Phoenix flopped down gasping for breath on the cold grass of the riverbank. Besides him was the man that he had rescued who was moving about and muttering something about glasses. Feeling angry, although he couldn't precisely figure out why, Phoenix pulled off his beanie and started to wring the water out of it with a vengeance.
"So how did you manage to fall in?" he asked the other man without bothering to look up at him.
"I didn't fall in. I jumped in to save you," came the simple reply.
"What are you talking about?" Phoenix growled, twisting his hat even harder. "I just rescued you!"
"You were going to commit suicide weren't you?" the man asked him. "I jumped in to stop you from going through with it. You're a good sort of man. I knew you wouldn't let me drown."
"That's ridiculous!" Phoenix told him angrily. He looked up at the man, but it was dark, which made it difficult to see his face clearly.
"Tsk," said the man, "You're bleeding."
"Yeah. I got punched in the face in answer to a prayer not too long ago," Phoenix told him rubbing his nose. The pain, which had been numbed by the cold water, was beginning to come back.
"Getting hit wasn't the answer to the prayer. I am," the man told him, as though it were obvious.
"What?" Phoenix asked in annoyance.
"I'm an angel. I've been sent down to help you."
"Oh really?" Phoenix answered, his disbelief palpable, "Well you're a little bit late then, aren't you?"
"I think it's odd that a man so well acquainted with spirits and ghosts would have trouble believing in angels. Stand up and get a good look at me."
Frowning, Phoenix did as he was told. He stood up and came close to the other man peering at his face. He was uncertain for a moment, but then suddenly took in what he was seeing.
"Mr. Edgeworth!" he shouted, but then he shook his head and said quietly, "Great, I've completely lost it or I'm a hell of a lot drunker than I thought I was."
"No, no," Gregory told him calmly, "I'm real."
"Well, if you're an angel than where are your wings?" Phoenix asked him snottily.
"Can't stop finding contradictions, can you boy?" Gregory said laughing, "For your information I have to earn them. If I help you I'll get them."
"That's kind of selfish if you ask me," Phoenix told him. He had decided to humor this apparition and just assumed he would go away when he sobered up.
"Actually, to me it's more important to thank you for saving Miles. The wings are just an upside. But we're here to help you now and not my son. It is very foolish to try and kill yourself over something like money," Gregory said.
"You think so, huh? Well for your information not having that money is going to get me and some others in a great deal of trouble." He kicked the ground angrily, "I'm worth more dead than alive anyway."
"You mustn't talk like that," Gregory told him gently, "You just don't know all that you've done. If it hadn't been for you-"
"If it hadn't been for me everyone would be a lot better off! Trucy and Apollo and all of my friends. Oh why don't you go haunt somebody else?" Phoenix snapped.
Gregory Edgeworth sighed and put his chin in his hands, trying to think deeply. "You really think that killing yourself would be good idea?"
"I suppose not," Phoenix answered tiredly, "It would probably be better if I'd never been born at all."
"What did you just say?" Gregory asked thoughtfully.
"I said I wish I'd never been born!" Phoenix shouted.
"Well then, why don't we give it a shot," the spirit said, "You've got your wish."
"What?" Phoenix asked in disbelief.
"You've never been born." There was a sudden gust of wind and Gregory raised an eyebrow at the sky before continuing, "You've got no past, no future, no worries, no responsibilities, no unfortunate monetary ties to the mafia."
Phoenix was not paying attention. He was too busy being distracted by his beanie, which had suddenly become extraordinarily dry. "How did…?"
"Your lip has stopped bleeding as well," Gregory told him, slight amusement in his voice.
"Damn," Phoenix murmured, "You're right! What the hell is going on?"
Gregory just smiled at him.
"I need a drink," Phoenix announced, "I good strong drink. Do you want a drink Mr. Hallucination?"
"I don't think I should drink on the job…" Gregory said tentatively.
"Oh just come on!"
Phoenix sat himself down on the same dingy stool in the same dingy bar that he had left not long ago. He gestured for his hallucination to sit down besides him. He was disturbed because they had walked by the tree where he had crashed his bike earlier and it hadn't been there. He supposed some one had just taken the old thing, but the tree itself hadn't been scratched up at all. It was bothering him.
The bar tender came and took their orders. Phoenix was startled when the man brought a drink for Gregory Edgeworth, because he had steadfastly convinced himself that his friend's father wasn't really there.
"That actor was here earlier, wasn't he?" Gregory asked Phoenix quietly.
"Oh yeah," Phoenix said. He looked around and discovered that the large man was nowhere to be seen. He felt kind of bad about being so dismissive before and wanted to apologize. He waved over the bartender, "Where did Will Powers go?"
"Who?" the bar tender asked.
"Will Powers," Phoenix told him. "He's a big guy, kind of scary looking but wouldn't hurt a fly. He was in here earlier. He's an actor. He used be on that old kid's show The Steel Samurai."
The bar tender stared at Phoenix as though he were insane. "Listen buddy, I haven't seen anyone like that in here ever. And besides, if what you're saying is true, I don't think he's been in any bar for a long time. That show got canceled years back when the guy who starred in it was arrested for murder. The entire studio went under after that. A bunch of people got fired. I remember I had one guy come in here and complain about it. Weird guy too…"
"What are you talking about?" Phoenix said in disbelief. "Powers was framed! The death was an accident. Powers was in here tonight!"
"I'm cutting you off buddy," the bar tender told him, "Pay up."
Phoenix reached into his jeans pocket and discovered that he didn't even have the few dollars that he'd been keeping in there. He paled and looked over at Gregory.
"I don't have any money. I'm dead." The bar tender gave him a strange look before yelling at the two men.
"Freeloaders, eh? I'm calling the cops on you!" Phoenix grabbed Gregory by the arm and ran out of the bar.
"This is so weird. I know Will powers was in there earlier."
"You were never born, Phoenix. There was no one there to prove him innocent," Gregory explained matter-of-factly. Phoenix glared at him before trudging forward in search of some way to prove the dead man wrong. He stopped at a newspaper stand and started rifling through the tabloids in search of some information about Powers. He didn't find any. There was, however, an article about Matt Engarde who was trying to get released from jail on good behavior.
"Why would he want to be released?" Phoenix asked, "He'll be killed by De Killer…"
"You weren't there to uncover the truth. Engarde was arrested for committing the murder precisely as it was set up to appear. That woman got away with forging the evidence, and if you ask me that's the worst thing that could've happened to her."
"Stop telling me I wasn't there! This entire thing is insane!" Phoenix growled turning on him.
"I'm telling you Phoenix, everyone you ever proved innocent has been indicted. That circus has undoubtedly fallen apart, that young thief was locked up, and don't even ask me what happened with the thug that impersonated you. After all, the girl he was supposed to frame was already arrested another murder. I'm sure he found some other unfortunate victim." Gregory sighed heavily before continuing, "I haven't even started in on the people closest to you."
"Go away!" Phoenix shouted miserably, "This insane. I've lost it and it all started with you. Go away!"
"Alright, I will," Gregory told him. "Go explore the city on your own, but don't say I didn't warn you."
Furiously Phoenix ran in the direction of the courthouse. There were bound to be records there that would show him the truth. There had to be something that proved he wasn't insane. He pounded up the steps and found himself greeted by the night-guard.
"Please, can you just let me use the records room?" he begged as he caught his breath.
"Sorry Pal, no can do. It's against the rules and I can't get another demotion. Seriously Pal. I can't get no lower than this. It's the worst job on the force and the Police Chief already hates me." Phoenix looked up in shock at the sound of the familiar voice.
"Have we met, Pal?" the detective asked in confusion.
"Of course we've met." Phoenix swept his hat off his head to reveal his spikes, "It's me, Phoenix Wright."
"Sorry, Pal," Gumshoe said, seemingly unimpressed, "I don't think I've every met a Phoenix Wright."
"What are you talking about? We've had dinner together before. Hell, I even helped deliver presents from you to Maggey Byrde!"
"Don't you talk about her! Don't you talk about her like you know her!" Gumshoe bellowed suddenly. Phoenix was shocked and started backwards. Before he could meet with the wrath of the inexplicably angry Gumshoe, they were interrupted by the door of the courtroom opening.
"Is something wrong Gummy? I wouldn't want to have to fire you." Phoenix looked up in horror at the sound of the voice. He was met by the gaudy, orange terror of Damon Gant.
"No, Chief Gant sir! Everything is fine. I was just taking care of this bum here," Gumshoe said nervously. Gant turned his eyes on Phoenix who felt as though his feet were stuck to the pavement.
"What are you staring like that for? You don't have any reason to fear the chief of police, do you?" he asked, an unnerving smile on his face. Phoenix swallowed heavily before turning and running as fast as he could. Gant's laughter followed him down the street.
He didn't know what to do. The entire world was wrong. He needed to find something he knew- something that would be comforting. He turned himself in the direction of the Wright Anything Agency. When he reached the building he hurried in and up to his office. The door was open.
"Mr. Gavin, I think some one else is here to look at the office." It was Apollo's voice. Apollo was in the office where Phoenix had left him and the ex-attorney felt a sense of relief. Although, he couldn't remember the kid ever calling Klavier 'Mr. Gavin' before.
"Oh shut up, Justice. You don't need to tell me every little thing that happens. I'm not deaf." It was Kristoph's voice and Phoenix's brow wrinkled in confusion. He swung open the door to ask what was going on, but found himself too shocked to speak.
The room was cold and dusty, and there was a terrible unlived in feeling to the whole thing. It looked, Phoenix realized with surprise, precisely as Mia had always kept it, but dusty and untouched. Charley's pot was empty in the corner. Presumably the plant itself had long since crumbled away to nothing. In the middle of the room stood Kristoph and an anxious looking Apollo.
"See, it's just some useless bum. He hasn't got enough money to feed himself let alone rent out an office," Kristoph said dismissively. "Come along, Justice, let's go ask how much the rent on this place is. I think it might be a good place to relocate to, although it certainly needs some work."
The two defense attorney's moved towards the door, Apollo watching Phoenix nervously and Kristoph not giving him so much as a glance. As they passed him, Phoenix reached out and grabbed Apollo's shoulder.
"Apollo, what's wrong? Don't you recognize me?" he asked desperately.
"No. No! I don't know you!" the young attorney shouted nervously pulling away.
"I didn't know you were acquainted with this sort of riff-raff," Kristoph said to the poor boy.
"I'm not, Mr. Gavin. Honest!"
"Then how did he know your name?"
"I know your name too, Kristoph," Phoenix said suddenly. "Only I'd much rather speak to a nice kid like him than to a murderer like you!"
Kristoph turned to Phoenix with a terrifying expression. He looked more insane than Phoenix felt. A chill went down his spine. "Let's get out of here, Justice. I think it's drunk."
Phoenix was left alone in the room. He watched miserably as the especially confidentless Apollo was yanked down the hall by the cruel and unpunished Kristoph. Phoenix looked around the deserted office and felt overwhelmed by its desolate appearance. He rushed out of the room and the building, his feelings of terror rising.
Phoenix was doing his best not to think, and let his feet lead him where they pleased. He wound up outside of the prosecuting office. It was closing just as he arrived. A man with ridiculous hair was already waiting outside and leaning against a motorcycle. Klavier came out of the building and went to join him.
"For Christ's sake Klavier, it's a holiday why the hell were you working so long?" the young man said nastily.
"I didn't see any reason to hurry. Kristoph, told me he was working tonight and that he didn't see why he had to waste perfectly good hours celebrating," Klavier answered sadly.
"Well I'm here, aren't I? Let's go get wasted," the other man told him. Klavier did not seem particularly cheered.
"That's all we ever seem to do anymore, Daryan. You haven't been the same since that disastrous concert. You're always on edge now and you always just want to get drunk."
"Why would I be bothered by that concert?" Daryan asked testily, "And besides we went out and partied all the time before that anyway."
"Yeah, but we went out to have fun and drinking was just a part of that. Now we go out with the express purpose of getting drunk. It's not the same," Klavier told him.
"You have a better idea of how to spend your Christmas Eve?" Daryan asked. There was no response from the prosecutor who just looked at his friend sadly. "I thought not. Now let's get the hell out of here."
They drove off before Phoenix could call out. Klavier was supposed to spending his Christmas with the members of the Wright Anything Agency. Although, Phoenix realized in confusion, there didn't seem to be any Wright Anything Agency spend time in. His mind was starting to race when two more prosecutors walked of the building.
"That obnoxious boy is a shame to this vocation," came the cold voice of Manfred Von Karma.
"Of course, Papa," Franziska agreed. She was following her father down the steps with her usual confident air.
"He's worse than Miles Edgeworth was and that's saying something." Manfred gave a derisive laugh after making this observation. This time Franziska did not agree with her father. In fact her whole demeanor changed. She looked down sadly and her gait slowed. "Stupid useless boy. If you ask me, it wasn't any loss to the prosecutor's office when he was put to death for his crime."
Phoenix's world seemed to stop. Miles Edgeworth put to death for his crime. It wasn't possible. Phoenix had saved him. He had saved him! It occurred to him, in that moment that they were dead, all of them. Larry, Maya, and Miles Edgeworth had all been charged for murder and without Phoenix all of them would have been indicted. He sat down on the cold pavement by the steps of the Prosecution building and put his head in his hands.
It was impossible, and yet there was no way they could still be around without him. There might be others as well, he reasoned. He didn't see Godot coming out of the building, without Maya around to protect or Phoenix around to punish, what would he have done upon waking? He would have no reason to go on living.
He probably killed himself, Phoenix thought miserably. Ema must have been affected too. If she had even managed to go and live with her sister's foreign friends as she had when Phoenix had been there, he highly doubted she would come back. Why would she when her sister would never be released?
Phoenix found himself weeping uncontrollably when suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see that Gregory had rejoined him.
"Have you seen enough?" He asked gently. Phoenix, tears still wet on his cheeks, turned on the man savagely.
"This is your fault!" he bellowed. "Everything's gone crazy since you showed up!"
"So then you haven't been convinced that your absence has caused nothing but pain and misfortune?"
"Even assuming that this isn't some elaborate dream. I'm sure that there are some things that are better without me. I mean, I bet Dahlia was caught with the poison since I wasn't there to take it from her. And I'm sure Pearl's got her mother and the leadership of her clan to boot!"
Gregory sighed heavily and shook his head, "Do you honestly think those things would make that little girl happy?"
"Oh I don't know!" Phoenix stood up. He was met with only a knowing smile from Gregory. Angrily he dug his hands into his pockets and turned away.
"They're missing too, aren't they?" Gregory said.
"Trucy's petals," he answered simply. Phoenix looked up in horror as it dawned on him that Gregory was correct.
"Where is she?" he asked desperately, "Where's my little girl?"
"Oh, she's around somewhere I suppose. Why don't you go back towards your home? I think she may be there now," Gregory said quietly before saying to himself, "I suppose a child's misery is the best way to convince a father.
Phoenix took off with greater speed than he had ever shown before. He ran in the direction of the office he knew was deserted on the small hope that he might see his Trucy. He was brought to a halt, outside of the Gatewater hotel, at the sight of a teenage girl performing on the street. It was Trucy.
"What are you doing out here?" he asked coming over to her.
"I'm working," she said angrily, in a tone he had never before heard her use. People hurried by her, ignoring her, but she continued to try and perform tricks.
"You don't need to work like this!" Phoenix said in exasperation.
"What would you know about it?" she snapped. "My mother's dead, my grandfather's dead, my uncle's been arrested and I don't even know where my father is. I don't have anyone else to watch out for me. Just leave me alone!"
She doubled over coughing. She seemed so sick and frail out there in the cold. It didn't look as though she had eaten in a long time and it truly seemed as though she had no one in the world.
"But Trucy," he said desperately, "You have me!" He reached out and pulled her close, as though, somehow, this would make her remember.
"Get away from me!" she wailed trying her best to break free, "Don't touch me!"
"But Trucy! Trucy, Honey, it's me!"
"Help! Somebody help!" Phoenix found himself being pulled away from his daughter by a couple of passing men.
"Leave her alone you sicko!" one of them said. The other one laughed and added:
"You can't have that sort of fun unless you pay!" Trucy looked away, tears running down her blushing cheeks. Horrified Phoenix turned and left her.
"I want to go back!" he shouted, "Mr. Edgeworth, please! Let me go back!"
Phoenix brought himself back to the bridge where it had all began earlier that night. "Please! I want to go back. I just want to go back. I want my friends alive again. I want my precious daughter! I want the wonderful little makeshift family that I left all alone. I don't care what happens to me. I want to live again! I want to live again! Please God let me live again!"
He leaned on the railing and wept miserably.
"Pal! Hey Pal!" A cop car pulled up on the bridge and Gumshoe got out.
"I'm sorry I said her name alright!" Phoenix bellowed miserably.
"What are you talking about, Pal?" Gumshoe asked.
"Yeah, ? What are you talking about?" Ema added poking her head out of the window.
"Ema…" Phoenix said in sudden realization, "Ema you're here! You're here and you know my name!"
"I know you're name too, Pal. I only called you Harry Butz for a little while…" Gumshoe said sadly.
"Ha ha!" shouted Phoenix, "You know my name! You wonderful people!"
"Of course we know your name," Ema said in confusion. Phoenix grinned at her widely. Suddenly he reached up and felt his face.
"My nose is bleeding!" he announced, excitedly. "My nose is bleeding!"
"Oh hey Pal, you're right. We need to get you cleaned up!" Gumshoe said.
"But this is wonderful!" Phoenix said joyously. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the petal's from Trucy's ill-fated science project. "Trucy's petals!" he shouted and he showed them to Ema who looked at them in confusion.
"That's nice, Mr. Wright…" she said. "Listen, Phoenix, can we take you home? Trucy and Apollo have been worried sick about you."
"Yeah Pal. You're kid called up all terrified saying you'd sent her some weird message about the mafia and life insurance."
"My nose is bleeding!" replied Phoenix.
"Let's just get in the car."
"Polly, do you think they found him yet?" Trucy asked her brother. He didn't say anything but he gave her a hug.
"I'm sure they'll find him Fraulein," said Klavier who did not share Apollo's qualms about raising people's hopes based on nothing. Apollo gave him a nasty look, "What? What did I do?"
The door opened suddenly and, before anyone could think, Phoenix was hugging each and every one of them. He even managed to pick Trucy off her feet for a few moments.
"Daddy! Daddy you're back. Where were you? You scared me. Don't send people messages like that!" Trucy scolded him happily.
"Oh thank god you all know who I am!" Phoenix said joyfully. He was attempting to hug Apollo without letting go of Trucy, but he wasn't doing a very good job of it.
"Mr. Wright, wait a second. Now that you're here we have some good news for you. About the money you need!" Apollo said through happy laughter.
"Oh, who cares about the money? I have you guys," Phoenix said. "Come here Klavier. You can be in the group hug too."
"Herr Wright, listen to us. This really is great. Go sit on the couch." Apollo and Trucy pulled him over to the couch and sat down on either side of him. Klavier hurried to the door with a grin on his face, and opened it.
Ema and Gumshoe, who had been waiting in the hallway, came in first. They were both smiling, particularly Gumshoe who said, "Oh, just wait until you see, Pal."
Phoenix looked up and cocked his head slightly. He was finally beginning to realize that something was going on.
"Hey there Nick!" Next through the door came Larry who was holding a large basket over his head. "We're here to help!"
"Larry what are you doing here?" Phoenix asked, and then he added, "Wait. What do you mean 'we're'?"
The Butz just grinned, as people began to pour through the door behind him. Larry placed the basket on the coffee table in front and guests began to toss money into it. Phoenix looked around the room and saw that it was filled with his faces from his old cases. Maggey Byrde came, smiled, tossed in some money, and went to stand besides Gumshoe.
"I can't imagine anyone who deserves this more," Lana Skye said, adding her money and shaking his hand. Before he could thank her, another guest was in front of him.
"Hey there Partner. You know if ya needed the help ya shoulda just asked. No need to be too proud," Jake Marshall told him, "And the stubble is too much for you."
"You're too fabulous a man to be broke," announced Maximilian Galactica. Trucy gave an excited gasp.
"WE BROUGHT YOU THINGS TOO. Although it's not actually money… so I'm not sure if it counts…" Ron DeLite said growing quiet. He and Desiree threw a few dubiously acquired jewels into the basket. Phoenix couldn't catch his breath as more and more people poured in. He saw more members of the Big Berry Circus; he got a bone-breaking hug from Will Powers, and got a small smile from Adrian Andrews. He even got a few dollars from Viola, which struck Phoenix as rather odd.
"Jesus, Trite. I thought you could be left alone. Look at you! You look worse than I did after a coma. And really, you are not man enough for the stubble." Godot came in and tossed some money in the basket, " You know it's bad when the blind man gives you charity."
"You're out of jail!" Phoenix said, finally managing to greet someone.
"I wasn't in for that long…" Godot said. "Although looking at the age of your kid, I may have been locked up longer than I thought."
"NICK!" Maya burst through the door and practically tackled Phoenix. "We took the train as soon as we heard that you were being stupid."
"We gathered what we could from the rest of the village. We really hope it helps, Mr. Nick." Pearl said quietly from behind her gregarious cousin.
"We were worried about you, Feeney," added Iris, who was standing beside her younger sister.
"Pearly you're so big!" Phoenix said. Pearl blushed. He grinned and looked at every one, but there were two more visitors yet to come.
"Really. Phoenix Wright? Debt? What foolishness have you committed? You're very lucky that we happened to be visiting the states," Franziska stood in the doorway smirking. She held up some obscene amount of cash before going forward and placing it in the basket. She was followed, shortly, by Miles Edgeworth. He smiled at Phoenix and added some of his own money.
"If you ever need help, Wright, there's no reason you shouldn't ask."
"Miles…" Phoenix said quietly. A wine glass was handed to him suddenly, someone must have brought it, since they certainly didn't ever use glasses in the Wright house. Miles held a loft his own glass.
"To Phoenix Wright," he said, "the richest man in the city."
The group cheered and awkwardly began to sing various Christmas carols.
"Everyone together now," Klavier said, whipping out his guitar. He began to play 'Aude Lang Syne", but it soon became apparent that no one actually knew the lyrics, so they settled for jingle bells instead. As the song came to an end Trucy enthusiastically rang a bell on the tree.
"Hey Daddy. Polly says: every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings!"
"It's just something I heard once when I was little…" Apollo said blushing. He put his head down and continued counting the money. "It's silly."
"It's not silly at all Apollo." Phoenix said smiling at him, "It's the absolute truth." Happily he ruffled the young attorney's hair. Quietly he added, "Good for you Mr. Edgeworth."
"What was that?" Miles asked in confusion.
"Nothing Edgeworth," Phoenix said happily. "Don't worry about it. Everything is absolutely perfect."
Wow… without Phoenix a lot of people just kind of would've died. And really, who wouldn't be terrified of a world where Gant and Kristoph walk the streets unchecked.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it, even though I'm certain I forgot to include some major character or another. There are just so many!