I never, ever, ever write follow-up stories for other another person's fanfic if they haven't yet marked it as complete. Never.
Therefore it's a complete mystery to me as to why this is a follow-up to the brilliant but unfinished "Struggling Against Gravity", by musouka and Aria. The premise is that Phoenix and Edgeworth have been in a somewhat awkward relationship for several months, and Maya doesn't yet know. However, that single sentence is not a substitue for reading the original fanfic: in fact, if you haven't, leave now and Google it.
But do come back. This is my first PW fanfic and I'm quite fond of it. I'm also going to go very slowly and publish very short chapters, since I usually tend to publish 15,000-word stories in chunks of three or four. I suspect it's getting on my readers' nerves.
Chapter One – The Office
"Oh, please, Nick? Do we have time?" she begged me, eyes alight, hands clasped under her chin. She reminded me of a very tall child, her mouth set in a pleading moue. Far from being obnoxious, it was irresistable.
"Um," I answered, unable to look at the face of the man beside me, knowing that my cheeks were flaming red. "You know, Maya, it's not my office."
"You're right!" she exclaimed, and turned to Edgeworth. Unruffled as always, he just raised an eyebrow. "Please, Mr. Edgeworth? Nick's told me all about your tea set, and the neat old coat you keep on the wall." She looked up pensively for a moment, chin perched on a hand; now she reminded me of her sister. "Of course, he didn't tell me much about them. You know how Nick is with details. But still, I'm sure your office is much better than ours!"
"It is," said Edgeworth dryly (and truthfully, having seen our office some time before.) I couldn't help but grin sheepishly as his eyes flicked to me. But he, too, was unable to resist Maya's charm, and sighed. Maya and I had stopped on the 12th floor to retrieve a document from the prosecuting attorney involved in our last case, and of course had run into my old friend. Such things always happened. "I believe I might have left a few important files on my desk: you might as well accompany me in retrieving them before I go."
"Cool!" Maya exclaimed, face blazing with pleasure, practically batting her eyelashes at Edgeworth. Again, irresistable. Another defense attorney, younger than I, had once worked up the courage to ask me why young girls were always following me around my office. Then I'd invited him in, introduced Pearl and Maya, and within ten minutes he'd realized that it wasn't me who ordered the girls around: most of the time it was the opposite.
I followed her, the bow on her robes bobbing in anticipation as Edgeworth got out his key to unlock the door to 1201. I'd seen his office several times since defending Lana Skye, and not much ever changed. Neat stacks of papers sometimes piled up on his desk at various busier moments, but no more than that. Never the clutter and dust that graced every available surface area at Wright & Co...
Maya's eyes were huge, her lips practically dripping an "Oooo," as she took in the pink tea set, the framed pink jacket on the wall, the pink chess set, and the otherwise pink decor. I myself had always more admired - from a distance, of course - the panoramic view from the windows, and even more so the impressively huge (and not pink) stereo built into the gigantic bookshelves, but then... this was Maya, and that was me.
"I love it!" she declared, as Edgeworth took the single file sitting on his desk and slipped it in among the others in his slim briefcase. Some ambience was filtering through the room (to my unpracticed ear it sounded like chamber music), and she swayed blissfully. "Nick, we need to redecorate. Make our office just like this."
"Okay. You get a job as a Mafia boss to pay for it, and it's a deal."
She glared at me momentarily (and good-humoredly) as Edgeworth made a strangled sound, very obviously trying not to laugh. "Fine. I'll just go work for that Cadaverini guy. Then the next thing you know you'll be cleaning toilets, and it'll be the Fey and Co Law Offices." She grinned. "Again, I guess."
Despite a twinge of pain at the thought of Mia, I had to laugh at the way Maya had turned the tables on me. "All right, all right. Come on, I thought you were hungry."
"Always," she moaned dramatically, clutching her stomach. Her eyes brightened as she turned them to Edgeworth, as usual. In the middle of turning off the stereo, he turned as she spoke. "Mr. Edgeworth, why don't you come with us?"
Unsurprisingly, he shook his head. "Sorry, Maya. I really can't: I've got to get several reports back to the precinct before the chief of police leaves."
"But that's almost an hour from now!" Maya protested. I was never sure how she knew these things: she didn't wear a watch, and only in cases of food could she ever remember opening and closing times. Probably her stomach had a clock. "And the precinct is downstairs." Suddenly, she switched gears, eyes liquid and huge, face almost serious. "Please?"
Edgeworth opened his mouth, looking at me helplessly. Behind Maya's back, I held my hands up, almost unable to repress a laugh. "Well... I suppose fifteen minutes..." The thought suddenly occurred to me that he had no idea why it was so important to Maya that he go with us. That only made it funnier.
"All right!" I watched as she hooked her arm in his, their outfits clashing delightfully both with the room and with one another.
That had been Maya's first visit to Edgeworth's office. Supremely confident, as always, in her ability to improvise a cunning charm, she could always be counted upon to get Edgeworth to go to lunch with us, or to wheedle her way into his office one more time, or to guilt me into buying an extra coffee just to have an excuse to visit the twelfth floor on a busy day.
Now she was inside number 1201, invited in under a subpoena, and I, outside, had had literally nothing to do with her getting in. I noticed that I was tapping my foot on the rug and, with a conscious effort, stopped. I was more nervous about this case than I'd ever been about another: and I wasn't even the defense attorney.
I knew why she'd been issued a subpoena, of course. Edgeworth rarely shared his knowledge with whomever he was planning to face in court, so in the past I had never been privy to the details of the court. This was different: I was practically an aide to the prosecutor's office in this case, having been sworn in as a material witness on the first day and looked over the case files to give Edgeworth advice from a defense attorney's perspective. Not that he needed it.
So it wasn't just Maya's basic involvement that made me nervous: it was Edgeworth's desperation in calling her. He was so close to losing this case, to helplessly letting a guilty man go free and an innocent girl be charged with murder, that he... he was planning to...
I noticed that I was tapping the foot again, and sighed, dropping my head between my knees. My head ached abysmally. The whole scenario was unbelievable... and I couldn't even imagine what kind of anguish Edgeworth himself must be going through, resorting to this.
The door suddenly opened, and sitting up I could see light from within shining on its polished mahogany. "... just run in for a minute, and then we can be off," said Maya's voice, a moment before she appeared. Uncharacteristically, her shoulders were slumped, her face tilted downwards underneath drooping bangs. But as soon as she caught sight of me, her eyes lit up, and her posture changed entirely. "Nick!"
It was a conscious effort, and I knew it. Even as she threw her arms around me, I could tell she was still exhausted from a channeling session. But that was Maya. A Fey to the core, smiling when things seemed darkest. "Hey, Maya. I stopped by to grab you for dinner. Ready to head out?"
"Well, yes." She drew away quickly, tilted her head. "I have to run to the bathroom, but I'll be right back. Mr. Edgeworth's coming with us to go over a few more things with me."
"Okay," I said, trying to sound as happy as possible. Most of the time she couldn't fool me, but it went both ways. In the slight event that I could fool her, and appear happy, I would do my damnedest. As she danced off, I said, "See you in a minute or two," watching as she disappeared around the corner.
Then I turned my gaze back on Edgeworth. He looked awful, his face drawn and his eyes exhausted - I was reminded of a long-closed case where he himself had been the defendant. "Do you think it'll work?"
After a pause, he sighed, crossing his arms. "Yes and no. It really all depends on how Nina performs as a witness... again. If I can help lead Jones in the direction of having her describe his client in any small way, it'll be the major turnabout point."
"That's... that's going to be pretty hard to do."
"Tell me about it," he said sarcastically. After a glance at me, and a brief pause, his shoulders slumped. "Sorry, Wright. As usual, you're not really what's bothering me. This case is almost lost. I've ruined it beyond repair."
"No," I said quickly, but I couldn't summon the conviction to my voice like I'd meant to. And he heard it.
"Yes, I have. Unless I can somehow have Jones make Nina paradoxically introduce something about Carlson that only his wife would know, she's going to swing. No matter what help Maya can provide me." Edgeworth's voice was suddenly distant, his lips tight. He was right.