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Paper Colours in the Air

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Franziska sighed, stepping out of the lobby and heading towards the stairs. She had planned to leave the courtroom as soon as the case was over to prepare for the next, but instead paused, a glimpse of dark hair catching her eye.

Perhaps the hair shouldn’t be what caught her attention, what with the person it was attached to calling her name and sprinting at her as fast as someone wearing platform sandals could.

“Hey!” Maya called, waving an arm back and forth as she darted forward to meet Franziska’s slowing strides.

She finally caught up and matched pace, breathing heavily with a smile. Idly, Franziska noticed how their steps perfectly aligned with each other. That shouldn’t have made her heart flutter the way it did.

“Maya Fey.” Franziska didn’t quite make eye contact, but acknowledged her presence regardless.

“Hi Franziska!” Maya chirped, and yes, that was a good way to describe her, Franziska thought.  She reminded Franziska of a songbird. Carefree, curious, mischievous, yet elegant somehow… beautiful, even.

“So, you just left a trial?” Maya asked, leaning forward and tilting her head, her feet swinging out in front of her as she walked along.

Franziska nodded.

“Obviously.”

Maya tilted her head back, looking up at the courtroom’s ceiling.

“Nice, nice. How do you think it went?”

Franziska took a quick glance at the ceiling to see what was so interesting. Nothing really, but maybe Maya saw something she didn’t.

“I won, naturally,” Franziska responded. Something about her own voice seemed wrong to her.

“Congrats!” Maya cheered, pumping a fist in the air.

“It was an open and shut case. I’m not even sure why they wanted to call me in for it anyway…”

Maya tilted her head again.

“I mean maybe, but it’s still impressive! It must be hard doing so many trials after all!” She laughed to herself as she looked off. “Nick only takes like, five cases in a year and he’s still going gray over it! It’s kinda incredible you can do so much at once, haha!”

Franziska scoffed.

“Well, I am much more competent than that fool.”

She took a moment to think, wondering if the walk out of the courtroom had always been this long. Part of her wished it was longer, which she hastily buried.

Her tongue hesitated on her lips before she spoke again.

“Speaking of… that fool… where is he? I was under the impression you always stuck fairly close to him.”

Maya raised an eyebrow.

“Hm? Oh, Nick? Nah, he’s not here today, he’s back at the office, at least I think… He might have left for lunch?”

Now it was Franziska’s turn to raise an eyebrow.

“Really? What are you doing here if not to accompany him?”

Maya laughed.

“You know I have a life outside of Nick, right?”

Heat rose to Franziska’s cheeks.

“I-I knew that, naturally! I’ve simply never seen you without him not also being close by.”

Maya raised a finger to her lips.

“Hmm… I guess that’s true! It’s not like you really see us outside of investigations or trials. That’s kind of disappointing to be honest…”

“Disappointing?”

Maya sighed.

“Well… you know! Mr. Edgeworth and Nick are rivals and they hang out sometimes, and Nick texts him a lot, at least I think that’s Edgeworth, he always gets all flustered and defensive whenever I ask, but I don’t know who else he’d be texting and he gets this dumb smile on his face and-“ Maya cuts herself off. “Nick is gonna kill me if he finds out I told you any of this.”

Franziska made a mental note of Maya’s ramblings before speaking again.

“Well, if he does I suppose I would just have to find him guilty on your behalf.”

Maya smiled teasingly, her eyes shimmering with playful malice.

“Wow, you would do that for me? I guess you really do have a heart!”

Franziska spluttered some excuse out, but it was clear Maya wasn’t listening.

They continued walking a few more steps before Franziska spoke again.

“So, if not to watch Phoenix Wright, why did you sit in a trial?”

“Well I-“ Maya began before backtracking, “Wait, hold on a minute! How did you know I sat in a trial? I could’ve just been here for a book or something! How do you know I don’t just really like the food here?”

Franziska couldn’t help but let a smile sneak onto her face.

“You have some court confetti caught in your hair.”

Sure enough, the tiny multi colored scraps of paper clung to the thick, dark strands of Maya’s hair. The light caught onto the tips of the confetti as she stepped into and out of the reach of streams of light that flowed through the court house’s windows.

Maya laughed, reaching up to grab one off her head.

“So I do!”

She held the light blue piece of paper up to the light, squinting to look at it as if it were something much more valuable. She laughed once more, trailing off into a contented sigh.

“Yeah, I came to watch your trial, actually! Surprise! Bet you didn’t see me up there.”

The rhythmic clicking of Franziska’s heels halted as she stopped momentarily, stunned.

Maya stopped too, a few steps ahead, and turned to look back at Franziska.

“What? You okay?”

Franziska shook her head and kept walking, speeding up to meet Maya.

“I’m fine.”

Their steps matched. Again.

Franziska didn’t even take the time to regain her mental composure before she began to question Maya.

“Why on earth did you come to watch me? Are you trying to find flaws in my work to hold against me? It won’t work, my case was flawless-“

Maya interrupted, waving her hands about as she spoke.

“No, no, no!! Hang on a second, whoa, no! I didn’t come to like… sabotage you or something! That would be so weird! And mean too, who would do that?”

Franziska could think of a few people, but she kept her mouth shut.

“And I came to watch you because I wanted to? I mean anyone can just walk in and I hadn’t seen you in a while. Plus I didn’t have a way to contact you so…”

The gears in Franziska's brain turned at lightning speeds trying to comprehend the sheer madness behind Maya’s actions. Consistently, she got stuck on one thing.

Maya wanted to see me?

Franziska sighed, hoping it masked the whirlwind of broken logic and emotion swirling around in her mind as she spoke.

“Well, next time you want to contact me you don’t have to attend a trial. Just call me.”

Maya pouted.

“Well this was more fun! Plus, like I said before, I don’t have your number or anything…”

Impulsively, Franziska pulled a business card and pen out of her jacket pocket. Scribbling as best as she could while walking, she wrote down the digits of her cell’s number in admittedly still very neat handwriting and then shoved the paper in Maya’s direction before she had the sense to abandon the entire idea.

“There. Now you do.”

Maya oooh’d at the card, tilting it back and forth to see the shimmer of the ink, still wet.

“Did you just give me your cell phone number?”

Franziska coughed into her hand.

“The number that’s printed is often busy and hardly ever checked. If you need me in an emergency, the number I’ve written will be more effective.”

Maya smirked.

“Looks like you should update your business cards then.”

Franziska refused to let her face or voice betray emotion.

“Looks like I should.”

As she spoke, the pair finally reached the doors to the courthouse entrance, swinging out to a single ray of setting sunlight shimmering through the clouds. Despite the gray skies, the world seemed to be cast in a warm, comforting light.

A car was waiting at the curb, and Franziska knew it was for her. The thought shouldn’t have made her feel as disappointed as it did.

“Well, looks like this is where we part!” Maya commented. “See you later!”

Franziska nodded, “Goodbye,” and walked towards the street.

She had only gotten one foot into the car when she heard Maya call out to her, one final time.

“Hey Franziska! You should know, there’s some confetti stuck in your hair too!”

Her voice carried, a bubbly sound, and when it reached Franziska’s ear she got the distinct feeling she would find herself playing it over again in her mind.

She didn’t respond and closed the door.

As the car began to rumble down the road, Franziska reached up to touch her hair, and found herself pulling out a violet scrap of paper.

She smiled.

“So there is.”