They were finally going back to Germany. The will was settled, and now the only thing that was left to do was sell the estate. Getting to Germany proved to be more of a hassle than Franziska realized. Miles wanted to be there, which was fine with her. However, then Miles wanted to bring Phoenix, and once Adrian heard about that, she took time off so she could come along as well. Franziska could handle that, being with Adrian was always a plus, and besides, Adrian knew how to travel. Phoenix apparently had never set foot outside California, but that was Miles’ problem, not hers. Franziska booked the next non-stop flight available to Germany, leaving the next day. However, it never even occurred to Franziska to ask if Adrian and Phoenix had their passports. Who on earth didn’t have a passport?
Finally, after a week and several rants about inefficient US bureaucracy, they were in the first class cabin of a nonstop flight to Berlin. Franziska tried to sleep to pass them time, but she found herself too anxious to relax. She had changed so much since she last saw the von Karma estate, and she wasn’t sure how she would react to being reminded of who she once was. The estate was always so imposing, so demanding of respect, Franziska could only hope that she had changed enough that she didn’t care about what it all represented.
Adrian was busy working on a press release, so Franziska turned and watched her brother and Phoenix sitting across the isle. Phoenix was marveling about everything the flight had to offer, almost as if this was his very first flight on an airplane. Meanwhile, Miles looked like he was trying his hardest not to look too bored. Franziska was once again struck by how odd they looked as a couple. On the surface they couldn’t be any more different. However, as soon as the plane hit a patch of turbulence, Phoenix was holding Miles’ hand and rubbing his shoulder, looking concerned and making sure the other was all right. Franziska knew minor differences were meaningless against that amount of love and compassion.
Eventually they landed in Berlin. The von Karma limousine was already waiting for them. The drive to the estate took a few hours, during which Phoenix marveled about being in a limo and being in a different country. Franziska was about ready to strangle him he asked so many questions. At least Adrian had seen her fair share of limos, and was content with listening to everyone else and watching the German countryside wiz by.
When they finally reached the manor, Franziska was surprised that she really didn’t feel anything at all. No dread, no unease, not even a sense of guilt or regret for putting it up for sale. How wonderful, to finally see the von Karma estate as just another building.
Phoenix, on the other hand, and even Adrian, couldn’t stop talking about how grand it was. Franziska was so relieved when Miles took Phoenix up to their room, and away from her. There was only so much foolish gawking she could take in one day.
“Um, Franziska,” Adrian started when they got to the hallway where her old bedroom was. “I was thinking we could share a room while we’re here. Kind of like a trial run of sorts.”
Franziska raised her eyebrows. This was a pleasant surprise. “A trial run?”
“Yeah, for when we finally move in together.”
“Oh.” Franziska was about to ask if Adrian was ready to make a decision, but stopped herself. She said she wouldn’t ask again, after all. Instead, she smiled and opened the door to her old room. “Well, then, let me show you the room I grew up in.”
Adrian went in and looked around in amazement. “Wow, this bedroom is bigger than my apartment!”
“I never imagined that I would eventually be sharing my childhood bed with my girlfriend.” Franziska smirked as she sat on the bed. It felt like she was breaking all the rules her father set for her, and it felt wonderful.
After everyone was settled in, Franziska took inventory of the estate. Looking through the von Karma mansion, she realized that there was nothing there that she wanted to take back. Everything was a reminder of her awful childhood, and her twisted sense of perfection. She thought maybe there would be some books or artwork, but when she saw them, it just brought back memories she would rather forget. There were no toys, von Karma children had better things to do than play with toys, and even the clothes still in her closet she couldn’t care less about.
“I will sell everything,” Franziska announced to her brother. They were having tea together in the sitting room. Phoenix and Adrian had gone off to explore the grounds.
“Everything? Even your own portrait?”
“Especially my portrait. There is not a single thing in this house I want to take back with me.”
Miles shrugged. “Fine by me. I’d just as rather burn everything to the ground myself.”
“Was there anything you wanted here?”
“Everything I wanted I took with me last time I was here.”
“Some things from my early childhood I left here when I first moved back to the US. I left them here so they wouldn’t distract me from my mission back then.”
“I’m surprised Papa didn’t destroy everything of yours.”
“Oh, he destroyed most of it. But there were some photos of my father and I that I managed to keep hidden. Plus, a paper crane Phoenix folded for me.”
“A paper crane?”
Miles sighed. “It’s a long story. Basically, when I was a kid I was terrible at origami, so Phoenix showed me how to fold a crane. I kept it as a reference, but now it serves as a reminder that Phoenix is, and was, always helping me.”
Franziska smiled. “How cute. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. It makes me wish I had something to remind me of pleasant memories.”
“Well, aren’t you making fond memories with Adrian now?”
She let out an annoyed sigh. “Yes, but it’s not the same and you know it.”
“How are you two doing, anyway?”
“Very well, in fact. We’re treating this trip as a test run of sorts to see if Adrian feels ready to move in with me or not.”
“That’s good.” Miles took a sip of tea and continued. “I would like to commend you for handling the situation so well. As someone who was in Adrian’s position, it’s not easy knowing the other person is waiting for you to be ready.”
Franziska frowned. “Are you saying Phoenix isn’t pushing you to do anything any more?”
“Well, now that I’m getting treatment for my PTSD, he hasn’t hinted about anything else. Why?”
“Oh, nothing.” Franziska waved it off and took a sip of tea, but it made her wonder. If Phoenix wasn’t waiting for Miles to be ready to say ‘yes’, why were they not engaged already? She knew Phoenix well enough to know the foolish sap would want that more than anything. So what was going on?
“How is your therapy, anyway?”
Miles let out a loud sigh. “Difficult, as you well know. It seems like every time I go in I discover more trauma I have to overcome. I knew the DL-9 incident was just the tip of the iceberg, but I had no idea the iceberg would be this big.”
“At least you have Phoenix to help you with it.”
“Yes, and I can’t believe how supportive of you he’s been once you told him you were in therapy as well.”
“Well, as they say, one can never have too much help.”
Miles raised his cup of tea. “Cheers to our wonderful support group.”
Franziska did the same, and the two clicked their teacups together. She realized how lucky she was to have such wonderful people around her.
The second day they were there, Miles took Phoenix to the library.
Miles raised his arm to show off the massive amount of books in the room. “This is where I did most of my studying.”
Phoenix looked around in awe. “I can’t believe how big this place is. It’s intimidating.”
“That’s the point, actually. Nothing like a visual reminder of how small and insignificant I was.” There was a pause before Miles spoke again. “You always ask about what was it like growing up here with Franziska.”
“Yeah, and you always don’t want to discuss it.”
“Well, I suppose it’s time that I discuss it, as it’s one of the reasons I wanted you to come to Germany with me.” Miles lead them to a desk, one that he frequently used as a child. Once they sat down, Miles began. “First off, I knew right away that things would be rough. Von Karma flat out said he would not be my new father, only my mentor.”
“Wasn’t there anyone else who could’ve taken you in? Relatives? Friends?”
“Not really. My father was an only child, and from what I could tell he wasn’t really a social person either.”
Phoenix smiled. “So you really are just naturally stand-offish. Like father like son.”
Miles frowned. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Anyway, when I got here I was introduced to Franziska, and she said she would be the older sister, and I had to do as she said. Naturally Manfred encouraged that. Right from the start I was treated like an unwanted inconvenience. If I made any kind of mistake, or if something just wasn’t good enough, Manfred would tear into me. Hell, sometimes he did it just because I was there. I fully believe he enjoyed telling me what a worthless disgrace I was.”
Phoenix looked horrified. “How did you manage to live through that?”
“Quite simply, I didn’t feel anything. My emotions died along with my father, and you can’t hurt something that’s already dead.”
“That explains so much.”
“Yes, well, I knew what I was getting into, in a way. Franziska didn’t have that luxury. Manfred was her own father, yet he treated her little better than me. She was taught from a very, very early age that nothing but absolute perfection would be acceptable. Franziska did everything she could to make her father happy, but it was never good enough.”
“You said that before, and I still can’t believe it.”
“The worst part is, Manfred constantly pitted us against each other. It was like he couldn’t stand the idea of either one of us receiving kindness, so he turned us into enemies. Everything was a contest. He always made sure to tell us that one of us did better than the other. Naturally, since I was older, that was frequently me. Franziska always resented me for that. However, despite all that, we still managed to become siblings. Deep down we loved each other and tried to secretly help each other out when things got really bad. If I didn’t have Franziska around growing up, I do believe I would’ve been lost forever.”
“Lost forever, you mean…?”
“I would have made sure you were convicted of murdering your mentor Mia Fey, and then you would’ve spent the rest of your life in jail. Then, without you to defend me, I would’ve been convicted of murdering Robert Hammond and eventually executed.”
Phoenix shook his head. “No, I can’t believe that would happen.”
Miles shrugged. “I suppose you could argue that I would’ve convicted Maya, since charges were brought against her first. Tell me, would you have still defended me had I convicted her?”
“Absolutely. Hell, I would’ve defended you from jail if I had to. But you know that, right? You have to know by now how much I believe in you.”
“Even back then?”
“You could’ve convicted me, had me executed, and I’d still find a way to come back from the dead and save you.”
Miles finally smiled. Phoenix was right, how could he ever doubt him? “Somehow I fully believe you.” He let out a big sigh before continuing. “I’m sorry, I guess this place brings out the worst in myself.”
Phoenix reached over and started rubbing Miles’ hand. “Don’t worry about it. Besides, soon this place will be out of your life forever.”
“I wonder if we can convince the new owners to burn it down?”
“I don’t know, I think being turned into a hotel is pretty degrading. All that riffraff going through everything and constantly making a mess of things.”
Miles raised his eyebrow. It was true that the investors buying the property wanted to turn it into a commercial venture. “You have a point there. I think I can hear von Karma turning in his grave as we speak.”
“Come on, let’s get out of here. You haven’t shown me around town yet, and you know Maya wants as many souvenirs as possible.”
“Well, then, we better get to the candy store. I’m sure she’ll want some genuine German chocolate.”
“Some? More like the entire store.”
Miles managed a laugh, and the two got up and left the room behind.
On the third day of their trip, Franziska suggested to Adrian that they take a stroll through the garden. It seemed like the best, most romantic place in the estate, considering the conversation she eventually wanted to have with Adrian. However, she wanted to start of casually. “Yesterday’s meeting with the Realtors was very productive, and the sale is almost finalized. We should be able to go back home soon.”
Adrian looked significantly impressed. “Wow, how did you manage all that in a few days? Don’t huge estates like this take a while to sell?”
“Simple, I had it all arranged before we even got here. The real estate agents I hired lined up a buyer and got everything set up so all I had to do was come over and sign the paperwork.”
“Wow, with that level of efficiency, you’d be a great public relations specialist. One time I had a client who wanted a vacation house bought and moved in the same day she first saw it.”
Franziska laughed. “I don’t think I have the patience for such foolery.”
There was a long pause, and the two walked among the well-manicured garden. Franziska was silently building up her courage to ask about moving in together, while at the same time trying to figure out how to broach the subject. Then, of course, was that other question she was determined to ask.
Finally she broke the silence. “So, how do you like Germany?”
“It really is beautiful, it almost makes me wish I was moving here instead of you moving to LA.”
Franziska smiled. “Yes, I do miss the greenery here. Southern California has such a different climate it took some time getting used to it. Although the mild winters are nice.” There was a pause as Franziska tried to figure out how to ask the next question. “Did you like sharing a room with me?” she finally asked.
“I was waiting for that question,” Adrian replied with a little smirk. “And yes, I absolutely loved sharing a room with you. I especially liked sharing a bed with you.”
“Good, that makes two of us.”
“And to answer that other question I know you’re just dying to ask, yes, I feel ready and I would love to move in with you.”
“That makes me so happy, and it makes the next question I’m going to ask a lot easier.” Franziska silently took a deep breath. She knew she was pushing it, that she should wait until Adrian got used to living with her. However, she needed to do this now, before she left Germany for good. Finally she turned to Adrian, got down on one knee, and produced the diamond ring she had bought even before Adrian temporarily left her. “Adrian, will you marry me?”
Adrian cupped her hands over her mouth and let out a squeal before she calmed down enough to give a reply. “Oh my gosh! Yes! Absolutely!” Tears of joy began streaming down her face.
Franziska slipped the ring over Adrian’s finger and stood up. “I do have one condition, that I be the one to take your name.”
“Franziska Andrews? I never imagined that. I think it’s perfect.”
“I said I was done with being a von Karma, and this is the final step. Now that name and that legacy will truly be dead.”
“Is this why you’re asking me now?”
“Yes, actually, it is. I hope you don’t mind my boldness.”
“Of course not, I’m just so happy you asked. I mean, maybe this is a good thing. We’ve been so careful since I came back, maybe it’s time to just take the plunge and get married.”
“So you want to get married soon?”
“Why not? I’m pretty sure we can handle it now. I know I’m much stronger than I was before, and I know you are too.”
Franziska grinned so hard her face hurt. “All right, let’s do it. We’ll have the best wedding ever, and then we’ll live happily ever after.”
Adrian was grinning just as much. “That sounds perfect.”
They both laughed, and shared a perfect kiss among the flowers.
Now that one marriage was planned, it was time to get to work on making the other one happen. That meant talking to a foolish fool about his foolish behavior. After looking around the mansion, Franziska finally caught Phoenix alone in the gallery. He was staring at one of the modernist paintings as if he actually knew what it was.
“Hello Phoenix,” Franziska said as she walked up to him. “I’m surprised to see you here.”
“Are you kidding? When Miles said you had an actual Monet I just had to see it for myself, and then I saw everything else you had here.”
Franziska frowned. “I didn’t know you were into art.”
“Oh, I was an art major before I switched over to law. Even Miles was impressed by how much I managed to remember from college.”
“Hmm, I didn’t know that. I suppose you aren’t quite the fool I thought you were.”
Phoenix scratched the back of his head. “Um, about this whole fool business, you think you could maybe turn it down a little?”
“When you stop acting like a fool, then I will stop calling you a fool.”
“How am I being a fool now?”
Franziska sighed. Sometimes she wondered how Miles put up with him. “Tell me, why are you not married to my brother already?”
“You are the romantic type, are you not? I bet you dream about marrying him more than anything.”
Phoenix turned bright red. “Well, um…”
“So why have you not asked him to marry you?”
Phoenix sighed in defeat. “I don’t want to push him into something he’s not ready for. Besides, it might cause problems with his career as a prosecutor, being married to a defense attorney.”
Franziska stomped her foot and pointed at him. She couldn’t believe how dense he was. “This is why you are the most foolish fool I have ever met. Do you honestly think office gossip would stop Miles from doing what he wanted?”
“Well, no, but…”
“There is no law against prosecutors marrying defense attorneys. It may not common but it isn’t unheard of.”
“Oh, well, that’s a relief.” Phoenix seemed genuinely surprised by this, enough to make Franziska wonder if Phoenix even thought of prosecutors as human. “But still,” he continued, “I don’t want to pressure him-”
“Stop being so foolish! How can you not see how devoted my brother is to you!? That he would do anything for you!? You can’t seriously think he would say no if you asked him to marry you!”
Phoenix didn’t say anything for a moment. “I’m afraid of messing things up. Things are so perfect between us I can hardly believe it’s real. It’s like I’m waiting for everything to come crashing down.”
“Why would you think that?”
“When I first became friends with Miles, we were getting really close. Then suddenly he disappeared. Then when I thought I saved him from certain death, he went and wrote that suicide note and disappeared. Even when he came back he kept on going on those long trips out of the country so I couldn’t see him much.”
Franziska frowned. So Miles had a habit of leaving Phoenix behind, too. “I understand how you feel. Miles does have a history of leaving the people who love him behind. He did that to me more than once. However, I am confident you broke that habit of his.”
“I know. I know he wants to be with me, it’s just…”
“You are being foolish and afraid. The first is expected, but the second is unacceptable, especially coming from you, Phoenix Wright.”
“Um, was that supposed to be a compliment?”
Franziska ignored the question. “My little brother was the one who encouraged me to start a relationship with Adrian. Now I will return the favor, and encourage you to propose to Miles. It would be good if you followed my advice.”
Phoenix smiled. “Well, if it’s a favor to Miles, then I’ll do it. I suppose you want me to do it right away instead of waiting for the perfect moment?”
Franziska gave him a deadly look and crossed her arms.
Phoenix recoiled in fear. “Yikes, you weren’t kidding when you said your glare is worse than Miles’. I’ll, um, go find him, and um, yeah.” He didn’t bother hiding how eager he was to get out of there.
Once he was gone, Franziska finally smiled. Those foolish fools were foolishly perfect for each other.
Miles was in the garden drinking tea, looking over the landscape. He had to admit the grounds were always well kept and aesthetically pleasing. Too bad they were attached to the worst house in Germany.
Phoenix came up to him, surprisingly nervous. “Hey Miles, are you, um, busy?”
“I, um, need to talk to you. Well, no, I need to ask you something.”
Miles frowned. “Phoenix, what’s going on?”
Phoenix let out a sigh. “I wanted this to be special, or at least someplace more romantic. I don’t even have anything to give you. But Franziska said I was taking too long as it was, and she was right. So now I have to do this here, and now.”
“What are you talking about?”
Suddenly Phoenix got down on one knee and grabbed Miles’ hand. “Miles Edgeworth, will you marry me?”
Miles could feel his face grow red as he tried in vain to say something, but nothing would come out. Marriage. Phoenix wanted to marry him. Phoenix wanted them to announce to the world how much they loved each other. Phoenix wanted to spend the rest of his life with him. The whole idea seemed overwhelming.
Yet wasn’t that what Miles wanted, too?
Yes, he wanted that more than anything. So what was stopping him from taking that last, final step?
It was fear, and he was so tired of being afraid, especially when it came to Phoenix.
Miles promised to himself that he would never, ever let fear get in the way of his relationship with Phoenix again.
Finally he spoke. “Yes, I want to marry you more than anything.”
Phoenix immediately leaned over and gave Miles one of the biggest kisses ever. “Miles and Phoenix Edgeworth. I love the sound of that already,” he said when their lips finally parted.
Miles raised his eyebrows in surprise. “You’re planning on taking my last name?”
“Well, yeah, I want us to have the same name and everything.”
“Suppose I wanted to be Miles Wright?”
Phoenix rubbed his chin in thought. “Hmm, I never thought of that. Miles and Phoenix Wright sounds good too.”
“Well, we can decide later.”
“Not too much later, I think we should get married right away. We’ve already waited too long.”
“What about a ceremony? I would think you would want that.”
Phoenix rolled his eyes like it was obvious. “Of course we’ll have a big ceremony and invite everyone we know. I mean we should start planning right away.”
“Oh, well, in that case, what kind of location do you want?”
Phoenix simply smiled gave him another long kiss in reply. Suddenly Miles couldn’t wait to get married as well.
The last night they were in Germany, Franziska stayed up late. She made sure everyone else was in bed before sneaking out. When she was a child, this would have been the time of night when she would sneak into Miles’ room if she was feeling especially down after being yelled at by her father. In short, this was the only time when she disobeyed him. Now it was time for one final act of rebuke.
She left the mansion and walked past the manicured gardens to the small graveyard, the final resting place for generations of von Karmas.
“Papa,” Franziska said once she reached the headstone of her father. “This is the last time I will call you by that name. Once I leave here tonight, I will no longer consider myself a von Karma in any way. However, I want to tell you a few things before I go. First of all, I am a lesbian. There, I finally told you. I doubt you suspected, since I made sure to keep it a secret. Those speeches you gave me about finding a suitable husband and continuing the von Karma line were completely useless. I won’t be marrying any man, Papa. Speaking of marriage, I will, however, be marrying a woman. I have a fiance I love so much, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her. Be a good father for once and be happy for me, okay? Even if it is impossible for you. Finally, I will be taking her name when we get married. I will be Mrs. Franziska Andrews. See, nothing will be left of your legacy. All that hard work you made me do, trying to push me to be perfect, none of that matters now. I’m not perfect, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Good riddance, Papa, you were a terrible father, and I’m so glad to be finally rid of you forever.”
With that, Franziska turned and hurried back to the mansion. It felt great telling her father what she really thought of him, like a load had finally been lifted from her shoulders. It was like she was finally living her own life, not the life that was planned for her. She was finally free.
It was a hectic morning before they would all leave Germany for good, but Miles made sure to visit the graveyard alone just before they left. There was something he wanted, no, needed to do for a long time now.
Miles approached the headstone with a little smirk. He allowed himself some measure of schadenfreude, considering the circumstance. The headstone wasn’t larger than any of the others, but it wasn’t smaller than the others, either. Just one out of many, nothing to make it stand out. On the front was engraved the name Manfred von Karma, along with his year of birth and death. No tributes or quotes, just the bare minimum.
“You lost, old man.” Saying that felt better than Miles thought it would. “There is nothing left of you or your precious legacy. Your reputation is long gone, everyone knows what a corrupt, power hungry-criminal you really were. Your family estate is about to be sold off, I hear the new buyer wants to completely gut the place and turn it into a hotel.” Miles paused to throw Franziska’s old whip at the foot of the headstone. “Your own daughter finally realized what a sad and pathetic man you were, and has disowned you and your entire family. Your lineage will die when she marries and becomes Franziska Andrews. It gives me great pleasure to say she is happier than you ever were.” Miles knelt down next to the gravestone and his voice became softer. “As for me, the person you hated more than anyone besides my father, well, I couldn’t be any better. I have so many people that love and care about me, and I love them all in return. You tried to kill my ability to love, and, I must admit, you almost succeeded. However, I was saved by the most wonderful man in the world, and I love him more than anything. We love and trust each other so much, something that you could never even comprehend. In fact, we plan on getting married. I am happy, and I am thriving. So I won, old man, and you are nothing but food for worms.”
Miles got up and left the graveyard, and quickly got into the car leaving for the airport with everyone else. He never once looked back.