Disclaimer: I do not own Phoenix Wright or any related entities.
Author's note 1: Ok, ok, so I initially labeled "Burnt Away Forever" as a NickxMaya, but then I killed them at the end, so I thought that wasn't exactly fair.
Author's note 2: This was actually supposed to be a chapter in the middle of a fic I was planning, but I decided to write this first before I lost the emotional drive. And then I decided to just post it by itself. It's not completely standalone though, as it's written in the context of the fic. So I guess it's also spoilers for the above-mentioned fic if I decide to go through with it. Any confusion in regards to context is (hopefully) addressed in the note at the end.
It was difficult to see the mid-afternoon sun through the dim, grey cover smothering the sky. Soon, the clouds would relinquish their bearings, but the telltale thunderclap of a storm had thus far failed to be heard. Indeed, the only sounds at the moment were those common to that part of the city. The business of peripheral shops and restaurants carried on as usual along the sidewalks, indifferent to the plight of the young woman clad in purple robes sprinting feverishly past them and up to the hospital's main entrance.
"Hello, may I help you?" The desk clerk asked as Maya burst unceremoniously into the reception area.
"Intensive care! Where is it!" Maya blurted out, not even pausing to catch her breath or offer an explanation. Neither action was on her mind at the moment.
The clerk took the outburst in stride, though rolling back his chair so that the spirit medium was a bit more than two inches away from his face. He motioned across the room.
"Seventh floor, the elevators are down the hallway on your ri-"
But she was already running to catch the elevator door that was beginning to close.
Maya wedged her hand into the door at the last possible moment, forcing it to re-open. She hit the "7" button and watched faintly as the door slid shut and the elevator began its slow ascent.
(Almost there! Nick, please wait for me…)
(But what if I'm too late? What if he's-…what if-…I'll never-…we'll never-)
(No! I can't think this way; I have to have hope…Nick wouldn't have wanted to see me like-Ahhh!)
(Maya! What's wrong with you? What would Sis say?)
(JUST! STOP! THINKING!)
(Nick…please, please be okay…)
Maya stared beseechingly at the floor indicator as it counted up to the seventh floor. Then another thought hit her, which, for some ridiculous reason, frightened her more than the others.
(What if someone stops the elevator on the way up?)
Fortunately, this did not happen. The door slid open and Maya darted out into the intensive care unit's lobby area.
"I- I'm here for Ni-I mean Mr. Phoenix Wright!" she stammered off to the first doctor she saw. Finally regaining some composure, she continued:
"He's just been placed here. Is he…okay?"
The doctor frowned solemnly, "Ms-"
"Ms. Fey, I'm sorry, Mr. Wright is in critical condition. He has been shot in the stomach, and had already lost a considerable amount of blood at the time he was found. I'm afraid there's a high chance that he will not survive the night."
These words skewered Maya like the many branches of a shichishito. She felt the embrued tide of misery rising within her, but the most crimson tears would be shed if the blade were removed, if the words were to come to fruition. Her usually free-flowing words suddenly became lodged in her throat.
"Please…I- I must see him." She managed to whimper.
(Please let this be a dream.)
The doctor took one look at her haunted expression and nodded. At least this way she will be able to see him…one last time.
He led Maya into room 712, shutting the door, hanging his head sadly as he stepped back into the hallway.
Maya blinked as her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting of the hospital room. Then, she saw him. Nick lay unconscious on the bed with many tubes and IV needles sticking out of him. He was completely still, almost corp-
(D- don't think about that…)
The only sound in the room was the heart monitor's metronome-like beeping.
Maya approached him shakily and knelt by the bedside; her confidence from a few minutes before had all but fallen away.
"Nick…please don't die…I- I- have no one else…" she whispered sorrowfully. The defense attorney showed no response.
"When Sis was killed, when I was sitting in the detention center that day, I thought I was alone. Who would want to protect a failure of a spirit medium like me?" She lacked any sort of smile as the joke fell flat on its face.
"But then you appeared, Nick…you believed in me when no one else would, not once, but twice! You believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. You risked your reputation as a lawyer to rescue me from de Killer…b-but I never thanked you…I never thanked you for any of it…and now I'll never be able to…"
She let her tears fall freely, inundating the Defense Attorney's bloodied suit. The heart monitor continued its foreboding pulse.
"You've put everything on the line for me, Nick, but what have I ever done for you? You ran across a burning bridge to save me, but when you lost your badge I let the bridge we built together burn away… Sure we talked over the phone from time to time, but what good is that? I abandoned you, just as the rest of the world did...when you most needed someone to believe in you...I abandoned you, even after everything that you've done for me."
"Th- the only one who stepped in to defend you was…Kristoph, and, and look where that's gotten us now…And it's all my fault."
She looked up at Phoenix's closed eyes, clutching his cold hand in hers as a new flood of tears escaped her. She had to say it now, the words that she had been hiding for a long time.
"I'm just a coward, Nick. I never could face you after that case… b- but I still missed you…I still cared about you more than anything else. I loved you, Nick, but now it's…now it's-" Maya's voice faltered, but she knew that, for her own sake, she had to say everything: it would be her last chance to, though she knew that the fading attorney couldn't hear her.
"I- I see you still wear my magatama after all these years, and somehow I hope that you felt the same way about me...but I'm only kidding myself. I've never been anything but a nuisance, a failure. The magatama, I couldn't even charge it for you…"
The heartbeat started to subside, the seven-branched sword began pulling out, blade after woeful blade.
"Everyone- Everyone I've ever loved is gone…first Sis, then Mom, and- and now Pearly, and then…Please, Nick...you're all I have left. Don't leave me alone..." Maya's voice died to a whisper as she buried her head in Phoenix's chest sobbing, embracing him with some irrational hope that somehow she could force some life back into his body.
"Please…don't leave me…"
Blade after blade. The hospital room grew cold as the thunderstorm began outside.
And then, perhaps through Maya's efforts or some other miracle, Phoenix Wright opened his eyes. He was still in great pain, but it didn't matter to him, not anymore. Though in his unconsciousness he had no capacity for hearing or thought, somehow, he knew everything that had happened.
"Maya…" he whispered. The sound of his voice went off like a cannon shot in Maya's head.
"N-Nick!?" In an instant, her signature high spirits had returned and Phoenix Wright was caught in a tight hug. Phoenix may have not been able to hear her during the past few minutes (or so she thought), but it didn't matter to her, not anymore. All that mattered was that she had him back. Her tears were no longer of sadness, but of joy.
"Maya," said Phoenix warmly, unsure of how to begin, "you never abandoned me. Or if you did, I deserved it. After that case, I was too ashamed to see anyone. I shut you out of my apartment that day, telling you to return to Kurain. Remember?"
"Y- yes…" In truth, she had forgotten, but Phoenix ignored the bright red psyche lock and continued.
"Sure, the magatama helped me out in the past seven years…like with winning all those poker games…but the real reason I kept it with me was that it reminded me of the times that we spent together. You lifted me up whenever I was at my lowest. You have never been a failure to me…and don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
(D- did he hear me?)
"Maya, all the times I saved you, all the times I risked something for you, I would repeat them a thousand times over. I had never felt so devastated in my life when I thought that you had died at Hazakura temple, and then Franziska gave me the card that you drew—I've hid it in my desk-drawer all these years—she made me realize what I could never admit by myself: that you are more than just Mia's little sister to me. Maya…I-" he was in too much physical pain to finish, but he didn't need to. That was all that the spirit medium needed to hear. She jumped up and kissed him affectionately; they had both secretly wished for this moment for so long.
"Um...Nick?" Maya got up suddenly, blinking a couple times.
"Is this- This isn't a dream?" she asked, half-dreading the answer.
Phoenix just shook his head and returned her embrace. "Maya, spirit mediums don't dream."
I changed the ending for this version though, I don't usually like stated romance in longer stories unless it's either the point of the plot (which it wasn't going to be), or left until the very end (which this chapter wasn't going to be either).
Notes on context:
-Takes place after Apollo Justice, Phoenix has his badge back.
-Pearls has been a victim of murder…but don't kill me yet! Pearl is not actually dead (and she won't die), she's only "missing". The fact that she is not dead will be discovered right away though, as Maya won't be able to channel her.
-Phoenix was shot by Kristoph (or someone he hired) in revenge.