Notes – A kinkmeme fill done for a prompt that wanted Phoenix and Layton to secretly be brothers. Set post-AJ and several years post PL3, containing mild spoilers for both of those games, and ignores the Phoenix vs. Layton crossover game canon. I wasn't originally going to post this one publicly, since it's a crack AU, but I ended up liking it enough to want to.
Why was everyone so obsessed with trains in this country?
…That was a gross exaggeration. It had been Phoenix who had decided to get the cheapest flight to England instead of going directly to London. So as a result of this he had to get through at least two bumpy train rides until he reached his brother's house.
That's right, his brother.
Phoenix Wright didn't talk about his family for a reason. And Phoenix Layton talked about it even less.
Because when you're in a career that seems to involve almost everyone around you referring to you by your surname, 'Mr. Layton' instantly brought the wrong image to Phoenix's mind. Layton was Hershel's name. He was the one people knew as that and if Phoenix was going to make a name for himself then he had to choose another name to be attached to.
That was where Wright had come in.
It had been a poor pun but he'd chosen it to prove that he was the one who was right.
Because he and his brother had never truly seen eye to eye on everything. Layton, his brother Layton that is, was a truly nice guy, but he was insufferably nice. He always had that look about him that said he was right and although he wouldn't say it directly you were probably wrong. That had been why Phoenix had chosen the name Wright. He'd put up with that kindly superiority since he was a young boy and one day he'd show Layton that he knew what was best for his own life.
Part of proving himself had been the distance. He'd moved to America to lessen having to live in his brother's shadow. He didn't talk about his family but then no one ever asked. And he did make a name for himself. Right up until… well, that last trial hadn't gone so well.
He hadn't called Layton for a long time after losing his badge, because he could imagine the sort of things that Layton would have to say about it.
Eventually he'd proved his innocence through his own methods – he'd hunted down the evidence until the true culprit had no way to hide. Let's see Layton do that!
Which is exactly what he kept telling himself he wasn't coming to England just to say. Honest.
As the train pulled into the outer skirts of the city Phoenix's mind was transported back to his youth – running around with Hershel trying to solve made-up mysteries before he did. Little Nicky, their parents had called him. Not like Hershel, Hershel was tall and confident. Phoenix was the little one.
He was also the only boy his age Phoenix had ever known to drink tea. He went through it like other kids went through bars of chocolate, and he didn't seem to understand why no one else did the same. Sometimes Phoenix would drink tea just to make him feel better, because while slightly jealous of Hershel he was by no means a jerk and didn't want his brother to feel like he was odd.
Nowadays he'd sometime find it hard not to smirk when Edgeworth sipped his tea. Phoenix never had tea with Edgeworth, he'd say that he wasn't fond of the stuff and preferred grape juice, which wasn't technically a lie. But just that whole image of Edgeworth sitting in his office with his perfect wooden furniture, his chess board and his expensive tea sets imported specifically from England was enough to make Phoenix smile. Edgeworth wanted to be seen as a true English gentleman so much.
He'd probably have a heart attack if he ever found out that Phoenix was the one out of the two of them who really was English.
Having said that he did bet that Edgeworth would have gotten along with Layton wonderfully. They'd sit around drinking tea together and discussing all the ways they'd bested Phoenix in the past – he could just see it.
The thought made him grimace slightly, but it soon past as he realised that they were pulling into the station.
Climbing out of the carriage he looked around and located the top of Layton's hat among the crowd. He wondered why it took him so long to spot it.
He then realised why as he'd got over to Layton himself. That once tall boy who Phoenix had looked up to as a child, he didn't seem so tall anymore. The top of Phoenix's head reached the top of Layton's hat almost exactly and Layton was at least a foot shorter than his hat.
When had he grown so much?
"Phoenix, it's so marvellous to see you after so long," Layton said, breaking into one of those genuine little smiles of his. They had once really annoyed Phoenix, but now he realised that he'd sort of missed them too.
"Good to see you too, Hershel, but you haven't exactly got me at my best," he admitted. Donned in a grey hoodie and a homemade beanie hat he probably wasn't what Layton remembered him as having looked like.
"Nonsense, you look better now than you ever did," Layton replied, much to Phoenix's surprise, "When I last saw a picture of you there was a man in a pressed suit, who was trying very hard to prove himself. Before me is a man who looks much more comfortable about where his life is."
"Wouldn't have put it that way myself," Phoenix laughed, trying not to be embarrassed. That was just like Layton – pointing out things that no one else would consider. "Anyway, where's Luke? You two used to be attached by the hip."
Looking into the distance for a moment, Layton admitted, "Luke is… not with me anymore. It's a lengthy subject. But I'm sure you did not come here to listen to me ramble. How is Maya doing now?"
"She's gone away too," Phoenix said, looking just as distracted, "Went on to become the master of the Kurain village. Though we all knew that was going to happen one day. Seems like we have about as much luck at keeping assistants as we do girlfriends, huh?"
Ignoring the image in the back of his mind of Luke protesting at being called an assistant, Layton nodded grimly. He was the sort of man who never broke down about anything, but after losing Claire he had only openly spoken of his heartbreak to Phoenix through their letters. In return Phoenix had never even brought up the subject of Dahlia and Iris to him, making Layton wish that his brother trusted him to confide in the way Layton trusted Phoenix.
He nodded, realising he had been silent for a bit longer than was comfortable.
"At least we keep better contact with each other," he said.
Why did Layton always have to be so nice about it? He knew that Phoenix changed his name, moved to a different country and avoided talking to him because he wanted Layton out of his life and yet he still pretended that they were the same tea drinking, mystery solving brothers they had been all those years ago.
You just couldn't be outright mean to Hershel; it was like kicking a puppy. Phoenix had learned this over the years.
Putting an arm around his brother, he allowed Layton and Wright to become Hershel and Little Nicky once more, just for a moment.
"Let's get to that Laytonmobile of yours. I still haven't learned to drive yet, so there's no Wrightmobile to chase you with, so I guess I don't mind being your passenger for a while longer," he said.
"Cryptic as always," Layton laughed.
"I got that from the best," Phoenix assured.
And he meant it.