Author's Note: Yay, I'm finally done! I didn't think it would take nine months, but...it feels nice to be done with the collection. I just wanted to thank everyone who's taken the time to read these oneshots, and a special thanks to everyone who's commented as well. Thank you so much! I don't like the quality of some of these, but...I hope you enjoyed them nonetheless. Edgeworth/Phoenix is a really fun pairing to write.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ace Attorney/Gyakuten Saiban.
Edgeworth paced wordlessly up and down the polished hall, his fist clenched tightly around the case file in his hand. Phoenix's harried call to his law office had been so sudden that he hadn't known about the document in his grasp until he was standing in the main lobby of the veterinarian hospital.
Someone placed a warm, reassuring hand on his shoulder. Edgeworth turned slowly and saw Phoenix's sympathetic frown; it nearly sickened him. Edgeworth pulled away.
"I'm really sorry, Miles," Phoenix said, jogging to catch up with the defense attorney. "I'm really, really sorry."
Edgeworth ignored him, his dull, brown eyes locked on the stoic walls ahead.
"I didn't mean for it to happen. Please, Miles…"
Edgeworth paced back up the corridor, wincing visibly at the whine of a dog from the room beside him.
Phoenix sighed. "I didn't mean for it to…" He stopped himself, biting the corner of his lip before he could force himself to continue. "Pess, he just…just, got off the leash and started running into the street-"
"That's enough, Wright," Edgeworth interrupted, his tone bitter and resentful. "Your explanation over the phone was more than enough."
Phoenix's hand slid off his shoulder, hanging limp at his side. Edgeworth turned away and lowered himself onto a plastic bench on the opposite side of the hall, resting his head in his hands. 'Pull through, Pess…pull through…'
He felt the flimsy bench sag and knew Phoenix was sitting next to him, but he couldn't bring himself to protest. He didn't feel up to it anymore; his strength was completely drained, and all he could do was wait.
Sit and wait while his dog suffered only a few rooms away.
"I guess I can't really apologize anymore," Phoenix murmured, his voice unusually rough. "I…didn't even see that car coming. Pess was just…running."
Edgeworth made no effort to retort. He felt himself slump, his head dangerously close to his knees.
'Where's that vet…?'
Phoenix placed his hand on Edgeworth's back and patted him awkwardly. The rhythmic motion was almost comforting, and for a moment Edgeworth almost forgot about the claustrophobic white walls, the uncomfortable bench, and the subtle scent of cat litter.
A door opened quietly from the other side of the hall. Edgeworth could hear a new pair of footsteps approach them, but he was too tired to look up. He could only assume it was the vet watching his dog, but if it wasn't…well, he'd cross that bridge when he got to it.
Edgeworth gave a hushed sigh when he heard the somber tone of the veterinary doctor. "Miles Edgeworth and Phoenix Wright?"
Phoenix jumped to his feet, his hand moving away from Edgeworth's back. "How's Pess?"
The doctor paused uneasily. Edgeworth's fingers dug deeper into his forehead and he gave a quiet groan.
"I'm sorry. We did what we could, but…"
Phoenix muttered a curse under his breath. "I'm very sorry, Mr. Wright," the doctor repeated solemnly. "My condolences, Mr. Edgeworth."
The doctor stepped away, hastily scribbling a note on the clipboard in his hands. Edgeworth knew that Phoenix was talking to him, whispering benign words, but his voice sounded so far away…
The blank document flickered almost mockingly at Edgeworth from the bright computer screen. The man blinked tiredly, rubbing his red-rimmed eyes and he stared back at the legal papers beside him on the desk. He could read the words, but they all flew over his head; nothing felt like it made sense anymore, but he had to finish this case file before the weekend was over.
'I don't have a choice, do I…?'
The house felt strangely empty without Pess in it, even if Phoenix and Trucy still lived with him. But Phoenix and his daughter were constantly on the move as of late—Trucy had been spending a startling amount of time with that young defense attorney (Edgeworth couldn't be bothered to remember the kid's name—it was something strange, he recalled) and Phoenix kept himself well out of Edgeworth's way by making frequent visits to that noodle stand downtown.
Edgeworth sat in a pensive trance, the document still winking at him. 'I'll never get this damn thing done…'
There was a faint knock at the door of the office. When Edgeworth made no move to respond, it opened and Phoenix poked his head around the corner. 'Well, speak of the devil…'
"Hey, Edgeworth," Phoenix said, sidling in and closing the door softly. "Are you hungry? Want something to eat?"
Edgeworth did nothing but stare at the bright monitor.
"Come on, Edgeworth. Please…I don't like seeing you like this."
"You wouldn't be saying that if I killed your dog."
Phoenix winced and drew back sharply. "Hey, now…"
Edgeworth finally glanced up from the word document and saw Phoenix leaning against the door, his face awash in the eerie, white light of the monitor. Edgeworth felt a brief pang of shame at the look of remorse on his friend's face.
"…I apologize," he said quietly. "That was uncalled for."
Phoenix flicked a light on, and Edgeworth had to blink to adjust to the sudden glow of the overhead lamp. "No, it's fine. I deserved that," Phoenix said, sinking into the leather armchair across from the wooden desk. "Listen, Edgeworth…I know I've said this at least a thousand times before, but I'm really sorry. I…hate myself for letting that happen to Pess. I know how important he was to you."
Edgeworth silently traced an invisible line across the gleaming desktop with the tip of his finger. "I didn't have high hopes for that mutt when you brought him home, but…" He hesitated and took a breath to collect himself. "That dog was important in the end. Very important."
Phoenix glanced down at his sandaled feet. "I'm so-"
"Don't apologize so many times, Wright. I know you're sorry, and…I forgive you."
Phoenix's head snapped up so quickly that the blue beanie on his head nearly flipped off. "Edgeworth…?"
"I know what happened wasn't entirely your fault—although you were probably being careless when Pess escaped—so…I forgive you. This isn't an easy thing for me to do, and I wouldn't forgive anyone else as easily as I would you."
Phoenix smiled cautiously. "Well, I'm honored."
Edgeworth raised an eyebrow. "'Honored'?"
"You said you don't forgive people that easily, but you forgave me. I still feel terrible about what happened, but…thanks, Edgey. I mean it."
Edgeworth sighed and pushed himself to his feet. "I…It's fine. I don't really want to discuss Pess for a while, so…"
Phoenix stood and walked around the desk, clapping a hand on Edgeworth's shoulder. "I've got it, no problem." He was grinning so earnestly that Edgeworth couldn't help the small smirk that spread reluctantly over his lips.
Phoenix noticed, to his dismay, and wrapped his arms around Edgeworth's shoulders, pressing his face against the man's neck. "See, Edgey? You've still got me, and I promise I won't run out in the street."
"You're pushing it, Wright."
Phoenix smiled. "I know, I'm sorry. I'm just saying…"
Edgeworth's arms moved slowly around Phoenix's form. "I…understand. Thank you, Wright," he murmured. "Thank you for everything."