Franziska snapped her eyes open. Somewhere above her voices were arguing about something she couldn't quite grasp. She sat up, her mind a little fuzzy after being thrown into the Main Hall's altar. Gentle arms wrap themselves around her shoulders.
"Franziska, are you alright? You're not hurt, are you?"
"Unn… Adrian? What's going on? Where's my father?"
"He's gone, but he's left a whole mess of trouble behind."
Franziska turned around to look at her. "What do you mean?"
Adrian's eyes fell to the floor, her hands resting on her knees. "Not too long ago, Mr. Wright came back saying that he was at Heavenly Hall when someone tried to run him off the cliff using a snowmobile. Apparently, Maya was nearby and pushed Mr. Wright out of harm's way but the snowmobile clipped her back and she fell into Eagle River."
"Who was it driving the snowmobile?"
"Franziska… there is no one here alive that would want to hurt either of those two."
Franziska's eyes widened as she whispered one word. "…Papa..."
Franziska pulled her legs in and rested her chin on her knees. Adrian stroked her hair lovingly as she held onto her. The policeman that Adrian was talking to earlier cleared his throat to get their attention. Adrian pulled away from the broken woman and shot a spiteful look at the officer.
"You see? It was someone else that tried to kill Mr. Wright, not Pearl!"
"We've already gone through this, Miss Andrews. Pearl Fey—"
"Hey pal, how's it going?"
Gumshoe strode in before the argument got too heated. The policeman, Adrian and Franziska all stared at him, surprised at his sudden outburst. Nearby, Maggey and Larry were discussing what they saw with another officer when Maggey spotted Gumshoe.
"Dick! What're you doing here? How'd you get here so fast?" she asked as she welcomed him with a hug. Gumshoe grinned.
"Well, I missed you so much that I started driving here to see you. Then I got a call telling me to get here to investigate something, and here I am!"
"Wow, what a coincidence? Wait, where's Mr. Wright?"
"Actually, I took him to Heavenly Hall to check out the place and… how about we all just drive up there now while I explain?"
Phoenix wasn't feeling too good; his head felt like it was in a haze. He sneezed, making sure to turn his head away from Maya. The air around him seemed to get colder, and no matter how close he was to the fire, his body still struggled to get warm. Overhead helicopters shone their light through the thick masses of branches of the old tree. Phoenix lifted his head to look up at the rescue team. He could barely hear the blades of the propeller chopping up the wind above him, or the yells of the rescue team as they jumped out of the helicopter. Everything seemed to go in slow motion around him—he could practically see the individual blades of the helicopter as it spun around in place, and the rescue team seemed to take forever to reach them.
Phoenix was in a state of confusion at the world around him. He refused to let go of Maya as some of the team tried to put her on a stretcher. He was finally forced to let her go, her Magatama falling to the ground. Phoenix automatically picked it up before he was ushered into the helicopter after her. Even as he sat near Maya, he still didn't feel like everything going on around him was real. He wasn't aware that he was in a helicopter flying hundreds of feet above the ground. He barely even noticed that someone had draped a thick blanket over his shoulders. He looked out the window to try to make sense of everything when he saw the little flame all alone down on the ground. He couldn't help but feel like it was reaching up to him, begging him to stay with it.
Gumshoe couldn't bring himself to talk about what Phoenix had done, not especially in front of his daughter. Maggey was riding in the passenger seat while Larry, Trucy, and Mia shared the back. Adrian and Franziska went in the police car of the officer that was questioning them. They made sure not to drive over the snowmobile tracks as they arrived at Heavenly Hall. Everyone got out of the cars but didn't wander very far, in case they disturbed any evidence in the area.
"Okay, tell us what happened, pal," Gumshoe said, hoping he could leave Larry to explain everything.
"Wha, me? Okay, well, Maggey and I were on our way back from the Training Hall and we saw Nick at Heavenly Hall as we were crossing Dusky Bridge. We were talking a bit when we heard the snowmobile headed our way, so we started leaving when suddenly we see a mostly-naked old guy aiming the snowmobile at Nick. Then suddenly Maya pops out and shoves Nick out of the way, and they go flying over the cliff! Nick was able to grab onto the side but Maya fell. As for the old guy, we don't know where he went," Larry explained. The policeman smirked at him.
"Well, there you have it! It was an attempted—"
Mia slammed her palms down on the hood of Gumshoe's car. Everyone turned to look at her. Gumshoe let out a strangled squeak and the policeman shot her a malicious look.
"Larry… you said that the person riding the snowmobile was aiming it at Phoenix, right?" Mia asked sternly. Larry nodded.
"Um, well, yeah, I think so."
"If that's the case," she pointed a threatening finger at Larry, "Then why do the snowmobile tracks veer off to the right?!"
Everyone except Mia and the policeman ran over to the cliff, eyeing the tracks in the snow.
"Wow, she's right!"
"Hey pal, I saw that first!"
Mia held her hand up to her chin in thought. "If the rider really did intend to kill Phoenix, then why did they try to swerve away from him? Maybe it was because Pearl had managed to regain control of her body and tried to avoid hitting him!"
"Where's your proof?!" demanded the policeman, a grimace spreading on his face.
Mia thought for a moment, looking at all the evidence around her. "The imprints in the snow," she said slowly.
"Ha ha hah, what does that have to do with anything?!"
"Think about it, if Manfred von Karma was the one who was steering the snowmobile, when he jumped off before impact his body should have left a large imprint in the snow. But as you can see here," she walked over to where Pearl had been laying, "the imprint is far too small to be a grown man, but is the right size of a little girl. If he was in fact still controlling Pearl's body, why bother jumping off at all? What did it matter to him whether Pearl died or not? Mr. von Karma was already dead!"
"She has a point—"
"This cop is sick!"
"What a bad man—"
"Off with his head!"
Trucy pulled out Mr. Hat and made him bang his wooden fist on Gumshoe's car, Gumshoe's heart sinking as he saw his old car receive another harsh beating.
"Order, order!" she said as she moved Mr. Hat's mouth. The policeman continued to drag on his argument.
"So what if the snow's imprint was from the little girl?! Maybe his spirit left her body when he was in mid-jump and that's how the imprint got there!"
"But why would he bother jumping off? If he really wanted to kill Phoenix, he would've stayed on the snowmobile all the way until it collided with his target! He hated Phoenix, and he definitely hated Maya too! It was thanks to her that he was proven to be the murderer of an old case!"
Franziska held her whip taut, ready to strike at the policeman again. "It appears that the defense has you trapped. We need more testimony from the witnesses. Will Maggey Gumshoe please give her testimony?"
Maggey nodded and stepped in front of the passenger side of the car. Mia stood on the opposite side of the car where the engine was while Trucy and Mr. Hat shared the roof of the car. The policeman stood with his hands on the trunk, wondering what else there was to add to the situation.
"Okay, well, Larry and I were on our way back to Hazakura Temple after having a quick chat with Mr. Wright when we heard the snowmobile coming our way. I was blinded by the headlights of the snowmobile, but I heard a man call out Mr. Wright's name. After that, I remember I heard a scream, and then I saw Mr. Wright and Maya fall over the cliff. The snowmobile seemed to hit Maya, but as for the man, I don't know where he went."
"Non-Potential Mommy Mia, you may cross-examine the witness," Mr. Hat said. Mia gave the puppet an approving look before she began her questioning.
"So, you didn't see any man riding the snowmobile?" she asked.
"I didn't see anyone, but that's because the headlights blinded me."
"Okay, but you know you heard a man's voice?"
"Yes, without a doubt. It was a very deep voice with hatred in it."
"What about the scream? Do you know who it was?"
"Well, I'm sure that—"
"Objection! Your Honor, there were a number of people at the site, anyone could've screamed right then and there!" the policeman argued. Mr. Hat shook his head.
"Non-Potential Mommy Mia, is this relevant to the case at all?"
Mia couldn't believe what she was hearing—a policeman just referred to a puppet attached to a little girl as 'your Honor' and did it seriously. Still, she decided to just go along with it. "It is of utmost importance, your Honor."
"Okay, then please continue."
"Mrs. Gumshoe, please finish your statement."
"The scream I heard sounded high-pitched and shrill, like a little girl… Oh!" she cried out, realizing what the scream was. "That scream must've been—"
"Objection! What if Maya was the one that screamed? I'm sure she can scream like a little girl too!" the police interrupted.
"Whaaat?! Oh come on, you're just a little girl!"
"And you're a big meanie! Why're you trying to put Auntie Pearl in jail?"
The others that had been quiet for awhile now started chattering again, coming up with their own theories as to why the policeman was being such a 'big meanie.'
"It appears that we cannot continue in this manner. The only way we can solve this is if we ask Mommy Maya herself whether she screamed or not. Court is adjourned!" Mr. Hat announced as he pounded his fist on the roof of Gumshoe's car again, Gumshoe now wiping a tear from his eye at the sight of his car's abuse. The policeman tromped off to his car, disappointed that he couldn't arrest anyone. Gumshoe looked painfully at his car when his cell phone rang.
"Hey pal! You're alive? Where are you? How are you able to call me?"
"Sniff I'm at the nearby hospital. I caught a cold and Maya's in the ICU."
"They found her? How is she?"
"Not too good. She's practically frozen, and I don't know how much blood she's lost. Can you guys come down here as soon as possible?"
"Sure thing, pal, we're on our way! We'll come as fast as we can!"
"Listen up, everyone!" Gumshoe announced. "Maya's been found! She and Mr. Wright are both at the hospital, so let's go see them!" Everyone cheered at the good news except for the policeman.
"Hmph. Well, we need her testimony, so I'll meet you all at the hospital," he said as he drove away.
"Yay, we're going to see Daddy!" Trucy cheered after she finished putting Mr. Hat away. She looked up at Mia and said, "You're real nice. No wonder Daddy made friends with you! You helped out Auntie Pearl!"
Mia shined a smile at her. "Well, she's not completely clear just yet. We still need Maya's testimony about whether she herself screamed or not. By the way, that was some good judging you did."
"Thanks! Daddy would always play 'Court Room Drama' with me, so that's how I learned Judginese!"
"Oh I see. Oh, one sec…Detective, how are we going to see Maya if you only have one car?"
"We'll just have to cram most of you in the back," he said as a joke. Just then his cell phone rang again.
"Detective! It's bad. Maya's in desperate need of blood but the hospital ran out of her blood type! I'll try to see if mine's any good but just in case I need you and everyone else down here right now!"
"Okay pal, sit tight, we're coming as soon as possible!"
"Everyone, get in the car!" he boomed as he ran to the driver's seat. No one moved a muscle at his sudden shout. "I SAID GET IN THE CAR NOW!"
Maggey took the passenger seat while everyone else crammed into the back. Mia sat on the far right with Trucy on her lap while Larry was sandwiched between Franziska and Adrian. Once they were situated Gumshoe tore up the pathway and gave a fair warning that this was going to be the craziest ride any of them were ever going to experience.
Phoenix was battling a nurse on whether he was healthy enough to give Maya his blood or not.
"Sir, please understand, you have a fever and are in no condition to donate blood," the nurse said, her voice firm and her eye contact not breaking.
"I'll be fine, I swear! Maya needs blood and I'm here to give it!"
"Do you even know if you two are the same blood type?"
"I' m not sure, but each second you waste trying to convince me otherwise is taking Maya a step closer to death! Now take my blood, dammit!"
The nurse clenched her jaw and led Phoenix to the blood drawing station. She drew as much blood as was possible and took it to get tested. Phoenix was given some snacks and juice to help recuperate his energy. The only thing he was allowed to do was sit in the waiting room and think.
As he sat thinking, he hoped that his blood was good enough. He didn't know all the details except that she wasn't suffering from hypothermia thanks to Phoenix's fire, her shoulder was definitely dislocated and she lost a lot of blood from the river. How long will it take for everyone to get here, he wondered to himself, I hope they get here soon. Maya's Magatama was still clutched in his hand as he fed himself a cracker.
"Hey Detective! You didn't tell us what happened to Nick!"
Gumshoe's trashy car was flying down the mountain road, making impossible turns at daring speeds.
"Oh, uh, well Larry, he sort of jumped off the cliff to find Maya," he said as he gave his car more gas. No one had time to absorb this new information because they felt that jumping into a river from a cliff sounded less deadly than their mountain roller coaster ride. Everyone was holding onto each other for dear life, except for Trucy, who was enjoying the whole scene. With each sharp turn around a dangerous corner she laughed while everyone screamed in terror.
"Yay! Uncle Gummy's a great driver!" Trucy giggled happily. Everyone in the car stared at her with their mouths gaping open. Maggey pretended not to hear Trucy.
"At least tell us why we're in a hurry!"
"Maya's in the hospital but she needs a blood transfusion! But the hospital's out of her blood type! If we don't hurry—" tires and voices screeched around a tight corner, "—then she might not survive! Our only hope is Mr. Wright's blood, and we don't know if they're the same blood type!"
Just then yells from the back seat rang out.
"How dare you touch me!"
"I'm sorry, Frannie, but we're just crammed too tight in here!"
"I don't care! Get off me!"
"Hey, hands off!"
"It's not like I'm touching her for fun! She's the only thing to hang on to!"
"Get your own squeeze toy, whatever your name is!"
"It's Larry, and you must be Adrian! Anyone ever tell you how beau—"
"OW! How can you use your whip when there's no room, Frannie?!"
Mia sat on the far right side of the backseat, hanging onto a bouncing Trucy with one hand and the seatbelt with the other. She didn't scream but made faces when Gumshoe did his sharp turns, but other than that, she was too distracted trying to keep Trucy safe.
"Okay, but I have one question!" Maggey called over all the yelling.
"How did you cram all of us into your car with all those police around and not get a ticket for it?!"
"Oh, well, I guess I have a special skill at sneaking away with things: evidence, people, and this time, a telephone pole won't get in the way of—"
Gumshoe missed the turn and flew off the cliff, a trail of screams falling behind the car.
Phoenix held his head in his hands. How long had it been since the nurse went to get his blood tested? How long does it take to test out blood? Why hasn't there been any word on Maya's condition yet? Just then the nurse that drew his blood returned with the results.
"Mr. Wright? Sorry for the long wait. We've received the results of your blood and it's a match. They've given Miss Fey your blood already, and she's in stable condition. I'll take you to her room, if you like."
He whipped his head up, not caring how much his temple started throbbing afterward. The nurse let him down a hallway and into a room.
"She must mean a lot to you," she said with a hint of jealousy. Phoenix gave her a bashful smile.
"Yeah, she really does. Um, I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier."
"No, it's all right. A lot of people are like that when they have someone dear to them in such a state. Now, let me fill you in on a few things about her condition: she dislocated her right shoulder, but we were able to pop it back in. We managed to return her body temperature to normal, and the most that we had to worry about was her blood loss. But thanks to you, she should be all right. Unfortunately, the cut on her back will leave a scar."
He stood there in thought for a moment. A scar? I guess that's my fault, since she did save me.
"Mr. Wright? Don't worry, just go on in and be with her. She's still unconscious, but I'm sure if she hears a familiar voice she'll wake up."
The nurse excused herself and left Phoenix alone by the doorway. He closed the door behind him and looked around the dimly lit room. There was a single bed in the middle with a heart monitor beeping rhythmically next to it. Then his eyes fell on Maya. Her right arm was in a sling while her left arm lay limp next to her side. Her face was a pasty pale white.
At least her lips aren't blue, Phoenix thought as he walked to her left side. He moved a chair closer to the bed and perched himself on it. He took her left hand in one of his and stroked her cheek with the other hand.
And she's much warmer now, but I wonder how much of what I said to her actually reached her?
"Heh heh… funny how Pearly tried her best to get us two together, and suddenly we end up dating anyway. Truthfully, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Phoenix jumped at the faint voice. "Maya! You're awake? How're you feeling?"
She smiled weakly at him, her eyes half closed. "Just tired, and my shoulder and my back hurts. You don't look too good yourself."
"Just a cold… with a fever… but I got medicine already, so no problem."
"That's good. How's everyone else?"
"Everyone's fine, it's you we're worried about! What were you thinking letting go of my ankle like that? And what's with what you said before you fell?!"
Maya looked away from him, tears forming in her eyes. "I… well, you shouldn't have been yelling out your thoughts like that!"
"What? You… you overheard that, huh?" he said, feeling a stab in his gut as he sat back down.
"The whole mountain did!" she yelled, trying to sit up but the pain was too much. "Of course I heard everything. And I didn't mean to let go of you, I just kinda… slipped."
"Well, what about what you said about 'not wanting to get between me and Iris?'"
"Well, you and her were together first, and she still had feelings for you, and you even seemed to take interest in her after she was arrested," she said bitterly. "But then, under the tree you said—"
"You heard everything I said there too?"
"Well, yeah, but I was too out of it to understand it all. I remember seeing some Psyche-locks, and then you said some things, and then you said… you loved me," she said the last three words as she turned her face back to his. "And then I remember the last lock broke after that. But why, though? Were you afraid to say you loved me?"
Phoenix gripped his knees tightly, ashamed at the truth of her words. "It wasn't that I was afraid of saying it, it was more like, I wanted to make sure I truly did have feelings to back it up." He stared hard into his knees, not wanting Maya to see his face. "I didn't want to say it unless I was absolutely sure I was over Iris."
Maya reached over and rubbed his shoulder tenderly. Without looking at her, he placed his hand over hers. "I knew I could say it to you then, because there's no one else I'd rather jump into a treacherous river from a high cliff during winter for."
Maya gasped. "You did what?! Are you crazy?! What's the matter with you?!" She slapped him upside the head, and Phoenix broke into a smile.
"It's true. It was the only way I could find you before the rescue teams did."
"But, that's so stupid! What if you got killed?!"
She threw her arm back to hit him again, but he caught it in his hands easily. "I wanted to make sure you knew how I felt about you before they took you away. What if you died before I got to see you again? We might've used up all our luck on the last few times you were in trouble!"
Her arm relaxed as she intertwined her fingers into his. "Alright, I'll give you that, but for taking such a big risk, I want a nice big burger with a pile of fries next to it when I get out of here… unless you can sneak it in for me," she said with a smile.
"Sure thing. What—"
"Actually, change that. How about a nice, juicy steak?"
"How can you think about food when I've just told you how much I love you?!"
She smiled bashfully. "Ah, well, you know, falling off of cliffs and almost drowning in rivers makes a girl hungry, I guess," Maya said as she looked away, her cheeks burning a bright red. Suddenly she heard laughter next to her.
"Hey, what's so funny?" she asked as she slightly lifted her head off her pillow.
"It's just that, you make near-death experiences sound like common sports," he answered, still getting out a few more laughs. Maya fell back into her bed, smiling at her own little joke. Phoenix finally calmed down when he suddenly remembered something.
"Hey, when I first got to Hazakura Temple, Bikini wanted to interview me for something."
"Yeah, so what?"
"She said that it was 'tradition' you guys have where you interview a person trying to marry into the Fey family using the Magatama. I never said anything about marrying you. What was that about?" Phoenix asked. Maya thought for a moment then realized what he was talking about.
"Oh… now I remember. Um, you know the Magatama I gave you when I was accused of murder for the second time?"
"Yeah, it's just a tool you gave me to find out if a person was lying, right?"
"Yeah, kinda, but in my family, when we give away the Magatama, it's like a marriage proposal."
Phoenix's fingers froze in her hand. "Marriage? You mean, you practically proposed to me two years ago?"
"Yeah, but I was giving it to you to find out people's secrets! At the time, marriage was the last thing on my mind!"
Phoenix ran his free hand over his beanie. "I guess so, but… how far is it now on the list of things on your mind?"
It was Maya's fingers' turn to freeze. "Well… it's not last anymore, that's for sure… but, how would this work? You've got your agency, and I'm master of the channeling school!"
"And there aren't any schools around your village for Trucy to attend… wait, are we seriously considering all this?"
Maya started moving her fingers again, only this time it was out of nervousness. "I was just thinking, my proposal's still up, even after two years," she said, her cheeks turning red again. Phoenix simply sat in the chair, his hand still holding onto hers. He sighed heavily.
"Well, how about this: you move in with me and Trucy, and whenever you have students to train, or clients to handle, just set up a meeting with them the next day." Maya's eyes lit up.
"You mean, you…?"
Phoenix took the Magatama out of his pocket and held it up for her to see. "Maya, I—"
The door burst open and a whole mess of people tumbled in. Phoenix and Maya stared at the group invasion for a moment when they realized who they were.
"Hey pal, sorry we're late!" Gumshoe said, his forehead bleeding.
"Late for what? You're bleeding!" Maya pointed out. When everyone heard Maya's voice, they were so relieved that they started yelling nonsensical nonsense.
"Detective, what happened? Why is everyone so banged up?" Phoenix asked over the noise. Trucy was the one that answered him.
"Daddy! It was amazing! We flew right off a cliff, and then a big tree caught us, and then let us down from its branches so we could give blood to Mommy Maya!" she exclaimed. Phoenix couldn't believe that everyone in room survived falling off a cliff at least once. Adrian popped out from behind the crowd and bowed deeply to Maya.
"Maya! I'm so sorry! It's all my fault! If it weren't for me asking Pearl to channel Franziska's father you wouldn't have had to suffer!" she cried, worry and panic coating her face. Franziska appeared before her and raised Adrian's face to her own.
"Foolish fool who foolishly thinks foolish thoughts about her foolish self! You didn't know my father would behave in such a manner, and I didn't have to agree so easily to see him! Stand up and accept that none of this is your fault!" Adrian stared back into Franziska's eyes and complied. The other woman put her weapon away and straightened up with the blonde.
"Alright then, now—" Franziska started, but was cut off by Adrian latching onto her.
"Franziska! I'm sorry! Because of me you had to—"
Larry rushed forward and ushered the two women away, Adrian still wailing loudly. A nurse overheard the noise and rushed to the room.
"Excuse me! There are way too many people in here, and you're making too much noise!" she said over the noise. Everyone quieted down to listen to her. "Good. Now, I'll allow only two people at a time, so everyone else please—"
The policeman from the investigation charged into the room, gasping for breath. Everyone gave him a dirty look. After a few more deep breaths, he straightened up and adjusted his uniform.
"Before you all leave, I have one question to ask the patient," he said as he pushed his way through the room. He looked at Maya and said, "Before you fell over the cliff, did you scream?"
Maya thought this was a very strange question. "No, I didn't. Why?"
Once again, the room burst out cheering, the policeman defeated. Trucy pulled out Mr. Hat once more, making him say, "I now pronounce Auntie Pearl… not a suspect."
At this point, the nurse was furious with everyone and started shoving them though the door. Only Mia and Phoenix remained with Maya.
"Good, it seems like you found her in time," Mia congratulated him. Maya stared at her.
"Sis! What was with that question just now? And why are you wearing Nick's sweatshirt?"
"Oh, it's a long story. So, let me just do one thing—"
Phoenix was rubbing a bright red handprint on his cheek where Mia had hit him.
"OW! What was that for?!"
"You jumped off a cliff to find her?! What's wrong with you?! When I said to find her, I meant that you take the detective's car and follow the river!"
"Either way, I'm still alive and so is she!"
"That's not the point! Honestly, you still find answers in the strangest way possible… oh, what's this?" Mia said as she spotted the Magatama in Phoenix's hand. "Maya… is that…?"
Maya grinned at her. "I don't know yet, Sis, he didn't give me a direct answer,' she said as she looked up at Phoenix. "What do you say, Nick? Wanna give marriage a shot?"
He looked at the little glowing stone in his hand and smiled. He stood up and leaned down close to Maya's face.
"Yes… I do," he said as he kissed her. Mia turned to leave the room.
Looks like I got my wish, she thought as she left through the door. Everything turned out right after all.
…Sixteen Months Later…
Four months after the incident, Phoenix and Maya got married. Trucy gained a new mommy and Pearl became an auntie (despite her objections). Since then, Maya and Pearl have moved in with Phoenix and Trucy into their two-bedroom apartment. Trucy was happy to share her room with Pearl, and Phoenix was ecstatic sharing his room with Maya. The two little girls also attend the same school, and as predicted, Trucy does call Pearl 'Auntie' across the halls when recess time comes. Since discovering that Phoenix did in fact have no spectacular talents to use to earn money, Maya decided to turn him into the house husband she so desired.
Phoenix was scrubbing the toilet one Friday afternoon while Maya was dusting a lamp with her eyes glued to the television. Phoenix shook his head with a smile at her way of cleaning. He squirted some toilet cleaner into the toilet and continued scrubbing, when he remembered something.
"Hey Maya, what do you feel like doing for our anniversary?" he asked. Maya didn't respond immediately because she was deep in thought about a commercial that just came up.
"It doesn't make sense. Why's her head so huge and her name's 'Minnie' Mouse?" she wondered aloud as she continued staring at the screen. The rag she was using wasn't even touching the lamp anymore. Phoenix laughed quietly to himself. My wife's so cute.
"Maya, you're missing the la—"
"How is a giant mouse more popular than ninjas or samurai? It doesn't make sense!" she continued to think aloud. Then a thought struck her.
"Hey Nick! Do you know what tomorrow is?"
"Um, our anniversary?"
"That's right! And do you know what we should do for our first anniversary?"
Phoenix pulled a face, pretending he was thinking really hard. Just then the front door opened and Trucy ran straight to Maya.
"Mommy! I'm home!" she announced as she hugged Maya. Maya returned the hug.
"Hello Trucy! Welcome home!" she said, glad to take a break from cleaning. As Trucy ran to hug Phoenix, Pearl came through the door.
"Mystic Maya! Papa Nick! I'm home!" she called as she went to hug Maya. Maya also hugged her.
"Pearly, Nick's not your papa!"
"I know, but I just wanted to try it once."
Phoenix released Trucy from his hug and let her put her school bag down in her room. "I don't mind one bit. Now gimme my hug, Pearls," he said with a huge grin. Pearl ran to him and hugged him happily.
"Yay, it's like I have a daddy, too!" she said. Trucy poked her head out of her room.
"I'll share Daddy with you, but I still get to call you 'Auntie!'"
"No way!" Pearl cried as let go of Phoenix. She chased Trucy throughout the apartment while Phoenix and Maya continued their conversation.
"Anyway Nick, where do you think we should go for our first anniversary?" she called over the two girls' squabble.
"No! Nick, it's not that time of the month yet!"
Maya and Pearl visit Kurain Village once a month, mainly to check up on things. The village elders take care of new students that arrive for basic training, and Maya comes to watch over everything. She gets a call from the village if a client wants a spirit channeled, and usually by the next day Maya meets with them.
"Nick, I'm talking about Disneyland! We gotta see why Minnie's head's so big!"
The two little girls fell into a deep hush. After a few moments, their faces lit so brightly it was blinding Phoenix. They ran over to Phoenix and stared up into his face.
"Daddy! Please? Can we go?"
"Please Papa Nick! Let's go!"
Phoenix was at a loss for words. When he didn't say anything the two each grabbed onto one of his legs.
"Hey! Don't do that! Let go!"
"Please, Papa Nick?"
He tried walking to get them to let go, but to no avail. Maya started laughing at the situation.
"Aw, come on, Nick, why not? Hey, no, not here!" Maya cried as Phoenix fell on top of her. The family hit the ground laughing, not even feeling any pain from the floor.
"Okay, we'll go to Disneyland," Phoenix announced. The three girls cheered.
"Alright! And we can invite Uncle Gummy, and Auntie Maggey, and Uncle Larry, and—"
Maya got up and brushed herself off. "Yeah, let's invite everyone!"
"Okay, but you call them. I still have to finish scrubbing the toilet."
The next day they rode with Phoenix's old friend, Miles Edgeworth to Disneyland. Edgeworth is still a prosecutor, but admits that it's not as exciting as when Phoenix was the defense attorney he was up against. They arrived at Disneyland and were greeted by their friends.
"Hey pal, you're late!"
"Sorry to keep you all waiting!" Phoenix called.
Dick and Maggey now have their first son and are expecting a second child in the near future. Dick likes to shower his son with everything Blue Badger, and Maggey's just fine with that. Maggey has since then written a book about how her life story and the bad luck curse of hers. The book sold rather well.
Next to the Gumshoes were Adrian and Franziska. Since the incident, Franziska has left behind everything that ties her to her father in Germany and moved in with Adrian. Franziska is still a prosecutor, though a perfect record of guilty sentences are still somewhat important to her. Adrian has learned to use a whip almost as well as her foreign lover and still writes her trashy love novels. The two are very happy together.
"Yo, Nick! How've you been?" Larry asked as he shook Phoenix's hand.
Larry now works at Hazakura Temple, where he does maintenance work. Every now and then he'll visit Franziska to try to convince her to let him make a storybook cover using her figure. Adrian sometimes takes out the whip to practice on Larry.
"I've been pretty good, Larry," he answered, and his eyes fell on someone he hadn't seen in a long time. Iris looked at him shyly.
"Hello, Feenie," she said softly. Phoenix smiled at her and gave her a hug.
Iris had been released from prison a few months previously and still works at Hazakura Temple. Once in awhile Larry badgers her to go on a date with him, but she still refuses. She has no hard feelings towards Phoenix or Maya whatsoever. In fact, she really is happy the two got together.
"Iris! Haven't seen you in awhile!"
"Papa Nick! How could you?!"
Pearl was launching a full assault of slaps onto Phoenix's face.
"Papa Nick, you already have a lover!"
"Pearls! It's just a greeting hug!"
Maya was laughing at the attack when something caught her eye. A giant mouse in a pink dress was skipping around, greeting passersby. Maya couldn't help but drift toward the giant mouse.
Pearl was still teaching Phoenix a lesson when Trucy tugged on her sleeve.
"Not now, Miss Trucy! I'm busy!"
"But look at Mommy!"
Pearl stopped slapping Phoenix long enough to spot Maya getting hugged by the giant mouse. Pearl screamed.
"Mystic Maya's getting attacked by that monster! Come on, Miss Trucy! We have to save her!"
Trucy let out a war cry and followed Pearl to the so called 'monster.' Phoenix's group of friends stared on happily, some taking pictures along with other people watching. Shaking his head, Phoenix ran toward the poor creature to pry off the two little girls.
"Pearls, Trucy, stop it! It's not a monster! Leave Minnie alone! We'll get kicked out!"
"Not now, Papa Nick! Your wife's in danger!"
"Take this! Mr. Hat and Trucy combo attack!"
"Nick… Nick! Security's on their way! RUN!"
The group managed to escape security, and Phoenix knew that this day was going to be more exciting than what he had planned. They decided to warm up with 'It's a Small World' since Maggey wouldn't be able to ride any of the other rides with her pregnancy. As they got into the small gondola, Edgeworth sensed something interesting was going to happen.
"Ugh, this overload of happy-sweetness is enough to choke a person," Franziska murmured. Adrian picked up on her words.
"Well, it's Disneyland, after all. Supposedly the happiest place on Earth," she explained. Her foreign lover snorted.
"Hmph. I'll let that one slide," she said as she looked around the ride. Then one particular doll caught her attention. It had white hair and something wrong with its smile.
"Papa! You will pay for all the damage you've done!" she shrieked as she took out her whip to attack it. Adrian leapt up in surprise and tried to stop her before the gondola tipped over. Edgeworth remained seated calmly behind the two, tsk-tsking the rest of the ride. Luckily, neither of the two women got in trouble, thanks to some convincing from Franziska.
"Let's ride the tea cups next!" Maya and Larry cheered together. They each took Edgeworth's arms and ran to the ride, but made sure to wait for everyone else. Once they caught up, they forced Edgeworth into a teacup, his cool attitude melting away as the ride started up. Phoenix shared a cup with Trucy, Pearl, and Iris but kept his eyes on Maya's cup.
Poor Edgeworth, he thought to himself as he watched their cup's spin faster and faster. Maya and Larry were giggling out of control while Edgeworth tried to keep his cool. Pearl and Trucy were watching too, and they decided to try to spin the cup as fast as possible, too. It wasn't nearly as fast, but it was enough to force Phoenix to slide next to Iris. Pearl saw this and immediately started her barrage of slaps again. By the end of the ride, both Phoenix and Edgeworth had something wrong with their faces: Edgeworth's eyes were bugging out and Phoenix's cheeks were swollen from Pearl's palms.
Next up was Splash Mountain. Iris decided to sit this one out, still a little dizzy from the teacups. Adrian forced Franziska to ride, trying to get her to enjoy the outing while the Gumshoes stayed behind to watch. They didn't seem to mind, they just liked being out and around friends and each other. Maggey took the opportunity to buy her son a Mouseketeer hat, and Gumshoe was delighted with his son's adorable look.
"I call front!" Maya called, beating Larry out by a half a second. Phoenix sat behind her and Trucy and Pearl sat behind him. Franziska wasn't too happy sharing the log with Larry.
When they reached the top of the waterfall, Maya had a 'brilliant' idea. As the log began the descent, she stood up, pumped her fists in the air, and shouted, "I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!" Phoenix grabbed her waist just in time, and Franziska wrapped her whip around Maya for reinforcement. After the ride, Maya bought a copy of their picture that was taken at the end of the ride.
"Wow Nick, look at your face!" Maya giggled behind her hand.
"Well, if you hadn't stood up like that, my face would've looked better," he explained, still a little stunned at his wife's stunt. "And if it hadn't been for Franziska, you probably would've fallen."
"Oh yeah! Thanks, Franziska!" she called to her second rescuer. Franziska had a smug look on her face.
"So, all your attention was on Maya, and not me?" Adrian said with a saddened look on her face. "What if while you were focused on her, I had fallen?"
Franziska's face became filled with panic. "No, I was, um… but you were holding onto me, it's wasn't like—"
"Franziska, what if I had lost my grip and you had your hands full?"
Larry butted in. "Then I would've grabbed onto you!"
Larry found himself on the receiving end of the whip while Adrian looked on.
"Sigh… well that joke's over," she said to herself as Maya tugged on Phoenix's wrist.
"C'mon, Nick! Space Mountain's next!"
Evening came at last, meaning it was time for the fireworks. Everyone settled on a decent spot while the crowds grew larger. Trucy was hopping up and down, unable to get a good view.
"I can't see!" she cried, and Phoenix put her on his shoulders. Larry put Pearl on his own shoulders, allowing her to see as well. Maya looked at Gumshoe expectantly.
"No way, pal, you're tall enough," he said. Maya puffed her cheeks out in dismay and stood next to Phoenix instead. Franziska and Adrian stood next to each other, hand in hand, while Iris stood next to Edgeworth, wondering what type of person he was. Maya looked at Maggey, who was carrying her son.
"Hey Maggey, aren't you tired? Do you want me to hold him for a bit?" she offered as the fireworks started.
"Really? You don't mind?" Maggey asked as she passed him to Maya. Maya cradled him gently in her arms while Phoenix watched, Trucy and Pearl ooh-ing and ah-ing at the fireworks.
"Hey Nick? I've been thinking that I want one of these," she told him.
"Really? Alright then, we'll make one of our own," he answered.
"Yay, I'm gonna have a baby!" she cheered as she turned her head back to the display in the sky. Without taking her eyes off the fireworks, she said to Phoenix, "Hey."
"How do we make one of these?"
"You mean they don't teach you that in the village?!"
Author's Note: Thank you for reading my fanfic. I also would like to thank those of you who suggested for me to continue the oneshot and turn it into a full-blown story. I've never written a romance story before, and this was a nice challenge.
The hardest part was definitely Phoenix's monologue in chapter 4. I had to revise so many times that I was getting sick of it. But all in all, it was very fun. I hope I managed to keep everyone in character, I had to replay the first three games to be sure I got their speech down.
Anyway, thank you very much for reading.
Disclaimer: I do not own Phoenix Wright. Phoenix Wright and all other characters belong to Capcom. I also do not own anything Disney-related. Obviously, that's all Disney.