Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / 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 and some violent material. C&C welcome and appreciated.
I just want to thank everyone for their reviews, and for supporting me over this long fic! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.
One of Every Color
Monday, September 23rd, 2019. 10:49 a.m
Phoenix got in a few extra hours of sleep before deciding it was time to go. He showered, cleaned up the whiskey glasses, and after some scrounging unearthed clean sheets to cover the bed with. He felt a little guilty about eating Miles' food, though, and finally decided on just a ripe banana to take with him. I'm sure he won't mind if I borrow an umbrella, too. It's still pouring.
He paused at the kitchen table, staring down at the extra key that had been left for him. He picked it up with hesitant fingers.
It's just a key, Phoenix told himself. It's not supposed to mean anything. But he couldn't help but feel it was a gesture of some kind, the way Miles had let him stay. As if they were already a couple, catching a few moments of pleasure in between their busy lives….
Phoenix shook his head as he headed for the door. Edgeworth was right--I don't know what to expect. But so what? We're together now.
Phoenix received plenty of scolding from his female guests upon his return. They were already rummaging through his cupboards for snacks, quite disappointed with his selection of instant dinners and stale chips. He managed to escape them just long enough to change his clothes, but then they were at him again, determined to continue their "cheering up" from the day before. When he mentioned he would have to leave again for lunch that afternoon, they would have none of it.
"We came all the way out here to see you, you know," Maya told him, her fists balled at her sides. "So you ditch us all night and now you're leaving again? No way--we're coming with you."
"But…it'll be boring," Phoenix tried to persuade her otherwise. "Grown up food. Work talk. I'll take you and Pearl out when I get back."
Pearl pursed her lower lip, looking wounded. "But we want to be with you, Mr. Nick."
Adorable puppy eyes. Damn…how can I argue against that?
At last Phoenix gave in. "All right, all right. You can come with me."
The girls cheered, and busied themselves with finding the umbrellas at the back of his closet. Phoenix sighed. So much for our romantic lunch.
It took an extraordinary amount of courage to step through the doors of the police station that day. Even with Maya and Pearl at his side Phoenix couldn't help but feel nervous. Several pairs of eyes swiveled toward the guests with uneasy reproach. I guess I can't blame them, Phoenix thought glumly as a uniformed officer glared at them as they passed. I caused a lot of trouble for the police.
One of the side rooms seemed inordinately busy, and his curiosity drove him to glance through the open door. A glimpse of orange prison jumpsuit made his heart skip before he saw the identity of the thin woman wearing it. Chassie was seated at the center of the room, surrounded by officers and several flashing cameras. She seemed to be giving some kind of interview.
Her wide dark eyes darted away from an unnerving question, and there caught sight of Phoenix in the hall. He froze, as if transfixed by the accidental contract. Seeing her now didn't bring up the anger and injustice he thought he should have felt in seeing her again. He only felt…tight, and strangely hollow.
Chassie bowed her head in wordless apology.
One of the reporters noticed. He swung his camera toward the defense attorney, but before he could get a single shot the door suddenly slammed shut. Phoenix and the girls jumped at the percussion.
"Heh, sorry, Pal," Gumshoe said with a shrug. He took his hand off the handle. "Let's not get you mixed up with them today, huh?"
It was just nearing twelve o'clock when Gumshoe ducked into the makeshift office to report visitors. Miles quickly waved for them to be brought back. He had spent that morning up to his ears in papers, trying to make some kind of sense out of the tiny space he'd been given as a temporary office. Much of the paperwork concerning his recent cases had been lost in the fire, but he had backups and copies of all his older cases. It was those he was most interested in.
Voices lifted in the hall, murmuring anxiously, just before Gumshoe appeared in the door with Phoenix and his friends in tow. The defense attorney looked a little rattled. It probably wasn't the best idea, asking him to come to the precinct at a time like this, Miles thought with a frown. No one on the force is happy with him right now.
But then their eyes met, and Phoenix straightened with a pleased smile, as if seeing Miles made up for it. It was a little embarrassing. Miles cleared his throat. "Thanks for coming."
"We're not letting Nick out of our sight today," Maya informed him determinedly. She and Pearl each had a firm grip on one of his arms. "He's been bullied enough--we're looking out for him, at lunch or wherever else."
Their devotion was charming, at least. "That's fine," Miles assured. "You're all invited. You, too, Detective."
Gumshoe straightened gladly. "Sure thing. You ready to go now, Pal?"
"Just about." Miles glanced down at his desk, and the papers covering it. He hadn't expected to have to do this with such an audience, and for a moment he considered putting it off. No, I've wasted too much time already. "Maya, do you mind if I borrow Wright for a moment? It'll only take a minute."
She frowned at him, looking rather put out, but when Phoenix gave her hand a little shake she relented. "I suppose so. Pearly and I will wait outside." She released Phoenix's arm and turned to go. "But don't think you can escape us!"
"We'll be out in a second," Phoenix promised. "Look after Detective Gumshoe, won't you?"
Gumshoe grunted as he followed the girls out of the office. "I don't need lookin' after."
He closed the door behind him, leaving the two lawyers alone in the office. You asked for this, Miles told himself. Don't back down now. "I'm sorry," he began. "I know it must be a hassle for you, braving the reporters just to meet me for lunch."
"It's okay," Phoenix quickly replied. "I've got to get used to them some time." He smiled nervously. "I think…I'm going to talk to them. I know you said not to, but I want them to know the truth. It sounds stupid, but…."
Miles shook his head. He actually had been hoping Phoenix would come to that decision. "The truth is for everybody. They have a right to know."
Phoenix nodded, grateful for his understanding. He stepped closer as Miles leaned back against the edge of his desk. "Gumshoe told me they've scheduled Chassie's execution already," he said quietly.
"Yes--next week, Thursday. Are…you going?"
"I don't know yet." Phoenix shoved his hands in his pockets as he stopped just in front of Miles. "I've…never been to one. Have you…?"
"A few." None of them had been pleasant experiences, of course, but Miles knew the importance of closure. "I'll come with you, if you want."
"You will…?" Relief showed in Phoenix's face. "All right."
They both paused, hesitating awkwardly. Miles cleared his throat again. "The truth is," he said slowly, "I asked you to come by because…I need your help. Do you remember a couple months ago, at the train station?" The subtle straightening of Phoenix's posture indicated he did. "You told me that you'd changed."
"Yeah…." Phoenix watched him curiously. "What about it?"
"I've been thinking about it," Miles related. "Among other things. And I've decided that it's just not true." He met Phoenix's gaze seriously, daring him to contradict. "You haven't changed at all, not since we were kids. And that's why you're the only one I can trust with this now."
Phoenix stared back at him, confused but a little awed by his declaration. Miles continued before he could reply. "You see, I was still wrong," he confessed softly. "I may have won this case, but that doesn't change the fact that I wasn't able to find the truth back then. You were right about me--I would have put innocent people to death if not for you. Honestly…I don't know that I haven't already."
"Edgeworth…." Phoenix bit his lip, struggling to respond. "It's not entirely your fault, you know. With the police, and…and von Karma--"
"I know, but it's still my responsibility. And that's why I need your help."
Miles reached back, sliding a pile of folders to the front of his desk. "These are records of my cases over the last few years," he told Phoenix. He could see the man's eyes widening in surprise as he gradually caught on. "I already told the Chief that I can't take any new cases for a while--not until I've gone through these, and made absolutely sure that I was right. I…." He lowered his eyes with a twinge of guilt. "I can already think of a few."
Phoenix shifted on his feet. "You want me to reopen your old cases?" he asked incredulously. "Appeal another one?"
"If it comes to that." Miles took a deep breath and lifted his gaze once more. He didn't expect Phoenix to understand how hard this was for him, but he hadn't been lying--Phoenix was the only defense attorney he trusted to work through his atonement with him. He hadn't been able to put it out of his mind since Phoenix accused him in his front hall the week before. Even if he was an honest attorney now, it meant nothing if he chose to ignore the mistakes of his past.
"I know it's a lot to ask," Miles went on. "It'll mean a lot of extra attention on Wright & Co. Law Offices for a while. But some of these people really are innocent, and…at least I can pay you well." He smiled grimly. "It's something I have to do."
Phoenix nodded vaguely as he mulled over the proposal. He looked a little tired already, but slowly his face took on an expression of understanding. Before giving his answer he leaned in, touching a gentle kiss to Miles' lips.
"All right." He smiled, just as uncertain but also just as determined. "I'll help you, Edgeworth. We'll make up for your past together."
Miles tensed; he hadn't expected the rise of emotion Phoenix's acceptance created in him, and he wasn't sure how to react. He lowered his head as his voice grew thin. "Thank you…." It wasn't until then that he realized just how much it meant to him after all.
Phoenix reached out, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. "Come on," he said with a tug. "Let's worry about lunch first. I'm sure if we explain it to them, Gumshoe and Maya will want to help, too. Right?"
"Yes…." Miles pushed away from the desk. His hand was tight around Phoenix's right up until they reached the door. It was a small gesture, but something about the thought of eating lunch all together like this, so casually with their friends…it made Miles feel that they were each stepping, bit by bit, deeper into each other's world.
He smiled to himself as they finally let go of each other, and joined their friends in the hall.