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perverbially ([personal profile] perverbially) wrote on August 4th, 2010 at 12:21 am
(FIC: ADRIAN/FRANZISKA) If Love is Surrender - Chapters 8&9
Title: If Love is Surrender
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Spoilers: Major JfA spoilers
Pairing(s): Adrian Andrews/Franziska von Karma
Genre: Drama/Action
Summary: Adrian Andrews saves herself.
Warnings/Rating: [Click for boilerplate warnings list].
Notes: This is what happens when two chapters get so friendly with each other that they refuse to be parted :/ Thanks to [ profile] prunesquallormd for... well, everything.
Disclaimer: S'cool, Capcom. I'm just borrowing, I promise.
Previous Chapters: [CHAPTERS 1&2] [CHAPTER 3] [CHAPTER 4] [CHAPTER 5] [CHAPTER 6] [CHAPTER 7]


"The Lesser Magatama..." someone is mumbling insistently, loud enough to wake her up. "That's the Lesser Magatama, I remember now... the Greater Magatama wouldn't fit through the warehouse door..."

Adrian wants to tell whoever is talking to be quiet, or at the very least to take their noisy meanderings elsewhere for the moment - can't they see she's trying to get some sleep? She presses her face deeper into the pillows, bringing a hand up to cover her ears as she tries vainly to reclaim the threads of whatever lovely dream she was just having...

"The Greater Magatama... was to be one of the main attractions..." the person continues distantly, and with a jerk she realises the voice is coming from her own lips. Unwillingly, she forces herself to open her eyes to their full extent.

"Oh my, my, my, dear, you need to stay still - "

The blurred face hovering above hers strikes a chord, somehow - does she know this woman? Her hands twitch instinctively for the familiar weight of her organiser, coming up disconcertingly empty. She never goes anywhere without it, and its unusual absence leaves her feeling strangely bereft. Did she leave it at the office...?

"Iris, can you bring me another blanket?"

Another woman glides into her field of vision; she has her head slightly bowed, intense dark eyes the only feature Adrian can pick out. "They said they'll be here as quickly as possible, Sister Bikini," she whispers into the other woman's ear, bowing briefly before disappearing again, seemingly behind the giant green presence overwhelming the room.

"The Lesser Magatama," Adrian hears herself repeat drowsily, a flare of recognition needling for attention at the back of her consciousness. The woman standing over her nods, smiling proudly.

"Yes, yes, that's the one, Ms. Andrews. It's nice to hear you remember it so well!" she says, with a chuckle. " Now, you really must stay still, all right? Iris has called an ambulance, but you had a pretty nasty fall back there... it's a good thing I was paying attention, otherwise we both would've been up the creek without a paddle!"

"Fall...? Oh."

All at once the penny drops. She struggles upright blearily, reeling when a throb of nausea catches her off guard. Covering her eyes with a hand, she notes that her glasses have finally deserted her once and for all, a cut across the bridge of her nose the only remaining remnant of their presence.

"There's a man - " Her voice cracks roughly as she tries to speak, and she finds herself fighting the urge to retch, the sensation of nausea becoming perilously close to overwhelming. "He's after me, and I hit him, but he might come back - I took his gun - "

"Gun?! Oh my, my, my, whatever have you gotten yourself involved in, Ms. Andrews...?" the woman says, her voice rising theatrically. She turns away, apparently looking for the other woman. "It sounds like we'll be needing the police, too, Iris! Hurry, hurry!"

"The gun... you don't have it?"

"I'm afraid not," the woman - Sister Bikini, that's her name, Adrian recalls - replies, clasping her hands in dismay. "It might even have gone into the river - you were lucky not to go in yourself!"

Adrian nods blankly, fighting the desire to sink back into the nest of blankets her unlikely saviours have built so diligently around her. The euphoria of earlier has faded into nothing; all she can feel now is the dull ache of fatigue, the sick, dragging emptiness of her insides. She shifts, suddenly uncomfortable - there's something under the blankets, digging painfully into her back. She pushes the covers back - it takes every bit of her willpower and strength combined to shift them - and gropes around, pulling out a familiar curl of leather.

"Oh, my, I had almost forgotten about that! I tried to take it from you so we could get you comfortable, but you wouldn't let go," Sister Bikini says, with a motherly tut. "It doesn't seem the most friendly bedmate in the world, if you ask me, but I guess it's your back pain!"

Adrian can't think of a thing to say - and even if she could, she's not sure she could voice it around the painful, aching lump that has formed in her throat. She recoils the whip's length as best she can, the way Franziska taught her to. It can only have been three years ago, at most, but it feels like an age.

I'm coming home, she repeats to herself, even as, against her will, her body slips heavily back down into the warmth of the blankets. I promise.


Miles can hear Franziska before he sees her, and even if that weren't the case, he's sure he could not fail to miss the procession of tearful, terrified hospital staff and police officers scuttling about in the corridor outside her room. Oh good, he thinks mildly, she's feeling better.

"Are you even aware who you are speaking to? I am Franziska von Karma, and I am not putting down this phone until I speak to the foolish son of a foolish fool who is in charge of this foolish excuse for a hospital!"

He pauses before knocking, bracing himself ever so slightly, but nevertheless has to suppress the embarrassing urge to jump when the door is damn near ripped from its hinges.

"Miles Edgeworth!" she snaps, cell phone balanced awkwardly between her ear and the shoulder of her uninjured arm. "I trust you have a good reason to show your foolish face in front of me, after what you did?"

"What I did?" he repeats, raising an eyebrow. "Showing concern for your health, you mean? My apologies, Ms. von Karma - I assure you, it will not happen again."

"Hmph." Franziska eyes him irritably, before stepping back to let him in. "There's no need to be facetious."

She shuts the door with a bang behind him, crossing back to her bed and sitting down. The room is considerably less tidy than when he left it this morning; wryly, and more than a little guiltily, he thinks of the Feys, briefly entertaining a rush of gratitude towards them for putting up with Franziska's undoubtedly less-than-warm welcome in his absence. He really will need to find some way to thank them.

Burgers, possibly.

Returning his gaze to the woman before him, he momentarily forgets the reason for his visit. If possible, his sister actually looks worse for being dressed, the familiar sight of her perfectly-tailored dress clothes only serving to underline the painfully bruised state of her otherwise ghost-white face, the shadowed smudges of grey exhaustion under her eyes blending almost seamlessly into the deep purple of her numerous bruises. The thick pad of tissue over her nose remains, and he wonders, with a frown, whether she is purposefully avoiding assessing the damage to her perfect von Karma bone-structure.

He also cannot fail to notice how bizarrely lop-sided she looks without her whip, her empty hands somehow the most thoroughly disconcerting part of the overall image. The repetitive way she flexes and straightens her fingers in her lap tells him she is feeling similarly at a loss.

Pushing these thoughts - and the burn of futile, overprotective anger that accompanies them - quite firmly aside, he meets her eyes, sitting down across from her. "I thought the Feys had come to see you...?"

Miles realises that this was possibly not the most inconspicuous opening gambit when Franziska snorts, narrowing her eyes. "Oh, indeed they did. I've had the pleasure of their presence all afternoon, in fact - I only managed to rid myself of them when it became obvious that Pearl Fey was in desperate need of a proper bed to sleep in." She pauses, clucking her tongue irritably. "Yet another thing I have to thank you for, I assume?"

He inclines his head slightly, although his brow retains a patient quirk of amusement at her rather transparent display of false hostility. "In actual fact, I had very little to do with the matter. They're acquaintances of Ms. Andrews, after all, and they wanted to help in whatever way they could. Surely you wouldn't expect me to refuse?"

"I expect you to keep your foolish, meddling nose out of my affairs," Franziska retorts coldly, scowling, but he detects a halfheartedness to the expression that betrays how little interest she actually has in fighting him at this moment. Behind the familiar, relentlessly combative facade he has come to expect of her, he can sense quite clearly something else; a desperate, fearful something which tells him that he needs to cut to the chase, for both of their sakes.

"We've found her, Franziska," he says quietly. "They're bringing her in. She's unharmed."

She looks at him blankly for a moment, a confusing kaleidoscope of emotions battling for dominance on her face, and then, as abruptly as she sat down, she is on her feet again, moving to the window in a few tense strides. Her shoulders are shaking minutely, though he's sure it would be near enough invisible to anyone who doesn't know her as he does.

"Unharmed?" she repeats, keeping her face angled meticulously away from his. "And just what does that mean?"

"We'll know more when she gets here," Miles replies promptly. "But the paramedics who attended her seem unconcerned for her physical health, at the very least. I believe they mentioned a few cuts and bruises, a twisted ankle..." He pauses, fixing his gaze on the only shadowed slip of her face he can pick out, in lieu of being able to meet her eyes directly. "There was also talk of a potential drugs overdose of some kind, but as I said, the medics don't believe it to be anything to worry about."

Franziska's head jerks sharply, and when she turns to face him her eyes have widened, even as the rest of her expression is a carefully composed mask of neutrality. "Drugs? Is she - ?"

"She's conscious," he assures her quickly, nodding. "Of course, they have to err on the side of caution, but the medic I spoke with seemed quite positive that she will make a full recovery."

Franziska's gaze is back on his face now, but there is a far-away, glassy quality to it that makes him think she is not really seeing him; rather, that her feverish mind is showing her any number of the terrible reasons Matt Engarde could have had for abducting and proceeding to drug her girlfriend. She is clutching the windowsill, but whether it is for support or merely to stop herself putting a fist through something, he cannot tell.

"The things he said..." she begins, and her voice is hoarse, and so painfully telling. She looks away, closing her eyes. "She hasn't - ?"

"No," he answers, too quickly; he clears his throat, realising the urgent need to qualify his response. "That is to say, she hasn't said anything to that effect, and there's no evidence to suggest - "

The hand on the sill detaches, raising sharply in a mute, desperate plea for silence. He sees her grit her teeth, a nerve in her jaw twitching. "Just... stop. It's... I really don't need conjecture at this precise moment, Miles Edgeworth."

"I wouldn't dream of presenting you with conjecture in relation to such a serious matter," he replies gravely, but with a carefully measured softness that, against all the odds, seems to produce a slight thaw in the tense, frozen statue of his sister. "As I said, we will know more when she's been examined properly. I really am sorry I can't give you any more than that at the moment, Franziska."

She closes her eyes once more, taking a deep inward breath that seems to echo around them both, before dismissing his apology with an impatient, jerky wave of her uninjured hand. "When is she expected to arrive?"

"Any minute now, actually. They're bringing her from Eagle Mountain."

He sees recognition in Franziska's eyes, recognition mingled with confusion, but before he has the chance to elaborate further it is gone, the detail apparently having been filed, for the moment, as unimportant. She nods curtly. "And Engarde?"

Her demeanour shifts tangibly when she says the name, a visible ripple of uncontrolled rage rendering every one of her limbs taut, the stance somehow just as composed as it is resolutely feral. It is a stance he recognises well from watching her in court, of course: the blazing, galvanised posture of someone readying themselves for a fight. Her right hand twitches violently.

"He has been detained, I'm pleased to say," Miles replies shortly, although he knows he sounds anything but. "He's being taken to a different hospital, under an armed guard."

"He's injured?"

"A gun-shot wound, from what I've gathered."

Franziska looks away from him again, though he sees her eyes harden. "Serious?" she asks, her voice heavy. He knows her thinking well enough to imagine the many and varied awful things going through her mind at that moment, even without the visual aid of being able to assess her expression.

"I'm afraid I don't know, but he was conscious when I spoke with the officers at the scene. Preliminary reports indicate it was most likely self-inflicted, but as you know - "

"Of course I know," she cuts him off tersely, shaking her head. "Only a fool relies upon a preliminary investigation, particularly one conducted purely by the local police." She pauses, clutching her cast. "No one is to question Adrian until I have seen her, you understand? I will not have those foolish buffoons upsetting her further."

"You know I can't do that, Franziska," Miles replies, but he makes a conscious effort to keep his tone patient, recognising that she must be most painfully aware that this is something she cannot change, no matter how much she would like to. "But I assure you, I will personally see to it that she's treated with the utmost sensitivity, as anyone in her situation would be. Actually, there is something you should know, in that regard..."

She turns back to him, raising an eyebrow.

"There is some concern for her state of mind, as is to be expected," Miles says carefully. She blanches visibly at his words, holding herself all the tighter. "It would be helpful if we could get hold of her personal physician, as they would obviously be better placed to assess her. I understand she sees a private doctor...?"

Franziska is at her nightstand before he has completed the sentence, rifling through her organiser. "I'll have her here as soon as possible," she says, not looking at him.



He pauses, not quite knowing how to phrase his concerns; even if he did, he reasons it would be cruel, somehow, to say something so intrusive when she is deprived of the chance to whip him in response. In fact, the last time he did such a thing he seems to remember that she ended up crying, and that must be the very last thing she needs today, of all days.

Instead, he shakes his head, shrugging slightly.

"I'm glad to see you're feeling better."


It takes hours for them to be finished with Adrian.

Franziska knows each minute intimately, because she counts them - one by painful one - as they pass her by, tracking their progress with an almost religious level of fanaticism on the faded white clock opposite her. Her heart jerks against her ribs every time the swing doors open and close, each entrance seeming designed purely to enhance her anxieties with their consistent failure to deliver the woman she is waiting to see.

She has not been allowed in, although god help her, she has tried. Police officers and doctors blur into one, and it is torture, complete, sadistic torture, knowing that they are taking Adrian's initial statement without her. It's not just a professional insult - that would be bad enough, all by itself - but somehow a deeper, more irrational sting, the ache of being unable to even hold Adrian's hand through this, surely the very least she could do after all that has happened...

"Prosecutor von Karma?"

Franziska rises swiftly, clenching her fists against the disorientating buzz of adrenaline that greets her as she does so, her body clearly beginning to protest her continued negligence of its needs these past two days.


Hearing her own voice, she realises that her tolerance for preamble - rather impressively low, even on a good day - must have hit rock-bottom some time three hours ago. Fortunately, the doctor seems to understand her impatience, or at the very least appears to be far beyond the point of offence.

"She's doing fine, I'm happy to say," she says, with an encouraging smile that does precisely nothing to relieve Franziska's tension. "Her blood results are back - we found a negligible amount of some prescription medication in her system, but nowhere near enough to be cause for concern. While we'll obviously need to keep her in for observation, it really is just a precaution at this point. Otherwise, she has a fairly bad sprain to her left ankle, some cuts and bruising, and a nasty case of exhaustion... but, in short, nothing some rest and recuperation won't fix."

The doctor pauses, tilting her head in a manner that frustrates Franziska far more than is strictly necessary. "Of course, given her history, organising a course of trauma counselling should be considered as a matter of priority. I understand - ?"

"Yes, yes, I've been through this," Franziska cuts her off briskly, tapping her foot against the linoleum of the corridor floor. The pounding throb of a migraine is rapidly creeping up on her, and it is doing nothing for her manners. "I've seen to it that she will be meeting with her doctor tomorrow. Have the police finished for now?"

"Ah - " the doctor turns on her heel, scanning the corridor behind her helplessly. "I think so, but it's probably for the best if - "

"Then I can see her."

She can't even bring herself to make it a question, cannot entertain the idea of being refused, not when she has already waited so many impossible hours. Patience is a virtue she has steadfastly managed to avoid acquiring, and it's only now that she realises just how heavily she is paying for it.

"I should think she'll be asleep, Ms. von Karma," the doctor informs her gently, before raising an appraising eyebrow at Franziska herself. "Maybe you should get some rest in the mean time, hmm? You really shouldn't be up and about at all, now that I think about it..."

"I've had about as much 'rest' as I can stand, to be frank," Franziska mutters shortly, with a weary, bitter laugh. "I won't wake her, I assure you." She intends that to be the end of the conversation, but the doctor isn't leaving, merely tilting her head once more, eyeing Franziska in that frustratingly knowing manner.

Franziska can't suppress an impatient little tut as she raises a pointed eyebrow of her own, placing her good hand on her hip. For what seems like the hundredth time today, she thinks longingly of her whip, and how much easier it is to end such irritating conversations with its assistance. "Thank you for your help," she forces out, eventually. "I think we'll be fine alone."

The doctor sighs, and Franziska can almost hear her rolling her eyes as she turns away, heading off down the corridor. She watches her go, watches for much too long, really (and just why is she hesitating? Isn't this what she wanted?), before turning to face the door to Adrian's room.

She gives herself a five second reprieve, filling the time with the soothingly mundane process of adjusting her shirt sleeves, an action which never fails to steady her nerves. And then, reaching out a (pathetically) tentative hand, she knocks twice, as softly as she dares.


She had known Adrian wouldn't be asleep yet, of course. They are entirely different in so many ways, but painfully similar in so many others, the curse of anxiety-fuelled insomnia being just one of them. She pushes the door open with her cast, ignoring the discomfort it causes. Adrian is propped up on a mountain of pillows, looking even tinier than she remembers. For several seconds, Franziska finds herself uncharacteristically unsure of what to do with herself. She steps into the room, her limbs feeling more and more curiously disembodied with every movement, and watches as Adrian's mouth curves into a wild, tearful smile.

"I came back," she says shakily, after a long moment where they both just look at each other. "I promised you I would."

That's when Franziska's knees buckle.


When she comes to, there is a small, warm hand clasped tight around hers, and a veritable cacophony of voices surrounding her. She focuses her attention on the hand, trying desperately to block the rest of the meaningless noise out. One soft, halting voice manages to break through.


Another set of fingers are gentle on her cheek now, accompanied by the flutter of hair tickling her nose. She forces her eyes open to find Adrian's wide brown ones fixed on hers, somehow just as full of concern as they are exhaustion. Franziska can't even begin to comprehend how she can continue to feel so much at once after all that has happened these past twenty-four hours; it's all she herself can do to mumble a rather humiliated "M'fine" before turning on to her side, pushing herself upright on her good arm.

Adrian's grip on her hand is unwavering throughout the process, but she steps back when the source of at least one of the other voices - a doctor, the same one who managed to drug her into unconsciousness so efficiently earlier - pushes past her, her gaze exasperated.

"How are you feeling, Franziska?" She doesn't wait for an answer this time, setting straight to work flipping through the charts at the end of the bed, before looking back up with raised eyebrows. "Hmm. Do you want to tell me exactly how much you've eaten in the past 48 hours, or shall I just estimate it as around 'nothing'?"

Franziska's head is still swimming disconcertingly, but she manages to arrange her features into a scowl. "You would surely understand if I told you that I've had other things on my mind," she grumbles stiffly, narrowing her eyes. The action sets off another flood of wooziness, and she presses a frustrated hand to her temple, wishing with all her heart for this woman to just go away. Her eyes search for Adrian, finding her dithering helplessly behind the doctor, biting her lip.

"Why haven't you eaten anything, Franziska? You're going to make yourself ill..."

The absurdity of Adrian - still in that dreadful hospital gown, leaning awkwardly on a crutch, and with the kind of bruises that make Franziska want to kill something with her bare hands - expressing such earnest concern for anyone's health but her own would almost be laughable, if only it didn't make her chest ache with a level of uncomfortably raw emotion quite unbefitting of a von Karma.

"I am fine, Adrian." She turns her eyes on the doctor, gritting her teeth. "If I eat something, will you leave me alone?"

The doctor laughs, irritatingly unfazed by Franziska's rudeness. "I suppose so. I'll have something sent over, all right? And it would be best for the both of us if you actually ate it this time, as opposed to foisting it off on your visitors." Still shaking her head patiently, she leaves, waving off Adrian's murmur of gratitude through the gap in the curtains. Adrian watches after her for a moment, leaning heavily on her crutch, before turning back to Franziska.

There is a silence now, a long, complete silence that seems to overwhelm even the din of the voices beyond the curtains. Franziska has the sensation that she is being memorised, somehow, those bright brown eyes never leaving hers as Adrian moves back to the bed, sitting down carefully beside her.

"I think I've figured it out," she says finally, and her voice is even quieter than Franziska remembers, with - for some inexplicable reason - the hint of a smile about it. Franziska frowns.

"What are you talking about?"

"Why you keep me around." Adrian sighs, a small, affectionate smile finally emerging fully on her lips. "You need someone to remind you that you're human and need to eat once in a while, just like everyone else. Isn't that right?"

Franziska snorts disdainfully, but all at once there is something inside her that is just aching to return that smile; an idiotic, childlike rush of relief so great it almost makes her forget the horror of all that has happened, if just for the most fleeting of moments. "Don't be foolish, Adrian Andrews," she replies, but it is strangely gentle - tentative, almost - and somehow tinged with that same smile. "You know full well why I 'keep you around', as you so clumsily phrased it." She swallows, reaching out self-consciously to grasp Adrian's hand in her own. "You are never to do that to me again, do you understand?"

Adrian sighs again, laughing wearily as she brings their joined hands up to her face, pressing her forehead to Franziska's knuckles. "That is not even an issue, I promise you." She is silent again for a long, tired moment, closing her eyes against Franziska's hand. When they open, they are brimming with unspilled tears. Her bottom lip shakes, and Franziska can tell she is struggling to hold it together, this one last time, although for whose benefit she cannot quite fathom. She bites her own split lip, producing a painful twinge that is easily ignored as she pulls Adrian to her.

"I was so frightened," Adrian mumbles against her chest, and Franziska can't think of a thing to say, just grips her so fiercely that, when Adrian begins to sob, her whole body heaving with the force of it, Franziska is shaken, too; the absoluteness of it all crashing down on both of them like a wave.

"So was I," she mutters, quietly enough that she knows that only Adrian will be able to hear it, this last shameful secret she has kept for so long. "So was I."


Adrian detaches herself only when the promised lunch tray arrives, her insistence that Franziska eat something surprising both of them in its vehemence, given her near state of collapse mere moments earlier. She curls up beside Franziska as she picks through the contents of the tray, watching with tired, but mildly amused eyes when her lip curls in disgust at the absence of anything that looks even remotely edible.

"I had plans, you know," she says eventually, smiling weakly. Franziska raises an eyebrow, a silent query as she takes a cautious sip of something that looks like tea. "For a meal. It was going to be perfect. I don't suppose my groceries will be fit for anything but the trash, now..."

"If Scruffy hasn't already eaten them, that is," Franziska replies dryly, but she pauses uncomfortably for a moment, before replacing the cup and pressing her hand over Adrian's. It's beyond ridiculous, that after all that has happened Adrian should be upset about, of all things, her groceries, but something about it tugs at her heart in an awful, achingly fond way she can't help but give in to. "Although Miles might have had the presence of mind to refrigerate them somewhere other than the precinct, I suppose."

"Hmm. Maybe." Adrian sighs, turning on to her side with some difficulty, the hospital bed being most inconveniently designed for only one body. She looks up at Franziska, her eyes heavy with an exhaustion that makes her continued consciousness seem quite unbelievable. Franziska tuts lightly.

"This is ridiculous. Why on earth are they wasting their time bothering me, when you're... well..."

"I've been given an almost entirely clean bill of health, I'll have you know," Adrian reminds her, with a faint, ironic smile. "I'm just... well, I'm just a little tired, honestly."

Franziska eyes her sceptically, but something stops her saying any of the things she so desperately wants to; instead, she shifts even further towards the edge of the bed, with a pointed glance at Adrian. "And what is the logical course of action here? Get some rest, you fool."

Adrian's eyes cloud briefly, and when she speaks, her cheeks flush pink under the bruises. "I don't... this is so silly, but... I don't want to. Not yet." She brings a hand up to cover her eyes, chuckling awkwardly. "Oh, goodness, it sounds even more pathetic aloud than it did in my head..."

"You are far from pathetic, Adrian Andrews," Franziska replies firmly, fixing her with a glare. Nevertheless, looking down into Adrian's pale, exhausted face, she finds herself worrying her sore bottom lip with her teeth for a moment, disconcerted. "Why don't you want to sleep?"

"I'm..." Adrian falters, shaking her head. "No. You'll think I've lost my mind. I've seen the way people have been looking at me."

The desire to physically injure anyone who has dared to look at Adrian with anything but the utmost respect is almost overwhelming, but the expression on Adrian's face tells Franziska that, as comforting as such a notion may be, that's probably not what either of them needs right now. She swallows back the anger, taking a careful, distinctly unsoothing sip of the tea-like concoction before her, giving herself the necessary seconds it takes to rein in her own feelings. "Don't tell me what I will think, Adrian," she says quietly, when her tone has regained some measure of its equilibrium. "You know how I hate it when you do that."

Adrian laughs, but it is a tiny, fragile sound, clearly dragged from the deepest, most desperate reserves of her strength. "Of course, how could I forget..." She shifts, eyes falling closed as she rests her head on Franziska's hip. Franziska fights herself with each passing second of silence, her every professional instinct screaming for her to press Adrian, to make her tell her what's going through her mind, what that man did to her in those terrible hours they were apart. She repositions herself as gently as possible, shifting her cast around Adrian's shoulders. Adrian sighs softly, and then it all comes tumbling out.

"I'm frightened that it's all a dream. And that when I wake up... you won't be here," she murmurs into Franziska's side, and it is the quietest, most broken of any of her confessions. Franziska feels the dampness of tears beginning to permeate her shirt as she continues. "It's all my fault, isn't it? Everything - everyone - I touch... they just keep getting broken, don't they? It's so tiring, Franziska... I'm just so tired of people I love getting hurt because of me..."

"Adrian Andrews," Franziska says, and for a moment that is all she says, looking down at Adrian with sudden, unexpected fire in her eyes. Adrian blinks as Franziska catches her chin in her fingers, bringing her tearful gaze forcefully up to hers. "Do I look broken to you? Do I sound broken?" Adrian doesn't answer, swallowing hard, and Franziska finally lets her anger show, couldn't hold it back any longer if she tried, releasing Adrian's face and gesturing irritably to her own. "You think this is broken? It's nothing, Adrian. This is nothing. And to even entertain the concept of any part of this fiasco being, somehow, your fault... well, I would hope that you credit us both with far more intelligence than that. There's a reason I don't spend my days prosecuting the victims of crimes."

"I think that's because the victims you deal with are usually dead," Adrian points out, with a shaky laugh. Franziska snorts, but something about hearing Adrian say such a thing - still as resolutely logical as she is emotional, still with that same terrible sense of humour, and, most importantly, still unwilling to back down without the most beautifully passive-aggressive, quietly intelligent of fights - tells her that all is not lost.

"You know exactly what I mean, and don't you dare pretend otherwise," Franziska replies. She reaches out a hand, carefully brushing back a few stray, damp strands of hair from Adrian's bruised face. Adrian's eyes drift closed once more, and she drops her head back into Franziska's lap.

"Get some sleep, Adrian Andrews. I'm not going anywhere." She pauses, giving a soft, dark chuckle of her own. "Believe me, I've tried."

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