to be polite), paté, plum tomatoes, various types of sliced meat, a salad that looks almost too elegant to deconstruct, fresh bread, those strange German sausages she doesn't quite understand the appeal of, and strawberries and cream for dessert. She's perfectly aware that by a von Karma's standards this is relatively common fare, but she's pleased all the same, because she knows without a doubt that - unlike all the formal dinners and stilted business lunches - Franziska will actually enjoy this meal.

The only thing missing, unfortunately, is cheese. And she really would rather have known which type Franziska prefers, if only because they all look delicious to Adrian, whereas Franziska is infinitely pickier in her tastes.

"It looks like I'm on my own with this one," she says to the man behind the counter, grinning awkwardly. "Um, which one would you recommend?"

He shrugs, pointing at the board. "That one's on special...?"

"I don't want the cheapest, I want the best," Adrian points out. "But it would most definitely be a bonus if I didn't have to get an advance on my commission to afford it. Hmm..."

She fingers her cell phone thoughtfully, wondering why Franziska isn't home yet. It's not important enough to interrupt her if she's busy, of course, but she really wants to get this right...

"All right," she says, surprising herself with a burst of decisiveness, pointing at her selection. "I'll have half a pound of that one, please."

-----------

The door is slightly open when she gets back, as though someone has attempted to slam it whilst failing to engage the mechanism. She pushes it open with her grocery bag, keys jangling uselessly in her hand, her brow wrinkling in confusion as she squints into the darkness. The initial warning bells become deafening when she sees the phone table on its side, and she dumps the bags on the ground, running an anxious hand over Franziska's coat.

"Franziska?"

There is a muffled yell from the kitchen, the strangled sound quickly devolving into a confusing series of scuffles and cries. Her reaction is automatic, unsteady feet carrying her towards the source of the noise without a moment's thought for logic, a weapon, or anything particularly useful other than oh my god, that's Franziska.

She reaches the door, also ajar, and throws it open. The muzzle of a pistol greets her, and behind it, a man she never thought she'd see again in anything other than newspaper articles. Matt Engarde's mouth curves into a genuinely warm grin at the sight of her.

She's never seen anything more terrifying.





CHAPTER TWO: "SURRENDER"


Behind him, as her eyes adjust to the low-light, she can see Franziska, curled in a sitting position on the ground, holding a bloodied dish towel to her mouth. Above it, her eyes are narrowed. "He was fortunate enough to catch me off guard," she mutters thickly, with a tangible edge of what Adrian guesses must be frustration. "A foolish coward, to attack when someone's back is turned."

Matt's face twists, and in seconds Franziska is floored by a flurry of kicks. Adrian - mind still stalled on the idea that this man is somehow here, in their apartment, when by all reason and logic he should be in jail - throws herself blindly at Matt, fists bunched. She puts what little strength seems to remain in her jellied limbs into a blow to his jaw, and he stops kicking for a blissful moment, which is all that Adrian had hoped for.

"Stop, stop, please!" she begs, her voice shaking as she puts her body between Matt and Franziska. She can feel Franziska stirring on the floor at her feet, but she doesn't dare look down, partly out of fear at what she will find and partly because she doesn't dare take her eyes from Matt's. He touches the spot where her fist connected; she braces herself for retaliation, but his eyes show only mild surprise.

"I didn't know you had it in you, Adrian," he says, with another unexpected grin. Adrian blinks when he backs off, sitting back down on the counter top and taking a long swig straight from the bottle of expensive German brandy he has clearly found in their cupboard. He takes a hard look at her, almost appraisingly.

"You're right, you know," he says eventually, setting the bottle down. The gun is resting lazily in his other hand, but Adrian can't see any way to wrest it away from him without leaving them both open to fire. "This really has nothing to do with Little Miss Whiplash, does it? It's just, when I found her here... dude, what can I say? The last time we met, she was doing her best to skin me alive - the least I could do was return the favour. Karma's a bitch, as they say."

There is a sound at her feet, and she looks down to see Franziska spitting a mouthful of blood on to the clean white tiles, pushing herself up on one arm, the other bizarrely contorted in her lap. She is breathing hard, but her eyes are blazing. "If I had presided over that trial, Matt Engarde..." she begins dangerously.

"Franziska, don't," Adrian chokes, frozen. She isn't sure she could protect her if Matt turns again. Luckily, he seems amused.

"That one needs breaking in, if you ask me," he says pleasantly, gesturing with the gun at Franziska. "If you aren't man enough for it, Adrian, I'd be happy to help."

Anger flares in her insides, but it isn't enough to dowse the cold sickening fear that runs through her at his words. Franziska lets out a hiss, and when she speaks her voice is fierce with reckless anger. "Oh, I welcome you to try."

"Don't - !"

She grasps blindly behind her for Franziska, her eyes fixed on Matt's unsettlingly handsome brown ones. Her flailing hand catches Franziska's shoulder, and she chances a desperate glance into her eyes, mouthing "please, love". Franziska's face is a mess, but she flares her nostrils, nodding slightly.

"That's better," Matt says. He reaches behind him on the counter top with a smirk, pulling out a familiar strip of brown leather. Adrian swallows, her mouth incredibly dry.

"If you be a good little girl and let the grown ups have their talk, you can have this back later, okay dude?"

Franziska's fist clenches convulsively against the floor but, mercifully, she doesn't rise to the bait, her expression becoming carefully unemotional - almost bored - as though Matt is just another crime scene to be processed. Adrian squeezes her shoulder, praying silently for her control to hold out.

"What topic of conversation did you have in mind?" she says jerkily, a desperate bid to get Matt's attention back on herself. It works.

"I'm glad you asked me that, dude," he grins, displaying those strangely sharp teeth. They are so white they become almost blue in the gloom. "Because like I said, I really only came here for you. Your girlfriend here was just a bonus, you know?"

"For... me?"

"Don't look so surprised, Adrian," he laughs, taking another gulp from the brandy. "Honestly, we have a lot to talk about, if you think about it."

"I very much doubt that," Adrian replies, struggling to regulate her tone. "You know what I think of you by now, surely."

He shrugs, taking another swallow. Adrian prays, wildly, for him to drink so much he simply falls unconscious. "Really? I mean, personally, I think there's a lot of stuff between us that needs explaining, you know? You kind of hung me out to dry there, after all. And after all the history between us, too..."

"What are you talking about?" she frowns. "There was never any 'us', let alone any history."

"And don't I know it, dude," Matt laughs again, a shrill, hysterical sound. Brandy slops onto the kitchen floor. He runs a hand through his hair, the shifting shadows making his scars drift in and out of focus. "I should have pegged you for a dyke right there and then, really. You never fell for me like other women did, did you?"

"I can't imagine why not," Franziska mutters disdainfully, wiping her bleeding lip on her sleeve. "What woman wouldn't want a violent psychopath with an alcohol problem?"

Matt stands roughly, pointing the gun straight at Adrian. There is only a few feet between them, and the muzzle butts her in the chest. She feels Franziska's muscles tense under her hand, but her own body is strangely relaxed. Seeing Matt here, what he's done to Franziska, all that he's said... somehow, inexplicably, she knows what she has to do.

"Look, just shut up, will you?" Matt is spitting at Franziska, his chest rising and falling rapidly. "Don't you fucking learn? I don't want to kill either of you now, but if I have to I will, all right? I've got nothing to lose."

"Matt," Adrian says, numbly. He looks up at her, straight down the barrel of the pistol. It shakes slightly. "This is nothing to do with her, you said it yourself. Let her go, and we'll talk properly. Just let her go. This is our problem, after all."

"Adrian, no - " Franziska snaps. She makes to get up; Matt slides the gun in her direction.

"Stay where you are!" he says fiercely. He licks his lips, eyes flicking back to Adrian's. She sees her chance.

"The police will bring in Interpol if anything happens to Franziska, anyway," Adrian continues rapidly, her heart feeling as though it's about to burst. She nods at him, holding his gaze. "You see what I mean, don't you? They'll have every agent in the country on the case if you take her hostage - "

"Stop this foolishness!" Franziska interrupts angrily. "You don't know what you're talking about - "

Adrian ignores her. "So it makes sense to let her go, doesn't it? She's a liability, an unnecessary one at that. I'll help you, we'll talk, whatever you want from me - just let her go."

Matt's face is sweaty, and he swipes his free hand over his brow, letting out a low chuckle. "God, you dudes aren't making this easy, are you? And here I thought the guy with the gun got all the respect, jeez."

Adrian doesn't say anything, barely daring to breathe. Matt's gaze runs over Franziska, crouched on the ground at Adrian's feet, battered and blood-stained, and back up to Adrian's face. He nods.

"Okay. Come on, though - we aren't staying here."

"No!"

Franziska is on her feet before either of them can react, pushing easily past Adrian: a sharp upwards thrust of her uninjured elbow catches Matt off guard, throwing the gun from his hand. It clatters across the kitchen floor, and as Franziska dives for it, Matt emits a howl of rage.

There is a confused few moments where Adrian can't see what's going on - she just knows that she's in the middle of a complicated tangle of pain and sweat and fists, and that somewhere there is a gun, a gun she needs to keep away from Matt because he is screaming curses now, and it's terrifying and loud, so loud, and someone is throwing her away from them -

When she manages to right herself, Franziska is in a ball, arms over her head. Matt punctuates angry kicks with screams of incoherent loathing, and Adrian can see - even as she is scrambling across the kitchen towards them, throwing herself between them - that his tenuous hold on sanity has slipped even further.

"Stop, stop, you'll kill her!" she cries, shaking and punching and scratching at him desperately, beyond frantic. It's like a cloud over his eyes falls away as he looks at her, and suddenly he is shaking, too. His nose is a twisted mess of scarlet, and his free hand goes up to it, eyes wide with surprise at the sight of his own blood. His gaze shifts back to Adrian.

"Come on," he says hoarsely, jabbing her in the shoulder with the reclaimed gun. "We're going."

He jostles her towards the door with it, picking up the brandy bottle from the counter on the way by. She cranes her neck, but Franziska is just a huddled, unconscious heap on the tiles. She can't even tell if she's breathing, and at this realisation she begins to hyperventilate herself, tears streaming down her face. She stops, the gun at her back.

"Please, let me check her."

"Are you fucking kidding?" Matt says breathlessly. He is panting harshly, a wild, almost scared look in his eye. He glances back himself, closing his eyes briefly. "She's fine. I've had way worse beatings than that."

Adrian doesn't even know what to say in response. She bites her lip, fighting for control. Be brave, be brave, be brave she chants to herself, even though it's like a baby whimpering against the insistent, terrified screaming inside her head. Matt rolls his eyes.

"Just be quick, okay? And don't you dare try and pull one over on me."

He keeps the gun trained on Adrian as she falls to the floor beside Franziska, turning her on to her side. Her high school first-aid feels hopelessly inadequate in the face of such devastation; her shuddering hands fumble for a pulse, her ear to Franziska's mouth, and she is rewarded with both the steady thrum of blood and Franziska's breath on her neck. She lets out a sob of giddy relief.

"Hurry up," Matt snaps, shifting from one foot to the other. He doesn't look at Franziska, studiously keeping his gaze on Adrian's back.

She fights the urge to scream at him, hate and fear rising within her until she is almost unable to hold it all in. If he shot her now, it would be a wonderful relief, she thinks, before mentally shaking herself. No, she counteracts sternly, just get him out of here. Keep it together. She makes sure Franziska is securely on her side, clears her mouth of blood, before placing a kiss on her forehead.

"Please wait for me. I'm coming back. I love you so much," she whispers unsteadily into her ear. She pushes Franziska's hair back with shaking fingertips, kisses her again, and then stands, turning back to face the devil with brown eyes.

Be brave, she tells herself, because there is no one else to say it. Be brave, Adrian.

----------------
[CHAPTER THREE?]
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