Phoenix made his way to the Inner Temple Garden. Edgeworth wasn't going to get away that easily, not with the way he would most certainly be chastising himself. The poor guy didn't deserve half the shame he carried on his shoulders.

The police were still nervously scurrying around the garden, looking for any clue left unnoticed. I'd be nervous, too. It's got to be a tough job, he thought. He noticed Edgeworth standing by himself, scowling. Especially with someone giving you the evil eye the whole time. Phoenix walked closer to the man and overheard him quietly reprimanding himself.

"How could I have done that...?"

Phoenix raised his eyebrows. Wow. I can't believe it's still bothering him. He addressed the prosecutor cautiously. "Edgeworth...?"

Edgeworth spun around, startled. "Aaaah!" He looked at Phoenix for a moment, scowled, then turned to stalk away.

Phoenix's mouth dropped open. "Hey! Don't you dare run away!" Geez, all he wanted to do was talk...

Edgeworth stopped, and came back. Still scowling. "...What do you want, Wright?"

Phoenix looked confused. "What do I want?" What else, but to get him to stop standing around and blaming himself, so they could figure out what the hell happened here in the garden? Time was ticking, after all!

Edgeworth frowned deeper. "If you came here to laugh at me, then get on with it. Go on! Laugh away!" He looked at Phoenix as if he was the root of all his problems.

Phoenix sighed. I was ready to hug it out with him, but he's just the same, prideful Edgeworth. He thought for a moment more. The only way Edgeworth was gonna stop with all the angsty guilt and responsibility issues, was if Phoenix forced him to. He opened his arms. "Come here."

Edgeworth looked baffled. "Excuse me?"

Phoenix persisted. "You need a hug. Come here and let me give you a hug."

Edgeworth scowled, almost disgusted. "I-I don't need a hug from someone like you, Wright." He was trying to keep his voice down, in case the others heard and... judged him.

"If you won't take it, I'll just give it to you." Phoenix didn't give Edgeworth any time to react as he stepped forward suddenly and wrapped his arms around him. Edgeworth instantly went rigid.

"W-Wright, let go of me-! Now isn't the time for—"

"If not now, when? You need to give yourself a break once in a while, geez." He continued to hold Edgeworth in a tight hug.

Edgeworth squirmed, trying to escape, though not exactly wholeheartedly. "Wright, people can see..."

"Yeah? They're probably jealous that they don't get a hug from such an amazing guy." He knew that probably wasn't the case, but who was gonna prove him wrong?

Edgeworth scowled. "I doubt that's the case. Let go of me."

"Not until you promise not to blame yourself for dumb things anymore. It wasn't your fault." He paused for a moment. "I probably would have let her go during an earthquake, too, so stop giving yourself such a hard time!" He realized he had gotten more than a little worked up himself, and calmed down.

Edgeworth's face softened, as much as he would allow. Which looked more like exasperation. "Alright, I get it. Now let go of me."


Edgeworth frowned again. "Yes, I promise. Now let go!" He fought in vain to hide his embarrassment.

Phoenix released his grip and straightened. "See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" He looked at Edgeworth, expectantly.

Edgeworth gave Phoenix an annoyed look. "No. But I'd rather you not do that again. Please." He raised an eyebrow and looked to the side in that uncertain, vulnerable way that drove Phoenix completely crazy. Almost completely. He kept his impulses to himself for Edgeworth's sake.

Phoenix smiled wryly. "Sure. But only if you keep your promise."

The vulnerability was short-lived. Edgeworth was once again annoyed. "Fine. Now, what do you want?"

Phoenix composed himself and remembered the main reason he had to talk to the prosecutor. "You went back to the Criminal Affairs Department, right? You said you wanted to look into something concerning Iris..."

The End