Note : I'm not exactly sure of the exact date in which his father was murdered. I think it was on Christmas itself or the day afterwards, but either way, it really doesn't matter, since this Fanfic isn't specified. I think. Also, this is a christmas fanfic, and no, it's not going to be all gloom and doom, like the beginning would suggest. I'm sorry it starts at the hospital again! I know I'm morbid, but somehow my plots just always stick themselves onto hospital. Oh. And I'm sorry if you've seen the plot before in my other stories. I'm like that, once I'm obsessed with something, I just HAVE to repeat it until I'm sick of it. Bear with me yes?
Caution : Heavy dialogue.
Disclaimer : I own nothing. No, not even the brain used to type this out, because that has long since become smitten and obsessed and now belongs to Edgeworth, property of Capcom.
When he was very young, Miles had been taught by his father never to lie. He would take him onto his lap, and smooth his hair off his forehead, and tell him in a serious, lecturing tone that it was never good to lie. He would tell him, that it was dishonesty that was the root of all evil in society – that dishonesty in any form, in lying, in leaving, in letting be, -- is the reason that society is deformed, not the other way around. People are never dishonest because of the people around them, rather, it was a choice that people made, that affects their surroundings, which affect them in return, and so it forms a vicious cycle in which you cannot find the beginning, let alone the end.
Miles would gurgle and put his favourite blanket into his mouth and chew on it.
His father was, is, and will be everything to him. He was the one who had first taught him how to walk, and the one who had held his hand when he would fall and started bawling his eyes out. Perhaps if his mother had been around to do it for him, he would be a different person – but she had not, and he felt no difference either way – his father had gave him more than enough love. Along the way of life, he had taught him many other things, but always first and foremost was the memory of him telling him never to lie – because it was the earliest thing he can remember of his childhood.
He had been taught never to lie, but it seemed others had not, he thought.
Miles was curled up on the white of the hospital bed, surrounded by the white of the walls. The light in the room had been dimmed by the nurse who came in earlier, announcing that it was time for lights out, but Miles had refused to let her turn off the light, so now the light on the bed stand emitted a weak sort of glow, making the shadows of the furniture and Miles danced on the wall. It almost made Miles wish he had let the nurse turn it off. The place was scrubbed clean, and the air was filled with the smell of disinfectant, the only sound emitting from the machine beside him that went beep beep occasionally. It creeped him out.
The whole day, the hospital – they had tried to convince him that it wasn't one, that it was just a place for him to wait until his father came for him – was lying. Everyone in the hospital who had come into his ward, -whether they had been there to issue him more medication, or to check the machines for signs of disturbance- had been lying. All they would do was pat him on the back and tell him that it was okay, that it would be fine, his father would be here soon. He would ask them when, when can he get out of the place?When was his father coming for him? He was so sick of that smell, and he wanted his father's familiar back-of-the-closet-suit smell, but all he would received was a sad sort of smile and another pat in the back. Even the hospital's existence itself was a lie. It wasn't helping him, it wasn't curing him. It was lying to him.
The smell of the lie was thicker even than the smell of the disinfectant. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth, like rotten food.
Somewhere in Miles, he knew that something terrible had happened, something so horrible that no one wanted to be saddled with the duty to tell him that something terrible. Everyone was afraid that he would burst into tears and act like every other child, and wail, and cry, or worse, suffer something horrible that they would be held accountable for. He didn't know what it was and he wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was, but he found out though when he went to sleep.
"What-what is it?"
"You just hit my nose!"
"Oh, sorry, dude."
"Dammit Larry, are you sure this is the correct way?"
"Sure am! I heard it straight from a pair of pretty lips today!"
"Are you sure that's all you heard?"
"Yeah sure as-- AHAHA! You sound funny dude!"
"Shut up! Oh my god, I think my nose is bleeding!"
"No way, that wasn't even a punch! I just bumped into you!"
"Yes, but it was—Look, just, just move it okay?"
He had woke up screaming after he fell asleep. The sound of the gunshot rang, over and over again in his mind, like the line going pass the machine beside him. It was an endless line, and his was an endless nightmare. He would sit up and curl himself into a small ball – because, some logical, or perhaps not so logical part of him said – that a smaller surface area will be less susceptible to damage, and then he would feel choked, trying to remember what it was exactly that happened. He knew that the elevator had become suffocating. The air had felt thick and hot and...not there, and there there was someone shouting except he didn't know who, and then that sound, which means --
He needed fresh air.
He tried to open the only window in the room, the one on the wall next to the pretty picture of a sea. It was snowing outside, but he couldn't be sure. His room was obviously high up, because he couldn't make out much through the rough glass panels. All he could see were bright lights streaming from far below. It looked festive, and he wished he could have that gulp of fresh air and maybe hear some voices cheering out there – but the nurse on duty saw him trying to open the window had locked it up, and latched it. She gave him another one of those sad smiles.
So now he can't even have the most basic of a human rights, air
"Are you SURE we're on the correct path? Why is it so dark?"
"I dunno, maybe it's closed or something?"
"Is there such a thing? A closed hospital, I mean."
"You're asking the wrong person, Nick!"
"Oh yeah, good point. You're totally unreliable."
"Hey hey hey, I'm hurt dude! Why don't you as—MRFFRRMM--"
"Stop being so loud! Someone'll find us and throw us out!"
He didn't want to go to sleep anymore – after seeing the same thing twice when he went to bed – but being awake was no different. The thing haunted him, replaying itself in sleep or in wake. Maybe it would have been better if they had given him something to do, or read, or even his blanket, but they hadn't, and when he had asked them if he could maybe have the newspaper or turn on the television, they shook their head and tell him no, it's not yet time for him to watch the news and gave him more of that medicine that tasted yucky and made him sleepy.
He found the comment odd, and it didn't lessen his curiousity when they went so far as to remove the television from his room to prevent him from watching television. So he found himself being listless, with only his thoughts for company.
His thoughts turned to Larry and Phoenix. Larry had said last week that he was going to go to Phoenix's house for the Christmas celebration, hadn't he? Larry's parents were busy with work – they had to work overtime for Christmas – so Phoenix, always the kind person, had invite Larry to share the Christmas with him. They had had the whole week to plan it, and even Miles helped out with the preparations, even though he would be spending his with his father. He had helped looped the dark green, moss-like, plastic plant all over the place, and even helped putting those shiny golden bells onto Phoenix's Christmas tree.
Were they having fun now, he wondered? He wished they weren't, and he felt a little more awful for thinking that. It wasn't their fault that his Christmas was turning out to be so rotten.
Right now though, no matter how irritating they could be sometimes, he wished they were here with him. At the very least, they would be noisy, and noise was a luxury he wished he could have right now. He wished...He wished!
In a flash of inspiration, he scrambled off the bed and reached for the board hanging beside the bed table– the one he saw a nurse scribbling on earlier – and took up the pen she left behind. He had scoffed when he had been told about the whole thing...but it couldn't hurt to try right? He ripped the paper off the board – the paper protested this with a papery screech of sorts – and started writing onto it.
"Dear Santa, for this Christmas, I wish that..."
"Is this it?"
"I think so. Why don't you check?"
"Well, I can't! What if it was someone else's room? We'll be caught right away!"
"You're too scaredy-cat, Nick! Just do it already!"
"Yeah? Then why don't YOU do it if you're so brave?"
"Scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat~"
"Okay, enough! Fine, I'll do it! Just shut up, okay? You're going to bring everyone running!"
"Hehe, you rock, dude!"
Miles gasped as he heard muffled voices talking outside his room and the sound of the door clicking open behind him and hurriedly push the rest of the paper through the tiny slit of the window. If the nurse found the paper, she was sure to take it away from him.
"Damn it Larry-- Stop pushing me! S-sorry, is Miles here?" a voice called out hesitantly between the gaping opening of the door.
Miles blinked at the the familiar spiky head poking through the door, bobbing nervously. "Phoenix?"
"Oh h-hey there Miles! Oh thank goodness- uh nothing, nevermind." He bit his lip.
"What are you guys doing here? Isn't it already after visiting hours?" he asked incredulously.
"Rules ain't never gonna hold the Butz down, Edgey." Larry yelled, shoving Phoenix who fell face-first into the room and closed the door behind him. "See Nick? I told you this is his room!" He whispered indiscreetly.
"Yeah, whatever." Phoenix muttered. Phoenix looked at Miles. Miles looked at him. Larry looked around the room.
Phoenix,lost for words, rubbed his neck self-consciously with his eyes firmly looking at the floor with both hands tucked behind him.
"So u-um...Hi?" he finally stuttered out.
"So ah...How did you guys got here?" Miles asked. He decided to make things easier for Phoenix, who was obviously tongue-tied. He was never good with words anyway, he thought fondly.
"Well, Larry heard at the uh downstairs place with lots of people--"
"The reception area?"
"-- yeah! The recepshiooon area that a kid's been placed on the 12th floor, and we figured that there can't be that many kids put into hospitals, so we decided to sneak in."
"But didn't anyone stop you guys?"
"Well, I don't know. The corridor's really dark and everything. I think maybe the section's close."
"Why are you here?"
"We wanted to visit you. You know, see if you were alright. I mean, I didn't think it was going to be serious or anything! I wasn't worried! At all. But I-we just thought it'll be better to show up anyway. Well-wishers, you know."
"So! Edgey!" Larry broke in, never one to keep silent for longer than the time it takes Miles to point a finger. "Don't keep us waiting now, where's the party?"
"The...party?" Miles frowned at him, confused.
"You know, the party! Boom boom boom, fast music goes, hot babes and all that? Don't keep us waiting man!"
Phoenix winced in answer. "Sorry, um, I tried explaining to him that hospitals aren't where you have parties but he just won't understand. Can you explained it to him?" He ended that sentence with a spasmodic twitch in his shoulder that told Miles he must have had to endure a lot on the way up here.
"Alright." He nodded. Looking at Larry, he stated. "There isn't a party, Larry."
"Whhaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You mean I climb all the way up here for nothing!?" he went into the usual Butz-teary-eyed mode again.
"Hey, how come it only takes you one try to get it through his head? I've been trying to tell him all night that we're going to visit you, not party." Phoenix said indignantly while Larry started throwing a tantrum in a corner.
"It's all about the tone, Phoenix, it's all about the tone." He gave him his best condescending smile.
"But heeeeeeeeeey, what are we going to do here if there isn't going to be a party?" Larry started whining.
Phoenix ignored him and spoke to Miles quietly. "Um...so, are you okay? Fine I mean. As in, not painful or anything?"
"...I'm fine." It's a lie. But it's a white lie. That's okay right?
"You don't look fine." Phoenix stared at him intensely, frowning at him. "You look kind of green, actually."
"I just...I was just bored, that's all."
"So you turned green from boredom?" the boy enunciated in disbelief.
"No, not green from-- Oh nevermind. I just need a little fresh air I guess. All these cramped quarters isn't doing me any good."
"HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!" the shout needed no introduction. "Why are you ignoring ME!? Didn't you hear what I was saying?"
"No Larry, what is it? And keep it down if you please, I don't want the nurse rushing in because you're being overly loud." It was a secret, but what he really didn't want was the nurse barging in and making Phoenix and Larry leave. He didn't want them to go. Not just yet, at least. Just a little more time.
"I'm saying that, if there isn't a party, what are we going to do?"
"I don't know, Larry, I honestly don't. Make one? Go to one?" he suggested, half joking.
"Hmm..." Larry was stroking his chin, where he had been trying -unsuccessfully, obviously – to grow a goatee, suddenly brightening up. "Hey I think that's a really good idea, Edgey! Let's go to one!"
Oh no. Oh nonononono, please don't tell me that's what he's thinking.
"Let's get out of here and party!"
And his worst fears were confirmed.
"I don't know why I'm doing this."
"Shush, Edgey, people are going to hear you."
"He's not making more noise than you are, Larry."
"Yeah, but he's so moody! He'll kill the ladies before we get to them!"
"No Larry, I'll leave being a lady killer to you."
"Really, Edgey? Awww, that's so sweet! I'll leave one for you though! Best friends forever, right!?"
Shuffling of shoes along the floor.
"Phoenix, I think he's an idiot."
"You just realized that, Miles?"
"What, you realized it before me?"
"When I first met him in first grade, and he confused me with Sally."
"S-sally? Isn't that that girl in the next class with...?"
"Yes, the girl who likes Dragonball."
Howls of laughter echoed down the hallway.
"Are we there yet? It's taking way longer than it was coming."
"Trust the Butz!"
"...To get us lost."
"You're so gloomy, Edgey."
"I am. And I will be. Wait, I think I just saw a sign, Larry. It says..."
"What does it say? Quick, Edgey!"
"...the morgue. Larry! This is the basement! And it's the morgue, where all the dead people are! In the middle of the night!"
"Aww, are you scared, Edgey?"
"What? I am not! I just don't appreciate being outside the morgue at night!"
"He's afraid right, Nick? You can totally hear it!"
"Ow! What was that for, Miles?"
"Less laughing, more moving! Go go go!"
"Hehehe, Edgey's afraid of dead people, Edgey's afraid of dead people~ --just wait till I tell Elissa, she'll stop liking Edgey for sure!"
"Drop dead, Larry."
After a dozen detours and many gut-wrenching moments later, they finally found the fire exit at the back of the hospital and ran out...
...Straight into a freezing night. The heavy snow earlier had partially subsided and the only sign of it now was a slow, stead trickle, but Miles was in the pajamas the hospital gave him too – which was slightly warmer than say, wearing only your underwear in the middle of a snowstorm, but that's about it. He started sneezing immediately.
The road was unfamiliar, but it was in the middle of an suburban town area, from what he could make out. The ground and walkways were covered with coffee-coloured tiles in neat arrangements, and the lamp posts looked like something out of an old movie with black curling grails that decorated it. It looked like that old town he visited once with his--
"Miles, are you okay?"
Phoenix frowned at him, then belatedly realizing that he was in his pajamas, took off his coat and handed it to Miles.
"Here, take it."
"No way. You're going to freeze to death without this."
"So will you. You're the one who always comes down with a cold and go around sneezing your nose off at the slightest chill."
"No I won't! I still have these!" He waved his blue knitted scarf around with a cheerful smile and apple-coloured cheeks. "I'll be fine! Just take it!" He shoved the coat into Miles' arms.
Well who was he to refuse such a kind offer? He stuck his nearly frozen arms -reminds him of popsicles - into the over-sized coat and quickly wrapped it around himself. He felt much better.
"Larry, wait up!"
Larry was already running far ahead of them. At his shout, he turned around and started waving at them.
"Wait, Larry, stop walking first-- I said WAIT!!" He shouted.
"Where are we going? I agreed to get out of the hospital, now tell me! Where are we going?"
"Uh.." Larry scratched his head. "You mean, you don't know?"
Please don't tell me he doesn't even know where we're going. Please don't. He counted to ten and opened his eyes.
"Where. Are. We. Going. Larry." he bit out.
"Well, I thought you'd know some nice place to hang out ya know, since you're so popu--"
"ARGGHH!!" Miles didn't even bothered yelling at him for his stupidity – he just lunged straight at his neck, knocking him down into the snow piling up on the ground. "DIE, YOU SECOND-RATE, MUSH-BRAINED, TEA-HATING, TWO-EYED-- He accompanied every two words with a swipe at Larry's ducking head before Phoenix pulled him off Larry.
"Stop it Miles! Beating him up won't solve the problem!"
"Yeah! And get the guy off me! He's crazy, dude!"
"YOU shut up! It was your fault too!" Phoenix yelled at him, then pulled Miles back a few steps. "Miles, look, I know you're probably stressed out, but this isn't the way to go around it okay?"
Miles looked at him, breathing heavily from the exertion. White mist curled when he breathed, and he gave her a low bark of bitter laughter. Things must be pretty bad if Phoenix was the voice of reason around here and not him, huh?
"I'll...be fine. I just...Lost control, I guess." he muttered. He didn't know why he did it either – certainly it wasn't something out of the ordinary or unexpected with Larry. Phoenix nodded at him with a serious expression, then immediately regained his usual goofy smile.
"Hey if you both don't know where to go to, I have an idea!"
"A place with a big hole where we can push Larry into?"
"Nope, it's just...right around the corner! It's really pretty too, with Christmas decoration this time of the year, I think it'll be fine if we play there, no one should be around this time at night."
"Huh, are you sure..." Miles started to question him on the exact place and exactly how safe it was going to be for three extremely underaged boys to wander around at this time of the night, but the boy cut him off by doing a little hop and running down the street. Larry followed after him, waving his hands madly and shouting "Partyyyyyyyyy!!"
Miles chuckled and followed him.
They rounded the block and cut across a few corners, twisting left here, twisting right there with Phoenix leading their little entourage, occasionally stopping to wave at them and called after them. It was definitely a part of town that Miles didn't know, and ordinarily, he would find himself extremely worried over their safety, since for all they know, there could be a serial criminal out there wandering with a knife, but for once, he found himself...Unworried. Or was there such a word? Regardless, for that moment, he felt free. Magical.
"Come on, slow poke, we're almost there!" Phoenix called, hopping up and down with the occasional sneeze into his scarf.
"It's just right there!" Phoenix called again, and rounded the corner. Miles followed shortly, Larry already rushing ahead.
What he saw astounded him. It was a square, the kind people gathered in, only this one was built entirely on old-fashioned brick roads, peeking out from the heavy snow piling on it- the kind they always paint in Christmas children books. The street lamps had strings of light orange lights dangling between them, twisting up and down the street lamps and around each other, like ivy entwined. In the middle of the square was a fountain, mostly frozen, and a statue of some sitting man with lights on it too. He didn't know why he thought it was so beautiful - maybe it was because it looked like something out of a fairy tale or a Christmas carol, or maybe it was just because. No explanations necessary. It was just because, because the time was right, the feeling was right. It was the right moment.
Above them, the sky was the colour of winter, or at least that was what Miles thought. There was no name for it, it was a unique blend of dusky blue and black and streaks of grey – it was the very essence of winter. It was a chilly and cold colour, unlike Phoenix and Larry who were throwing snowballs at each other, laughing loudly under the lightly falling snow. He watched them. Then something hit his chest and he looked down, astounded.
Had they really dared....?
Another snowball hit him, this time in the face.
"Hey, Edgey old boy! You gonna stand there and stare at the sky all day or are you going to come and play with us?"
"Yeah, Miles! It's rare to have this much snow here! Let's have a snowball fight!"
Phoenix flung another snowball at Larry, wetting his hair. Larry yelled, and threw one right back at Phoenix, then another, then another,
"Miles, help meeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Miles laughed then, at the sight of Phoenix cowering behind his makeshift fortress- a pile of snow pushed into a moutain like shaped with Larry bombarding both the fortress and him with inhuman speed. He laughed, then he took one last look at the sky, and the soft white falling down, and ran to join them.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!"
The tiny piece of square-shaped paper fell lightly down from the 12th floor window it had been pushed out of, waving this way and that as the wind played around with it. When the wind was bored with it, it slowly descended, falling lightly down until it landed itself on the pavement a corner away from the laughing boys where if it could, it would have heard them alternately yelling or throwing something at each other, always laughing.
It lightly unfurled itself, and if anyone had walked by then and looked at it, they would have seen what the boy had scrawled on it in neat, precise writing.
"Dear Santa, I wish that I can spend this Christmas with Phoenix and Larry."
...but no one did, and then the wind swept it off again to rejoin the snow.