A/n: Long time fan, first time post. On this board, at least. I found a piece of art from the Phoenix Wright/ Gyakuten Saiban series, and just had to do a peice on it. Ever have one of those odd bursts of inspiration? Yeah, this was one of those.
Let's see. Spoiler for 1-2. Takes place sometime after Justice for All and before Trails and Tribulations. This is a one-shot. Kinda Phoenix/Maya-ish, too. Nothing hard-core, but it's hinted. I couldn't help myself. I am a shipper. And, uh, guess that's it! Hope ya enjoy.
Disclaimer: Nope. I don't own a thing. Except for the three games. The rights are not mine.
Here's that art that inspired me so: http://gyakusai.magical-art(.)com/gallery/gallery.php?g2itemId591 (Remove the parenthesis after 'art'. Y'know, I had no idea Phoenix's office had a balcony...)
Chapter 1: Open Door
A low rumble of thunder rolled through the sky, starting out a gentle hum and ending with a horrific boom. The dark skies poured out torrents of rain, drenching down town L.A. and forcing all inhabitants in doors. Deadly lightning streaked through the night air, popping and crackling with electricity as it sliced through the atmosphere. The night wasn't ideal, to say the least; certainly not the kind of weather to be tramping around in.
Not that Phoenix Wright planned on tramping around in it.
The defense attorney had no intentions on venturing out of his warm, dry office and tromping through the muck outside. He was very content to say inside the small, yet freshly tidied, place he called 'work'. Tonight, however, he had a feeling he would be calling it 'home'.
Sitting at his desk, Phoenix payed little mind to the storm brewing outside. He devoted his full attention to the thick manila file spread out across his work space. His next case. The file contained every piece of information he would need to defend his client, accused of embezzling high company sums. The folder was filled to the brim, and, in turn, he couldn't see the gleam of his freshly polished desk top. A sea of papers, pictures, tabs, and paper clips flooded his desktop. This case would no doubt be a big one, one he would have to devote many, many hours to.
Probably cause mammoth headaches, too.
With a sigh, Phoenix snatched up a pencil, grabbed a semi-blank scrap of paper, and jotted down some notes, mindful to glance at the array of evidence every few seconds. Only pausing long enough to nibble on his writing utensil now and again, the ebony-haired layer submerged himself in his work, ignoring the down-pour and clashing of thunder outside. The only time he concerned himself with the weather was when a particularly loud clap of thunder caused the lamp on his desk to flicker and cast momentary darkness about his office. Yet as soon as the artificial light sprung back to life, Phoenix buried himself in his work once more.
How long he stayed like that, hunched over his desk, pencil flying across the paper, absorbing every piece of information he came across, Phoenix didn't know. Minutes, hours- time seemed to tick by slowly and yet fly by simultaneously. He did know that he would have stayed that way all night, if given the opportunity. Yet, in the middle of a roaring storm, Phoenix found himself torn away from his work by the only person crazy enough to brave the horrid weather.
And the crazy woman's poor little cousin.
Spinning around in his office chair, Phoenix turned away from his files and stared, mouth agape, at the pair standing on his small balcony, waving impatiently. Scrambling from his seat, he stumbled to the door, unlatching the lock and swinging the glass door open. A gust of air swept through the area, throwing some of his valuable papers on the floor, but Phoenix payed them little mind; his full attention was on the drenched-to-the-bone duo standing before him.
"What in the world are you doing out in this?" he demanded, critical brown gaze sweeping between his assistant Maya Fey and her young cousin, Pearl. Both Fey girls were shaking from the chill of the rain and a small puddle was beginning to form around their feet. On Phoenix's newly swept carpet. The one he had been forced to clean because of her. Pinning Maya with a hard stare, he added, "It's pouring! Look at Pearls! She's shaking like a leaf!"
His lecture fell on deaf ears. His assistant merely placed a hand on her hip and thrust a slim finger in her boss' chest.
"Nick, it's Friday night. Does that mean anything to you? Anything at all?" When Phoenix made no move to respond and simply stared blankly, Maya threw her arms in the air, water droplets flying with the gesture. "It's movie night, Phoenix! And you weren't home, where you usually are." Shrugging out of her drenched jacket, Maya tossed the wet garment on Nick's chair. "So if you wanna blame somebody for dragging Pearly out in this horrible weather, then look in a mirror."
With an irritated huff, Phoenix hauled the soaked garment off of his chair and hung it on the coat rack beside the glass door. Admittedly, movie night had slipped his mind, and he had forgotten to leave a note for Maya at his apartment a few blocks away, but tonight was not the night to be bothered with movies. He had a huge case to prepare for, and his client was depending on him. When he voiced this, Maya practically shrieked at him.
"But, Nick, we've had movie night every single Friday since I started working here! And- and Pearly just started joining in on the fun. You can't deny her movie night!" She spoke the last two words as though they were a sacred treasure. "C'mon, Nick," she pleaded, clamping her hands in front of her and dragging out his nickname, "it's movie night- tradition!"
Staring at the two females before him, both shivering from the rain and imploring him with their big, bright eyes, Phoenix felt his resolve to send them home slowly cracking. Though his case was sprawled out on his desk, waiting to be examined from cover to cover, he just couldn't swallow the the idea of pushing the two back out in soggy weather. With a sigh, the lawyer sank into his swivel chair, placing his forehead in his palm. Defeat had washed over him before the battle had truly started.
Hopefully, his backbone would grow before his court date in few days.
"Fine. Movie night it is. But," he added, forced to raise his voice in order to be heard over the girls' squeals, "you have to go back there." Picking up his discarded pencil, Phoenix pointed towards the back room, once office space for his mentor and Maya's sister, Mia Fey. Since her death nearly two years ago, the room had been converted into a make-shift living space and storage area. Though Mia's desk still sat in the corner (neither Phoenix nor Maya could bring themselves to cast it out), a sleeper sofa, television, small wardrobe and mini-fridge now occupied the area, as well as a filing cabinet for completed cases.
Maya's and Pearl's victory cries slowly dwindled. While the younger Fey unzipped her jacket and carried it over the coat rack, Maya turned to her boss, flipping her long, water-logged, jet black hair over her shoulder with a scowl. "But, Nick, you have to watch the movie with us!"
Flicking the specks of water off of his important files, Phoenix stared up at his assistant, lips pressed tightly in an somber line. "You might want to grab a towel while you at it," he mumbled irritably, turning his attention back to his case.
With a huff, Maya grabbed her cousin by the hand, recognizing Phoenix's desire to be left alone with a roll of her dark brown eyes. "Ah, come on, Pearly. Let's go dry off and watch our movies. Alone. Movie night obviously means nothing to Nick."
Watching the two retreat into the small bathroom down the hall, Phoenix cast his own eyes to the stark white ceiling. Bending down and picking up the papers strewn around his desk, the defense attorney briefly wondered why he had opened the door. With those two in his office, he doubted he would be able to devote much time to his case. And yet, when he turned back to his work, Phoenix knew he was exaggerating; he enjoyed having the two girls around him. Maya, with her goofy jokes, easy smile, and quick laugh could always brighten even the most trying day, and Pearl, with the innocence that only a child could possess, was a constant fountain of joy.
Still, he couldn't help but quip, "Don't forget to hang up the towels!" Chuckling to himself as Maya spout of more remarks about his lack of respect for movie night, Phoenix turned back to his work, prepared to fully immerse himself in it. But when a clatter filtered down the hall-way no more than ten minutes later, the defense attorney found himself biting back a groan.
"Sorry! We're okay!"
Maya's voice soon followed the clash, and Phoenix could only imagine that the young woman had encountered some resistance with the hide-a-way bed. Just when the lawyer had settled back into his work, the familiar tune of the Steel Samurai theme song drifted from the room, accompanied by girlish squeals of delight. Stifling another groan, Phoenix fought the urge to slap a palm against his forehead. Not only had they infiltrated his office, scattered his papers everywhere, and dripped water all over his (freshly) swept floor, but the movie they had brought was another Steel Samurai flick. Classic Maya.
Shaking his head, Phoenix placed his pencil against paper once more, determined to review his case cover to cover and absorb every shred of information he could. He was deep in concentration, pencil whizzing across his paper, when Maya's peppy voice traveled down the hall minutes later, shattering his bubble of application and startling the layer so that he bore down too hard on the pen and snapped the lead into pieces.
Staring at his pencil in disbelief, Phoenix ground out, "What?" Maya seemed oblivious to his annoyance.
"Could you please order a pizza? We're starved!"
Exasperated, the layer mumbled tartly, "When are you not?" Tossing his useless writing tool to the far corner of his desk, Phoenix stood from his perch, stretching his aching muscles and staring down at his cluttered work space in despair. Such a large case, and his trail in less than a week. And knowing the the two girls down the hall as well as he did, Phoenix had a horrible, sinking feeling that he wouldn't get much work accomplished tonight.
Sighing, he ambled over to the phone hanging on the wall and snatched up the receiver. Not even the storm outside could keep those two at bay. As the telephone began to ring, signaling the fact that he would be paying out money he really didn't have to spend, Phoenix again found himself wondering why he had ever opened that door...
Nearly two hours later, case forgotten and exchanged for a plate of pizza, Phoenix found himself in the back room, blue jacket tossed haphazardly on the back of the sofa and red tie hanging loosely around his neck. His folder sat on his desk, patiently waiting for him to return, but the lawyer just couldn't bring himself to roll of the hide-a-bed and head back to his responsibility. Not with nearly a half of the second pizza remaining and all. The movie was basically over, anyway. The climactic battle was just about to come to end.
And, the company was a plus, too.
Pearl had fallen asleep after only one slice of cheesy bread and lay curled up on her side, head resting on Phoenix's lap, and Maya occupied the lawyer's other side, eyes glued to the TV set and fist pumping excitedly. How the youngest Fey could remain sleeping was beyond Phoenix- Maya was practically bouncing off the bed as she watched the Steel Samurai twirl about his Samurai Spear, signaling the beginning of his opponent's end.
"That's right! Put that baddie in his place!"
Phoenix could only roll his eyes and take a bite of pizza. This had to one of the lamest movies he had ever witnessed. Still, his brown orbs never strayed from the screen as the protagonist shoved his weapon through the 'baddie', the defeated falling to the ground with an over-done cry. Once again circling his spear, the samurai hero struck a dramatic pose, camera panning out as the warrior declared, "Neo Old Tokyo is my town. Perhaps a different location would be more fitting for you- say, Neo Dead Tokyo?"
As the screen faded to black, the samurai's robust laugh could be heard, slowly dwindling away as the chords to the popular song began to filter from the speakers. The credits began to roll, signaling the end had finally come, and Phoenix released a sigh of relief. Well, he had survived another Steel Samurai flick and he had participated in movie night. It was only fitting that he return to the file that awaited him in the other room.
But before he could even lift a finger, a pair of hands clamped onto his shoulder, followed by a giddy squeal of delight.
"Ah! Nick! Was that not the most awesome movie?" Eye shining, Maya leapt from the bed, mimicking the Steel Samurai's pose from seconds earlier. "This is my town," she quoted, voice deep and low, "Perhaps a different location would be more fitting for you- say, Neo Dead Tokyo?" Clapping her hands, Maya resumed her spot on the cot, nearly collapsing the bed in the process. "That was so cool!"
As the bed calmed it's rocking, Phoenix instinctively looked down at the sleeping Pearl, relieved to find the child still conked out. Glancing at Maya with a less than enthused look, he said, "If you say so, Maya." Turning his attention back to the sleeping Fey, Phoenix briefly wondered how he was to remove her without waking her. He really needed to get back to his case. But if she could sleep through the hurricane known as Maya, surely he could get back to his desk...
Maya continued chattering excitedly, oblivious to the shifting Phoenix. "Man, that was one of the best movies in the series by far! I'm so glad they had a copy in!"
"I mean, that battle at the end? Way awesome!"
"It was all, 'Sha-bam!', 'Boom!', 'Plow!'" Jumping from the bed once more, Maya punched and jabbed at the air. Yet as she spun around and spotted Phoenix trying to wriggle away from Pearl, her 'Hi-yah!' turned into a startled, "N-Nick!" Giving him no time to answer, she dove back onto the bed, fingers wrapping around his forearm in a vice-like grip. "What are you doing?!"
With a scowl, Phoenix pried her hand from his arm. "I'm trying not to wake Pearl!" Looking down at the girl, he watched as she shifted slightly and her eyes fluttered. Thankfully, that was all the movement she made. "Thanks for the help," he added tartly.
Ignoring his tone, Maya pressed on. "You're not trying to escape, are you?"
Sighing, Phoenix shook his head. "Maya, I told you already- I need to work on this case. You two asked for movie night, and I gave it to you. Then you wanted a pizza, and I gave you that. You wanted me to come back and watch the movie with you. I did. I've done everything you wanted. Now I really need to work on my case." Pinning her with his patented stare, Phoenix raised his dark brows. He spoke nothing but the truth, yet Maya seemed reluctant to accept it.
Glancing away from the lawyer, Maya studied the striped bed sheets she sat on. "I know. And I thank you for it, really. But-" meeting his gaze, she straightened a bit, gray eyes darkening- "if you had left me a note or something at the apartment, we wouldn't have had to tromp all the way here in the rain. And if we hadn't had to walk all the here, then Pearly and I wouldn't have been hungry and you wouldn't have needed to order a pizza. And then-"
"You can't blame me for all that," Phoenix interrupted, forcing his voice to remain low and even. "There was no need to do any of it."
"Movie night, Nick!"
"That's not a reason."
"Yeah, it is!"
And here he was trying to remain quite for Pearl's sake. With another sigh, Phoenix threw his head back in exasperation. He had a file that needed to be rifled through, and he was stuck between two Feys. One could easily be handled, and the other one was- once again- squawking about 'movie' night. And that left him puzzled. What in the world was so great about movie night? Yes, he enjoyed it. He had fun watching videos with Maya. When he had no pressing matters, he would happily sit down with some popcorn and join the Kurian native for a late night of viewing pleasure.
But, sometimes, something else would arise. Now was one of those times. Why couldn't she accept that? He wasn't kicking her out on the street, he only asked that she allow him to return to his work. Running a hand through his spiked hair, Phoenix drug the same hand over his face. Asking himself the question would get him nowhere; only one person held the answer.
Turning to Maya, Phoenix asked the question that had been rolling in his mind since she blew into his office in the middle of a storm.
"Maya, what's so special about movie night?"
As soon as the words left his mouth, he braced himself, prepared for the declaration that would surely follow. No doubt Maya would passionately uphold the tradition that had somehow come about soon after her arrival in his life. But, to Phoenix's great surprise, the young woman remained silent. She didn't roll her eyes and explain to him- in a tone that would suggest nothing short of idiocy- why the night was so special. She didn't swat his shoulder. She didn't shriek. She didn't do anything.
Phoenix would have preferred the cry of disbelief. Watching her do nothing left a sinking feeling in his stomach. Similar to the one he got every time Edgeworth ticked his finger back and forth at him in court.
"Maya?" Stretching out a hand, he lightly touched her shoulder.
Hesitantly, she lifted her head, meeting Phoenix's gaze for a split second before returning it to her hands. "You're right, Nick. I...You're right. Go ahead and get back to you case. I'll stay back here with Pearly."
Phoenix could literally feel his jaw slacken. What in the world had just transpired? She was agreeing with him? So easily? It was nothing short of a miracle. And while he should be thrilled with this revelation and capitalize on the moment, Phoenix could only stare dumbly. He had been released and was free to go, but the shadowed look on Maya's face kept him rooted to his place.
Silence stretched between them. The credits had finished rolling minutes ago, and the stillness in the room suddenly seemed suffocating and over-bearing. Phoenix shifted uncomfortably, repositioning the sleeping child. The thought of returning to his case was slowly being pushed to the back of his mind. The young woman sitting next to him, quietly studying her fingers, was quickly over-powering the file.
Knowing his question had spurred the sudden energy change, Phoenix cleared his throat. Hand still resting on Maya's shoulder, he gave it a gentle squeeze. "Hey, now. That was too easy." It was meant to be a joke, but the chuckle that followed the words sounded much too forced, even to his ears.
Lifting her gaze, Maya pasted a smile on lips. "Well, you're right. It's...It's stupid to ask you to neglect your client. It's important that you study the case file. I can stay back here and watch the other movie by myself. It's fine." Smile still glued to her face, Maya turned, prepared to switch out videos and put some action into her words. A hand wrapped around her arm, gently catching her and halting her performance before it could truly begin.
Her name was spoken in a soft breath, but there was an authoritative undertone. Slowly, she moved back to her spot. She had little choice, with Phoenix's fingers tugging at her arm. She knew that tone. She had heard it countless times; when she pressed on his nerves a bit too much, when she insisted on having burgers for the third time in one day, when she tagged along on a case and did nothing but chatter on about the Steel Samurai. And when he knew she wasn't telling him the whole truth.
Sometimes she really hated the fact that he was lawyer. Though, in all honesty, she was sure he could see through her- regardless.
"Maya, don't clam up on me now." Phoenix's hand continued to hold her in place. He knew she was hiding something from him. He had seen right through her over-chipper smile. The gesture had never touched her eyes. Despite his words, Maya remained quiet, so, taking advantage of their positions, Phoenix's hold became a bit more insistent. "What is so important about movie night?"
"Nick, it's okay-"
"I want the truth, Maya." He removed his hand from her arm, only to hook a finger under her chin and force her to meet his gaze. Troubled gray eyes met curious brown ones. "Tell me the truth."
Maya's head dipped, only to return seconds later, Phoenix's hand to blame. She was beginning to regret saying anything. She wished she would have just allowed him to return to his desk, no complaints. She knew saying why she wanted him to stay out loud would sound ridiculous. Movie night just wasn't as important to Phoenix. She should have accepted that. He really didn't need to know why it was so special to her- it would just sound childish. But now she had no choice but to tell him. She knew he would never let up until she relented.
Gathering her voice, she meet his gaze head on, deciding to get this over with quickly and side-skirt as much as possible. "It's not important. It's just...ever since I started working here, we've always rented a movie or two and sat down together. It's been that way practically every single Friday. ...That's all."
Phoenix wasn't biting. He could tell there was more to Maya's story. He wasn't sure why she was with holding the details from him, but he did know that there was something she was keeping from him. Something that Maya didn't want to share. And he knew there was no way he could focus on his file with this case unresolved. He didn't want to pry, but...the clouded, closed look on Maya's face told him that it was something he needed to know. He didn't want secrets between them; they had know each other too long to start now.
Finger still under her chin, he moved his thumb to stroke the soft skin near her lips. "And?" He wasn't sure if it was his speech or his touch, but to his surprise, Maya looked rather disheveled.
"It's not important, Nick. ...You'll think it's silly...Really, it's stu-"
Phoenix interrupted her spout with a gentle tap on her cheek. "Maya. Try me."
Staring nervously into his dark eyes, Maya twisted her fingers. He looked sincere, and in all the time she had spent with him she had never known Phoenix to blatantly sneer or mock anyone. He just wasn't the type, and she knew it. It still didn't keep her nerves from jumping around in her stomach. She knew he wouldn't give up until he knew the absolute truth, so, drawing a deep breath, she blurted, "You've been the only constant thing in my life since Sis died. And...And I know movie night may seem silly to you, but I've counted on it because I get to spend time with you." Rushing on and averting her eyes, she continued, "And not like when we're on a case, or something- just sit down and be together. Ever since my sister died, you've been the one thing that I know is there, and...and I depend on you. That's why- why movie night is important to me."
Finished, Maya drew a deep breath, feeling as though she had bared all in a single breath. Chancing a glance at Phoenix, she found herself holding the very same breath. What would he say? How would he react to her childish confession? Would he think her a silly, clingy girl? Someone who couldn't stand on their own? Or would he pity her? Maya wasn't sure which she preferred- each option left a bitter taste in her mouth.
For a long moment, Phoenix said nothing, digesting the words Maya had flung at him. She had rambled off so fast, it took a second for her words to sink in. But, as her words slowly took meaning and trickled into his mind, Phoenix found himself saying nothing, only staring at his assistant mutely. This was all news to him. He had never known Maya thought of him in such a manner. Never thought how the loss of her sister had affected her. She had just sort of stuck around after the trail that followed Mia's death, and he had never really questioned it. Maya was just Maya. She was always around, always smiling, and always wanting a burger. He supposed that was why he had never really dwelled on the thought. Maya always seemed so bubbly and happy. He knew she missed her sister; she had been the only constant close family in Maya's life. But they had never really talked about the extent of her feelings. To hear her say this...how she felt she needed him...
Truth be told, it was rather flattering. Though he had never put much thought to the matter, Phoenix supposed that, since her arrival in his life, his life had took on a new meaning. He was no longer the rookie looking up to his mentor, he was the head of a law firm who had people looking up to him. He had people depending on him. Funny, he had never really thought of Maya as one of those people. His clients, yes. But Maya had become his friend so easily, and she had quickly found a spot in his heart the very first night he had met her, alone and accused of a murder she hadn't committed.
Funnier, perhaps, was the thought that she was afraid he would think her stupid. Of all the things she had ever told him, this had to be the furthest thing from dumb that he had ever heard. No, this made him feel...warm. It swelled his heart and made him feel proud. Though there was no way he would tell her that. Maya would take that little gem and run with it. Still, he couldn't keep a lop-sided smile from his face, and he could tell that Maya noticed the grin, too; her posture relaxed a bit and the shadow washed away from her face, a tentative smile touching her lips.
Silence continued to loom between them, though tension no longer clinged to the air. Phoenix continued to stare at the Fey, his smile still pasted on his lips, and Maya no longer avoided his gaze but meet it, eyes brightening considerably and body slowly melting into the back of couch.
They stayed that way for a long moment, simply staring at the other, until Phoenix, still unable to completely wipe the grin from his face, leaned into the back of the couch. Checking on the sleeping Pearl and satisfied the girl was comfortable, he placed his arms behind his head, stretching out on the bed. His mind was made up- there was no way he was going back to that case file now. It could wait until morning; what were a few more hours? It was movie night, after all.
Nodding towards the television, he ordered in a light tone, "Well, put in the next movie."
For moment, Maya didn't do thing, just continued to stare at Phoenix. She didn't say a word, but the look on her face said everything she didn't. Relief shone through her eyes, tinged with a hint of embarrassment. Her smile widened, and her thanks was evident in the gesture. She was grateful. Grateful that he hadn't laughed, or scoffed, or felt sorry for her, but accepted her admittance with a soft grin. The situation hadn't turned awkward or sour- and Maya was so thankful she hadn't tainted the friendship with the one person she felt she truly had on her side.
Seconds later, she broke eye contact and hopped from the bed, bounding over to the TV with her usual bounce. Exchanging videos, she returned to her previous spot and joined Phoenix, eyes dancing. "I can't wait to watch this. I've been waiting for it to come out forever!" With one last smile, she turned from the lawyer and glued her eyes to the television, adding happily, " 'The Pink Princess: Fight for the Crown' should be just as great as the last movie."
Phoenix simply nodded and focused his gaze on the brightening screen. It was almost as though their previous exchange had never taken place. Maya was once again his burger-loving, Steel Samurai-squealing, happy-go-lucky Maya. And somehow he had allowed himself to be conned into watching another samurai movie. He had let her words sway him, and now he was going to be forced to sit through another two-hour long escapade.
And he called himself a lawyer.
But no more than ten minutes into the movie, when he felt a hesitant pressure cuddle up against his side, Phoenix knew he would happily endure the film. As Maya shifted into him, head resting lightly against his shoulder, he surprised both the woman and himself by wrapping an arm around her, securing her against him. The older Fey said nothing, silently complying, and Phoenix felt his grin from seconds earlier return. He was indeed stuck between two Feys, yet he couldn't find it in him to complain.
Hours before he had wondered why on earth he had opened the door to his office. And now he knew that, no matter what, his door would always be open for her.
A/n: Wow, that turned out longer and a bit more shippy than I intended. To think, a picture of a storm, a busy Phoenix, and an excited Pearl and Maya could spawn this. Though I am pleased with the end result. I'm fairly certain that Maya does love Phoenix, no matter how you look at it. Be it platonic or what have you. The shipper in me says it's deeper than that...::wink wink:: Anyhoo, I do hope you enjoyed reading this here one-shot, and I love to hear from readers. So, let me know your feelings. All are welcome.
Thank for the read!