A/N- So I come with another Phoenix/Iris fic. This idea actually came from a very pretty piece of fanart for the pairing. Special thanks to Franzise Deauxnim at the Court Records forum for beta-ing this. I hope you guys enjoy. Reviews are happiness.

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.

As Iris knocked on the door to Phoenix's apartment, she felt an excited flutter run through her chest as she toyed nervously with a bit of her long jet black hair and smoothed her pretty black dress. Despite the fact that they had been seeing each other for almost a year and a half by this point, including the time encompassed by her stay in jail, every moment together felt like a new and exciting adventure to her; one that she never wanted to end. The plan for their date that night wasn't overly elaborate - dinner at a nice restaurant and dancing - but she had been looking forward to it a great deal.

Surprised that Phoenix still hadn't responded to her knock, Iris tapped on the door again, starting to worry that something might be wrong. It was unlike him to be so unresponsive. "Feenie? Are you in there?" Iris called through the door timidly.

The sound of rushed footsteps getting progressively louder answered her question. The door opened to show Phoenix standing in front her dressed in a tee shirt and shorts. "Iris," he greeted happily, his eyes shining as he stared at her. A pleasant warmth spread through her as his soft lips touched her own gently. As they parted, Phoenix smiled sheepishly and added. "I'm sorry that I'm not ready to go. I've... been a bit busy today and things got away from me. Come on in and sit down. It won't take me long to get ready."

"Busy? Is something wrong?" Iris asked as she followed him inside. As they entered the main part of the apartment, Iris's eyes widened suddenly as she looked around. Clothes were piled all over the room. A laundry basket was set in the center of the room, near one of the couches, also filled to the brim with clothes. Although the apartment was never superbly clean, Phoenix had always been careful to keep a certain amount of order, particularly with Trucy around. Confused by the unusual situation, Iris turned towards Phoenix, concern reflected in her eyes.

Noticing Iris's reaction, Phoenix was quick to reassure her. "There's nothing wrong, Rissy." Smiling wryly, he squeezed her hand reassuringly. "Trucy is spending the night at a friend's house so I figured I'd catch up on some of the laundry. Between my investigation, all the hours I've been working lately, and taking care of Trucy, I just haven't found much time to keep up with it. I figured since I had some free time before you came over, I would try to get it done." Glancing around the room, he shook his head and added, "I hadn't expected there to be so much, though. I guess I neglected it too long."

"How can I help?" Iris smiled shyly, blushing a bit as his gaze focused in on her.

"You want to help with the laundry?" he asked incredulously as his eyes widened, having not expected such a response. "What about our date?"

"We can have it here," Iris responded quietly. "I'll make us something for dinner and we'll finish up this before Trucy gets home. That way you won't have to worry about it again for a time."

Falling silent for a moment, Phoenix watched Iris carefully, considering her words. "Are you sure, Rissy? You don't have to do this," Phoenix said softly as he took a step towards her and touched her face gently.

"I know that, Feenie. I want to help you," Iris responded earnestly, her beautiful eyes sparkling.

Smiling gratefully, Phoenix pulled Iris into a gentle embrace and held her close. As she rested her head on his shoulder, he whispered into her ear, "Thank you. I don't deserve you."

A soft, lyrical laugh escaped her lips at those words and she blushed as she told him, "You have that backwards, Feenie." After a final kiss, Iris reluctantly pulled away, knowing well that they wouldn't get anything done at this rate. "So where should I start?"

Phoenix sighed disappointedly as Iris pulled away from him, but he quickly forced himself to focus on the task at hand. "Do you mind folding some of the clean stuff in and around the laundry basket? After I set up the next load, I'll come back here and help."

"I'd be happy to," Iris said pleasantly as she walked over towards the center of the room and sat down besides the laundry basket to get to work. The action was a comforting one for Iris as it brought back many fond memories of her time at Hazukura Temple with Sister Bikini. She could still remember the patience Bikini had shown while Iris had been learning her various duties at the temple and the familiar sound of her foster mother's kind voice praising her when she did well. Humming softly, Iris continued to work steadily until Phoenix came back into the room and laid down beside her with a sigh, closing his eyes. "Are you okay, Feenie?" Iris asked worriedly as she looked down at his tired face. As she touched his face gently, feeling the recently grown stubble beneath her fingers, she realized that it had been a while since she had last seen him so unguarded. "Feenie?"

"I'm all right, Iris," Phoenix responded softly, opening his eyes so that he could meet her kind gaze. "I promise." Wanting to relieve the sudden seriousness that had fallen over them, he smiled mischievously. "Of course if you want to keep fussing over me, I think I'll stay right where I am."

"Oh really?" Iris laughed. Grabbing one of the clean hand towels beside her, she leaned over him and laid it across his face. "If you're done being silly, you can start with folding that towel."

"Hey!" Phoenix cried in mock-protest, pulling the towel off his face. As he sat up and turned towards Iris, he opened his mouth to continue playing along, but as he looked into her beautiful eyes he found himself at a loss for words. With his train of thought interrupted, Phoenix chuckled softly and leaned against the bottom of the nearby couch as he started folding the towel Iris had given him.

They made a good team; it only took them a little more than an hour to finish up with the majority of the laundry. As they waited for the final load to finish drying, Iris excused herself to go start dinner. As Iris walked towards the kitchen, Phoenix stood up to follow her. Stepping close to her as they reached their destination, he tapped Iris on the shoulder to get her attention and asked, "Can I help you with dinner?"

"I thought that you didn't like to cook," Iris said as she turned to face him, confused by his offer.

"Well, I don't," Phoenix admitted with a sly smile, moving closer to her. "But I think it'll be better for both of us if we worked together on dinner like we did with the laundry." Wrapping his arms around her, Phoenix leaned down and kissed her. As he pulled away, he whispered to Iris, "You don't break up a winning match."