Another day, another case, another sudden reversal on the first day of trial, another defendant who was almost certainly hiding something. Apollo Justice made his way toward the detention center, his head full of new questions after an afternoon of investigation and talking to witnesses, when he found himself passing by the door to the police station. He paused, and thought. He had some questions for the detective, too, but the detective in question was Ema Skye. Did he really want to talk to her again today, given that he was still brushing Snackoo crumbs from his hair?
Not that he minded seeing Ema; far from it. But he wished she would make her contempt less obvious.
Still, he was here, and it was on the way, so might as well get it over with. He went inside and stopped at the information desk. "Is Detective Skye in?"
The man at the counter glanced back over his shoulder at the duty roster. "Yeah, she's in. You got an appointment?"
Apollo shook his head. "But I'm involved with one of her cases." He flashed his attorney's badge.
The officer barely looked at it as he waved a lazy hand in the direction of the stairs. “Whatever, go ahead.” Apollo nodded, then scooted up them before anyone could change their mind.
The large room filled with desks was quiet, only a few detectives and uniformed officers sitting at their computers or talking in small groups. Ema had a private office in the corner, and to Apollo's surprise she wasn't alone -- Phoenix Wright sat across from her, hat slightly askew. Ema caught Apollo's eye and gestured him over, and he stepped into the office.
"...you don't have to call me that, you know." Mr. Wright was smiling and leaning forward. "We'll be colleagues soon, and-- oh, hello Apollo."
"Mr. Wright," Apollo said with a nod.
"How's the case going?" Mr. Wright asked.
Apollo shrugged. "About as well as you might expect."
"That bad, huh?" Mr. Wright chuckled, then stood up and stepped aside. "Well, I'll leave you to it. I need to get back to the office anyway -- the bar exam won't study for itself. See you in a bit." He looked at Ema. "Think about what I said, okay?"
"All right," she replied, almost too quietly for Apollo to hear. "Good luck with the exam, and-- everything."
"Thanks." He nodded to Apollo as he passed, then left the office, shutting the door behind him.
Apollo took the seat that Phoenix had just vacated. "Is Mr. Wright talking about getting his badge back again?"
"Yeah." Ema glanced at the papers on her desk, then picked up her pen and started fiddling with it. "Sounds like he's leaning back towards it. Of course, just passing the bar isn't enough -- he'd need to petition the court. I offered to speak for him, but it sounds like he won't need my help, not with Mr. Gavin and Mr. Edgeworth behind him. And, well, you. Of course."
The dismissive edge to her voice was probably signal enough, but Apollo noted the tightening of his bracelet regardless. A moment of focus directed his gaze to the pen she twiddled between her elegant fingers, lightly tapping the desktop. "You don't believe that I can help," he said. "Not really."
She stopped the tell-tale twitching and raised an eyebrow at him. "The famous Apollo Justice intuition strikes again?"
He shrugged. "Or maybe I don't need special mind powers to understand that you don't like me that all much." He lowered his eyes for a moment. "I've never understood why, but--"
"Because you're not him!" The words burst out before Ema's hand flew up to her mouth as if to take it back; Apollo didn't need the bracelet to tell him that, either. She dropped her hand, and leaned back in her seat. "I'm sorry, that's not fair. It's not your fault that Mr. Wright, I mean Phoenix, wasn't a lawyer any more by the time I got back. But I blamed you anyway, for being part of his agency, for taking his place. I thought you could never fill his shoes."
"I wasn't trying to," Apollo replied softly.
"I know." She sighed, turning her head away. "But I admired him so much, and-- well. I was young when I met him. Plus— I know a bit about following in someone’s footsteps, and trying to make up for the mistakes they made.” Apollo sat quietly and waited for her continue; when she did, he had to lean closer to catch her words. “My sister. She was a detective, you know, one of the best. Lana Skye.”
Bits and pieces of half-remembered rumors started falling into place. “The same Lana Skye who was the unwitting accomplice to former Police Chief Gant?” Apollo had only been a kid during the trial, but the story was all over the news, and still the subject of gossip during his law school years. Stories that juicy took a long time to stop being told.
"Not entirely unwitting," Ema said. "But she didn't know who she was covering for." She glanced away again. "I don't want tell the whole story right now. Maybe another day, over a drink." Her mouth quirked into a half-smile. "A really strong drink." Apollo chuckled, and she turned back to face him. "Anyway. So, I don't know. Some jealousy that it seemed to be so easy for you to just take over for Mr. Wright. Some projection of my own feelings."
Apollo glanced at the pen; she was fiddling with it again, but differently, drawing tiny lines on a scrap of paper. She was using a sweeping motion, reminiscent of.... "And maybe some dissatisfaction with your current job?"
Ema's brow furrowed. "What?"
He gestured toward her hands with his chin. "You seem to be using your pen to dust that paper for prints. Interesting artistic effect, but I don't think that'll tell you who the culprit is."
"Oh." Ema looked down at the paper, then back at Apollo, setting the pen aside. "I mean, you aren't wrong. But it's still pretty unnerving how you can do that."
"Yeah." He took a sidelong glance at his bracelet. "I'm still getting used to the idea myself." Then he smiled at her. "Also, you're changing the subject."
"I know." Ema let out a deep sigh and then pushed back in her chair, rolling alarmingly close the window as she leaned back. "That's what Mr. Wri-- Phoenix was talking about when he left. Encouraging me to request a transfer to forensics." She snorted. "As if they care what I want."
"Can't hurt to try," Apollo said. "Did you request a transfer formally?"
"Well, no. But--"
"But nothing." Apollo leaned forward and put his hands on her desk. "Put in the request, and see what happens. What's the worst that can happen? They'll say no, and you'll still be where you are."
Ema put her hands up. "All right, all right. No need to shout."
Oops, didn't mean to deploy the Chords of Steel "Sorry." He sat up. "But I agree with Mr. Wright. You're good at forensic science, and it's what you love. Just like him and being an attorney. I don't know what he's going to decide, in the end. But I think you should both fight to do what you love."
"Thanks. And-- I'll think about it." She set down her pen and took a deep breath. "Now, you didn't come here to talk about my career. What did you need?"
"I had a couple of questions about the case, but..." he glanced at his watch. "Visiting hours at the Detention Center close pretty soon, and I need to check in with my client. But maybe after? We can get that drink you mentioned."
She tipped her head to the side, and smiled. "Sure," she said. "I'll meet you out front. Five o'clock?"
"Sounds good." He returned the smile, and got up to leave. "See you soon."