Tell me about him.
My sister had asked me that a long time ago. I had just told her that he was way, way too hyper, but had the potential to be a great lawyer, if he toned himself down a bit. Young for his age. Way too young.
Tell me what you know about him. All about him, please, Sis?
That one came a bit later. She had finally met him, and I was dead. You'll just have to figure this one out by yourself, Maya...I'm sorry.
He's so grown up! He's so cool! Sis, don't you think so?
No. He's still a child. Young for his age...I told her that. She didn't believe me.
Sis...he'll save me, right? Phoenix will make everything OK.
So I wrote back. I wrote that yes, he would make everything OK. Because Phoenix was growing up right before my eyes, and right then and there, I knew for sure he could handle everything. He would save everyone in the end. And he did.
You're hiding the wound...under your mask!
Phoenix and I, as one, condemning Godot, burning him away with the bitter flavour of the truth, and Diego had returned once again.
Diego wasn't the only one hiding wounds under a mask. His was just more obvious than Phoenix's, and Maya's.
When the mask slips, Phoenix sounds old for his age. So, so old. I told this to my sister. She replied with the words; "I know."
Maybe I didn't know him as well as I thought I did.
The day after Iris' trial, Pearl channelled me. So when I woke, in Phoenix's tiny, shabby apartment, I found a note telling me that she was worried about her cousin. She thought I needed to speak to her.
Voices were issuing from the room next to me. The door was ajar. I listened.
"Nick, I'm fine!"
"No, you're not."
She attempted to giggle. "Nick, don't be stupid. C'mon, don't you wanna go scout for some cases? I'm bored."
"No!" And his voice was loud and fierce. I peeked through the door but didn't announce myself, deciding that this might not be the best time to intrude. Maya looked quite taken aback. Phoenix's hands were resting flat on the table, ready to slam it. He actually looked quite imposing, with his jagged eyebrows, broad shoulders and glaring blue eyes.
"Nick!" she squeaked, and he slumped.
"Maya. Sorry. But...you're...you're not OK. I can't just keep going, doing the things we do, when..." He rested his chin on one hand, rubbing his face wearily, before Maya stood up abruptly, sliding her chair back.
"It's not just for Pearly, OK!?" she snapped. "You think I don't care about you? You think I don't know that you're hurting, too? Why can't y-you let me do something for you? W-why, how, do you stay so strong?" The tears were streaming down her face by this point. "Sis s-said that you...you're hiding things too..."
Phoenix stood up and moved forward.
"You're always looking after me...Nick...I'm just a nuisance, aren't I? She turned around and wiped her face clumsily with her sleeve. I shrank back from the door. "I try to k-keep, a brave face on...for you, so you don't feel guilty. So you don't have to w-worry about me. I'll leave, I'll just let you forget me. Please, Nick, don't..."
He gathered her in his arms and held her tightly, as she began to cry in earnest. "It's OK..." he whispered. "Maya...stay with me. Stay. It's OK, I'm here." He stroked her hair, holding her tightly. I nearly decided to leave, to let them have this private moment together, but something kept me rooted to the spot. Pearl's instincts, probably. Yes, definitely her instincts.
"It's OK..." And he continued to whisper words of comfort, reassuring her, telling her that she was fine, he was fine, Pearl was fine, just relax...
Maya's sniffles subsided as she hugged Phoenix in return. "Sorry, Nick," she sighed.
"Don't apologise to me ever again," he told her, stroking her hair.
"Oh, really? So now can I tell you how Pearly and I –"
He laughed. "You don't have to do that, you know."
"'Course I do. It's in my nature." She turned her face upwards, eyes sparkling with tears and mischief.
"Yeah, it is. It is."
When he kissed her, I closed the door and returned quietly to Pearl's room, leaving her a note before I left. I think I heard a vague squeal of joy as I flew upwards, returning to the spirit realm.
Pearl – I don't think she needed my help with matters. Someone else managed to get to her before I did. Don't interrupt her, she's with Phoenix.