Disclaimer: I own nothing. Except a very crappy laptop computer with a wonky spacebar.
Spoilers: None. Seriously, thing is vague as far as timeline goes.
Rating: Rated T for language and the fact that... it's a slash paring.
A/N: It's a bit of a long read at around 5,000 words. I was going to split it into two chapters but, despite portioning, it would still be 5,000 words. You can handle it though, I'm sure.
A/N #2: "Any Colour You Like" is a very pretty Pink Floyd song, which is why the "Color" is spelled with a British "u" in the title.
It was three o'clock in the afternoon and Phoenix was bored out of his skull. He'd closed the office down today because, one: it was Sunday and if you could close a place down on any day, it should be a Sunday, right?; and two: he thought he needed the time to relax, and maybe organize a (read: every) case or two so that his workplace could hold some semblance of professionalism.
As it turns out, having too much time on one's hands is pretty much worse than having too little time on one's hands, because when you have too much time on your hands you end up frittering it away on really stupid things like building forts out of the McDonald's straws you'd collected over God knew how many trips you'd made to the place.
(Here's a secret: Phoenix's top desk drawer in his office is entirely filled with fast food straws and little packets of ketchup. He doesn't even like ketchup, but for some reason he really enjoys taking the packets from the restaurants.)
Maya was in Kurain doing… Kurain things that she didn't do a very good job in explaining because, Phoenix believed, not even Maya actually knew what the hell she was supposed to be doing there. Pearls was with her, so Phoenix had the feeling that they were actually just sitting around watching TV (Maya, after all, still wanted to catch Pearls up on The Glorious Entertainment That Is Steel Samurai, and its various spin-off incarnations) rather than doing any real work.
"Nah," Phoenix said out loud, despite there being no one around. "She's become very mature lately. I'm sure she's a big help there. Old Maya would be watching TV, but this Maya's probably… Er… Okay, that's it. I've gotta find something to do. Talking to myself is just sad and desperate, isn't it?"
Phoenix tapped his finger on the side of his desk, staring at Fort McStraws, sitting in the lower left corner. In a fit of inspiration, he used a leftover straw to shoot a spitball at the thing and send it toppling over in an explosion of yellow-and-red-striped glory.
What had happened to that whole 'professionalism' plan, again? Crushed by the defeat of Fort McStraws, of course.
Maybe he could try watching TV. He'd had one installed in the office for news updates (at least, that's what he told himself. The truth was, Maya had pestered him relentlessly about getting one so she wouldn't have to miss her shows while working) so he might as well put it to use.
He settled on the office couch usually reserved for clients and flipped through channels. He didn't want to watch the news on his day off, because it would only depress him, so he skipped past those. Children's program, children's program, cooking channel, a documentary on the Amish, about twenty different soap operas and seriously there was nothing on Sunday afternoons. He should just go home and... Well, there wasn't a whole lot of entertainment there, either. He turned the television off angrily and sighed.
He could go for a walk. He liked walking. People didn't walk nearly enough in Los Angeles and maybe he could start a trend or something. The Walking Trend. It'd save the world and countless lives, surely.
It was a plan. Not a very good plan, and rather boring, but a plan nonetheless.
So Phoenix jumped up off the couch and tossed on his coat, locking up and flicking off lights as he exited the office. It felt nice to be doing something, to have a goal. He even had to stop and ponder where to walk to (a park? Just around the block? Home? Wherever his feet would lead him?) before deciding that it didn't matter, just as long as he got out and did something with his time.
The day was beautiful, as Californian days usually were, and the weather was warm but with a cooling breeze that kept it from being stifling. The trees were green, the sky was blue and fading to orange in the afternoon light, and Phoenix didn't think he'd ever seen such a wonderful Sunday. Dogs barked. Children laughed. Birds sang. There was a possibility that, at any moment, everything would suddenly turn into a Disney cartoon from the 1940's and squirrels would begin dancing together with baby deer and adorable chipmunks.
The peaceful surroundings and glorious colors gave Phoenix time to think as he walked. He walked and walked and thought and thought. He thought about his friends, he thought about his job, he thought about how he probably should've cleaned up the fifty or so straws that were currently strewn about his office floor. Whatever. It wasn't like he was expecting company or anything, right? And he'd clean them up before he opened up the office tomorrow morning. No problem.
An hour or so had passed since he'd started walking, and most of it had been in general peace. Occasionally, he would start to worry more about the state of his office, but then he'd force himself to look at a flower or something. Phoenix noticed that less people were outside now than when he started walking. Sprinklers on afternoon timers sprang to life, birds belted out some last-minute chirping before settling in for the night, and the atmosphere took on a more orangish aura that, rather than dulling the world around him, actually acted to increase the vividness of the colors with a golden light.
Not for the first time since he'd left, Phoenix wondered if maybe he should have filed the folders he'd actually intended on filing. That had been the whole reason for going to the office, right? Maybe he should turn around and –
No. No, no no. It was ridiculous: whenever he was at the office he couldn't pull himself together to actually do some work, but when he wasn't he couldn't stop himself from making mental lists of what to do. He had to relax. He deserved it. He worked hard, all the time, and saved innocent people from a lifetime in jail. Think of the pretty colors, Phoenix.
So he thought of the pretty colors. He thought of how the blue in the sky was completely unlike the garish primary-blue of the suit he usually donned for court cases and wondered if maybe he should get another, better-colored suit at some point in time. He noticed the trees and the grass and how the green in both reminded him of how wonderful nature was, and wondered if he should try wearing a green suit for a change.
A sprinkling of dark purple and light purple flowers reminded him of Maya's and Pearl's robes and Phoenix felt a pang of loneliness. He wouldn't be bored if they were here instead of in stupid Kurain Stupid, stupid Kurain.
Now he was being childish. Great.
He shook his head to remove the thoughts and his eyes drifted over to another bed of flowers, this one being tended to by a gardener and sporting pinker-looking blossoms that actually reminded Phoenix of the suit Edgeworth usually wore. Pink.
Phoenix shook his head. "Magenta," he muttered.
Phoenix started at the familiar voice, eyes wide and, because of the absurdity of it all, his brain a little sludgy and slow.
Hey… wait a minute.
That sounded like…
Phoenix turned around, and there he was, in all his pink-(magenta)-suited glory.
Hey, wait… Phoenix noticed that, save for a park across the busy (wait, he crossed that?) boulevard behind him, he had no clue where he was. It was a not-that-suburban neighborhood on a two-lane road, none of the houses seemed to have much by the way of front yards, and there was a creepy old man sitting on his stoop, scowling at a gangly looking cat across the street.
"Where the hell am I?!"
Edgeworth was staring at him like he'd gone insane or was drooling or doing something else that he deemed unsatisfactory, which just went to show that some things, at least, did not change.
"Physically, you're on Willow Street. Mentally, I couldn't begin to fathom… 'Magenta'?"
"Uh… I was trying to figure out the color of…" ('Your suit?' Nah...) "—those." He pointed in the general direction of the flowers, which were decorating one person's poor excuse for a yard, but didn't really turn that way himself. His physical control was hindered by the fact that most of his brain power was apparently focused to getting as much blood as possible up to his face in order to turn it a very lovely shade of red.
"That's a… strange hobby, Wright," Edgeworth mused quietly. His gaze flicked over to the flowers. "But you're correct. They're magenta. Rhododendrons, I think, although it's hard to tell from this distance."
"I… uh, I wouldn't know." Seriously, he could stop stuttering now. The initial shock was over. Why was his face still all hot and his mouth all dry and why did he feel like he was about three inches tall?
Edgeworth stared at him some more.
That could possibly, just maybe, be the answer.
Still on his color-noticing kick, Phoenix blinked and noted Edgeworth's hair to be a vague shade of silver-pink, highlighted by the reflection of the sun off… something. Weird.
"Wright, I believe your house is several miles away from here, is it not?"
"I… I came from the office, actually."
Miles Edgworth: Cool and Collected; Phoenix Wright: totally, completely Not.
The prosecutor smirked a little and shifted his briefcase (which Phoenix just now noticed he was carrying) from his right hand to his left one.
"That's still a bit of a distance. Why are you here?"
"Well, you see, I –" Phoenix stopped, suddenly stricken by a complete need to be defensive. It was, after all, his job. "Wait a minute! Can't a guy walk around his own city and not be subject to interrogations? What rules are there that say I can't stand and look at a few flowers, enjoy the wonderful day, and listen to the twittering song of the birds? Anyways, what gives you any more right to be here than me, huh?"
Edgeworth was looking at him like Phoenix's head had just fallen off and rolled away. Phoenix told himself he didn't care, but that didn't stop the embarrassing blush to start again in his cheeks.
"Once again, Wright, your innate ability to become emotionally moved by absolutely nothing impresses me." He smirked again, and the expression was, as usual, chill-inducing. "Now, in answer to your questions: Firstly, they're called 'no loitering' laws and they're quite explicitly about it being illegal for people to suspiciously stand around doing nothing. Second," his smirk grew tenfold, so that it actually resembled a smile, albeit a smug one, "you're standing in front of my house."
He looked over to the side and noticed a shiny red sports car parked in the driveway, which was apparently the cause of the curious reflection in Edgeworth's hair.
Son of a… how the hell had he missed that? Did daydreaming about Edgeworth's freaking pink-magenta suit and comparing it to similar-colored flowers really take him out of it so he couldn't hear a car pull up five feet away?!
No. Not daydreaming of Edgeworth's suit. Thinking of color. In general. No specifications. Besides, considering the time it took for Edgeworth to get out of his car, and that the whole magenta thing was the last thing he'd thought about, he would've had to have been thinking about something completely different at the time Edgeworth actually pulled up… Also, Daydreaming about Edgeworth would be… weird. But his hair was quite nice today.
Phoenix coughed to bring himself back to reality and in order to stop himself from saying something stupid and faux-snarky in response to Edgeworth's smugness, like 'Oh, really?' or 'How about that?' or 'Well, in that case, why don't you invite me in for tea?'.
"Well, in that case, why don't you invite me in for tea?"
Damn! Damn, damn! What the hell was that about? Were his brain and the rest of his body no longer on speaking terms with one another? Was this some sort of medical problem he needed to deal with or something? This was totally not fair!
He smiled pleasantly, trying to throw the whole sentence off as sarcastic, and Edgeworth glared at him for a few seconds. In a brief moment of lunacy, Phoenix noticed that, since the man had moved just a little and the reflection from the car was no longer affecting him, Edgeworth's hair looked kind of gold-brown in the waning afternoon light. Hm… Weirder.
"Fine," Edgeworth said, and for a second there Phoenix thought he'd blacked out for some reason and missed a bit of the conversation. But, shockingly, surprisingly, unbelievably, he hadn't. "You can come in."
"What?" I was joking! I swear! What?
But Edgeworth was always so cold and calculating and very rarely personable that Phoenix didn't have it in his heart to rescind the self-invite. What other chance would he have to get close to Edgeworth?
Woah! Woah, woah, woah! Friend-close, I swear! It totally sounded like something different but it wasn't something different it's completely innocent and I'm saying this entirely inside my head what the hell is wrong with me?!
Gulping, Phoenix looked at Edgeworth and tried to pretend his inner thoughts weren't spiraling out of control. "Sure," he said. He tried sounding more suspicious than excited and he thought maybe he came off as sounding a bit ill instead.
"This is only so I can drive you home later, Wright," Edgeworth stated firmly as he moved past Phoenix and up the four steps to the door. He set his briefcase down and sifted through the keys on his key ring before selecting one, inserting it in the lock, and opening the door. He picked his briefcase back up again before turning back to Phoenix and adding, "You're obviously not right in the head for some reason, and I'm not risking you getting mugged or lost or falling down a flight of stairs."
Phoenix tried to ignore the elated feeling he got at the knowledge that Edgeworth actually cared whether he fell down a flight of stairs or not, but elation was a very persistent emotion and therefore difficult to ignore.
"How on Earth would I fall down a flight of stairs while walking around outside?"
"Knowing you, you'd find a way."
Edgeworth, despite his clothes, did not have the decorating tastes of a centuries-old vampire. The inside of his house actually looked pretty normal, which resulted in it just seeming weird because, after seeing the way his office looked, Phoenix fully expected the place to be covered in pink (magenta) velvet and mahogany furniture that was great to look at but useless as actual furniture. He expected it to be cluttered and grand and expensive, but in reality it was completely opposite – almost Spartan.
The front room, which was a living room, contained a regular living room set and blended seamlessly into the dining room, which was really just a table, four chairs, and what looked to be an antique hutch. Through a cutaway in the connecting wall, Phoenix could see that the kitchen was dark wood cabinets and the basics: stove, fridge, oven, microwave. Everything matched perfectly, like the house wasn't really for living in but just to show was an ideal house should look like… It was all probably still expensive, though.
The only sign that anyone lived there was a newspaper sitting on one of the chairs in the living room. Phoenix took a second to lean over and check it out, and noticed that it was dated three days ago. I wonder…
"I've been here since then," Edgeworth said, making Phoenix jump up in guilty shock.
He was leaning, with his arms crossed over his chest, against the archway into the kitchen, and in the dark his hair looked almost black. Like the feeling of elation, it was hard for one to ignore the fact that they apparently had a thing for their male friend's hair, but Phoenix tried his darndest anyways.
"I just haven't bothered to clean up," the prosecutor continued, and he seemed almost ashamed of the thought.
"You could have fooled me," Phoenix muttered, stuffing his hands in his pockets to keep their lower-middle-class grubbiness from tainting the pristine home of Miles Edgeworth.
Edgeworth had heard him but he didn't seem to mind the comment, and Phoenix didn't bother backtracking this time. "Have a seat," he said. "I assume Earl Grey is fine for tea?"
Phoenix cringed. He'd always been more of a coffee person himself, "I uh… I was kind of kidding about the tea thing."
"I know, Wright. But I want tea and it's rude to eat or drink something without at least offering the same to the guest." He gave Phoenix a pointed look, as if trying to drill some moral lesson into him despite the fact that, Hey, I already knew that!
But Phoenix grinned and gritted, "Earl Grey is fine."
"Good." His smile was pleasant and verging on passive-aggressive as he pushed off from the wall and moved backwards into the kitchen. "Have a seat. It'll be ready in ten minutes."
The tea was ready in exactly ten minutes, as if even the law of boiling water (if there was such a thing) was afraid of defying Miles Edgeworth. Phoenix had eventually sat down on the chair that had held the newspaper and had started leafing through it as he waited. The nervousness and fear of messing anything up, paired with the near-perfect condition of Edgeworth's house, reminded Phoenix of waiting in the lounge of a doctor's office. All that was missing was the fluorescent lighting and impending dread and doom.
Edgeworth arrived carrying a tray with two tea cups and a teapot. He looked more like a butler sentenced to a lifetime of hated butlering, carrying that tray, than someone entertaining a guest.
Check former statement. All that was missing was the fluorescent lighting.
"I'm out of cream," Edgeworth sad as he set the tray down on the coffee table in front of the couch he occupied and the chair Phoenix was in, "but there's a whole bowl of sugar, so you should be fine."
Phoenix was offended. Honestly, Edgeworth thought he needed to cloud his tea up with cream and sugar in order to drink it. Like he was some kind of… kid.
"Hey, I drink coffee black, don't I?"
Edgeworth stopped arranging the cups on the tray for a moment to look at Phoenix with a quirked brow, "You drink your coffee with three creams and five sugars, Wright."
"How do you know?!"
The other man just looked at him and poured the tea, and Phoenix tried his best to ignore the funny, girly feeling in his chest at the idea that Edgeworth was paying close enough attention to him to notice something like how Phoenix liked his coffee. He wasn't a girl.
"You know, I wouldn't picture you in a place like this, Edgeworth," Phoenix said by way of starting a conversation. That was what tea was for, right? "It doesn't really have… your personal touch."
"I don't spend much time here," the man responded. "My 'personal touch', as you call it, is considerably used up by my office."
"Right," Phoenix nodded, sipping his tea (which, though he hated to admit it, could really use some cream or milk or something to drown out the… tea flavor.) "Miles Edgeworth is always working, of course."
Edgeworth caught the jibe, but for once wasn't inclined to jibe back. He just drank some more of his tea while Phoenix let his sit on his saucer and get cold.
Apropos of nothing, he commented, "Wright, you never answered my question about why you were walking around, miles from any place you ought to have been."
Edgeworth sipped is tea and despite wearing half of a magenta-colored suit (he'd shed the jacket as soon as they'd entered the house) and a downright frilly cravat while doing it, he still managed to retain his masculinity. Phoenix had to admit that a large percentage of why he didn't like tea was because he never knew how the hell he was supposed to drink the stuff. The handles were tiny and he didn't want to do the stereotypical extended pinky thing because… he wasn't a girl.
"I was bored, so I went for a walk."
"A mile-long walk, without even noticing?" He sounded suspicious about… something.
Phoenix once again went on the defensive, "I was… thinking."
A smirk again, "You thought your way to my house, then?"
Oh, hey there. What's that look in…
"Woah!" Phoenix exclaimed, "You think I walked all this way just to get to your house? I didn't even know where you lived! Well, I used to know where you lived and then you moved about fifteen times so I sort of lost track and sure, I knew where you lived for… most of those times but it's not like I look it up or anything, I just… I… I'm really not helping, here am I?"
Still smirking, "I was merely inquiring, Wright. What are you getting so upset about?"
"Well I didn't want you to think I was stalking you or anything."
Despite the fact that I based my entire career around seeing you again, of course. Stalking! Pfft! Really.
Edgeworth finally stopped smirking and set his teacup down, "Wright, are you al— …are you feeling okay?"
Phoenix briefly noted the quick pun-dodge with admiration, before shrugging.
"I don't know," he sighed. "I guess I… just don't really like having nothing to do. Usually Maya is at least around to bug me, but right now she's away on Spirit Medium stuff and I had nothing to do so I figured I'd organize some files or something at the office, then I never really got around to it because I was too busy doing… nothing. I went for a walk to think about things, and as it turned out, I can safely navigate the streets of Los Angeles without getting hit by a car despite being only half-conscious."
"Well, I'm sure that's a talent that could come in handy sometime."
Chuckling self-consciously, Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah."
Edgeworth stood, still looking sympathetic, "Come on. I should drive you back to your office. I'll help you organize your files, and you can feel like you've accomplished something today… I'll even let you take all the credit for it when Miss Fey returns."
Phoenix stood as well. He winced as his legs realized what his mind hadn't at the time – that he'd walked a very, very long way.
"Uh… Thanks, Edgeworth."
They'd cleaned up the leftover tea, Phoenix cringing as he moved, and afterwards he was more than happy to be in a sitting position again – this time, in Edgeworth's fancy red sports car. He'd never been inside something like it before, and since he was more of a Public Transportation sort of guy, the experience was a novel one, twofold.
"Nice car," Phoenix said, because he figured this was the time one would say something like that.
As it turns out, Miles Edgeworth is even less talkative while driving than he is while just walking around being Miles Edgeworth. The car ride was completely silent, including the radio ("A driver shouldn't have too many distractions, Wright – Especially when surrounded by the idiots who populate these streets.") so Phoenix was forced to sit back and just watch the scenery zoom by. It was quite relaxing, actually. The sky was graying, so the city lights were all blazing to life – signs, car lights, street lights blurred past the window and gave Phoenix a slightly drunken, giddy flair somewhere in his stomach.
He glanced to his left at Edgeworth, who had his eyes sternly trained on the road ahead of him, and Phoenix noticed that the bright halogen lights made his hair look white, the dulling yellow ones made it look mousy-brown, and the various colored neon signs made it look like every color of the rainbow. Phoenix tried not to think about the fact that staring at the lights reflecting off his friend's hair made him feel just as giddy and dizzy as watching landmarks pass by at forty miles per hour, but also he didn't try convincing himself otherwise and, if he did, it was very half-hearted.
The car ride didn't last nearly long enough, even counting the detour Edgeworth had made to the bank before it closed for the night, so in no time at all they were stopped in front of the office building of Wright & Co. and Phoenix had to get out of the car to move his aching legs again. Good thing the office is only a few stories up.
"Wright, you could use the elevator," Edgeworth said without looking at him. Was Phoenix really being that obviously wimpy? "I don't mind other people using them, after all – just so long as I don't have to myself."
"No, I'm fine. Besides, the elevator's broken." Liar!
But Edgeworth seemed to accept this excuse, so they entered the building and started climbing. Phoenix's legs screamed in agony, and Phoenix mentally screamed back at them to shut the hell up. He realized after about twelve steps that the reason why he didn't take the elevator wasn't because he wanted to appear like less of a wuss, but because he didn't like leaving Edgeworth. It was a kind of strange epiphany, but he didn't mind it so much. Edgeworth was, after all, his friend when they weren't yelling at each other in court rooms.
Nothing weird about that, nothing at all.
Although, Phoenix realized, his fascination with his friend's hair was getting kind of worrisome.
It looked slate grey now, due to the dangerous lack of lighting in the stairwell.
The first thing Edgeworth said upon entering the office was, "Wright, why are there plastic straws all over your desk?" and the second thing was, "Do you even own a filing cabinet?"
And that was before Phoenix had even had a chance to turn on the light.
"I built a fort, and yes. I own two," he replied after the office was properly illuminated.
To give Edgeworth some credit, the place really was a mess. Besides the straws and the stack of files-to-be-filed next to the desk there was also a coffee mug from that morning half-filled with coffee next to his computer, the trashcan was filled to the brim, the couch's back cushion was all askew and the magazines on the table next to it were not only several months out of date but also torn and ripped from a "crafts" project Maya and Pearl had decided to do about two weeks ago. Frankly, Phoenix didn't know why they had magazines in the first place – it was, after all, a law office, not a dentist's.
"You'll have to clean this place up before I can help you with anything," Edgeworth said. He gave the room a look that one might give a giant slug covered in dirt and smelling of old gym socks. No matter how bad it was, it couldn't have been that bad.
Still, "I'll get a trash bag," Phoenix sighed.
After Phoenix had thrown everything (the straws, the magazines, the contents of the trashcan and, after Edgeworth found out about them while searching for a pen, the desk drawer full of pilfered ketchup packets) the two of them got to work on filing. It really wasn't that terribly difficult – the only real issue was how time consuming it was. The fact that Phoenix stopped what he was doing to look at Edgeworth's hair every fifteen minutes didn't really help matters.
In the bright office light it looked more white than anything else.
They were sitting close to one another on the floor, since it was the only rational place to both be comfortable and in reach of the filing cabinet at the same time, and it was unnerving how easily distracted Phoenix was.
Even more worrying than the awareness that he was fascinated with Edgeworth's hair was the fact that Phoenix had stopped worrying about it about an hour ago, since that was around the time he realized that it wasn't really the hair he was all that fascinated by.
Still, he had the oddest feeling that if he could get close enough to Edgeworth's hair to actually touch it, then maybe he could end the constant, pesky awareness of it, even if he knew it didn't solve the issue of him actually being attracted to his friend. If he could just get one strand...
But he'd never do that. His hands would remain to himself, everything would be fine tomorrow when…
He was touching Edgeworth's hair.
What the hell?!
He really needed to stop blacking out so god damned much. He must have some sort of brain trauma issue or something because he was touching Edgeworth's hair.
And it was very soft.
No! No, no, no! Let go, hands!
"Wright, would it be rude of me to ask what on Earth you are doing?"
His hands weren't moving.
Edgeworth was being very calm, and very still. Both non-actions were very unnerving.
And Phoenix still wasn't moving away.
In fact, there was a possibility he was moving closer.
And there was an equally astounding possibility that Edgeworth had ceased being still and was moving closer as well.
They were just a few inches from each other now and Phoenix's heart was thumping quickly, his mouth was dry and he could hear his pulse somewhere in the vicinity of his right eyeball, which, along with its left counterpart, was focused squarely on his friend-slash-rival's lips.
"Wright," Edgeworth's lips said quietly, "before you move any further, I honestly suggest you think about what you're going to do."
"What am I going to do?"
And then Phoenix moved the last few inches and their lips met and there was a possibility that his fast-beating heart had stopped altogether for a second, and the thudding pulse near his eye quit thudding, and colors sparked. He didn't know if the colors were behind his eyelids or inside his mind, but they buzzed and fluttered in vivid Technicolor splashes that reminded him of something when he and Edgeworth broke apart, something that had been nagging him all day.
"Edgeworth?" he began.
The prosecutor looked wary, like perhaps Phoenix was going to say something about it all being a mistake or a practical joke, but he remained still.
Eyes trained on Miles Edgeworth's face, Phoenix Wright asked,
"Just what the hell color is your hair, anyways?"
A/N: No, seriously, what is it?!