Tea-sets and Testimonies
Yes, all logic would point to that being the case - Gumshoe seemed tired and looked as though he had lost some weight - and yet nothing had changed recently for the other not to be able to afford food. In fact how pale the other had been recently, Edgeworth had actually refrained from cutting the other’s salary, though now his patience was wearing extremely thin.
This was not a case that he could afford to let the truth slip away from him and Gumshoe knew that. So why was he here putting them both in peril of failing interpol if he really was ill?
Edgeworth placed his paperwork down and put a hand to his head. Maybe he had been too hard on the detective? He was always well meaning even if it did not always pay off… but surely even Gumshoe would realise he would have understood if he had not felt up to this trip?
And yet… something still did not add up… sighing, Edgeworth thought back to that day in the States.
“Anything for you Mr. Edgeworth, sir! … Wait… did you say Europe?”
Well that took Edgeworth by surprise. He was sure he had got the other to accompany him to other countries before. “Yes… is that a problem?”
“Oh no, no not at all, sir. It’s just, isn’t England part of…”
Edgeworth folded his arms. Whilst he wasn’t sure why Detective Gumshoe was asking that specific question, he could understand the confusion in the other’s eyes for once. “England is geographically close to Europe, correct. However, discussing its relationship with Europe right now is not a debate I have the energy or the time to eloquently describe the matter in a way in which you understand.”
He then walked to his desk and picked up the file that Lang had got Franziska to bring him, and glanced through the information once more. “As it so happens, though, detective, this case will take us to France, and you cannot get much closer to England than that without actually being in the country. Do you have a reason for this sudden interest in that small island?”
“W-who me, sir? No sir. I… I’ve just heard others talk about it. I think… I think Mr. Wright visited there once. Yeah, that must be it.”
Whilst the detective had been extremely suspicious in his answer, Edgeworth had not had the time to raise an objection over something so trivial. After all, the case was of the upmost urgency, and Gumshoe had agreed to accompany him.
That had been all that had mattered.
Standing up, Edgeworth paced the room a little before moving over to his kettle to make a cup of tea.
He had not taken into account the expenses of healthcare back in the States, and considering Gumshoe’s salary - if something truly was wrong - he doubted the other was in a position to get it investigated thoroughly.
Pouring his tea out and taking a small sip, Edgeworth glanced over the French landscape with a sigh. If Gumshoe was ill he would dig into his own funds without any hesitation. Yes, the detective often made the most basic of blunders but there was something he knew he’d never get from another detective:
Undying loyalty and dedication.
Many things had changed since that man had made it clear who had been responsible for his Father’s death, and his year away from everything had finally made him realise where his future lied. However, the one constant throughout everything had been Gumshoe.
He’d been the one to obey not telling the others that he was still alive without question, he had been the one Edgeworth had still been in contact with when he finally decided it was time to return home.
A better detective may have caused him less headaches but in the end, that was not what had mattered. He had his own logic and investigation techniques to make sure that no clue was left unturned, that the truth was revealed to the best of his ability, so the investigative prowess of a competent detective was unnecessary.
What was irreplaceable was that he knew no matter what happened he could always rely on Gumshoe to have faith in him.
It was quite tiring, really.
However, the fact remained that he and that man were still on opposing sides and sometimes there were matters that he simply could not discuss with him. The same problem did not apply with Gumshoe as Edgeworth had full power over his job and whether he kept it.
In a way that man had made him realise that even he needed someone trustworthy close by, and who better than the detective that had been there since the very beginning?
Sitting back down at his desk, Edgeworth came to a decision.
He would confront Gumshoe about this when the other returned.
Frowning, he glanced at his clock - where was the other anyway? He should have been back over an hour ago!
Sure he hadn’t been eating as much as usual but it was for a good cause.
Still, he finally had what he needed, he just hoped he could get it home without it getting destroyed. He could not wait to see Edgeworth’s reaction when he got this Christmas gift.
Honestly, always getting Edgeworth the same thing was getting rather embarrassing. No wonder the other never bothered actually opening them any more.
This year would be different though. Yes, no more pity for Dick Gumshoe, this year he had got Prosecutor Edgeworth the perfect gift!
And nothing would stand in his way of making Edgeworth think more of him.
However, his confidence evaporated as he knocked on the door and got a very sharp, “Detective Gumshoe if that is you, you better have a very good reason for being so late! Just because I have refrained from cutting your salary recently does not mean that I will not reverse that decision!”
Okay, maybe the fact he was so late might stand in his way. At least a little.
Sighing, he opened the door and headed inside, his head bowed as he tried to work out the best way to apologise.
“Sorry sir, I… I fell asleep…”
Raising an eyebrow, Edgeworth shook his head. That was the most pathetic excuse Gumshoe had ever given him, especially for a time discrepancy as large as this. Not only that but it was pretty obvious that the other was not being fully truthful with him. “Fell asleep? Detective you were supposed to be looking into what stores stock the weapon that is used in this case. There was no reason for you to have sat down anywhere. So unless you fell asleep standing up, then -“
“Yes, sir, that’s exactly what happened. I’m sorry sir…”
Edgeworth folded his arms. “Detective. I do not appreciate being lied to. Whilst your bare minimum accommodation back home leads me to believe that you could indeed fall asleep anywhere, I do not recall a single incident when you have fallen asleep whilst on an assignment. Been late due to oversleeping at home I may have understood, and if we had just arrived here I may have attributed it to jet lag, but you have been acting more incompetent than usual. Is there anything you wish to tell me?”
“No. I’m fine Mr. Edgeworth, sir. I promise from here on out I’ll be right by your…”
“!” Edgeworth got quickly to his feet as he saw the other start swaying. Moving quickly over to Gumshoe, he managed to stop him from falling to the floor. “Gumshoe… you have not been eating regularly, have you?”
“… The menus here are confusing, sir. Half the time I cannot even work out what’s a meal and what’s a drink.”
Edgeworth sighed. At least it was an admission that he had indeed not been eating as often as he should, but he very much doubted that it had only started when they had got over here. “Are you quite well, detective?”
“Huh? I… I think so. I mean I did pass out - ack!”
Ah, so that was the real reason why Gumshoe was so late. Walking over to the hatstand, Edgeworth retrieved his jacket and put it back on - making a mental note that he still needed to tell the secretary of this building that his office heating was stuck on full - before turning to face the detective. “You cannot function if you do not eat sensibly. Even when your salary was at its lowest you still made sure to eat three times a day. So what has changed now?”
Edgeworth sighed. “I see you still do not wish to share with me what is going on. Very well, follow me, detective.”
“Where are we going sir?”
“To lunch. Now do not look at me like that,” he added hastily, seeing the panicked look in the others eyes, “money is not of any concern. I am paying.”
“Y-you are? But why? All I have done is…”
“I am painfully aware just how useless you have been lately, detective. However that is precisely why I am doing this. I will not have you passing out again and cluttering up this office, or worse, a crime scene. Now come on, before I change my mind.”
“Sir! Yes sir! Thank you sir!”
Edgeworth smiled a little to himself and led the other out of the office. He may not have been able to get the full truth out of Gumshoe yet, but if he could get the other to eat a decent meal, maybe he would see some improvement in the other’s behaviour.
Seeing that the other was improving, Edgeworth did not feel it necessary to pry any further into his subordinate’s personal affairs. Perhaps it had simply been that Gumshoe’s rather lacklustre diet had caught up with him and that meal had been all that was needed in order to refresh his body?
With everything back to normal, the incident in France was soon forgotten, not just because he had been thrown back into a case the moment he had arrived home, but also because it was getting close to that time of year again.
It was a few days before Christmas Eve when Edgeworth heard a hesitant knock at his office door. “Come in?”
He was not that surprised to see the person it revealed to be Gumshoe, but he was surprised to see the size of the gift in the other’s hands. “D-detective? What is the meaning of this?”
“I… I know it’s a little early, sir, but it just wouldn’t feel right giving you this any closer to… well, yanno…”
Edgeworth sighed softly. “There is no need to skirt around the subject, detective. Thank you, you may put it on my desk.”
“… You aren’t going to open it sir?”
“I am rather busy right now detective! When I have a spare moment I will be sure to give it the time it deserves!”
“… Oh. Right. Merry Christmas, Mr. Edgeworth, sir.”
“… Merry Christmas, Gumshoe.”
Gumshoe had seemed rather disheartened that he was not going to open it, but surely the other knew by now he did not always have the time to drop everything at a moment’s notice?
Still, he had to admit, for once the package had him intrigued. This wasn’t simply a cheap handkerchief for once but something more substantial, although Edgeworth did not know why the other had deigned it necessary to change.
If Gumshoe ever decided to use his eyes properly, then he would have realised that Edgeworth had indeed been using the handkerchiefs he had been receiving. He was not so cold-hearted as to simply throw them away, and besides which they served their purpose.
It also meant that should a certain ‘great thief’ ever turn up again, he could save his cravats from further turmoil.
Sitting down at his desk, Edgeworth undid the wrapping carefully, half expecting this to be a well-meaning but very ill-thought out gift, but instead found something that made him freeze in shock.
Suddenly the incident in France came back to the front of his mind, and the final piece of the logic puzzle fell into place:
Inside the present was a tea set. However, it was not just any tea set, it was a tea set from England. Specifically, it was the same set that Edgeworth had taken great pains to tell Gumshoe that it cost more than his salary when his original one had been smashed during that incident in his office.
“Why…” Edgeworth wondered to himself. What had he done to deserve this?
Gumshoe had severely rationed his food and all so that he could replace a tea set that Edgeworth had shown upset at being destroyed.
Glancing back at the paperwork on the other edge of his desk, Edgeworth shook his head and stood back up.
For once the case files could wait.
Right now he had some shopping to do.
Some shopping for a certain detective to show him how much he appreciated this gift.