Phoenix sat at his desk. He couldn't concentrate. He squinted at the papers strewn around in front of him, rubbing his temples. They might as well have been written in Latin. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, his gaze moving lazily to the window across the room. The rain pelted mercilessly against the glass, blurring his view of the world beyond the office walls.
"So much for going for a walk to clear my head..." he thought to himself. He looked around the office, hoping something else would catch his attention and distract him from the paperwork he really didn't feel like doing. There was something else he knew could distract him. Or rather, someone. Phoenix squeezed his eyes shut.
"No." He thought sternly to himself. "She is the reason you can't concentrate to begin with. Suck it up and get this work done. Focus Phoenix!"
He looked at the page in front of him again. It was no use. Cleanly typed pages of text began to swirl around the page before his eyes. He blinked a few times. They weren't getting any clearer.
"Ugh." He groaned. "I'm working too hard." He slammed his pen down and took a deep breath. Ignoring the desperate pleas of his sensible subconscious, his attention once again turned to the other occupant of the office.
A pair of small feet hung lazily over the edge of the couch, their owner enjoying an afternoon nap.
"Maya..." he breathed. He wasn't quite sure if he had said it out loud or in his head. Not that it mattered, he mused with a small smile. She was fast asleep anyway. Phoenix couldn't really deny that his attitude to the young girl had changed dramatically since 'that' case and everything that had followed.
He recalled at first how he had tried to deny everything, even to himself, like some childish defence mechanism. He simply tried to push his feelings aside. She was Maya after all. 'She's Mia's kid sister!' he'd tried desperately to convince himself. But the truth was, that Maya was most definitely not a kid anymore. She was, in fact, a rather attractive young woman. Her soft facial features had become more defined, legs got longer and curves got...well...curvier. At twenty years old, Maya Fey had grown into a beauty that could rival even her older sister.
A few days after the Hazakurain trial had ended; Phoenix had received a visit from Edgeworth. Although brief, it would prove to be quite significant. Looking back, he knew that was the first time he had to confront his growing affection for his young assistant. Edgeworth was heading overseas for a few months and wanted to say goodbye to those he now considered 'friends'. At the time, Phoenix remembered thinking that such trivial sentimentalities were very out of character for someone as stoic as Edgeworth. But then again, the events at Hazakura Temple had changed them all in some way or another. He should have realized that he couldn't hide anything from Edgeworth. The man was as observant out of the courtroom as he was in. Any attempt by Phoenix to hide the truth would definitely be for naught. Edgeworth didn't miss a beat.
(a few months earlier)
Sitting at his desk, Phoenix half listened to Edgeworth's European travel plans, not really paying his friend as much attention as he should have been. Maya sat on the couch, silently stroking Pearl's hair as her young cousin slept on her lap. Maya still wore that same faraway, vacant expression on her face that had been her mask for the last two days. Staring at something, yet nothing at all.
It didn't take long for Edgeworth to realize Phoenix wasn't really listening to him. He followed the defense attorney's line of sight, and found what he was in fact paying attention to, or rather, who. Edgeworth stopped mid sentence, a smirk creeping across his face. It took Phoenix another ten seconds or so to notice the lack of background noise. He turned to look at Edgeworth, immediately noticing the man's uncharacteristically odd facial expression.
"...What?" Phoenix asked, perhaps a little too defensively.
"I knew it." Edgeworth said smugly. He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, as if he had just uncovered a piece of decisive evidence.
"Knew what?" Phoenix inquired carefully. He had a feeling he knew where this was going, but he'd be damned if he was going to give in to his prosecutor friend so easily.
Edgeworth laced his fingers together, regarding Phoenix quizzically before speaking again.
"I must say, I had my suspicions after the Engarde trial, but you pretty much confirmed them with what you did at Hazakura Temple."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Edgeworth." Phoenix snapped. His inability to meet Edgeworth's knowing gaze added little weight to his words.
Edgeworth stared incredulously at Phoenix, trying to figure out whether the man was feigning ignorance, or whether he was really that stupid. He opted for the former, although there was probably a lot of the latter in the equation too.
"You crossed a burning bridge, Wright. You crossed it for her." Edgeworth said calmly, stating his case further.
Phoenix looked down at his desk, anywhere to avert his eyes from Edgeworth's. The guy had a knack for extracting the truth.
"Keep it down, will you?" Phoenix whispered, his annoyance evident in his voice. Edgeworth scoffed lightly and shook his head.
"She doesn't know?" he asked.
"No." Phoenix responded.
"I can't say it was one of your finer moments, Wright. I don't know what you were expecting to achieve."
Phoenix's gaze remained firmly fixed on the desk in front of him. Edgeworth smiled sardonically, shaking his head again.
"Franziska is right. You are a fool."
Phoenix stared at him, a little surprised at his friend's bluntness. Edgeworth cocked an eyebrow, daring Phoenix to respond with a reason, any reason, as to why his assessment was incorrect. Phoenix looked away again, leaning his elbows on his desk and his chin on his hands.
"I-It's...it was nothing really. I don't even know why I did it. It just happened. It's not important."
After a few moments of silence, Edgeworth decided there was nothing more to say. He stood and moved towards the office door.
"Well, I still have much to take care of before my flight tomorrow. Take care, Wright. Miss Fey." He finished, nodding curtly in her direction.
"Goodbye Mr Edgeworth!" Maya smiled. Phoenix watched her, her smile twisting his insides into uncomfortable knots. That wasn't her real smile. Just the one she had been using the past few days to ensure everyone that she was 'alright.' He knew that couldn't be further from the truth.
Phoenix stood up to see his visitor to the door. Half way through it, Edgeworth turned around to face him.
"Wright," he said simply.
"Love makes a man do foolish things," Edgeworth stated, casting one last glance at Maya before turning and heading down the hallway. Phoenix closed the office door behind him with a soft click, sighing to himself.
Maya's voice drifted from across the room. "What does he mean by that?"
"Do you think that maybe Mr Edgeworth has a girlfriend?" she wondered out loud, placing a finger on her chin, as she often did when deep in thought. Edgeworth's cryptic nature had confused her more than once. Phoenix chuckled, relieved that Edgeworth's statement had flown clean over her head.
"I have no idea, Maya," he lied.