a/n: I do not own any rights to Capcom or Phoenix Wright, etc. I'm just a hopeless fangirl for Phoenix and Edgeworth :D
Murky clouds obscured the view of the setting eve sun, and in the back of Phoenix Wright's mind, the waiting lobby outside the main courtroom doors beget a look of semi-omnipresence. It was the piercing gloom that Wright could never appreciate—the sadness of the very weather itself—which drug him down. Wright rubbed his eyes tiredly and pulled a small handheld watch from his breast pocket, examining it with slight irritation. It had been a long day. Two separate trials in one morning, a stack of paperwork higher than Maya, and a newborn headache that Wright had been nursing with steady sips of gin and coffee at breaks. So much had changed.
Phoenix stared out at the bleakness of the sky and the lurking thunderheads which swelled impressive shades of dark blue against pale gray. The sun was desperately trying to shine it's feeble rays through to the city, but it was being choked slowly to it's death, and before long the sky had deepened to the hue of twilight. Phoenix chuckled at the thought of witnessing the one murder that no one thought inhumane, and yet everyone saw all the time.
His left eye muscle twitched impulsively, and Wright sighed as the slight throbbing pain in his head began to emerge behind his eyeball once more.
The testimonies of many of the prosecution's clients had been long and boring, and as Phoenix had stood at his post with Mia's advice sticking to him like glue, he'd wondered how many headaches she'd gotten from the "pointless jabbering" that von Karma and Miles vibrantly claimed to detest so much. Phoenix eyed his watch again. 'How long is he going to take…?'
Wright ran a hand through his spiky hair, and found much to his distaste that it wasn't as sharp as he would have preferred at the ends. A vague memory of Maya contemplating Phoenix's hair as a potential murder weapon in a past case flashed through him. He smiled wanly, but it receded when he thought of how much he had been working lately.
Even though he didn't take every case that came down the pipe, it seemed to Phoenix that somehow when the shit hit the fan he wasn't dodging fast enough. There was always that one client he would feel sympathetic for, and then when they expected his wonder twin powers to activate in the middle of their sob story in court, Wright had to fish them out of the frying pan with his usual meek arsenal of rusty spoons and hen's teeth. Bah. Being a lawyer sometimes took the juice right out of him. It was enough to make a bouncing personality like Phoenix wrung to the bone at the end of the day.
Wright began to feel the anxiety nipping at his heels as he waited, and the shadows intensified in the lobby area so much so that it seemed the building would face a blackout if it got any darker. A fluorescent light above his head clicked on automatically, as did a row all alighted on each side of the wall, as if on a signal from Wright's opinion. Almost a millisecond after they had turned on, the doors from the court burst open with a hefty slam. Phoenix was startled by the intensity, and his shoulders jumped slightly as he watched the court file out.
All at once he heard a violent torrent of single shrieking, and turned to see the bailiff and several police officers hauling an apparent suspect out of the court. "M-m-iles EDGEWORTH!" bellowed the man in custody as he was dragged, literally kicking and screaming, by the four police towards the elevator. "I'LL GET YOU, YOU SMARMY BASTARD!" Detective Gumshoe followed in tow of the criminal, a gaggle of rookies and lesser officers trailing him. He didn't look at Wright, but from the twinkle in his face, Phoenix knew Edgeworth had nailed his verdict perfectly.
In accord to the obvious scene, Wright heard the flashing and snapping characteristic of a camera, and jerked his head toward the noise. Separated by a barrier of more police yet, a line of mingled amateur and professional paparazzi gathered behind the screaming convict, snapping at the thin air with their snake eye lenses and photographing this rage for the morning papers.
Wright stood and turned to the open doors, and observed the defense team leaving with rather grim and unobtrusive behavior about themselves; the paparazzi snapped at them vaguely, capturing their shame, but the true prize was what shadowed them. Truly, in his glory moments, Miles Edgeworth was a man to be feared.
His eloquent manner of dress was a weapon; with each step through the doors and down the hall, he exuded the same poise evident in a supermodel and a lion on the prowl. The cold, calculating eyes were sharp and hawkish, and the curled lip he wore was a disturbingly handsome exhibit of pride and victory. Phoenix half-expected Edgeworth to attempt to stuff a devil's tail back into his pants and push down the pointy horns on his head, for if he had been a demon, it would have shown with ease.
A paparazzi shouted from the flurry of confusion, and the mock-tender voice struck Edgeworth more than the others due to its loudness and incessant nature. "Mr. Edgeworth, sir! Do you think this win of yours was true or another one of those 'fixed' incidents you've been accused of in the past?"
Edgeworth halted swiftly, but his smirk never faded from his collected face. The glaring eyes closed, and Wright heard the familiar "Tsk, tsk, tsk," under his old friend's breath. Miles did not turn around, but his tone of voice harpooned the paparazzi enough to gather minor silence. "You people should know me by now. I always get my verdict, don't I?"
Another man called out, "But not against Phoenix Wright!" Edgeworth's face almost tensed, but the grin remained.
"Phoenix Wright is lucky. I am the one in this profession with the eye for criminal behavior, and I will not back down against liars and scoundrels because of Mr. Wright's parlor tricks! Justice will find itself in those who do wrong!" Edgeworth's eyes opened, and he looked directly through the crowd at Phoenix, who was standing naught but a few yards away. "Besides," he sneered, "If you would care to question Mr. Wright on his courtroom tactics, feel free. He is right there."
With little care for the snapping photographs and whirlwind of media begging for pieces of his life, Edgeworth crossed into the center part of the lobby and called for one the police officers to cut the paparazzi off of him. Wright attempted to follow, but was quickly mobbed by bright flashes and barrages of questions. The headache sprang to full life in his nerve endings. Phoenix grunted and tried to shove his way through the crowd. "Dammit, Miles!"
"Mr. Wright, care to tell us what your favorite strategy in court is?"
"Mr. Wright, what is your relationship to Miles Edgeworth? Is it true that you have defended him in court before?"
"Mr. Wright sir, can you tell me more about the Dunlap Shurley case? I'd really…"
"Mr. Wright!! Over here!"
"Please, Mr. Wright!"
"I'm sorry, but I'm not open for a public display at the moment. Please, excuse me! I have urgent business to attend to!" Phoenix shoved through the tides of humanity and painfully irritating flashing. Each time a camera went off, it was as though a stun bomb was hurling itself through Phoenix's eyesockets. Desperately, he signaled for a police officer, and eventually, the mob was forced to part the way and leave Wright alone to his own breathing space.
The defense attorney brushed himself off and took a last look at the fussing population behind him. A small feeling of disgust wriggled for a bit in his gut, but he dismissed it and then headed for the elevator, feeling as though he were wearing stone bed slippers. Half of him was angry for not getting to Edgeworth in time, but the other was too tired to care. So what if he missed Edgeworth? There would be more victories for the criminal prosecutor. Wright convinced himself a little celebration between out-of-contact friends would have to wait for later.
His objection finger was two inches away from highlighting the down button when a voice hissed from behind him. "Wright," Phoenix could nearly hear the slither. He whipped around to see Edgeworth leaning vagrantly on the marbled white and brown wall with a look of undue irritation on his face.
"Edgeworth! You waited." Wright slicked the side of his hair back and moved out of the line of the watching paparazzi down the hallway. "So…how was it?"
"Don't tell me you're going blind, Wright. That mob would like it very much if I had picked thirty minutes to slice my brain open and spill its contents all over them. They're like greedy, homicidal children in front of a birthday piñata. The only major difference is that they wield chainsaws rather than sticks." Edgeworth tossed his dark bangs aside and a grim smirk graced him. "For all it's grandeur, I find the papers quite mediocre and trivial."
"Oh get off it. They love you, for whatever you may be." Wright flexed a few of his sore fingers absentmindedly at his side while he spoke. "You're the flawless victory man, after all. King of Prosecutors, anyway." Phoenix smiled devilishly. Edgeworth grimaced at the memory of the hideously broken green shield.
"Don't remind me."
"Hm. They don't have a "King of Defense" for my career. You should be happy." Phoenix bent his objection finger and felt the cool metal of one of his rings touch skin. Edgeworth said nothing. "So, where do you want to go?"
"Anywhere but here. I'm starting to feel the walls close in on me. It's the damn environment of this place—it's eroding me." Edgeworth grimaced as if the flora wallpaper was responsible for the verdicts given in court.
"Do not say hamburgers."
"But you said anywhere!"
"That is what they call hyperbole, Mr. Wright."
"Well then, what can you think of within walking distance?" Phoenix folded his arms. Edgeworth was as difficult as ever these days. One minute he was gloomy, the next irritated. The smiles were all but nonexistent.
"Who said we were walking?" Miles raised his eyebrows indignantly. "Unlike you, Mr. Wright, I have a driver's license." Phoenix vaguely remembered the car that Ema had called "garish" and "flashy" during the case with Goodman's body in it's trunk. He wanted to chuckle, but he knew saying anything more of it would piss Edgeworth off further.
"Well in that case…how about that little French place that just opened off of Capital and 55th Street? I hear they're quite the buzz since they sent out all those fliers." Phoenix eyed Edgeworth warily, but no objection seemed to be raised in his face.
Edgeworth pondered the thought momentarily, and then pursed his lips in a pouty fashion. "Satisfactory," he murmured, and Phoenix's face lit up a little. "Come on."
Phoenix peered around the corner and noticed that the last of the paparazzi crowd was being herded out of a different side exit by the remaining police. The stragglers were threatened until they were forced to high-tail it, until at last the courtroom doors were shut once more and the guards were gone. When he turned, Edgeworth was heading for the stairs leading down.
"Edgeworth, you can't go that way."
Miles froze on the third step and looked back at Phoenix, a bit of ice on his voice. "And why not, Wright?"
'Don't be so poisonous and I might tell you. Yeesh.' Phoenix looked at him questioningly. "The paparazzi are all down there. They might be able to keep them herded away from us up here, but once we walk out that way, they'll be all over us. It leads straight to the lobby."
Edgeworth didn't move, his hand tightly gripping the wooden banister. Something looked paler about him. Phoenix couldn't put his finger on what it was, but surely some sort of mental parasite had just burrowed under Edgeworth's skin. "Are you sure you're alright, Edgeworth?"
"I-I'm fine!" he snapped altogether too quickly. "Just very tired."
"Well then you definitely shouldn't go that way. The papers will eat you alive when you're down."
"… I-I suppose." With reluctance, he released the banister and turned back to follow Phoenix to the elevator.
Phoenix pressed the arrow down button and it gave a cute chime before the metal doors slid open; the interior of the elevator was lined with crimson, paisley carpeting and framed with chestnut wood all around—altogether it was a beast fit for people like Edgeworth. Phoenix got in and turned around to hit the button for the parking garage, but paused. Edgeworth was still standing outside the elevator, looking firmly and most definitely, afraid. "Miles!"
"…!" Edgeworth blinked twice and seemed to snap out of his daze. "I…uh…coming." Carefully he stepped onto the elevator, and the door mechanically swooshed closed right in time. He stood stoically with his hands clasped firmly at his sides in fists, staring absently in space.
Phoenix frowned, but then it hit him. "Oh, that's right. Edgeworth, you're not too fond of elevators, are you?"
"Everyone has their Achilles heel, Wright."
There was a very stiff pause after Edgeworth ceased to speak, and Phoenix couldn't help but know that indeed, if Edgeworth was admitting his fear, he was so obvious about it with his body language that he might as well have leapt around proclaiming it through a megaphone. The man was gripping his hands so tightly at his sides that he was making nail indentations in his own skin, and the normally calm and collected grey eyes he possessed were on the point of crystallization.
"I…I don't think we should stay here then. Come on, Edgeworth, I had forgotten—"
But just as Phoenix was about to hit the 'door open' button, the elevator gave a merciless mechanic sigh, and they began moving down quite slowly. At this point it seemed an objection really was useless.
Edgeworth looked as though he would be slightly sick, but murmured out "It's not your…fault," as they sank down. The rhythmic thrumming of the ancient metal above their heads did not stop, though the light in the corner was flickering every now and then. The prosecutor who was untouchable in court felt very much like a helpless kitten about to be crunched by a semi. He continued to stare intensely at the doors, almost biting his lip while Wright looked on with concern.
"No. It was stupid of me." Phoenix edged a bit closer and placed a friendly hand on Edgeworth's shoulder. The prosecutor jumped at the touch, and turned shakily on him.
"Wright…don't." The plum shade ringing his desperate eyes seemed to darken though the prosecutor never moved out of Phoenix's grasp. "I must learn to get over this by myself."
Phoenix smirked. Edgeworth glared rather half-heartedly.
"Court isn't in session."
"I know that." The playfulness in Wright's voice was far too evident. Edgeworth didn't want to look at that face when he was floating somewhere between the decision to either vomit or curl up into a ball and cry. Still, his friend meant him only good. "But don't you think it's being selfish if all you do is bottle up your fears?"
"And you're suggesting…what exactly?" A dark chuckle trickled from Edgeworth's pale lips, slack with a mixture of sarcasm and confusion. "Do I sense another one of Phoenix Wright's famous bluffs?" The corner of his eye twitched.
Phoenix ignored his obvious defensive retort and countered shamelessly. In the courtroom he might be up against a formidable enemy, but life lessons among friends needed no evidence or proof; no official testimony would ever make Miles Edgeworth more confident about elevators and earthquakes unless it came straight from the prosecutor himself. Phoenix looked back into Edgeworth's uncertain face, and he clearly saw someone disturbed by a violent past experience. 'Sorry I can't make that better, Edgeworth. If I could…'
"Edgeworth, you shouldn't fear this any longer. It's hindering you in such a terrible way, and to be honest, it's not something that you should be very afraid of. In fact, I can think of lots more scary things than an elevator…" Vague memories of the raw edge of a leather whip collided unpleasantly with Phoenix. He shuddered. Pain equals bad!
Edgeworth snorted. The elevator made an unpleasant mechanical gurgle, and he shut up.
"See, even the machine doesn't think itself a threat!" Phoenix laughed mildly, but stopped when it garnered no response but a fervent noise from Edgeworth; the prosecutor seemed more nervous than before. "Look, Edgeworth… I know what caused you to become afraid of elevators. It's not illogical. That kind of thing," Here Phoenix paused, and cast his eyes down at the floor. He frowned. Why did such tragedy always take place around his friends? "Should never happen to anybody."
"It's just my luck." Edgeworth spat it bitterly, eyes still fixed on the doors, but now softened by grief in place of fear. "My future gets bright and then someone dies. First it was my father, then it was me." Phoenix winced at the reference to the note Edgeworth had left behind when he fled the prosecutor's division. "And somehow," his lips twisted cruelly, "I'm always being punished. Forget pride. Forget victory. Forget…love, friends, sanity. I'll never have any of it if I can't find the truth. Yet so ironic that truth should come with such a price."
"You know…it doesn't always have to be painful, but I can see it from that way too." Edgeworth didn't look at him, and though he was still rigid, Phoenix knew he was listening. "Mia was taken without a second thought by a senseless murder. The only teacher I had that I valued as a mentor and a friend…and she was ripped from the world so quickly. Of course it's different with spirit mediums…she can come back and "visit" so to speak. But it's still not the same. Mia Fey will never be alive again, and it was all because of one selfish killer." Phoenix let a curt smile tug at his mouth. "I suppose I will never forgive that person for killing her, but I don't think that because of that, I should fear and hate all people. There are those few that depend on people like me to help them, and it is my duty as a defense attorney to do just that. If I didn't care so much about that kind of thing, well…I wouldn't be here. Neither would you, Miles."
For once, the prosecutor didn't look so tight anymore. Phoenix's hand dropped to his side, and the elevator gave a polite "ding" as it landed safely on the ground floor. The metallic doors swished open, and the defense strode calmly out into the lobby. Edgeworth stood still for a moment, a little unsure of what to do, but then everything clicked, and he called after the other.
Phoenix turned around, and was surprised by how much better Edgeworth seemed to be.
"You know, Wright, for someone who is so terribly wrong all of the time," At this Phoenix gave an 'Urk!' in protest, but it was dismissed by the look on Edgeworth's face. "You're pretty good at being right on those rare occasions."
Edgeworth gave a polite chuckle, and walked briskly towards Phoenix as they headed off towards the direction of the parking garage. The prosecutor sighed to himself as Phoenix began to speak again about separate affairs, and secretly he thought of how nice it was to be away from his own personal demons. Somehow the defense attorney who bluffed his way out of Hell was very good at counterbalancing Edgeworth's divine right to Heaven.
Several days later, Phoenix Wright was casually filing away papers and skimming old documents for their worthiness of the shredder when he was quite incessantly interrupted by the ringing office phone. It had been going off all day long, not to mention worsening Phoenix's mending headache, until it came down to Wright seriously considering ripping the cord out of the wall. What part of "The Law offices of Wright and Co. are not taking cases at the moment" did people NOT get?
Irritated, Phoenix decided that one more call wouldn't kill him. So far as he knew anyway. Dread filled him to his toes as he picked up the receiver, but was quickly slain as he recognized the voice on the other end of the line.
"Hey pal, this is Gumshoe."
"Oh hello Detective. Why didn't you call my cell phone? It's been on my desk next to me all day."
"Sorry about that, pal, I kinda' lost my phone at the moment," Phoenix rolled his eyes. Well, that definitely means it's Gumshoe. No imposter could screw something up in that style. "But I wanted to ask you if you knew anything about Edgeworth."
"Edgeworth? What about him?" Phoenix frowned slightly. After clearing his friend's head the night of the elevator ride, they'd had dinner and parted their separate ways, but Edgeworth had seemed considerably more light hearted the rest of the evening. Maybe he was sick now…?
"Well, it's just that he's been acting really funny all day."
"Funny as in how? Angry? Depressed?"
"No, no." 'Well that rules out the usual Edgeworth. What, was he doing jump rope with the Chief or something?' "A few hours after he got here he finished all the paperwork he had left to do, and I saw him heading for the lobby, so I figured he was going somewhere. Naturally, being the ace detective I am, I followed him, and well…"
There was a pause on the other end of the line, as if the detective was unsure of how exactly to phrase what he was about to divulge.
"He's been riding the elevator up and down all day long!"
From the seemingly plain and very quiet law offices of Wright and Co., there was a very loud and hysterical bout of laughing, and before he knew it, poor detective Gumshoe was stuck in a rut again, this time with one insane, elevator joy-riding prosecutor and a chortling joker of defense. There was a noise like a phone falling off of a table and thump, but the laughter didn't cease. Suddenly the receiver went to a busy tone, and Gumshoe stared at the phone in his hand momentarily without understanding a shred of anything. He shrugged and ended the now one-sided conversation, and headed out towards the lobby to try and convince the button happy Edgeworth to give up the pleasant chime of the elevator for human contact.