|alorian (alorian) wrote in courtroomdance,|
@ 2009-04-30 20:09:00
[fic] Gyakuten Kaizoku : Turnabout Pirates
This is the sort of thing for which there are many, many excuses, but none of them will suffice. The simple, god's honest truth of it is: do you want to see Phoenix and Edgeworth dueling in very big shirts and very, very tight pants, or don't you?
I think we can all answer that one.
So here it is: Phoenix Wright, the Pirate AU. It's just like an Ace Attorney game. Only with pirates. Worksafe, for the moment.
Two full color character designs coming right up, as soon as I scan them.
Gyakuten Kaizoku : Chapter One, In Which A Trap Is Laid
The numbers simply did not add up.
True, Phoenix Wright was not an accountant, by any means. He had a good head for numbers, that was all. He liked them to clump up in nice little rows on the parchment, to fall down the columns into orderly sums at the bottom. It had been a useless skill for a wishy-washy art student at university, but as far as being the Pirate Queen's hostage, well.
Needless to say, it had been quite useful.
The Spirit of Kurain was anchored off some islands south-southeast of Saint Ami, resting in a lagoon of heart-breakingly blue water as the ship resupplied. On deck and below it, the crew was busy loading up refilled water barrels, filling the hold with coconuts and racks of green plantains. Staying out of the way was something he had learned early. Phoenix did as he had always done in such situations: tuck himself behind a barrel next to the fo'ca'sle and try to make heads or tails out of the Pirate Queen's surprising amount of unfinished paperwork.
There were shares to be tallied, loot to be catalogued, and records of supplies to be kept. Normally, the quartermaster would have done such tasks, but the old goat was blind as a bat and illiterate, to boot. She was also prone to shooting her pistol at any troublesome 'whippersnappers,' which in Phoenix's experience was anyone under the age of a hundred and four. But, the Pirate Queen liked all her books tidy, and she couldn't bother with it herself. She had other things to do, what with pillaging and plundering and posing for wanted posters.
Phoenix was tangling with a hairy bit of long division, and did not look up as a shadow blocked out the tropical sun.
"Here you are!"
Phoenix jumped, upsetting the inkpot and making an utter ruin of his sheet of figures. "Ah! Dammit, why'd you sneak up on me like--" He broke off, mid-protest, as the shape over his head resolved into a black silk corset that was unsure how to contain the bounty it was given. The Pirate Queen was leaning over the pickle barrel, a fond, exasperated smile above her astounding décolletage, her scarf snapping in the breeze like a galleon's full sails. "--Captain Mia!" Phoenix shot to his feet, papers flying. "I uh, I was just working out the shares on the last haul, Ma'am, and I really think that--"
"Mr. Wright," said the pirate queen, with a little sigh, "I really think we're overdue for a bit of a chat."
Phoenix swallowed. He was never quite sure if it was Mia's cleavage or her cannon-power that made his throat dry up in her presence. "Chat?" he squeaked, and then coughed his voice back down into a more normal range. "Ah, that is. I mean, a chat, why, of course! I am your hostage, after all!" His laugh trickled away into nothing, and there was an awkward pause as the crew eyed them askance.
"Not here, though." Mia gestured with one finger. "Can you step into my cabin, for just a moment?"
Phoenix wiped inky fingers on his tattered pink shirt, nodding. "Of--Of course."
The interior of the captain's quarters was cool and shadowy after the burning sun of the Saint Ami coastline, and a watery light came in through the paned window. The cabin was littered with treasures that Phoenix had not yet gotten a chance to catalogue: necklaces, urns, jewels of all sorts, and a silver statuette of a seated man in deep thought. Captain Mia settled into the chair behind her desk, her chin in her hands in a manner reminiscent of the statue. "Take a seat."
Phoenix lighted, nervously, on the cartography stool opposite the Captain.
"Mr. Wright... Phoenix. How long have you been on board?"
Phoenix considered. "Er, well. I think it's been almost a year and a half now."
Mia nodded. "Yes, that's what I thought. And I think we both have to finally admit that Lady Hawthorne is not going to pay your ransom."
Phoenix crushed his parchments to his chest. "No! That's not... Dollie wouldn't abandon me, ma'am! I'm sure she'll get you that pink diamond! It's just..." Phoenix trailed off, "Just ah... taking her a little while."
Mia arched one eyebrow.
"A really long while," Phoenix added, wistfully.
"Phoenix," Mia sighed, "I do really hate to tell you this. My informants in Saint Ami have given me their reports--" She held up a bundle of red-sealed parchments, "and I'm afraid that Lady Hawthorn has chosen a new suitor."
In spite of the latitude, in spite of the bright lagoon, Phoenix suddenly went cold down to his bones, his stomach making an unexpected attempt to lunge below-deck. "Another suitor?" he whispered. "But--but, we're engaged--"
"Were engaged," Mia corrected, gently. "She's set to marry Lieutenant EnGarde, of Her Majesty's navy." She scowled as she put the papers down on her desk. "And the diamond, I hear, is part of her considerable dowry."
Phoenix tried to say several things at once, but none of them came out. The noise that did emerge was a choked sort of sob.
"Now, now," Mia began, pulling a silk hankie from her corset. "I know that this is hard to take, but understand, you've been gone for a year, most in Saint Ami think that you're dead, and--well." She gave Phoenix the hankie, and an awkward pat on the shoulder. "She's fantastically rich and beautiful and really to be honest I'm not sure why she was your fiancée in the first place--"
Phoenix began to howl.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Mia snapped, patience gone. "Pull yourself together, man! She's dropped you! Get over it!"
But Phoenix was inconsolable, making a soggy mess both of his parchments and Mia's hankie. The racket attracted the quartermaster, who poked her snowy head around the door to the captain's quarters. "Here! Is that little brat giving you trouble?" She squinted at Phoenix, fondling her pistol.
"No, it's fine, Wendy. Go back to your duties."
"A shooting, that's what he needs. Keeps 'em in line, I say. Pirate Queens today're too soft. Why, when I was a cabin girl, Pirate King Hammer would have shot six of 'em before breakfast--"
"Thank you, Ms. Oldbag," Mia repeated, with a glare, and the cabin door snapped shut. Phoenix had resolved into pathetic sniffles.
"Listen, Phoenix," Mia said. "Your inevitable throwing-over is not the point, here. What is the point is what to do with you now. You're worth nothing as a hostage to me." Her smile was wry. "And it's entirely possible you never were. So! What's to be done with you, hrm?"
Phoenix hiccupped. "You--You're going to kill me, aren't you? That's what pirates do to useless people, right?"
"Well," Mia said. "Some pirates, maybe. But I'm a fair captain, don't you think? And you're not useless at all. You've done fine things with the records and maps--at least, when you haven't gotten snot all over them."
Phoenix looked at his parchments, dismayed. "Sorry," he said, and blew his nose. Realizing it was Mia's handkerchief he was using, he offered it back, but she waved it away.
"Ah, no. That's all right. I have plenty. Anyway, I was thinking, how would you like to formally join my crew?"
"Me?" Phoenix scrubbed at his face. "A pirate?"
"I thought we could make you cabin boy. I haven't had one in ages, not since Oldbag shot the last one."
This was not exactly encouraging. "If it's all the same, I think I'd like to go back to my art studies, ma'am."
Mia's eyebrows had drawn together. "I'm afraid it isn't all the same, Phoenix. You see, I've got a reputation to maintain. I can't let it get out that I just kidnap people and then let them off the hook a year later without getting a ransom. I wouldn't get anything done. I can let you go, but I'm afraid it would be somewhere far away from Saint Ami, and from your university. If you stay on with me, you'd have to understand that."
Phoenix was silent.
"You don't have to answer right away," Mia continued. She stood up and walked to the window, her impressive figure framed against the blue sea. "We're almost done here, and we're about to set sail. How about you come and tell me this evening what you decide?"
Phoenix nodded, standing. "In that case, I'll--I'll get back to the accounts, now."
Mia turned, leaning on the bulkhead. "What is it, Mr. Wright?"
Phoenix shuffled his damp papers, not sure now about asking the question. "I was just wondering... Why are you a pirate? I mean, you seem a little bit too... too nice for it, actually."
Mia arched a dangerous eyebrow.
"Not that you aren't ruthless when you need to be, I mean! I just--"
Mia smiled, folding her arms. "No, it's all right. People become pirates for different reasons, as many as there are fish in the sea. I suppose mine are all tied up in the name of my ship." She looked away, and her gaze seemed to go much further than the scrap of white beach and billowing green palms. "No matter how far I sail from my past, I can't leave it behind. I have people on land who count on me. But my crew depends on me, too. A captain is someone who smiles no matter how hard it gets, Mr. Wright. Even a pirate captain. Remember that."
Not really sure his question had been answered, Phoenix turned again to go. It was, he supposed, a rather personal question to ask, anyway.
"Oh, one more thing, Mr. Wright. You've been in that tatty old pink shirt the whole time you've been here. Go down to the stores and pick out something nice for yourself, why don't you? Maybe a blue."
Phoenix looked down at his shirt, the once-lovely rose-colored garment that Dollie had sewn for him so long ago. It was covered in stains, now, and recently wet with ink smudges and tears. The cuffs were frayed to rags, the fabric stiff with salt. All at once Phoenix saw it for the disgrace it was, and longed to be rid of it. "...Yes, ma'am."
* * *
Captain Miles Edgeworth snapped his spyglass closed, a satisfied noise in his throat. The HMS Demon's Judgment was well-hidden, Edgeworth's plan carefully laid. He would have preferred to do his duty without the messy involvement of aristocrats and their piddling demands, but all told, the thing was shaping up nicely. "Lieutenant Gumshoe!"
The officer barreled up the stairs to the deck, tugging his dilapidated uniform coat around him as he came. "Sir! Yes, sir, Captain, here!"
Edgeworth pursed his lips as Gumshoe attempted to get himself together on the deck. Enthusiastic man, and as irritating as a potted cactus in one's drawers. "A simple 'sir' will suffice. Report."
"Ah, yes!" Gumshoe found his page of notes inside his jacket, attempted to salute Edgeworth with it, nearly lost the paper in the stiff breeze, scrambled to catch it, failed, groaned in dismay, and then realized it had been in fact his laundry list. Another moment's inspection of his coat turned up the actual page of reports. Edgeworth put his face in his hand. Noting his captain's distress, Gumshoe's eyebrows wiggled in consternation, like two wrestling black caterpillars. "Headache, sir?"
"Yes, Lieutenant. Quite a sudden one, in a sloppy coat and with a dire need to be shaved."
Gumshoe scratched at his stubbly chin. "Hrm. Sounds like a doozy, sir."
"Please," Edgeworth said, pained, "Get on with the report."
"Ah, yes. Well. Her Majesty's Royal Informant, His Excellency, Master Agent, the Lord Luke Percival Archibald Peregrine--"
Edgeworth's headache suddenly intensified, as though his cravat had been lined in carpet-tacks and then knotted around his temples. "One of his names will do, Lieutenant. I do have things to accomplish in the next few hours."
"Oh, right." Gumshoe pulled a stub of pencil from behind his ear and struck out several paragraphs of text on his notes. "Anyway, sir. That Atmey guy left half an hour ago. We just got the signal he's in position."
Edgeworth gave a curt not. "Excellent. And the guns?"
"All primed, sir. We're ready to weigh anchor and intercept as soon as full dark falls."
Edgeworth slapped his spyglass smartly into his gloved palm. "Very good. In that case, I think I shall have my tea. Send Ms. Byrde up with it, would you?"
"Right away, sir." Gumshoe had gone slightly pink around his edges. Edgeworth scowled up at the furled magenta sails, wondering if it was some odd trick of color reflection. Gumshoe scampered down in the direction of the galley, and Edgeworth cast a satisfied eye over the deck. Admiral Gant and Commodore Skye might both be wrapped up in the tedious concerns of the aristocracy, but as long as he, Edgeworth, got to blow filthy pirate vessels to matchsticks, it was all fine by him. Especially as it concerned the The Spirit of Kurain. They'd traded powder charges before, and this time it would not end in a messy draw, both smoking vessels limping away to lick their wounds. It would be victory, Edgeworth's victory, sweet and just and flawless in its glory.
Satisfied, Edgeworth strode down to his cabin to put on his best velvet coat. He wanted to look impeccable for his triumph, and for that, considerably more lace was required.
(...to be continued)