Diana watched Michael find a taxi and climb in, saying a few words to the driver. He stuck his head out the back window. “You going to be okay?” he asked. She nodded, smiling.
“Go check on those guys,” she called back, laughing a little. “They’re going to need you!” He nodded and with a wave, the taxi sped off into the night.
Diana wrapped her arms around herself. It was getting a little chilly out and her thin t-shirt and jeans did practically nothing to help her keep warm. A tap on her shoulder made her jump. “Eep!” she squeaked, turning around.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!” Madeline looked apologetic, frowning slightly.
“Oh, no, it’s okay! You didn’t- uh, I mean, I… never mind.” Truth be told, Diana felt a little nervous around the other woman. She had to tread carefully and not reveal that she knew too much. But at the same time she was excited. What other author got to say they had face-to-face time with their OC?
“Alright, well, we’re over here,” Madeline said, her heels clicking on the pavement as she walked in the other direction.
“Wait, we?” Diana followed her quickly. As she rounded around a taller car, her face turned pale. She’d forgotten about this little detail. Madeline danced over to Miles Edgeworth, who was waiting somewhat impatiently by his fancy red sports car. Diana didn’t miss the look he gave his assistant: his eyes softened and his lips turned up in a tiny smile.
“Come on!” Madeline called, grinning and beckoning. When Edgeworth saw Diana, his face fell back into its customary disapproving expression and he muttered something to Madeline. She smacked him on the arm, frowning. Diana blushed (getting the sense that they were talking about her) and walked over shyly. “Miles always drives me home,” Madeline said happily.
“Right…” Diana climbed into the back seat quietly as Edgeworth held open Madeline’s door. The other woman slid in, turning around to look at Diana.
“Oh, yeah, fine,” Diana replied, attempting a smile. Edgeworth took his seat and started the car.
“So Miss Gray, you’re staying with Madeline tonight?” he asked, not looking at her as he pulled out of the parking lot.
“Yes, sir,” Diana replied quietly, feeling very intimidated. Madeline seemed to sense Diana’s discomfort, as she engaged Edgeworth in conversation about cases the entire car ride. Only once did Diana feel embarrassed: she turned from looking out the window to see their hands on the center section of the front seat, lightly lying on top of each other, fingers brushing. It was such a sweet moment that Diana was ashamed to witness it.
Finally, they pulled up to Madeline’s apartment complex. Diana clambered out of the car while Edgeworth again opened Madeline’s door and helped her out. “Miss Gray,” he said shortly, inclining his head to her. She bobbed her head in return and quickly walked to the sidewalk, pretending to find the ground very interesting in order to avoid his gaze. She looked at everything: the stucco walls of the apartment building, the lush floral flowerbeds, the cars in the parking lot. Finally she snuck a peek at the prosecutor and her OC. What she saw caused her to turn bright red and quickly whip back around.
Madeline and Edgeworth were kissing, wrapped in each other’s arms. They separated and Edgeworth gently kissed her forehead. She smiled and pecked him on the cheek one more time before saying some quick words to him and hurrying towards Diana. “Shall we go?” she asked breathlessly, still grinning.
“Um, sure,” Diana said quietly, trying to pretend she hadn’t seen what she’d just seen. She laughed to herself; she wrote these types of scenes on a practically a daily basis, she really shouldn’t be embarrassed about this. She followed Madeline up four flights of stairs.
“Sorry there’s no elevator or anything,” Madeline apologized as they climbed. “This place is way too cheap to upgrade, but it’s affordable for me. Besides, I’ve kind of gotten used to not taking them, because of Miles…”
“No problem,” Madeline huffed (the stairs were quite steep). When Madeline looked away, she smiled. She specifically hadn’t written an elevator in, for obvious reasons, but she regretted it a little bit now.
Finally, they arrived at Madeline’s fourth floor apartment. She unlocked the door and opened it, flipping on the lights as she entered. Diana paused in the doorway. “Well, come in!” Madeline said, looking back at her guest. Diana was in shock. The room looked EXACTLY like it did in her imagination. Right as she walked in, she saw a small kitchen area with a bar for eating breakfast. Visible behind that was the living area, containing a slightly worn couch with a suspicious stain on one of the arms, coffee table piled with case files, and a cabinet containing a television and some picture frames, full of pictures of everyone from the Ace Attorney cast. There was a door beyond the couch that must lead to Madeline’s bedroom. She’d disappeared into it a few seconds ago. Diana awkwardly ventured into the living room, perching herself on the edge of the couch.
Madeline emerged from her room quietly and studied her guest for a moment. “Diana,” she said suddenly. “Are you sure we haven’t met before? I feel like I know you…” Diana hastily shook her head, but Madeline could feel the nervous air surrounding the other woman. She decided to let it go for now. “Do you have any other clothes?” she asked. Diana shook her head again, slower this time. “Wow, you really didn’t come with anything, did you?” Madeline said, laughing. “Here, let’s see if I have anything you can use.”
A few minutes later, they both wore yoga pants and t-shirts and were sitting at the tiled breakfast bar eating rice, which Diana had quickly discovered was one of Madeline’s favorite foods. She wondered if it could be merely coincidence; she also happened to love rice.
“So,” Madeline said, putting her fork down to look at Diana. “Tell me about yourself. I don’t really know anything about you.”
“Okay, as long as you’ll answer the questions as well. I don’t know much about you either,” Diana lied through her teeth. She knew quite a bit about Madeline, but was quite curious to find out if there were things even she didn’t know.
“Alright, you go first. Tell me about your family,” Madeline said, grinning.
“Oh, um, I have younger sisters. We get along pretty well.”
Madeline paused, waiting for her to say more. When it was clear that Diana was done, she began. “I have one older sister,” she said, pushing her rice around on her plate. Diana winced, cold guilt sweeping over her. “I don’t get to see her that much anymore.”
“But Maya can still channel her, right?” she asked in a small voice, then turned pale. She probably wasn’t supposed to know about that.
“How do you know Maya?” Madeline asked, a slight edge of suspicion in her voice. “I was under the impression that you’d just arrived here. Unless you knew her already… But she’s never mentioned you.” It seemed like she was saying this for her own benefit rather than Diana’s, but nevertheless, her gray eyes burned into the other girl, who shifted uncomfortably.
“Uh, no, I don’t actually know her,” Diana replied quietly. “I-I’ve heard of her and I guess I just assumed, you know, since you’ve faced Phoenix Wright in court so many times, that, um, you guys would be friends.” Inside, she was cursing herself and her big mouth. This could get bad, fairly quickly.
“There’s another thing, though,” Madeline said, her eyes still focused on Diana, even though the other woman was gazing steadily at the ground. “I never said my sister was dead.” Diana started to panic a little and had to focus all she had to maintain her composure.
“I must have read about it somewhere,” she said truthfully. She did often go back and read her own works. “I’m sorry.” Madeline pursed her lips, obviously not sure if Diana was telling the truth. However, she had no proof that the other woman was lying, so she dropped it.
“Alright, next question then,” Madeline continued briskly. She propped her chin on her hand, gazing at Diana and raising a perfect eyebrow. “It’s been bothering me a little since I first saw you. You look… young.” Diana bit her lip. “Exactly how old are you?”
Diana averted her eyes, playing with the food on her plate. “You can’t expect me to own up to it,” she whispered, the ghost of a smile forming on her lips.
“I’m 23, if that helps,” Madeline said quietly. Diana took a moment to try and figure out where that put this Madeline in her timeline, but eventually gave up. She didn’t really understand her own timeline anymore.
“I’m…” Well, this was a predicament. She sighed. “I’m… not nearly old enough to be who I say I am,” she admitted reluctantly. Madeline frowned.
“What do you mean?” she asked softly.
The words seemed to spill out. “Going to law school and working in the Prosecutor’s Office is my dream, but… I’m not there yet.”
“And Mr. Gray? Is he who he says he is?” Her voice wasn’t angry at the moment, simply curious.
“No,” she replied, ashamed. “Neither of us have gone to law school and we don’t have badges. B-but I want… No, I need to be here…” She trailed off, not exactly sure where she was going with this.
“I see,” Madeline muttered.
Diana took a deep breath. “Please don’t tell.”
“And why shouldn’t I?” Madeline asked coldly. Diana flinched. This was almost worse than anger. “You’ve lied to everyone around you, and you took advantage of my hospitality-”
“I would never-” Diana interrupted quickly, eyes wide. But Madeline continued.
“However, I’m not an unreasonable person. And it’s not like I haven’t bent a rule or two.” She paused and smirked, possibly reliving a memory. “So I will give you one chance to explain. If you can convince me that you need to be here, then I won’t turn you in.”
Diana frowned. No pressure or anything. “Michael and I need to prosecute this case. Well, okay, I’m starting backwards. We were brought here, and I don’t know why, but we were, and we got kind of sucked up in this whole prosecutor thing, but then the case with Paul and Jeddy was given to us and we have to do it, and I know I’m babbling and I can’t really explain anything else because I don’t know what effect it’ll have so I’m just going to shut up now…” She looked determinedly at the floor, but she could tell that Madeline was studying her intently. The gray-eyed woman turned away, clearly thinking hard.
Diana pulled a napkin and a pen toward her absentmindedly. She thought about what this would be like if it was a plotline in one of her stories; what would Madeline say. It was a nervous habit of hers, except this time, the scenario was more real than usual. She distractedly began writing, her sentences zigzagging all over the napkin. Tears pricked the back of her eyes, but she wouldn’t cry here.
After what seemed like an eternity, Madeline turned back to her. “Diana,” she said softly. “I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with you. But I believe that everything happens for a reason. So there must be some deeper reason why you’re here.” She put a hand on Diana’s shoulder. “I won’t tell. But are you sure you’ve told me everything? I think I have the right to know.” Diana’s hazel eyes grew wide and she looked from the napkin to Madeline, then back to the napkin. Madeline had just said EXACTLY what was written on the napkin. Word-for-word. What the heck was happening? “Diana, are you alright? Is there something else I should know?” Madeline asked in a concerned voice.
Diana frowned. What was going on here? She pushed it out of her mind quickly, as Madeline was still looking at her inquisitively. What had she asked again? Did Diana tell her everything? Well, she obviously couldn’t tell her EVERYTHING. Who knows what effect that could have on the Ace Attorney universe? “Everything that I can,” she replied honestly.
Madeline tilted her head sideways, examining Diana. “I still feel like I know you, though. Quite well. Do you know anything about that?”
“No,” Diana murmured. What was she supposed to say?
Madeline finally smiled again. “Alright, let’s just forget it, I guess. So what should we do? I just bought the new season of Steel Samurai! Have you seen it yet?”
“Um, no, I’ve never seen the Steel Samurai.” Diana waited for the outburst. She had instilled in Madeline a love of the Steel Samurai.
“What? Never?” Madeline shrieked. Her large gray eyes were wide. “Diana, I can’t believe you!”
“It’s, um, not very popular where I’m from,” Diana said sheepishly. Truth was, it was virtually non-existant.
“Well, I’m going to educate you,” Madeline said firmly, grabbing Diana’s wrist and pulling her to the couch. “Sit down, we’ve got a long night ahead of us.”
Diana watched her OC bustle around the living room, getting the movie set up. She could hardly believe this was happening. It felt like she had controlled Madeline, just for a second there. She tried to convince herself that it was just a fluke, but some nagging part in her mind wouldn’t let it go. She grabbed the napkin and pen again; she needed to test this. She wrote an action-packed fist scene for the episode of the Steel Samurai that Madeline was fussing over, then folded the napkin in her hand as the other woman plopped down on the couch next to her.
“Ready?” Madeline asked excitedly. Diana nodded, squeezing the napkin between her fingers. Moment of truth. She watched as the scene on the television unfolded exactly like she had written it. Madeline looked over to see Diana with her mouth hanging open, but assumed it was because of the epicness of the Steel Samurai.
So whatever I write here becomes real, Diana thought. What the heck?
Diana didn’t notice, but Madeline kept a careful eye on her for the rest of the night. She couldn’t explain it, but she had the sense that something deeper was going on here. And if there was one thing working for a prosecutor had taught her, it was to always go with her gut.
The mood in the self-proclaimed GameCola headquarters was rather subdued. Even the many videogames surrounding them could not cheer them up. “What are we gonna do… Paul?” Nathaniel asked. He still had a little bit of trouble accepting that he was their fearless leader.
Paul made to rub his chin thoughtfully, but stopped abruptly as his fingers did not encounter a beard. “I don’t know yet,” he said quietly, frowning. “We need to figure out a way to get home.”
“Well, how are we going to do that?” Christian asked from a sprawled position on the couch.
“And even if we do find a way to get home, we can’t leave without Jeddy, Michael, and Diana,” Matt said, leaning forward in his chair.
Right at that moment, a knock sounded at the door. “Maybe it’s Larry. He hasn’t come back yet,” Nathaniel said, getting up and opening the door.
Michael stood outside, panting a little bit. “What is it with this place and no elevators?” he asked.
“Michael!” Nathaniel greeted him, opening the door wider to let him in. “What happened? Where did you go?”
“Where’s Diana?” Christian asked.
“Did you hear about Jeddy?” Meteo called.
Michael stepped back a bit from the barrage of questions. “I’ll explain in a minute, guys! And Diana’s okay, she was with me, but she’s staying somewhere else. And yes, I did hear about Jeddy…” His eyes fell on Paul. “Guys, who’s this?” he whispered loudly.
Paul sighed. “Michael, it’s me, Paul.” He made a ta-da gesture with his hands, but Michael still looked confused.
“I know that case file said your beard was gone, but I couldn’t believe it…” he said incredulously. “I mean, I didn’t think it was possible.”
“No one did,” Paul said heavily. “But wait… you said case file?”
“Yeah, it’s a long story…” Michael replied, and he filled the rest of the staff in on what had occurred that day, from meeting Edgeworth to getting assigned to the case. In return, everyone else shared their stories, but eventually, they all resumed talking about the case.
“So you’ll be prosecuting Jeddy?” Christian asked. “That’s a scary thought.”
“I know,” Michael said, frowning.
“But at least it means Jeddy’ll have a better chance for a not guilty,” Meteo said optimistically.
“I think I’ve been insulted,” Michael replied, glaring at him.
“Hey, we want Jeddy to get a not guilty! So it’s a good thing he’s got an inexperienced prosecutor!” Meteo said defensively. Michael thought for a minute, then nodded in agreement.
There was another knock on the door and everyone looked up in confusion. “Okay, who is it now?” Nathaniel said impatiently, and when no one else got up, he groaned and answered the door. There was no one there. “Seriously? Who ding-dong ditches at a hotel?” he asked irritably, starting to close the door. Something white on the ground caught his eye. “What’s this?” he asked curiously, picking it up and taking it inside.
The staff members had already moved on and were examining the videogames again. “It’s like the Steel Samurai is the Mario here,” Paul said, holding up a game entitles Steel Samurai Golf.
“Alright, you’re definitely Paul,” Michael said, throwing down Steel Samurai Party 3. It depicted the Steel Samurai, Pink Princess, and Nickel Samurai running around a board with brightly colored spaces. “Only Paul pronounces Mario like that.”
“Glad I was able to convince you,” Paul replied dryly. He was still trying to get used to the lack of beard on his chin. Nathaniel re-entered the room, holding a white envelope in his hand.
“Hey guys, this was outside the door,” he said. The guys all dropped their various videogames and gathered around. Nathaniel slit it open and pulled out a piece of paper with a few lines of typed words.
My dear test subjects,
“Isn’t that what the text in the game called us before we got into this mess?” Matt asked suspiciously.
“Yes, now can I finish?” Nathaniel asked testily. Matt glared at him.
Now you’re here in this world. Do you like it? You should know, though, that it’ll be short-lived. The longer you stay here, the less stable this universe becomes.
“Yeah, that doesn’t sound good,” Meteo said matter-of-factly.
There is, however, one way to get home. Curious? Well, I won’t tell you straight. That would ruin my plans. I will give you a hint, though. The girl’s skills can give you a portal back to your own universe. The catch? You all have to be together for it to work. And I happen to know that one of you is in a position to be locked up for a long time. You may be wondering how I know so much, or rather, what I don’t know. Answer: I know everything. So tread carefully. I’m always watching.
“Is that it?” Paul asked.
“That’s slightly creepy,” Matt said.
“So, Diana can somehow get us home?” Michael said thoughtfully. “But how?”
“Either way, you have to try to prosecute. Otherwise, who knows what this person’ll do,” Christian advised.
Nathaniel was still scanning the note. “And it might be a good idea to try to figure out who this person is.”
The mysterious person exited the hotel through the revolving doors. Hopefully the little note had worried them a little. The person frowned, thinking about the next day and what was going to have to happen: a little manipulation of the most criminal kind. But it was all for the greater good, the person convinced themself. All for the good of keeping the others here long enough for the universe to be destroyed and a new one created, one where he would be revered as a god. The person touched the ancient piece of paper tucked in a bag. Soon… Soon…
For more of Diana’s fanfiction, check out her FanFiction.net page here!