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Trope Bingo Fic: "Land of the Living"

Title: Land of the Living
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 1140
Characters: Diego Armando, Mia Fey, Pearl Fey. Mia/Diego.
Spoilers: Major plot and character spoilers for Trials and Tribulations. Set during the post-trial scenes of "Bridge to Turnabout".
Notes: Written for [community profile] trope_bingo, for "Presumed Dead + First Times/Last Times". Also because I adore this 'ship (I'm sure you're all shocked), and I couldn't stop poking at the idea of what a moment between them after the trial might be like.

I'm not sure where all this Ace Attorney fic is coming from. I'm enjoying it, though.

Also on AO3.


"I thought you were dead."

Godot stands alone in the prosecutors lobby, facing the courtroom door, waiting for the paperwork for his arrest to process so that the bailiffs can properly arrest him. The voice comes from behind him, and he lowers his head, half smiles, and turns around to face its owner. A voice he knows better than his own, and one he never thought to hear again.

"And I know you are," he says. Her face is hazy through the blood and the red light that the visor constantly beams into his eyes, but still he would recognize her anywhere. In this world or in the beyond, he should have known that she would find him again. "Ms. Mia Fey."

She smiles at him in that teasing way she has, chin tilting downward as her eyes sparkle. "Hi, Diego."

Before he knows it, his hand stretches outward, out of habit, out of need, thinking to stroke her arm or caress her cheek. But he stops dead, then retracts the arm back into its own space. He reminds himself that this is not Mia, not really; this body belongs to young Pearl Fey, and to touch her in such a way would be wrong. "I saw you during that other case, you know. In the courtroom. I couldn't believe it. I thought my ruined eyes were playing tricks on me. But they weren't, were they? It was really you." He gestures toward her, up and down. "Just like you are now."

Mia nods. "Just like I am now."

His hand falls to his side, and his fingers curl back into themselves. He had seen her for what he thought was the last time right here, in this very courthouse; he'd kissed her quickly and left, thinking it only a routine cup of coffee with a visitor. If he'd only known what awaited him in the cafeteria, if he'd only known about his impending five year sleep, that he would awaken as a burnt-out shell in love with a ghost... All the things he wants to tell her, the words stolen by time and death, sit heavy in the pit of his stomach. Instead he just looks at her, as best he can, and wishes she could gaze into his eyes and see a mirror to the sadness in her face.

After a moment, she clears her throat and steps closer to him. "I wanted to thank you. For looking out for Maya."

"I tried my best," he replies. "But-- your mother--"

She shakes her head, lowers her eyes before she can show the grief that must be there. "My mother made her choices. I have to believe she knew the risks. You risked your own life to save Maya's; how could she have done any less?"

"I know." He lowers his voice. "And yet, it's still true, what I said in the courtroom. I attacked Dahlia to defend Maya, but I can't claim that I felt no satisfaction when I put a sword through her heart."

"Hmph." Mia crosses her arms and glances away. "I just wish I could've been there to help. There's very few people, in this world or the next, who deserve the cruelest of fates. But Dahlia Hawthorne is one of them."

He can't help but laugh, a snicker that's harsh to his ears. "I doubt you'd find anyone to disagree with that. Not even Phoenix Wright."

"Especially not Phoenix," Mia says softly. She glances over her shoulder, and Diego follows her eyes across the room to where the young defense attorney stands with Sister Iris. The youngsters are blushing awkwardly at each other, the color pretty on Iris's cheeks, Wright's eyes pointing at the tops of his shoes. "Dahlia took so much from him. And she almost took a whole lot more."

She lets out a sigh, then turns back to Diego, resting a hand on his arm. Her fingers are warm through his shirt, warm and alive, and it's all he can do not to weep again. "Yes." He lays his hand over his. This is as much as he dares to touch her when she's wearing this body. "Will I see you again?"

"If you like." She squeezes his arm. "I know Pearl won't mind. But if it's too hard for you, if you'd rather move on, I understand."

"The shape this body is in, I'm not sure how long it would be regardless." Her eyes widen, and he pats her hand, hoping to reassure. "It's all right, Mia. What's left for me here, anyway? You're gone, my vengeance is accomplished, the defense of innocent people remains in Mr. Wright's capable hands." He shakes his head. "Ah, but don't worry about me. I'm in no rush to shuffle off this mortal coil, either. Even if my remaining time is mostly spent in prison."

"I'm sure Maya will speak on your behalf in court," says Mia. "And Phoenix, too."

Diego shrugs. "Perhaps it will help." Though he's not sure he wants it to. He deserves his punishment, and more. But he doubts Mia would understand, if he could even fully explain.

"It will." She speaks with confidence, a strength that warms what remains of his heart. Leaning forward, she brushes her lips across his cheek, and his eyes flutter closed, willing him to cling to this moment, their moment, their first in an age, possibly the last they will ever have. When he opens them again, Mia is gone, replaced by a little girl with her hair in pigtails, her eyes round and liquid, her hand covering her mouth. "Mr. Godot?" Pearl glances at the floor, flustered. "Or should I call you Mr. Diego now?"

He crouches down to one knee, to bring himself near to her height. "Mr. Diego will do just fine."

"Okay." She smiles at him, shyly. "Thank you for helping Mystic Maya, Mr. Diego."

"Of course. I'm only sorry I couldn't have helped more."

"I wasn't listening the whole time in court, but I'm sure you did all you could." She hangs her head. "I'm sorry I caused so much trouble. My mother-- she's not a very nice person, is she?"

It's all Diego can do not to sweep her up in his arms, ready to shield her from everything wrong with the world. "It's not your fault. And don't let anyone ever tell you that it is. All right?" She nods, and he chucks her lightly under the chin. "Will you come visit me in prison, little Pearl?"

She lifts her face with a tiny nod. "I'd like that," she says.

"It's a deal." He holds out his hand, and she shakes it, firm and solemn. And then the bailiff's hand is on his shoulder, ready to lead him away to face his fate. At last, he is ready.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/664910.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

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