Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorny / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission. This fic is rated NC-17 for adult male/male content. C&C welcome and appreciated.
In a pervious fic I said that Edgeworth was still practicing law in France after leaving the country in GS1. I changed my mind about that for this fic so forget that part :D
This fic takes place a few weeks after the events of GS3, and contains spoilers for all three games.
One of Every Color
Thursday, May 23rd, 2019. 7:44 pm
Miles watched the pair from a safe distance. Despite having been invited to attend that evening he still felt an uncomfortable stirring of guilt, as if he were witnessing some event not meant for him. There were plenty of strangers moving along the train platform, and many of them glanced in the direction of the man and woman standing face to face. But to them the scene would have only appeared to be a parting of two lovers like any other that had been repeated countless times at this very spot in this very station. It was because Miles understood the significance that made it feel sinful to watch.
Phoenix's cheeks hadn't returned to their natural color in nearly an hour, and the awkward fidgeting in his body language was becoming almost comical. Ayame wasn't doing any better. Miles couldn't hear the contents of their drawn out conversation, but he imagined it must have been remarkably sentimental, considering he could all but see both of them stuttering. The exchange was a drama of shy glances and head scratching, long pauses and childish smiles. It was more painful that charming, and by the end, when they finally embraced, even someone as unused to this kind of observation as Miles could see tension in the gesture. They were as uncertain as teenagers.
Miles finally diverted his gaze, instead watching the slow current of moving bodies across the platform. He didn't look up until he heard the train whistle; by then Ayame was on her way home, and Phoenix was heading back toward him. He stood up from the bench that had been his vantage point for the past twenty minutes to meet him.
"Sorry." Phoenix was still pink in the face, making Miles wonder if he wasn't about ready to pass out from blood deprivation to his brain. He scratched the back of his neck yet again. "I didn't mean to make you wait so long."
"It's fine," Miles replied easily, giving his suit coat a slight tug to straighten it. "I didn't have any real plans for tonight anyway."
Phoenix smiled sheepishly, but there was that same insecurity behind his eyes that had Miles had been witness to all night, and it made his expression appear somewhat pained. "I feel bad," he insisted. "You're only here for a short time--I must be keeping you away from something."
"It can wait." Miles had to admit that if it had been him, he wouldn't have wanted to come alone, either. He turned. "Come on--I'll give you a ride home."
The evening was unusually chill even for May, and the two men walked close together back to Edgeworth's rented car. In the aftermath of Ayame's trial he had spent the last several weeks back in Europe, returning only now to deal with some important business. The fact that Ayame was being released from her sentence that very week was mere coincidence, and he had made the offer to drive them to the station.
Ayame was returning to Hazakurain. Miles hadn't intended to ask Phoenix what he felt about that, but he ended up finding out anyway.
"It's probably the best thing for both of us right now," Phoenix volunteered as they weaved through the parking lot. "I would have asked her to stay in the city for a while, but my apartment is pretty small, and it would have been…." He trailed off, his gaze wandering away.
Miles pursed his lips; dealing out romantic advice wasn't exactly his strong suit. "Awkward," he filled in. "It's understandable, after everything you've both been through." Hoping to maybe lighten the mood--and lift him from any advisory obligation--he added, "That tiny apartment of yours might have reminded her too much of prison anyway."
Phoenix scoffed, and though he was smiling his eyes were lowered: there was still something heavy on his mind. Miles' shoulders drooped. Years ago he would have stayed silent and prayed Phoenix would drop the subject, keeping him from getting involved. But he had already come all this way, and if he displayed cowardice now he wouldn't forgive himself for it later.
"So." They reached the car, separating to their respective doors. But instead of unlocking it Miles paused, watching Phoenix intently from across the roof. "Do you still love her?" he asked bluntly.
Phoenix straightened, suddenly looking years younger in the way he avoided Miles' steady gaze. He licked his lips. "…Yes," he said after a long, silent pause. "I…I think so. I mean, I do." He ran his fingers through his hair nervously. "I do. I just…don't know what to do."
"Don't know what to do?" Miles echoed. His tone was curious, prompting Phoenix to continue, though he had a feeling he already he knew how Phoenix would answer. "You don't want to get back together?"
"It's not that," Phoenix insisted. "Especially now that I know it was her all along…" He shook his head. "I believed in her for all those years. There's no reason why I shouldn't still love her, now that I know I was right."
Miles clicked the automatic door lock on his key chain. "So what's the problem?"
Before Phoenix could answer he twisted the driver's side door open, slipping behind the wheel. It was a deliberate move that gave Phoenix a chance to think as he, too, ducked into the car. Neither of them was accustomed to speaking so openly about their personal lives and the preparation time seemed to do him some good.
"The problem is, it's been years," Phoenix told him once he was settled. He sounded more sure of himself then, if not more melancholy, as if finally coming to the heart of the matter. "A lot has happened since then, and…I've changed. I know I have."
He looked up abruptly, meeting Miles' eyes at last. "I don't know if I can be for her what I was back then, or if that's even what either of us wants now. Do you know what I mean?"
Miles' fingers curled stiffly around his keys, digging small, tooth-like indentations into his palm. He was quiet for a long time before facing forward. His own voice was noticeably less confident as he started the car and gave his answer.
"I know exactly what you mean."
Forty minutes later Phoenix had been dropped off at his apartment, and Miles was finally attending to the "business" he had flown from Europe to complete in the first place. He pulled into the driveway of an old, modest two story house, with chipping paint and rough, overgrown landscaping. The shutters, which were once a deep blue, were faded, cracked, and sealed shut over every window. No one had lived in this house for years, and as Miles moved up the familiar stone walkway he felt a dull pang of guilt for its poor condition. Had he not been in such a dramatic hurry two years ago, he could have made arrangements for it to be better taken care of.
The key he had picked up that morning needed a little wiggling to fit into its intended lock, and the hinges creaked something awful, raising the small hairs on the back of Miles' neck as he finally stepped inside what had once been his childhood home. It was his first time crossing that threshold in nearly fifteen years. Though the house had been in his name for all that time, having been left to him at the time of his father's death, he had never been compelled to use it. He had lived with the Karmas in their estate, and after that his own luxurious condominium downtown, closer to the Prosecutor's Office. By the time he was old enough to inherit the property it had lost its meaning for him.
Miles walked slowly down the front hall, which opened first into the kitchen. Most of the furniture was still present, and when he drew two fingertips across the surface of their old kitchen table he left a pair of streaks in the fine layer of dust covering it. Fifteen years ago he had sat at that table eating the scrambled eggs his father had prepared for breakfast before they would head to court together. He remembered quite clearly, because he hadn't finished them all--a stubborn child's protest at being told he couldn't bring his new Red Time Force Ranger to his father's work, even though it could have been concealed perfectly in his pocket. It had sat alone on the table all through that fateful day.
Driven by curiosity he moved out of the kitchen, past the living room and through a side door into a small room by the stairway. It was a bedroom, with a single box spring mattress and lines of shelves set low on the walls. Several plastic packing bins were stacked in the far corner. He was drawn to them, and upon opening the lid found the old toys of his youth, most of which were bent and scuffed from having been hastily packed. He lifted the red action figure out from among them, turning it over in his hands as he recalled the familiar texture of cheap plastic.
Miles stood in the center of the empty space for a long time, taking in the musty smell, idly polishing the toy with the cuff of his jacket. Slowly, he took a seat on the edge of his old mattress. Bit by bit memories returned to him: the Saturday mornings he'd spent arranging his figures on the shelves, his father tucking him into bed at night, even the faint sound of his mother's voice floating in from the kitchen as she packed his lunch for school…
Miles continued to stare down at the figure in his hand, rubbing it with his thumb, as he tugged his cell phone out of his coat pocket and dialed a familiar number. "Detective, it's me," he said as soon as the call came through. "I'm sorry to call so late, but I wanted to know…"
He sighed, briefly closing his eyes. "Do you know if the Prosecutor's Office is still interested in taking me back?"