Disclaimer: The Phoenix Wright cast still belongs to Capcom.
Maya scolded the young acolyte who had snuck in a chocolate chip cookie during their meditation training.
"But you eat during meditation," the little girl protested. "You eat lots of food."
Maya wagged a finger in the girl's face. "That's because I can. Only masters are allowed to eat during meditation." She took the cookie and told the girl that she wouldn't be punished this time, but there would be time-out if it happened again. As soon as the girl skipped away out of sight, the master of the Kurain Channeling Technique popped the cookie in her mouth. She made a sound of pure ecstasy. "Yummy!" She smacked her lips and went into a side room.
It was a simple room, furnished only with a small dresser and desk, which was set against the wall opposite the door. Sometimes it was difficult to read and write on it because she'd never bothered to buy a lamp. And because the desk's top was littered with plastic toy models of children's superheroes. But she liked it that way.
She went to the dresser and removed a worn shoebox from one of the drawers. With a smile, she flopped down in the middle of the floor and opened the lid. It was full of letters—one for every two weeks dating back to a year ago. She couldn't believe a year had already passed since that day they had parted on the runway. Without any kind of spoken agreement, they had begun corresponding through letters. Every two weeks without fail, there was an envelope on her desk from him. Then she would write him a letter in return.
It had started as short notes; she revealed to him bit by bit the nature of her past nightmares, and eventually the one that had driven her nearly to death. Phoenix had actually been the one to suggest that she do it. Edgeworth was the best person who could relate to her, he'd said. The prosecutor would be able to offer her advice that the rest of her friends could not. And indeed he could.
But the letters weren't always so serious and gloomy. Edgeworth often fascinated her with details of the country or city he was currently visiting, and she would tell him about her adventures with spirit training, or about the new hilarious faces Nick made in court. They also continued their argument about the other's tastes in music—in each of their letters, they would suggest a song for the other to listen to, and they would comment about it in their next correspondence. Maya giggled as she reread one of his opinions on a song she'd suggested.
Terrible. When the singer is not whining about his lover's betrayal, he is screeching about how he now hates himself because of her. I do not know how you can perceive this song as a romantic tragedy. Calling it a song is a tragedy in itself. Now, I have a much better suggestion for you…
She could just picture his face growing darker and darker with disgust as he forced himself to sit through the song. It was part of the reason she chose it, just as she was sure he picked the longest, most earsplitting operas he could find because he knew she'd hate them. But the argument was a never ending source of entertainment.
Maya spent the better part of an hour going through the box. His next letter would be coming in a few days, but she'd just felt like reading some of the previous ones. It made him feel near. She rolled over onto her back and placed one of the papers over her face. Miles Edgeworth. Somehow, corresponding with him through snail mail had solidified her once chaotic emotions. Over time, the doubts had faded and left her only with truth. And the truth was she missed him terribly.
A loud musical tune jingled out of nowhere. Maya jumped and scrambled to her feet, moving toward the desk and her cell phone on top. A silver chain with a tiny cream-colored bear dangled from the device. She pulled out the desk chair and sat. "Hello?"
"Tell me something. Do you always sit at your desk to write?"
"Ehhh? Edgeworth!" she exclaimed. He rarely called her—letters were more than good enough for them. "This is the first time you call me in forever and you ask me something like that? Why?"
"Hmph. Answer my question."
"Hmph. This desk of yours. There's no lamp on it, and it isn't somewhere near a light source, is it?"
"W-Well no. Why?"
"Your recent penmanship has been deplorable. I can't read some of the words you write."
"O-Oh." Maya looked stricken as she fiddled with one of her plastic toys. "I'm sorry."
There was a silence. Then, "Is that all you have to say? Why don't you get a lamp?"
"I'm saving for the new Platinum Samu—I mean, um…kitchen clock. I'm saving money for a kitchen clock, ehe…"
There was an even longer silence and Maya felt her cheeks color. Then he said, "Why don't you move your desk closer to the door, then?"
Maya frowned. "Because I don't want my superheroes to get dirty." She clapped a hand over her mouth, her cheeks flaring hotter. "Uhhhhhm, that's not what I meant. I meant, I don't want my super toes to get dirty. I put my feet on the desk sometimes, see." When there was a silence even longer than the last one, Maya pinched the bridge of her nose and thought, Oh man, what am I saying? She was startled when the phone line suddenly went dead.
"Just…move the desk, you silly woman." The voice was directly by her ear.
Maya jumped so high that the chair fell back and the phone clattered to the floor. She fell back hard against the dresser, knocking off a few more toys and sending a sheaf of papers swirling after the cell phone. She stared disbelievingly at the man who stood there, her eyes wide and mouth frozen into a little 'o'. Her legs buckled under her and she slowly slid to the floor.
The man seemed somewhat startled as well. But then he raised a brow and smirked, flourishing a deep bow. "It is good to see you too," he said dryly.
It took Maya several tries to say his name. Miles. Miles Edgeworth. Miles… "E-Edgew-worth? Miles E—" She lost her speech again. She couldn't believe it. After a year of absence, a year of paper correspondence and few calls, the man himself was standing before her. You came back. You…you came back! She couldn't say it out loud, but her lips were forming the words silently.
Grey eyes regarded her with wry amusement—and something else. He was no longer afraid of showing what he'd always masked beneath a frown.
"Yes," he said steadily. "I came back."
With a rush of unbelievable joy, Maya bounded to her feet and threw her arms around him. "You came back, you came back!" Edgeworth held her fiercely against him as she repeated it over and over, as if she still couldn't believe it, as if it were too good to be true. "You came back!"
Maya pulled back just enough to stare at his face with undisguised wonder. There were no words that could even begin to describe the magnitude of her happiness. "I missed you," she whispered. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears.
Edgeworth leaned down and pressed his cheek against hers. He recalled the chorus of one of the ridiculous songs she'd suggested to him…Her eyes…that's where hope lies, that's where new skies always meet the sunrise…Something from deep within him began to surge upwards like the coming of a wave. Had he been in the presence of anyone else, he would have immediately fought to suppress it. But he wasn't with just anyone. He was with her. With Maya. And her eyes…that's where I go, when I go home. Miles Edgeworth began to laugh.
Maya felt his shoulders shaking, and then heard the joyous sound flow out into the clean air. She was astonished. Her frowning, grim-faced prosecutor was laughing. Miles Edgeworth had learned to laugh. She broke into a huge grin.
"You did it!" she cheered, squeezing him tightly.
He felt as if he would never let her go. They stood there in each other's embraces—laughing, crying, and simply being loved for who they were.
They were laughing, and everything was alright.
A/N: ...And that's all, folks. The song Edgeworth was thinking of was "Her Eyes" by Pat Monahan. It fits with the story in more ways than one, and by complete, random chance. However, not all of its lyrics match my disgustingly smushy idea of Maya and Edgeworth...therefore it is not my favorite theme song for them. Learning To Laugh was the first fiction of this scale that I ever wrote, and the first I ever posted online. As such, I'd like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who reviewed this story...I couldn't possibly tell you how much I appreciated the support. In particular, thanks to Phoenix Tilea, who has been there from chapter 1. Also, my thanks to a certain foolish fool, who convinced me to write and then stopped writing yourself! You know who you are. For additional comments about this story, please visit my profile.
I dedicate this story to everyone who has read it.