Disclaimer: Own Cameron. Don't own Phoenix Wright
A/N: You guys didn't expect me to update this, did you? Heh, heh, heh…
Thanks for all of the reviews, guys! Sorry the updates have been slow.
You, Me, and the War Between Us
The next morning, Phoenix awoke with a headache and the slight disturbance of light shining down on his face. When his eyelids fluttered open, he slowly drew his attention to the window where a thick ray of sun poured in on him. Feeling less than jolly toward the morning, he grunted and turned over onto his side away from the sun. He covered his head with his arms, frowning. That's when he heard someone giggling.
Lessening the hold that his arms had on his head, he peeked out from in between the crooks of his elbows to see Maya Fey standing in front of her bed, a pink box in her hands. He immediately took notice of a sweet smell coming from it.
"What's that?" he groggily asked.
"Breakfast, I suppose," she replied, quickly plopping down beside him. He looked down at the box as she opened it. Two rows of frosted donuts taunted him, tiny sprinkles, which formed a pretty rainbow, all over them.
"…Donuts?" he blinked. "Where'd you get them?"
"There's a bakeshop behind the hotel," Maya reached in to grab a chocolate sprinkled donut. "They're great, Nick. Want one?" she bit into it, tearing off a piece that was too large to fit into her mouth.
Phoenix took one look at her and then returned his gaze to the donuts. He really did want one, but he felt sore all over. He wasn't sure if his body would be forgiving enough if he decided to eat it.
"Save one for me," he told her. "I'll eat it later."
"I picked out about four for you," Maya closed the box with one hand, her half-eaten donut in the other. "I was pretty sure you wouldn't be able to eat right now, but I'll leave them on the table here for you." She stood up and walked over to a small coffee table. Placing the box down, she went back to eating her donut. Once she finished, she asked with a mouth full of food, "How you feel?"
"Worse than I did yesterday," he shrugged. "But at least I'm not dead." Lowering his eyes to the sheets, he mumbled, "It's all thanks to you, Gumshoe, and Edgeworth…Thanks, Maya."
She didn't say anything, and Phoenix wondered if she was paying attention at all. But when he glanced back up, he saw her glistening eyes and the hand over her mouth. He couldn't quite tell what she was thinking, but he certainly hadn't wanted to offend her. He went to say something, but she interrupted him instead.
"Nick…" he could understand her more clearly now since the donut was no longer hindering her speech. "You have no idea what's been going on, do you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean with the way you've been acting lately. It's just not like you, ya know? Taking on this whole thing by yourself, nearly getting shot, getting hit over the head with a pipe, and then all of these letters you've been receiving." Maya shook her head, "It's changed your attitude, Nick. Where's the strong minded attorney I used to know?"
He stared at her, gawking. Her words got him to thinking. Have I really changed that much since this all started? I don't think I've even realized it. He gripped his sheets even tighter. "I'm sorry, Maya. What with everything going on lately, my brother barging in on me, and these guys talking about my family—"
"Things like that never got you down before," Maya argued, staring hard at him. "I lost my sister, Nick, and my mom's gone, too! My dad's dead, and I've got all these huge responsibilities as a spirit medium, and—"
"Yeah, but you're not receiving death threats," he pointed out.
"What's the difference?" Maya turned away from him, her back slouched. "I thought we were supposed to be a team. Teams are supposed to trust each other. If you can't trust me with your life, how am I supposed to trust you with mine?"
Man…she really knows how to make a guy feel lower than low. I didn't realize that she was taking all of this to heart.
"I…really don't know what to say," Phoenix said after a moment. "How can I make it up to you?"
"How about not dying for starters?" Maya whirled around, frowning. "And get some help, Nick. I don't want to see this thing consume you. We're all here for you, so ask us for help, all right? You can't do everything by yourself."
"Hey, you're pushing this all off on me like I'm the only one at fault, here. What happened with you, smarty-pants, with your secret plans with Detective Gumshoe and Edgeworth?"
With that, Maya gave a half-hearted smile. "I really did want to call you, Nick, but Mr. Edgeworth wouldn't let me." Suddenly, she burst out laughing, which really surprised the defense attorney, "You should've seen the way he was acting, Nick! I've never seen him so worried about anyone before. He was at the precinct, giving orders like he was at a restaurant talking to a waitress. I thought he was uptight before, but man! And he wouldn't lay off the questions to Detective Gumshoe and me. 'Where did you last see him?' 'What kind of strange behavior has he been showing, lately?' 'You in the corner! If you want to keep your job, you'll track Wright down immediately!' It was soooo funny, Nick! I wish you could've been there to see him!" She doubled over, laughing hysterically.
Phoenix tried to picture the thought, concocted half of a smile, and then rolled his eyes. Edgeworth. What a moron.
"And when Detective Gumshoe and Mr. Edgeworth came in carrying you, he was screaming the whole time. I can't believe how well he composed himself in front of you last night because before you woke up, he was the most hysterical one here."
"R-Really…?" Phoenix blinked.
"Detective Gumshoe told me that he had wanted to send his unit out onto the lake to retrieve you, but Mr. Edgeworth quickly told him 'no' and took the boat out there himself before anyone could say anything. Detective Gumshoe tried to stop him, but Mr. Edgeworth said that he wouldn't let anyone else help you but him. Isn't that the funniest thing?"
Phoenix leaned his head back, still staring at her. Why is she telling me all of this? Is she trying to tell me that Edgeworth wants to make up for that silly suicide antic that he pulled on everyone? Or maybe he's grown a heart after all? Suddenly, he was stricken with something he knew he had to do. He threw the covers back and prepared to evict himself from the bed.
Maya stopped laughing. "Hey, just what do you think you're doing, Nick?"
"I gotta talk to Cameron," Phoenix bent over as he slowly shifted his legs towards the side of the bed, placing them on the cold carpet. "I have to make sure he's all right. I'll bet he's worried about me."
She rushed to his side and, for a moment, he feared that she was going to try and push him back into the bed. "Hey, wait, you can't just leave like this. You're not better yet, and besides, Mr. Edgeworth said that he was going to come by to check up on you. I'll get in big trouble if he finds out that I let you wander the streets by yourself." Instead of pushing him back in bed, however, he was amazed when she helped him stand on his feet. "And Cameron has my number. If he really wanted to know where you were, he could've called me."
Phoenix looked at her, skeptically, as he put an arm around her shoulder for support. "You really think Cameron's smart enough to come up with something like that?"
"Hey, that's not very nice!"
"Maya, if Edgeworth wants to see me that badly, he can meet me at my apartment."
Maya pouted. "Well, at least let me come with you."
"I'm just going home, Maya. And besides, you said it yourself. If Edgeworth comes looking for me and we're both gone, he'll have the whole precinct on our behinds. Just stay here for a bit and tell him I've gone home to check up on my brother. Besides, you guys still have that tracker whatever on me, right? You can't lose me even if you wanted to."
She looked ready to object, but merely stepped back. "Just as long as you're going home, Nick. I'd better not go downstairs and see your dead body outside next to a fire hydrant where someone mowed you down with a bicycle." She was trying her hardest to look serious, but he wanted to smile at her attempt to be funny.
He reached over and pulled her into a hug.
She appeared startled, but slowly returned his embrace.
"Thank you, Maya. I appreciate you not stopping me. And I also appreciate your concern and everything you've done for me."
"Hey," she laughed, pulling back from the hug. "I'm not the only one. You'd better remember that."
A vision of Edgeworth and Gumshoe arguing with each other at the Gourd Lake docks passed his mind, and the lawyer chuckled. "Yeah, I'll thank Edgeworth and Gumshoe, too." He looked around for his coat, but saw that Maya already had it in her hands.
He took it from her as she said, "Now you look like Phoenix Wright, ace bandaged."
"Enough with the wisecracks already," he lightly scolded, and ruffled her bangs with a hand. "I'll see you later, Maya."
"You'd better not do anything crazy. The second Mr. Edgeworth gets here, I'm going out to look for you."
"That's if Edgeworth doesn't beat you to the punch first."
"Oh, you'd better hope that that doesn't happen. He'll pounce on you and smash you with his fist of fury. Pray that it's me who finds you first."
"Yeah, fist of fury sounds really bad. Save me, Maya. Take the fall for when Edgeworth asks where I went." He opened the door and stepped outside.
"Take the fall…!?" was the last thing he heard.
Phoenix held his heart in his mouth and his sweaty fingers rolled off of the doorknob the first time he had tried to turn it. He prayed that Cameron was inside of his apartment and hadn't gone far. Again he attempted to twist the knob and, finding himself successful, stepped inside.
All of the lights were off and his heart sank. Normally, his brother would be up by now, watching children's cartoons on the television, eating cereal on the couch. None of this was evident when the silence reached his ears.
"Cam?" he called out, a hand on the light switch.
He flipped it.
Phoenix Wright staggered back at the horrendous mess before him. His back hit the wall and he found himself unable to speak. Eyes bulging, he quickly used his eyes to paint and understand the surroundings before him.
Everything was a disaster, plants overturned, pictures smashed, papers scattered everywhere. He tore up and down his hallway, realizing that no room had been spared in the intruder's rampage. The sheets had been torn from his overturned mattress, clothes had been yanked from the dresser drawers, and the curtains had been torn from their rail. In the bathroom the sink had been left on, creating a massive flood of water on the floor. Soap had been smeared across the shower glass, and everything had been removed from the cabinets.
Shoulders slouched and mouth agape, Phoenix didn't move for quite some time. He hadn't even registered the approaching footsteps until his brother's face materialized in the bathroom mirror before him.
"Woah, Nox, some kind of natural disaster strike here? I didn't hear about this on the news."
As though broken from his trance, the younger whirled around, face red, and grabbed his brother by the collar of his thin, blue overcoat. "YOU! Where have you been!?"
"Settle down, Nox. I just got home, all right?" Cameron removed his brother's hands and stepped back to observe the mess. "What happened, anyway?" His eyes trailed to the bandage on his brother's head, "And what happened to you?"
His tongue tangled in words that he wanted to spout that very minute, Phoenix finally clamped his mouth shut and leaned back against his soap smeared sink. His hands found their way to his head, and he rubbed his temples for comfort.
"After our argument I went out to look for you," Phoenix began, his voice quiet and reasonable. "I…uh…fell and hit my head," he added, almost shamefully. "But…But, anyway, what happened with you? What do you mean that you just now got home? Don't you know that it's dangerous outside late at night? We're in the city, Cameron. Bad things happen in the city."
"Well, judging from how fast you're talking, I'd say you were worried about me, Nox," he flashed a grin. "How sweet."
…He knows just how to turn a serious conversation into stand-up comedy. "It's PHOENIX, and don't be making this out to be a joke! I mean it!"
"All right, all right," Cameron stepped out into the hall and padded into the living room. Phoenix followed. "Last night, I went and got acquainted with the surroundings of the city. I'm usually a night person anyway, so I easily got wrapped up in sightseeing. It's still early, so I wanted to get home before you got up and noticed that I was missing. That way, you wouldn't have the police out on me, or whatever it is that you lawyers do." Again, he was smiling. Phoenix was not happy.
"So you stayed out…all night…sightseeing?"
"A-yup. You got some nice things here in this city."
Phoenix frowned. "Well…at least you're okay. But you could've at least called me. You should know that I'm going to be worried about you if you don't come back, especially after an argument."
"Yeah, I know." Rubbing the back of his head with one hand, Cameron extended the other. "So, we cool again?"
Phoenix stared at his outstretched hand, biting down on his lip. That Cameron. If I didn't have other things to be worried about, I might've already strangled him. "Yeah," he said, taking his brother's hand. "We're cool. Now, you don't know who did this to my apartment, do you?"
"Nope," the older shook the lawyer's hand and then stepped back. "And I haven't been back since last night. You sure you locked the door when you left?"
"Of course I did." Then a thought struck Phoenix and his eyes widened. That man from last night…Did he do this?
"You look like you've had a revelation. Care to share?"
"Cameron," Phoenix looked back up, his eyes burning into the other's eyes. "You gotta tell me. What kind of trouble was our family in when we were kids?"
He watched his older brother's back straighten and look around. "Trouble? What'cha talking about?"
"Some…Someone told me that our family was in a lot of trouble when we were kids. Is that true?"
Cameron appeared thoughtful, and Phoenix could almost see the gears in his head turning. I don't get it. He's only five years older than me, but I can't remember anything from my past. Why is that?
"Hmm…Nope. Nothing comes to mind. Why do you ask?"
"What about dad? Wasn't he in some kind of stock firm?"
"Stock firm?" Cameron's eyes widened, but then he laughed. "Nox, you gotta remember, I'm still injured here. I don't remember a whole lot from things like that. Bits and pieces are still intact, but a lot of it is a blur, too. I thought dad worked for some…fast food joint or something. Who's telling you all of that stuff, anyway?"
Phoenix scrunched his face. He really…doesn't remember? This is getting me nowhere. I don't even know where I can find out what happened to mom and dad. If Grandma won't tell me, and Cameron won't tell me…
"Don't…Don't worry about it," Phoenix mumbled. "I guess I left the door unlocked to the apartment after all."
"You're silly, Nox. But, hey, to make up for our argument last night, how about I clean house for ya?"
"You don't even know where anything goes."
"I'll figure it out. I know I'm not the brightest crayon in the tool shed, but I at least can try."
…Brightest crayon in the box…Sharpest tool in the tool shed…I think you've gotten your clichés mixed up just a little bit.
"Fine," Phoenix agreed, not really wanting to worry about the housework anyway. "I'll let you clean the apartment. Try not to mess up anything more than what it already is, okay? I'm…I'm going to step out for a bit."
"Not a problem. I was just gonna suggest the same thing because I can't get my cleaning powers on with you watching me, Nox. You just go out and relax and I'll have this place spick and span in no time!"
Wordlessly, Phoenix turned to leave. He stood outside his apartment for a long time, pondering everything that had happened to him. He couldn't explain it—not even the smallest little bit of it.
Cameron coming back, the death threats, the men in the office yesterday, the man out on the lake, and the rampage on his apartment. He just didn't get it.
He held a balled fist under his chin and closed his eyes to think. I've gotta get in touch with someone who knows what's going on—someone who's a mine field of information. I don't know who else I can turn to. Cameron can't be relied upon and Grandma won't crack. I don't know where mom is living and dad's been gone for a really long time. How on earth does this have to do with my family? What trouble did they get themselves into that I don't remember?
Inwardly, he began to run though his mind a list of people he could turn to. Maya wouldn't know anything about it, and neither would Gumshoe. As for Edgeworth, I'm still a little sore with him for the whole "suicide" thing he pulled. Cameron and Grandma aren't gonna crack until I come up with some new evidence to hit them with. But in order to get that kind of evidence, I have to have a reliable source, first. …Back to square one. All right, people in the firm around me.
He closed his eyes and pondered harder.
This might be a bit of a stretch…but Grossberg might know something about a stock firm, and maybe if there was any trouble with it, though I doubt he'd know about my family. We didn't even live here at the time.
"I don't have any other choice. I think I'm gonna have to pay a visit to the old attorney. Who knows? He might have the clue I need to proceed on this case."
It was about ten in the morning when Phoenix found himself in front of the same set of doors he had visited almost a year before. He held his breath as he pushed himself in through the doors, not sure what to expect, or even what to ask.
But, just as he had left them last, the office looked almost exactly the same—even down to the discolored square on the wall where Marvin Grossberg's gaudy painting had once hung. A musty smell made Phoenix's nose twitch, and he used the back of his hand to rub it until the sensation went away.
Mr. Grossberg himself was nowhere in sight, which was not unusual for the large fellow. He liked to sneak up on people, though the young attorney wasn't sure why.
I'll just wait here until he gets back.
Tripping over himself, Phoenix stumbled around in a sloppy circle and stared up at a large man in an unattractive rusty orange suit, nose twitching.
"Why, the days of my youth, like the scent of fresh lemons, you see, it's Mr. Wright. Well, hello there, Mr. Wright. I haven't seen you in a long time, my friend. What brings you here all of a sudden?"
Grabbing his racing heart, Phoenix frowned at the man's insensitive behavior toward scaring the attorney, and then not even realizing it.
"M…Mr. Grossberg. You startled me."
"Oh, well I apologize for that, m'boy. That hadn't been my intention, but you must understand that I'm just as surprised to see you. It's been, what, a year now? I haven't seen you since that incident with Edgeworth and von Karma. I heard that it was a success though, yes? How is Mr. Edgeworth these days? I heard that he's stopped coming to court."
Wishing to refrain himself from calling his longtime friend every name in the book and then some, Phoenix maintained a forced smile and said, "Well, at least he's not dead."
Grossberg offered up a confused stare, but Phoenix kept his smile.
"I…I see. Well then, in that case, he's not the reason you came by today, is it?"
"No," Phoenix took a seat in the other man's leather recliner, and stared up at the attorney. "I'm actually working on a case, Mr. Grossberg, and I find myself stumped. Maybe you can help me?"
"Well, I don't know how I can be of any assistance, but I certainly will try my best. What seems to be the problem, m'boy?"
"What do you know about…stock firms?"
For a moment, the old attorney appeared shocked at such a question, but then turned his head toward his shining desk. "Stock firms, you say? What about them?"
"I'm sure you've noticed the bandage around my head."
"Yes, now that you mention it. I was going to ask myself, but I didn't want to appear nosy."
"Well, yesterday, two men came into my office and were asking about my family and about a stock firm. Then, last night, I was accosted by a man who told me that I knew someone who had stolen some documentation from his people. I told him I didn't know any such person, and…you can see how that turned out."
"Yes, yes, I see," Grossberg leaned down to scrutinize Phoenix carefully.
"Then this morning I came home to find my apartment broken into and trashed."
"Trashed? So you didn't spend the night at your apartment?"
"Do you have any idea who did it?"
"I was thinking it was the same person who gave me this lump. Oh, and I've left out another detail. Recently, I've been receiving these death threats in the mail. I accused the man who hit me of sending them, but he seemed totally oblivious."
"You think it's a trap, m'boy?"
Phoenix leaned back in the recliner. "No, I think he's being honest. Don't ask me why, but it's a gut feeling I have. He told me everything else, so why lie to me about something as trivial as letters?"
"True…" Mr. Grossberg turned and slowly walked around to his desk. "So this is how you've been spending your days, eh, Mr. Wright?"
"I'd rather be spending them doing something else. What are your thoughts, Mr. Grossberg?"
"Hmm…Nothing major about the stock firms has happened in this district, I'll tell you, but there's always scandals going on within them. However, you say that your family was involved. Can you tell me how?"
"I haven't the slightest clue. You see, I left my parents when I was very young and have spent the remainder of my years with my grandmother, but she won't leak a word about it."
"She's probably just trying to protect you if anything. But if it's something this serious that it's come to physical violence, trying to consult her wouldn't be such a bad idea."
Phoenix chewed on the prospect for a moment. That's very true. And I was also in a bad state of mind this morning. Maybe I'll try hitting Cameron up again for some details later. It's about all I can do now.
"M'boy," the older attorney continued, "I must say, I don't think you know this, but Mr. Redd White didn't start off rich himself."
"Redd White?" Phoenix couldn't believe that he was hearing such a name after all this time.
"Yes. Redd White started off as poor and weak as you and I first had. He found his connections through a stock firm, actually."
"Really? That's interesting," but in all truth, Phoenix didn't really care. The name still hit a nail every time he heard it and he immediately thought back to the night when Mia had died.
"I'm afraid I don't know all of the details, though. That would be up von Karma's alley. Rumors were always circling that von Karma was flirting with luck in the stock markets. I believe that even Gregory Edgeworth knew something, too, though I couldn't tell you what."
The last part piqued Phoenix's attention. "Gregory? You mean…"
"The very one and the same, I'd say. If your family was involved in the stock firm for whatever reason, those two would be the ones to ask." Then Grossberg fidgeted, "Though I doubt you can find a way to channel Gregory to ask that yourself."
"Uh-huh, and von Karma hates my guts."
Phoenix sat back to think on it longer. "So, you're saying that if anyone knew anything about my family and the stock firm, it would have to be von Karma. …Am I right?"
"Mr. Redd White came into power only eleven years ago. If this was during your childhood, then that would have been too late for him to have known anything. However, Mr. von Karma and Gregory Edgeworth were dealing with the stock firms for a long time. Since you can't ask Gregory directly, I'd ask von Karma."
The younger attorney's eyes were wide and his jaw had dropped. He was inattentively shaking his head and only continued faster and faster as the name "Manfred von Karma" circled around his head.
"S-Shouldn't I just ask Miles Edgeworth directly? It was his dad, so he might know something."
Grossberg's moustache twitched and he shook his head. "I believe he's about your age, right? He would've been too young to know anything."
Figures. "So, if I want to know anything, I'm gonna have to visit von Karma directly, is that it?"
"Yes, I suppose so. I know it pains you to hear this. Manfred von Karma is definitely not one I'd like to see more than I have to, or even if I had to. But, I believe he's the only way you'll get answers, m'boy."
Like a big weight had attached itself to him, the younger attorney sunk into the chair. "Why can't anything ever be easy?"
"I don't envy you, Mr. Wright. Please, let me know how it turns out."
Phoenix forced himself off of the recliner. Time to die, I suppose.
Manfred von Karma was just as scary as the young man remembered, with eyes that would give anybody nightmares, and a wicked smile that bared fangs rather than teeth. He had managed to keep himself tidy, even though he was in prison, but the jailer's uniform didn't seem to suit him. Somehow, Phoenix would've preferred to see him in a suit.
He sat there, on the other side of the glass, phone in hand, and glowered at the man who had sent him there in the first place.
At first, von Karma had taken one look at who had summoned him and turned to walk away. Had it not been for the guard, Phoenix was sure he would have.
"The nerve you have coming to see me, you worthless, slimy boy."
Nice to see you too, von Karma. "I promise I won't take up much of your time."
"Just seeing you at all is a waste of my time, Wright. Why are you here?"
Phoenix sat there, unmoving, for a moment, just staring at von Karma. He believed it was the very first time he had been able to stare the man straight in the eye without the elder doing something like pointing a finger or electrocuting him.
"I want to know about a stock firm."
von Karma's eyes narrowed, and he snarled. "You've come all the way down here to waste my precious time to ask about a stock firm?"
"I want to know if my family was involved in the stock firm," Phoenix said.
"Oh? And who might they be, Wright?"
The younger opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly realized that he couldn't. Mom's name was…something like Cath…but, I completely forgot dad's name. I always just called him "dad." How? How could I forget who they are?
"What's the matter, Wright? Cat got your tongue?" von Karma jeered and then cocked his head to one side, "Or maybe you don't have a family at all and you're just trying to find a way to get information from me, am I right?"
Phoenix quickly lowered his head, ignoring as the other man taunted him, and tried his hardest to remember his father's name.
I can't believe that I've forgotten dad's name. How careless of me!
Phoenix glanced up, his concentration broken. "Uh…"
"Isn't it a little selfish of you to ask me to help you after you've taken my life from me?"
Phoenix stared at him, mouth agape. Well, you should've thought about the consequences before killing Edgeworth and Hammond, right, von Karma? But instead, all he could say was, "I'm sorry."
"You little coward," the old prosecutor's eyes narrowed in anger. "You're sorry? How pathetic!"
The younger jolted back as von Karma lunged for the glass. Arched eyebrows curtained his eyes, and his white fist pounded against the table. Phoenix scooted his chair further back, even though the prosecutor could not reach him.
"Mr. von Karma," Phoenix began after a moment. "Please, about the stock firm—"
"Are you stupid, Wright? I wouldn't tell you anything even if it granted me a ticket out of this hellhole. Now, get out of here before I have you thrown out!" With that, his chair screeched back and von Karma had lifted himself up, a guard taking him by the shoulder.
Phoenix silently watched them walk away, and he let a breath escape after he was left alone.
Dejected, the defense attorney walked back to the hotel where Maya was staying. He shuffled his feet and kicked at a paper bag flying by. He growled when his cell phone started to ring and he fished it out of his coat pocket. He carelessly glanced at the number and flipped open the lid.
"Nick, is that you?"
"Yeah. Maya? What's going on?"
"Where are you?"
"I'm heading back to your place right now. Why?"
"Mr. Edgeworth called and found out that you weren't here. He was absolutely furious."
Phoenix inwardly groaned and his eyes turned toward a group of kids walking toward him.
Maya cut him off, "He wants you to come by his apartment. It's on 100th block, in the Vineyard district."
Phoenix drew in breath and his eyes narrowed. That's a rich neighborhood. Figures he'd get a rich apartment to go along with his rich attitude. "That's only a few minutes from here. What's the number of his apartment?"
"I think he said 208B. It's the larger one on the top floor…or…so he said…"
"All right, I'll be over there shortly. I'll let you know when I'm heading back."
"Good luck, Nick. He sounded really angry."
"I can only imagine," Phoenix replied before hanging up.
Phoenix stood outside the door of Miles Edgeworth's humble abode. He gawked at the raspberry colors and immediately thought of how it suited the prosecutor perfectly. Even the finishing on the door was amazing. It wasn't everyday you could ask for that kind of oak to be brandished on a simple apartment. But Edgeworth's place was anything but simple.
I'm even afraid to ring the doorbell. Getting my fingerprints all over the place will just make him angry. I wonder what it's like inside…
Phoenix stepped back to take a look at some of the apartments over. No, none of them looked as nice as Edgeworth's. They couldn't even compare.
He certainly knows how to budget his money. I don't even make enough to do that. Man…
He continued to glance around until he was taken aback by the sound of a shrill bark coming from within. Jumping, Phoenix whirled his head around to the opening door, Edgeworth's head poking through.
The prosecutor didn't waste a breath before saying, "Just how long were you planning to stay out here, Wright?"
"You…You knew I was out here?"
"I have a window, you know. I've been waiting for you to knock." The barking behind Edgeworth continued and he turned his head to look inside. "Go on, Cocoa. Go lie down."
Phoenix cocked an eyebrow. Cocoa?
Edgeworth repeated himself a couple more times before the barking stopped and the prosecutor let his door swing open freely. He stepped back, allowing Phoenix to come in.
"You can put your coat up on the rack over there," Edgeworth pointed out. Phoenix took a moment to study him. He wasn't wearing his normal trademark coat, just the black vest and white dress shirt from underneath. And he wasn't wearing any shoes, just plain black socks. When Phoenix looked to the coat rack, he realized that both the coat and the shoes had been placed there.
Phoenix walked over to the rack, removed his coat and his shoes, and placed them next to Edgeworth's things.
I'm not used to seeing him dress so casually. In court, he always looks so professional.
When Phoenix turned, Edgeworth had already left his side and gone to lean over something that the attorney couldn't quite see. Edgeworth raised his hand and roused it through something, all the while of chuckling and mumbling things. Wordlessly, Phoenix waited a little while longer before the prosecutor stood and revealed a small pillow of fluff, nestled in between blankets on top of a doggy bed.
"…That your dog?" the attorney blinked.
"I never knew you liked animals."
"I believe you said this before, so I'll just repeat it for emphasis. There are a lot of things I haven't told you about me, Wright."
Phoenix thought about this for a moment before nodding and said, "Touché."
Another bout of silence passed between them before Edgeworth padded over to the other man, crossing his arms over his chest. "I thought I made it very clear that you were to stay in bed."
"I can't just stay in bed and wait for this guy to do something to me, Edgeworth." Phoenix's eyebrows furrowed, "When I arrived at home this morning, my entire apartment had been trashed."
"Really?" the other man was genuinely surprised.
"Yes, really. Cameron arrived at home after me and neither of us knew who did it. I'm willing to place my bets on that guy who attacked me last night."
"What for? To find that documentation he believes you have?"
"Possibly. I'm sure he knows I'm not dead, Edgeworth. I doubt he's too happy about that."
Edgeworth looked away, rubbing his chin. He appeared to be in deep thought, but spoke nothing of it. Phoenix stared at him a while longer, anger welling up inside of him. Here stood a man he believed had killed himself, and had even gotten the police in on his silly little scandal. And all for what? For a few lost battles in court? For a few revelations that changed his entire outlook on life?
Phoenix couldn't get it.
"I thought you were dead," he blurted out.
Edgeworth's eyes drifted over to the attorney, but he did not move otherwise.
Phoenix hung his head and began to pace back and forth. "I thought that…Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chose death…" he raised his eyes to meet the prosecutor's, "…and that I was never going to see you again."
"You even went as far as to involve Detective Gumshoe, spouting all of those lies like how you have left a suicide note and how there had been an article in the paper. If I had had half of a brain and wasn't in the middle of dealing with these life threatening letters, I would've looked it up myself and realized that none of it was ever true!" Phoenix was so worked up at this point, he couldn't stop once he had started, "I thought that…I thought that after that case with Gant, you understood the meaning of teamwork, and that you couldn't figure out things by yourself! And when I had found out that you were dead, I didn't know what to think! The only thing I could think was that I had failed to save you!
"And to figure it all now, you only left because you couldn't handle the truth! You couldn't handle that all of your victories were really your losses, and so you ran away with your tail between your legs! And if that's the case now, then maybe you should have never come back from the dead, Edgeworth! I—" eyes trailing back to the prosecutor, Phoenix stopped when he realized that the other man was no longer facing him, and that his arms were hugging his body tightly. Edgeworth said nothing, but kept his back to Phoenix while the attorney ranted. "Uh…Edgeworth?"
"I never knew you felt such hatred for me, Wright."
"I thought that you felt the same way." Phoenix waited for the other to turn back around. He didn't. "Are you trying to tell me that it's all one-sided?"
"Wright," Edgeworth finally turned his body to the side, and though he gave Phoenix a hard stare, there was something in his eyes that made him appear so sad. "I won't deny that what you say is true. Even my reason for leaving. The truth is a hard thing to swallow. But…you, yourself, can't say that you're not like me."
"Huh?" Phoenix jolted, and Edgeworth seated himself on his red, velvet couch.
"You heard me. You're running away, too."
Inattentively, Phoenix joined him on the couch. "What do you mean that I'm like you?"
"Look at yourself now. You've been faced with a predicament that's testing your entire being. If what you're saying is true, your family has a lot to do with this, and you're receiving the backlash. However…" Edgeworth leaned into his couch and stared up at the ceiling where a fan circled overhead, "…your attitude has changed."
"You're not the first to say that," Phoenix mumbled, bitterly.
"Then you agree that this has changed you. You've let the weight of all of this pressure bring you down. You're no better than me, Wright. I may have run away, but you're pushing everyone away."
"Better than running away and waiting for the situation to take care of itself." At that remark, Phoenix bit his tongue, expecting a none-too-pleasant reply. He was shocked when Edgeworth began to chuckle.
"I suppose so. You're dealing with the problem so adversely you've nearly died for it. Twice, I might add."
Puffing his cheeks out, Phoenix said, "Yeah, whatever."
"Wright, I left and spent all of this time in Germany. I can't tell you what I was waiting for, because even I didn't know what I was waiting for."
"Well, von Karma took me there when I lived with him. There are some relatives he has back there, so I became acquainted with the place. It's quite nice, I might add. But, anyway, I spent all of my time there, doing nothing, really. Just…waiting."
"Yes, waiting. Trying to collect my thoughts, come to terms that my mentor had killed my father, get past what all of the tabloids had written about me, and what the public thought of me. I was waiting for all of it."
"You even…left me behind to go search for that? You left your friends and your career behind to search for that?"
"Yes." Edgeworth resumed his gaze on the other man, a smile across his face. It was quite a rarity, Phoenix realized. "I know what you and the others said to me before I left, but it wasn't going to change anything until I found it all out for myself. Then, a few weeks ago, something happened to me."
"The part of Germany I stayed in has been enduring a lot of rain as of lately. I was currently staying in a condo that one of von Karma's acquaintances owns, but he allowed me to temporarily live there. Anyway, I was walking back to the condo one afternoon when I passed by an alley. From within I could hear a low whimper. I was curious, so I ventured into the back. There were boxes, trash bags, and a dumpster hiding beneath cardboard, but I could still hear the whimpering.
"I pulled the boxes aside and moved the trash bags until I spotted a brightly colored box and the lid beside it. Inside was a golden haired Pomeranian with a bow around its neck. To think, this puppy had been someone's present and that person abandoned the dog in an alley." Phoenix took a second to recompose himself, visions of a small dog, decorated in bows and bright colors, shoved out into the rain to fend for itself. Whoever had done such a thing deserved to be punished without question. "I know what you're thinking, Wright. And I'd have to agree with you. What a horrible thing to put an animal through.
"I took the dog out of the box and put him in my jacket to get him out of the rain. He shivered and whined the whole time, so I quickly hurried home. When I got there, I set him down and grabbed some towels to dry him off with. I swear, I've never seen an animal so defenseless. His matted fur hung from his body, drenched with water. The bow around his neck drooped so sadly. He continued to shiver even as I dried him and held him close to the fire.
"I thought he was going to die, he was so weak. I took him to the vet and they treated him. Who knows how long the dog had been left out in the rain, and the vet estimated him to be only about nine to ten weeks old. Clearly not enough time for a puppy of his size and age to know what goes on in the real world. They released him and I cared for him for the rest of that week.
"But I don't have time to take care of dogs or animals like that. And it wasn't my dog to begin with. So after about four days of him living with me, I let him go on a sidewalk. I began to walk one way, and expected him to go somewhere else."
Phoenix stared a moment, realizing the contradiction in Edgeworth's story, "So, it wasn't okay for those people to abandon the dog in the alley, but it was okay for you to leave him on a street corner?"
The prosecutor fidgeted, "Yes, well, you're right. It wasn't that I thought that it was…okay…I thought that if someone had spotted him, they would pick him up and take him home with them."
"That's very wishful thinking, Edgeworth. Did the dog even have tags or anything?"
"Yes, he did. I'm sure that the people who bought the dog as a gift had given them to him. And…I know that it's wishful thinking. I was hoping that it would work out for him, though."
"You could've left him at the pound or something."
"A pound?" the other blinked, as though the thought had never occurred to him before. "Yes, I could've, but the pound…it's like…being in jail…" he trailed off and Phoenix watched his face.
His face. He made that face before when he was detention last year. He must be thinking that the pound is like the detention he was in. It's there to keep you in there, and there's a possibility of you maybe getting out. Edgeworth…
"So if the dog had tags, why not return him to his owners?"
"Why would I when it was clear that they were the ones who abandoned him in the first place?"
"I just think that it's weird that they would go through all the trouble of getting him a name collar just to throw him out into the alley," Phoenix stared at Edgeworth, skeptically. Edgeworth knows this, too. There's a real reason he didn't take the dog back or even drop him off at the pound.
"Anyway," Edgeworth continued, changing the subject abruptly. "I left him on the street corner, hoping that someone would spot him and pick him up. I made my way through the crowds and down to the other end of the town. From behind, I could hear tiny scrapes across the pavement. I took a quick look back and realized that the dog had been following me."
Phoenix found himself smiling. Edgeworth noticed, too.
"Wipe that stupid smile off your face, Wright!"
"Sorry, sorry, it's just such a cute story."
"Whatever. Anyway, I continued until I reached the top of the steps that led into the subway. I began to slowly descend the steps, still listening to the sound of soft scraping. When I reached the bottom, I saw the shadow of the dog at the top, looking down at me. He was still just a newborn and probably had no experience in climbing steps, so I thought that he was just going to give up and go away. It seemed that he was going to do just that, too, but he reared back and hopped down onto the first step. I was amazed, watching him slowly hop down each step.
When he got to the bottom, he and I stared at each other. I couldn't believe the dog had followed me this far, so I turned and walked toward the exit of the subway."
"What?" Phoenix blinked. "You just left the dog there? Edgeworth, you…"
"Let me finish my story before you criticize me, Wright. I'd appreciate that best. I left the subway and ended up down at a park, the dog still following me. By this time, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to shake the dog unless I just left him somewhere. Inside the park were some bathrooms that had doors. I walked inside and closed the door behind me. Several of the stalls were occupied and people were moving in and out. I stood near the sink and mirrors, but watched the bottom of the door carefully.
"Sure enough, a small shadow appeared underneath and I bit my lip, carefully pondering over this. I'd say about ten or fifteen minutes passed and that dog was still by the door. He wasn't going to leave or just give up. That dog was going to follow me wherever he could and wasn't going to settle for any less. That truly was a loyal dog.
"Shortly after that, a man opened the door, but I could see that his eyes were moving back and forth. He had to have seen the dog, I'm sure, and he saw me standing around doing nothing. He moved past me, took care of his business, and came back to find me still standing there. He wordlessly exited, but I saw him take another look at the dog. He let the door shut, but came back about five minutes later. I knew that he had caught on to what was going on.
"He approached me and told me that the dog had been waiting for twenty minutes outside the door. He had watched me walk inside and never come out. So then he asked me if the dog belonged to me."
Edgeworth intentionally stopped, waiting for a reaction from the other. He ended it with a big smile and Phoenix leaned forward.
"And? What did you say?"
"You know about what! What did you tell him about the dog?"
Edgeworth shot a glance over at the sleeping bundle across his living room. His big smile had diminished, but the look he held now was of absolute love and adoration. Phoenix couldn't believe he was seeing the man so…sentimental.
"I told him 'yes.'" Phoenix found a smile breaking at his own lips too. "I went outside, took the dog in my arms, and carried him back to the apartment. From that point on, I began to treat him like my own dog. I groomed him, bought him a bed, and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. One day, before it got too late, I took him for a walk and we happened to pass by the alley I had first found him in.
"There was some rustling going on in there, so I stopped to take a look. From within, I could see a woman with brown hair and a taller man who was bald. I watched them for a moment as they were tearing things apart. She suddenly grabbed a hold of the box I had found the puppy in and her boyfriend made some kind of remark about 'it not being here.'
"They happened to turn and see me with the dog, leash in hand. She asked me where I had gotten the dog and I asked what concern it was to her. She told me that her parents had spent quite a pretty penny on a golden Pomeranian, same as the one I was with now. She had wanted a car for her sixteenth birthday instead and was deeply offended when they had presented to her a dog.
"I asked if she was the one who had abandoned it in the alley, and she told me that she was. I then asked why she would be looking for a dog almost two weeks later, knowing that it would either be gone or dead." Edgeworth laughed, "She wasn't a bright soul, I'm afraid. I told her that the dog I had now was one and the same. She demanded that I give it back to her."
"What?" Phoenix was in disbelief. How could someone do that to a poor animal? "And now she wanted it back? What did you say?"
"I told her that she was unfit to be a pet owner and she told me that that was okay. 'I'm just going to sell him to some people for what my parents paid for him so that I can afford the down payment on that car I wanted.' I told her that that was too bad. The dog was mine now and she had no proof of ever owning the dog. She wasn't happy to hear that and her boyfriend tried to be as intimidating as possible."
"What? By looming over you and throwing a balled fist into an open one? Those kinds of tactics?"
Edgeworth gave a half smile. "You'd be about right there, Wright. I told them to do their worst. I was a prosecutor who would gladly handle a case against them. When I revealed my name, their faces turned as white as sheets. I suppose they had heard of the demon prosecutor after all. Of course, when you have a reputation being waved around like a flag by the von Karmas, I guess that that made me all the more terrifying. They fled from the alley without another word and that was the last I saw of them."
Edgeworth finished his story and got up from the couch. He kneeled down by the dog's bed and ruffled his fur.
"Did you end up keeping the dog's name from on the tag then?"
"So…the dog's name is…Cocoa, huh? Doesn't exactly make sense, considering it's golden haired and not brown."
Edgeworth turned his head just enough to stare the other man down, "Hey, I didn't name the dog, Wright."
"Then why did you keep with the name given to him?"
"That's what I thought."
"Keep your comments to yourself."
Phoenix leaned back into the seat. "So then let me guess. You were talking to Gumshoe and he told you that I've been a bad boy lately and that's why you came back."
"You're so presumptuous. But I'll give you credit this time." Edgeworth walked back toward the couch, but stood above the attorney instead of sitting next to him. "Do you know why I told you that story, Wright?"
"Uh…because…because you had a new dog and you wanted to share?"
"You know me by now. I don't share trivial matters. I told you that story because that dog is what finally ended my waiting." Phoenix looked up, realizing that the prosecutor was more than serious. "That dog needed me and wasn't going to let me go. I couldn't walk away from it, just like I couldn't walk away from you or everything going on here. Funny as it sounds, that dog taught me a great deal of things. When Detective Gumshoe told me what was happening to you, I knew you couldn't handle things alone. I had to help you, like you helped me."
Phoenix lowered his head, a wry smile across his face. Even as he spoke, his words were breaking, "So…that's what you learned…eh, Edgeworth?"
"You can't win this alone, Wright. I'm here to teach you the definition of 'teamwork.'"
T-Teamwork? The wheels in Phoenix's head were spinning, and his eyes opened wide. That's right, Lana said that to him the very last time we saw each other. Teamwork… "Teamwork…You think I lack teamwork?"
"Judging by how you've handled the last few days, I'd have to say so."
"Heh, look who is talking." Phoenix stood up, standing across from the prosecutor. "A year ago, you would've scoffed at the idea. It would've been a blow to your 'perfect record.' But now…"
"That doesn't matter, Wright."
"Oh, but it does. You left the country to escape it. You come back now and speak of 'teamwork.'" Phoenix narrowed his eyes and held out his hand. "So now, what I want to know, Miles Edgeworth, is if you're in it to be in it, or if you're in it to win it!"
Edgeworth took a startled step backwards, "W-What?"
"I don't need someone who is going to be there to try and defeat me in court. To try and salvage what's left of their 'perfect record.' I need someone who cares about the people they're defending—the people they're trying to save. I can't deal with a prosecutor who brings his or her own personal problems onto the battlefield. People who unnecessarily are involved are the only ones who suffer. My family is at stake here. I'm at stake here. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm scared stiff." Phoenix sighed and lowered his eyes. "I do want help, but I don't want to endanger anyone. When I heard that you had died, I felt like the biggest failure on the planet."
"And now the tables have turned and I'm the one in trouble here. You came through for me last night, Edgeworth. You saved my life, along with Maya and Gumshoe. But can I count on you until the very end? Is that what you're telling me here?" Phoenix took a couple steps past Edgeworth until the doggy bed was right underneath him.
Cocoa's ears twitched and the small head of the dog slightly shifted so that little eyes were staring up at him, curiously. He was so cute, just curled up in a ball like that. Phoenix couldn't even begin to imagine what the dog had felt like, wrapped up in a present with a delightful bow around its neck, meant to make someone happy, but, instead, thrown out with the trash useless and unloved. It made him angry and tearful all at the same time.
"This dog loves you, Edgeworth. Protect him."
Suddenly, a hand came down on Phoenix's shoulder. The defense attorney's head turned just enough to see the smile on his friend's face.
"I'll protect you, too."
Phoenix chuckled, turned, and gave Edgeworth a tight hug.
"I'm glad you're not dead," he said. "Welcome back."
"It's good to be back," he heard Edgeworth say. "This time, I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve. I'd like to test them out in the courtroom. First, let's start by teaching your assailants that they've messed with the wrong attorney team."
Phoenix pulled back and grabbed Edgeworth's hand.
"So you're a part of the team then?"
Smile breaking even wider, Edgeworth pumped the other man's hand once and replied, "To the end."
Yay. How joyful.
(Gumshoe-sama sits in his velvety recliner, a large fur ball in his lap. He is smiling, evilly.)
"I have always wanted a Cocoa of my very own, to pet and to hold and to love and to—"
Gumshoe-sama! Is that Edgeworth's Pomeranian!?
"What does it matter? He's always in court anyway. Besides, I'm here to complain about your overusing of the name 'Cocoa.'"
Uh…I…crap…he's right. I used Cocoa in my FFVII story too…
(Gumshoe-sama snaps his fingers, causing the whole room to rumble from his might and diligence)
"Exactly as I thought! You can say…NOSSING! Now then! Bring me some cherry lemonade!"
(Hope you guys liked the chapter. Please RnR.)