?

Log in

 
 
12 January 2010 @ 06:23 pm
089 | April 09, 2019 | Nobu Los Angeles | [1/3]  
Nervous wasn't the right word, but to say Edgeworth simply felt uneasy seemed like an understatement. Arriving to the restaurant a half-hour early had been a mistake, and the prosecutor was already sick of being alone with his thoughts. The presence of Kristoph Gavin - although he was not necessarily unwelcome - was freshly unsettling in and of itself. The conversation that had lead to Phoenix suggesting he come along in lieu of the Fey girls had been a little eye opening to all the words left unsaid about the man; however, Edgeworth hadn't dwelt upon it much, and he'd agreed to Kristoph coming along without much question. Pushing the more unpleasant of his thoughts away, Edgeworth recrossed his legs one over the other as he sat on the uncomfortable, black wooden bench in the lobby of the restaurant.

Apprehensive. Yes, that was far more appropriate. Though he felt he would have had little trouble accepting Kristoph's presence, the sudden news that his sister of all people would be joining them had amused him morbidly before a strong sense of dread had set in.

Franziska's antics were practically commonplace for Edgeworth, but he had woken up that morning with a certain view of how the dinner would go. It would be awkward (Edgeworth wouldn't delude himself into thinking otherwise), long, and most likely uneventful - but they would return home that evening in one piece. The idea of carting Phoenix home on a stretcher wasn't exactly a pleasant one, no matter how amusing the moments leading up to it might be.

More than anything, Edgeworth had been hoping that he could at least make the night special for Phoenix. He'd never entertained a significant other on their birthday before, and although it was very much a foreign concept to him, he didn't intend on failing. Selecting a present had been a difficult task in and of itself, and Edgeworth wasn't even sure how well it would be received - at the very least, if he was unsuccessful on that front, he wanted this dinner to go well.

But fate (or the naivete of his boyfriend - Edgeworth hadn't decided which was working against him just yet) didn't appear to be playing fair with him.

The luminescence of the restaurant was almost headache inducing, but Edgeworth had to admit that the atmosphere wasn't all that bad. Sushi had never appealed to him - the thought of anything raw was a bit repulsive in the prosecutor's mind - but, in the course of investigating restaurant venues, he'd chosen Nobu for the variety of its menu. Overall, it certainly wasn't the sort of establishment Edgeworth would frequent, but he hoped the birthday boy in question would enjoy it.

Assuming, of course, that the defense attorney would make it out of the restaurant alive.

---


For the better part of the last ten minutes, Kristoph had found himself plagued by far too many thoughts attempting to garner his attention at one time; the most prevalent of these seemed to be The driver had best not make me late, though this thought seemed to enjoy combining itself with the strange sense that the car was entirely too confining. The latter notion wasn't through any sense of eagerness when it came to arriving at the restaurant - one that Kristoph was entirely unfamiliar with, at that - but rather due to the fact that he wasn't sure what he was supposed to expect from this.

His present to Wright lay across his lap - a relatively small and fairly flat package wrapped in nondescript paper, with edges that were so neatly done that there was no way that Kristoph had done it on his own. He had managed to very nearly decimate a roll of Scotch tape before handing it off to a neighbor, the smile neatly concealing exactly how grudgingly he was doing so; he didn't know much about the woman, other than the fact that she was perhaps in her early sixties if Kristoph had to venture a guess, and the sort to request help with her groceries once a week and then thank him by informing him that he was 'such a sweet boy', regardless of his age of twenty-five. She had also brought him something upon his arrival at the Towers; he had never quite figured out what the gift had been, other than possibly some sort of bizarre statuette, but in the end that didn't matter - while he wasn't about to claim that the woman had any sort of normal taste when it came to housewarming gifts, he remembered that the packaging job had been amazing.

While her company was pleasant enough, she had kept him for far longer than he had intended that afternoon; dressing for the evening was, thankfully, a quick affair. While he wasn't about to cut corners on his appearance, tonight his clothing was simple; it was one of the few black suits he owned, as he tended to think they made him look like a mortician - this cut of this one was acceptable, however, and though it was a slight step down from his usual taste in clothing, it was still more than presentable.

Now that he was en route to Nobu, his fingers splayed out across the top of the package, he found himself reasonably pleased that he had left almost ridiculously early. His hand shifted, his fingertips curling toward his palm, and he brought them down in slow succession as he thought; the soft tapping sound produced by the action had distinctly picked up in speed by the time he arrived outside the restaurant.

All in all, Kristoph had arrived nearly twenty minutes early; after his eyes had adjusted to the shift in lighting, he was completely unsurprised that he wasn't the first one to arrive.

"Mr. Edgeworth," he said in greeting. Though he had expected to see the prosecutor here, it was still strange to think of what this evening might turn out like; it had been quite some time since he had met Wright at Vini Vidi Ziti, and Kristoph realized that he hadn't been in the company of both of them together since then.

None of this awkwardness was apparent across his features as he spoke, however; the smile he was giving Edgeworth didn't falter, though his fingers were taut against the edges of the package he was holding at his side. "Good evening."

---


In all honesty, Franziska still didn't know why she was attending this dinner. She supposed that in one foolish lapse of judgment, she had agreed to come, and it simply wouldn't do to back out after confirming that she would do so. Especially not now, after she had taken the effort to go home, freshen up and get changed, and especially not after she had taken the trouble to purchase a present. Considering the lack of prior notice, Franziska would have felt perfectly justified in bringing nothing at all, but on the other hand, bringing a present seemed like the polite thing to do. Wasn't that what people did at birthdays?

The traffic was as frustrating as usual - there were things her whip couldn't control, after all - but she managed to find parking with time to spare. Franziska cast a dismayed glance at the glowing numerals of her car's digital clock. She was here early. Too early. She almost considered staying inside her car until a more suitable time, but it was chilly inside and turning the engine back on to run the heater would simply be a waste of gas.

She picked her whip up and made her way inside, hoping that she wasn't the first one to arrive. Luckily, Miles Edgeworth had a habit of wasting time by arriving to events unnecessarily early, and Franziska was unsurprised to see her little brother already seated inside; however, who was that with him already? That wasn't Phoenix Wright...It was then when she remembered Phoenix Wright had mentioned 'a friend', and in a horrible moment of recognition, she hadn't realised that friend was Kristoph Gavin. She took a step forward, merely to make sure she wasn't seeing things, although there was no reason to doubt that her eyesight wasn't as perfect as usual. She remained silent, however, as there were no need to throw accusations around yet.

The familiar voice of Kristoph broke Edgeworth away from his thoughts, and he found himself grateful for it. A quick glance over Kristoph's attire made him wonder if he should have changed, but the thought was a fleeting one. It wasn't as though his usual taste in clothing was informal by any means, and he wouldn't have had the opportunity to arrive early had he gone home to change after his work was completed for the day.

It was then that Edgeworth was beginning to realize he was consuming himself with the details of the evening, and he attempted to shake himself from the habit.

"Good evening to you as well, Mr. Gavin," Edgeworth replied in kind, his expression cordial despite the absence of a smile. He stood then, his attention darting off somewhere behind Kristoph before returning to him. "...ah." Franziska. Well, now was as good of a time as any to introduce them - as it stood, Edgeworth had no idea that they had met in the past. "This is a recent development, but Wright took it upon himself to invite a fourth dinner guest."

Edgeworth's gaze darted over behind Kristoph again, and when he spoke, the volume had increased enough that Franziska could hear from her position near the door. "Franziska," he said, both by way of greeting and indirectly telling her to join them.

Kristoph tipped his head slightly in acknowledgment as Edgeworth returned the greeting, though the continuation after Edgeworth stood up hit him strangely; obviously, Wright was more than allowed to do as he wished, especially considering the occasion, but Kristoph couldn't say that he was pleased at the idea of being thrust into the company of people he might not know, or at the very least know well. He certainly couldn't say that he could predict the sort of company Wright would invite to join them - on the one hand, there was Mr. Edgeworth, but then on the other, there were the Feys, who were just a bit...eccentric, to put it lightly - but surely, their mutual profession had a chance to be some sort of reassurance; there was a chance he had at least met the person in question.

And then he heard the name that had come out of Edgeworth's mouth. Though the motion was controlled, Kristoph just had to turn around to verify; a quick glance proved that while he certainly did know this fourth dinner guest that Wright had invited, he couldn't say that he was happy about it.

He smiled at her anyway, regardless of any mental recoil he was experiencing; at the very least, she didn't look pleased, either.

"Ah, Miss Von Karma." His tone was warm - pleasant, even - and he resisted the urge to allow his hands to tighten any further around the package in his hand, though he did shift his grip slightly. "Quite the pleasure...it's good that you could join us."

Franziska merely glared at Kristoph for several moments, the grip on her whip tightening as she did so, before she walked forward and gave a small incline of the head in acknowledgment of Kristoph's presence. "Mr. Kristoph Gavin," she bit out, her tone of voice much less pleasant than Kristoph's.

Then she turned quickly to face Miles, the bag she was wearing over her shoulder swinging as she did, dangerously close to wear Kristoph was standing. "And Miles Edgeworth," she greeted, her voice sounding almost slightly relieved when she spoke to him. "It's good to see you here."

At that precise moment, Phoenix Wright opened the glass door of the restaurant, looking as if he had been soaked in a puddle. The bus had run late - again - and traffic had been terrible enough that pedestrians were moving faster than the bus. And, appropriately enough, Phoenix's phone battery had died, and there was no way of contacting anyone at the restaurant. So, after some quick conversation with the bus driver, Phoenix had gotten directions to the restaurant from what was then his current location, and gotten off at the closest stop, jogging the rest of the way.

The defense attorney had regretted not bringing his umbrella, as the rain had pelted down on his head in fat droplets, washing out the majority of his hair gel into his jacket. As a result, most of his hair was sticking up in odd places, and he smoothed it back with his free hand as he entered the waiting area of the restaurant, looking and feeling slightly disoriented by the lighting. The atmosphere was warm and pleasant, and the soft murmuring of conversation within the dining room could almost reach Phoenix's ears - it was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before, and he could feel excitement welling up underneath his ribs.

There were too many things to look at - the decor was Asian-themed, and much of it reminded Phoenix of his own culture - and the scent of cooked miso and hot steamed rice filled his nostrils, fresh and unintrusive. Once he'd reoriented himself, his sight blocked by a party of people who had just entered the building, he peered around and over a few other customers, catching sight of first Kristoph (his height was a dead giveaway), Franziska, and Edgeworth only a few paces away.

Excusing himself politely as he pushed his way through the small crowd that had collected near the doorway, Phoenix squeezed his way over, a large, warm smile appearing on his face. It was apparent from the way he held himself that he was feeling somewhat relaxed, and the look in his eyes was pleasant and grateful for everyone's presence. "Hey everyone," he said, as he raised a hand in greeting, and he glanced over at Kristoph and Franziska. Both were in different clothes, and Phoenix couldn't help but admit to himself that it was a pleasant change from what he was used to.

Once he absorbed that briefly, his gaze went to Edgeworth, and the quality of it softened at the sight of him. However, Phoenix didn't move closer, as Franziska had placed herself between both Kristoph and Edgeworth, so he stood there idly instead. "Sorry I'm late. There was traffic, and I couldn't get the bus to move any faster." Phoenix then moved his right hand to his head, scratching it awkwardly. Even while he wasn't late by any sense of the word, everyone else had arrived early, and as a result Phoenix felt awkward as the last person arriving.

The tension in the air seemed to coil as Franziska and Kristoph greeted each other, and a look of genuine surprise had crossed Edgeworth's features. "...you've met before?" he asked, the question posed at neither of them in particular. He supposed it shouldn't have surprised him - though their professions differed at their core, it wasn't impossible for the both of them to have met in court or during an investigation.

Even if he expected an answer - the question may as well have been rhetorical - the arrival of the defense attorney interrupted any chance of an explanation. Taking a quick, scrutinizing glance of Phoenix's drenched appearance, Edgeworth couldn't keep the slightly amused edge from his features. "...Wright, I realize it's your birthday, but you're a bit old to be out playing in the rain," Edgeworth gibed, a smirk tugging at the corners of his lips.

Kristoph had managed to avoid rolling his eyes at Franziska's reaction, though he couldn't stop the thought of Hopefully she'll avoid making a scene in public from crossing his mind; it was a legitimate concern, he thought, especially after she continued to insist to nearly force a collision with one of her belongings somehow, and felt the need to greet Edgeworth as though he was the only sane person left in a building full of lunatics.

He was grateful for Wright's sudden arrival for several reasons, not the least of which being that it spared him from the urge to make some snappish remark in Franziska's direction that he couldn't guarantee would be entirely appropriate; his attention flicked briefly to the other defense attorney, becoming aware of some of the tension leaving his stance as he regarded him. The expression he offered Wright was decidedly more open than the one that he had offered Franziska, a sense of genuine warmth crossing his features.

"Really, Wright, there's no need to apologize," he said, running his fingers lightly across his bangs as though to sweep back any wayward locks, despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with his hair to begin with. "Traffic was horrific this evening...and yes," he added in Edgeworth's direction, almost as an afterthought, "Miss Von Karma and I have met - though admittedly, we didn't speak much."

Kristoph's gaze had returned to Franziska as he spoke. He was unsure of what direction she was going to attempt to steer the evening - and if their previous encounters were anything to go off of, she would try to commandeer the steering, at least once - but at the very least, he would try to keep it as civil as possible on his end.

And honestly, Wright, he added silently, though the thought was kept well off of his expression, would it have been that difficult to call me ahead of time? If the shrieking harpy must be here, the least you could have given was fair warning.

"Happy birthday, Phoenix Wright," Franziska said, turning to talk to their group's newest arrival, a small smirk forming on her face. "You're not late; some people just have a habit of arriving ridiculously early." The smirk only grew when she took in his overall appearance. "Although I must say, the next time you desire to go swimming, it would be a better idea not to do so in clothes you plan to go out in later."

Franziska noticed Kristoph looking at her, but chose not to speak, instead choosing to resume glaring at him. Perhaps if she didn't encourage conversation, there would be no need for them to talk to each other and it would almost be as though he wasn't there. She owed it to both Miles and Phoenix Wright to remain civil this evening, but if Kristoph Gavin irritated her, she couldn't promise that no-one would get hurt.

Phoenix's expression turned deadpan for a moment at both Edgeworth and Franziska's comments, but in the light of the evening he couldn't stay annoyed at their words. He then made a point of looking at both Kristoph and Franziska's outfits before voicing his thoughts, his expression warming. "You both look really nice. Thank you for coming." While he noticed the glare Franziska was giving Kristoph, Phoenix wasn't sure whether it was something she did to every single human being that she had an inclination towards disliking, and/or if Kristoph had already been lumped into the same category as he had been - "useless, foolish defense attorney". Either way, he hadn't thought that the animosity between the two of them had sounded very extreme - after all, Kristoph had never faced Franziska in court - and that it wouldn't be that horrible of a social mix.

Itching to move to Edgeworth's side, Phoenix refrained for the sake of politeness, even while every iota of himself begged for it. Phoenix was getting some extremely good feelings from this restaurant, and he couldn't help but feel infinitely appreciative for the mere consideration Edgeworth had put into choosing the location. Turning his gaze back to Edgeworth, Phoenix tucked his hand into his pocket and adjusted his grip on his suitcase. "Do you know if they're ready for us yet?"

"They don't begin to serve dinner until six o'clock, but I don't see why they can't seat us in the meantime." Already turning his attention away from the attorneys - he wasn't sure he wanted too think too heavily about the heated looks Franziska was giving Kristoph - Edgeworth excused himself to go speak with the maître d’.

A small crowd was already beginning to fill the lobby area, and Edgeworth immediately had to wade through them to find some semblance of a line. Once it seemed they were indeed seating people, Edgeworth made a motion for the attorneys to join him. Fortunately enough, the maître d’ was competent enough to keep the line moving, and it wasn't long before their party was addressed.

The dining area didn't sacrifice any of its style; all the tables in chairs were aligned and designed in the Asian theme one might expect. Edgeworth was a man who knew the merits in sacrificing comfort for aesthetics, and one glance over the chairs made him think that whatever interior designer that had their hold on this place agreed with him wholeheartedly. The four attorneys were ushered along to a rounded table with four chairs symmetrically stationed around it, and as Edgeworth took a seat, a server immediately hurried over and placed a long, black plate in front of him with a hot towel sitting upon it. She then hurried along to do the same for the others as they sat down, and then without a word she was gone.

Lifting the towel gingerly, Edgeworth carefully began to run it over his hands to clean them. Even if he had a distaste for raw fish, he had attended restaurants of this caliber in the past - it was easy enough to fall into step with things. Dinner conversation, however, was not one of Edgeworth's strong points; instead, he worked to sate his curiosity. "I don't recall either of you mentioning each other in the past." His gaze fell between Kristoph and Franziska in a manner of showing he was speaking to them. "How did you meet?"

Kristoph had been pleased with the compliment that had been given, and had thanked Wright for it before the group had been moved to sit down; as soon as he saw the seating arrangement itself, however, he could tell that it was going to be unfortunate.

It wasn't the atmosphere of the restaurant that did it - the place was admittedly a bit...vivid when it came to the lighting, but the design of the seating area itself was something that Kristoph found himself intrigued by. The sheer amount of texture and designs surrounding them was something he found to stop just short of overwhelming, somehow managing to remain at a level that was enough to draw his interest without crossing the line into sensory overload - it was the sort of place that he would have been content to just look at for a while.

The chairs, on the other hand, didn't look like they would be the most comfortable things in the world - and for more than one reason. There was, of course, the issue of comfort versus aesthetics - it was plain that the latter had won out, which was not something Kristoph tended to see the overall merit in (after all, certainly they could afford someone who was capable of designing for both...) - but there was also the matter of exactly how the chairs would be arranged. It didn't exactly take a genius to figure out where everyone was going to be sitting, and he had more or less resigned himself to the fact that he was going to be spending quite some time in close proximity to Franziska von Karma by the time they reached the table; while he couldn't say whether it was through habit when it came to being seated for dinner with a woman, or if it was through a vague, morbid desire for passive-aggressive patronization in some way, he adjusted her chair before his own, pulling it out for her and gesturing briefly toward it before settling himself at the table.

The question had been posed as he picked up the towel; he contemplated his words as he started to run it across his hands, though the pause wasn't a long one.

"Ah..." He shot a quick glance at Franziska before continuing, unsure of whether she was going to make this more unpleasant than it really needed to be. "I wouldn't say that our meetings were terribly memorable ones. Chance encounters here and there; it's only been once or twice, really."

Franziska continued to glare at Kristoph when he pulled out her chair - did he think she was incapable of doing so by herself? - but decided to pass no comment on it. Perhaps he was simply being polite, instead of being the general irritant he usually was.

Once seated, Franziska first settled her whip properly in her lap, after a moment's hesitation where she considered tucking it into her bag. It wouldn't be good to put it away now; there was a chance she would need it later on. Whip coiled up, she pulled her gloves off, folding them neatly on the table. The seating arrangements left a lot to be desired - if she had known that attending this dinner would mean being in close proximity with Kristoph Gavin all night, she would have happily declined the invitation. However, Phoenix Wright hadn't warned her, thus, she wasn't responsible for anything that transpired due to his lack of forethought. She would make a genuine effort, however, not to rile the man up needlessly.

She picked up her own towel and glanced at Miles, then at Kristoph. "He ran into me at the grocery store," Franziska said shortly, doing her best to keep her voice neutral while still glaring at Kristoph.

Once Phoenix had settled himself into his seat (which didn't feel like it was ever going to be comfortable, no matter how he tried to adjust his rear), Phoenix picked up the hot towel, unrolling it before he ran it over his hands.

Phoenix was content to let the conversation go on without him, as he was merely absorbing the atmosphere and his surroundings, but he paused his movements briefly at the mention of Franziska and Kristoph meeting in the grocery store, the memory of his discussion with Kristoph at the Borscht only four days before returning to him.

"The second time was...three days ago, now? Four?" He (Kristoph) paused briefly, shaking his head as though to dismiss the question. "Either way. Apparently Miss von Karma is mortal after all - or at least she requires food, as she was buying groceries with the commoners. I managed to escape that encounter relatively unscathed, though I can't say the same for the condiment rack. Or the shopping cart she was using to plow into it."

Recalling Kristoph's tone of voice, Phoenix couldn't help but wonder if he'd made some sort of lapse in judgment by inviting Franziska along. Initially, Phoenix had felt that it was a decent idea - Kristoph hadn't sounded traumatized in the least when they'd spoken about Franziska, and he had shared a good laugh with Kristoph about her - and he'd wanted to reach out to Franziska as Edgeworth's family. Including her in his birthday celebration had seemed appropriate at the time, but considering the tension that immediately established itself between both Franziska and Kristoph, Phoenix couldn't be sure of his decision any longer.

Finishing up with the towel, Phoenix folded it up and placed it back down on the plate. "I remember you bringing that up back at the Borscht," Phoenix said, directing the statement to Kristoph. "Something about a condiment rack and a shopping cart?" His tone was lightly teasing as he glanced over at Franziska.

Edgeworth took a fair amount of time with the towel, running the slightly rough material over every last inch of his hand, each movement meticulous and thorough. It wasn't as though his hand really required that sort of attention, but the heat of the towel was somewhat pleasant, and Edgeworth simply wasn't one to rush. After he was satisfied, he refolded the towel and settled it on the center of the plate.

A run-in at a grocery store certainly didn't seem memorable, but, if it had been significant enough to mention during whatever banter Kristoph and Phoenix had participated in during their previous meal, something of note must have happened; however, the tension in the air surrounding both Kristoph and Franziska implied that it must not have been altogether pleasant.

Rather than rehashing whatever ordeal that lay between them, Edgeworth attempted to steer the subject away. "It seems your life is fraught with chance encounters, Mr. Gavin." Edgeworth's attention drew itself away from the plate sitting before him and over to Kristoph. The prosecutor had lost track of how many times he'd crossed paths with the other man, but a fair amount of the meetings hadn't been intentional - by now, he figured he shouldn't really be surprised to see him at all anymore, regardless of the obscurity of the location or the situation.

The look Kristoph gave Wright at the comment was a bit of a pointed one, though it stopped short of truly unpleasant; obviously, Franziska was right there, and he couldn't imagine that she'd be pleased that the incident had been mentioned outside of her presence. Granted, the fact that she'd had a permanent scowl since walking in the door hadn't been a promising one from the start, but the idea of her being more agitated than she already was while sitting right next to him was not one that he was fond of encouraging.

It was only natural, then, that Edgeworth's attempted defusing of the situation came as a bit of a relief; he set the towel down, though his fingertips remained on one of the edges, picking at it lightly as he answered. "It does appear that way, doesn't it?" he said, turning his gaze to the prosecutor across the table. "Though considering the fact that I've met all of you through chance encounters, I can't say that I can complain. Circumstance is interesting like that, I suppose."

A light flush entered Franziska's cheeks at the realisation that Phoenix Wright and Kristoph Gavin had been talking about her behind her back. She dropped the towel back onto the table and placed her hands on the whip in her lap once more. Tightening her fingers around its handle was almost a source of comfort.

She wondered what sort of ulterior motive Phoenix Wright had for inviting her to this dinner this evening - had he grown tired of merely talking about her, like a coward, and had co-operated with Kristoph Gavin to openly mock her in public? She tapped her fingers on the handle of her whip as she momentarily redirected her glare to Miles. Did this mean he was in on it all too? Was he feeling guilty now; was that why he was trying to redirect the conversation? She took a deep breath - walking out now would only be a failure, and give the trio more of a chance to laugh at her when she wasn't there. Instead, she looked back at Kristoph, and when she spoke, her voice was a lot less controlled. "Or perhaps you have a particular talent at being a nuisance, Mr. Kristoph Gavin."

Phoenix's eyes widened as he realized the error of his words, as the look on Franziska's face and the tone of her voice were indicative of an oncoming storm. "W-wait! Look," he interrupted quickly, scooching to the edge of his seat awkwardly and motioning his hands in front of himself, "Kristoph mentioned meeting you before because I told him about the fact that you went on a trip with Edgeworth last week, that's all."

While they had laughed about it, Phoenix hadn't felt any bad vibes in the terms of what they'd spoken about - in a way, it had felt similar to laughing about a silly situation with pretty much anyone. "I didn't mean to imply that we'd talked about you behind your back. I was surprised that he knows you, too."

...eloquent backpedaling, Wright, Edgeworth thought, averting his gaze down to the table briefly. There was little that could be done at this point if Franziska truly had it in her head that there was something amiss with Phoenix and Kristoph's conversation, and the only thing that could be done about it - in Edgeworth's mind, anyway - was attempting redirection once again.

The prosecutor found himself wishing sorely for a full glass of wine. "Ah, you told Mr. Gavin about the trip, then?" Edgeworth asked, his attention briefly lingering on Phoenix before moving over to Kristoph. A thought struck him, then - the commonality between Franziska and Kristoph that he assumed hadn't been explored just yet. "If I'm not mistaken, you said during our first meeting that you were from Germany originally. Which city?"

Kristoph leaned forward slightly, lifting a hand in a quick, dismissive motion. "No, Wright, it's fine. Miss von Karma can say what she likes...after all, we didn't get off to a good start, did we?" The latter part of the statement was obviously aimed at Franziska, though he didn't fully look at her when it was being uttered; he did turn in her general direction, a light smile still crossing his features, but direct eye contact was, for the most part, avoided. "Admittedly, I may have been a bit unfair during our earlier meetings; I apologize for any offense you may have taken. If you don't want to put it behind you permanently, perhaps we can simply do so for the sake of tonight?"

When he was honest, the apology wasn't extended for the sake of repairing bridges - Kristoph had a feeling that the chance for doing that was well beyond them now - but for the sake of his nerves. The idea of sitting next to the whip-happy shrew for the remainder evening was unpleasant enough without her feeling openly hostile; at least this way he could say he had attempted to calm the situation.

He shifted his legs slightly under the table - there was going to be hell to pay if he ever ran across this place's interior designer - and continued, keeping his attention mostly in Franziska's direction, though his words were just as much in response to Edgeworth as they were aimed at her. "And I believe that the curiosity that Mr. Edgeworth has expressed can be extended in your direction as well, at least on my part...I'm from Essen, originally. And yourself...?"

And if this fails, he thought dryly, at least there are witnesses to the attempt.

Franziska exhaled sharply, her hands trailing down to the tip of her whip. Kristoph Gavin wanted her to overlook his previous foolery for tonight, did he? Well, she desired nothing more than to wrap her whip around his neck and not have to ever deal with the consequences. However, in such a public setting, and not to mention in front of both Miles and Phoenix Wright, it was clearer that neither she nor Kristoph Gavin were going to get what they wanted.

She'd almost given Kristoph Gavin a chance, as he had not immediately displayed his propensity towards being utterly annoying, but it was clear now that his faux politeness was hardly an attempt at being a gentlemen, but rather a passive-aggressive act of patronization. She leaned forward over the table, one hand now gripping the edge of the surface tightly, while the other still lay comfortingly on her whip. She would be on her best behavior tonight – however, her whip did still sometimes have a mind of her own. It was with that thought that she didn’t lash out at Kristoph Gavin (even if she couldn’t strangle him, as that would be illegal, surely a whipping wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary) and instead swallowed her pride, took a deep breath and answered his question.

“We’re from Frankfurt,” Franziska said, with a quick glance at Miles, then back to Kristoph, in what was almost a silent attempt at complaining about being forced to make small talk with this pathetic excuse for a man. “Actually, the von Karma estate is located a fair distance away from the city proper; however, I prefer to live within the city itself when I’m in Germany these days.” She couldn’t help but let a small amount of pride slip into her voice when she spoke of the estate, and she was adding completely unnecessary information, but perhaps if she kept talking, she could resist the temptation to hit Kristoph Gavin.

Phoenix had been holding his breath the entire time, his gaze on Franziska's hands and arms as they went through their motions. He was almost entirely sure that she had her whip underneath the table, considering the motions of her arms, and the thought was a disconcerting one. Exhaling once he realized Franziska wasn't intent on bringing destruction to everyone at the table, Phoenix relaxed slightly.

Keeping quiet, as the last time he'd tried to interject his opinion felt like it had nearly ended in disaster, Phoenix decided to make mental notes about what both Kristoph and Franziska were speaking about. In truth, Phoenix didn't know much about Edgeworth's history, and the tidbits of information were supplying a means to gaining a larger picture of what his life had been like in the years Phoenix hadn't known him.

Glancing over at Edgeworth, Phoenix took in the look of his face, and was almost tempted to reach out and take his hand - however, in the current situation, it didn't feel all that appropriate.

The peripheral of Edgeworth's vision caught Phoenix looking at him, and his attention turned to the defense attorney briefly. No words were exchanged, and the prosecutor did his best to keep his expression neutral, though a smile tugged at his lips stubbornly.

Before it could fully form, a waiter had made his way over to the table with a handful of menus which were dispersed around the table. The specials for the evening were rattled off in a very scripted manner (Edgeworth couldn't say he was listening - he would be keeping as far away from the raw food as possible), and then came the question of taking the drink orders. A quick glance at the wine menu within the dinner menu produced a pleasant surprise - his favorite, Merlot. Edgeworth surmised that the evening would be a long one, and while he had no intention of polishing it all off himself, he ordered a full bottle of his favored wine before allowing the others to order.

Kristoph's eyes remained warily on Franziska; his expression didn't shift or falter, but he was incredibly relieved when no impending doom appeared to be immediately forthcoming - though he couldn't be entirely positive that the shift in her tone, however subtle, was a good sign. "Ah," he said, tipping his head slightly. "It's a lovely city, from what I remember - I've only been there once or twice; the most recent time was probably...I don't know, perhaps eight years ago. I do want to return one day and experience it all properly, though."

The waiter arrived then, sparing Kristoph from the need to make any further conversation with her; he noted Edgeworth's choice in wine, though the quantity that the man had ordered stood out quite a bit; judging by the way the evening had gone so far, he couldn't exactly say that he blamed him. He was content with water for the time being; while he had no doubt that he would make good use out of whatever he had back at his apartment after the night was over, he preferred to try to remain sober as long as possible. Impairing his judgment even slightly would prove to be a mistake, he was sure, and imbibing enough gave him a tendency to get a bit...friendly toward people; given his current company, that was not a prospect that anyone would appreciate, including himself - best to abstain and remove the temptation entirely.

He was content to segue into silence afterwards, toying with the corner of the menu for a moment before looking it over; he was entirely unfamiliar with the restaurant and so had no idea what was decent here, though from the first glance at the menu he found that it looked at least somewhat promising.

Franziska eyed her menu with disinterest - this cuisine wasn't her favourite, and she had a feeling she would not be eating much tonight. Her gaze flickered briefly towards Miles as he ordered the wine – surely he didn’t intend on drinking that all on his own – surely not even being forced to socialize with Kristoph Gavin required that much alcohol, although surely a little bit wouldn’t do any harm. Franziska didn’t drink much, however, it had been long time since she’d had wine with a meal. This country’s drinking laws were rather archaic.

And why was Kristoph Gavin still talking? Was the menu not an adequate distraction? She glared at him, hands tightening on the menu, feeling obliged to give some sort of response. Best behavior, she reminded herself. “Have you ever thought about practicing law in Germany, Mr. Kristoph Gavin? Surely even you must not be as bad as the pathetic excuses for defense attorneys that work in Frankfurt.”

She settled back in her chair, looking over the menu once more. She decided to wait to see what the others would order before making a decision herself.

Phoenix took a quick glance over the drink portion of the menu, but didn't find many items of interest. He had taken a look at the food menu online and decided on what he wanted to eat beforehand, but he hadn't thought about drinks, as he wasn't much of an alcohol person. However, as it was his birthday (and the company that he was keeping was incredibly uptight), Phoenix felt the need to relax himself artificially.

As another waitress passed by with a drink on a tray for another table, Phoenix couldn't help but be curious - it was a dark brown martini with a stick of chocolate garnishing it, loops of liquid chocolate on the bottom of the glass - and he promptly asked the waiter about it. The waiter explained the chocolate martini as one of the more popular choices that weren't inside the menu, and he also recommended the pineapple sake if Phoenix was interested in other sweet drinks.

Ordering one of the martinis, Phoenix didn't think much of it at first - he had ordered fruity drinks ever since he'd been able to - but as the waiter gave him a slightly intrigued, suspiciously interested look before moving on to Franziska, Phoenix wondered if he should have put a little more thought into it. If a waiter had focused on him merely because of his drink choice, Phoenix could only guess as to what everyone else's opinions of it would be.

Once that was taken care of, Phoenix turned and shifted in a hopefully surreptitious way, moving his chair a little closer to Edgeworth's side. Reaching out with his left hand and placing it upon his thigh, Phoenix squeezed gently above Edgeworth's ticklish zone, the motion entirely affectionate. He then let his gaze wander back to Edgeworth's face, but Phoenix didn't say anything, not sure if there was anything he could interject.

As Phoenix and the waiter had discussed the martini, Edgeworth's attention was drawn from the menu and over to the chocolate monstrosity on the waitress' tray. A part of the prosecutor had been hoping Phoenix wouldn't order it - he was certain the scent of it alone would more than likely be overwhelming - but his aversion to it wasn't so great that he would say anything. It was Phoenix's birthday, he supposed.

After Edgeworth had returned to looking over his menu, the hand on his leg suddenly jerked his thoughts away from his choice in entrée. Fortunately enough, he'd managed to keep his expression even - save for a slight widening of his eyes - and he refrained from even looking over at the defense attorney. A full moment passed before he lowered his right hand from his menu and carefully placed it over Phoenix's hand, praying his menu was held in such a way that it wouldn't call attention to his absent hand - or, if it did, that he would simply look like he had his hand in his lap. It wasn't a secret that Edgeworth frowned upon public affection as a whole, but after the events of the night before and the significance of the day itself he felt he could allow this.

Of course, this opinion was subject to change should either Kristoph or Franziska somehow notice their joined hands. Almost as if to detract from the chances of that, Edgeworth addressed Kristoph's drink choice. "You don't have to content yourself with water for the entire evening, Mr. Gavin. I assure you that anything you choose to drink won't offend my pocketbook."

'Backhanded' didn't even begin to describe Franziska's remark, but Kristoph had seen it coming (or, at the very least, something very similar) before she even started speaking. The fact that she should be so predictable was almost depressing; if she was going to try to engage him in any sort of argument involving wit, she could at least attempt to catch him off-guard once in a while.

Either way, he found himself disinclined to respond to the attempt, though he didn't ignore her completely - he wasn't about to be completely rude. "I can't say that I have," he said lightly, his attention half-turned toward Wright's deliberation over a choice of drink as he spoke. "For the time being, my law firm here is my first priority - I don't plan on going anywhere."

He glanced up fully then, upon hearing Wright's order and noticing the look the waiter was giving him; between Wright's rather...unexpected choice in drink and Franziska von Karma in general, Kristoph imagined that the incredibly brief amount of time it took for him to change his mind on his own stated choice probably qualified for some sort of record. Another quick look at the menu cemented it; he tipped his head slightly in Edgeworth's direction, offering the prosecutor a slight smile in acknowledgement of his words before shifting his order in the direction of a glass of souvignon blanc.

His attention shifted to Wright after he had placed his order, though his gaze settled on the other man's face; as such, he remained unaware of Wright's hand placement in relation to Edgeworth's.

"You've been incredibly quiet, Wright. Lost in thought?"

Phoenix turned his head slightly, his gaze meeting Kristoph's, and a small smile lit up his expression. Between the fact that Edgeworth's hand was over Phoenix's own and the private edge of schadenfreude that had entered his thoughts in regards to Franziska's predictable behavior and Kristoph's barely-tolerating responses, Phoenix couldn't say that he wasn't enjoying himself. However, the emotion came a little cautiously, as Phoenix was sure that Edgeworth would be displeased with a scene if he revealed it - and Phoenix knew Edgeworth had hopped through a bunch of hoops in order to secure the evening.

Shifting his left hand underneath the table as he settled the menu face down with his right, as he didn't have much use for looking at it any further, Phoenix entwined his fingers with Edgeworth's and squeezed lightly before he began to speak. "I was taking mental notes," he said, before he glanced over at Edgeworth briefly before returning his gaze to Kristoph. "I've never left the United States, so I don't know very much about other countries beyond what I've read."

Looking over at Franziska, Phoenix focused on her face, considering how he should word the question that was lingering in his mind. He had always been curious about her perspective of America's court systems - it was no mystery that she was incredibly intelligent book-wise, even while all of her personality quirks made her difficult to deal with - and as she had spent what Phoenix presumed was her entire life dedicated to law, he couldn't help but want to ask about it. As the situation was somewhat less inflammatory than most of their other encounters, Phoenix felt more comfortable voicing the question, and he waited until she was finished with the waiter before he spoke to her, his tone light and casual. "...I'm curious, Franziska. What do you think of America's court systems compared to Germany's?"

Franziska ended up requesting nothing more than water from the waiter; there was no need to cause a possible hassle with the staff here about this country's ridiculous drinking age, especially not in her present company. Her eyes briefly flickered towards Miles as she made her order. Would it be too much to hope that Miles would share his alcohol?

However, she was distracted from her annoyance by Phoenix's question, which surprised her enough to forget most of her irritation at just about everything of her current situation, and she folded her hands in lap, resting them next to her whip.

...What did she think of America's court systems? It wasn't something she thought about frequently, as the role of a prosecutor was the same, no matter what country she happened to be in at the time. It was her duty to ensure that criminals were removed from society - an innocent verdict for a defendant on trial would mean a murderer being freed to walk the streets. It would mean failure, and that would be unacceptable.

Franziska tapped her fingers against her leg as she considered her answer, hoping to be thorough, yet concise, as work wasn't really a suitable topic for dinnertime conversation. However, she did have to admit that if they didn't talk about law, the four of them would be left with very few remaining mutual interests.

"The main difference I can think of is that in the past few years, Germany's legal system has been reducing the amount of death sentences handed down to guilty persons, depending on the severity of their crimes, naturally. Recently, someone who is convicted of homicide might not necessarily be immediately sentenced to death. It's to do with some of the smaller drawbacks with the three-day trial system," Franziska started, her hands straying and smoothing her skirt as she continued speaking.

"Apparently, the higher courts found that not all the evidence was dealt with properly during initial trial proceedings, resulting in the possibility of incorrect convictions," Franziska said, a slight edge of disdain entering her voice. "However, I would hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with the current methods of prosecution in either Germany or this country. They are extremely effective at keeping criminals away from society, where they might re-offend. Any assertion otherwise would just be completely foolish.

"The role of a prosecuting attorney is to find the defendant guilty. It's that simple, Phoenix Wright." She stopped to take a breath, finding that her mouth was becoming rather dry from speech. As she did so, she leaned forward over the table, eyes focused on Phoenix's face, almost as if she was determined to stare him down. "Surely even you should understand that. Thus, from a prosecutor's standpoint, there is little difference between the judicial system here and the one back in Germany. While Germany's court system may be more permissive of mistakes that occurred during the initial trial process, I concur that such mistakes should never have occurred in the first place. I assure you that the police force in Germany is often as inept as the one here, so I suppose such mistakes may happen."

She leant back a bit then, a small smile on her face. "Does that answer your question? There is really very little difference between the two. I do suppose that for more weak-willed prosecutors the fear of sending someone to an untimely death might frighten them when working underneath America's court system, but during the course of my employment over here, I remind myself that I am doing my job, to the best of my ability -perfectly- and that any mistakes that may occur are not my responsibility. That is my dedication to the job. Anyone who doesn't understand that is simply too soft to ever be a successful prosecutor."

On her return to the States this year, she had thought briefly about the difference in sentencing procedures between the two countries she had worked in, something she had not adequately pondered on the first time around as she had been focused on more important matters. She still remembered the conversation she had with Miles on the anniversary of her father's death last month, about how a prosecutor's role was not simply to convince the court of the defendant's guilt, but to pursue justice. Franziska did not see why they had to ever be mutually exclusive; she was simply doing her job, and she was almost proud to be able to justify her views to a defense attorney, someone who did not intrinsically understand, without having to refer to her father's words.

Her gaze flickered back to Miles then, this time with only the briefest of thoughts about the possibility of stealing his wine later in the evening. "Of course, I was under the impression that this was more of Miles Edgeworth's area of expertise."

Edgeworth's attention hadn't parted from his menu throughout Franziska's speech, but once his name had been brought up he had turned his gaze to her instinctively. Was that a challenge or a deflection?

It hadn't been a month since he and Franziska had discussed her questionable view on the courtroom - a view he once shared, admittedly - but the conversation hadn't been far from his thoughts. Even their trip to Germany hadn't overshadowed the evening's events, and he had wondered from time to time if he had pushed too hard too fast. If her words were to be taken as any indication, she hadn't learned a thing, or she had taken his words with a grain of salt; frankly, Edgeworth wouldn't have been surprised either way.

Bringing up the conversation itself seemed to be at best a bad idea, and outright correcting her wouldn't do either. Edgeworth squeezed Phoenix's hand briefly before letting it go, drawing his own hand back to his menu. It wasn't as though he didn't appreciate or enjoy the affection, but Franziska's eyes on him deterred him from maintaining the furtive touch.

"Even if it is my area of expertise, the question was more in regards to your own personal opinion," Edgeworth replied, a hint of amusement in his tone despite his displeasure at the content of her speech. Though he had no intention on correcting her (doing so would probably result in the whip being utilized, and he prayed the two defense attorneys would follow his lead), elaboration on the topic seemed a safe enough route. "At face value there may be very little difference between the courts in Germany and the courts here, but the fact that there have been questions poised in the validity of verdicts as well as a reduction in death sentences proves that the system is on the verge of changing. America has been very slow and set in its ways when it comes to altering and improving courtroom protocol, but Germany is very much the opposite. In fact, the same can be said of most of the countries in Europe that I've studied over the years. For one reason or another, America simply hasn't been very progressive in regards to the law."

Edgeworth closed his menu, setting it down next to the plate holding his towel. Idly, he wondered when someone would be by to clear the table of the plates. "In any case, I would say that you're a testament to the progression in Germany, Franziska. I can't imagine this country allowing a thirteen-year-old to stand in its courts to prosecute criminals."

"I find myself agreeing with that assessment, Mr. Edgeworth; Klavier has proven himself to be qualified, at the very least, and still he's faced with reluctance at the prosecutor's office despite being four years older than that." Kristoph turned his gaze to Franziska then; though up until that point he had found himself content to humor those at the table and not simply ignore the woman, his expression and tone betrayed genuine interest in her words at that point. "Regardless of how progressive the system is in Germany, however, I must say that completing one's education and prosecuting - more than competently, from the sound of it - by the age of thirteen is nothing short of impressive."

He supposed that a snide comment could be made at his expense - after all, the idea of discussing law with her wasn't exactly the most novel of concepts - but he ignored that thought for now; after all, it wasn't as though she was the sort to invite normal conversation, especially when she seemed far more inclined to speaking at than speaking to people.

"Miss von Karma, I find a point you've brought up to be quite interesting. If I may?" Despite his words, Kristoph didn't wait for an answer before continuing; he had long ago stopped actually looking at the menu, though his fingertips were still toying with the upper right-hand corner as he spoke. "I actually find no fault with your words - the role of a prosecutor is, indeed, to ensure that the courts find the defendant to be guilty, just as the role of a defense attorney is to ensure that the courts find the defendant to be not guilty. Even if it's something that may be considered completely obvious, it may be something that deserves to be considered further by most people, especially those outside of the profession with such a negative view of it - when all is said and done, there are roles to be fulfilled, and the only time that fulfilling these roles become an issue is when justice is sacrificed as a result; they aren't necessarily mutually exclusive."

He paused for a moment, drawing his hand back from where he had been playing with the corner of the menu and settling it in his lap. "I honestly wasn't sure whether I agreed with your words or not, upon first hearing them, but I can see where they make sense. Though I find myself needing to ask...my understanding is based off of the assumption that when you say you're doing your job perfectly, you refer to prosecuting to the best of your ability, and working off of what you've been given as well as you can. Am I correct in this assumption, or, in your opinion, are all defendants guilty and deserving to be found as such?"

Franziska scowled at Kristoph when he begun to speak - she had, after all, been under the impression she had been speaking with Phoenix Wright, and had included only Miles Edgeworth with her final question. However, she supposed she could not completely ignore the man and turned her head towards him slightly, although she would really prefer not to look at him. "Both, Mr. Kristoph Gavin," Franziska answered icily, her hands that had previously been lying comfortably in her lap tensing on her skirt. "If the system is working properly, then only the guilty person should ever be put on trial. I pursue perfection during the course of my work - it is not too much to ask that the others within the system do the same, is it?"

Franziska looked back at Phoenix Wright then, and it was at that moment that she realised she wasn't certain what the point of defense attorneys were - surely no-one would want to keep setting themselves up for certain failure. And here she was, sitting across from a defense attorney who had actually, somehow, become somewhat successful, even though there had been extenuating circumstances. Franziska preferred not to dwell on it often, but the thought of corrupt prosecuting attorneys did not sit well with her, and if there was any flaw in the system, it was that. Not only was there that incident with that Godot man and Sister Iris...but also, the incidents including her father. However, these were other people's personal faults - at least if there were flaws in the system, she was not the flaw.

These things were not what she wanted to be thinking about this evening, and she found herself irritated with Phoenix Wright for bringing it up. However, directing the conversation elsewhere would be too obvious for now. Instead, her gaze in his direction sharpened somewhat, and when she spoke again, she addressed him, rather than Kristoph Gavin - choosing to ignore the irritating man seemed to be the best course of action for now. "If I may ask, Phoenix Wright, what do you view the role of a defense attorney in the courtroom as? I must admit, in my earlier days, I regarded those of your profession at best, as target practice, and at worst, facilitators of criminal activity, I realise that the..." Franziska trailed off then, noticing her voice had become somewhat unsteady, and took a breath to calm herself. "...infrequent occasion of corruption in my profession may necessitate the need of defense attorneys."

[Continued here.]