A/N- This story is set about a year and a half after Iris is released from prison. Also, special thanks goes to Jenna Darknight and Xero Wright for proofing this for me. Enjoy! Reviews make me very happy.

Disclaimer: Phoenix Wright clearly does not belong to me.

Resting her head on Phoenix's shoulder, Iris had slipped into a light slumber during the two hour train ride up to Kurain to pick up Trucy. She mumbled softly and lifted her head as Phoenix's soft voice alerted her that they had arrived. Rubbing her sleep filled eyes, Iris straightened up and turned to smile at Phoenix.

"What did you say, Rissy?" Phoenix asked curiously, having missed the comment. Kissing her cheek softly, Phoenix then stood up and reached out his hand to help the still half-asleep Iris stand.

Her mind racing to remember what she had said, Iris's face flushed furiously. Unable to come up with an answer, she tried to move the conversation on quickly to bypass the question altogether. "So we're here then?" she asked, smiling gratefully as she reached for the offered hand.

Although still curious, Phoenix allowed the topic change. Pulling Iris to her feet, he leaned forward impulsively and kissing her passionately. The kiss was magical, and for a second the power of it stole Iris's breath away. They were so lost in the moment, it wasn't until the train's warning bell rang, telling them the train would be departing soon, that they realized they still needed to get off the train.

"Crap, we need to go," Phoenix muttered, clutching Iris's hand tightly and quickly leading her through the door just before it closed. Stopping to catch their breath on the platform, Iris started to giggle as relief flooded through her. Although surprised at her reaction at first, Iris's laughter was infectious and Phoenix soon found himself following her lead. Intense happiness rushed through Iris as she listened to the delightful sound of Phoenix's laughter, which, to her disappointment, had become an increasing rarity. It was so deep and relaxed, and it easily ranked among the most beautiful things she had ever heard.

Still giggling softly, Iris rested her head against Phoenix's chest happily. "I guess we need to be more careful."

Wrapping his arms tightly around her, Phoenix pulled her close and rested his head on the top of hers, enjoying the sweet smell of her shampoo. "But where's the fun in that," he teased playfully. Glancing at Iris mischievously, he continued "Let's be honest. If it comes down to making my stop and kissing you, I would obviously choose... to stop kissing you and get off." In response to Iris raising an eyebrow, Phoenix's smile broadened. "Okay, I guess I'd simply have to finish kissing you, even if it meant missing my stop."

"Is that so," Iris smiled as she turned to face him. Standing on her toes, she stood close to him so that their faces were only a couple of inches apart. "Me too," she whispered as Phoenix leaned down and kissed her again.

With a reluctant sigh, Phoenix pulled away. Glancing at his watch, he looked sheepishly at Iris. "We need to temporarily postpone this fun. Maya will never let me forget it if we're late."

"Of course," Iris agreed cheerfully, her eyes shining brightly as they held hands. They began walking together as their conversation continued. "We can't leave Maya waiting forever... and Trucy's been over there awhile, so she's probably ready to come home anyway. I'm actually excited. Pearl comes to visit pretty regularly, but I feel like its been forever since I last saw Maya."

"Maya's been busy recently," Phoenix agreed. "Things have really picked up at Kurain in the past couple of years and especially with the last month or so, she's just been swamped or so she tells me when she calls to complain." Phoenix's grin widened as he said this. As they came to a stop in front of Fey Manor, he added, "It hasn't been that long though. Maya comes into town to visit pretty often. You're also being overly optimistic about Trucy. We'll have to drag her home like we always do."

"Nick! Iris!" Maya's excited voice cut through the air, interrupting their conversation. Bounding out of the recently renovated manor house, Maya skidded to a stop in front of them and hugged them both. "It's so great to see you guys. It's been forever!"

Phoenix's face was a mixture of complete disbelief and intense amusement. "Maya, don't you think you're being a little over dramatic? You saw Iris a week and a half ago when you came down to visit us and you saw me this morning when I dropped Trucy off."

"Really?" Maya asked, crossing her arms in front of her chest with a thoughtful expression on her face. "I guess you're right. Oh well." Quickly dismissing this, Maya's normal cheerful disposition set back in and she clapped her hands together in delight. "It seems like longer. Come inside."

As they followed Maya into the large house, Phoenix asked, "Did Trucy behave herself today?"

"She and Pearly had a blast!" Maya exclaimed. "They were playing in the Winding Way when I checked on them a few minutes ago." Jogging across the room, Maya leaned her head through the doorway leading toward the large hallway. "Pearly! Trucy! Come..." Maya's voice trailed off in a distressed gasp.

"What's wrong?" Phoenix asked as he rushed over to Maya with Iris on his heels, fighting hard to suppress the quickly rising panic that had come from Maya's reaction, but having little success. All he could think about was that Trucy and Pearl had been there a few moments ago. Stepping out into the Winding Way, Phoenix felt confusion and a small bit of relief run through him when he saw that the girls weren't even. With no clue why Maya had gasped like that, Phoenix was still worried. Dashing down the pathway to the side room, Phoenix was finally able to breathe again when he saw both girls, happy and unharmed, playing there by the large clothing box.

"Oh thank goodness," Iris's soft voice came from behind him. With her hand on her chest, the tenseness on her face slipped into a relaxed smile. She loved both girls dearly, and the thought of something happening to either had scared her terribly.

"Daddy! Mommy!" Trucy was the first to notice their arrival. Running over full speed, she leaped into her father's waiting arms and hugged him tightly as he pulled her close, still tremendously happy that she was safe. Trucy then pulled away from her father and hugged Iris happily. "I didn't know you were coming too, Mommy!" Trucy chirped happily. Trucy had started calling Iris "mommy" a few months ago and hearing it never failed to make Iris smile.

Pearl had been quick to follow Trucy over. Unlike Trucy, Pearl jumped into her big sister's arms first. Iris smiled as she hugged the young girl still remembering how thrilled Pearl had been to learn that she had an older sibling, but how disappointed she had seemed at learning that Phoenix and Maya would never be romantically involved. Iris had been horrified by the idea that she could possibly be the cause of that distress, but as Phoenix had promised, he'd taken Pearl aside and explained the situation to her in a way that she could easily understand. Whatever he had said to her, Iris knew it had worked well. Pearl had moped around for a couple of days, but it wasn't long before Pearl was happy to welcome her newly found sister into the family.

"Pearls, it's great to see you. I've missed you," Iris said, relaxing completely as she hugged her sister and Trucy. Then cuddling with Trucy, she kissed the girl's cheek and smiled. "Of course I was coming to pick you up. I missed you too." Seeing the annoyed expression forming on Phoenix's face as he spun to face Maya, Iris shooed the two girls back into the side room and pushed Phoenix down to the far side of the Winding Way so they could speak without upsetting the girls.

"What was that all about?" Phoenix demanded angrily, his hands on his hips.

"Huh?" Maya asked in obvious confusion. "What is with you two?"

"You gasp like that after looking into the area where Trucy and Pearls were playing and I thought what most people would think," he said, fighting to keep his voice steady. "I thought that they were hurt or..." Phoenix couldn't bring himself to put into words that last thought. It was simply too devastating.

Understanding suddenly dawned on Maya's clueless face and her hand flew to her mouth as she gasped. "I'm so sorry, Nick. They've been playing between those two areas all day, so that thought never occurred to me. I was upset at something else." Glancing apologetically at both Phoenix and Iris, she smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about that. I guess that was stupid of me... I hope you guys will forgive me."

After giving Maya a reassuring hug, Iris smiled, happy to put the silly misunderstanding behind them.

Phoenix also smiled now, having already forgiven her. The fact was that he was more relieved than angry anyways, but this gave him the chance to toy with her a bit as she had always played with him. His eyes sparkled as he teased, "That little stunt probably took five years off my life." Seeing that Maya actually looked upset by his comment, Phoenix felt a wave of remorse. "I'm kidding, Maya. Why are your jokes okay and mine not?"

"Because mine are funny," Maya said, smiling broadly, recovering as quickly as she always did.

Something still bothered Phoenix about their conversation though. Deciding to press further on the issue, Phoenix asked, "You said you were upset about something else? What was that?"

"Oh." Maya's memories came flooding back to her. Waving her arms, she cried dramatically, "The Scared Urn is missing! Our village's most sacred treasure is gone! We need to call the cops or the marines or whoever you call about missing urns and find it quickly!" All eyes turned to the stand Maya was motioning toward, and to everyone's surprise, it was empty.

"Oh dear," Iris said, walking over to the stand. As she turned back to face Maya and Phoenix, she asked, "What could have happened?"

"I'm not sure," Phoenix admitted as he and Maya walked over to join Iris. "But we shouldn't panic. I have trouble believing anyone would go out of their way to steal that old, cracked urn."

"Hey," Maya started to protest. "How can you say that?"

Loud whispering, as only ten year olds are capable of, drew Phoenix's attention from the rather hyper Maya and he noticed the girls' watching them from the doorway. Realizing they had been spotted, both girls dashed back into the room suddenly. Now suspicious, Phoenix walked down the hall and turned into the room. As he examined the girls' faces he smiled. He didn't need the magatama's powers, or even Trucy's special abilities to figure out this puzzle, as the girls' faces betrayed them. It always surprised Phoenix that Trucy, who was quite good at picking up on other peoples' nervous ticks, was so poor at hiding her own, although he supposed that he should be grateful as it made his life easier. Whenever Trucy did something wrong, she would try too hard to look innocent and this in itself gave her away immediately. As for Pearls, she had never been good at deception; Pearl wore her guilt clearly on her face. Although he had a pretty good idea what had happened to the Sacred Urn, as he noticed Pearl's ball sitting in the corner, he knew he would have to be careful about prying answers out of them. Kneeling beside the two girls, who were once again sitting by the large clothing box with a puzzle between them, he asked kindly, "So what are you two up to?"

Pearl started to speak first, but as she stammered a bit, Trucy interrupted her. "Just playing, Daddy," Trucy said, her voice squeaking a bit in her attempt to sound cheerful.

"Is that so," Phoenix smiled. He was now vaguely aware that Iris and Maya had followed him. "That puzzle looks fun. Why don't you two scoot so I can get something out of this clothing box." His hands reached to lift the lid, causing Pearl and Trucy to react as he'd expected.

"No!" Both Pearl and Trucy yelled simultaneously, jumping between him and the box. Pearl spoke up first this time. "I can get whatever you need, Mr. Nick. There's only a few costumes in there anyway."

"Why can't I look myself?" he asked calmly, feeling guilty about pressing this issue, but they needed to learn to take responsibility for their actions. Phoenix knew he wasn't always the best role model; he had certainly done plenty of things he wasn't proud of, but he tried to make up for it when the opportunity presented itself. "Is there something you two want to tell me? Perhaps something about the Scared Urn being broken by the ball you two were playing with?"

Alarm raced though Trucy and Pearl at hearing this. Reacting without thinking, Trucy jumped up and cried, "You don't know that!" Realizing her mistake, Trucy covered her mouth with her hand and her eyes dropped to the ground.

"We were going to fix it and then put it back," Pearl confessed sadly as she realized they'd been caught, opening up the clothing box to reveal the pieces of the broken urn. Tears started to fall from her eyes. "We're really, really sorry!"

"Really, really, really sorry!" Trucy chimed in quickly, tears starting to run down her face as well.

"Hush, it's okay," Phoenix whispered, hugging both girls tightly to comfort them. Sitting on either side of him, their sobs lessening some as both Trucy and Pearl cuddled close to him.

Leaning over Phoenix's shoulder so she could see the girls' faces, Maya added, "Don't worry about the urn. I've lost count of how many times its been broken. It's like a rite of passage or something."

"No harm done, you two. Why don't we fix it together? It'll be fun." Iris said softly, sitting down beside Phoenix. Pulling out a few tissues from her pocket, Iris leaned over and wiped both girls' faces clean. "No more tears, now."

At the general assent to Iris's suggestion, Maya ran off to find some glue and when she returned, all five of them worked together to repair the Sacred Urn. The project, which would normally have been difficult and frustrating, turned out to be very enjoyable and when they were done, it was agreed that the Scared Urn looked better than it had before. At Maya's insistence, they then went out into the garden to barbecue some burgers and talk.

It was a little after ten when they got back to Phoenix's apartment. Iris held the door open so that Phoenix could carry Trucy inside. Worn out from the day's activities, Trucy was fast asleep in her father's arms.

As Phoenix carried Trucy to her room, Iris glanced around the room and noted with amusement that there were still dirty dishes in the sink. A soft laugh escaped her as she walked over and started scrubbing the dishes. Although she didn't live here, Iris spent most of her time with her new family and tried to help out as much as she could around the apartment. Her help had become increasingly vital as Phoenix had started to spend more time out "working" and although she couldn't bring herself to approve all of his actions, they had managed to reach a number of compromises that allowed the situation to not only work, but also be satisfactory to all parties involved. Iris closed her eyes, sighing happily as her hands went through the familiar motions of cleaning. These quiet nights with Phoenix and Trucy were the most wonderful of her life.

The floor creaked softly as Phoenix walked up behind her. He chuckled softly, careful to keep the noise down so as not to wake Trucy. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he said, "Incredible. We're home not five minutes and you're already on the dishes. You need to relax more, Rissy." Brushing her hair to the side, he began gently kissing her neck, starting at the base of her neck and slowly working up from there, eliciting a giggle from Iris as a rush of excitement ran through her.

Playfully trying to ignore his actions, she continued her work calmly. "I think I need to do this. I'm a little frightened to see what they'll look like when you finally get to them," she told him, her tone far more teasing then she had planned originally.

"Hey! I'm not that bad," Phoenix protested between kisses, but it lacked his normal fervor. Continuing his actions, Phoenix kissed her just below her ear.

A sharp gasp escaped Iris as her face flushed furiously at the pleasure of the sudden touch of his lips and she dropped the plate into the soapy water. Pulling out of his arms, she spun to face him and smiled. Her hand reached for the wool hat he wore and she pulled it off, tossing it onto the counter. Running her hand through his hair, she whispered, "I love your hair. I wish you wouldn't cover it up all the time, Feenie."

Touching his hair, Phoenix responded, "It makes Trucy happy when I wear it, so I do." Turning his attention back to Iris, he smiled warmly, "But I certainly don't have to wear it all the time, I guess." Placing his hand on her chin, he tilted her head up and kissed her tenderly.

"Good," she said huskily after their lips parted. Resting her head against his chest, she closed her eyes contently as he put his arms around her, enjoying the comfort of his embrace.

His mouth by her ear, Phoenix murmured, "Stay with me."

The request for her to stay the night was not an unusual one by this point, so there was no surprise when she answered. "I'd love to spend the night, Feenie," she said, moving to kiss him again.

"No," Phoenix interrupted, pulling away abruptly. Seeing the shock on her face, Phoenix was quick to comfort her. Touching her cheek softly, he spoke quickly to reassure her. "That wasn't what I meant, Rissy. I want...I want you to come live here with me. Here with me and Trucy." Fearing refusal, Phoenix was struck by an unusual shyness. Unable to look into her eyes, Phoenix pushed on again quickly before he chickened out. "I mean Trucy already thinks of you as her mother and I..." His voice trailed off as he desperately searched for the words to describe how he felt about her.

Touching one finger to his lips, Iris interrupted him. "There is nothing that would make me happier, Feenie."

For the first time since making his request, Phoenix looked at Iris's face and he saw that tears covered her smiling face. Wiping her face clean, Phoenix kissed her again and pulled her close to him.

Resting her head against his chest, Iris closed her eyes and sighed contently, wishing with every fiber of her being that they could always remain this happy. There was no doubt that the road ahead would be hard, but she firmly believed they were up for the challenge.