Notes: Okay, an epilogue chapter, felt it was necessary as a bridging mechanism for the one-shot sequel. This way, I won't have to retroactively describe things in that which are necessary to understand what's going on. Also, I know some people were less than impressed with the ending, so hopefully, this will be more satisfying.
The next few months were very hard for Phoenix. He and Maya were married a mere two weeks after they had confirmed she was indeed pregnant, in two separate, small ceremonies. They were first married in a small church ceremony with only their closest friends and family in attendance. Little Pearls was so excited, running around and gushing over the two 'special someones'. The poor creature was oblivious to the sombre air of the ceremony, and she almost started crying when Maya revealed she wasn't going to wear a white wedding dress. Maya told her that it was because she just didn't like white, but everyone else save the girl knew why. The second one was a traditional rite of Kurain. Basically, all the main family Fey women of the past three generations were channelled and they performed a ritualistic laying on of hands on Phoenix, showing their approval of Maya's choice and welcoming him to the family. It seemed pretty by the numbers to him, and it was a little creepy, but the maternal smile that was on the channelled Mia's face and her whispered 'I'm proud of you' as she placed her hand on his shoulder made it all worth while. After it was done several of the villagers shook his hand and told him that even though Maya had abdicated her position as next in line for master, it was still a great honour to be married to a woman of the main Fey line and to have her carry your child. Yes, as far as Kurain knew, as far as the world knew, the baby growing inside of Maya was his. As far as he was concerned it was his. He was going to do everything in his power to be a good father, for Maya's sake. It was their baby, that's the way he looked at it, even though he was very, very afraid.
After returning home, Phoenix went right to work. Maya had changed, but so had he. He wouldn't take clients anymore on good faith, or work a case simply because they were in trouble. He had to be sure the case was winnable and he always now demanded a large fee from his clients, after all he had his family started and he was going to need the money. This wasn't something the new Mrs. Fey-Wright was too happy with, she said it wasn't right to turn people down that needed help, but her arguments were very weak at best. Phoenix knew that she knew a baby was expensive and, with Maya now cut off from the resources of the Fey channelling school, they were going to need every single cent they could get. There were no more wallet destroying burger sessions or overspending on frivolous things anymore either. Most of their money went towards fixing up Maya's old room as a nursery, stocking up on baby supplies, and Maya's doctor bills. Phoenix was far more studious now when it came to his work. He took every case gravely serious, examining every crime scene with precision detail. When he would return home while a case was ongoing, he'd spend hours lost in his law books, trying to make sure he knew exactly what he needed to say and do, usually falling asleep at his desk, only to be woken up the next morning by his new wife with a cup of coffee and a warm smile. In court, he was merciless. Attacking at all cylinders, never allowing himself to be put on the defensive. His former reputation as a goofball who bluffed and stalled his way through most of his cases was quickly evaporating, being replaced by that of a truly respected lawyer that no prosecutor wanted to have the misfortune of taking on. To a certain extent, he felt that he was finally turning into the lawyer that Mia always knew he could be, and he knew that because of what he was charging, his clients deserved only the highest quality in representation. But, in truth, a part of him, maybe a big part, wanted to destroy and humiliate every member of Lana's prosecutor's office in the courtroom. He still blamed Lana for everything. It was her fault after all; none of it would have happened if Engarde died when he was supposed to. He had given his word that he wouldn't expose her conspiracy, but he felt a small measure of satisfaction everytime he thoroughly beat any one of her prosecutor's. Every win for him discredited Lana all the more, weakening her and her position to near nothingness. Phoenix really didn't care about Lana or the people beneath her, with Edgeworth and Franziska safe in Germany, the rest of the prosecutors, the ones who helped keep Lana's little cover up safe, can go straight to hell with Engarde.
It was hard to do normal 'baby stuff' with Maya, like shopping for baby clothes or going to Lamaze classes, simply because there were other expectant parents there. He could see the excitement in their eyes and hear it in their voices. The first time he shook the hand of one of these fathers and introduced himself as the father of Maya's baby, his heart and stomach both lurch. His voice cracked when he said it and he could tell Maya picked up on it, because of the hurt look on her face and how quiet she got. When they got home they had their first real fight as husband and wife:
"N-Nick! Y-you don't care about this baby! You don't love me!" She shouted as soon as they had the door closed.
"Wh-what? Maya." He sighed, raking his scalp in frustration. "Do you really think I'd have MARRIED you if I didn't love you! Do you really think I'd agree to help you raise another man's baby if I didn't love you?" Maya's eyes grew wide; he knew he just said something he shouldn't.
"N-Nick!" She gasped. "Th-this isn't 'another man's' baby, i-it's yours!" She said pointing at him. Maya started to whimper and her body started to shake. "I-I knew it! I KNEW IT! Y-you're just doing this to make up for what you did? Aren't you Phoenix?" Maya using his full name always made his skin crawl, it seemed so unnatural. Phoenix opened his mouth to say something but stopped, he knew she had every right to think that, after all that he had done, of course she should be expecting the worse. He slumped to the couch and just looked up at her.
"No Maya, I'm not!" He said flatly. "But, it's not easy you know." Maya just looked at him for a second before bursting into tears and running into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. He had a feeling this would be one night he'd be spending on the couch.
Phoenix would come to learn that little slip ups like this would be the trigger for many an argument between him and Maya. Yes, she had forgiven him, but the damage Engarde had done to their relationship had been massive. Most of the time they were the picture of a happy marriage, but anytime something came up that could make Maya doubt where Phoenix's head was, or the sincerity of his actions, it would usually end with an argument. In his weaker moments, mostly lying on the couch by himself in his darkened office, Phoenix did wonder why he was doing this, but such idiotic thoughts were quickly shaken from his mind. He nearly drove himself insane over thinking things and allowing himself to come to horrible conclusions; he wasn't going to allow that to happen again, he wasn't going to make Maya suffer like that again. Mia's words rang in his ear,
'Love is hard work.'
Besides, he knew why he was doing this; because he loved Maya and wanted to do everything he could to help her. That was it, nothing more. He wouldn't allow himself to even think about leaving, all he had to do was look at the magatama, the one that had ended his little self-exile to reassure himself that no matter how hard things got, the bond he had with Maya was strong enough to withstand anything. But, there was one thing that frightened him more than anything else, something he feared he simply wouldn't be able to handle, and unknown to Maya, he dropped to his knees and prayed every night. Prayed that the baby wouldn't look like Engarde.
Sleeping with Maya most every night in their bed was always a solace to the pain and uncertainty. Being able to hold her so tightly and intimately was the greatest feeling in the world. This was how he knew she had welcomed him back into her life; that the love between them hadn't vanished, but simply changed. They still hadn't consummated their relationship; Maya had a lot of healing to do before that could happen, and besides, they decided it would be best to wait until after the baby was born. That was fine with Phoenix, who was satisfied enough to hear her giggle when he put his arm around her and kiss the back of her neck before settling in for the night, and listening to the sound of her steady breathing to remind himself that he did indeed have a Maya again. He had taken on a habit if holding his hand beneath her breast so he could feel her heartbeat as he dozed off. As Maya progressed in her pregnancy, she often guided his free hand to her stomach, so he could feel if the baby kicked or moved. This baby, as Maya had asserted, was theirs and one thing was for sure, it was going to be raised in a very loving home.
Seven months after the Engarde fiasco had ended, Phoenix was looking through his law books, when Maya appeared in the doorway to his office. Being so far along, she was limited in how much actual assisting she did for him anymore. The doctor had told her to avoid stress and anything strenuous, so to see her in the actual office was strange.
"N-Nick." She began, her voice cracking. When he looked from his book and saw the worried expression on her face, he immediately thought something was wrong with the baby.
"S-Something the matter?" He stammered.
"N-Nick, there-there's something you should see on TV." She replied. Phoenix let out a sigh that was a mixture of relief and annoyance.
"I don't have time to look at TV right now Maya, I have work to do." He stated.
"You've got to see this Nick. S-something's going on down at the Prosecutor's." That caught Phoenix's attention. Dropping his book, Phoenix followed Maya out to the living room. On the television was one of LA's several local news teams with a banner running across the bottom of the screen: 'Legal System Scandal. Prosecutor accuses Chief Prosecutor Lana Skye of gross corruption and misuse of power.'
"Wh-what in the world." Phoenix muttered as he sat down, leaning forward towards the television.
"…allegations have been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court today concerning Los Angeles chief prosecutor Lana Skye this morning concerning the Matt Engarde 'hoax' from several months ago, by one of her own attorneys, Winston Payne." Said the female anchor, Phoenix's jaw dropped. "In an interview with reporters moments ago, Mr. Payne repeated these allegations." The screen cut away to some footage of Payne, several microphones in his face. After adjusting his thick glasses and nervously slicking down his 'hair', he started to speak.
"Wh-when Matt Engarde was convicted in his original trial, he was sentenced to death as you all know. Well, funny-funny thing ab-about that, he wasn't executed. You were all told he was, but he wasn't. That was Matt Engarde on television that time. Miss Skye allowed his death sentence to be reduced to life imprisonment, a-a sentence he escaped when he broke out of jail, a few months ago with-with those four others." Payne took a deep breath and fixed his glasses again. "Then, from what I have observed, he then tried to get revenge on his old-old law-lawyer Phoenix Wright, by kidnapping his assistant… "
"Payne you bastard don't you DARE!" Phoenix grunted between clenched teeth. Sure, it was great seeing the Prosecutor's Office in disarray, but Phoenix knew Payne, and knew he wasn't doing this because he thought it was right or for justice, he had an ulterior motive somewhere.
"…I've even heard that he may have even r-raped her." The color drained from Maya's face.
"I-I wanted it to come out. I-I-I wanted everyone to know what Engarde did to me, b-but not like this." She croaked as she started to shake. 'N-Nick, wh-what if people realise I got pregnant when Engarde was still on the loose and figure out…" Phoenix took her hand and guided her so she was sitting. He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, rubbing her arm, the only sure fire way of stopping the shaking.
"Shhh, shhh." He hushed, pushing back his own anger, the trembling already subsiding.
"They-they managed to catch Engarde again, and in order to keep her cover up going and protect herself, Lana hired known assassin Shelly DeKiller to kill him and dispose of his body. When I found this out I felt I had to come forward."
"Wh-what? " Phoenix and Maya both said in unison. That's why Edgeworth never went into any details about Engarde's death. Lana, how could she? The camera cut back to the newsroom where the anchorwoman picked up her story.
"For her part, Miss Skye has refused to comment. Sources indicate that the LA Sheriff's Department has launched a probe into Miss Skye's recent activity and will be pressing criminal charges against her if Mr. Payne's allegations hold true." Just then, the phone rang. After kissing Maya's temple and rubbing her arm one last time, Phoenix went to his desk and answered it.
"Hello, Wright." Came Payne's slithery voice.
"Payne, what the hell? Wh-where the hell do you get off… this-this isn't any of your business!"
"Ah, so you were watching the news. I've got a proposition for you Wright." Payne said calmly. Where was that nervousness of his? Was it just for show? "You see, I've already got a book deal lined up to blow the lid off of Lana's entire conspiracy. I was wondering if you'd help me out with it, I'll give you a cut of the advance and a share of the royalties. I just need you to make a public statement confirming Engarde escaped and raped Maya as I said, you know so it's not all just hearsay while we're waiting for the police investigation."
"Heh." Phoenix chuckled with a smirk. "I knew there was something behind all this. You can shove it Payne. I'm not having anything to do with you or your book."
"Hmph, don't be that way Wright. It's not like I'm making any of it up. You know yourself it's all true, don't the people of our fine city deserve to know the truth, what does it matter if we make a little profit along the way? Besides, don't you and your lovely wife have a baby coming? A bit of extra money would certainly come in handy." Phoenix grunted and ran his hand through his hair, after a few seconds of silence, Payne spoke up. "Well?"
"Call me back in an hour. I want to talk it over with Maya." He muttered.
"That's fine. Goodbye." Phoenix returned to receiver to the hook and went back out into the living room.
"Who-who was that Nick?" Maya asked from the couch, cradling herself.
"Payne." He answered simply.
"Ughh, what did he want?" Phoenix rubbed the back of his head and told her everything. "Y-You don't want to go along with it do you Nick?"
"N-no, no I don't, but I think we might have to." He answered.
"Wh-what do you mean?"
"Well besides the fact that we could really use the money, I just think it would be better if we had our hands in it too."
"B-But Nick, this whole thing, i-it's so slimy!" Maya exclaimed.
"Yeah I know. But think about it, Payne's going to write his book anyway. And he's going to talk about you getting raped, there's nothing we can do about it because of freedom of speech, at least if we're part of the process, we can tell it the way we want to tell it." Phoenix explained with an utter lack of enthusiasm. He crouched down in front of her and took hold both her hands. "You wanted the world to know what Engarde did to you Maya; this might be your chance."
"Y-yean, b-but I wanted it to happen in court so Engarde would go to jail and pay for it. That can't happen now."
"I know Maya, I know. If you say 'no' I'll tell Payne we don't want anything to do with it, it's your call." Phoenix said, looking up into her sad, tired eyes. Maya thought about it for a moment.
"If we do this, will Lana go to jail?" She asked.
"Possible, of course, hiring an assassin is something she should go to jail for anyway." He replied.
"A-And, you-you won't let anyone know, y'know about the baby?" Phoenix shook his head.
"I swear." He said with a weak smile. Maya stroked her stomach and bit her lower lip, giving it one last bit of thought.
"Okay Nick, l-let's do it." He rose up just enough to kiss her.
Later that week, Phoenix and Payne called a press conference, where Phoenix addressed the media.
"Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the press..." He began upon taking the podium as flashes from several cameras went off; Payne was on his left hand side, grinning from ear to ear. Maya was on his right, clutching his arm and standing mostly behind him, there was a bead of sweat on her cheek and her skin was flush. He could tell she was using him as a shield against the eyes of all the strangers that were assembled in front of them. "…I-I want to thank you all for coming today. I called this press conference to confirm that Mr. Payne here was telling the truth when he attacked Lana Skye and her office. Matt Engarde did indeed escape from prison, he did kidnap and rape my wife and he did it all as an act of revenge against me." He stated, reading off of a script he and Payne had written beforehand. "I however was unaware of any criminal solicitation by Miss Skye in regards to the assassin Shelley DeKiller, but in my opinion I certainly do not see it as out of character for her. The woman was desperate enough to keep this whole affair a secret and jeopardise her career and those that work for her, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility for her to do this." He stopped there, Payne had written more, but he didn't want this to turn into a character assassination of Lana.
"Mr. Wright!" A reporter shouted. "We have it on strong evidence that Mr. Payne has a rather lucrative deal to write a book about this whole affair, it seems rather odd that you would only come out now and back him up with so much money on the line." Phoenix sighed and looked down at Maya, who gave him a weak smile. It really didn't matter what anyone else thought did it? Just as long as she believed in him. He turned back to the reporter.
"I will admit it looks suspicious, but Mr. Payne and I have the truth on our side, and I am confident that the police investigation will vindicate us." Phoenix stated.
"Mr. Wright!" Came another reporter. "Based on your recent history in court, it seems you have developed an intense hatred for prosecutors in Ms. Skye's office. Are you sure that this is not just a way of furthering your vendetta against them?"
"I make no secret over the fact that I despise the prosecutors. But this is because they knowingly allowed Engarde to slip through the cracks of the legal system. In other words my 'dislike' for them came about because of this, not the other way around." He explained trying to keep his cool. Payne continued to grin. "For my wife and I, this is about doing our part to let it be known what kind of monster Matt Engarde was, and to see Lana Skye pay for her crimes."
"Mr. Wright, your wife seems to be pregnant, if this rape did actually occur, can you be sure the baby is yours?" Phoenix's breath caught in his throat, he looked down at the reporter, he was from a trashy tabloid paper, how in the world did the likes of him get in here? To his credit Phoenix managed to keep his calm. He felt Maya's grip around his arm tighten.
"N-Nick?" He heard her say.
"My personal life has nothing to do with this!" He pushed out of his drying mouth. "But allow me to state right now that this child is MINE!" He said in no uncertain terms. "I've said what I came to say. This press conference is over." With that, he put his arm around Maya's shoulder; he made sure to keep himself between her and the unsatisfied mob as the three headed for Payne's car. Flashes coming from their cameras and indiscernible questions coming from their mouths. Once they were safe in the back seat of the car, Phoenix took Maya's hand again.
"You alright?" He asked with concern. Maya nodded and smiled at him.
"Yeah, thanks Nick."
The next two months were a blur, mostly Phoenix's time was spent in the courtroom, helping Payne with his book, or accompanying Maya to the doctor's. Eventually the time came, and Maya's water broke. Luckily Gumshoe, who over the course of the months had warmed back up to Phoenix, though it was most likely for Maya's sake, gave them a ride to the hospital and stayed with Phoenix in the waiting room. Phoenix was a wreck as he sat in one of the uncomfortable chairs, with Gumshoe's heavy hand on his shoulder.
"Maya'll be fine…pal." Gumshoe said. Phoenix couldn't help but notice the delay before he called him 'pal' but he didn't have time to worry about that now.
"I-I know." He stammered. All he could think was how much pain she must be in, especially considering she had refused any painkillers. His imagination was running wild and all he could picture was Maya screaming while lying in a hospital bed covered in blood. It was all Engarde's fault. "I hope it's nice and warm where you are now you bastard." He muttered, too low for Gumshoe to hear. Doubts started running through his mind; was he really ready to be a father, was Maya ready to be a mother? A year ago, they both acted like kids themselves, and now they were going to be responsible for a new little life. And what if somewhere down the road he lost sight of his promise to Maya, could he really love Engarde's rape baby for long? No, he dismissed that the baby was half Maya's, which meant it was part of her, and there wasn't one thing about Maya he didn't love. He was going to love this baby no matter what, even-even if it looked like the bastard. Phoenix sat in that waiting room for hours; Gumshoe had to leave to get back to work so he was alone, there were other people there of course, but Phoenix was in a bubble, just him and his thoughts. Eventually, while the sun was going down, a nurse came out to get him.
"Mr. Wright." She said smiling patting him on the back of the hand to get his attention. "Congratulations, it's a healthy baby girl." Phoenix smiled and nodded.
"Can I see them?" The nurse nodded.
"Of course, you're wife's been asking for you."
"H-How is she?" He asked as he began to follow her to the back.
"She's very tired, but she did great." The nurse replied. She lead him into Maya's room and closed the door behind him. Maya looked over at him and smiled a very tired smile as she held the blanket covered baby. Phoenix's heart skipped, she was covered in sweat, her hair was messed up, and there were traces of blood on her skin, but she still looked so beautiful, so serene.
"Hey Nick." She whispered. "Come over here and take a look at our daughter." Phoenix gulped as he stooped over Maya to get a look of the creature that would be his daughter for the rest of his life. Upon seeing the face, a tear escaped his eye.
"S-Something wrong N-Nick?" Maya asked.
"No, nothing's wrong." He kissed the side of Maya's head. "She looks just like you."
To be continued in 'The Legacy of Matt Engarde'