Disclaimer: I do not own Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney/Gyakuten Saiban or any of the characters related to it. It's probably a good thing I don't, too, considering I wrote this. This was written for the Crack Pairing Meme and can be viewed there in a slightly rougher form, on page 1. Fic rated for tongue, for sheer crack, and for... slash? Is this considered slash?
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Culture Camp didn't quite seem like the type of place that an ordinary boy would want to spend his time in the summer of 1999. Then again, Luke Atmey wasn't quite the ordinary boy, to say the least. The idea thrilled him, to live amongst the top-ranking students from top-ranking schools all across the globe, expressing his own unrivalled genius without fear of repercussion. It was his own school's tradition to host the event, boarding five of the most promising students on a college campus—the one he himself was most definitely going to attend—along with students in quintet arrangement from various countries about the world et cetera et cetera and so on the brochure which he received in the mail described. He hadn't really read too much of it, for his eagerly shaking hands had more or less wrung the poor paper so badly that even his perceptive eye couldn't quite make out the text, and the corrective lens in the other fell short in the same fashion, unfortunately.
But no matter, for that which Luke truly understood was learned from his own detective work during the school days. He had realized early on that he had some skill in sleuthing, so he used it to his advantage to learn from previous visitors to the coveted convention what exactly went on there. The only downside to the ordeal was that Luke would be forced to lodge in a dorm with four other less-important "students" who were certainly tacked on simply to fill in the required five slots. While his test scores and grades in lessons clearly said otherwise, Luke often found that the other people surrounding him mocked and degraded his enlightened mind. Jealous fools, simply put. Even on the bus ride to the campus, when they weren't flatly ignoring him they were casting ugly sneers in his direction and not quite whispering insults behind his back. How had immature brats such as these ever been allowed on this trip, let alone past the doors into the school in the first place? Private institutions such as his were supposed to keep out the scum of the gene pool.
But nonetheless, Luke forcibly steeled himself against his idiotic companions and ventured forth unto the Culture Camp undeterred! The boy resisted the urge to be overwhelmed as the other four stared about, gaping like brainless fish at the exotic décor; any and all long-lasting glances he stole were for deductive purposes only. He took note that the other groups of five stood about under their respective flags—indicating their country of origin, what a silly method of letting them know; and sure enough, his own group was being ushered towards a banner of the stars and stripes—looked much more dignified and refined than his own. Subconsciously he smoothed down the front of his dress shirt and straightened his posture even further to the point that he felt his back arch. It was the least he could do to save face for his own motley crew of American students.
His eyes ran over the crowd of foreign scholars, carefully drinking in each intimate detail describing to him how his new, eligible peers would receive him.
And then he tripped.
It was a quick motion, over in an instant and followed just as quickly by the hurried teacher abruptly straightening his shoulder and hissing reprimands into his ear as he shoved him under the flag into the snickers of the sadistic children he would be boarding with. Luke's face flushed, and he ducked behind the others as best as they would allow as the representatives hurriedly began to speak to the whole group.
He drew a deliberate breath to steady himself. Surely his mind had been clouded by his intense excitement, for there was no way that the sight he had seen—that which caused his embarrassing spill—could truly exist. Daring to peek around the broad-shouldered boy on the end of the group, Atmey quickly darted his eyes over to the small collection of students beneath the banner of white. It was almost as if the crimson sun glowed with an ethereal light, illuminating the singular boy who was standing slightly isolated from the rest of his friends. The boy who had caught Luke's attention before.
He was most certainly not a figment of his imagination, that boy standing there beneath the flag of Japan. Luke determined this at once and sidestepped the other American children to isolate himself in a similar manner. Trained in the art of multitasking, he had his ears record the words the counselors spoke while every other sense on his body attempted to reach the young man across the room. After a moment, the boy's dark eyes raised and met Luke's own with a curious stare. Luke did not falter, as much as he would have liked to; instead he stared on as before, wondering if the other boy was realizing what Luke was.
The two of them, appearance-wise, were practically identical. Luke would not suggest that it was a complete match, for there were too many uncertainties born from being approximately thirty feet apart, but from what he could see… They shared the same dark hair, in the same short style—even this foreigner's bangs had been dyed bright blonde as Luke had colored his—their facial form seemed eerily similar, too, right down to the pointed proboscis positioned out from between his eyes. His uniform was different, naturally, but Luke could almost see his body type in the creases and folds, and he dared enough to assume that they would match up about evenly in stature.
Throughout the opening ceremonies and welcoming presentations, he continued to watch him intently. A few times his new center of attention would glance back or regard him from across the way, and it was clear that he was not uncomfortable having someone admire him. Luke had to agree that the idea was rather nice. He wondered if the other boy ever watched him, when Luke was forced to look away.
The bottom thought was, though, no matter where or when he found his attention drawn to his uncanny resemblance, Luke Atmey and this mystery visitor from Japan needed to speak. It was a thought that was reinforced as each day passed and the two participated in the Culture Camp events. Their similarities were most certainly not skin-deep, Atmey realized as time went on. It was in his body language, the way his peers seemed just as confused as the others when the boy opened his mouth. Clearly his speech patterns were just as eccentric as Luke's, an idea that utterly thrilled him. And when they were allotted time to themselves, this boy tended to stay away from the remainder of his quintet, speaking more to counselors than anything and the occasional colleague from some other country. Definitely, the two were frighteningly alike, the young student decided, and they most certainly had to share their thoughts if only to prove his hypothesis correct. That was why each night, as he drifted to sleep, Luke Atmey promised himself that tomorrow would be the day he finally broke the ice between the Atmey of America and the Atmey of Japan.
Despite his dreams, though, Luke found himself refraining from approaching the other boy. It wasn't that he was afraid. No, not at all. It was all in the timing, and the perfect opportunity had yet to present itself! And for all his excitement and joy at the thought of finally speaking to a person who truly could appreciate his genius… Alas, Luke still had to live alongside his American "friends" in his dormitory. That proved, as he had expected, to be the ultimate test of his willpower during his days at Culture Camp. Although usually their sadism towards him stayed fairly tame, there were times when the bratty students decided that petty insults and unmasked giggles weren't quite enough to express their dislike towards the dreamer that he was.
Such as then, when that broad-shouldered boy's insistent "Atmey, go out there and make sure everything's properly put-up for the night" became Atmey standing outside in the hall desperately jiggling the handle of a locked door while the idiots within the room stifled their laughter in a pointless attempt to appear asleep or some nonsense.
As their stifled snickers became a full-out roar of laughter, Atmey threw himself from the door in a rage. For a moment he considered breaking the door down. He had a feeling he knew where the weakest point on the entry was, and if he applied pressure just right… But he couldn't bring himself to deface the home he would someday have all to himself in a real schooling environment. With a mind to find the counselors—higher authority was often the only solution to the shenanigans of reckless hooligans—he stalked down the hallway without a word.
Soon, his angry footsteps became a slow, melancholy crawl, his shoes dragging the carpet as he forced himself onward. Why did they hate him so? Was it because of his grades? His outgoing personality and rich history dredging up fiery envy amidst them? Was it based solely on his slightly awkward appearance, their unbridled rage which manifested itself as pranks and bullying even in his teen years? Such nonsense was supposed to die in middle school, he had thought… Really, all he wanted was for someone—anyone—to reach out and give him some sign of affection and encouragement. Not even the counselors enjoyed dealing with him; they saw him as pompous and haughty, all too caught up in his own achievements to be worth any praise of theirs. He tried his best to ignore it, but it was times such as those that made him truly want to…
…Was that crying? Luke stopped in his tracks and listened. The faint sound of hiccupping, high-pitched despair drifted to him from the dead-end of the hall, from within a broom closet whose door was slightly ajar. For a moment he merely listened, his mouth twitching into a bitter smirk. Finally, he thought, someone as miserable as I am is roaming the halls. He considered ignoring it and making the turn towards the rooms where the adults were staying, but just as his feet began to round the bend he was forced to stop again as he heard words. Heard, but did not understand; the words from within the closet were quiet, resentful, in a language he did not quite comprehend. He thought about it for a moment… Yes, it was most certainly Japanese. His instincts assured him!
Immediately his footfalls fell soft and he approached the closet door, listening to the quiet chokes and sniffles of a young student in need. Luke waited outside for a moment, thinking to himself. Should he look inside? There was a chance… He began to reach out his hand hesitantly, then lightly caught the edge of the door and pulled it back, leaning his head inside just enough to see the form of a boy his stature, seated on a water cooler. His arm was wrapped about his leg, propped up on the lid of the trunk, and his face was buried in the back of his thigh. His pants disheveled his dark hair as he struggled to maintain himself in peace. Luke couldn't help but draw a subconscious gasp at his luck.
Suddenly the boy's head snapped around, his dark eyes filled with malice towards the intruder. Luke stumbled back and began to leave. "P-pardon me, sir," he stammered. The other boy's eyes quickly flitted up and down, registering him, and softened.
He quickly snapped to attention and wiped his eyes, muttering a muffled "Gomen-nasai," as he did. Luke assumed from his tone that this phrase was somewhat apologetic, but he couldn't resist uttering a light note of confusion. The foreigner sniffed and looked up once more, standing. "…Forgive me," he explained. "I should have addressed you in your own language—"
"O-oh, no, it's perfectly all right." The other boy's voice nearly matched Luke's own in tone, too, the only difference being that his English carried a slight accent. It made his heart feel light. "Naturally, he can understand you either way," he lied, "but considering we are in my country at this moment, I suppose we should converse in English."
The other boy smirked the same smirk which Luke often cast. "I suppose so." He wiped his eyes once more on his sleeve, and Luke felt guilt rise in the pit of his stomach at the entertainment he had gotten from the other student's misery before.
It occurred to him then that the two of them had yet to have a formal introduction. Awkwardly, Luke stepped further into the room. "…The name's Atmey," he said after a moment's reluctance. "Luke Atmey." Recalling what little he knew about Japanese courtesy, he refrained from holding out his hand to shake and bowed… rather theatrically. The other boy laughed at his unusual greeting, causing Luke to abruptly return to his usual posture.
"I am Hoshiidake Aiga," replied the bemused student. He quickly added, "Hoshiidake being my family name."
"I-I know that!" Luke retorted, shielding his relief at not having to refer to his new friend by the mouthful of a name. "…Atmey is my family name."
"Yes, I know," said Aiga. Aiga, wow, what an elegant name. Perfectly fitting, Luke thought, envious. He had never before met another person as elegant as Aiga, after all.
"May I join you?" Luke asked with a gesture of his hand. "I didn't mean to intrude, but so long as I'm here…"
"Absolutely," Aiga replied. "Though I wish you and I could have met under… less embarrassing conditions." He nervously smoothed his hair and uniform, which his sobs had upset.
"Oh, no, it's fine. Every man needs to sit down and take himself away from the trials of the real world every once in a while, and release his remorse. There's nothing shameful about shedding tears." He turned and stuck his nose in the air as he talked, speaking solicitously.
Aiga laughed harshly, but his laugh fell into a sigh. "Yes, I know… Still, the act of shedding tears leaves one with a bit of an unkempt appearance." Luke returned his laugh, though his was more of a nervous giggle.
"Oh, by the way…" He politely closed the closet door, hoping that having the two of them that close together wouldn't make the other boy uncomfortable and leaning instead towards the ideal that isolating the two of them would allow Aiga to expose his true self. "Do you mind if I inquire… Aiga," the name rolled off his tongue wonderfully, "as to what caused you to become so miserable in the first place?"
Aiga scooted across the top of the cooler to allow Luke a place to sit. As he accepted the invitation, his Japanese counterpart smiled. "It's ridiculous, really…" His expression darkened as he spoke. "You see, my… colleagues, if you can call them that, are being particularly vicious tonight." Luke turned to him, alarmed. "You see, I am used to them acting foolish and nasty towards me, but tonight they actually—"
"—Locked you out of the room?"
It was Aiga's turn to look over incredulously. "…Precisely. How did you know that?"
"Why, Sir. Student, what do you think I'm doing out here tonight?" He threw his arms out in excitement. "My own idiotic roommates have given me the same proverbial cold shoulder this evening!"
"Are you… being serious?" Aiga asked under his breath.
"Of course I am. I was only inside long enough to put on my spectacles before they forced me from the place." He adjusted the thin frames to reinforce the image.
"Then it seems I'm not the only one plagued by nuisances of associates."
"Really, Aiga, you shouldn't let them bother you," Luke consoled. "Though I'll admit, I, too, was on the verge of tears before I came in here to speak to you, you have to remember: these foolish children are nothing short of—"
"—Completely envious of our prowess in comparison to theirs?" Luke grinned.
"Precisely. There's really nothing you can do but take it to the higher authorities at this point, really. In fact, before I came in here I was on my way to see the camp counselors—"
"It's no use," interjected Aiga. "I went there earlier; they're having a 'meeting,' you see."
"Which, naturally, translates to a get-together in which they shirk their responsibilities as counselors to this event." The two boys shook their heads in spiteful agreement. "Really, sometimes I wonder why I look to them as superiors at all."
"Yes, they really are more like immature children themselves." He crossed his arms in what was supposed to be a sage position, but he clutched at his sleeve almost tentatively, Luke's eye noticed. "…I wouldn't let the others bother me, but you see… I can't completely repress this desire of mine… It's a bit silly, I suppose, but as much as I despise those students in my dormitory I can't help but wish…"
"…That they would appreciate you a bit more?"
Aiga's onyx eyes raised up and met Luke's, revealing an almost frightened astonishment behind them. "…Y-Yes, exactly," he murmured. In his chest, Luke's heart began to flit faster. He decided to press further.
"Even though everyone around you treats you less than half as highly as you deserve, what you really want…"
"E-even though they refuse to accept my ingenious mind, and my eccentric personality…"
Luke heard the quiver of his voice, and felt his own nervousness deepening rapidly. But he also felt something else, a kind of connection unlike anything he had experienced before then with another person. Here was a person who could truly see him for the wonder he was, of this Luke was sure. "I know, Aiga. It's just in our nature, isn't it? The two of us, so similar… Although those sickeningly immature bits of vermin deliberately act out and treat us so badly…"
Aiga's eyes slowly closed. "We are but dreamers, doomed forever to long incessantly for their attention."
"Their affections, even."
"Underneath it all, I just want love." He said it hurriedly, almost shamefully. But he said it all the same. For minutes on end, the two boys sat in silence, staring at the floor as they listened to the beats of their respective hearts. The very idea, of two boys sitting on a water cooler in a broom closet late at night discussing their mutual desire for love and attention, seemed rather odd, but even in the short time they had formally known each other they couldn't help but disregard that fact. Luke couldn't stop his hands from shaking; it was all he could do to hold back from crying himself, or throwing his arms about the Japanese student at his side. Next to him, Hoshiidake released a shuddering breath and bowed his head. "Just love, from anyone who can appreciate the things I do."
"Aiga…" Luke dared to reach out, lightly touching the other student's arm. "I understand, of course. I want it just as fiercely as you do, that taste of admiration." To his surprise, the boy sat up and gazed deeply at him again. Atmey's eyes widened slightly; the Japanese boy's hands cupped about his face, fingers gently, uncertainly stroking his cheek. Unsure of what exactly to do, Luke sat locked in Aiga's eyes. Even as Aiga's eyelids dropped to a close, the spell was not broken.
"You are… different," whispered Aiga, his voice low and accent rolling each word gently through. "Different because you understand things. Don't you, Mr. Luke Atmey? Different because… You're the same, as I am." He pulled the mesmerized American forward and pressed their lips together.
The kiss was a bit clumsy, being the first for the both of them, but as it drug on the two became more comfortable. Luke murmured quietly and leaned closer into his companion. His hand wrapped around the other's arm and squeezed as he pulled himself up into his lap. Aiga slipped one of his hands back around the other boy's head and attempted to deepen their affection, nervously pushing his tongue between his lips. Luke consented without hesitation and pushed Aiga back into the wall. His glasses went askew, but he ignored as best he could.
After all, he knew right then that he had found the one person with whom he could truly identify with. The boys finally broke for air. With only a single replaced breath, Atmey moaned the only word that he thought could express the intense emotion swirling inside him. "Z-zvarri…"
"Zubari," gasped Aiga almost simultaneously. They arched back and came together again. With those words they decided that there was no reason to hold back anymore. They were the only people in the world that would ever completely comprehend one another. Even if the rest of the world left them behind, or even if one of the half-drunk adults came in to find two students making out in a broom closet, they no longer cared in the slightest. They were certain that from that point on, no matter what the other students did to them, they would never again be denied the love that they longed for.
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Author's Note: Sh1n1 loves you too, Crack Meme. Oh, boy, this prompt made my heart melt the moment I read it. Now, hopefully someone will fill my request as well...