Phoenix Wright: Serendipity.
Phoenix Wright is copyright of Capcom. No infringement is intended.
Apologies for the wait everyone. Writing tends to take a back seat when you suddenly get employed.
This chapter contains a spoiler or two for the third Phoenix Wright game, so read with caution.
The Honeymoon Suite was more impressive than any of them had imagined, and there was collective of gasps and jaws dropping as they explored their room for the night. The main room was a richly decorated sitting room, painted in warm, relaxing colours, and lit by a gentle light from an overhead chandelier. A large leather couch was situated next to a small kitchen area, which was made up of a small refrigerator, an ornate wooden mini-bar, stocked up with drinks, and a small bench for preparing food. Large windows set into the right corner of the room revealed a large balcony, and a dazzling sight of the city. Dominating the far side of the room was the biggest TV Phoenix had ever seen in his life.
"Wow…." Pearl's eyes danced with wonderment. "This must be what royalty lives like."
"Close enough.." Phoenix replied, looking all around. He could hardly believe just how over the top the room was. "Now I know why I hate places like this. They just remind me how poor I am."
"Not anymore Mr Nick." Pearl smirked.
"True, provided Maya doesn't spend it all on toys.."
He looked over at Maya, who hadn't said a word. She was staring with a starry expression in her eyes.
"Maya? You alright?" Phoenix waved a hand over her eyes, but no response.
"This… is…. so…. COOL!!!" She shrieked, leaping into the center of the room. "Look at this place!! It's incredible!!"
She kicked off her shoes and starting hopping around the room. "Nick! You have to feel this carpet! It's sooooo soft!"
She then ran into an adjacent room, and squealed even louder. "OMIGOD! The bed! Nick, the bed!!"
Phoenix and Pearl followed her in, and were stunned to see the biggest bed they had ever seen. It was almost impossibly wide and long, and looked like it could easily seat twenty people. He estimated the mattress would have taken up the entire floorspace of the bedroom of his small apartment.
Maya wasted no time in jumping onto the bed and bouncing about. "Whoopee! Pearl! Nick! You have to try this!"
Pearl kicked off her shoes and climbed up to join Maya in bouncing around.
"Whee!" She squealed as she danced around.
"Come on Nick!" Maya called. "Join us."
"I'm fine, thanks. Besides, I don't want to break it." Though Phoenix was serious, he had a silly grin on his face as he watched the two play. It was nice to see the two relax after the ordeal of the last few days, especially Maya.
She left Pearl to her own devices and hopped off the bed, laughing as she tried to catch her breath. "I have got to buy this bed!"
It was always good to see her smile. Ever since she'd parked herself in his office over a year ago, that smile had shown up wherever he went. It had always seemed to brighten up his day, even when everything seemed against him. Whenever she showed it, he felt at ease, as if she knew that everything was alright..
"Nick? Are you okay?"
He shook his head, realizing he'd been daydreaming. "Um.. sorry, what?"
She stared at him with confusion. "I just asked what you thought of the bed."
"Oh, right!" He couldn't believe he'd tuned her out while he was thinking about her smile, of all things."
She frowned at him. "You weren't even listening, were you?"
"Sorry.." He rubbed the back of his head. "I was just wondering what we're going to do now we're here, that's all."
"Ah, right." Maya taped her forehead in thought. "How about we just watch a movie together on the TV? I don't really feel like doing much anyway…" She glanced around the room. "..and this place just begs for you to be lazy."
"Yeah, I'm beat too.." Phoenix rubbed his eyes. It would be nice to relax after three days of hardly any sleep.
"Tell you what, I'll set up the TV in the bedroom so we can all lie back and watch. You go and get us some drinks"
They left Pearl to jump around some more, and moved back to the sitting room, where Maya worked on unplugging the TV and moving it. Phoenix moved to the small kitchen area and studied the mini-bar.
"What would you like?" He asked Maya as he took out some glasses from a cupboard."
"Ngghh… just cola will be fine… hrrhh!"
He turned to see Maya straining to push the massive TV into the bedroom, grunting as she pushed against the appliance with what she must have thought was Herculian effort.
"Need a hand?" He smirked.
She looked at him and grinned. "Leave it to me Nick. You've done enough hard work for today."
"Well, if you're sure…"
"I'm sure." Maya resumed her pushing. "Pearly! Come and help me with this!"
Assured that she didn't need his help, Phoenix turned back to the mini-bar, and extracted a bottle of fancy-looking gin, some tonic water, and a bottle of cola.
As he checked the fridge for some ice, he could hear Maya and Pearl both working together, albeit very noisily, to move the television. He hoped they didn't make too much noise and disturbed any other guests up here, though with Maya, getting any peace and quiet was not easy. She was one of the most excitable people he knew, always getting worked up or overactive over the slightest things. It was annoying at times.. but also, strangely endearing. It was somehow assuring to see her act so positively to life, especially in his line of work…
He stopped. Was it him, or was he thinking about Maya a lot since they came here? His thoughts seemed to keep drifting back to her, how she had affected his life.
"I just haven't seen her in a while, that's all." He reasoned. Apart from her kidnapping, Maya had been missing in his life, training in Kurain, for almost a year with no contact. After meeting her again. It was only natural she'd be at the forefront on his mind. Still, it was a bit concerting that he was thinking about her with more attention than usual. The last time he'd been so focused on someone, it had been Edgeworth, and the desire to find out why he had become a prosecutor.
Why focus on Maya so suddenly, now that she was safe?
He shook his head and continued his search for the ice. There was no point stressing over some odd concerns now. They were here to relax, and that's what he was going to do.
Besides, he knew Maya would chew him out if he didn't make the effort to unwind.
"And there I go again…"
Pearl was settled comfortable on the edge of the bed as she watched Maya plug in the TV. "I still can't get over how large this TV is. It makes the one in Mr Nick's office look tiny."
"Wait til you see it in action. It'll blow your mind."
Maya picked up the remote, sat next to Pearl, and prepared to click the 'on' button. "Prepare to be amazed."
The screen lit up, and rather than being dazzled, the girls jumped in horror and revulsion as the clammy face of Sal Manella filled up the screen.
"Ahhhhh! It's horrible!!" Pearl squealed.
Maya held back her vile and comforted her cousin. "It's okay Pearl. It's just the guy who makes the Nickel Samurai."
Calming down, Pearl sat back with Maya to watch the program, which was a news report. The camera pulled back to reveal Sal was talking with a reporter.
"… the producer of Nickel Samurai and other popular children's action shows. Mr Manella, what are your feelings regarding Matt Engarde's actions to kill Juan Corrida?"
"Well, I'm totally shocked, d00d. I'd worked with him on the show for weeks, and always thought he was a great guy. Really l33t, you know. To find out that he's been doing stuff like this for so long, and to those poor girls.. it totally sux0rz!"
"Yes… suck sores indeed. So what happens to the Nickel Samurai show?"
"Well, the show will be put on hiatus for a while, but we'll be auditioning for a new actor to play the Nickel Samurai part. And I wanna promise to all the kids out there, we won't hire a l33t hax00r like Engarde was."
Pearl looked suitably confused. "What was he talking about? What does l33t mean?"
Maya was beaming. "Who cares, this is great news!"
"What is?" Phoenix asked as he entered. In his hands he held a tray, carrying a pitcher of gin and tonic, a large bottle of cola, and three glasses.
"They're gonna hire a new actor to be the Nickel Samurai. Isn't that great?"
"For you maybe." Phoenix placed the tray on the bedside table, and sat down to pour out the drinks. "Frankly, I've seen enough guys in rubber outfits hitting people to last me a lifetime."
"Don't be like that, Nick." Maya pouted. "You and the Nickel Samurai are really alike, you know."
Phoenix blinked. "How in the hell am I like a robotic samurai?"
She grinned. It was always fun to get a rise out of him. "Simple. You're both defenders of goodness and justice. You both look out for the good guys and make sure the bad guys get theirs. He just uses a spear, you use your court record."
Phoenix smiled. "It's not quite the same thing… but I appreciate the complement."
"You deserve it." Maya took the remote again, and switched to another channel. Her eyes lit up as she recognized the program.
"Eeep! It's Mysterious Scientific Cinema 4000! I love this show!"
Phoenix was intrigued. "Is that the show where they make fun of those crummy old movies?"
"Yeah! You like it?"
"I've seen it sometimes. It's pretty funny…"
"Finally! A show we can all like." She looked at him pleadingly. "We can watch it, right?"
He nodded. "Why not? I think we could do with a few laughs."
"Alright!" Maya cheered. "Let the hilarity begin."
They settled down on the bed – Phoenix stretching out and laying down, Maya laying on her front next to him with her head propped up, and Pearl sitting on the edge – and were soon engrossed in the movie, laughing along with the hosts as they mercilessly riffed the badly made horror movie being shown.
As they watched, Maya would occasionally glance over at Phoenix. He looked more fully relaxed than she had seen him in a long time. Loud laughs escaped him whenever a funny line was heard, and a huge grin was spread across his face.
It was nice to see him happy. He always seemed so serious, which was understandable in a courtroom, but made no sense whenever he was outside. Even during that first day they had met, he had been all business, only caring about getting her free. She admired that he could be so focused, but wished he could enjoy himself a bit more. For all the work he put in, he deserved that much. It was one of the reasons she had decided to stick around after her court case, to see if he actually was capable of smiling. And to help him run the law office, or course. She had to repay him somehow.
Mysterious Scientific Cinema came to an end, and she flipped the channel over to an old sitcom. Pearl saw this as an opportunity to speak up.
"Mr Nick, I was wondering… what are you going to do now you're a millionaire?"
Phoenix and Maya blinked and looked at her. "Pearls, I only got 25 grand. I'm hardly a millionaire."
"Well, it's certainly more money than I've ever seen. You could probably buy all the houses in Kurain with it."
"I doubt it." Phoenix chuckled.
"Yeah, we're not that poor, Pearly." Maya smiled. "She's got a point though. What are you going to do with that cash?"
Phoenix laid his back against the bedrest. "Well, first thing I'm gonna do is pay off my rent and bills for the next few months. Then I think I'll put some cash towards advertising the firm. You know, put a big ad in the phone book, or get some banners up out on the streets. It would help drum up some more business."
"I see…" Pearl replied. "But aren't you going to buy anything for yourself?"
Phoenix looked thoughtful. "Well… I guess, if I have enough left."
"Niiiick!" Maya pouted. She looked at him with disappointment. "Don't be so dull! You're rich! You can afford to buy yourself something you like. Like an awesome sports car like Edgeworth has!"
"Maya, I have to think of the future. I'm not gonna let my career go under just because I blew all the cash on something fun." He raised an eyebrow. "Besides, I don't really need a car."
"Yes you do." She protested. "No offence, but I'm getting a little sick of taking the bus every time we need to investigate somewhere."
"We don't always take the bus."
"Oh yes, or course. We take your battered old bicycle instead."
"It's not old." Phoenix sighed. "Look, I'm not saying I wouldn't want to splurge it all on something nice, but realistically, it's not a possibility."
She was curious now, and positioned herself into a seated position next to him. "Okay then.. if you had the chance, what would you buy?"
Phoenix rubbed his chin, making a perfect mimic of when he considered his next move in court. Maya and Pearl waited silently for him to reveal his answer.
"Well… I'd probably get a new house." He spoke. "A nice big one, one where I don't count the rooms I have on one hand, isn't next to some noisy neighbours, and I can actually invite people over to without looking embarrassed."
"That's a good one." Maya replied.
"But your apartment isn't that bad Mr Nick…" Pearl spoke.
"Failing that.." Phoenix continued. "I'd probably use the money to go on a long vacation."
"Really? Where would you go?"
"I don't know.." Phoenix turned to the window and looked out at the stars, a distant look in his eyes. "Truth be told, I've never been out of the country. My family never had enough money to go abroad, so we'd just go to some place in the country for a holiday. But I always dreamed of going somewhere I'd never been before once I had the cash for it. Like London, Tokyo or Rome… heck, even Niagara Falls would be a change of place."
He sighed. "It would be nice if I really could just take off and see the world, even if only once."
Maya stared at him, feelings of respect and admiration welling inside her. Time and time again, Phoenix was always proving just how humble and grounded he was, remaining sensible and focused when most people would have given in to their crazier instincts.
She could recall that a few years ago, she didn't care much for lawyers. She thought they were like all the ones she saw on TV: Impossibly good-looking, self-indulgent rich people in fancy suits who were quite happy to lie and cheat so long as they got their money. She didn't understand at first why Mia had wanted to join a world like that, but she soon understood that her sister had wanted to bring some good to the legal world, and maybe find who had ruined their mother's life.
The she had met Phoenix, and her perception of lawyers was changed forever. She saw that not all of them were greedy liars looking out for themselves. Some of them were just normal people, trying to help put criminals behind bars and help people as much as they could.
Phoenix definitely didn't fit the mold of the usual lawyer. He wasn't rich, wasn't rubbing shoulders with important people, and half the time he was in court, it seemed he didn't have a clue what he was doing. He was quite content to take on cases for a moderate fee or even for free, He was happy to spend his free time either reading, cycling on his old bicycle, or just loafing around his office. He was the most… normal, average person she had ever met.
But once she'd gotten past all that, she had began to see the true facets of Phoenix's personality. Just like her sister said, he was a genius. He just didn't tend to show it until he was in desperate straights. Even so, there was no denying that he was smarter than your average joe, coming up with clever insights and seeing things that most people tended to overlook. He was always determined, doing whatever it took to help his clients and friends, and standing up to people who would have frightened off anyone else.
And he was possibly the nicest person she'd ever met. He'd always put other people's well-being before his, and would do anything to help a friend. And he was very good looking…
She blinked. Where had that come from?
"So, what would you buy?" She heard him ask. Her attention was on him fully again, and she could see he was taking off his jacket.
"Um…" She racked her brains for an answer which proved she'd been listening.
"I guess… I would buy some new clothes."
Phoenix looked surprised. "That's all?"
Maya rubbed her head nervously. "Well, apart from a few casual outfits and this training stuff, I don't have many clothes back home. I'm not really meant to wear normal clothes until I become a full spirit medium. All the acolytes have to stick to basic clothing. So once I complete my training, I'd love to be able to have a proper wardrobe."
"Hmm." Phoenix nodded in approval. "And… anything else?"
Her mind was now a blank. "Um… I can't think of anything at the moment.."
"Well done Maya." She growled to herself. "Nick has all these nice ideas on what to buy, and what do you come up with? Clothes. I must sound like an airhead!"
"Sorry…" She lamely offered.
"No no, it's a good idea." Phoenix grinned. "Personally, I've never seen you wear anything other than that yukata. It would be nice to see you in something different."
"Maya felt her cheeks heat up. Was that a complement? Did Phoenix really want her to try on different clothes?
Her thinking process was suddenly muddled even more when, with no warning whatsoever, Phoenix took his suit jacket off.
"Phew…" He sighed as he dropped the garment to the floor He loosened his tie. "Does it feel warm to you?"
Maya's eyes bugged out and her face turned more crimson as she took in the sight of Phoenix in his shirt. It fit him quite neatly, showing off the slim shape of his torso. His top button was unopened, revealing a strong, yet slender looking neck. His dark eyes were half-lidded, as he glanced at her, giving him an alluring look.
For the first time since she had met him… he looked… sexy.
She realized that she was staring, and leaped off the bed and ran back into the kitchen area, before Phoenix could see her red face.
She stood at the tabletop, breathing hard as she tried to clear her head. She felt warm all over, as if the heating had suddenly been turned on. Unconsciously, she pulled off her purple shawl, and then she removed the hair ties and baubles from her hair, letting it fall freely down her back. What was going on? Why was she suddenly thinking of Phoenix… like that?
"I just haven't seen him in so long. It's been three days since de Killer nabbed me, and almost a year since we've spent any time together. You're just glad to see him again… maybe a little too glad.."
"Maya? Are you okay?" Phoenix called.
She calmed herself down. "Yeah, I'm just getting something from the fridge."
She opened the fridge and checked the freezer section, where to her delight, she found a tub of chocolate ice cream.
"Yummy…" She grinned as she fetched a spoon and walked back to the bedroom.
She resumed her seat on the bed, trying to appear as if nothing had happened. Phoenix looked at her oddly.
"Maya, are you okay…" He spotted the ice cream as she pried the lid off. "I don't believe it."
"We had a gigantic, very expensive meal just a few hours ago.. and you're STILL hungry?!" Phoenix goggled.
Maya shrugged. "I fancied something sweet." She dipped her spoon into the ice cream and lifted it to her lips. "Mmmm…"
"You're going to get fat you know.."
She wiped her mouth. "Well, I wouldn't mind a little extra weight. My metabolism keeps burning it all off."
"Eh?" He blinked. "That's the first time I've ever heard a girl say she wants to gain weight. How come?"
"Well, I want curves, obviously." She out the tub down and sat up on her knees, allowing Phoenix to get a good look at her upper body. "I mean, I'm a stick insect. I can barely fill out this outfit, let along any proper clothes."
Phoenix couldn't help but stare a little more closely than he usually would. Without her shawl on, he could see the full length of her slender arms as they tapered up to her narrow shoulders. Her yukata was fairly bulky and obscured most of her body shape, but he could just make out a slim, gentle build, accented by the sash around her waist.
"Hmm, first clothes and now this. I've never known you to take such an interest in your appearance before."
"Well, I'm going to be a fully mature medium sooner or later. It's about time I looked the part." She spoke in a confident tone, but that soon turned into a low murmur. "Plus… I've always been a little jealous of my sister."
"Jealous of Mia?" Phoenix blinked. It was easy to understand why she could envy Mia over her looks. His mentor had been infamous for her… assets. It was just hard to believe Maya had any ill will toward her sister at all.
Maya looked sheepish. "Well, Sis always was the looker in our family. Did you know that she had to get her first bra when she was eleven?"
"Yeah, the boys were always attracted to her. And everyone was always complementing her on how mature she was, because she was so smart. I always wished I could have some of her good looks, just so I could get a little more attention from people." She sighed and ate some more ice cream.
Phoenix smiled. "Well, if it's any comfort Maya, I think you look very attractive."
She spluttered, causing a few drops of ice cream to splatter on the floor. "Wh..what?"
He looked startled. "Well… you are. I mean, I've always thought you were quite pretty, and I know I've seen Larry staring at you…"
"You.. you think I'm attractive."
"Yes." He didn't sound like he was just saying it to make her feel better, he actually meant it. "Heck, I'm surprised that you haven't gotten a boyfriend already."
Her face was now beetroot red, and she was twitching nervously. Phoenix actually thought she was attractive? He'd never said anything like that before.
This was getting too much to take. He was sitting there, in this plush hotel room, looking incredibly good in that unbuttoned shirt, and complementing her on her looks It was like something out of those cheap romance novels Aunt Morgan used to read. And worse, she couldn't stop enjoying this feeling of being that close to him like this.
"Ah… eh…" She stammered nervously, looking desperately for a distraction. And by some mercy, she found it.
"Oh look, Pearly's fallen asleep!"
Phoenix looked, and sure enough, Pearl was laying down on a pillow, gently snoring.
"Ahhh, how cute." Maya smiled. "I'll put her on the couch, let her sleep peacefully."
"Oh, don't worry, I'll do it." Phoenix offered. Before Maya could stop him, he got up and carefully lifted Pearl in his arms. He walked into the living room, stepping carefully so not to wake her. Maya followed him to the door, and peered out to watch him lay Pearl on the couch. He then quickly traveled to a nearby linen closet, where he found a thick blanket. As he laid it over her, Maya couldn't help but smile at the touching image before her. Although Phoenix had only known Pearl for a short time, but already it seemed he had formed a close attachment to the younger Fey. Maya was grateful that he'd been able to look after while she had been indisposed.
"He would make a great father…"
She gasped. Where the heck where these thoughts coming from? What was so different about Phoenix now that he was so alluring?
She hopped back onto the bed just before Phoenix returned, praying he didn't notice her crimson cheeks.
"Well, she should be comfortable for the night." He spoke. "I guess helping me out today and staying up late tuckered her out."
"Yeah.." Maya nodded. "Hey, thank you for looking after Pearl all this time."
"It's no problem." Phoenix grinned. "She's a delight to have around."
"Good, I'll remember that next time I get put on babysitting duty."
Phoenix now looked concerned. "Just out of curiosity, who looks after her in Kurain now her mother's not around?"
"Oh, she usually stays with me, but the Elders of the village have been letting her stay with them since Aunt Morgan left. Since she's one of the best acolytes around, and the sole member of the branch family left, they feel they should take special care of her."
"I see.." Phoenix glanced through the doorway, looking at the sleeping form of Pearl. "It must be hard for her, not having her parents around."
Maya shook her head. "I don't think she minds too much at the moment. She never really knew her father, and I don't think she fully understands what Aunt Morgan did…" Bad memories of Mimi Miney's murder plot flashed through her mind. "I'm scared to tell her the real reason behind it. It would break her heart."
Phoenix sidled up to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "She'll have to learn someday, maybe once she's older. But she's got a good head on her shoulders. She was a big help to me when I was investigating the case."
"Hmm.. she's smarter than people give her credit for… she's definitely smarter than me, that's for sure."
"Don't sell yourself short." Phoenix stroked her head, his hand running through her hair. "I've seen you save our bacon many times in the courtroom."
She couldn't help but feel giddy. His kind words toward her, the sensation of his hand gently stroking her hair, the heat of his body close to hers… it felt like nothing she'd ever experienced before.
She wondered if this was the right thing to do, to be this close and personal to her closest friend. Sure, she was enjoying being like this, but was he? Maybe he was just doing this to be friendly, to help out like a friend should. It seemed the likely solution.
But as his hand caressed her hair again, she sighed in contentment. This feeling she had near him.. it kept feeling more natural to her.
Maybe she would indulge herself… just a bit longer.
He wasn't sure why he had suddenly started stroking her hair.
At first it had been a simple gesture to comfort her over her blues about her Aunt Morgan. But gradually, Phoenix had been overcome with a desire to feel the silken locks against his hand. Maya didn't seem to mind… he could swear she was actually enjoying it.
Perhaps it had been all the talk about her looks he had accidentally spurred on with his joke about her eating habits which had caught his interest. Hearing her talking about her supposed bland looks compared to Mia had made him take a closer look at her.
Maya really was quite beautiful. He wondered if the reason he had never noticed before was because she was always dragging him into some case, or constantly messing around the office and acting like a big kid whenever they were meant to be working. Or perhaps he had just forgotten during her long absence from his life.
Everything about her was sleek and graceful. With her shawl removed, he was free to gaze at her pale, slender arms, and followed a path down from her slim body to her smooth legs. She wasn't a buxom beauty like her sister had been, instead she was graced with a more subtle gentler attractiveness, one you truly had to see to appreciate.
Her ebony hair spilled down her back, free from the usual hair ties she wore. Even in the dim light of the room, it still shone like silk, and when he had moved to comfort her, he realized it felt like it too.
He could see a smile of contentment cross her face as he continued this action. He wondered what was so special about her smiling, that it brought up feelings of warmth and happiness within him.
"Mmm… that feels nice." She murmured.
He blinked, realizing he had been touching her hair for some time now. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"
She giggled. "It's okay, really. It really does feel nice when you do that. Please, don't stop."
He was momentarily stunned. She was actually okay with this? Most women he'd met in the past would have probably asked him to stop, or whacked him. Complying, he continued caressing her hair.
"You really don't mind this?" He asked tentatively.
"No… you must have some kind of magic touch in your hand. It scares people into confessing crimes and makes me feel good. "
He smiled. "Nah, I've just practiced pointing a lot. My fingers have gotten a lot of exercise since I got my badge."
She smirked. "You do a lot of pointing. They should charge you per accusing point."
"Yeah, I'd be a millionaire already."
Her head rested on his shoulder, and that warm feeling overcame him again. It was more familiar now, a feeling he hadn't felt in years. Not since his days in college, when he had started dating, and went on to meet… Dahlia.
He cleared his thoughts hastily. Besides not wanting to think about that event again, there was still the matter that he was getting these sensations from Maya, of all people.
"Say Nick.." He heard her speak. "Did you always want to become a lawyer, or did you just decide on it one day?"
"Why do you ask?"
She looked troubled. "Well, when de Killer had me in that cellar, I kept hoping I'd see you again.. and then I realized that I hardly know anything about you." She looked at him, taking in his every detail. "In all the time I've been with you, I never bothered to ask about your past. I didn't think I would ever want to know. But after today… I just feel I should know more about the person who keeps saving me from trouble."
It was a valid point. He hadn't known much about her or her sister's pasts until events had revealed them to him. He wondered why he, or indeed she, never bothered to ask before. Were they just too polite to ask, or had neither of them considered each other that personally before?
Phoenix took a breath, "I don't know what to tell you. Up until I started going into court, my life's been pretty ordinary. I was born and raised in a small town outside of the city, and lived there until I went to college. Nothing special really."
"Oh come on." Maya pointed. "Something must have happened to make you join law school, besides seeing Mr Edgeworth help you in that class trial."
"Actually, I didn't join law school at first. I was just studying law as a minor at college."
She blinked. "Really? What was your major?"
He smirked in remembrance. "Acting, believe it or not."
"No way!" She gasped. "You can act?!"
"A little, yes."
Her eyes were gleaming with delight. "That is so cool! You could be the next Nickel Samurai! You should audition!"
Phoenix just chuckled. He was used to Maya's little outbursts of extreme awe by now.
"Easy Maya. I doubt I would even beat Will Powers in an audition. I'm very out of practice."
"So, what made you quit the acting?"
"Well, it was when I got into some trouble, and your sister defended me in court…"
"Wait! You were accused of something… and Mia defended you?" Maya was stunned. "She never told me about that."
Phoenix was only slightly surprised by that. That case many years ago had been personal to both Mia and himself. It was understandable she wouldn't want to tell anyone.
"It… involved a colleague of hers from her old law firm. He had been murdered, and the killer had attacked someone else who had seen her flee the scene. She had tried to pin the blame on me, but Mia proved my innocence."
"Wow…" Maya spoke soberly. "She never told me about that.. and she always told me about her cases. I guess this person must have been important to her to not want to talk about it."
"So who was this person who tried to frame you anyway?"
He looked at her with a pleading look. "Maya, if it's okay, I really don't want to talk about it. It's a part of my past I'd rather forget."
"Oh.." Concern passed over her features. "It was a bad case then?"
"Pretty much, yeah." He hoped he hadn't been too vague for her. He didn't want to think about that event any more than he had to."
"Well, some good came out of it though, right?" Maya smiled again. "You met my sister."
"Yep, and she was quite interested that I was studying law, if only part time." He smiled wistfully. "I guess seeing her help me reminded me of what Miles had done for me when we were kids, and why I had wanted to look into law in the first place. I had given up trying to become a lawyer to try and meet Miles, but Mia showed me that I could do it, and how I could help people in need as well."
Maya looked at him with quiet awe. "Wow… scary to think you might not have become a lawyer at all. If things had gone differently.. you'd probably be in a movie by now."
He blinked. "Were you not listening? I'd probably be in prison by now."
She shrugged. "Well, if things had been different, or course."
"I guess…" He kept trying to imagine himself as an actor, but nowadays it just seemed a ridiculous notion. Though he had to admit, those acting lessons had probably helped him bluff his way through a trial a few times…
"I bet your parents were proud." Maya said. "Having a big-shot lawyer in the family.
Phoenix shrugged. "Well truthfully, they were a little upset when I told them I was changing majors halfway through my semester. My mum had always pegged me to be an artist of some sort."
"Oh dear…" Maya giggled. "But they're okay with it now, right?"
"Yeah, they're pretty proud of what I've done." He smiled. "I should take you to meet them one day. You'd definitely get along with them."
"I hope so. I'd like to meet them."
Phoenix gulped as he thought about those last few sentences. The way he'd offered to introduce her to his parents… it almost sounded as if he was dating her. Where were these thoughts coming from?
"You know, I've always wondered something.." Maya spoke up again.
"Why is your name Phoenix anyway?"
"Yeah… I didn't ask before in case I sounded rude, but I've always thought it was a pretty weird name. It's like something a rich footballer would name his kid."
"Hey, don't compare me to that David Beckham guy." He quipped. "My name actually has a reason behind it."
"Oh?" Maya stared at him with curious eyes. "Do tell."
Pausing to refill his glass, Phoenix took a sip to clear his throat. "Well, my mother told me, once I was old enough to understand, that I had been born prematurely."
Maya's eyes widened. "Oh…"
He nodded. "She told me that soon after I was born, I had to be placed in an incubator. I was literally on the brink of death apparently. The doctors thought I wouldn't last long, but somehow, I regained some strength, and eventually got to a healthy state. My dad had said it was like a Phoenix coming from the ashes, and I guess it stuck with my mum, as that's what I was named."
"Wow.." she breathed. "That's a pretty nice story behind the name."
He rolled his eyes. "Of course, I didn't think the name was all that cool when I was a kid. I got teased a lot by kids in my class."
"Still, I made friends with Larry, which helped things a little. He was obviously used to getting teased, so we'd band together against any bullies who came after us."
"I can imagine.." Maya mused. "Poor Larry, getting saddled with a name like Butz.."
"Well, he coped fine with it." He replied uncertainly. "Mostly.."
Curiosity grasped him. "So… is there any odd story behind your name."
Maya sighed. "Not really. Sis told me once that my mother was going to name me Mayoi. Most of us in Kurain have some Japanese ancestry, so some of us have Japanese names. I guess Mum thought Maya would be easier to pronounce."
"So… what does Mayoi mean?"
She tapped her lips in thought. "I think if you translate it into Kanji, it comes out as 'True Evening'." She huffed. "Doesn't sound exciting at all, does it?"
He gazed at her for a moment before answering. "I don't know.. it does sound rather mysterious."
"Mysterious? Yeah right!"
He ran a hand through her hair one more time, this time letting it settle on her shoulder. "I've always thought there was a bit of mystery about you."
She blinked and looked at him in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you showed up out of nowhere one day, I ended up helping you, and then you had to go back home before I really got to know you. It's only these past few weeks that I've gotten to see more of your life."
He smiled at her. "I'm sorry I didn't make more of an effort to see you. Things were just too hectic after I helped put Gant away.."
"I know.." She assured "I was busy with training and stuff as well. Plus.. I didn't want to meet you again, until I was certain I could actually help you out without messing up."
Her eyes were downcast. "Guess that plan didn't work out, huh? I still dragged you into my messes."
He gently pulled her closer. "You've never been a burden to me Maya. Honestly, it's always good to work with you."
She blinked when she head that, wondering if he just made that up. But his expression showed he was serious.
He knew he meant it as well. While her youthful exuberance was an annoyance sometimes, it always felt strange whenever he had to investigate a case without her. Things were never quite as interesting without her urging him to check out hidden places he probably shouldn't be in, or making bizarre, sometimes hilarious comments on whatever happened to be in her line of sight, or secretly whispering jokes about some aspect of a witness they were interviewing, which would cause him to struggle to not burst out into laughter, or leading him to their favourite burger stand to discuss the case and their various thoughts on in, where sometimes, she would actually come up with some clever insights…
His train of thought came to a stop when he realized that Maya was now closely huddled next to him, her head resting on his shoulder, his arm wrapped around her shoulders.
He'd never held her so intimately before. Hell, he hadn't held anyone like this in years. It was a unfamiliar feeling, but one which felt more comforting than anything he had experience in a long time.
He had missed this, this feeling of having someone close to him, someone close to share his thoughts with. But he had never imagined that it would be Maya giving him these feelings. He was just her friend and somewhat employer. She was the sister of his former mentor. Surely this wasn't meant to happen.
But he couldn't keep denying it. Somehow, without him noticing it until now, his definition of what Maya meant to him had drastically changed. He wasn't sure what to call it.. he didn't want to risk saying that Pearl really was right about the two of them all along.
But as he looked at her, feeling content as he watched her relax against him, there was no mistake that there were stronger emotions running through him than she had ever elicted before.
And scarier still, he was really starting to enjoy it.
"Hey Nick.." She spoke out, having been silent for a while. "That show you like is on."
He blinked, remembering that the television was still on. He'd completely forgotten about it during their talk.
The show in question was named Court Record, and was basically a talk show where the various hosts and guests would discuss various legal and criminal issues and debates, including reviews and discussions of any interesting court cases which had happened in the last week. Some of Phoenix's cases had been talked about on the show, including the incidents with von Karma and Damon Gant.
Mia had recommended he start watching the show when he had first joined her firm, saying that he could pick up some useful tips from it. And while he found most of the discussions boring, watching the court cases, which were shown as video footage taken on that particular day, had given him some useful advice to use in real life courts.
But as the show carried on, and he saw an image of Matt Engarde flash appear on screen next to the host, he had a sinking feeling that this was one show he did not want to see.
"Good evening, and welcome to Court Record." The host, a middle-aged man in a suit whose name Phoenix had forgotten spoke. "In this special edition of the show, we'll be discussing one of the most dramatic celebrity trials ever seen, the trial of TV superstar Matt Engarde, for the murder of fellow star Juan Corrida."
"Omigod!" Maya gasped. "They're going to show the trial. I can finally see what happened."
Phoenix was overcome with a wave of fear. Seeing that trial and all he had done in it was bad enough, but he definitely didn't want Maya to see what had happened, what he had done to get Engarde's aquittal. He was quite certain it would break her heart. He desperately looked around for the remote control, but couldn't see it.
"This trial was quite momentous for many reasons.." The host droned on. "..one of which was the return of Miles Edgeworth at the Prosecutor's bench. After disappearing for a year, shortly after being aquitted for the murder of Robert Hammond, the man once known as the Demon Prosecutor made a grand revival, challenging the defense at every turn…"
"Cool!" Maya was positively beaming with glee. "To see you and Mr Edgeworth sparring again… this is gonna be great.."
"Maya.." he spoke cautiously. "No offence, but I really don't want to see all that again. It was nerve racking the first time…"
"Okay, don't watch then." She replied adamantly. "But I want to see you give that jerk Engarde what for."
Did she not understand, that he had had to use every dirty trick he could think of to make Engarde look innocent, and save her life? That he had actually pointed the blame at an innocent woman?
"…and perhaps the biggest surprise was the actions taken by Phoenix Wright, the famed unbeatable rookie. Usually one to clear his client's name and find the real perpetrator, this trial saw Wright willingly defend one of the most heinous characters we've ever encountered…"
That was enough for Phoenix to bear. He got up and switched off the TV.
"Hey, I was watching that!" Maya complained.
"Maya, trust me, you do not want to see what happened."
"Well, I do." She raised her hand, revealing that she held the remote control. A button was pressed, and the TV came back to life.
"Maya, don't. I don't want you.."
"What is wrong with you?" She frowned. "What is so bad about seeing you reveal the truth about Engarde to everyone?"
Acting out of instinct, he darted forward and attempted to snatch the remote from her hand. She shifted backward out of fright, and by accident, he grabbed her wrist and twisted it.
"OW!!" The remote fell to the floor, it's battery casing making a hollow sound as it broke open.
His hand flinched back when he heard her cry out. He stepped back, eyes wide in surprise as he realized he had hurt her.
Maya looked at him as she rubbed her wrist, confusion etched on her features. "Nick, what's gotten into you?"
"I.. I'm sorry. I didn't mean.."
Guilt overwhelmed him. What was he meant to say, after a stunt like that? He'd only sought to prevent her from feeling hurt over her part in Engarde's plot, but he'd only offended her instead.
Not knowing what he could possibly say or do to rectify this situation, he turned and walked out of the room, away from her accusing stare.
Maya watched as Phoenix moved swiftly out of the room, a look of sorrow on his face. For a moment, she considered following him, wanting to tell him that it had been an accident. But what was she meant to say? Something was bothering him, and a simple apology would get him to feel better about it.
She glanced through the door, enough to see Phoenix open the window door and step out onto the balcony. She sighed in relief. At least he wasn't leaving.
She turned back to the TV, which was now showing video footage from the Engarde trial. She could see Phoenix arguing with Edgeworth over some issue, while a blonde woman sat in the witness chair, looking rather nervous.
What on earth had happened in that courtroom? Something had effected him greatly, and it wasn't just seeing Edgeworth again. Scenarios ran through her head. Was he feeling guilty over not saving her from getting kidnapped? Upset that he had been fooled by Engarde?
The answer was playing on TV. Anf though she wanted nothing more than to run up to him, hug him and tell him everything was alright, she knew she'd never be able to truly help him unless she knew what he had gone through.
Reluctantly, she focused her attention on the case, taking in all the details.
"Please, let there be some way to help you.. just this once…"
To be continued.