I really wanted to participate in at least some of the days in NaruMayo week on Tumblr, but I kind of forgot about it until today, so I wrote this very fast tonight.
July 18th, Day 1: Turnabout Meeting
Remember the day Nick and Maya met…. You remember now? Are you suffering? Yes? Good. Now provide some content related to their first meeting, to that fateful night! When everything began…
"Hey, Mr. Nick?" Phoenix looked down at Pearls sitting across the table from him in the booth of the local burger joint. They had just come out of another trial where he had successfully gotten the client a not guilty verdict. This was their way of celebrating. She put her milkshake down and was looking at him with that peculiar blush she always got when she was about to say something about him and Maya.
"Yeah, Pearls?" he said, bracing himself for whatever she was going to say.
"How did you and Mystic Maya meet?"
(Well, that wasn't so bad.)
"I really want to hear how your romantic fairy tale began!" she said, raising her hands to cover her face, another habit she had when talking about him and Maya.
He felt Maya shift beside him. She didn't seem to mind Pearl's fantasies as much, and she did already explain to him why Pearl was so obsessed with their relationship, so he tried his best not to dash her hopes completely every time she mentioned something about their apparent romance, but he also tried not to get her hopes up either.
He looked at Maya. "Do you care if I tell her?" He wasn't sure how Maya felt about Pearl knowing that whole story, or how she felt about suddenly bringing Mia into the conversation.
Maya shrugged. "It's okay." She picked up the burger in front of her and took a large bite, leaving him to tell the story.
Pearl bounced in her seat, and Phoenix couldn't help smiling. "It's really not romantic, Pearls. Not at all. It's actually kind of sad."
Pearl lost her bounce. "That's okay. Some sad things end up with happy endings, right?"
"Okay. You remember what happened to Mystic Mia, right?" Pearl looked down sadly, but nodded. He continued. "Did you know that I defended Maya in that case too?"
She shook her head. "Oh, I didn't realize! So you came to Mystic Maya's defense even before the incident in Kurain Village!" she sighed deeply.
"No other lawyers were willing to help her, so she entrusted me to do it, even though I was new and had only done one other trial." Even now, he still couldn't help feeling a little animosity towards Mr. Grossberg for refusing to help Maya back then.
"I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Nick," Maya said, having finished her burger off in record time.
"Well, I probably would have doubted me too." He didn't feel the need to tell Pearl anything about the trial itself, and that probably would have only dug up bad memories for him and Maya anyway, so he skipped right to the end. "I got Maya acquitted, and that would've been that, if not for Mia. It was thanks to Mia that Maya stayed on as my assistant and we became Wright and Co. Law Offices. What was it she told you, Maya? She left a note, didn't she?"
"She told me to take care of you! And boy was she right, you needed all the help you could get," she said, grinning and nudging him. "But…" she said, serious now, "I'm really glad she told me that. I think she knew we both needed a friend after her death. I didn't have any close friends back in Kurain Village, and Pearly was only six at the time so we weren't as close as we are now. But that night, you were there, and since then you've always been there for me. I can go to you with anything, and you never hesitate to help me," she said, turning her face away from him.
Phoenix was surprised at how emotional she was getting. Even if she was feeling down about something, Maya usually tried to keep her smile in place, not wanting to burden others with her problems. But now here she was, sniffling at the table.
"Mystic Maya?" Pearl said, sounding worried that she had ruined the night by making Maya sad.
Maya waved a hand. "It's okay, Pearly, I'm not sad. I'm happy."
They were quiet while Maya got a handle on herself. Phoenix handed her a napkin off the table, which she blew her nose into. She grabbed another one from him and wiped her eyes too.
"I'm okay," she said, laughing weakly. "Sorry. I don't know what came over me."
"It's okay," Phoenix said. "It's still hard to talk about it. For me, too. But I'm also thankful Mia wrote you that note. The office would be a huge mess if not for you," he said, grinning at her, trying to lighten the mood again.
She stuck out her lower lip. "I'm not your housekeeper, you know."
"I know, I know. You're helpful with the spirit channelling and investigations and bookkeeping and all the other things assistants should do, but that's not really why I like having you around."
She looked puzzled. "Why do you like having me around then?"
"Because you're just… you. You make everything more fun. I think this job would sometimes be depressing if you weren't my assistant," he said.
"Aaw, Nick!" she said, throwing an arm around his neck. "I didn't know you liked me that much!"
He blushed a little, realizing he had never really told her that before, and he suddenly felt bad for not saying it sooner. He thought it was obvious how much she meant to him, but apparently not to Maya. "I literally ran across a burning bridge for you, and you thought I only did that so I wouldn't lose an assistant?" he asked, trying to speak through her chokehold. "I did it because you're my best friend, not because I thought I wouldn't have anyone to clean up the office if you were gone."
She let him go. "Technically, you didn't make it across the bridge," she said, never able to stop with the teasing. "But thanks. That means a lot."
Pearl cleared her throat from across the table. "What happened after you got the note from Mystic Mia?"
Phoenix thought back to that night, but Maya's memory was quicker than his when it involved food. "We came here!"
Burgers, dummy! Burgers! There's a great burger joint just down the street. C'mon! Time's a wasting! Her words came back to him exactly as she had said them. Minutes before that she had only been a client, and he had only a professional relationship with her. But the moment she declared herself his assistant and they stepped out of the newly named Wright and Co. Law Offices into the street to make their way to this very burger joint, they became close friends, and eventually best friends. Phoenix didn't know anyone else he was closer with now than Maya.
"You're right," he said. "I didn't even know this place was here back then."
Maya suddenly looked around as if seeing the restaurant for the first time. "Hey, isn't this the booth we sat at that day?!"
"Really?!" Pearl said, rubbing the tabletop with her hands. "We're sitting in the very booth your fairytale began in?"
Phoenix didn't know what kind of fairytale would start in a fast food restaurant, but Pearl was right about one thing at least. "I don't think it's worthy of being called a fairytale, Pearls, but the sad story did have a happy ending, you were right about that," Phoenix said.
Pearl's face lit up, and that blush was back in place as she lifted her hands to her face again. He knew exactly what was coming. "And now you're living happily ever after."