Christmas time in Los Angeles was spectacular. There were decorations everywhere, and lights sparkled on every corner. Everywhere you went, a jolly aura was given off, and holiday cheer was all over the city.
Everywhere, that is, except the office of prosecutor Miles Edgeworth.
Phoenix Wright glared at his friend from across the desk that separated them. Edgeworth didn't return the look, busy as he was with paperwork.
"Come on Edgeworth," Phoenix said, "I'm not asking for a lot here."
Edgeworth shook his head. "I'm sorry, Wright, but what you're asking me to do is out of the question. I don't throw my cases. Apollo's on his own."
"You used to help me win my cases."
"I would help you win, not let you win. And that was only after I was sure your client was innocent."
"This guy is innocent, you can trust me on that. Not only that, It's Christmas eve. Court's tomorrow on Christmas, if he doesn't get an acquittal on the first day of the trial, he won't be able to spend Christmas with his family."
Edgeworth shrugged. "Sorry, Wright, but that's not my problem."
"Please, Edgeworth. Apollo has a good idea of who the real murderer is. All he needs is for you to ease up a little bit so he can get the trial going in his direction."
"You may not be aware of this, Wright, but I have a reputation to uphold. It would be very bad for me if it was too obvious I was helping the defense."
Phoenix crossed his arms. "So that's it then? You'd be willing to ruin a perfectly innocent man's Christmas because you're so concerned with you reputation?"
"Listen, Wright. I don't care whether it's Christmas or not. Christmas is not a good excuse for a prosecutor to miff an entire case on purpose.."
"I'm sorry, Wright, but that's my final word on the matter."
After another brief stare-down, Phoenix stood up.
"Fine. But I think you're making a mistake."
Edgeworth watched him leave, closing the door behind him with a little more force than necessary. He sighed, turning his attention back to his paperwork.
"If I had a quarter for every time someone told me that…"
Later that night, after Edgeworth had been lying in bed for several minutes trying to sleep, he heard a strange noise coming from downstairs. He dismissed it and rolled over into a more comfortable position.
The noise came again. This time, it was closer.
Edgeworth, spooked, sat up in bed. The sound was distinguishable now as footsteps, and they were growing closer and closer with each passing second. Edgeworth threw himself out of bed.
The door to his bedroom opened…and the ghostly figure of Gregory Edgeworth stepped into the room.
Edgeworth went white. "F-Father?"
Mr. Edgeworth motioned towards the bed. "Sit down, Miles. We need to talk."
Edgeworth did as his father asked him. Mr. Edgeworth sat beside him.
"I won't ask what happened, because I already know, but you have no Christmas spirit in you. You acted very selfishly today."
When Edgeworth remained silent, Mr. Edgeworth continued.
"Tonight, you will be visited by three Christmas ghosts. Listen to what they have to say. Hopefully, they'll help you clean up your act. …Good luck, son."
Edgeworth looked to his side, about to speak, but found himself alone in the room. Confused, and doubting his sanity, Edgeworth pulled himself back under the covers and fell uneasily into sleep.
He was awakened by a sharp pain. Sitting bolt-upright in bed, he heard a voice nearby.
"Wake up, fool."
"I'm up, I'm up," he grumbled, confused. He managed to throw himself out of bed and stood up. More awake now, he studied the person in front of him.
"Franziska? Is that you? What are you doing…ah!"
Another sharp pain.
"Fool! I am not Franziska. I am the ghost of Christmas past."
Edgeworth stared at the girl, so undoubtedly Franziska.
"Right…now I know I'm dreaming."
He tried to get back into bed, only to be whipped again.
"No. You're not going back to sleep until I show you what I need to show you!"
She reached out and grabbed his hand. With that single touch, they were no longer in Edgeworth's bedroom, but a different house entirely, one that Edgeworth remembered all too well. He looked around.
The voice of a young boy rang through the house.
Edgeworth turned to the source of the noise and saw a much younger version of himself run into the room, right past him, and into the next. Edgeworth walked to the doorway of the room his younger self had run into. The younger him was handing his father a gold star.
"I found the star! Look!"
"That's great, Miles." Mr. Edgeworth patted his son's head, and, taking the star, placed it atop the Christmas tree.
"Santa will come tonight, right?"
"Yes, that's right. And you've been good this year, haven't you?"
"Uh huh! Dad, you don't have to work this Christmas, do you?"
"Well, I do have a case coming up, but not until a few days after Christmas. Would you like to come with me?"
The young Miles' face lit up. "Oh, yes! That would be great!"
"And after that, you've still got a bunch of winter break left. You should call Larry and Phoenix."
Miles smiled. "Hey, yeah! That'll be fun! This is going to be the best Christmas ever!"
The scene faded away. The ghost turned to Edgeworth.
"Your Father died at that trail, didn't he?"
Edgeworth looked down. "Yes…he did."
"Now the only question that remains is whether your Christmas spirit was ruined that year…or on your many Christmases to come."
Once again Edgeworth found himself in a very familiar place. It Manfred von Karma's office, and the man himself was sitting at his desk, working. The door to the office door opened a crack, and Miles Edgeworth, barely older than in the last scene, stuck his head through the crack.
"Herr von Karma?"
von Karma looked up. "Yes?"
Miles stepped fully into the room, and approached the desk.
"Um…I got you a present. You know…for Christmas."
He placed a small box on the desk. von Karma eyed it.
"A Christmas present? Bah. What an utter waste of time." he pushed it back across the desk. "Keep it."
Miles picked up the present.
Shoulders slumped, he walked back out of the office. Older Edgeworth followed.
He found his younger self sitting in front of the fireplace, knees pulled up to his chest. It was easy to see that he was crying. As Edgeworth watched, a very young girl with pigtails walked up to Miles and gently pulled on his sleeve.
Miles looked up, wiping his eyes quickly.
"I got you a present."
And she handed him a small wrapped gift.
Smiling, Edgeworth accepted and unwrapped the gift. It was a small stuffed teddy bear, brown and very fluffy.
"His name is Pess!" Franziska said, "I got him at the fair once. I didn't have anything else to give you, so I wrapped him up." She looked at him with big eyes. "Do you like him?"
Miles smiled, and hugged his little sister. "I love him. Thanks, Frannie. Hey, I got you something, too."
Franziska's face lit up. "Really?"
Miles handed her a box, and she excitedly unwrapped it to find a soft, felt whip.
"We went to that circus a while back," Miles explained, "And you kept saying how you really liked the lion tamers and their whips, so I made you one. I hope you like it."
A tackle hug showed just how much she really did like it, just as the scene began to fade away.
"So maybe your Christmases weren't all bad after all," the ghost said.
"…You know, I highly regret my choice of gift for you…I mean…Franziska."
"Quiet!' the ghost said, with a quick whip, "You're missing the point! Between you and Franziska, why were you not able to keep your Christmas spirit alive?"
Edgeworth was quiet, then spoke.
"…That was my first Christmas with the von Karma's. After that Christmas, Franziska and I would always secretly give each other gifts. But doing it in secret and Manfred's constant belittlement of Christmas wore us down. Eventually, we didn't care any more about Christmas than Manfred did. So, we stopped."
"What a shame. In any case, my work here is done. It's up to you to figure out what you'll make of my visit."
And before he even had time to respond, he was back in his room, completely alone. Shakily, he got back into bed and managed to fall back asleep.
He expected to be woken up again. After all, his father had told him that three ghosts were going to visit him. What he didn't expect was to be woken up by the loudest guitar chord he had ever heard. The shock caused him to fall out of bed and he shot to his feet, completely awake. On the other side of the room, a blonde individual was stowing a guitar back in its case. He looked up and grinned.
"Good to see you awake, Herr Edgeworth."
Edgeworth blinked. "Klavier Gavin?"
The man gave Edgeworth a questioning look. "Gavin? I'm the Ghost of Christmas Present."
"Ah. Right. Makes sense, I guess."
"Ready to go? We've got some major points to hit on tonight,"
Edgeworth sighed. "I suppose."
He expected the journey to be like the last one: a touch of the hand and they were off t their destination. Instead, the ghost grabbed Edgeworth's hand, dragged him to the window, and jumped out. Edgeworth screamed, expecting to fall, but found himself floating in the air. The ghost laughed.
"Oh, guess I should have warned you, ja? You won't fall as long as you don't let go of my hand. Now, hold on."
Los Angeles was beautiful to fly over, but unfortunately, there was one problem-Edgeworth was terrified of heights. And so by the time the two slowed to a stop and landed, Edgeworth was white in the face and feeling nauseas. After a few seconds spent gathering control, he took in his surroundings. He frowned.
"Isn't this the Wright & Co. Law Offices?"
"Ja…but it's technically the Wright Anything Agency now, remember?"
"Why did you bring me here?"
The ghost gestured to the window. "Take a look."
Edgeworth inched closer and peeked through the window. Inside, Apollo Justice was busy going through various files-presumably for the trial he had the next morning. Trucy, Phoenix's daughter, sat beside him, head resting on his shoulder. They both looked worn out, and every second or two Trucy's eyes would droop, then snap back open. As Edgeworth watched, Phoenix came in with hot cocoa for the two. He said something to Apollo, who shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and said something in return. Phoenix nodded, and left, looking worried.
"You have to feel bad for Herr Forehead and the Fraulein," the ghost said, "Up late on Christmas Eve…they've worked so hard on this case."
Edgeworth frowned. "Look…It-it's not my fault that-"
'Hang on, Herr Edgeworth, one more stop."
The ghost grabbed Edgeworth's hand once again, and they were off. This time, they stopped above the detention center. Edge worth looked at the ghost.
"Aren't we going to land?"
The ghost grinned. "Brace yourself."
He dove right down into the center of the building.
Edgeworth didn't have time to cry out, because before he even realized what was happening, he had already passed through the roof completely unharmed, like he wasn't even really there.
Oh, yeah. Ghost. Right…
They landed in a visiting area, and a woman and her young daughter were visiting a man. The young girl had the phone.
"Are you going to be home for Christmas tomorrow, Daddy?"
The man smiled sadly. "I don't know, sweetie. Maybe."
"I hope so. I miss you, Daddy."
"I miss you too, honey."
The woman took the phone back.
"I think we should be going now, Steve. Santa's going to be coming soon." She ruffled her child's hair.
"Yeah, you should."
"Good luck tomorrow, honey."
"Thanks. I'll see you soon."
As the two left, the man watched them go sadly, and was led back into his holding cell.
"Doesn't take much guessing to figure out who that was, ja?" the ghost said.
"You've still got one more ghost to go, Herr Edgeworth. I'd think about all this." The ghost snapped his fingers, and Edgeworth was back in his room, alone. Used to the pattern now, Edgeworth got back into bed and fell asleep.
Neither whip nor guitar woke him up this time, but the deep, fragrant smell of freshly-brewed coffee. His eyes opened and he sat up. Across the room, he could just make out a figure. He got up and walked over to it. The figure was hooded, but three red stripes glowed from within the hood. In his hand he held a thermos of what was undoubtedly coffee. Edgeworth spoke before the ghost had a chance to do anything.
"Let me guess…you're not Diego Armando."
The figure shook his head.
"And…you're probably the ghost of Christmas future…right?"
The figure nodded, and took a swig from his thermos. He snapped his fingers, and the setting around them changed from the bedroom to a graveyard. Startled, Edgeworth looked around. He saw two men standing by a tombstone, and he edged closer in order to hear them.
"…Can you believe it's been 5 years already since he was convicted?"
"Yeah, I know. The defense tried so hard, too, but it just wasn't enough. And on Christmas…I still can't believe they gave him the death penalty for it."
"And what was really sad was that poor Steve was innocent all along. I mean, they arrested another guy for a different murder and he ended up confessing to both crimes. But by then it was too late, y'know?"
Edgeworth felt sick, and this time it wasn't any crazy ride over the roofs of the city that caused it. He shook his head.
"What have I done…? I never wanted…I didn't want to…"
"And you know what's ironic about the whole thing?" One of the men cut through Edgeworth's musings by starting up again. "You know who the murderer's second victim was?"
"The prosecutor who put Steve in jail in the first place."
Edgeworth blinked. "What!?"
"Oh, man, that is crazy," one of the men said, "But he had it coming, I guess."
Edgeworth turned around to return to the ghost, but found that he was standing right behind him.
"Please tell me that it's not too late to fix this," he said, "I-I want to make everything right!"
The ghost shook his head slowly, the pointed over Edgeworth's shoulder at a grave. Edgeworth turned back around, walked over, and with another wave of nausea saw his own name carved into the tombstone.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Edgeworth," the ghost said, laughing, "But your fate's already been set."
The ground began to shake. Edgeworth, fearing an earthquake, curled up on the ground, but he soon realized that is wasn't an earthquake. It was much worse. The ground underneath him began to fall away, and he plummeted into the earth, screaming the whole way down.
Miles Edgeworth woke up screaming and fighting his sheets. His panic continued until he rolled completely off the bed and hit the floor with a thud. Realizing where he was, he sat up.
Had it all been a dream? Did that mean he got a second chance after all?
Shakily, he retrieved his cell phone from hid bed stand and dialed the number of a friend.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Edgeworth! Why are you calling me at this hour?"
Edgeworth breathed a sigh of relief. "So, Detective…It is Christmas, then?"
"Oh Hoh! Were you out partying last night or something? Of course it's Christmas, pal!"
Gumshoe laughed good-naturedly. "Whatever you say, Mr. Edgeworth. Happy Holidays."
Edgeworth got dressed as fast as he could and raced down to the courthouse. The earlier he arrived, the better.
As soon as he arrived, he entered the defense lobby. Apollo, Trucy, and Phoenix were already there, and they looked up as he came in.
"Hi Uncle Edgeworth!" Trucy said in greeting. Apollo and Phoenix stayed quiet, both looking less-than thrilled.
Edgeworth nodded. "Hello, Trucy. Apollo, I really need to speak with you."
"Oh. Listen, If it's about us asking you to help us today…"
"I'll do it."
Apollo blinked. "You will?"
"What are you thinking about the case so far?"
"Uh…" Apollo thumbed through his notes, looking for where to begin.
Several minutes later, a new suspect had been named and a plan of attack had been laid out. Phoenix shook his head.
"I don't know what made you change your mind, Edgeworth, but thanks."
"Well…it is Christmas, right? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get to my own lobby."
He turned to leave but was stopped by Trucy's voice.
"Oh! Uncle Edgeworth!"
He turned back around. She smiled.
Very slowly, Edgeworth returned the smile.
Happy holidays, everyone.