Disclaimer: I do not own the Ace Attorney Series or any of its characters. All elements belong to Capcom.

Notes: This fic is a prequel to my Christmas story last year, I'm a year older, a year wiser and a year better, I think this is much better than Perfect Gifts, which is easily my worst fic. Fluff.

Christmas Shopping

"Larry listen, I'm begging, begging you to have that doll house done soon." Phoenix was standing by his desk talking to his 'friend' on the phone. The doll house in question was one that he had built with his bare hands during the summer for his little friend, Christmas was only a couple days away and he was getting anxious.

"Aww, don't worry Nick." Larry answered. "I'm getting it done, shouldn't take much longer."

"You said that in November Butz!" Phoenix shouted.

"Aww, c'mon Nick, when have I ever let you down?"

"Let me count the ways..." He spat sarcasm.

"You know Nick, you're not being a very good friend to me right now." Phoenix could almost see the idiotic look on his face while he was pretending to be upset. He rubbed his face in exasperation and sighed.

"I'm sorry Larry." He deadpanned.

"That's more like it Nick, you gotta learn how to appreciate you're friends better." Once again, Phoenix could just picture the look on his face, grinning with his thumb up. "'Tis the season you know." Phoenix just rolled his eyes.

"Alright, please just have it done for Christmas Eve, okay?"

"You got it Nick, leave it to me."

"Don't screw me over this time Larry." He huffed at his friend just as he caught sight of the clock. "Gotta go Larry. Pearls' train should be here soon."

"Alright, I'll call ya when I got it painted." And with that Phoenix hung up and grabbed his coat.

"Hey Mr. Nick!" Pearls chirped, as she stepped off the train from Kurain onto the platform.

"Hey Pearls. How was the trip? Sorry I couldn't come get you but I had some stuff to take care of at the office." He grinned, yeah he felt bad about making a little girl take the train by herself, but Pearls' had done it before, so it really wasn't a big deal.

"It was great Mr. Nick, where's Mystic Maya?" the girl asked looking around.

"He he." Phoenix chuckled. "Well, I couldn't have her hanging around with us while we were Christmas shopping for her could I? I sent her over to Edgeworth's office to help him with his filing." He grinned to himself, thinking about the text message he got from his rival no more than a minute after his assistant should have shown up in on Edgeworth's doorstep:

Wright, what the blazes? I said I'd help but I can't distract this hyperspasm all day. I have things to do!

"Mr. Nick!" Pearls gasped with her hand to her mouth. "Sending your special someone off to spend the day with another man. How could you!" Phoenix sighed and shook his head. These Feys!

"I-It's not like that Pearls." He stammered, hoping the blush on his face wasn't betraying how he really felt about Pearls calling him and his assistant 'special someones'

"I know. Mystic Maya loves you too much for that." She beamed.

"Y-Yeah, so you remember your money?" He asked, trying to change the subject as quickly as possible.

"Yep!" She chirped and reached into her jacket to take out a little drawstring change purse and excitedly held it out to him. "I got seventy-five dollars, I was saving up all year!" Cute.

"Y'know Pearls, I could buy your presents for Maya for you, you don't have to spend your money."

"No way Mr. Nick, then it won't really be from me!"

"He, he that's true I suppose, alright..." He smiled at her. Sometimes he wished a certain other person was as mature and insightful as her little cousin was. "C'mon, let's catch the bus for the mall."

"Wow!" Pearls gasped with her eyes bulging when they stepped into the mall.

"Wow's right." Phoenix responded, equally amazed. The place was swarming with people, so more than he's seen in a while anyway, Pearls, looked nervous, this was probably the most people she'd seen in one place in her life. He reached out and took her hand. "Be careful Pearls, don't get separated from me okay." She nodded in agreement and he could feel her hand tighten around his.

They weren't in the mall for long before Phoenix was sick of it. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen from all the people breathing or all the noise, but he was already developing a horrible headache. But, he couldn't just call it off, for starters Pearls wouldn't let him, and secondly he really couldn't put it off any longer, he had all his shopping done in truth, but he still needed that one special item for Maya, the one thing that would say

"Here Maya, I got this for you because I love you." and he was rapidly running out of time. He already bought a new Blu-Ray player for the office and he was thinking about just giving that to her, but it seemed kinds impersonal, besides with the way Maya's brain worked she'd probably get mad at him because it meant she had to buy all her DVD's over again. Huhh, what to get someone whose mind is so erratic?

Eventually, and predictably, he and Pearls ended up at the electronics store, which was, also predictably, packed.

"Keep close Pearls." He cautioned again as they stepped in.

"Think we'll find anything for Mystic Maya in here?" She asked hopefully.

"More than likely." He answered as they bobbed and weaved through the mass of humanity. This prediction however proved to be pretty futile. There wasn't exactly a whole lot left on the shelves, just a few movies and video games. Nothing that would particularly tickle Maya's fancy though. Mostly just westerns and dramas, and Phoenix certainly didn't want to get her something just for the sake of 'picking something up.' That's something you do for people you barely see throughout the year but feel obligated to get something for, not something you do for someone like Maya. "Well this sucks" he thought to himself, trying to look around a rather larger woman's shoulder to see what was on the shelf in front of her.

"Mr. Nick! Mr. Nick over here!" He heard Pearls call from further back in the store. Panicked for a second, he looked down to see that she wasn't holding his hand anymore, how she managed to get away without him noticing was beyond him. Pushing past the people, he found her looking longingly at something with her eyes sparkling with excitement.

"Pearls!" He said with stern annoyance. "I told you twice to stay with me! You can't just go off by yourself, I was scared to death there for a second!"

"I-I know Mr. Nick, and I'm sorry, but we weren't gonna find anything for Mystic Maya just standing around." She apologised.

"That's true but..."

"Besides, look what I got." With one quick motion she held her discovery up to him. It was a relatively large box with the Pink Princess drawn on it. He took it out of her hands and looked it over.

"Hmmm. Pink Princess the Motion Picture: Limited Collector's Edition Blu-Ray Combo set." He read. "Includes two versions of the film, theatrical and uncut, Pink Princess die cast figurine and a copy of the script as written by Sal Manella...Why would someone want the script?" He wondered aloud.

"It-It's perfect for Mystic Maya, isn't it Mr. Nick?" Pearls squealed with her hands folded in front of herself, trying to keep in her excitement.

"Yeah, yeah, it really is." He admitted. "In fact, I don't really get why something like this is still here..." However when he got sight of the price tag, he knew all too well the reason. "Three hundred dollars!" He nearly shouted as he fumbled to keep hold of the ridiculously priced thing in his hands.

"Wh-what's wrong Mr. Nick?" Pearls asked.

"I-I can't afford that!"

"B-But Mystic Maya would really love it."

"I know, Pearls, I know, but I don't have three hundred dollars right now. In fact, even if we both pitched in we'd still come up short." He explained.

"But Mr. Nick" She whined.

"Believe me Pearls, I really wish I could, but I can't." With great disappointment, he put what would have been the perfect gift back on the shelf. "Come on Pearls, nothing to get here." He took her hand again and lead her out of the store.

After stopping by the food court to get something to eat, which was a lot easier on the wallet when it was just him and Pearls and Maya was absent, they headed into the comic book store, there had to be something they could get there. This place wasn't ever very crowded either, but Phoenix always felt awkward coming in here, the owner had a habit of hanging around and staring at people from behind the counter until they bought something. He hated feeling that kind of pressure in any store, let alone a comic store.

"Can I go look around a little by myself Mr. Nick?" Pearls asked hopefully. Phoenix looked down and smiled at her.

"Alright, just don't go where I can't see you." Pearls smiled and nodded before trotting off on her own. Phoenix browsed around a little, there were some comics on the shelves that were on the shelves in pressure sealed bags from at least ten years ago. Some were kind of ridiculous, like former president Obama as a barbarian, and stuff like that, but once again, nothing for Maya.

"Mr. NIIICK!" There was that squeal again. Pearls ran up to him like a dart. "L-Look, look!" She held another box in her arms, this time with a huge plastic samurai figure. "I wanna get this for Mystic Maya." She beamed. Phoenix smiled to himself.

"You sure?" Pearls nodded. "Alright." He lead her to the cash and put the figure on the counter. The girl was bouncing with excitement.

"Ninety dollars." The clerk said after running it through,

"What?" Phoenix and Pearls shouted together. Why was everything that Global Studios put out so ridiculously expensive.

"B-But I only got seventy five." Pearls croaked.

"Sorry kid." The clerk grunted. Pearls looked up at Pheonix with her eyes filling.

"Mr. Nick?" He crouched next to her.

"Don't worry Pearls, I can give you the rest." He said. Pearls shook her head.

"Th-that's no good Mr. Nick, then it won't really be from me." She was certainly dead set on getting her something with her own money wasn't she? I saved up so I could really get Mystic Maya something this year, instead of someone else buying it for me." Phoenix sighed and turned back to the clerk.

"Listen." He started in a whisper. "She's just a kid, can't you just let her have it for seventy five?" The clerk shrugged.

"Sorry man." He said with genuine sympathy. "If it was up to me I would but..." He motioned to the back room where the owner was stationed. Phoenix nodded.

"I understand." He said. He crouched back down to Pearls. "Sorry." He said. Pearls looked really upset, like she was going to cry, which in turn made Phoenix feel like he was going to cry. Yeah, he made a big deal over Maya and he had... reasons for that, but he considered Pearls family too and he couldn't stand seeing her upset. "Don't cry okay Pearls."

"B-B-But Mr. Nick.." She sniffled, biting her lip.

"Hey, I know, I know, but please Pearls I don't like it when you cry." Pearls nodded.

"O-Okay Mr. Nick, I-I won't cry."

"Think I can get a smile." He asked. "For me?" Pearls did as she could ask, giving him the best smile she could muster. Phoenix grinned and took out his wallet. "I think that smile was worth twenty dollars at least." He said as he handed her a twenty dollar bill.

"Mr. Nick?"

"That's your money now Pearls, you earned it, you can do whatever you want with it." Pearls enthusiasm quickly came back as she took the money from his hand and threw her arms around his neck.

"Thank you Mr. Nick?"

"No problem Pearls."

Pearls happily walked beside him with her present for Mystic Maya under her arm. One problem solved, but it was starting to look more and more that he was just going to have to break down and give her the Blu-Ray. He didn't want to do that, he really wanted to wow her with the best present ever, because he had something important he really wanted to tell her this Christmas. After a couple more hours of fruitless searching, Phoenix decided to call it quits.

"Oh, Oh, Mr. Nick, can I go see Santa Clause?" She asked, excitedly pulling on his arm and pointing toward the Santa's Village set up in the main lobby of the mall. Phoenix looked and saw that the line was pretty much down to only a few people.

"Sure, if you want to." They stood in line for a few minutes and soon it was Pearls turn. Phoenix smiled as she went over and sat on his lap. With all that happened to Pearls in and out of the courtroom, it was nice to see her get to act like a little girl sometimes.

"Oh, hi pal." 'Santa's' eyes widened when he caught his own mistake. " I-I mean(cough) Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas little girl! What do you want old Santa Clause to bring you this year?"

"Hmm" Phoenix thought.

"I only want one thing Santa." Pearls answered, she leaned in and whispered it into his ear. 'Santa's eyes widened a little and he looked over at Phoenix through his false glasses. Then a gentle smile came to his face and he told Pearls that he's see what he could do. After they had their picture taken and Phoenix and Pearls left the mall.

About twenty minutes later, they were heading back to the office from the bus stop and little Pearls was starting to wane.

"Getting tired?" Phoenix asked.

"Uh-huh?" She nodded, rubbing her eyes. Phoenix gently took her present for Maya from her, scooped her up and put her own his back piggy back style.

"Thanks Mr. Nick." She muttered and lay her head against the back of his neck.

"So, what you ask Santa for?" He asked as he trudged through the snow.

"That's a secret." She replied. Not that he didn't already know, she asked Santa for him and Maya to be together, her fondest wish, she didn't know that it was his fondest wish too, but it probably wasn't going to happen now, not yet anyway, he needed to wow Maya with something spectacular if he wanted to tell her how he felt, and he failed, shouldn't have waited so long to go Christmas shopping.

Outside the office, Phoenix noticed a small, crudely wrapped package in front of the door. It had a card on it that said 'From Will Powers.' After he got inside, lay Pearls who had drifted off on the couch, and had his coat removed, he immediately opened the card, curious as to why Mr. Powers would have left something for him out of nowhere.

"Hey Mr. Wright." Read the letter. "I know I didn't do too good when I payed you for helping me out when Mr. Hammer got killed. So, I managed to talk Ms. Vasquez into letting me have one of these to give you. I know it might not look like much, but it's worth over three hundred dollars.

Merry Christmas,


Phoenix tore open the paper to find the Pink Princess box staring at him. A smile came to his face.

"Sometimes things just work out."


Bonus Story

Ebenezer Edgeworth

Genre: Humor

Characters: Miles Edgeworth

It was the night before Christmas and Miles Edgeworth sat alone in his dark office toiling away. Never one for the holidays, he usually preferred to simply catch up on any work he had been neglecting while the rest of the world shut down. He had already turned down an invitation from Wright to come to a Christmas party as he had his sister's invite to Christmas dinner. After all, there was work to be done.

Suddenly however the door to his office burst open and in came a figure clad in a hooded robe, dragging heavy chains behind it.

"Miles Edgewoooorth!" It bellowed. "You do not keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart. Tonight you shall be haunted by three..." Unimpressed, Edgeworth got to his feet and slammed his hands on his desk.

"Butz, I have already explained, I have no moral or ideological opposition to the Christmas season, I just do not have the time or desire to make merry, so please do me a favour and go home!" The spectre quickly hauled down his hood.

"Aww, Edgey, you're no fun anymore!" Larry shouted as he stormed out of the office. Edgeworth chucked to himself as he sat back down and resumed his work.

"Sometimes, it's good to have friends."