"You must be joking."
It was the first thing anyone said five minutes after an officer under Detective Fulbright burst into the courtroom, with the last news anyone would expect to hear. It was Mr. Edgeworth who regained his composure first, naturally; Athena stood frozen in place with a look of shock, Prosecutor Blackquill coughed as he nearly choked on the feather stuck in his teeth, and Mr. Wright just stammered until Mr. Edgeworth had to go over and swat him on the back.
And Apollo felt like he was outside his body, dreaming, imagining. No. No, we saw the pictures of his body, we saw the knife, I went over the gory details of this case too many times, Clay is dead. But no, the officer was loudly proclaiming that Clay Terran was, indeed, alive.
"How?!" Athena cried. "He's...we saw, the evidence, the autopsy report, how-"
"Order, order!" the judge shouted, banging his gavel as the courtroom erupted into chatter. "Officer, please, if you would give us an explanation for this...turn of events!"
"I have the medical report right here, your honor." The officer slammed the folder down in front of Phoenix and Edgeworth, who nearly smacked their heads together in their rush to read the details. Apollo caught only snatches of their conversation; a faint pulse, heart still beating, needed emergency transfusion, critical condition, pulled through at the last second.
"A modern medical miracle," Prosecutor Blackquill muttered. Athena was crying, Mr. Starbuck sat in the gallery biting his sleeve to stop his own tears, and Clonco's screen had gone blank. Probably from shock.
Clay was alive. Clay was alive.
Apollo leapt out of his seat and fled the courtroom, running all the way to the hospital, barely hearing the shouts of Mr. Wright and Athena and the others over the pounding of his heart.
The nurse wouldn't let him in to see Clay right away. Not because of hospital procedures, but to make sure he didn't pass out. She sat him down in a chair, gave him some water, checked his blood pressure and his pulse three times before she was satisfied that he wasn't about to drop dead from exhaustion.
"He's not awake yet," she said. "And he's still hooked up to all those machines. You'll have to be extra careful if you go in." Apollo nodded.
"It's only been a few days since the incident. How...I mean, did the coroner notice his heart was beating, or the paramedics, or...?"
"The paramedics." She launched into a similar explanation that the report had, only this time Apollo was able to hear all of it. Basically, Clay had somehow survived being stabbed through the chest, fighting his killer, carrying Mr. Starbuck, and bleeding out.
He'd always known Clay was determined to live his dream, but never to such an extent.
"We don't know when he'll wake up, just that he will," the nurse said. "It might be good for him to have a familiar face in the room when he does, though." Apollo closed his eyes, sighing. He had a court case to deal with, Athena's life hung in the balance and now that he knew for sure he could trust her, he wanted to save her.
But Clay was alive. Clay, his best friend, someone he loved like-no, as more than a brother. Days of heartbreak and grief and pain pushed down to focus on seeking justice for Clay. Granted, there was still the matter of attempted murder, but that was the furthest thing from Apollo's mind.
Clay was alive.
And he wouldn't want me to throw away a case for his sake, he reminded himself.
"I'd like to go in and see him for just a minute. Then I need to get back to the courthouse," he finally said. He'd need to call a cab, there was no way he had the energy to run that fast a second time. The nurse let him into the room, and he carefully approached the bed.
Clay lay as still as a stone other than the slight movement of his chest as he breathed. He was pale, a thick bandage wrapped around his torso, wires sticking from his arms and legs and chest. The monitor beeped steadily with life.
"Hey," Apollo whispered, blinking back tears. "I've gotta figure out who almost killed you, okay? But when I do, I'll come back right away and tell you all about it."
For a brief instant, he could swear Clay smiled at him.
Apollo carefully brushed his fingertips against Clay's pale hand, before taking off his jacket and draping it over the chair. He peeled off the bandages and stuffed them into his pocket before slowly leaving the hospital, calling for a cab.
"Miracle" wasn't enough to describe today.