Discalimer: We don't own any of the characters in Phoenix Wright, nor do we own any other part of it, and there is definitely no profit being made.
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It's been an honour.
Lyrical: Here it is, a decade later. I have thoroughly enjoyed this crazy ride. With my parting words, I have three thanks to give (along with my parents, the sibling and the cat, yada yada etc.).
First and most of all, a massive thank you to Shiva who has almost single-handedly kept this story on the rails. She has made me a better writer (grammar, plot development, characterisation… you name it), put up with my slow-arse and stupid moments through the years, and shared so many good laughs with me. It's been a pleasure. I'm happy to have made the best internet buddy eva!
Secondly, KingMob has my immense thanks for sticking with us for so many years. She has also helped both Shiva and me develop our writing through her fantastic literature/ace attorney knowledge, and has never failed to entertain with her great feedback.
Thirdly, thanks to you guys, the readers! This story took off to another level, which was entirely unforeseen. Some of you hate it (all art is polarising, amirite?), for others it's a guilty pleasure (I understand, pleasure do indulge), some of you are new (welcome! Sorry about all the words…) and, for some crazy reason, some of you have become loyal fans over the years. This one is for ALL of you (yep, even the haters, cause there must be something keeping you here to read this). Without you, this definitely wouldn't have been finished. I hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed writing.
Shiva: Wow. I don't know where to begin. Posting the final chapter of this story is so strange because we started it so long ago that it pretty much became an integral part of our lives, even when we weren't actively working on it. Posting a new chapter always felt like an accomplishment, especially when we managed to write it between exams and hectic work schedules.
I was still new to the fandom when Lyrical asked me to beta for her out of the blue, and after working on the first couple chapters with her, we found that our ideas and writing styles meshed well and we decided to co-write going forward. Some of my best memories are late nights on MSN brainstorming and laughing for hours. I must admit though that all the best ideas were hers; she's a comedic genius!
I don't even remember where I first met Mob; it was either on the CR forums or on LJ, but I remember being in love with her writing and we somehow ended up nerding out about Edgeworth, which led to betaing for each other. She's definitely made me a better writer over the years and I couldn't thank her enough for all her help and infinite patience.
I'm so grateful to have met so many awesome people along the way, and I want to thank everyone again for sticking with us till the end. We couldn't have done it without all your love and support. Thank you, I love you all *heart*
We hoped the chapter wasn't too unfollowable (our selection of words can be appalling), and that we kept things minty fresh, despite our delicate hands being led by the glow of Phoenix's magical… Shakespeare knowledge?
Of Fake Fairytales and Faux Amour
- Chapter 21 -
Of Real Fairytales and Vrai Amour
Miles opened his eyes.
He went to roll over but stopped when he felt an unfamiliar weight on his chest. Looking down, he suddenly remembered what had happened last night. There was an arm wrapped around him and when he looked to his left, he saw Wright's sleeping face next to his shoulder.
Miles smiled and put his hand on top of Phoenix's, giving it a gentle squeeze.
Phoenix blinked awake and looked lost for a moment, but then his eyes focused on him and he smiled. "Morning," he said groggily.
"Good morning," Miles replied, and he found himself unable to look away from Phoenix's eyes. They were filled with a fondness he definitely hadn't earned, but he wasn't going to fight this. Not this time. Not after sleeping through a whole night for the first time in years.
"You okay?" Phoenix asked, a slight frown on his face.
A feeling of warmth rose within Miles at Wright's concern and he couldn't help but smile again. "Yes. I'm fine." He gave Phoenix's hand another squeeze to emphasise his point. "I'm just… I'll need time to get used to this."
Phoenix laughed. "Tell me about it."
There was silence for a moment. Miles was content to let it linger, half closing his eyes and enjoying the comfortable warmth of Phoenix's company.
Unsurprisingly, it was Phoenix who spoke first. "Last time I woke up like this was four years ago."
Miles tensed. Why was he bringing up a past relationship at a time like this? It hardly seemed appropriate.
Phoenix seemed to notice and he shifted closer, pressing a kiss to his clothed shoulder. "Sorry, I meant, this is nice. I'd missed waking up next to someone."
Did it make a difference to Wright who he woke up next to? Wasn't he just dating the woman from the salon? Was he only here because it hadn't worked out with her? Wright had shown up and kissed him and Miles had been so overjoyed that he hadn't asked questions. Wright had apologised for taking so long to figure out what he wanted, but aside from that, he hadn't really explained anything.
What does he expect from me? I know nothing about relationships.
…Does he even want a relationship?
That was a good question. Did Wright even do relationships? They'd had numerous conversations since Miles had returned from Europe almost three months ago, but he realised that apart from his confused feelings about Maya, Wright had never talked about his personal life. Was he just private? Did he not want Miles to know about it? In any case, it seemed his last relationship had been four years ago. Or was that just the last time he'd woken up next to someone? Did he usually sleep with people and leave? Was that what he'd done with that woman from the salon? Was that-
Miles blinked, his eyes focusing on Wright's face, mere inches from his own. He realised he'd been staring off into space, lost in his thoughts.
"Thinking up a storm in there?" Phoenix asked, bringing his hand up to tap Miles' temple. "You were making the weirdest faces."
"What is this?" Miles blurted out without thinking, regretting the words as soon as they left his mouth.
Phoenix frowned. "What?"
It's okay. It's better to ask now than later.
Biting his lip, Miles took in a deep breath through his nose and slowly exhaled. "Are we… dating?"
Phoenix just stared at him for a few seconds, his expression unreadable, and then he laughed.
"It's not funny," Miles muttered, annoyed.
Why can't he take anything seriously!?
"I'm sorry, it's just… what kind of question is that?"
Miles studied his face. Was Wright laughing at him for thinking they were dating, or was it the other way around?
"Edgeworth…" Phoenix took his hand away and grabbed Miles' arm, tugging until he rolled over onto his side. When Miles focused on him again, he smiled and looked him straight in the eye. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be with you."
"Right. Of course," Miles replied, feeling a bit foolish for doubting his intentions.
Something seemed to click in Phoenix's head and he quirked an eyebrow. "What made you ask? I mean… why else would I be here?"
Miles bristled. "Seriously, Wright? A couple days ago, you told me you were dating that woman from Larry's work, and you expect me to magically understand what's going on with no explanation?" He huffed and looked down at the space between them.
Phoenix was silent for a moment, as if analysing what Miles had just said. "We went on one date, Edgeworth," he finally replied. Then his hand came up to rest on Miles' cheek, and when Miles looked back at him, Phoenix smiled and added, "And I was thinking about you the entire time."
Miles searched Phoenix's eyes and what he found was nothing but raw honesty. The same honesty he had found so compelling from the other side of the courtroom. Only now it wasn't for a client or a case; it was only for him. The realisation made his breath hitch in his throat.
There were no words to describe the way he felt. Perhaps it was a combination of Wright's expression, tone of voice and proximity, but it suddenly occurred to him how intimate and real this was. He'd never understood relationships before, never considered they were something he could have – or something he'd even want – but now, with Wright in his bed, looking at him as if he was the most precious thing in the world, he realised how much he'd missed out on.
No, that wasn't exactly accurate. He hadn't missed out on anything: before Wright, no one had even come close to making him reevaluate his convictions. Allowing himself to get distracted from his work had seemed wrong, foolish, a waste of time, and he realised now why that was. Perhaps Wright was the one meant to save him from all that as well.
"Thank you," he whispered.
Phoenix frowned. "For thinking about you?"
Miles rolled his eyes, but couldn't suppress a smile. "Among other things."
There were more questions swimming in Miles' head, like what had prompted Wright to bring up a relationship from four years ago, but for now, he was satisfied that he knew the truth and decided that the rest didn't matter. Wright would tell him in time, when they weren't both still trying to come to terms with… this. Miles did, however, voice the one question that still seemed important: "How is this going to work?"
Phoenix shrugged. "We'll figure it out."
"Of course improvisation is your answer to everything."
"Hey, that's not true," Phoenix replied, amused. "It's just… it's not rocket science. We managed just fine when we were pretending."
"True," Miles conceded. And it was. Despite all the time spent with Wright, and the man constantly haunting his thoughts when he wasn't around, he'd still managed to get all his work done. Perhaps the real thing would actually be easier.
"Are you, um…" Phoenix spoke up, his hand leaving Miles' face to rub the back of his own neck. He suddenly looked embarrassed. "I don't mean to assume, but I'm guessing you've never, well… you know."
Miles froze. He should have seen that coming.
So much for the real thing being easier.
Not his most eloquent answer, but Phoenix seemed to understand anyway, if the way he nodded slowly was anything to go by.
"It's been a while for me," he said, looking down at the bed. "And only with girls, so I guess you're not… I mean…" He chuckled nervously, still not meeting Miles' eyes. "I guess we'll have to figure that out together too."
Miles felt his face heat up as images popped into his mind unbidden, though not entirely unwelcome. He'd expected the topic to come up eventually, but not so soon, and he found he had no idea how to respond.
After a few seconds of silence, Phoenix looked back up and seemed to notice his discomfort. "Sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"It's fine," Miles replied, shaking his head. "Like I said, I just need some time."
Phoenix smiled, then scooted closer to bring their lips together. The kiss was slow and gentle, as if that was Wright's way of telling him that there was no rush. Miles let himself melt into it. This whole thing was supposed to be new and exciting, not stressful and scary. They'd make it work. They always did.
When they finally pulled back, Phoenix had the dopeyest look on his face, and Miles was sure he looked the same, but for the first time in his life, he didn't care.
"How about we go on a real date today?" Phoenix said, bringing his hand up to caress Miles' cheek.
Miles leaned into the touch, unable to stop smiling. "That sounds perfect."
The drive to Phoenix's place was quick, the traffic relatively light this morning. Phoenix entered first, letting Miles through and closing the door behind him. He made to move further into the apartment, but stopped and turned back around to face Miles.
"This is stupid, but…" He placed a hand on Miles' shoulder. "You're not going to disappear when I leave the room, right?"
I keep wondering if I'm imagining it all, too.
There was no logical reason to think that, though, so Miles didn't bother with any reassurance on the matter.
"Actually, I was contemplating cancelling and going to work instead," he said dryly.
"Okay, yeah, I knew it was dumb," Phoenix replied with a grin, moving his hand to the back of Miles' neck. "I won't be long." He pulled Miles' face to his own for another one of those kisses he was still getting used to. Vaguely, in the background, he heard the sound of a door opening.
"Hey, Nick, where did you sleep last n--aaaah!"
Miles felt a push on his chest that propelled him backwards into the door.
"Maya!" Phoenix squeaked.
"Oh. My. God!" Maya Fey stood by the couch, staring at the two of them, mouth wide open.
So this is what getting caught feels like…
Obviously flustered, Phoenix looked back and forth between Miles and Maya, before grabbing Miles' arm. "I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" At Miles' eye roll, he turned to Maya. "You scared the shit out of me!"
And yet it's me who gets injured?
"I scared you? You knew I was here!" Maya replied. She gestured at Miles. "I didn't know he was here!"
I think she's overestimating Wright's ability to remember anything that happened over an hour ago.
"Ah, y-yeah." Phoenix waved his free hand in front of Miles, ending with a weak flourish reminiscent of a second-rate stage magician. "Surprise?"
"Good day, Miss Fey," Miles said, for lack of a better response, shaking off Wright's hand while he rubbed the spot on his back that had been accosted by the door. The impact probably hadn't been enough to bruise, but it smarted all the same.
"No! You are not allowed to try and act casual about this!" Maya fumed, pointing a finger in their direction. "I saw the kiss!" Her eyes suddenly widened. "Whoa, Nick, Mr. Edgeworth is your secret girlfriend!?"
"I'm not a woman," Miles stated with a frown.
"Pretty sure he isn't," Phoenix agreed.
Again, Maya gawked at the both of them.
Well, this isn't awkward at all.
Not one to miss subtleties, Miles noted that Phoenix had shifted position slightly, increasing the distance between them. He realised he was a little disappointed by that, but understood. It hadn't even been twenty-four hours since Phoenix had told him how he felt, and probably not much longer since he'd worked it out.
Knowing his irritating spontaneity, probably minutes before he jumped in the cab.
"You… alright, Maya?" Phoenix asked after a long and uneasy silence.
"I've finally caught you," Maya said after metaphorically picking her jaw up from the floor.
Happiness spread across Maya's face and she clapped her hands with glee. "You guys are super sneaky! Even my amazing detective skills didn't pick up on this."
Phoenix looked guilty. "Well, this is kind of, erm… recent."
"As if! You've been a lovesick puppy for, like, a month now."
"Ah, of course! The tea!" Maya interrupted, tapping herself on the forehead. "That should have blown the case wide open. Especially when I worked out it was a prosecutor."
"…Case?" Phoenix asked in a defeated tone.
"Turnabout Secret Lover, duh."
Wright apparently has the subtlety of a freight train.
"Gah, I was so close… If only I'd known you liked guys too," Maya mused, playing with her ear and looking lost in her reminiscing.
"Not guys, plural," Phoenix protested, putting a heavy emphasis on the 's'. He then paused, looking at Miles, then back at Maya. "And why are you not more surprised?"
Maya gave him an unimpressed look. "Get over yourself, Nick. It's not like you're a ladies' man or anything." She smirked. "I'm more surprised that Mr. Edgeworth can put up with you and your whining."
"Social filters can be surprisingly easy to develop when you spend enough time around him," Miles said, crossing his arms.
"H-hey! Why's it always me that gets picked on?"
Case in point.
"Oh, wow, so much is starting to make sense now," Maya continued, a wide smile still on her face. "Like Mr. Edgeworth's sudden interest in the greatest show on Earth."
"…You think Edgeworth got into the Steel Samurai for me?"
"Well, yeah. That's why you were both at the cinema, right?"
Phoenix turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow. Miles ignored him, deciding there was no need to correct Maya. Besides, the real reason they were there seemed like an even worse confession.
"Ooh, now that this isn't some sneaky sneakerson business, does this mean you'll come join us for samurai movie nights, Mr. Edgeworth?"
Such a casual invitation to a future, unplanned social event made no sense to Miles, but he still appreciated the offer. The past month hadn't been as awful as he'd expected, and perhaps a small increase in his allotted social time would not hurt.
"Maya!" Phoenix cut in before Miles could respond. "This thing," he gestured over at Miles, "is less than a day old. You can't go auto-inviting us as a couple to everything. Besides, Edgeworth doesn't have a lot of spare time."
"I'm going to have to stop you there, Wright," Miles spoke up, arms still crossed. They both turned to him, Phoenix baffled and Maya curious.
Deep breath. You've got this.
"There is always time for samurai movie nights," he said, completely serious.
Phoenix's eyes widened and he blinked a couple of times. "Wow." He stared a bit more. "You can take that back, if you want."
Miles huffed. "I stand by my statement."
Phoenix laughed and smiled fondly at him. The initial awkwardness seemed to have passed, and Miles felt himself relax a bit.
"Maya, I think you may have just kicked us both out of our respective closets," Phoenix said with a chuckle.
"Ha! Magnificent Maya strikes again!" Maya leapfrogged over the couch to sit down, legs crossed. "Hope I didn't interrupt your smooch fest."
Miles flinched. A glance over at Phoenix confirmed that he was also embarrassed, a light flush of pink visible on his cheeks.
I don't think this is something I'll ever get used to.
"Actually, we only dropped by so I could take a shower and get changed," Phoenix said, crossing the living room in a skittish manner.
"Maybe next time, you shouldn't ninja your way in like a thief."
"You heard the door!" Phoenix argued. "And maybe next time, you shouldn't sneak up on me like an evil villain spy."
Maya puffed out her cheeks. "You shut your piehole! I'm an enigmatic hero, dragging you both into the light!"
Phoenix ignored her and walked to the bathroom, closing the door with a small laugh.
Miles imagined the same scene with Franziska instead of Maya. He could feel the heat of the whip marks just by thinking about it.
"I'm deeply sorry, Miss Fey," he said after a short pause. "Wright didn't mention that you were here. If I had known-"
Maya's giggle cut across his apology. "You make it sound like I walked in on something much worse." Her eyes widened. "Unless you were about to start…?"
"Ngh! Nothing of the sort!" Miles exclaimed, mentally damning Wright and his lack of preparation for the umpteenth time.
"I can go if you need me to," Maya said, looking perturbed by the prospect.
"That is certainly not something we require." As much as he wanted to be alone with Wright, his pride wouldn't let him admit it with those implications in place.
"Ah, I get it." Maya smirked. "You haven't got that far yet."
Christ. Am I that easy to read?
"I… We…" Miles cleared his throat. Deflection. "Should I make us some drinks?" Hopefully, his tea distraction skills had gotten better since attempting to use them on Franziska.
"Yes! Hot chocolate for me!" Maya sprang up from the couch and grabbed Miles by the arm, hauling him into the kitchen. "This is the perfect time for me to ask all the BFF questions!"
What on God's green Earth are BFF questions?
Attempted escape quashed, Miles reluctantly set about filling and boiling the kettle. He then went searching for the tea, coffee, hot chocolate, mugs and spoons, with some assistance from Maya. It felt a little strange to be using Wright's kitchen without him there. Yesterday, Miles had doubted whether he would ever see him again, and now, here he was, in his apartment, as if they were a proper couple.
Was he overthinking again? Maybe. The thought was, however, pleasantly reassuring.
"So, what are your intentions for my best friend, Mr. Edgeworth?" Maya asked as Miles prepared their drinks. She was sitting on the counter, putting her almost at eye level with Miles.
"Pardon?" Miles said, a little bemused.
"Well, what do you think of Nick? I hope you're not stringing him along as some crazy prosecutor joke."
I don't think there's a single person at the Prosecutor's Office who would find that amusing.
He glanced at her. "I don't joke, Miss Fey. Would it not be more likely to be the other way around?"
"Nah. You're obviously his type," Maya said, waving a hand. "He's always going on about you and your great logic and sense of justice, too." She paused, smirking. "Well, when he's not making wisecracks about how stuffy you are."
He does, does he?
Perhaps talking to Wright's self-proclaimed best friend would be beneficial, after all.
Maya swung her legs a few times against the cupboard doors and eyed him curiously. "I just don't see why anyone would want to put up with him, so you must have some kind of agenda."
Miles frowned, trying to work out why Maya was baiting him. Was it some kind of test?
It must stand for Basic Fundamental Friendship questions.
"Wright is a loyal friend," Miles said, checking the steep time on his watch. Anything less than three minutes may as well be dishwater, and anything over five would release far too much bitterness from the cheap tea bag. "My intention is to keep us both happy."
Maya just stared at him for a moment. "Wow. I was expecting a dull response, but not that dull."
"I apologise if that's not the answer you were looking for."
…Does that mean I've failed?
No, that couldn't be; Miles never flunked tests.
…Not that my education included extensive study of the intricacies of intimate relationships.
Or perhaps Maya was just looking for a specific answer.
Miles glanced at his watch again. Four minutes. He took the tea bag out of his tea, then poured some cream in the coffee and hot chocolate.
Maya jumped down and snatched her mug, before taking a sip. "I was hoping you'd bring up all the times Nick has swooped in and saved you, and the ones where you've helped him," Maya said as they made their way back to the living room. "Then it sounds like a super cool relationship, like you're the Pink Princess to his Steel Samurai!"
So this was less about my intentions and more a roundabout way to talk about TV shows?
"I think you'll find those roles would need to be reversed. The Pink Princess saves the Steel Samurai in more episodes."
Maya gasped. "Not true! Haven't you seen the new movie? I can't believe Nick hasn't taken you yet! It's been out two days already!"
Miles smirked at the irony.
I really should have ignored my morals and taken the ticket. Spoilers are going to be everywhere.
They sat next to each other on the couch and Miles placed the tea and coffee on the table, wincing at the lack of coasters.
I will have to buy him some. There's no chance of him doing it himself.
"Even with the new movie, all the important developments happen when the Steel Samurai has to call for her aid," Miles said, pushing the strangely domestic coaster thoughts to the back of his mind.
Maya frowned. "Are you including the Good Magistrate arc? 'Cause everyone knows that shouldn't even exist."
"Indeed. That is one thing we can agree on."
Miles looked up to see Phoenix in the doorway. "Are you two done nerding out yet?"
"You're only a casual fan, Nick; you wouldn't understand," Maya replied.
"I made you a coffee," Miles said, picking up the mug.
"Hardly. You would never be able to afford my services."
Phoenix laughed and walked over to receive the drink, before taking a seat in the armchair. He'd shaved, his hair was still damp from the shower, and Miles could smell the remnants of a minty scent – probably his body wash. Phoenix had also changed into a collared button-down, one of the finer ones Miles had seen him wear.
He looks good.
It was nice to recognise such a thing and not feel guilty, and to be able to look at Wright without the fear of getting caught.
"If I'd known that I'd get an automatic coffee maker thrown in with the deal, I'd have dated you way sooner," Phoenix joked, pulling Miles' gaze back up from where he'd been studying his shirt.
Miles scoffed. "You think I would do something nice for no reason? I expect a favour in return."
"A favour, huh?"
"I'm still here!" Maya announced loudly.
Abashed, Miles looked down at his drink. That could've been taken as rather suggestive, now that he thought about it. Had he learned nothing from being around Kath and her sewer of a mind?
"You don't have to be here," Phoenix pointed out, not doing much to help with Miles' embarrassment.
"Pfft. Fat chance I'm leaving after you've spent the past few weeks ignoring me!" Maya grinned as Phoenix grimaced. "Now that I finally know the truth, I'm going to third wheel you so hard!"
There go our plans…
"If that's how you want to play it, maybe I'll just make out with Edgeworth the entire time!" Phoenix retorted. Miles snapped his head up to glare at him with his most piercing look, making Phoenix shy away. "Or maybe I won't…"
"Come on, Nick, this will be fun!" Maya said, without so much as a hint of sarcasm. "I've never hung out with you and one of your girl-slash-boyfriends before."
Phoenix raised an eyebrow and waved a hand over at Miles. "You already know him. We even hung out together last week! Besides, I haven't dated anyone else since we've known each other."
As much as I hate mistruths, it would probably be rude to bring up the salon woman.
Maya rolled her eyes. "Stop being one of those crappy friends who ditch everyone once they get a new boyfriend." She had apparently run out of arguments and had stooped to guilt tripping, something very effective when used on Wright.
Indeed, Phoenix looked resigned at that statement and sighed, meeting Miles' gaze with an apologetic glance. "Fine, stay if you want," he mumbled, as if there had ever been a choice in the matter.
"Awesome!" Maya grinned. "I'll just give Pearly a quick call to tell her I can't meet her in Kurain this afternoon."
"Huh? Isn't she in L.A.?"
Maya frowned. "Are you serious? Why would I come over to your place without her?"
There was a pause as Phoenix seemed to ponder the words. "…Good point."
"Do you seriously not remember that I put her on the train on Friday before I sent you home? Plus I told you a million times I was going to be visiting her this week!"
To think, out of everyone, Miles had fallen for this idiot. He smiled to himself and quietly drank his tea as Phoenix scrambled to form a coherent sentence.
"Whatever, Nick," Maya said with a smile of her own as she got up from the couch, mug and phone in her hands. "Now I understand that you were too busy thinking about Mr. Edgeworth and how to confess your feelings, like a hopeless idiot."
"T-that's not… That's defamation! You're ruining my good name!" Phoenix called after Maya as she skipped into the kitchen to make her call.
"I think she described you quite accurately," Miles said.
Phoenix made a show of pretending to have upper back pain, falling forward out of his seat to grab Miles' leg. "Et tu, Edgete?"
Ah. Not old, just stabbed in the back.
Miles did his best to try and hide his amusement. "That is a terrible conjugation of the noun."
Phoenix squinted up at him from his spot sprawled on the floor. "Take it up with Shakespeare." He rolled his eyes. "And of course you know Latin."
"For my sins."
Latin was an overly complex affair, drilled into him by his German homeschooling under the pretence that it would make every other European language easier to learn. As it turned out, the knowledge of a dead language was unsurprisingly useless most of the time – apart from being able to annoy Wright.
Shifting around, Phoenix sat up and propped his chin up on his hand, his elbow on the couch next to Miles' leg. "Sorry about this."
Miles smirked. "Your amateur dramatics aren't that bad. Probably because you've had to practice them so much in court."
"Ha, funny. You knew what I meant."
He did, but Phoenix didn't have anything to apologise for. As pleasant as it would have been for the two of them to spend time together alone, Miles found that Maya's presence wasn't too objectionable. It wasn't ideal, and he couldn't say he didn't mind, but a foolish part of him appreciated it as an introduction to Phoenix's everyday life, as opposed to work or their private time together.
"Don't worry, Wright," Miles replied. "I'll add it to the list of favours you owe me, which seems to be growing exponentially."
Inwardly, Miles reeled.
That was deliberate and… flirtatious?
Had he always spoken to Wright like this without realising? Or had last night's events changed everything?
Phoenix laughed. "I'll be sure to pay them back in full."
Surely that response was too natural for something that wasn't even a day old.
Miles leaned forward, resting his arms on his thighs so that he was almost at Phoenix's eye level. "You should probably be quick about it; my interest rates are extortionate."
Before Miles could even blink, Phoenix bridged the gap and kissed him. Expecting something chaste with Maya in the next room, he was surprised when Phoenix deepened the kiss, using more than a hint of tongue. In a day of new experiences, it was an entirely pleasant one and he didn't protest, instead reciprocating as he indulged in the moment. It was a while until they both pulled away, his concerns about Maya's proximity temporarily forgotten.
"That is… a good start," Miles said, not doing a great job at being nonchalant.
Phoenix grinned. "I've been hanging out with you too much. Now I'm finding interest rates interesting."
"It's in the name. Also, don't lie. You'll only encourage actual adult conversation."
"Maybe I'd enjoy some adult conversation, and where it would lead," Phoenix said with a wink.
Now that is definitely new.
Miles didn't have a witty response or a dry dismissal for that particular curveball, and ended up just staring back at Wright, wordless.
"Pearly's cool with it. I'll just head down later today," Maya said, breaking the silence as she walked back into the living room.
I fear we are going to be forever plagued by interruptions…
She eyed them both, Phoenix still on the floor and Miles leaning back slightly from his very close position over him. "Aha! You can't get rid of me that easily! Third wheel attack!" she shouted as she ran over to Phoenix and barrelled into him.
"Ouch! Maya!" Phoenix scowled at her as he picked himself up off the floor. Maya took no notice and sat down next to Miles, a bit closer than he would have preferred.
"So any plans for our tricycle day out?" she asked, clapping her hands.
"Well, we were going to go for a romantic coffee." Phoenix sent Maya a pointed look, taking his place back in the armchair.
"I don't remember suggesting anywhere particularly romantic," Miles commented.
Phoenix smiled at him. "Well, it's kind of our café now, Edgeworth." At Miles' puzzled look, he continued, "You know, when you have a movie with someone, or when a song comes on and it's like, 'hey, it's our song'."
"Or food," Maya added. "I always think of Pearly when I eat chicken nuggets."
I am none the wiser.
"Ooh, Nick, I've just had an amazing idea!"
"No, I'm not taking him to Mr. Patty," Phoenix said, rubbing his temple.
Maya looked taken aback. "Whoa, that's freaky. Did my sister teach you how to read minds?"
"As if she'd reveal her secret to me," Phoenix answered with a soft smile. "Speaking of, we should go to one of her places instead."
"Riiight, one of Mia's places." Maya smirked. "That sister of mine always pops up when you need her most, huh?"
Miles didn't understand why Phoenix became resigned at that. Frankly, this whole conversation had been incomprehensible, and he hated not being able to follow what was going on around him.
Looks like it may be time to get used to that…
"I think I may owe you again, Edgeworth," Phoenix said sheepishly.
Miles crossed his arms and made sure to reply with a stern look. He wouldn't let it show, but the prospect of another favour actually didn't seem too bad.
The diner was apparently popular, and so the trio ended up having to sit around the unwanted table by the door. Maya looked thrilled as she read up and down the menu, making little sounds as she decided which burgers to get. Fast food was, however, not something Miles knew much about, nor was he particularly interested in learning the difference between curly fries and ones with 'secret spices'.
"What do you think the 'salad' option entails?" Miles asked Phoenix in a low voice, repeatedly flattening the corner of the menu where the laminate was curling up.
"Probably some leaves and mayo. You might get lucky and win a tomato," Phoenix replied, just as quietly.
Edgeworth frowned. Wright seemed to attract mishaps on top of his extraordinary good luck, which meant that the salad would probably turn out to be excellent, but the waiter would end up dropping the food on his head.
I shouldn't risk it for our first date.
He glanced over at Phoenix and frowned again.
Is this really our first date, though?
When he thought about it, Miles decided that this was definitely not a typical first date. For one, Maya was with them, and they knew each other way too well to make meaningless small talk. They also had already been on several fake dates.
Is Wright expecting our dates to be more romantic now that this is real? Or just more of the same?
It would have been nice to talk more about the specifics of their relationship going forward. He hated being in the dark.
"If it isn't my favourite samurai couple!"
Miles looked up to see the waiter standing next to Maya across the table.
Samurai? Does he mean us? Have we seen this man before?
I don't think this is the same place we visited with Maya last time…
"Oh, boy," Phoenix said.
I should have known. What's he done this time?
"I'm a lone samurai," Maya replied seriously. "You can't be a master without dedication to the trade."
The waiter seemed even happier at that. "Sorry, sensei, I shouldn't have presumed. Does it make it better if I say that the sight of you has brightened my day?"
"I think I've just been inspired with a new greeting for you," Phoenix joked, nudging Miles on the arm.
"Don't you dare."
Maya seemed to take this in stride – Miles had a suspicion she didn't even pick up on the waiter's sentiment – and ordered no less than four burgers, while Phoenix got the strangely described curly fries. Still scarred by the image of being covered in salad, Miles ordered a wrap, sending the waiter on his way.
"That guy knows absolutely nothing about samurai," Maya complained once he had left. "He's such a wannabe."
Phoenix laughed. "Maybe you should teach him?"
Maya seemed to ponder for a moment. "Reckon he'd give me free fries if I did?"
"Definitely," Phoenix said with a cheeky grin.
Miles shook his head. "I don't think being in a relationship for barely twenty-four hours means you can start matchmaking, Wright."
"Well, I feel like I've been burdened with you way longer than that…"
You and me both.
"Eww, Nick!" Maya exclaimed. "You're trying to pimp me for fries?"
Phoenix chuckled. "I'm sure you'd be worth a lot of fries. Maybe even several double burgers."
"Damned straight," Maya muttered, crossing her arms.
That was a quick change of tune.
"Are the restrooms… acceptable?" Miles asked, considering waiting rather than risk catching some awful disease.
"They're actually really clean," Phoenix replied. "I know it's not quite as fancy as you're used to, but people do survive visiting here, I promise."
Miles rolled his eyes, then proceeded to get up and make his way over to the bathroom, which was perfectly adequate. There was even a small bottle of hand lotion on the counter to combat the dryness of the hand soap.
Maybe Wright is right. I can be a little judgemental sometimes…
After finishing up and washing his hands, Miles took a moment to look at himself in the small mirror. He was surprised to see how much fresher and more relaxed he looked compared to the last few days. His eyes had also lost that empty look that reminded him too keenly of the past – of the things Wright had saved him from.
Funny how much of a difference one good night of sleep makes.
He ran a hand over his hair.
Turns out you are a romantic fool, after all, Miles.
Tutting at the thought, he walked out of the bathroom and through the restaurant towards their table. However, he found his way blocked by a few customers who had gathered to look at something near the entrance.
"Are you fucking kidding me!?" a high-pitched voice shouted over the crowd.
Miles recognised that voice. He started moving again, apologising as he pushed through the people, only to find Kath, takeout bag in hand, her other hand grasping the front of Phoenix's shirt. Maya stood off to the side, a startled look on her face.
What is she doing here!?
"Thank God!" Phoenix exclaimed as he spotted Miles. "Tell her, Edgeworth!"
Kath spun around, startled, letting go of Phoenix's shirt.
"What on Earth is going on?" Miles asked as Phoenix smoothed down his shirt and mouthed 'what the fuck' behind Kath's back.
"I was just giving this cheating scumbag a piece of my mind," Kath said angrily. "Then he had the audacity to say the two of you were still together!" She scoffed. "After everything that's happened, you'd think he'd finally admit that-"
"Whoa, lady, I'm sorry if you were hurt by Nick being a moron," Maya interjected, fists balled at her sides, "but you have no right to physically attack him just because he chose Mr. Edgeworth over you!"
"What!?" Kath and Phoenix spluttered at the same time, sharing a look of disgust.
Now there's an image…
"I think we all need to take a moment here," Miles said, raising a hand in a calming motion.
"Are you serious? Miles, this douche was casually sitting here with the reason you two broke up!" Kath pointed at Maya. "How are you not as angry as I am right now?"
Wait… so that's what she meant when she said she saw Wright with a girl?
"Which one is that guy sleeping with?" a voice asked from the crowd behind Miles.
"Dude, I think all three."
And somehow Wright ends up as the bad guy again.
"Evere-Kath. I never implied that Phoenix and I broke up because of Miss Fey."
"Wait, what? You guys broke up?" Maya asked, pointing between the two of them. "I thought you'd literally just got together?" She paused. "And since when do you call him Phoenix?"
Phoenix put his face in his hands and cursed.
Kath frowned. "Obviously you weren't to know, Miss Fey. Miles and Mr. Wright had been secretly dating for months before Mr. Wright decided to have second thoughts about his sexuality and end up with you."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Phoenix spoke up, holding his hands out and stopping Maya from arguing back. "Hold it, there. I have never been with, or dated, or even asked out either of you. Right?"
Maya and Kath both looked slightly disturbed by that idea and nodded their heads in unison.
"Okay, so the only person here I'm dating and want to date is Edgeworth. Sorted. Can we please all get along now?"
Though a bit embarrassed, Miles did appreciate Wright's honesty despite the audience. Thankfully, though, it seemed that most people had already lost interest and had retreated to their seats.
"Uh, no!" Maya replied. "What's this about a months-long relationship you hid from your bestest friend!?"
"And what about the breakup you two have suddenly forgotten about?" Kath added.
…I guess there were a couple of things we forgot to clear up after all of this.
Phoenix squirmed under both their gazes. "Uh… well… neither of those things technically happened."
Kath and Maya looked shocked and they both turned to Miles, apparently waiting for his side of the story.
"Indeed," Miles confirmed, grabbing his arm in an attempt to distract himself from his embarrassment. "Wright and I were never actually together."
"No!" Kath exclaimed, a hand raising to her mouth in disbelief. "No, that wasn't… I didn't just imagine this. I comforted you after the breakup! You looked like crap!"
Don't remind me…
"Wright agreed to pretend to be my partner after I had enough of rejecting… people."
"Nick!" Maya punched Phoenix on the arm, eliciting a small 'ow'. "How could you not tell me about this!?"
"I dunno, it just kinda… spiralled, I guess…" Phoenix mumbled, rubbing his arm.
"So what was the sick day for, then?" Kath asked, anger creeping back into her tone. "And all that heartbroken crap in your office? And why did we go out so many times together? To laugh at my ignorance?"
"No, Everett, this wasn't a joke," Miles replied. "I… I…" He took a sharp intake of breath, before letting it out again. "I truly did fall for him over the extra time we spent together." He looked down to avoid everyone's eyes, feeling foolish.
"And I rejected him," Phoenix said, guilt evident in his tone.
"So that's why you became the grump monster." Maya patted Phoenix on the shoulder. "Seriously, why didn't you talk to me?"
Phoenix shrugged. "Because I'm an idiot?"
She smiled. "Sounds about right."
"Miss Everett, I think we owe you an apology," Phoenix said sheepishly, turning to Kath. "It took me a while, but now we're together, for real. We really should have-"
"No, no, it's…" Kath cut in, her facial expression morphing as she spoke. "You're actually together now? Oh, that's just… This is so…" Tears started rolling down her face and Miles braced himself as he waited for her to finish.
"I can't believe I've been part of such a romantic story!" Kath managed to say between sobs.
"I, too, apologise for our deception," Miles said, making sure to stay out of arm's reach of Kath to avoid more tear stains on his clothes.
"It's also Larry's fault," Phoenix added, handing Kath a napkin. "He got super invested in helping us keep up the act. Even gave us 'lessons'."
"Don't be silly! Why are you apologising?" Kath blew her nose. "I don't think I've ever heard of anything more romantic! And if Larry helped, I think you should both get him something nice for his matchmaking skills."
Something nice is not what I had in mind.
"You told Larry and not me!?" Maya exclaimed, puffing out her cheeks.
Phoenix took a step back, probably afraid to get punched again. "Ah… yeah. But not because I wanted to! It just… came up and I had to tell him to shut him up, and then he got all excited and came up with a plan to help us look like a real couple."
Miles nodded. "As Wright said, the majority of this utterly ridiculous scheme was Larry's idea."
Kath frowned as she paused from wiping her face dry with another napkin. "Wait… Does this mean you guys didn't actually have sex in the restaurant bathroom?"
Of all the things to ask about…
Maya burst out laughing as Phoenix and Miles cringed. Timing was also against them, as the waiter suddenly appeared with their food and let out a small 'ahem' noise.
"Sorry to break up the fiesta," he said with a cheeky grin. "Knew you guys were my favourites."
"Hey, prosecutor lady, you should join us," Maya said, hurriedly taking her seat at the table again as the waiter set down what looked to Miles like the least appetising food he'd ever seen. "I want to hear all about this epic fake relationship masterpiece."
"Of course!" Kath looked ecstatic at the prospect and took a seat next to Maya. "I can't wait to find out all about the actual fairytale story!"
Miles looked over at Phoenix, who shared the same weary look. It could have gone worse, but now they were stuck with another person to share their date with. As they sat back down at the table, prepared to be bombarded with yet more invasiveness, it occurred to Miles that he really shouldn't have expected anything different for their first date – it was with Phoenix Wright, after all.
After what seemed like an eternity of answering awkward questions, Miles and Phoenix finally had the chance to escape once they were done eating, but only after Maya and Kath had shared a dessert.
"Thanks for the food, guys!" Maya said with a wide smile. "I'm really happy for you, Nick. And Mr. Edgeworth, of course."
"Thanks, Maya," Phoenix replied, hugging her. "I'm glad I don't have to lie to you anymore."
As he watched them, Miles felt a tug on his sleeve and turned around, only to have the air forced out of his lungs as Kath tackled him into a tight hug. "This is the best thing ever!" she exclaimed into his chest.
That was not an invitation for you to copy…
Miles put a hand on her shoulder to push her away gently. "Thank you for your understanding."
"I'm just so relieved it all worked out in the end!" She sighed contentedly, then took a quick glance over at Phoenix, before leaning in to whisper in Miles' ear, "Finally, the hot sex can happen for real!"
Of course that's still all she thinks about.
"…Have a safe journey home," he managed to reply, hoping that if he ignored it hard enough, her remark might go away.
Kath winked at him. "Bye, everyone!" she shouted over at the other two, and with an exuberant wave, she was gone.
"I better be heading off, too," Maya said. Miles nodded and went to pull his car keys out of his pocket. "Oh, don't worry about dropping me off, Mr. Edgeworth, my place is super close to here." She smiled and bowed to them. "Enjoy the rest of your day! But leave fighting the bad guys for when you're with me, okay?"
Is that her strange way of telling us not to do any work?
"I promise," Phoenix replied, smiling back at her.
Miles returned her bow with all the gravity befitting a warrior of Neo Olde Tokyo. "You have my word, Miss Fey," he said, glancing up at her with a smile of his own.
Maya's eyes sparkled and she raised a fist to her heart, "For great justice!" She nodded and then chuckled. "Alright, see you later!" She waved one last time, before turning around and skipping away.
As soon as Maya was out of earshot, Phoenix turned to him, looking both puzzled and amused. "What was that about?"
Miles smirked. "Nothing. You wouldn't understand." He paused. "Car?"
"Car," Phoenix agreed, and they set off towards the parking lot.
It was still fairly early in the afternoon and Miles debated his next course of action. Should he drive Phoenix home and go back to his place, or should he suggest they go somewhere else now that their chaperones were gone? Would Wright want to spend more time with him today? What was going on in his mind?
He looked over at Phoenix, realising that there had been a rather long silence, which was unusual with Wright. It appeared that he, too, was thinking.
They had both gone to break the silence at the same time. Miles smirked and gestured for Phoenix to continue.
"Should we go somewhere else? That wasn't what I had in mind when I suggested we go on a real date." Phoenix looked guilty. "And, you know, I do owe you a really big favour for putting up with-"
"Come over to my place," Miles cut in, surprising both of them. They had stopped by the car, so Miles tentatively took Phoenix's hand in his own. "I would suggest yours, but as you correctly observed, you owe me. And your selection of tea is appalling."
Phoenix laughed and smiled. It really was a lovely smile. "Wow. I was thinking a movie or something."
Miles darted his eyes away. "Ah… maybe I have misjudged…"
"No! No, your place would be perfect," Phoenix said quickly. "Plus your bed is super comfy."
Miles raised an eyebrow. "Who said anything about my bed?"
Phoenix grinned and moved closer. "Well, Mr. Prosecutor, I would say the evidence suggests that wasn't an innocent invitation."
This time, Miles was prepared. "Evidence? I object."
"So you deny that you think I'm the handsomest, wittiest, coolest human?" At Miles' amused look, Phoenix grabbed one of the lapels of his jacket and gave a small tug. "I have it on good authority that you've been checking me out all day."
So he noticed. Finally. It only took him a month.
Miles leaned forward and kissed him, softly at first, and then with more intensity. It felt so natural now, but there was still that small twist of anticipation in his stomach. "You are very distracting."
Sighing, Miles slapped Phoenix's hand off and took out his keys. "This moment has now been ruined."
"Nah, you just need a cute nickname for me, too," Phoenix replied as Miles pressed the button to unlock the doors. "How about 'Wrighty-baby'?"
Miles chuckled. "I don't think so, honey."
"But it suits your annoying optimism, sugar."
Phoenix rolled his eyes and walked over to the other side of the car. "I see what you're doing and I hate you."
Miles opened the door and climbed in, Phoenix doing the same. "Good, so no more nicknames. I think I may have just injured my mouth with those terrifying words."
"I'll make sure to kiss it better, as you'll probably be needing it later."
Miles felt his face heat up at the implication but couldn't hold back a smile. To think that they had ended up together after everything they had been through.
He turned to face Phoenix. "Is that so?"
"And what exactly are you planning?"
Phoenix laughed sheepishly. "Hey, now. I can't share that information with the prosecution."
Miles smirked. "You're all talk as usual, Mr. Wright."
"Shut up, Edgeworth."
We may not know what we're doing, but I'd say we're doing just fine.
– The End. / Fin.