“Don’t worry, Trucy, it’s only a magic trick, Mommy will be fine--”
A very loud bang rang in her ears, and suddenly, Thalassa Gramarye vanished into a puff of smoke, being replaced by Zak Gramarye.
“We may not meet again for some time, Trucy... ...but know this, I will be watching. And, one day, I shall return. ...You're the next Gramarye, after all!” He too, disappeared, only to morph someone new.
“Don't worry. I won't vanish, I promise,” but even as he began to say those words, the man in blue was already slowly fading away from her, before she was suddenly very much alone in this empty white space.
Her eyes snapped open, suddenly, tears pricking out of the corner of her eyes, and it took Trucy a moment to remember where she was, and what had happened in the past few days.
This wasn’t her bed, it was much too big for her, and this definitely wasn’t her room. She could barely make out faint shadows in the darkness, furniture she didn’t recognize.
“Mgnhg…” Trucy barely suppressed a startled squeak when she stretched out and accidentally kicked the lump next to her. “Trucy…?”
And she quickly remembered where she was, who she was with… who she was now. Two weeks ago, Phoenix Wright had adopted her. It was a sudden change, one she still wasn’t completely used to, and she didn’t even have her own bed yet! “S-sorry Daddy! I, uh, I had to pee, and forgot you were right there!”
Her new Daddy, an ex-attorney named Phoenix Wright, shifted beside her to sit up and turn on the lap next to the end table. “...Trucy, don’t lie to me, what’s wrong?”
His funny eyebrows were furrowed in concern (they reminded Trucy of cartoon worms) and his voice, though soft, was firm; but Trucy was a magician! She had to keep up the act that she was happy, as she always did, “Nothing’s wrong! I just, ah, wasn’t being careful when I got back into bed, and accidentally kicked you!”
He frowned, and hesitantly reached over to wipe the tears Trucy didn’t even realize were still there. “...Trucy, did you have a nightmare?”
“...Do you want to talk about it?”
“...Okay, you don’t have to--”
“I… I had a bad dream. About my…” a sob escaped, “it was about Mommy a-and…” with each sob, his expression fell, but Trucy couldn’t stop the waterfall of emotions that seemed to pour out of her mouth and trickle down the side of her face, “and about my old Daddy…”
“Trucy…” his voice was soft, and he moved to wipe more tears away, but Trucy didn’t stop there.
“...and you.” Her daddy stopped moving, and Trucy couldn’t even look at him, overcome by guilt and fear, “Mommy… my old D-Daddy… they-they disappeared, and in my dream, s-s-so did you…!”
Trucy suddenly found herself pulled into a tight hug, “Trucy…” she could feel him shaking, but his voice remained steady as he spoke, “Trucy… how long have you been having this nightmare?”
She broke away from the hug, seeing him tense up out of the corner of her eye. “...ever since Da-my old daddy disappeared…” guilt quickly replaced her sadness, however. She didn’t want to make her Daddy upset, and she didn’t even mean to wake him up in the first place! “Sorry I woke you…”
“I’m sorry you didn’t wake me up sooner,” her head snapped back up, and she could see tears glistening in his eyes. “No,” the spiky haired ex-attorney shook his head, “I’m sorry I didn’t figure it out right away.” Trucy could only stare at him in surprise, “Come here, kiddo.”
He pulled her into another hug, kissing the top of her head and whispering firmly, “it’s okay, I’m here. Remember what I told you when I first adopted you?” Trucy could feel something wet on top of her head, but didn’t say anything. “I promised you that I won’t vanish, remember? And I never, ever, break a promise. Ever.”
Trucy finally stopped trying to hide her pain, practically melting into her Daddy’s embrace as he pulled her tighter against him. Despite how vulnerable she felt, despite how vulnerable they both felt, Trucy hadn’t felt this safe in four weeks. She cried, and cried, and cried into his t-shirt, getting it all wet and snotty and gross, but he didn't mind it one bit, he just kept rubbing her back, reassuring her that it was okay for her to cry, she could let it all out, he wouldn't let anything happen to her.
Trucy eventually realized how fatigued she had felt, and her grip on Phoenix leesended. The last thing she remembered was what she told him before giving into sleepy temptation. “I love you, Daddy…”
Phoenix felt the girl finally collapse back to sleep, and when she spoke those four words, more tears sprung out of his eyes. He looked down at the sleeping magician in his arms, a small smile tugging at his lips as he bent down to kiss Trucy Wright’s perfect head, with her perfect brown hair and her perfect forehead and her perfect perfect cheeks and her perfect brown eyes and her perfect chin and her perfect everything. As he slowly felt himself falling asleep, still clutching onto her like a lifeline, Phoenix Wright made a silent promise to his daughter and himself, I won't let anyone tear me apart from you. You’ll never be alone again.
“...Do you want me to call Nick?” Trucy had woken up from another nightmare, as she did every night since her daddy went to Europe and left her with her Aunt Maya in her strange village.
“No!” came the hasty reply, “I mean, h-he’s busy, and he might still be asleep! I don’t want to bother him…!”
“Trucy… Nick wouldn’t be upset, I promise, he’s probably really worried about you too, and--”
Maya was interrupted by a loud ringing noise, and Maya quickly ran to the telephone to answer it. “Hell-Oh! How’s the investigation coming? That’s great! ...What? Oh, um, I was… in the bathroom! That’s why I’m already awake!” the spirit medium mouthed “it’s your dad” to Trucy before continuing her conversation. “Huh? O-oh! Trucy’s doing great! I think she’s ready to go back hommmm…?”
Maya made a noise when she noticed that the young magician had walked up to her and tugged at her silky sleeve, “hold onto that thought, Nick.” She held the phone against her shoulder before whispering, “Do you wanna talk to your dad?” A small nod confirmed her suspicions, and Aunt Maya put the phone against her ear again. “Trucy’s up, she wants to talk to you… no I did NOT keep her up to watch reruns of the Steel Samurai! I’m not that irresponsible you know!”
Trucy did chuckle a little at that little outburst, before the phone was pressed into her hand. “H-Hi Daddy…”
“Hey Trucy, sorry I didn’t call earlier; how’ve you been holding up, sick of burgers yet?”
Trucy laughed at that, his jokes weren’t very funny most of the time, but that was part of their charm, she supposed. “Don’t worry, Daddy, Aunt Maya usually eats them before they even make it to my plate!”
“Hey! Is Nick making fun of me again! You two are so mean!” THAT outburst made Trucy burst into giggles, especially at the sight of Maya puffing up her cheeks and balling her fists in frustration.
Maya’s anger quickly smoothed over, however, as Trucy’s laughs slowly merged into sobs like earlier, but they were bigger this time, and every sharp intake made Trucy feel like she was being stuffed into one of those miniscule boxes she’d seen her old daddy squeeze into during one of his old shows.
“T-Trucy!? Is everything--?”
“I-I’m sorry Daddy but I--” she hiccuped, “I just-I miss you s-so much Daddy!”
“N-Not that Aunt M-Aunt Maya an-and Pearl aren’t g-great but--!”
“I just-I miss you so much! And I’m w-w-worried that you’ll… that you w-w-won’t… that I’ll be--”
“Trucy. Take a deep breath.” Struggling, Trucy obeyed, letting it out in short bursts of air. “I’m so, so sorry I had to leave. I should’ve asked if you could come too. But I promise you, I won’t be gone much longer; we just finished the case, Edgeworth and I are going to celebrate, and then we’ll be getting ready to leave the next day.” Trucy sucked in a deep breath, what exactly did he mean by leave? “I’ll be home on Sunday, and you can bet your top hat that I’ll be at the train station to pick you up and give you the biggest bear hug I can possibly muster. Then we’ll convince Edgeworth to get us some ice cream, or even Eldoon’s Noodles if you continue to behave for Maya and Pearls, sound like a deal?”
Trucy didn’t feel like crying anymore, but her voice still shook a little when she answered, “sounds great Daddy! I’m sure Uncle Edgeworth won’t be able to resist my charms!”
Phoenix gave a short chuckle at that quip, and Trucy felt most of her fears melt away with that sound alone. “Atta girl, Trucy.”
“...do you think you can keep talking until I fall back asleep? I know it’s expensive to call from faraway, but…”
He laughed again, and Trucy couldn’t help but smile; his laugh was rare, but it was her favorite noise in the whole world. “Of course I can, besides, I’m using Edgeworth’s phone, so it’s his bill to pay; and no, don’t ask me what happened to my phone, it’s a long story.”
She giggled again, it was easy to imagine him somehow breaking his phone, despite how indestructible it seemed, guess her Daddy was just unlucky. “Thanks, Daddy.” Trucy laid back down, and Phoenix kept talking to her, telling her about the embarrassing things her Aunt Maya did, that time when he was in third grade and Uncle Edgeworth, despite him being so sophisticated even at that age, had accidentally ripped a gigantic fart in the middle of class, which he immediately blamed on Uncle Larry.
Eventually, Trucy’s eyes fell and became too heavy to open again, she murmured “Goodnight, Daddy, I love you,” and waited until he returned her words before allowing sleep to take over again.
When Sunday came, his daughter ran into Phoenix Wright’s arms and he lifted Trucy Wright high up and swung her around, causing her to squeal and laugh as her hat flew off. Phoenix held tight onto his daughter until they arrived at the infamous noodle stand, but even then as they were practically joint at the hip, swapping stories about Phoenix’s trip (Edgeworth would occasionally interrupt to add any details Phoenix left out) and Trucy’s stay with Pearls and Maya (he wasn’t sure how he felt about that bear story though…). Trucy was able to convince Edgeworth to pay for their meal, and the two of them said goodbye to him before walking the rest of the way home.
The father-daughter duo raced back to their office, Trucy kept the lead (though Phoenix would insist that she obviously cheated, even if he let her win). They had just sat down to watch a movie, but the moment they sat down on the couch together, they fell asleep, leaning on each other.
He wouldn’t leave her alone for such a long time ever again.
Trucy had a terrible feeling all day, she hadn’t felt this kind of vibe since… well, not in seven years, at least. Her daddy was quick to notice that her smile seemed more forced than usual, and she’d been acting anxious and clingy all day, even going as far as to ask him not to go to work tonight, call in sick, anything to prevent him from leaving.
He only offered one of the fake smiles he’d developed over the years and gave her a tight squeeze. “Don’t worry, Truce, I promise, nothing’s going to happen to me. When I get back home, I’ll wake you up, and we can watch whatever garbage movie they usually have playing on cable at 3 in the morning. I’ll even let you skip school, and we can stay in our PJs all day.” With that, Trucy watched Phoenix Wright walk out the door and head to work.
That night, Trucy did not sleep. She waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Seconds stretched into minutes, minutes into hours, each TICK of the clock seemed to echo throughout the agency, and each TICK made the hole in her stomach expand. Daddy was supposed to be home an hour ago, she thinks to herself. At one point, she heard police sirens scream by. It doesn’t help calm her nerves at all.
Finally, she can’t take the panic and anxiety creeping in her stomach and lunges for the phone, only pausing when it begins to ring in her hand. “D-Daddy are--!?”
“Trucy.” She sucked in a breath, that voice belonged to a very tired and slightly panicked Miles Edgeworth, “there’s been an… accident…” no… “your father…” please, please no! He can’t be--! “Wright’s been arrested for murder.”
“What!?” even though that wasn’t necessarily… good, it was better than what Trucy thought had happened… but still… “That’s crazy! Daddy would never--Uncle Edgeworth, can’t you do anything!?”
A sigh was heard into the receiver. “Trucy, I know Wright didn’t do it, even still I have certain duties as Chief Prosecutor in regards to this trial, there is little I can do besides pull some strings to have a private conversation and assign the most useless prosecutor ever… but, there’s one other thing he asked me to do…”
“...he wanted me to take care of you, now pack a suitcase, I’m heading over soon.” CLICK.
Trucy could barely move. She wanted to throw up, she wanted to cry, she wanted to scream and shout until her voice stopped working. She wanted to suddenly wake up snuggled up next to her daddy after a bad nightmare. But this wasn’t a dream, she knew it wasn’t (if the phone she just dropped on her foot wasn’t an indication of that, she didn’t know what else was). If only she had tried harder! If only she had done something, anything to keep him from leaving!
No, stop, this isn’t the time to scold yourself, Trucy. Pack your bags and get ready for Uncle Edgeworth to get here, Daddy promised he wouldn’t disappear, this won’t be like the last time.
It had better not be like the last time.
“...why do you keep staring at me?”
“...” At first glance, Trucy didn’t really think the other person waiting around the detention center was anybody, just some weirdo teen with weird hair waiting for their friend or family member to be free for a visit, but something about him… bothered her. He looked familiar, very familiar, not only that, but he wore a shiny badge on the lapel of his vest. He must be a lawyer…
“Um… you’re starting to freak me ou-”
“Ms. Wright? Your father’s ready for you.” Trucy forces herself to look away from the mystery boy and almost runs to where her father’s waiting for her.
Even though she was only eight when she first visited the detention center, it was just as she remembered it. Cold. Empty. But that hardly matters now. She runs past the man walking in her direction (it must have been Kristoph, but she didn’t really stop to check, even as he makes some sort of greeting), down the corridor, and into the visitor’s room. “Daddy!”
“Hey baby,” he smiles, but it’s tired. He must be exhausted. “Sorry I had to have Edgeworth tell you what happened, I thought it would be best if I called him first and let him know you needed someone to take care of you.” She takes another close look at him, noticing the small locket hanging from his neck that he definitely did not have the night before… but it looked awfully familiar, too familiar.
“T-That’s okay! I don’t mind!” she does mind, nevertheless she squeezes her eyes shut and balls her fists in determination, “you’re gonna be okay, right?!”
He gave one of his (fake, tired,) laughs she’d grown so used to, “Yeah, and I already figured out who the real murderer is.”
“What!? Then why are you the one--”
“I can’t call him out yet,” he looked down at the table in front of him, and Trucy wanted nothing more than to somehow break the glass barrier between them and wrap her arms around him. “You’ll see why in court… but I need a favor from you, first.”
Trucy scooted closer to the wall and waited.
“I need you to help me perform a little… ‘trick’ if you will…”
“NO!” Trucy yelled, startling the guard a little. “Daddy, you promised you wouldn’t--!”
“That’s not what I meant.” Trucy blinked. Right, this daddy wasn’t a magician, but still, she couldn’t risk it, “I know I won’t get falsely convicted, I just need your help providing some… evidence.”
Phoenix patiently explained his plan, about what was going on, who the real killer was, and what he needed in order to expose him. “...and make sure you give it to him when Gavin isn’t with him, got it?” reluctantly, Trucy nodded. It sounded easy enough, and she was willing to do whatever it took to keep her Daddy safe. “That’s my girl.”
“Visiting hours are over, Mr. Wright.”
“Yeah yeah, I remember visiting hours.” he turned back to Trucy, eyes full of determination, a look he rarely sported, “one last thing Trucy? I promised you I won’t vanish, remember? That’s one promise I intend to keep. I know you’re scared, Hell, I’m terrified. But you’re being so brave right now. I love you, and I won’t abandon you, got it?”
Trucy could see his eyes watering slightly, something else that didn’t happen very often, if he can be tough, then so can I. “I promise I won’t mess this up Daddy! I’ll help prove your innocence, ethics be damned!”
Phoenix laughed as the guard began ushering him out of the room, “That’s your one swear of the week, Truce!”
“I love you too, Daddy!”
With a heavy click, the door closed. Trucy set off again full of determination. What was it Daddy always said? The worst of times are when lawyers have to force their biggest smiles. Well that’s what I have to do. Now I just hope I still have that fake blood back at the agency…
She’d given that funny looking lawyer the card like she was told, now all she had to do was wait and see what would happen. Objections flew around the courtroom like crazy, everyone was trying to counter each other over the smallest of things. She hadn’t seen her Daddy look so… so confident. So comfortable. Not in a very long time, at least, it was like he became a different person the minute he got up on the defense bench. It was incredible.
Eventually, the trial was over, and Trucy felt like she could finally breathe again. If it hadn’t been for the slow moving gallery, she would’ve been at the defendant’s lobby before he had left it, instead she seemed to crash right into him. “Hey, I’m excited to see you too, but slow down kiddo!”
“W-We did it! Daddy, you’re innocent!”
He ruffled her hair and gave her a smile, but this one was real and fond and brighter than it usually was when they were out in public, “hey, I made you a promise, remember? I’ll always keep it, no matter what.” his smile morphed back into the usual one he wore, and she tried not to pout. “Now come on, I’ve got a bowl of salty broth with my name on it.”
As they left the courthouse, Trucy dragging him behind her while he complained that his back wasn’t what it used to be, Trucy couldn’t help but feel that he was hiding something big from her related to the case.
And she couldn’t help but feel that she knew exactly who this “Shadi Smith" was.
The Borscht Bowl Club was, quite frankly, a dungeon. It was cold, and dark, and… boring. The food was garbage, and pretty much everyone who came was shady… especially one particular regular whom Phoenix was “friends” with.
Everytime Kristoph Gavin walked into the icy liar, Phoenix couldn’t help but feel like the room dropped 30 more degrees. That man had ruined his life, but Phoenix simply smiled and acted like they were best friends. Thankfully, though, Phoenix was soon left alone again to pretend like he was a piano player.
Maybe if nobody shows up for a game, they’ll let me leave early, and I can help Trucy feel better… just two more hours…
“...Ahem.” Phoenix turned away from the piano, face to face with another man, but there’s something… about him, he was too familiar for comfort. “Do you know who I am?”
They talk for a while, apparently this guy is a “customer” named Smith. Shadi Smith. His… friend is some reporter whose name Phoenix didn’t really bother remembering.
“Oh.” Guess I should introduce myself… “I’m…”
“No, no, Phoenix Wright.”
Alright, that raises some red flags in the back of his mind.
“You must always look a man in the eye when you make your introductions. ...You still do not know who I am?”
His brow furrows even more. “Have we… met?” he can hardly hide his gasp of surprise when it finally clicks, this man… it could only be… “Y-You can't be... But you're...! ...Zak Gramarye!?” Phoenix half expected some random cameraman to jump out of nowhere and yell “GOTCHA!” like he was on one of those prank shows, but there was no mysterious cameraman, just the mysterious ex-magician in disguise.
“Yes... The reincarnation act of the century. Pity I have only an audience of one. ...You.”
Zak Gramarye!? This must be a bad dream. In a sense, this guy ruined my life. Phoenix wants nothing more than to punch this guy in his stupid face, he wants to run, he wants to head right out those doors, go back home, lock the door, and wait for the man to vanish once again. He turns to a waitress, one Phoenix is certain he’s never seen before in his life, but finally, he asks about Trucy.
“She’s fine.” Phoenix says tightly, “I’ve got her working already. Hope you don’t mind.”
Trucy… god. This was the man who left Trucy, who abandoned his daughter. Zak Gramarye simply left his daughter behind like it was nothing, like she was just a random rabbit he bought at a random pet shop so he could pull it out of his silk hat. He… oh god. A horrible thought just popped in his head, what if he tries to take her back…? Like hell he’d let that happen now. If Zak Gramarye thinks he can just waltz right in here and treat my daughter like a prop in the lost and found, he’s got another thing coming.
But based on their conversation, the only thing Zak cares about is Trucy inheriting the Gramarye name, and sure, that’s important, but he’s her father for crying out loud… no. Phoenix was wrong. He was Trucy’s father. He forfeited his right to say otherwise the moment he began planning that stupid escape. Now, she was Trucy Wright. not Trucy Gramarye, not Trucy Enigmar, Trucy Wright.
He made another deal, after figuring out that not only does Trucy have some sort of long lost brother, but he just so happens to work for Kristoph Gavin. Phoenix promises Zak that he’ll tell them both, one day, but god, this whole troupe was a mess. He’s glad neither of these kids had to deal with it first hand.
“...Once that is done, I shall slip once more underground.”
One last chance for this guy to redeem himself, even if I’d rather Trucy never even think about Zak Gramarye ever again… “...Without seeing your daughter?” He could barely hide the venom in his voice.
“...... It would be best if I did not…” Fine with me. Frankly, Trucy’s too good to be anywhere near you ever again. Still, I’m sure she would’ve liked to see you again too…
Later, their game ends… poorly. Zak tried to pass him off as some sort of cheater, but Phoenix found a planted card when he reached for his magatama in the middle of a game. Funny how that works out. Next thing Phoenix knows, the man loses his temper, hits the woman who he’d apparently hired to set Phoenix up (seriously, he asks for some favors and this is how he treats me?!), and when Phoenix gets back from calling for help, he’s dead as a doornail. And Zak Gramarye pulls his final disappearing act as Shadi Smith.
Phoenix feels slightly relieved, he no longer had to fear that Trucy would be dragged into the darkness of troupe Gramarye, but now what? He knows he’ll get the blame for this, and so, he reluctantly calls Kristoph… and realizes that he’s the true culprit. But Phoenix has gotten quick on his feet over these past seven years, and quickly plans a trap for the defense attorney. Everything should be in place… wait, the locket! He quickly reaches over around his neck to grab the locket, inside was Trucy, back when she was only eight. Her picture smiled at him, and Phoenix knew everything would be okay, even if he’s put in the detention center for this, as long as he has her locket, as long as he had his light, he would be okay.
I have a promise to keep, after all.