Miles gets a tour of the von Karma estate the day he's brought into it, and is made an offer he doesn't want to refuse. Written for Yuletide 2006.
Miles slowly stepped into the foyer of the mansion under Von Karma's gesturing arm, silently peering around.
"You're very lucky," Von Karma continued. "Most children in your position would end up in some dank orphanage without anyone ever caring for them again. It is only my... respect for your father's skill that brings you here instead." Miles noticed that he spat out the word respect like it was a curse, but he didn't say anything. He hadn't said anything in the entire time since he'd first seen Von Karma the day before.
"Come, I'll give you a tour of the areas you'll be staying in. Do not touch anything. Everything is in its perfect place, and must remain perfectly arranged. Understand?" He waited for Miles to nod. "Good."
He swept off up the stairs in long strides, and Miles almost had to run to keep up with him. He even tried running for a moment, but the glare Von Karma settled on him let him know that running was another imperfection that wasn't allowed in Von Karma's home. Finally they stopped before a door. Miles assumed it would be to his bedroom, but when Von Karma opened it there was a toddler in her crib inside instead.
"My daughter, Franziska." Von Karma said, and Miles almost thought he heard pride in that voice instead of the normal cold arrogance. "You will find that she is the perfect toddler. There are no other toddlers around, so you may be her playmate when you have time. There will be no long noises, no rambunctious behavior, no toys left scattered about, no... I'll make you a list later. When in doubt remember, perfection is the goal."
Franziska was staring at them silently, her dark eyes huge, but Von Karma didn't go up to her and pick her up, or hug her, or show her any of the love that a father ought to show his daughter, just turned and left the room again as soon as he was done speaking. Before following Miles gave the little girl a small smile, and a part of him that could still feel things around the numb grief that his father's death had filled his heart with was pleased to see her smile back.
When he left the room Von Karma was frowning at him from the next door down the hall. "You will not delay when you are supposed to be with me. Remember that." He pushed open the door, and this time it was a bedroom, one more richly furnished than any room Miles had ever stayed in in his life. "This will be your room, so you can be close to Franziska. It's one of the lesser guest rooms, but will be suitable for a child. Every morning the maid will check to make sure that you've made your bed, folded your clothes, and otherwise kept the room in perfect condition. Breakfast will be at six-thirty every morning, I expect you to be up and ready for it without any help from the servants by the time your first week here is through, understood?" Miles nodded, though he'd never gotten up that early before in his life and wasn't sure how he'd be able to do it.
Again Von Karma left the room they were in, turning onto another hall and following it to the end, where there was a door more fancy than any of the others they'd passed on the way. "This," Von Karma said, pushing the door open, "is the library. It is where I will teach you how to become the perfect prosecutor."
For the first time Miles showed a sign of emotion, his eyes widening with surprise. He had always planned on becoming a defence attorney, following in his father's footsteps. He was sure that his father wouldn't be happy to hear what Von Karma was suggesting now.
The man seemed to pick up on his thoughts, his lips twisting into a smirk that Miles tried to convince himself was meant to be a smile. "You are surprised, no doubt," he said, "that I would choose you, the son of the one man who's ever beaten me, to pass on my knowledge too. But, you see, it's because of your father I'm doing this. You want the man who killed him to be punished, don't you?" Miles nodded. "That's right, boy, criminals must be punished. And you don't want any other little boys losing their fathers, do you?" Miles shook his head. "Of course not. And what is the only way to be sure that will never happen?" Miles blinked at him. "To build the perfect case and be sure that those criminals will never walk freely again!" Von Karma thundered. "Now, will you allow me to teach you, not just for the sake of all those other children out there, but as vengeance against the criminal world for your father's murder?"
Dad wouldn't like this, Miles' mind whispered to him over and over, and, in an even smaller part of his mind that he could barely hear, There's something weird about him. Something isn't right. But his words made so much sense, and everything in Miles was screaming for a way to do something to get revenge for his father. So he nodded one last time, and finally, quietly, spoke. "Yes, Sir. Please teach me."
Von Karma smiled like this was a triumph. "Perfect."