Author's Note: Okay, guys, I'm back! Again, thanks for the reviews. They mean a lot to me, really. I'm really proud of myself for being able to continue this story, despite the fact that I'm an incredible flake. I'm such a great procrastinator that it's really, really bad.
So, yes, I'm still utterly addicted to The Heart of Everything. I'm actually listening to it right now. I have about a half hour before I have to leave for work, so I rushed the ending of this chapter a bit so that I could upload it before I leave. I'm not entirely pleased with the ending, but it's the best that I can do right now. I'm exhausted.
Oh, and I'm about halfway into the last case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. I still don't like the characters quite as much as I like the PW characters, but Klavier and Ema are dynamic. I am definitely going to be writing some Klavier/Ema fanfiction in the [possibly near future. Whoo!
Anyways. I hope that you enjoy this chapter. I'm sorry if it seems a bit rushed or just…doesn't fit in with the rest of the story. Like I said, I'm absolutely exhausted and simply can't tell.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, alright? I own absolutely nothing. …well, relatively, anyways.
"No, no, no, no, no!"
With a growl of frustration, Maya furiously scrubbed her face with a dampened washcloth, her brow furrowed deeply in a rather uncharacteristic manner. Her face shone bright red, and a bit of a black substance ran underneath her eyes. Maya had never been one to wear makeup. In fact, she had never even learned how to apply the god-forsaken stuff. So, no matter how many times she tried to get it right, she ended up looking like a clown or a prostitute, and those were not personas that she ever wanted to portray. In the end, it seemed that she would just have to live with her naturally flawed features.
Sighing, the irritated teenager practically attacked her long black tresses with a hairbrush. A few coughs erupted from her chest as she attempted to keep her hair in order. She usually kept it up in what many people incorrectly called a "top knot," but, ever since she had her breakdown, she had let it fall freely over her shoulders, finding that it was much more comfortable that way. Still, her hair was so boring—so flat. Everything about herself was annoying to the girl. She had always been somewhat self-conscious about her appearance, but never really had a good reason to care too much. But…that wasn't the case anymore.
Earlier in the day, Maya had paused to consider why it was that she cared so much about looking attractive. It didn't take her too long to arrive at an answer. Edgeworth…well, she had never really gotten a chance to get to know him better—or, if she had, she never took that chance. Regardless of that fact, she knew that they had a certain connection. They could understand each other in a way that no one else could. Maybe that wasn't enough to keep that together…maybe that wasn't enough for them to ever be truly happy…but it was a start. As it stood, she knew that he felt something for her, and she knew that she cared about him, so at least she didn't have to face the fear of unrequited affection. She just…had to convince Edgeworth that she wasn't hurt by his actions or angry with him at all, and she was getting the feeling that it wouldn't be easy.
Maya stopped to examine her appearance in the mirror, a look of anxiety etched in her features. Her raven hair framed her face nicely, but she had hoped to cover up her blotchy skin and the dark bags underneath her eyes. The stress that she had endured over the past weeks had done terrible things to her body, but it really couldn't be helped. It was better to look exhausted and strained than it was to look like a cheap hooker. Although, it would be hard to look like a cheap hooker in her traditional spirit-medium garb. She had contemplated wearing something more "normal," but that just wasn't like her at all. Maya never went out into public without her purple robes.
Nick had offered to take Pearly out to get some ice-cream, and Maya had enthusiastically taken him up on his offer. Because of Edgeworth's care and the great amount of sleep that she had been getting, she was feeling much better and was over her physical illness, for the most part. Still, it was better that she didn't take Pearly anywhere, in case something happened to her while they were out. Besides, the little girl was really fond of the personable attorney, so it was good for her to spend some time with him. Nick was something of an uncle to the child—which seemed fitting, since he was something of a brother to Maya. It was good for both of the girls to have some positive male influence in their lives. But, disappointingly for Pearly, Maya knew that she could never be romantically interested in Nick. Sure, she had harbored a slight crush on him when they first met, but it was never more than that. And, apart from the crush, she was sure that it was exactly the same on Nick's end. Iris was the love of his life, and maybe they could work on picking up where they left off. The thought brought a small smile to Maya's lips. She was happy for him.
After a few moments, she tore herself away from the mirror and shuffled into her kitchen, downing a few painkillers and blowing out a breath as she rested her forehead against a cabinet. Butterflies flitted to and fro in her stomach—her anxiety making itself incredibly difficult to ignore. Why was she so afraid of him? She had never let herself be so unnerved by anyone ever before. Her mind kept returning to the moment when she realized that he was kissing her, and guilt weighed down her heart because of the fact that she had let herself freeze up completely. She should have let him know how she felt. She should have thanked him for everything that he had done. She should have…well, she should have done anything other than what she actually did.
A loud honk sounded outside of her apartment, and she jumped in surprise and slight panic. It didn't take her long, however, to realize that the taxi that she had called about a half-hour ago had finally arrived to take her to the courthouse. Ever since the "incident" the night before, Edgeworth had not contacted her—and, even though she knew that he had been at work and unable to return to her apartment, she didn't think that he would be back. Edgeworth obviously cared deeply about her well-being, but he felt that he had hurt her, and he wouldn't be able to forgive himself for it until she made the effort to show that she had already forgiven him.
"Coming, coming," she muttered to herself, picking up a bag full of medical supplies, just in case she started feeling terrible again. Her sandals slipped easily onto her small feet, and she had the sudden wisdom to pocket her house-key before stumbling out of her apartment and into the world beyond, locking the door behind her.
Maya did a mental face-fault as she stood at the bottom of the steps leading up to the courthouse. She had climbed those steps many times before, but had never really noticed how many steps there were and how steep the hill was. Of course, she usually had more energy than a child hyped up on soda and chocolate, but that wasn't the case anymore. The girl was beyond exhausted already, and she hadn't even placed her foot on the first step. How she was going to survive the long, harsh trek up those stairs was more than beyond her ability to comprehend. But she was going to do it. She had to do it.
Her little foot felt like a thirty-pound cinder block as she picked it up and plopped it down on the smooth surface of the first step. She was hoping that it would get easier as she went along, but she was wrong—oh so very wrong. By the time that she reached the top, she was so winded that she dropped to her knees and simply sat there for a few minutes, huffing and puffing like she weighed two-hundred pounds and had just run a marathon. It was pathetic, and prompted all passers-by to give her incredibly strange looks. A few people offered to help her, but she was too proud to let them pull her up to her feet. She did let one nice woman give her a drink of water, however. She was proud, but she had no particular interest in letting herself get dehydrated. Her health was already bad enough, as it stood.
The courthouse seemed to be…moving. Well, not moving, exactly, just kind of…swimming. But Maya figured that swimming qualified as moving, so making the distinction between the two didn't really make much sense, did it? The poor girl was definitely not in control of her mental functions—or her ability to move, it seemed. Her progress towards the front desk seemed sluggish and awkward, but she finally made it there. In a desperate motion, she threw her full weight against the tall mahogany desk, barely coherent enough to ask the question that was on her mind.
"Where…Prosecutor Edgeworth…what room…?"
Okay, so, she didn't exactly ask the question that was on her mind, but she got out a few understandable words in an order that made a semi-complete phrase. The woman behind the desk stared at her with wide eyes for a few moments, then leaned forward, concern clearly etched on her face, and reached for the phone.
"Miss, do you need me to call a doctor? You appear to be in need of medical attention. There are some doctors on call, ac"
"No!" Maya mustered enough energy to shout that one word…much louder than she had intended to. "No…no doctor…" There were few things in the world that Maya hated more than doctors and hospitals and needles. Nothing about seeing a doctor appealed to her. After all, Edgeworth could take far better care of her than any doctor ever could. "I just…need to see…Prosecutor Edgeworth…" She was practically wheezing by that point, silently pleading with the woman to, please, for the love of all that was holy in the universe, let her stop talking and just tell her where Edgeworth was.
After a few minutes of silence, the woman lowered herself back down to a sitting position, a frown replacing the concerned expression that had previously occupied her features. "Miss, I'm sorry, but Prosecutor Edgeworth is in the middle of a trial right now, and, unless you are related to the trial in some way, I cannot grant you admittance. Now, if you just take a seat over there, I will call a physician to take a look at you and make sure that you're truly alright."
Once more, the woman didn't even have a chance to pick up the phone. Finding her second wind, Maya slammed down her fist on the desk, attempting to glare at the stunned receptionist. Unfortunately for the teenager, her "glare" came across as more of a pout than anything else. "I have decisive evidence in Edgeworth's case! You have to show me where he is!"
At that sudden proclamation, everyone in the room turned to stare at Maya. Some were horrified that she was impudent enough to have such an outburst. Some couldn't believe that such an "important witness" had been left out of the proverbial loop of the illustrious Prosecutor Edgeworth's case. Most of all, however, they were surprised by the sudden appearance of a sickly teenager robed in traditional spirit-medium garb. A few of them might have recognized her, but, if they did, they certainly didn't show it. The receptionist merely stared at her for a few moments, then picked up the phone and dialed an extension. At first, Maya was afraid that she really was going to call a doctor, but the murmured phone conversation didn't seem to be moving in that direction. In all honesty, though, Maya couldn't hear most of what was said. Her ears were buzzing and her head was throbbing. It was the perfect combination.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the woman hung up and turned her steady, yet subtly perturbed, gaze on the medium. "You can wait in the lobby for the courtroom and can bring your 'decisive evidence' to the prosecutor during the next recess. Be prepared to wait, however, because the trial could continue for quite some time."
Flooded with relief, Maya smiled wearily. "Thank you. I understand."
Oh, Maya understood, but she had no intention of waiting. Maya had no fear when it came to interrupting trials, and she almost always knew how to get what she wanted. When getting what she wanted included interrupting a trial…well, that just came down to experience, and Maya had more than enough experience.
"…I must say, your Honor, that I am shocked and appalled by the obvious lack of logical reasoning shown by the defense. This supposed 'stand-in' bears no actual resemblance to the defendant, and it would be hard to make this kind of mistake in broad daylight. The defense is simply pulling at straws and praying for a miracle, but the facts are simple, and they all point to one thing: the defendant is guilty of murder in the first degree. No amount of twisted evidence will change that."
As always, Prosecutor Edgeworth was cool, calm, and collected. While the defense lawyer was sweating profusely and desperately leafing through the court record, Edgeworth merely stood there, tapping his fingers on his arm, with the most composed expression possible. In the courtroom, things rarely fazed the silver-haired man, which was usually due to the fact that he was almost always right.
"Well? Does the defense have anything to say in, erm, defense of itself?"
Everyone in the courtroom did a mental face-fault. The judge obviously thought that he was hilarious, but that simply was not the case—at all. The defense lawyer, apparently some relatively unknown rookie, resisted the urge to begin stuttering and attempted to compose himself for the sake of his client.
"Well, your honor, I have to say that—"
A voice rang loud throughout the courtroom, and everyone stopped speaking, shocked by the sudden interruption. Judge looked to attorney, attorney looked to prosecutor, and prosecutor, for once, appeared incredibly flustered and taken aback. The objection hadn't even come from the defendant, much to the surprise of almost everyone. It seemed that, by that point, only Edgeworth had managed to figure out where the sudden outburst had come from. By the door of the courtroom stood a deathly pale, raven-haired teenager who was shaking all over and seemed about ready to pass out at any given moment. Eventually, all eyes turned to her—everyone still stuck in a surprised silence. Edgeworth about lurched from behind his stand, but restrained himself at the last moment, frowning. If she had come to say something, then he knew that there was no stopping her. Maya was just stubborn that way.
Swallowing nervously, Maya took a small step forward, wobbling a bit as she did so. "Your Honor…I…um…" Apparently, even though her health had improved significantly over the past few days, she was not yet well enough to make that kind of trek. The fact that she had been so worried and stressed about how she made Edgeworth feel certainly didn't help anything. "I…"
Suddenly, she felt overcome by dizziness and began swaying dangerously. She struggled valiantly to keep her eyes wide open, fully intending to ask nicely for a conference with the handsome prosecutor, but she couldn't keep a grip on her consciousness. As her legs gave out from underneath her, she heard various gasps and screams, but only one person managed to yell out her name. Before losing consciousness completely, Maya winced, attempting to mentally brace herself for the impact with the hard floor, but the impact never came. She didn't have a chance to figure out why, however—almost immediately, she passed out.
With a small, almost whining, groan, Maya turned her head to the side, struggling to open her eyes. The light that streamed through her semi-open eyelids threatened to blind her, causing her to groan even louder than before. After the second groan, a rustling was heard, and someone was suddenly right next to the prostrate girl.
"Maya." The voice was deep and rich, but even he couldn't hide the deep worry that he felt. "Maya, can you hear me?"
Still squinting a bit, Maya glanced up at the man standing over her. If she had been healthier, her face would have turned completely red. But, as it stood, the only thing that she could do was attempt a sheepish smile.
"That was some objection, huh?"
Edgeworth's trademark scowl was softened a bit by genuine concern—a sight that very few people ever got the chance to see. His hand lightly glided over Maya's forehead, brushing her bangs out of her eyes without really touching her, as if he was afraid of hurting the delicate girl. Maya took a moment to realize that she was lying on a rather comfortable bench in the courtroom lobby, with Edgeworth kneeling right by her side. Since when did Edgeworth kneel, anyways?
"Maya…what were you thinking?"
Maya could tell that part of him wanted to scold her for interrupting his trial. She was actually mildly surprised that he didn't. She knew that his work was more important to him than anything else in the world, and there was a distinct possibility that she had created more work for him by giving the defense more time to strengthen its case. Edgeworth would still win in the end, though. That much was obvious.
"I'm…sorry, Edgeworth." Ashamed of her impulsive and irrational behavior, the girl broke contact with his steely gaze. "I didn't mean to make things more difficult for you. I just…I had to see you. You didn't come back, and that scared me. I…needed a chance to explain myself, and I didn't see any other way to make sure that I had your full attention…"After a few moments, she mustered up the strength to gaze up at him once more, only to be met by the rare sight of a surprised and confused expression on the prosecutor's face.
"Why would you need to explain yourself to me? I…was the one who acted foolishly." The barest glimpse of a wince flinched in Edgeworth's features as he said the word "foolishly." Was it possible that Franziska had caught wind of what had happened between them? That…was unlikely, but not impossible. Maya suddenly felt extremely sorry for the man.
"No, you didn't. Really!" Maya attempted to gather her strength and fight her way to a sitting position, but, in the end, required Edgeworth's assistance to arrive at her apparently lofty goal. As he scooted a chair over to sit in front of the bench, Maya lightly chewed on her lower lip, feeling awful and embarrassed. How had she managed to make everything so awkward? She really was an idiot. "It wasn't you…really…I was just so surprised that I completely…froze…" The medium frowned deeply, incredibly disappointed by the fact that she couldn't just come out and say what she felt. Her mouth, brain, and heart obviously weren't connected very well. Or perhaps her health, or blatant lack thereof, was getting in the way.
Edgeworth let out a deep sigh, looking down at his folded hands. "Maya, regardless of how you reacted, what I did was unwarranted and inappropriate. I will not make excuses for myself, and I do not expect you to do so, either. Your reaction was a much-needed wake-up call, and I apologize for the discomfort that I caused you. I am the last person that you should ever worry about."
"…that's not true! Edgeworth, I…" Maya trailed off, unable to decide on what to say next. Anything and everything seemed far too risky, but since when had she cared about taking a risk? It was just…everything with Edgeworth was so different than anything that she had ever encountered before. What was she supposed to do?
A sad smile laced Edgeworth lips as he patted her gently on the top of her head. "It's alright. I understand completely." Pulling himself to his feet, the magenta-clad prosecutor stared at the floor for a few moments in complete silence, then composed himself and stared stolidly at the girl in front of him. "I will call Wright and ask him to pick you up. The staff here agreed to refrain from calling an ambulance under the condition that I get you medical attention myself, so please remind him to take you to see a doctor. No one wants anything else to happen to you."
Before he had the chance to turn completely and walk away, Maya was on her feet in front of him, surrounded by an aura of defiance. In a somewhat uncharacteristic motion, she tugged harshly on his jacket's lapels, jerking him down to her level. He didn't even have a chance to protest or resist before her lips covered his, rendering them useless. It was obvious that it would take nothing less to get his attention and make him listen to her before running off with his annoying preconceived misconceptions. Her sudden burst of energy came from frustration and a new sense of desperation. She had finally gotten to see him for who he really was, and she wasn't going to let him go that easily.
It didn't take long for him to return the kiss, even though he was hesitant at first. His strong hand stroked the hair at the back of her head, causing her to smile a bit to herself as she allowed her eyes to flutter shut. The courthouse wasn't exactly the most romantic environment, but that didn't matter one bit.
After what seemed like a blissful eternity, Edgeworth drew back, his grey eyes clouded over with hundreds of mixed emotions. It was painfully obvious that he had never been in such a position before. Maya knew that he was chased by women, but he had never pursued any of them. Their feelings were foreign territory for both of them. Thus, in unfamiliarity, they had something in common.
"…are you sure about this?" His voice sounded incredulous, but there was obviously a disbelieving hope in its depths.
All that Maya could do was smile embarrassedly, a blush finally finding its way to her cheeks. "More sure than I've ever been about anything." She realized that such a statement might not mean a lot, seeing as though she was rarely ever certain about anything, but…for once, she was. And she wasn't going to let little details ruin that fact.
Edgeworth searched her face for a sign of uneasiness, knowing that Maya was an honest girl but still feeling that such a confession was simply too good to be true, but found nothing to confirm his fears. In light of that encouraging fact, he let a small smile overtake his features. "Then I have but one request."
Canting her head to the side a bit, Maya gazed up at him inquisitively. "Okay… What is it?"
Without warning, Edgeworth learned down to briefly press his lips to hers one more time. The action wasn't nearly as awkward as it had been before. Maya knew that he was still getting used to the thought of being deeply attached to someone else, but his rather immediate and dramatic change in demeanor was more than encouraging. Her drew back slowly, letting a hand rest on her cheek, his eyes smiling instead of his lips.
"Call me 'Miles.'"
Tilea – Thank you! It's such a great CD, isn't it? You should definitely listen to Nightwish if you haven't already. They're brilliant. And, yeah, you're right. "Edgeworth in love" is really hard to write. …well, Edgeworth himself is hard to write, on a whole, but having him be blatantly affectionate and such…is quite the challenge.
A.Syndikai – Thanks so much for your review! Yeah, it's definitely a challenge to write. But I'm enjoying it! …when I'm awake, that is. I'm about ready to pass out right now. The cast of Apollo Justice is pretty hard to get used to, but it's still a great game. I'm enjoying it immensely.
Kawaii Overdose – Ahahaha. "Fangirl 'splodey." I love that! I'm so happy that you're still enjoying the story. Thank you so much for your input! I hope that you have the same opinion about this chapter. Within Temptation is amazing! You definitely need to check out their music. If you love the other three bands, then you'll love WT, as well. I'm absolutely obsessed.
momiji-k – Thanks for your reviews! Haha, yeah, I've been working for GameStop for a year now and finally got promoted. I'm so happy. But it's exhausting. I'm sure that you'll love Apollo Justice. All of the games are great.