foxysquidalso: (waiting for)
[personal profile] foxysquidalso
Title: A Light Step
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Word count: 647
Pairing(s): tiny hint of Diego/Mia
Spoilers: for the end of T&T
Rating: All audiences
Summary: All things come to an end. And another beginning.
Notes: Written for the Awesome Bingo (tm) made up by [livejournal.com profile] plutokitty and me for the two of us to participate in. For the prompt "a heavy burden and a light step".


A Light Step.

A few years went by. Not quickly, because time moves slowly in prison, the sameness of days flowing into each other, punctuated by visits and brief outbursts of violence. He kept himself apart from the violence. He didn't want to remain there any longer than was necessary, and he had had his fill of violence.

Time passed slowly, but it passed, and the day of his release approached steadily, drawing nearer moment by moment.

"Where are you going to go?" his friends asked him.

"I don't know," he said, and he felt a curious relief as he said it. It was nice not to know. In prison, he always knew where he would be from one day to the next. In the hospital, there had been no question.

When the day at last arrived, Diego Armando walked out through the prison gates as if it were the most ordinary action in the world. He hadn't told anyone to come and meet him. Instead, he'd specifically told them not to. He had wanted to leave the prison as he'd entered it: alone. It felt right, somehow, to end as he'd begun.

The unbound sky was as beautiful above him as he could have imagined: pale blue with morning. The only clouds were distant white streaks, gilded with sun. Pausing, he gazed up into that sky and took a deep breath. Only a few steps away from the prison, the air shouldn't have tasted any different, but it did. It was sweeter.

After that brief hesitation, he kept going. He left the dark walls behind him. At last, he glanced over his shoulder and realized he could no longer see them. The everyday city swallowed him up. He became one of the crowd. A citizen again.

As he walked, people glanced at him, their attention perhaps drawn by his visor, but most of them looked away soon after. No one suspected where he'd been, such a short time before.

Later, maybe he'd call someone. Maybe he'd take the train to Kurain Village. Or maybe not. He hadn't made any definite plans yet. He'd wanted his first moment of freedom to be pure--bitter and sharp, freedom's real flavor.

When he came to the next corner, a turn in the road, he paused again. He took another breath, both sweeter and more bitter, and so strong. It was almost too much. He felt weak for a dizzying moment, leaned back against the wall of the building behind him. What if he couldn't go on?

He closed his eyes. He was alone, but not entirely. He didn't have to do this by himself. It was all right to ask for help sometimes.

"Don't leave me," he said softly. "Stay with me."

The words comforted him. His strength returned. He would go on. He straightened. "That's right," he said. "Let's go." He spoke too quietly for anyone to hear. It wasn't that he cared if people thought he was talking to himself. Let people think what they wanted. It was just that it was a private conversation.

When he started to move again, it was easier. He turned left. He lengthened his stride. It was the easiest thing in the world to keep going now. Walking was like dancing. He could go wherever he wanted. He looked up from between the buildings and saw that the sun, rising higher in the sky, had burned away the wisps of cloud. The sky was wholly, almost achingly, blue, so purely itself.

On the next block, there was a coffee shop. Diego regarded it with a smile. "Why not?" he asked, and changed course, heading towards it.

When he reached the building, he opened the door and walked inside. There was a soft, silvery ringing of bells as the door closed behind him.
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