Written per meme request. I didn't like part of that story, so I finally edited it slightly.
Being Master of Kurain was an often unenviable position. Maya might have considered giving it up, if she was not so thoroughly aware of how her mother, Mia and Phoenix had put themselves on the line for her to inherit her rightful position.
The position conferred international power and status, but also required a lot of ugly politics with the various powerbrokers and hangers-on involved in Kurain and its myriad branch-family towns. There was a deeply-entrenched network of old village elders, most of which seemed to still be loyal to Morgan Fey and regarded poor Maya with the same disrespect as her disgraced mother. She didn't really have to do anything they said, but they could make life difficult for her and spread gossip and worse.
They also kept hounding her to hurry up and produce an heir to the Kurain Master position. What, she was 22 and wasn't even married? Time was running out! Maya had to admit to herself that she had little interest in currently having children, and if she passed away Pearl was quite welcome to the Master position. The elders were concerned that the only male in the picture seemed to be that awful Phoenix Wright, who was worse than nobody. The level of ostracism they had heaped on Misty Fey paled in comparison to the bile they spewed at Maya about the 'fraudulent' ex-lawyer during the irritating meetings they demanded.
In desperation, the elders had tried to set up the traditional arranged marriage. (Maya wondered for the first time if her own father had been an arranged marriage.)
Maya had to concede the elders' choice made perfect strategic and diplomatic sense. He was the son of a multimillionaire owner of a shipping company with power and influence in over 50 countries. He was very good looking, Maya had to admit, perfectly nice, and they seemed to get on quite well. She'd attended a few months of dates, largely to humour them, but they were demanding that she hurry up and accept his proposal.
Maya knew that in the end, they didn't have the power to force her into the marriage, but if they chose, they could make life difficult if she didn't comply. Right now she was on her latest date, cuddling with her arranged lover wearing nothing but the latest pretentiously expensive gift he'd just presented her with. After the date, she planned to utilise it in much the same way she had his previous offering - sell it and send the money to poor Phoenix anonymously, pretending he'd won some competition.
Richard had made it perfectly clear he intended to go 'all the way' this time. The things she did for diplomacy. She had to admit, this was all very physically pleasurable, and she was physically quite attracted to him. But was it love? She doubted it. Oh well, maybe it didn't really matter anyway. Marriages usually never lasted very long in Kurain... "Nick! Um, Rick!" she cried out as he touched some highly intimate location.
Maya realised she hadn't quite done this before. There'd been that unfortunate incident when she was very young, with one of the perennially frustrated males in the village, but Mia had saved her (even shouting 'Objection!') before it had technically reached the 'rape' stage. Thankfully this was a lot more enjoyable than that incident, Richard was quite a good friend really, and her body seemed to be eagerly anticipating the situation.
So why did she feel so emotionally dead and empty inside?
Oh don't be stupid Maya, she told herself. It's like channelling a spirit. The part where you submit to them taking over your body.
An explosion of past events, scenes and people flashed through Maya's consciousness. Suddenly she was seized by a definite impression that this was an unjustifiably erroneous decision and was engulfed by waves of nausea.
"No! Stop!" she cried, pushing him off and rolling over.
"I.. can't I, um, have a headache!"
"That's the oldest cliché in the book! Oh I get it! A joke!" said Richard, rolling her back over.
"NO! I.. I just can't right now. I'm sorry. Maybe next time."
Richard drew back, embarrassed. I'm sorry. I.. didn't realise."
"No, I'm sorry. It's my fault. I wasn't objecting till then," apologised Maya.
Deep down inside, Maya had a vague conception of why she had stopped.
The elders and Richard's parents were still harping on her to accept the proposal. It would make perfect rational sense and further the status and position of the Kurain Master. Surely she could learn to love him in time.
Learn to love him? This was ridiculous!
Still, she supposed it was just a romantic fantasy to have some deep emotional connection with your husband. She'd been alone most of her life anyway. She was relatively self-reliant by now.
There wasn't really anyone in Kurain she could reveal her innermost thoughts and fears to. The Kurain Master had to remain a pillar of strength. So she decided to call the only person in her life it was ever safe to betray any weakness to.
"Maya! How are you?"
"Uhh.. okay. Nick, I really need to talk to you about something. Probably in person. It's kind of, important.. Are you free any time?"
Phoenix detected the seriousness in her voice. "Oh sure, you can come over whenever.. well I'm still working nights, so come over some weekday, maybe 11:30am?"
"Thanks. How about Wednesday?"
"I know, I'll stay at the Gatewater. I can look around there for a few days, for old times' sake." And have an excuse to see more of you, she added silently.
Phoenix's face lit up in a genuine grin as he opened the door of his tiny, run-down apartment, (Maya noted sadly that it was about the same size as Richard's bathroom,) obviously delighted to see Maya. They hadn't met in person for several months, and had missed each other more than either would dare to admit.
Maya warmly hugged her friend. Though he was beaming away ecstatically now, the whole disbarring fiasco and associated ostracism had take their toll. His eyes had lost their bashful, slightly naive expression from his lawyer days and attained a slightly tortured, cynical air, but still retained the same gentleness. She knew the disbarring and its consequences still hurt him internally, though he was coping admirably. He felt forced to frequently portray various types of facade to mask his true feelings in public, and also endeavoured to remain positive around Trucy. Maya could relate to this herself, masquerading for the purposes of the Kurain Master's mystique.
It was an unspoken agreement that when they were alone together, none of this masquerading of their emotions was necessary. It was also an unspoken agreement, that they would reveal nothing the other said or did to anyone. Much of their lives still remained private, but nonetheless, they were each other's closest confidant.
Phoenix was very good to consult to for advice, as unlike everyone else advising her, he cared solely about her personal wellbeing, not furthering his own cause or advancing some kind of petty politics. Still, she was quite nervous about breaching this somewhat delicate subject with him, some of the related issues of which she had resolved not to share with him.
Phoenix seemed to take the information of the 'arranged marriage' quite well. Maya poured out her myriad fears over the arrangement and the fact that it was such an important strategic tactical alliance and that she was supposed to be fulfilling her duty as Kurain Master and that otherwise the old crones would give her hell.. She couldn't help shedding a few tears.
Phoenix made no comment but put his arm around her.
"So, Maya, do you love Richard?"
"I, uh, well he's okay I guess... I could eventually I suppose.. I.. I don't know what to do.."
"Well, Maya. What do you want?"
"Uh, well, this will be a great advancement in the power and status of the Kurain Master and Kurain, so I suppose I want to go ahead with this strategic alliance.."
"No, I didn't ask what the Kurain Master's supposed to want. What does Maya want?"
Maya stared at him.
"Nick.. thanks.. I get it.." she stammered, immensely touched. "But I.. only want what I can't have.."
"Can't have? What is it.."
"It.. doesn't matter.."
The tear seeping from her eye made it blatantly obvious that it really did matter, but Phoenix felt it would be best not to press the issue. Instead he hugged her consolingly and tried a different tactic. "So, what exactly would happen if you didn't accept?"
"The elders would give me hell, and I guess organise some other rich jerk! Probably an even worse one."
"You can't just order them not to arrange these things?"
" I can order, but I can't force them. It's not like it's illegal."
"There must be some way to reign them in. Don't worry.. I'll see what I can find out.. So you're sure you don't want any of these people? Don't want an arranged marriage on principle?"
"Well, yes! More or less.."
"Then tell them so! Got someone else in mind?" he teased, a random throwaway line.
"No!" stammered Maya hastily. Phoenix suddenly startled as seven psyche-locks clanged into place. He stared wide-eyed.
"What? Oh no, the magatama. Don't tell me.."
"So there is someone?"
"It won't work."
"Do I know them?"
"Yes," corrected Phoenix, fingering the magatama. "Who is it?"
"You." Maya found herself saying.
There, she'd said it. How had she let that slip?
Phoenix's jaw dropped and he was staring at her, an undiscernible expression on his face.
"I'm sorry, Nick!" she stammered. "I know it's not reciprocal! I know you don't have feelings for me! I know it won't happen! I'm sorry! I'll.. leave now..."
"No.. wait! Maya.." stammered Phoenix. Maya headed for the doorway. Phoenix rushed after her.
"It's okay. I know you only ever had feelings for Iris."
"No, it's not how you say.. Maya please wait. I need to.. figure out how to explain my feelings to you..."
Maya glanced at him. The candid pleading expression in his eyes somehow compelled her to head back from the doorway and towards the couch again. Phoenix sat down next to her, obviously deep in intense thought.
"Th.. that whole case with Iris clarified many things for me. One of them was that our relationship really did end at that murder trial so many years ago. Sure, I.. I didn't have resolution at the time. And I still believed in her as a person. But after the truth was revealed I did have closure and I soon after realised our relationship was resolved. As something consigned to the past. I.. had changed from that time. But it did help me to realise the things I saw in her."
"What were they?" enquired Maya, still drained from her scandalous proclamation.
"The things in her that reminded me of you."
"She is your cousin after all. But I.. I wouldn't have run across that burning bridge for her. Only for you."
Maya gazed at him wide eyed. Phoenix continued, eyes gazing into space.
"I.. had never felt fear like when Dahlia said you had died. Maya, I.." he trailed off, incapacitated from continuation.
Phoenix spent several moments appearing to internally wrestle with something. "Maya, I.. I'll explain the truth. I was beginning to realise there had become something more in this.. but I didn't know how to approach the subject properly. Then when I got disbarred.. Maya, I knew I couldn't. I knew you were Master of Kurain. I knew I couldn't be dragging you down. I wasn't going to ruin your future and career just because I ruined mine."
"Nick, that's not true!"
"Sorry, Maya. I know what they think of me." (Maya hung her head, ashamed. She'd tried to conceal the elders' intensely negative perception of him, but she should have known better than to think she could obscure the evidence from Phoenix Wright.)
"What everyone thinks of me. I know what happened to your mother. I'm not going to inflict that ostracism on you. And I.. I was scared of what I would become. I''m just a bitter, twisted hobo now.."
"No you're not!"
"And part of what keeps me going is investigating that case. Diego had a point. I am still ashamed I didn't protect you or Mia. I'd rather die than let you get hurt again because of me."
"I knew I couldn't expect you to help support me or my daughter. I.. knew protecting your future was more important than my selfish desires. I.. kind of hoped with time my feelings would fade. But they haven't. But I didn't want to hurt you. And now I've hurt you anyway, haven't I. It always ends up like this.." He buried his face in his hands.
Maya put her arm around him. "Nick! I.."
"With the current situation, I.. I can't do this to you.."
"I.. love you, Nick.."
"I love you too. But I can't..."
"You know I'd wait for you forever."
"Please don't. If there's anyone else, go for it."
"There is no one else."
"Maya.. I.. I don't deserve this.."
They hugged each other tightly. Arms affectionately entwined around each other, their gaze connected, eyes transfixed with an unprecedented intensity.
Mesmerised, the pair found themselves instinctively leaning inwards with a magnetic compulsion, culminating in a mutually passionate kiss on the lips. They remained blissfully united for a moment, then reeled back in shock and alarm.
Grinning bashfully at each other, they regained composure, then, more confidently this time, leaned in for another kiss.
"Thanks, Nick" breathed Maya later that afternoon, entwined in Phoenix's arms. "Today was.. amazing. But I really have to get home. I have to break up with Richard."
"Thank you, Maya," said Phoenix, but concern suddenly clouded his face. "I.. uh, well better now than later. I.. don't know how serious you think this can potentially get but, I.. I just can't leave here, or move to Kurain or.. marry you or whatever you might have in mind in the foreseeable future. I have to look after Trucy and," he lowered his voice "work on that incident, and I , well don't want to disappoint you," he finished lamely.
"Oh it's okay, Nick, I already know all that! Who said I ever needed to get married? If we love each other, that's enough. And that's why they invented the term 'long-distance relationship!"
Phoenix grinned relievedly. "Oh thanks Maya. I'm glad you understand. Uh, need help with what you'll tell those elders?"
"Richard," said Maya sincerely. "I do care about you. Enough to know that you deserve better. You're a lovely guy. You deserve someone who loves you for who you really are. Not for your money or your status or position."
"But Maya, please! I'm sure we can work things out!"
"I'm sorry. I can't give you the devotion you deserve. I'm sure there's somebody out there who will love you and not your money."
Richard sighed. "I guess you do have a point. Thanks Maya. I guess I appreciate your honesty."
"And I appreciate your understanding."
"Psyche locks"? enquired Maya. "But you didn't take out the Magatama and shout 'Take That!'"
"Well, no, Maya. What if Kristoph stole it or suspected me? So, well you've noticed I permanently have my hands shoved in my pockets now, right?"
"Uh, well now you mention it.."
"That's cause my hand is permanently holding my beloved magatama! Then I can always tell when people lie in my investigations. And it reminds me of you."
"Aww, how touching Nick. Geez, I always thought it was because they were too lazy to draw your hands. I should have known I was wrong..."