14 June 2010 @ 02:36 pm
(FIC: ADRIAN/FRANZISKA) If Love is Surrender - Chapter 4  
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
Genre: Drama/Action.
Summary: Adrian Andrews saves herself.
Warnings/Rating: [Click for boilerplate warnings list]
Notes: In which a car park is not a parking lot. Needless to say, big thanks to pruney ♥ Also, I should mention that this is the first chapter dealing directly with the concept of disassociation, but I just want to say that I'm definitely not claiming this to be the only way such a thing can represent itself - this is mostly based on my own experience of it, which, you know, most likely differs from other people's, as we're all individuals blah blah pop-psychology et cetera :D
Disclaimer: S'cool, Capcom. I'm just borrowing, I promise.
Previous Chapters: [CHAPTERS 1&2] [CHAPTER 3]


CHAPTER FOUR: "SNAP OUT OF IT"


Adrian doesn't know she makes it down those stairs.

Matt has the gun in his jacket pocket, and he jabs her with it every time she stalls, his breath hot and unsteady on the back of her neck. She prays to meet someone at every turn, but once they reach the parking lot - almost entirely empty, save for her own car and a battered black hatchback - her hope dwindles. The night air is a blessing on her skin, and she breathes deeply as Matt pushes her towards the hatchback, letting the cool oxygen slide cleanly through her jumbled insides. It helps, a little.

He fumbles in his pocket for keys, handing them to her. "You're driving."

"What?"

"Just get in, will you?"

She complies hurriedly - he slides into the passenger seat beside her, his pale forehead glistening with sweat, and promptly begins fiddling with the dashboard controls, apparently attempting to find the air-conditioning.

"Why don't we just take my car?" she suggests, with a calmness that surprises even herself. He looks at her like she's lost her mind.

"Are you stupid?" Matt says, with a snort. He opens the glove compartment and begins raking through it as he continues: "Your car is way too easily traced."

"And this one isn't? Where did you get it, anyway?"

"I dunno - some couple, I didn't ask their names. Aha!" He triumphantly holds up a packet of cigarettes and lighter, sliding one straight out of the cardboard. "Left them out in the desert, actually - they didn't seem to mind all that much. It's cool how helpful people are when you have a gun, isn't it?"

Adrian ignores his last comment, starting the car with shaking hands. "You don't smoke," she says eventually, because it is such a normal, safe thing to say, and she needs that more than ever right now. He rolls his eyes.

"There's a lot of stuff I didn't used to do, dude," Matt mutters sarcastically, taking a deep drag. Adrian's stomach seems to fill with lead. She concentrates instead on navigating, realising with a vague jolt of surprise that she doesn't even know where she's meant to be going.

"I don't suppose you have a direction in mind?"

He breathes out heavily, running a hand through his hair. "Yeah. There's a place... Celeste and I used to go there. Eagle Mountain - d'you know it? She had a cabin there."

Adrian nods mechanically. The mention of Celeste sends her reeling; she can't remember the last time he said her name in front of her, and hearing it now, after all he's done... in different circumstances, she is sure she would have slapped him. As it is, she peers out into the lights of nighttime Los Angeles and tries to keep her mind on the job in hand: doing whatever it takes to keep Matt calm.

As she drives, watching the shining barrel of the pistol out of the corner of her eye, Adrian starts to drift. It's something she knew would happen: something she's done since she can't remember when, whenever her anxiety simply becomes too high a pitch to parse sensibly anymore. A soothing, dream-like cloak muffles the sharp, confused edges of the world around her, the entire terrifying range of her fears rolled up in one smooth, clean blanket of disassociation. She watches herself driving with mild, unconcerned interest, her hands on the wheel suddenly far away and foreign.

I can handle this, comes her own voice, needling at the edges of her consciousness. She remembers what she's supposed to do when she starts to lose herself like this, remembers the line she memorised so diligently - "I am Adrian Andrews, and I am capable of handling this." For a while, she doesn't use it. The drifting is too nice, too safe - the whole situation is remote, like it's happening to someone on television. Not her.

It is happening to me, she reminds herself, with a little more emotion this time, and it's bad, but I can handle it. I can handle it. I can, I can, I can...

Matt is speaking again, and she focuses every bit of her mind on staying in the present.

"... how much cash have you got on you?"

She swallows, tasting blood - whether it's her own or Franziska's, she doesn't know, but it does an effective job of grounding her further. The car comes back into focus: the air-conditioning cool on her face, the feel of her hands on the wheel, the smell of sweat and blood and smoke. "Um, probably about 10 dollars? I might have my card, too."

He swears in irritation, throwing a butt from the window. "Do you think I'm completely stupid? The second we use that card, your little girlfriend and all her law enforcement buddies will come swooping down on us. Jesus."

"Oh."

The reminder of Franziska is like a punch in the gut, and she clutches the wheel tighter, her palms sticky with fear. She casts her eyes to the clock: glowing green lights tell her it is 11.20pm. How long since they left her, fifteen minutes? Will anyone have even found her? What if she's choked? What if she had internal bleeding? Her mouth abruptly fills with stale, metallic saliva -

"Adrian?"

"I think I'm going to be sick - "

She pulls the car sharply into a gas station, throws open the door, and is violently, painfully sick on to the dusty ground. It's utterly horrible, bile burning her mouth, her tongue, and there is a feeling like her stomach is being torn out through her throat: it occurs to her that she has not eaten since mid-morning, which is probably not helping the situation. When she sits back up, bathed in sweat, Matt is laughing cruelly. She realises now that she has never really known how deep his broken parts go.

"You all right?" he says eventually, when his snorts of amusement have subsided. She leans back against the driver's seat, closing her eyes against him. I can handle this, I can handle this, I can, I can...

When she opens her eyes again, in the headlights something catches her eye - across from the forecourt she has pulled into, alongside a rack of fire-extinguishers, there is a phone-booth. Her heart stalls, but her mind is working overtime, efficiently sorting through every one of her options. She decides to hedge her bets, remembering that look in his eye when they left the apartment.

"Matt," she says tentatively, her voice catching in her aching throat. She turns to face him, making hesitant eye-contact. "Let me call an ambulance for Franziska - anonymously, of course. By the time they get around to tracing it, we'll be miles away."

Matt's mouth twists sourly. "Let me think about that for a minute, dude. Oh, wait, no. God, what kind of sap do you take me for?"

Adrian licks her lips, panic beginning to pool in her stomach once again. She takes a deep breath. "If she dies..." she begins, biting her lip. "We both know that's not what you want. It'll make it so much worse for you."

"You still don't get it, do you, Adrian?" he says, almost wonderingly. He lights another cigarette, inhaling unsteadily. "I don't care. I have nothing to lose. I'm not scared to die, not anymore. I know what a pointless existence is now, and honestly, dude - in comparison, this is heaven."

Distantly, she realises what she has known all along - he doesn't intend for either of them to survive this. The thrill of fear is only momentary, however, because a louder voice in her head is certain that even if they both die, she still has this one chance to save Franziska, and she vows not to let it go to waste. She looks out desperately at the phone-booth, the fluorescent glow becoming deceptively soothing to her tired eyes, like a lighthouse in a storm. If she could just get to that phone...

"Okay," she says slowly, letting the word fall smoothly from her lips, a perfect lie. "I understand. And... I'll do whatever you want to do, I'll go wherever you want to go. Just... let me make this call. Please. This one thing."

He scrutinises her face, rolling his cigarette between blood-stained fingers. Up close, his eyes are almost childlike - wide, and such a reflective, warm brown - but set jarringly in that endless criss-cross pattern of self-mutilation, she can't forget she's looking at the man who has hurt every woman she's ever loved. She can see the scars easily in the light from the station, livid and red, some of them clearly not so much scars as fresh wounds. She wonders what made him this way.

He nods stiltedly, surprising her.

"Come on, quickly."

He frog-marches her to the phone-booth, the gun in his pocket again. When they are inside - so close together she can smell the brandy on his breath - he looks down at her through hard eyes.

"You say the address and no more, got it? Otherwise this ends here, I swear."

Adrian nods earnestly, taking a deep breath. The receiver is slippery in her sweaty palms as she punches the number, listens to the rings. Matt's expression is unreadable: he has flipped his hair forward again, although she doesn't understand quite why - surely that makes him more recognisable? She muses that it might be some kind of defense mechanism, her scattered mind wandering so far off track as she waits that she almost jumps when a voice answers. It takes every bit of her willpower not to give up the game and just blurt out, "Oh god help me, please," or something similar: instead, she haltingly relates her home address, adding a strained, "please hurry" to the end before slamming the phone down. Matt hustles her back to the car as soon as she's done.

"Drive!" he snaps, pushing the hair off his face with a shaking hand. He jabs the gun between her ribs roughly, apparently feeling the need to reassert his upper-hand. She doesn't care - he can have it, gladly. All she needs to know has been confirmed in his allowing her the phone call, but what that means for her remains to be seen.

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[TO CHAPTER 5]
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Current Music: Azure Ray - These White Lights Will Bend To Make Blue
Current Mood: restless
 
 
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[identity profile] prunesquallormd.livejournal.com on June 14th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
In which a car park is not a parking lot.
LOL Indeed it's not :)

You know how much I love this, right? And I've no doubt that, whatever plot issues you may currently be struggling with, you'll work them out perfectly.
♥ ♥ ♥

(lol pruney. Have I ever told you how much I hate my username? He's one of my favourite characters in literature, but god, it's an ugly name).
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[identity profile] perverbially.livejournal.com on June 14th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
... um, so, can I take it you don't mind "pruney", then? :3 Feel free to think of a ridiculous nickname for me in response, aha.

You know how much I love this, right? And I've no doubt that, whatever plot issues you may currently be struggling with, you'll work them out perfectly.

I think... tentatively, so as not to jinx it... I may just have regained my grip on this thing. I just had to rework some minor parts, thank god. Thank you so much for the encouragement, though <3
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[identity profile] prunesquallormd.livejournal.com on June 15th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
LOL Pruney is fine, I guess? I'm also entirely fine with you using my actual name too, you know (well, just the first one, of course :)). It's on my profile page, so it's not really a secret :D

I'm happy to hear that you're back in command :). I've never written anything as ambitious as this, but I can imagine that it gets pretty disheartening when you feel like you've lost control of things.
<3

Oh, and I'm very much enjoying Chapter 5 BTW. Franzy! Maya! So cute :)

Edited 2010-06-15 10:14 pm (UTC)
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[identity profile] withpractice-ff.livejournal.com on June 24th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
How did I miss this??

You've got me completelt hooked. Your insights into this two are fascinating, I can't wait for more. This is so big and exciting!

Looooove.
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[identity profile] withpractice-ff.livejournal.com on June 24th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
And I apologize for my many typos. Typing on my phone's keyboard is almost as bad as typing while drunk.
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[identity profile] perverbially.livejournal.com on June 24th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, dude, I know the feeling - whenever I comment from my DSi, it looks like I typed the whole thing with my ear or something :/

Anyway, wow, every time you comment my face gets another lesson in how to blush like an idiot, seriously :3 Thank you!

(Also, mind if I friend you? Don't feel obliged to friend back, but I'd love to keep up with your writing.)
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[identity profile] withpractice-ff.livejournal.com on June 25th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
LET'S DO IT!

Which is to say, I'mma friend you right now!
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[identity profile] perverbially.livejournal.com on June 25th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
IT'S ON, BB ♥

(By which I mean, yay! I've already seen something new from you turn up on my flist, which made me do an exceptionally silly little happy dance, hee :D Now to get my work done and get my butt over to read it!)
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