Disclaimer : I don't really think Capcom will sue me for LIKING their characters, but I'm kind of broke at the moment, and I don't want to meet my potential Edgeworths by committing crimes, so I will state, that all the characters in this story are not mine, and they belong to Capcom.
Also : This story is set 35 years after the events in Apollo Justice : Ace Attorney. There aren't any spoilers, and yes this is my first fanfic. Flames will be used to roast potatoes.
Voices in Spring.
The white of the hospital was supposed to be calming. It was supposed to create an image of cleanliness, purity, the kind of thing that a hospital should represent. Light. Hope. Some kind of savior to the desperately ill, some pot of gold under the proverbial rainbow.
These thoughts hit Miles Edgeworth randomly, without any seeming sort of order, he kind of thought it was like when shit hits the fan, and it gets all over the place, and you really really can't pick it up. Or was that paper? He wasn't sure. Couldn't be sure.
People around him were shouting. Feet were tapping all over to the rising and falling tempo like a big cancan dance, except there was no tempo, and what tempo it had was much to frantic to be called dancing at all.
Miles watched mildly as people stream pass him, shouting at this person and that. The strips of fluorescent looking lights were streaming pass at a startling speed, considering that he was strapped to one of those emergency bed things, with a needle stuck in his unharmed wrist. The sheet covering him was starting to look a little red. He strained his neck and looked a little. Yeap, definitely red.
And still he looked.
Was he expecting something, he wondered? Angels were definitely out of the question. And he spent too much time around the Feys to know that the dead generally don't go around welcoming the soon-to-be dead with open arms and benevolent smiles. Maybe not something supernatural then. Pain, perhaps? Well, he definitely felt some nagging kind of pain. Blood was streaming down his neck after all, and no amount of anesthetic in this world can dull the pain of a cut jugular without killing the recipient. Remorse then, for what he'd done? Not really, he'd waited a long time to do this. And while it wasn't with the kind of fervent death wish those new age kids seem to have, he didn't really feel much remorse either. Or perhaps regret.
Yes, maybe regret.
Then he slipped a little, or maybe it was the hospital, or maybe it was the whole world that slipped and he was the only one left. The voices echoed with a new kind of ambience, like they were shouting from the other end of a tunnel. Then it grew louder, then softer, like a virtuoso's cello, and the light looked a little green, and he slipped off the edge, and die.
Something hit his chest.
He jolted awake.
That HURT. What the hell are they doing? That's his chest, for god's sake, not a fucking drum. You're not supposed to hit someone's chest with a defibrillator like that. Maybe if he survived he'll get those things outlawed...
He really wasn't feeling okay after that last one. Why are they doing that to him anyway? Did something happened? Why was he here? Isn't this the hospital?
He panicked, and looked around. God, those lights are BRIGHT. What are they trying to do, blind him? He looked aside, and saw Trucy and Apollo's face plastered outside the glass. They looked so worried, and both of them were crying, and he cracked to see them like this, and he wanted to reach out and pat them on the back and tell them that it's okay. People die. Fact of life. He probably even sent quite a few on their way.
Then it struck him who was suppose to be doing that, all this patting and consoling and all that, and why he wasn't there to do it, and he look back up at the lights determinedly. He was in time to see the doctor hit him again with the metal thing (oh god, this guy is so SUED.) and he died a second time.
Dying is not what it was hyped up to be.
There isn't any good in dying – no peaceful music, no soft gentle cooing to sing you to sleep, or even a hymn. But there wasn't any bad either. Certainly there wasn't any hellfire or burning stakes. It was all very neutral.
Yes, that was the word. Neutral.
It was like standing on the precipice of a tall cliff, or the exact middle of a see-saw. One left step and you plummet, one right step and you fall.
But as soon as his grip on life failed, it was like someone put his life into a DVD player and hit the rewind button. One by one his memories reeled backward, then it zoomed forward, only to be dragged back again, on and on and on. And Miles couldn't stop it, because he had no hands, and he couldn't close his eyes, because he had none.
First came his last memories. There was an apartment. His apartment, he reminded himself. His and Phoenix's. The whole place had been remade on Phoenix's 65th birthday, and it now sported strips of their respective favourite colours. It sported burgundy and blue, everywhere on the walls, pinstripe style, and it even had it's own custom-made furniture to match.
Everywhere he looked, it was stamped with undeniable proof – no, EVIDENCE- of their life together. Small trinkets they collected over years, souvenirs from holidays together, pictures of both of them, photos of their friends, and even an oil paiting of Miles, done by Phoenix. Even Phoenix's shabby blue suit was hung on the wall, alongside his own framed one.
But it was missing something. For a moment, he can't seem to remember.
What? What is it?
Then he realized what wasn't there, or rather who, and the anguish he felt everyday branded itself again. Burning, scorching his heart, and he felt it all over again. Again and again, as he slumped down against the door and hugged himself and cried. And he cried and he cried, and he cried some more.
Yes this place was stamped with proof of their lives together but there wasn't going to be anymore of their lives together, because Phoenix was gone. He wasn't going to come back, and whatever life from here on out was going to be just that. A life. Singular.
Yes, he cried, because he couldn't stop himself. Because he didn't want to. Because if he cried, then maybe he could cry until everything in him became numb, that he can't feel pain. That he can't think. That he can't remember and that he can't regret or feel anything but the silence in the room, choking him, squeezing him, and then not even that anymore, because he was hollow.
"No!" Miles shouted. But of course there was no sound, because he wasn't really there. It was a past set in stone, and all he was doing was feeling that same pain all over again. "I don't want to see it again, don't make me!"
Was this some kind of hell?
Happy thoughts. That was it. Maybe he if tried to think of something happy, something precious to him, then maybe that horrible choking feeling would go away.
Now Miles! Happy thoughts!
And the scene shifted.
Phoenix was standing opposite to him. And what unwrinkled forehead he had was knotted together in a fierce scowl. Miless was scowling himself, but it was a happy kind of scowl, if such a thing was possible. And between them was a thick bundle of neatly tied papers on a coffee table.
"Explain to me again the logic of putting your name in front of mine." Phoenix said, corssing his arms, scowl still on. His voice echoed slightly, and the scene seem tainted with light brown, like an old photograph.
"It hardly bears explaining. How many years have you been using the alphabet, Phoenix? M comes before P, and seeing as there's only one person here whose name starts with M, and it's not you, that person is going to have his name in front of yours."
"But that's so unfair! I mean Miles Edgeworth and Phoenix Wright? Anyone buying the book would think I'm some sort of sidekick that serves coffee or something. Li-Like, oh I don't know! The steel samurai and the evil magistrate singing a duet!"
Okay. One, Steel Samurai does NOT sing. Unless stabbing is the new singing or vice versa.
Two, the Evil Magistrate (caps, Phoenix, caps!) is the villain, as his name, not to mention all 109 episodes and 15 annual specials would indicate.
Sheesh. One would think a lifetime watching steel samurai reruns with him would get that into Phoenix's head.
"We each wrote half the book, Phoenix, and under no favoritism whatsoever, we must follow the LAW of alphabets. And it most specifically states that M, is before P, and E is before W. Nowhere is there a loophole where we can somehow transfer your name into a higher position on the alphabet ladder. End of discussion, Wright." He waggled his eyebrows, daring him to object.
"I know! B-but!"
"No buts, or I'm submitting this under Larry's name."
For a while, it seemed Phoenix genuinely had given up, hunched shoulders and droopy head and all with a hangdog expression. So much so in fact that Miles was momentarily tempted to let him have his way after all, when Phoenix suddenly looked up with one of his trademark evil grin. The one that he always used in court when he was about to brazenly lie his way out of a mess and call witnesses out on blatant lies. Faster than Miles with his not-that-sharp-anymore reflexes could react, he attacked the manuscript and hastily scrawled down :
Miles looked at him. He looked back at Miles.
Then they doubled over laughing, Phoenix laughing so hard he gasped "My ribs! Oh no!" They laughed and laughed, and to any onlooker they would undoubtedly look as if they just lost all their marbles right there.
Phoenix dropped into a chair. "We really did it, didn't we?" His blue eyes crinkled and danced merrily.
"Yes we did. We finally finished it. At long last, I might add." he replied. "I'd begun to fear for it's completion, with your inability to stay on topic for more than five pages in a row."
"At least I'm not the one sucking the living souls out of students with sheer boredom."
"We still have a book to christen though."
Phoenix looked down at the book. They picked it up and walk out to the balcony, sitting on the railing with both feet dangling off the sides.
It was a definitely a heavy thing to think over. That book was on everything that they have done in their lives. A book with both halves of the story of court, from one bench to the other. Difficulties they experienced, injustices they felt, moments they were wrong, and more importantly, the simple revelation that the courtroom was not a battleground for prosecutors and defense attorneys to shout and glare each other down. It was a combination of efforts on both parts, blended together like milk and coffee to uncover the truth. It wasn't a place for anyone to "win" but a place where justice was served.
Phoenix sat on the railing, staring contently out at the windy spring afternoon. Miles sat beside him, hand in hand.
"Defining Justice." Phoenix mumbled. He looked sleepy, eyes half-closed, savoring the gentle touch of the breeze.
"I don't know," Miles said, "That sounds a lot like some sensational novel, not a law book."
"Well, courtroom battles are pretty dramatic, if I do say so myself."
"And would it be so if silly people don't do silly things like swallowing evidences?"
"Hey, I'm not the one who decided to accuse himself of murder." Phoenix retorted.
"It's apt I suppose." He sighed. "To remind lawyers that read the book that everyone deserves a fair trial, that we all are innocent until otherwise proven, and not the other way round."
"Yes, it's apt."
A contented smile played on his lips. He rest his head on Phoenix's shoulder. It was a nice Wednesday afternoon, busy people everywhere. And of course, he thought, don't forget the two crazy old men sitting on a sixth floor railing. The view was so nice that he would have forgotten all troubles but for the fact that he had none. Phoenix was by his side and life, yes life. Life was wonderful.
...and life was also one huge link of memories, one leading to the next, and the next and the next, until he arrived on Saturday, 14th April. Just another day for the both of them.
He was standing beside the double-paned glass windows, smiling down at a childishly jubilant Phoenix on the ground floor. He was holding out the manuscript, and was going to submit it to their publisher that morning. But Phoenix would be Phoenix, and he couldn't resist jumping up and down, waving the manuscript back and forth.
Then he turned around, and flinched, or at least that was what it looked like to Miles from the sixth floor. He wasn't sure if it was something serious or Phoenix just sprained a hip. Phoenix looked back up at Miles, his grin slowly slipping off his face, rapidly replaced by a grimace.
All doubts vanished when Phoenix dropped the manuscript and lurched forwards.
Miles didn't wait to see any more, he ran as fast as he could towards the elevator and started jabbing the elevator buttons.
"Oh god, please tell me that was one of his tasteless jokes again."He didn't think so. But he wasn't going to admit that to himself.
He jabbed the button again.
"It just can't be happening. It just can't. It just can't."
He felt himself going into panic mode, and he forced himself to stay calm. Why? Reason. Reason. Of course! Because this was a dream. It has to be a dream. It has to be a dream. If he repeated everything 3 times it'll become true. Phoenix was fit for god's sake. Okay, he wasn't going to win senior olympics any time soon, but they went jogging everyday of the week. There was no way a heart attack could happen. But then what if--
Fuck the elevator. Fuck whoever was riding it, and fuck the big arsehole up there too.
He rushed down the stairs. Three steps, two steps, three steps, two steps.
Then he was in front of Phoenix, calling an ambulance -- why won't his goddamned fingers cooperate!? -- and oh god Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix.
Thoughts were becoming incoherent for Miles, and it took all the concentration he had to stop his hands shaking long enough to perform first aid for him. Except it wasn't working. Why won't it work? WHY? WHYWHYWHYWHY --
-- the last look he had of Phoenix was of his pale face, twisted in a painful grimace. The paramedics were forcing down his hands to stop him from clutching his chest so tightly. Miles was beyond worry. Beyond fear. Beyond death. All he wanted to know was one simple fact. If that man inside was going to live or not. And then, maybe he'll become a deeply religious man. Or dead. At this point neither really matter much to him. While his body was out here, he really wasn't there anymore. Most of him, if not all of him, was in there, in the emergency ward, on an operating table.
He placed his forehead against the window and watched the window being covered by heavy raindrops. How did it go so wrong? This morning he was still smiling at him, and they were sharing a coffee cup. He wanted to cry so, so badly, but there was a dam in him stopping him from crying. Crying seemed like there was no more hope. His sight blurred with tears that he wouldn't cry, and he couldn't even see well enough when thunder flashed ---
-- and then thunder flashed again, but it was another day now. It was day, but it wasn't day, and it wasn't A day, because the maw of the sky was yawning, and the skies were dark grey and it screamed and shouted at the Earth, and not a single shaft of light nor sun could be seen beyond the blackness of it's scowl, and because days had ceased to matter to Miles when Phoenix's time counted down to zero.
It was a day of mourning.
The rain howled.
Miles stood in front of Phoenix's gravestone. All around him were people Phoenix knew and helped in life. Maya, in dark, somber robes, and Pearl bawling her heart out. Detective Gumshoe, a large pink floral handkerchief and Maggey patting his shoulder. Larry, silent for once. Franziska, her usual self, tinged with a touch of perhaps, regret. And then there was Trucy crying on Apollo's shoulder at the front of the procession, with Klavier holding Apollo's hand.
And there were throngs after throngs of defendants that Phoenix had helped over the years, whom he had saved, whom thanked him, and would mourn him, and whom offered condolences to Miles.
He did not respond.
He was surrounded by the black of mourners, and the black of the damp forest, and the black of the wet moss beneath his feet. But he was not.
He stood straight, as straight as he did all those years ago when Phoenix saved him in court, and he was wearing the same burgundy suit he faced him in court with so many times before. Nothing was out of place on him, even his cravat was there, and his spine was as stiff as the same-colored umbrella he was carrying.
The crowd stood with bated breath, as if entranced by some willy magician's tricks, waiting, waiting, for some sign that the man in front of the fresh tomb was alive. Would he cry? Would he mourn? Would he shout, or blame, or do something, but nothing at all?
And then he knelt down, and all the crowd would gasp to see the purple statue move. The rain trickled, and the rain raged, but for it no noise was heard, and none was made, as Miles Edgeworth leaned forward to whisper goodbye to his lover, softly. Ever so softly.
" Goodnight Phoenix."
It started rolling back faster, flashes and glimpses of happy times became more and more frequent, as the days that they had shared together reversed itself. Smiles and laughter shared between them, accidents that happened, arguments that they voiced, then forgive, good times, and then, the happiest he had been since Phoenix passed on --
--- kneeling in front of Pearls, and slowly watched in amazement as her physique was rapidly replaced by the exact carbon copy of the spirit she was channeling.
"Phoenix." he gasped. And threw himself at him. Familiar strength wrapped around him, and rocked him as he tried to speak in between broken sobs.
Phoenix leaned forward, letting Miles cried on him, and lightly stroking his hair. Both of them were silent, broken only by Miles' hiccups. The sun sifted through the open doorway, illuminating the tiny little room crowded with the Kurain artifacts. The one that Maya insisted to be left open.
They stayed like that for a long time. Maybe it was only moments before Phoenix spoke. Maybe it had been months. He doesn't know.
"You look sad, Miles."
And he did looked sad. He couldn't and wouldn't look at himself in the mirror, but when he did, what he saw always shocked him. His eyes were sunken, and his cheeks were hollow, and he looked visibly older than the man he was a few weeks ago. It was like someone fast forwarded time, and he had just gained ten years in age when Phoenix did immortality. As if his insides have been removed and the husk of him was trying to accommodate the loss.
"I can't." Miles whispered. His face still buried in Phoenix's stomach. "I can't do this any more."
Shudders racked his breath. "Live."
That got a reaction. Miles looked up and restrained the urge to hit him. Was he so that stupid? The man just knelt there looking at him. Why was the man he devoted his life to asking him such a stupid question?
"Why can't you live any more?" Phoenix asked, tilting his head to side. His blue eyes seemed wise, and for some reason, at that moment it grated at Miles.
"Why can't I live any more, you ask?" Miles stood up, wobbly on his feet. Even his health is deteriorating. "I'll tell you why not. EVERY SINGLE DAY I'M STUCK IN THAT HOUSE AND EVERYTHING – EVERY SINGLE BLOODY THING IN THAT HOUSE REMINDS ME OF WHAT HAD ONCE BEEN AND WHAT IS."
"The walls mock me, ALL THOSE STUPID TRINKETS. All of them! THEY WON'T SHUT UP AND THEY WON'T SHUT UP AND ALL THEY'RE DOING IS LOOK AT ME WITH THAT PANSY FACE OF YOURS AND SMILE!!"
Phoenix still wasn't reacting. He just sat there, a slight smile on his face. That just pissed him off even more.
"STOP SMIRKING. THERE'S NOTHING FUNNY HERE!! YOU THINK I'M GOING CRAZY? OR MAYBE I SHOULD JUST LEAVE THAT HOUSE? Well, I tried, I TRIED, but it doesn't work, and I-I-" He took a deep breath, "and everytime I come back it just feels worse because it reminds me how I failed you when you needed me the most. That I'm useless that I can't even help, can't even save the person I love. That I couldn't-couldn't, even say goodbye."
Phoenix reached up then, he was still kneeling on the floor, and he pulled Miles down. Miles simply broke. He just bawled his heart out and cried, and held onto Phoenix like he was holding on to dear life. Phoenix cried too, but it was a simple trickle of silent tears. Maybe the happy kind.
"I want to go with you, Phoenix." he gasped. He just wanted to be where Phoenix was, wherever that was. "Why didn't you take me with you? We were supposed to stick to each other."
"You ju-just up and left. Didn't even say-didn't even leave anything, some kind of message behind." He knew he was babbling, but he didn't care. He was sobbing like a child, which in hindsight seem funny in an old man. "I w-want to go with you. So please. Can't leave. Can't leave me behind. Please."
"No, you can't Miles, you still have to live." Phoenix chided.
So abrupt. But he was angry again.
"I don't need your permission to live or die!"
"?Don't you?" came the quiet reply. Phoenix tilted his head again, and reached out to touch his face. Those fingers felt so soft. "You have something left to do. For both of us. Miles, you have to live."
"Why do I have to live? Why do you get to dust off your ass and waltz to wonderland and I have to stay behind and suffer?"
"...Because you still hold our dreams."
He looked up at Phoenix, who was looking out at the warm sun. He felt tired, all of a sudden, and lied on Phoenix's lap. He didn't even have the strength to fight anymore.
"Because you have our hopes, our ideals. Everything our lives was, and is." Phoenix whispered.
"One year, Phoenix, then I'm coming after you."
He made one last effort to look up. He really was getting very tired. Phoenix smiled.
"Go to sleep, Miles. It's nice weather."
And it was.
What was left of his memories unraveled, but it was nothing as bitter as those, and perhaps as happy as them. Snippets of his life whizzed pass him, happy times, sad times, gloomy times, blended together until none was it's own entity, and everything was everything else. Until it left him breathless – if he could breath – and happy and angry and sad and disappointed and afraid and every other emotion under the sun, savoring little flashes of the past.
-- standing in court, shouting and yelling at the top of his lungs, determined to protect his perfect win record at all costs. Throwing evidences, contradictions at Wright --
-- vonKarma estate again. The four walls itself felt like they were making a mockery of him. "Perfection perfection perfection perfection," they would chant, and at night he would dream of mad white eyes staring at him from it's black depth maniacally --
-- Franziska crying at the airport, the crack of her whip and her voice shouting "Someday, I'll surpass you, Miles Edgeworth!" He smiled. --
-- Phoenix's expression when he returned to L.A after faking his death, his hurt, and his disappointment, and his voice, hissing "You should have stayed dead, Miles Edgeworth."
-- Shattering the mirror, retrieving the glass – feeling a kind of poetic justice that he would die by his reflection – and most of all not having any regrets, because he had lived a long satisfying life, and now all he wanted was to go to Phoenix ----
-- Shouting at Larry, who was running off with his watch. "Goddammit, that was new!"
---More and more and more memories, until there was no more to unravel, except one.
Phoenix, nine years old, was stretched beside him, lying contentedly under a large, shady tree. It was a slope, and for miles around it there was only grass. Miles sat beside him, leaning against the tree, reading a book. The breeze was gentle, and it had that kind of feeling in the air, that irreplaceable feeling of spring, the simple calm in the air.
"You know, this is really nice. Being side by side, like this."
"Yes it is, isn't it?"
"I wish we could stay here, now, forever." He sighed, and look up at the sky.
Phoenix smiled. It was spring again.