The window of the Wright & Co. Law Offices stood wide open, the normally bustling atmosphere of the next-door Gatewater Hotel not as active today. Instead, it seemed that everyone was outside, enjoying the sun and making the most of their summer vacations. Birds chirped harmoniously outside, ignoring the intense heat waves undulating in the air.
Phoenix lay sprawled across the couch in his office, shoes and jacket lying discarded on the floor. Every so often his head would jerk slightly towards the window when a hint of a breeze blew in, but sighed and let it fall back onto the couch's armrest when the breeze immediately died down, taunting then disappointing him. He continued to gradually loosen his tie, closing his eyes, hoping that the heat would somehow evaporate into thin air.
Trying to shift his position on the couch didn't help. It's so freaking hot in here…and I still have papers to fill out after that case, ugh. Not that it looks like I'm actually going to get anything done today. He had long since this morning resigned himself to the fact that this unbearable heat wasn't getting any better, and had therefore retired to the couch to try and cool down. I wish I could take off my shirt, he groaned inwardly, but that wouldn't be a good idea, considering Maya's sitting right in the next room. And if a client happen to come in it wouldn't be pretty.
The door in the room next to him suddenly barged open, and speak of the devil, in came his assistant, Maya Fey, dressed in her typical acolyte's outfit, looking bouncier than ever. She scrutinized the room for a second, surprised that he wasn't at his desk, until she spotted upon Phoenix slumped on the couch. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Nick! It's a beautiful day! What are you doing, lying here? Come on, we should go somewhere! Get you off your feet! We just finished a case, so we deserve to celebrate a bit." She bounded over to him, crouching down beside his head and gazing up at him.
"You call this a beautiful day, Maya?" He responded incredulously. "Honestly, I don't feel like doing anything right now."
"Niiiick." She pouted, grabbing onto one of his arms hanging off the side of the couch. "Come on! You're just being lazy. What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong. I just don't feel like moving."
Maya scowled, then caught a glimpse of a paper lying next to his forgotten jacket. She picked it up, eyes wandering back and forth, trying to read its illegible spelling. "'Deer Mr. Nick. I has gon shopin fer tea so you can get betr. Pearl.'" She giggled. "Poor Pearly…but then again, she never did really learn to write anything but calligraphy at Kurain."
Phoenix tried to ignore her, closing his eyes again. This quickly proved impossible as he felt her climbing onto the couch, slowly lowering herself to lay flat on top of him. She put a hand to his forehead and gasped. "Nick! You're burning like crazy. Do you have a fever or something?"
He shrugged weakly. "I don't know. I woke up today feeling a little under the weather, but the day's only gotten hotter and I can't bring myself to get up, let alone work."
Maya pushed herself a little lower and lay flat with her head resting on his chest. Phoenix stared down at her, more heat rushing to his face. Was she aware of the…closeness…in her current position? "You're sweating like mad, too. No wonder Pearl went to get you some tea. Here, uh, is there anything I can do?" She straightened up, partially wanting to help Phoenix, partially realizing suddenly the intimacy of the position she was just in. "I know! How about I try to do your work for you? Paperwork doesn't look that complicated. All you ever really to is pretend like you're reading it, then sign your name in a bunch of places…it can't be too hard to forge your signature."
"No, that's quite all right." Phoenix said hurriedly, his heart sinking. He shuddered as to what the Prosecutors' office would think of discovering that all of his paperwork had been "authenticated" with badly forged handwriting.
"Then there must be something I can do. I mean, you helped me that one time when I was sick, so I want to return the favor." Maya looked determined as ever, staring down at Phoenix with no intention of taking no for an answer.
"Well…if you insist…" Phoenix rubbed his chin with one finger, embarrassed at what he was going to ask of her.
"Yes?" She looked enthused again.
"…W-would you mind laying back down like that?"
There was silence for a moment. Maya appeared to be surprised at his sudden, awkward request. "…O-okay, if you want."
She swung her legs back over and onto the couch so that her body lay in the same direction as his, arms enveloping his torso, head lying again on his chest. She seemed a little unsure about it this time, but nonetheless, when he had closed his eyes and subconsciously raised his arms and wrapped them around her small body, she didn't object, rather sighed slightly and nestled into his clutch.
"So how exactly is this helping to heal your fever?" Maya derided, grinning up at him slightly.
"Think of is as…physical treatment." Phoenix immediately felt mortified after the words left his lips.
"Uh…well, let's say it's calming." Damn. He turned his head slightly to look away from Maya. He was getting even warmer now, but he had a feeling it wasn't from his fever. Maybe holding Maya had slightly the opposite of his desired effect on him.
"Really?" Maya stared up at him, mindlessly toying with his tie now. She seemed to be loosening it even further.
"Yes." Plus I really kind of like having you lay here like this. It's actually pretty alluring.
Maya was still not convinced of his sincerity though, it seemed. She must think I'm just toying with her. "W-well still though, I should probably get back to doing…uh…whatever it was I was doing before. Can I get you some water or something, Nick? Uh, or do you just want to wait until Pearl gets back with the tea? I know, I'll go boil some water, that'll--"
She was cut off abruptly by Phoenix straightening up half of his upper torso, gripping her by the shoulders and pulling her to eye level. He brought his face closer to hers in one swift movement, then leaned forward, closing the gap between their lips and locking Maya in loving kiss. She seemed shocked to silence, but Phoenix didn't let up until she finally gave in and kissed him back, lifting her arms out from behind his chest and wrapping them around his neck. They broke for air momentarily, and Maya rested her head on Phoenix's neck for a moment, panting slightly.
Above her, Phoenix smiled for the first time that day. "There's another example of physical treatment. And while this one's more effective, it only works with one person. It varies depending who you're dealing with."
Maya rose up so that her face was again hovering over his. She was smiling wider now, any trace of doubt or uncertainty gone. "I have to say, I'm becoming fond of this physical treatment method. I think I'll have to demand it from you next time I have a fever, Nick." Without giving Phoenix a chance to respond, she pressed her lips against his again, more passionately this time, and he responded with equal enthusiasm, stroking her back tenderly…
They were interrupted, suddenly, by a shriek of delight from the doorway. They broke apart quickly, both of their heads turning quickly in the direction of the sound.
Pearl stood in the doorway to the office, a bag from the convenience store sitting on the floor, obviously having just been dropped by the little girl, who had both hands clutched to her cheeks, looking positively thrilled. "Mr. Nick and Mystic Maya--I've finally seen them admit their love for each other!! Oh, this is so romantic! I…I have to go tell everyone!" Pearl hopped on the spot once then dashed back out the door, leaving it ajar and the bag on groceries still forgotten on the carpet.
Phoenix and Maya blinked slowly, staring at the spot where the energetic nine-year-old had been standing seconds before.
"…I have a feeling I'm going to spend tomorrow at home, tending to my fever," Phoenix said finally.
"Can I maybe join you in that?" Maya asked hopefully. "I'd rather, uh…plead sickness than go through Pearly's mob of gossipy people she's going out to gather." Phoenix laughed.
"Trust me, Maya…if you hadn't just suggested that, I would have done so myself." He smiled cunningly, before enveloping his arms back around her waist and captured her lips in his for the third time.
Even on a day such as this, with a fever to top off the extreme heat…good things still had their chances of occurring.