I like to think that if Phoenix and Maya did end up in a romantic relationship, they wouldn't tell everyone right away, but it would still be painfully obvious to anyone spending any amount of time around them that there was something going on.
This is post DD but there are no spoilers for Spirit of Justice (which comes out today!)
Apollo pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration when he heard Maya Fey giggle across the room, followed by the low murmur of his boss's voice. Apollo couldn't hear what they were talking about, but from the way Maya glanced over the back of the couch at Apollo and then turned back to Phoenix, he was sure it was another joke at his expense, as most of his boss's jokes were. They were sitting shoulder to shoulder with their heads practically together, whispering and muttering to each other. Watching them was like looking at two lovestruck teenagers. It was starting to make Apollo uncomfortable.
He looked back down at the laptop on his desk in front of him, trying his best to ignore the two across the room. He was attempting to put together some paperwork for an upcoming case. He also needed to interview one more witness before the trial the next day. He'd be glad to get out of the office and away from them to do that.
It wasn't that he didn't like Maya. She seemed nice enough, but since she finished her training and arrived back in the country, she never seemed to go home, and if he was being honest, she was getting in the way. The office was small enough already with Trucy's magic equipment taking up so much room (he and Athena even had to share this one desk) so having an extra person just laying around most of the day didn't help. Not to mention she'd started decorating parts of the office with old Steel Samurai merchandise, and watching it on the office TV. He found it distracting. When Apollo mentioned this to Phoenix, he only agreed that it was getting a little crowded in the office, but otherwise didn't seem to mind and never had her take anything down.
He was relieved when the office door opened and Athena walked in. She glanced at Phoenix and Maya, made a face, and then made her way straight over to Apollo. She pulled up the extra chair to sit beside him.
"They're at it again, huh?" she said, her voice low. Apollo nodded. "Can you believe the boss still says they're only friends? It certainly looks more than friendly over there to me."
That was true. The only word Apollo could think of for most of Phoenix and Maya's interactions lately was flirty. There were times when they would tease each other or argue over something trivial, but even those moments usually ended in some sort of physical contact, like tickling or one of them on top of the other in some compromising position that made everyone else look at them funny. They, however, only had eyes for each other, and never seemed to notice the looks they were getting. Apollo felt like he was the real adult keeping the office in order here, not his 35 year old boss and his boss's 28 year old "friend" respectively.
"Can't you tell?" Apollo whispered to Athena. "Can't you read their hearts or something? I almost wish they would admit to something so I don't have to watch them act all flirtatious all the time. Somehow, I feel like it would make it less weird." Apollo himself wouldn't ask outright, knowing that if he did and they lied he would be able to tell. He didn't want to pry like that, but Athena couldn't really help what she overheard in people's hearts.
Athena put a finger to her chin. "Their hearts are definitely happy when they're together, like now. The happiness is practically overpowering. But there's something else, too, which confuses me."
"Sadness. A very small amount. So small it's hardly noticeable under all that happy, and it comes from both of them whenever they're together. If I talk to them separately, it's not there. It could even be an old memory, something they're unconsciously thinking about without even realizing it."
"Well, I don't think Mr. Wright saw Maya much over the seven years he was disbarred. According to Pearl they were best friends before that, but then he was disbarred and she left to train not long after that. Maybe it had to do with being apart for so long and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it?"
Athena nodded. "If only I could use the Mood Matrix on them. It seems like there's so much history there that we don't know anything about. But that would be going too far, and it's such a small amount that they should be able to work it out on their own eventually. We shouldn't pry too much into their personal lives." She look back over at them. Maya was saying something excitedly now, hands waving in the air, and Phoenix was listening, nodding and smiling while she talked. Athena smiled too. "They look happy, anyway. It is kind of weird seeing the boss like that since we're not used to it, but he hasn't seen her in person in a long time."
Phoenix looked up and over the back of the couch at Apollo and Athena, and they both froze, afraid he had heard them. "What are you two whispering about back there?" he asked. They both sighed in relief.
Apollo stood up. "Nothing much. I'm heading out on an investigation though, so I'll be back a little later."
"Wait, we'll come with you," Phoenix said.
Apollo stopped in his tracks. "Uh, w-what? Why?"
Phoenix stood up, lending a hand to Maya and pulling her up as well. "I should supervise my employees every so often. Make sure you're representing the firm properly and all that."
Apollo almost laughed out loud. Phoenix had never shown any interest in supervising his employees before. He had worked a few cases with Athena when she first started, but mostly left her mentoring to Apollo. Besides, Apollo and Athena were both capable lawyers, why would he have to start supervising them now?
"I would love to see part of your investigation, Apollo!" Maya said cheerfully. "It's been so long since I've done anything like that. I used to go with Nick all the time!"
The last thing Apollo wanted was Maya and Phoenix following him around on an investigation. It would feel like being supervised by embarrassing parents. "But Mr. Wright, I've done this a million times and this case is open and shut, I'm sure I'll get a not guilty verdict tomorrow. I'm just tying up loose ends."
Phoenix waved a hand. "That's okay. Where's your car anyway?"
Apollo slumped. "Down on the street in front of the building."
"Great, let's go."
"I think I like this whole 'you're the boss' thing, Nick," Maya said.
"I've always been the boss. I was your boss once too, you know," he said, opening the door for her.
She stuck her bottom lip out in a pout. "No way. We were partners! And you didn't even have any other employees."
Their voices trailed off as they headed out and down the hall. Apollo turned to Athena before he left, a grimace on his face. She was grinning. "Have fun, Apollo."
Maya and Phoenix argued the whole drive out to the witness's location about whether or not Maya was an employee or a partner all those years ago. Her argument being that without her, there would have been no "and Co." part of Wright and Co. Law Offices. The only reason he could call Athena and Apollo his employees instead of partners was the fact that the office wasn't technically just a law firm anymore.
Eventually Maya managed to stop the argument altogether by clamping her hand over his mouth. She pulled back in disgust a second later. "Ew, Nick! Don't lick me!"
Apollo rolled his eyes, trying not to watch through the rear-view mirror. Maya had pulled Phoenix into the back seat, so the seat beside Apollo was only occupied by his notepad and bag.
Finally, he pulled into the parking lot at the apartment complex where the murder had happened. One of the neighbours witnessed it, and he wanted to confirm a few things with them.
"You guys can wait here if you want," he said, peering into the back seat, but Phoenix was already climbing out. Maya followed behind. "Or not…" Apollo mumbled.
They made their way inside and found the correct door. The witness answered, and stepped into the hallway to talk. Phoenix and Maya moved back out of Apollo's way, but close enough to listen in to the conversation. It was fine at first, until there was another loud outburst of laughter from Maya and Apollo realized that they were back to their whispering, not even paying attention to him after insisting on coming! "Shush, Nick. Stop," Apollo heard her scold in a whisper.
Apollo looked up from the notepad in his hand. The witness was staring open mouthed at the couple behind Apollo with something that seemed like disgust on his face. He narrowed his eyes, and then turned back to Apollo. "What's with them?"
"I'm sorry sir, please try to ignore them."
That was easier said than done, but the witness answered Apollo's questions, gave one last strange look to Phoenix and Maya, who were still stuck in their own little world, and went back inside his home. Apollo turned on them.
"Excuse me, Mr. Wright?"
Phoenix was leaning down towards Maya, close enough to whisper in her ear without anyone else hearing. At his name he straightened up and turned towards his employee, for once looking a little embarrassed. "Yes, Apollo?"
"Do you two mind? I'm trying to work here and you're just being, well, kind of annoying and unprofessional."
Phoenix scoffed, but Maya put her hands up to cover her face, a faint blush appearing on her cheeks. "I'm so sorry, Apollo! We weren't paying attention to your interview!"
"No, that's not it," Apollo said, drooping. He didn't even want them here to begin with. "I just think since you two are obviously entertaining yourselves, maybe I should go it alone from here? I can handle it, seriously. It's an easy case."
Phoenix looked at Maya and shrugged. "I guess we are almost there anyway."
Maya nodded vigorously. "We could walk the rest of the way."
"Thanks for the ride, Apollo. The, uh, restaurant Maya wanted to try is just a block away, we can walk there now," Phoenix said as Apollo stuffed his notepad into his bag.
"Yep. Can't wait to get to that great restaurant," she said.
Apollo looked back up from his bag. "So you only wanted to come so you could get a ride to a restaurant? You could've just asked me to drive you!"
"Well, I really did want to see your investigation, Apollo," Maya said. "But I guess we got kind of sidetracked." She glanced up at Phoenix, a little smirk on her face.
He rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, sorry, Apollo. I just really didn't want to walk or pay for bus fare or a cab. We'll see you later, okay?"
"Um, okay, later."
They turned to walk away, almost immediately coming shoulder to shoulder again, their conversation picking up wherever it had left off. "You really need to get your licence, Nick," was the last thing Apollo heard as they stepped into the elevator.
When Apollo arrived back at the office an hour later, Athena was still at the desk, this time working on her own case files. She looked up as he entered. "Where are Maya and the boss?"
"Probably eating at some restaurant by now. They just needed a ride, they didn't actually come to supervise me."
Athena giggled, and Apollo jumped when the heads of Trucy and Pearl appeared from the back doorway, where a small break room was. "Mystic Maya and Mr. Nick are on another date?!" Pearl said excitedly. "They're spending so much time together lately!"
"Well, they won't call it that, but I guess so," Apollo said.
Trucy came into the main office, hands on her hips. "You know that Daddy hasn't been home a lot of nights recently," she said. "But he never tells me where exactly he's going. He's always asleep in his room in the morning when I leave for school though."
Athena and Apollo both raised their eyebrows. Trucy was certainly old enough to stay home alone for a night now, but this was the first they were hearing of it.
Pearl crossed her arms. "Now that you say that, Mystic Maya goes out in the evenings a lot. She's always home in the morning too, but I go to bed pretty early so I never know what time she gets back. She just tells me it's Kurain Master stuff."
There was a brief moment of silence, and then a chorus of oohs filled the office as all four of them had the same thought simultaneously. Trucy looked slightly uncomfortable at this thought, as anyone would be if one of the subjects in question was their parent. Pearl however looked delighted. Athena could hardly contain her laughter, and Apollo was standing in the centre of the room sweating.
Athena finally managed to get ahold of her laughter. "Wait! Isn't there a hotel down the road from where you were, Apollo?"
He thought back. "Yes! There is! I drove by it on my way back here. Restaurant my ass," he muttered.
"Your bracelet didn't react when they said they were going to a restaurant?"
"No. I wasn't paying attention to their faces so I guess I didn't notice the lie. Why don't they just admit it already?! Everyone would be happy for them!"
Athena beckoned all of them closer to the desk, and they all came forward, leaning into a huddle formation. She looked around seriously. "Okay. How are we going to get them to confess?"
"Athena, I don't think-"
"Shush, Apollo. Girls? Any suggestions?"
Pearl rolled her sleeve up. "I've been planning for something like this for ten years. Listen up!"
Trucy clapped excitedly. "Do you think I'll get a new mom out of this?"
You can decide for yourself what they were whispering about all those times...