DISCLAIMER: I don't own GS/Phoenix Wright. If I did, Maya would have been in AJ. But I digress.
I already put this story up on court records, but I thought a FF account would encourage (guilt trip?) me into writing more often.
It was late, but there was no way she was going to bed yet. Not until she knew. She knew he would be home soon. The hurried footsteps in the hall outside soon confirmed this for her. Trucy opened the door to the apartment and Phoenix rushed inside, Maya in his arms.
"Daddy! You found her!" Trucy cried, following Phoenix. "Is she okay?"
"She will be..." Phoenix responded, manoeuvring his way down the darkened hallway, trying his hardest not to bump Maya's head on the door frame as he entered his bedroom.
Trucy stood in the doorway and watched her father carefully lay the woman down on his bed, covering her with a blanket. He raked a hand through his hair, his shoulders slumping as he let out a large sigh.
"Daddy?" Trucy asked quietly.
"Yes honey." he answered flatly, fatigue evident in his voice.
"Can I get you something?"
Phoenix closed his eyes and smiled slightly. Even at seventeen, his daughter was still taking care of him.
"No thanks, sweetie." he said.
"Well," she said after a moment, "After everything that has happened today, there's no way I'll get to sleep. I'm going to make myself a hot cocoa." Phoenix watched her disappear from his line of sight, before sitting down on the recliner in the corner of the room, his eyes once again falling on Maya. She seemed to be breathing steadily. The moonlight bathed the room in a strange blue-ish glow, not bright - but enough for him to see the rise and fall of her chest as she slept.
Inwardly, he cursed himself for letting this happen to her again. Hadn't he kept her at a distance for exactly this reason? Phoenix knew he was a magnet for trouble, and ever since he started taking cases again a year ago, that trouble seemed to intensify tenfold. This latest case especially seemed to be far more trouble than it was worth. A murder over family money with five possible suspects, all siblings and all doctors, yet the one in custody (Phoenix's client) was the only one of those five that he truly believed to be innocent. It appeared one of the other four was responsible for kidnapping Maya and drugging her in order to blackmail Phoenix to drop the case. His reputation as a defense attorney was well known. They knew he would get his client acquitted, thus casting further suspicion on the other four. The real killer couldn't have that.
Phoenix sighed and placed his head in his hands, fatigue, worry and anxiety all getting the better of him.
Trucy's small voice snapped Phoenix out of his reflective state. He looked up to see her holding a mug out, urging him to take it.
"I made too much." she said simply. Phoenix smiled. He knew there was no way she could have accidentally made two mugs of hot cocoa, but he humoured her anyway. It seemed like something Maya would say.
"Thank you Truce." he said, taking the mug and holding it between his hands, allowing the warmth to seep into his fingers. Trucy settled herself on the floor next to the recliner, her bunny-slippered feet stretched out in front of her. Father and daughter sat in silence for some time, watching the spirit medium as she slept.
"Do you know who did this?" Trucy asked eventually.
"Yes and no." Phoenix said. "Detective Skye said she will let me know the moment she finds something. Gumshoe is working overtime too. We will find the one responsible."
"What exactly did they do to Miss Maya?"
"They injected her with something to make her dizzy and sleepy," Phoenix explained.
"She'll be okay though...right?"
"I had Mr. Eldoon look her over - I couldn't take her to the hospital considering all the suspects are doctors. He said it was a powerful sedative that should wear off by the morning. No lasting effects..." Phoenix trailed off, his voice trembling.
Trucy reached up to give her Dad's hand a light squeeze.
"You saved her Daddy. You always save her." Phoenix said nothing, just continued to stare at the sleeping woman across from him.
"Where are you sleeping tonight Daddy? It's awfully cold." Trucy asked.
"I thought I'd just grab a blanket and sleep here tonight, kiddo. I can keep an eye on Maya from here." Phoenix told her. Trucy was quiet a moment, as she processed the information her father had given her.
"You really love Miss Maya don't you?"
Phoenix sighed, but couldn't help but smile to himself. Trucy and Pearl were so much alike that it was no wonder they got on as well as they did. He knew the answer to that question, but he didn't think Trucy did.
"What gives you that idea, Trucy? You sound just like Pearl." Phoenix asked his daughter.
"It's not just an idea, Daddy. I have evidence to support my claim." Trucy stated matter-of-factly.
'That's my girl...' Phoenix thought as he chuckled to himself. "Well..." he said."Go ahead and present this evidence."
Trucy thought for a moment, wondering which angle to approach her case from. If Daddy were in court, he would use the circumstantial evidence first to try and coerce a confession from the accused, then leave the decisive evidence until last. She smiled as she began.
"I see the way you and Miss Maya look at each other Daddy, I'm not blind."
Phoenix smiled and stroked his chin. Legal banter (if you could call it that) with his young daughter always managed to lift his spirits somewhat, no matter the situation.
"And how exactly is that?"
"Well." Trucy said, thinking her answer over. "It's the same way that Polly looks at Vera. You blush when she smiles at you too. It's cute."
Phoenix paused for a moment. Did he really blush like that? Nevertheless, he decided he wasn't going down that easy.
"Your interpretation of how someone looks at someone is hardly permissible evidence Trucy. Anything else?"
"Silly Daddy." she mused. "I'm just getting started!"
Phoenix relaxed in his chair. "Then by all means, my sweet. Continue."
Trucy thought for a moment before deciding on her next piece of 'evidence'.
"Also...I've noticed you automatically pay attention when someone mentions Miss Maya's name. It doesn't matter who it is. Me, Pearl, Polly, even Mr Edgeworth...if someone says her name, your ears perk up and you pay attention. Pearl and I even conducted an experiment to see if our theory was correct. We talked for ages about all sorts of stuff, but whenever we said "Maya", you either turned your head or dropped your pen. Once you even spilled your coffee!" Trucy giggled.
"It's very mean of you to do that to your Daddy, Trucy." Phoenix chided mockingly.
"Is that an admission of guilt then, Daddy?"
"Is that all you have?"
"Then I'm afraid curiosity leads me to plead not guilty." Phoenix sighed, willing his daughter to continue.
"Okay, you asked for it. The photo. The one in your wallet." She stated.
"That's a photo of you, Trucy." Phoenix argued.
"No, Dad." Trucy said, rolling her eyes. "Behind the one of me."
"Oh." Phoenix's eyes narrowed slightly. "How do you know about that?"
Trucy sighed as she remembered.
"At times, especially when I was younger, I'd see you sitting on your bed, staring at a photo. You looked so sad. When you realised I was in the room, you'd quickly put it back in your wallet and give me your biggest smile. For a long time I did think you were looking at my photo. But it didn't make sense to me that a photo of me would make you sad. I was right here! So one day when you were sleeping I had a look for myself. That's when I found the picture of you and Miss Maya at Fey Manor. She looks so pretty in that picture."
Phoenix shook his head, a small smile playing on his lips.
"As a responsible parent, I should be chastising you for snooping..."
"But as a lawyer you know that's how to get the best evidence..." Trucy interrupted.
"Very true." Phoenix admitted. She was his daughter after all. Even though she might have been adopted, it appeared that she had picked up a few of his bad habits over the years. He continued with the matter at hand. "So is that your best evidence?"
Trucy shook her head.
"I've seen you touch Miss Maya's face or hair when you think no one is looking. And there's also the way she brushes her fingers across your shoulders when she leans down to talk to you when you're at your desk."
"You're very observant Trucy. But I still can't help but feel that you're holding something back." Phoenix said, eyeing his daughter warily.
"Of course I am Daddy. What fun would the trial be if I threw out my decisive evidence right at the beginning? You need to build the tension!" Trucy cried with as much enthusiasm as she could muster without raising her voice, not wanting to disturb Maya.
Phoenix laughed quietly. "Okay, kid. Out with it."
"Well..." she began "I know that when Miss Maya stays here she sneaks out of her room and into yours when you both think I'm asleep...and she sneaks back again before you think I'm awake." Trucy finished, clapping a hand over her mouth. She couldn't believe she'd just told her dad that she knew about that.
Phoenix's eyes widened. He was thankful for the darkness of the corner he sat in that shielded his stupefied expression from his inquisitive daughter.
"I'm not a kid anymore Daddy. I know what you two are up to." She stated, a small smirk visible on her face in the soft light.
"Trucy!" Phoenix frowned, his whispered voice part scolding, part embarrassment and part laughter. "How long have you known about that?"
"Oh, at least two years." she said flippantly.
"Yet you still let us sneak around and pretended to be fooled?"
"I thought it might be exciting for you." She shrugged.
Phoenix shook his head in disbelief. "Trucy my dear, you are a strange girl."
"I have a strange Dad." she quipped causing Phoenix to laugh softly. "How do you plead now Daddy?" she asked, her smile evident in her voice.
Phoenix sighed. "Guilty. Guilty as charged."
Trucy smiled, but then shook her head. Her dad sure didn't make any sense.
"Then why? Why isn't Miss Maya my Mom?" she asked.
Phoenix scowled, more at himself than his daughter. "It's complicated." he replied.
"You love her, she loves you. I see no complication, Daddy." Trucy said frankly. Phoenix admired her black and white world.
"There are a lot of other factors to consider Trucy. It's not that easy." Phoenix lamented.
"Like what?" Trucy questioned, not ready to dismiss her father's happiness so easily.
Phoenix grumbled and placed his mug on the floor, leaning on his knees. "Well, the first problem was my disbarment. The elders of Maya's village didn't want their figurehead associating with a criminal like me. We still saw each other a little, but we had to keep it a secret. Then she officially took over as master and got really busy. Our visits were fewer and further between. Then I realised how much safer Maya was without me around. No one had tried to kill her, kidnap her or poison her in a long time. She was doing good things and making changes in Kurain and her life was important to so many people. Who was I to take up her time? I didn't deserve her friendship and attention. I was just some bum, moping my life away pretending to play piano at dingy bars."
Trucy winced at her father's undervalued impression of himself.
"Daddy..." she whispered, trying to comfort him. He seemed lost in his story nonetheless.
"I missed her so much. Lucky I had you to keep me busy, Trucy." Phoenix said, patting his daughter on the head. She continued to listen to her father in silence.
"As it turns out, Maya really missed me too. She turned up here one night crying and babbling about how she couldn't deal with the stress of being master and being alone. I told her I didn't think I was important enough to command her attention. She told me I was stupid... We talked all night long. That's when she decided that she didn't care what the Elders thought. She was coming to see me whenever she wanted. That's when you met her Truce, about four years ago. She came by more often then, and the Elders, well, they couldn't really do anything about it. Their threats were empty. Spending more time together, Maya and I, well...we slowly started to realise that we were falling in love. Or maybe that we had been all along."
Trucy smiled at her father's admission. He continued telling her his and Maya's story, he seemed almost relieved in a way to be telling someone after keeping it all inside for so long.
"But then I got my badge back, and with the badge come the criminals. Murderers, kidnappers, extortionists... After all I had put her through in the past; I couldn't bear for her to be a target again."
Phoenix's voice started to falter, and Trucy grabbed his hand, holding on tight as her beloved father poured his heart out.
"But sure enough," he whispered, "here we are yet again. I don't know why I thought it would be different; I thought she would be safe if she stayed in Kurain. I couldn't protect her, Truce. What kind of a man am I?" Phoenix sobbed. "Maya... and you, Trucy, are the two most important things in my life. I'm so lucky that you also have a brother to protect you and keep an eye on you when I can't. Now that this has happened to Maya, I have to make sure I never let you out of my sight. I'd never forgive myself if something happened to you, Trucy. But Maya...I, I couldn't protect her. I let them take her. I wasn't there to save her. I can't put her in that situation again..."
Phoenix placed his head in his hands and rubbed at his tired eyes. Trucy watched her father, his sadness making her heart ache, but at the same time astounded that he didn't understand what he had just said.
"Silly Daddy." Trucy said for the second time that evening. "You just answered your own dilemma."
Phoenix looked at his daughter, a puzzled expression on his face.
"You couldn't protect Miss Maya, because she isn't here with you. But if she was by your side, all the time, where she belongs, you wouldn't have to let her out of your sight ever again. You could protect her and me at the same time."
"But she is the Master of Kurain, Trucy."
"And she hates it! Besides, we all know that Pearl was born for that job. She told me that's why she's been training so hard. She wants to be Master, and she wants Miss Maya to be happy." Trucy said with conviction. "Anyone can see Miss Maya isn't happy in Kurain. She's here all the time anyway Daddy, because that's where you are. So just make it permanent already."
Phoenix was dumbfounded. His daughter was right. How had he not seen the most blaringly obvious solution? Could he and Maya...could they? Could it really work?
"Aaaaaanyway," Trucy said, picking up her father's mug from the floor and standing up. "I'm pooped. I'm going to sleep now." She ruffled her father's hair affectionately, just like he often did to her. She shuffled towards the door. "Oh, and Daddy?"
"Hmm?" he responded, still deep in thought about Trucy's revelation.
"Remember, you don't have to sleep in the recliner to try and fool me anymore. You should keep Miss Maya warm. She's shivering." Trucy finished, motioning at Maya's sleeping form.
Phoenix glanced at Maya only to discover that Trucy was correct. She was indeed shivering in her sleep.
"'Night, Daddy." Trucy said as she closed the door softly behind her.
Phoenix shook his head and stood up, stripping down to his boxers before climbing into bed behind the sleeping spirit medium. He placed an arm around her waist, and gently pulled her against him. She snuggled against his body, subconciously grateful for the warmth he provided.
"Kids." Phoenix grumbled softly to no one in particular. "Since when did they get so damn smart?"
Phoenix settled into his pillow for a good night's sleep. The first in ages.