No this isn't the next chapter. I'll post that later *sweatdrops*
In the meantime I thought I'd post another, SEPARATE fic not related to the one before.
I only ever posted this at the P/M Fan Club at Court Records, wayyy back in 2009. But nobody's going to go to old page 83/137 of the thread nowadays to find it.
Oh right, join the Phoenix and Maya Fan Club at CR!
Just Like a Fairytale 1.5: Phoenix/Maya Version
Made for this Kink Meme prompt: 'Well fellow anons, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I hate Iris. She's just TOO perfect. In fact, she's SO perfect that when her 'darling Feenie' marries her, he gets VERY BORED with her being so damn perfect all the time.
So Nick runs off with a character of anon's choice. :D MAKE IT HAPPEN.'
P/I fans, avert your gaze. Supposed to be mildly crack…
JUST LIKE A FAIRYTALE 1.5 – PHOENIX/MAYA VERSION
It had almost been too good to be true for Phoenix – he didn't expect anyone to still want him as a disbarred hobo – so when Iris seemed to express interest in reinvoking their relationship after her short jail term, Phoenix was gratefully ecstatic. Besides, Trucy was insistent in wanting a mother, and Iris seemed to like Trucy (and would probably know more about child-rearing than Phoenix himself.) He'd better take the fairytale chance to get married - he wasn't getting any younger, was regarded by society as some kind of fraudulent damaged goods, and there wasn't anyone else around which might be interested in that regard, right?
The wedding wasn't to be right away – a long engagement was planned, partly due to traditions in Iris' spiritual order, partly because, although Bikini was very accommodating and would probably have let Iris continue as a shrine maiden despite breaking the usual rule of being married, Phoenix really couldn't see any way that he could leave his place in the city. So Iris moved into the apartment with him and Trucy.
It was like a fairytale! All of a sudden, the disintegrating shambles of the tiny hovel became chronically neat and even appeared larger! Everything was spotless and mess was removed almost as soon as he put it down! Even the toilet was too meticulously sparkling every time he decided to go and clean it!
He stopped being sprung by random magic objects. Trucy actually sat down and did her homework unbidden every evening instead of 'disappearing'. Instead of the awful food he could cook himself, there was a continuous stream of perfect fresh mini-omelettes on-tap in the kitchen!
Trucy's teachers no longer rang to complain about her doing magic tricks in class. In fact, she seemed to be growing placid and compliant, a slight vacancy in her eyes. Though, one day she whispered to him "Daddy, I'm bored."
"Why?" asked Phoenix, concerned.
"Er.. nothing, nothing. I'm fine!" saved Trucy, returning to her homework, darting a momentary glance in the direction of Iris.
Phoenix liked to talk to Iris.
Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be much they could talk about.
He tried to remember what they'd talked about during college (what interests or values did they share anyway?) but, on reflection, he realised he'd been the one who'd always done all the talking. And it seemed to be the same now. Whatever he said, Iris could be relied on to reply with 'Oh yes, Feenie' or 'That's right, Feenie', but he felt a little bad that things were always so one-sided. He sometimes worried that he might do things which upset his dear Iris, but she always insisted she was okay, so he really couldn't tell.
One topic had to be avoided. Dahlia. Iris of course didn't mention her, but she held regular spiritual rituals to pray for her soul. Sometimes Phoenix would join in out of solidarity, he couldn't blame Iris (it was her twin, after all) though he had to admit it was a little disconcerting that she still held out such loyalty to the person who'd tried to murder him. But Dahlia was dead, and the past should stay at rest in the past.
Iris couldn't help feeling anxious. It was almost too good to be true that Feenie still wanted her after everything – she didn't really deserve it, - and she was determined to be as perfect a partner to him as possible.
So she went out of her way to do what she assumed he wanted – though it was difficult to decide. What exactly had Feenie seen in her rather than the façade carried out by her and Dahlia?
She wasn't sure she agreed with some of the things he did – the methods he used to bring up Trucy were a little lenient and eclectic at best, and that poker job wasn't exactly flattering, though she couldn't talk, accomplice to murder and ex-criminal and all. So she kept quiet. She wished he'd quit his solicitations with Mr Gavin, but she didn't know how to bring up the issue without a conflict, and she'd colluded with Dahlia after all. So on this, she also kept quiet.
In fact, Feenie definitely seemed to have changed, even from when they'd first re-met. He'd shed those respectable suits for that awful outfit which made him look like a hobo and he only seemed to remember to shave every third day. Iris bought him a few respectable outfits as a hint, but after wearing them once, he seemed to forget them and they would gravitate to the far back of the wardrobe, crushed and abandoned. There was also that huge grape juice bill. Iris was trying to figure out a means to tactfully persuade Feenie to wear something other than his hobo tracksuit today, when there was an excitable knock at the door. Iris suddenly recalled that Cousin Maya had been coming...
Feenie opened the door, and was immediately flattened.
Maya had been hugging Feenie enthusiastically, but when she caught sight of Iris she let go with a slightly sheepish expression and dragged Iris into a hug instead.
Iris's insides lurched with horror. Not only had Maya managed to bring in muddy footprints and a cascade of rain from the torrential downpour outside, but she was also wearing her own hobo outfit disturbingly similar to Feenie's. It was in a more flattering purple shade and fashionable cut, and the beanie didn't have anything written on it, though it had another one of those obscure badges. But it meant there was utterly no hope in convincing Feenie to change his fashion sense today.
Maya traipsed into the kitchen unbidden, returning with a mini-omelette. "Ugh, I'm sorry, Nick," she explained apologetically after disposing of it after trying one bite, "I don't think I like omelettes."
Iris was mortified. But Feenie seemed to like them anyway, she soothed herself, and that was what counted. Besides, right now, Maya was lambasting her with a gift. Iris attempted gratitude, though she wasn't sure exactly what she'd do with a special edition Pink Princess robotic vacuum cleaner.
"Well, let's go," Maya declared, turning to Feenie. "I'm starving."
"Burgers. Come on."
"Uh.. well you see..."
"I'm paying. Come on! Do you want to come too, Iris?"
Iris politely declined. She shouldn't interrupt Feenie's time with Maya, especially since she now lived so far away. Maya was obviously as important to him as Dahlia had been to her.
Iris thought it best not to meditate on the connotations of this.
Phoenix had been concerned that his engagement to Iris had made relations with Maya a little strained, but things seemed perfectly normal now. Maya seemed very determined to support her friend's happiness, and was even going to perform the marriage ceremony for them, as part of her capacities as Kurain Master. As they walked to the usual burger restaurant, Phoenix found himself curiously enthralled by her strange random conversation and observations. It was a somewhat engaging contrast to the peace and quiet of home.
The burgers also tasted better than he'd remembered.
Phoenix was thrilled to run into Edgeworth, on brief return to the country. For some reason, relations had turned frosty briefly after his engagement, but maybe he'd misinterpreted and Edgeworth was just enduring excess work stress.
Conversation with him was somehow fascinating, and their collusion was able to advance the prospects of his 'investigation' material on the disbarring case in leaps and bounds. It was almost as if their work styles were designed to complement each other.
Following their meeting together, Phoenix felt curiously elated, happier than he'd been since his last outing with Maya.
When Edgeworth returned overseas shortly after, Phoenix could barely suppress an irrational urge to cry.
Iris wasn't sure she agreed with some of Trucy's magic tricks. The tricks themselves were fine, but some of the props and activities were downright dangerous.
In fact, once of Trucy's magic costumes had received some kind of product recall due to lack of safety, though when she'd mentioned it to Feenie he'd been busy and only said vaguely "Oh, I'm sure it's fine," without looking up. Iris was afraid to contradict him, so she took the initiative to dispose of it herself. Unfortunately, it had been Trucy's favourite item and she loudly lamented its disappearance, and Phoenix, having forgotten Iris' revelation, immediately bought her another one.
Iris shuddered when she read the warning labels on it. Flammable, keep away from everything imaginable, do not wash, do not expose to water, product may disintegrate to dangerous toxic and combustible levels over time from contact with water. Iris was too scared to get rid of it again, and she wasn't sure she could convince Feenie to make Trucy part with her favourite item, so she didn't try. It was better to keep the peace. Still, she fretted when she kept finding the costume thrown in the wash by Feenie (didn't he read warning labels?)
Supposedly not. However, Iris did indirectly draw the label to the attention of Cousin Maya (who had dropped by unannounced yet again. Why was Feenie always so excited to see her?). Cousin Maya seemed awed by Trucy's intriguing plethora of magic props and even more awed by their warning labels. They must have made some impression on her which was why, one day, when Feenie idly tossed the offending costume into the washing machine, Maya leapt to her feet.
"NICK! You can't do that! It's DANGEROUS! Trucy might get HURT!"
"Huh? But, no it's fine.."
"LOOK!" She thrust the relevant lines of the warning label in his face.
Phoenix saw she was correct, and wilted in horror.
"How could I be so stupid! She could have got hurt! I'm a terrible father!"
"Oh, no you're not! Don't cry, Nick, it's okay. Anyone could make that mistake. And nothing bad happened, see," soothed Maya.
Phoenix began to feel better. It was true, disaster had been averted. He'd just remember to be more careful in future.
Iris couldn't help gaping, although when Maya turned to glance at her she politely clamped her jaw shut.
Phoenix's home life was perfect. Sure, his job sucked, and meeting with Kristoph was draining, but when he stepped through the door of his apartment, everything was flawless.
So why wasn't he feeling fulfilled?
He couldn't put his finger on it. He should be happy, after all, he was one of the few people on Earth lucky enough to receive both a fairytale romance and a daughter! And Iris, too, was like a perfect wife in a fairytale.
So it was confusing that he couldn't suppress irrational urges to escape from the apartment.
Instead, Phoenix attempted the temporary virtual escape of the Internet. Curiosity subconsciously led him to the Kurain website – Maya had branched out the offerings of the village to remain more relevant to the 21st century.
Also new was a list of spiritual training retreat tour packages which could be booked online, one of which Phoenix found curiously intriguing. The customer and their Mystic guide would be delivered to a secret, remote mountain location unknown to the participant, and embark on 3 whole weeks of arduous training, meditation, fasting and trekking through the mountains.
Phoenix found himself grabbing his credit card and filling in the booking form immediately.
The next day, he received an urgent call to his mobile.
"I didn't know you were into spiritual training."
"Uh... try something new?"
"You do realise this is harder than the Ultra Course?"
"I don't mind. I just... kind of want to get away from it all..."
"Fine. Well, Mystic Mira usually takes that one, but for you there's a special exception. You should be honoured to get the Master herself as your guide, right?"
Phoenix was bedraggled, exhausted, disoriented, and muscles he didn't know he even possessed excruciatingly ached. But for some reason, he was more blissfully ecstatic than he had been in months. Even the concept that he was about to bed down on a dirty old rock thrilled him.
And as someone who was naturally lazy and significantly adverse to physical exertion and discomfort, he had to admit this was disturbingly striking.
Though the next morning, despite his emotional delirium, it seemed he had his physical limitations, as he had difficulty forcing his limbs to even continue to move.
How had he not thought of this ahead of time? Of course he couldn't survive 3 weeks of spiritual training. He must have been insane!
Well okay. He had to admit it had all seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, but clearly, he must have been desperately irrational at that point.
"Uh.. Maya... I'm really sorry, but I'm not sure I can survive 3 weeks of this... but I don't think I can survive going home either!"
"Oh, it's okay," soothed Maya, "I knew you couldn't handle this. That's why our secret remote mountain training location 'just happens' to be near a major city. We should reach it by tonight."
"Really?" Phoenix almost collapsed in a gratitude of relief.
"Yeah, I already booked a hotel room. There's lots of things to see in the city for the next three weeks..."
When 2 and a half weeks were up, Phoenix came to gradual realisation that he'd been away a long time. He missed Trucy, and even Edgeworth, but, embarrassingly enough, not Iris. He felt terrible. Had he really changed that much since college?
The city featured an expansive casino, and after Phoenix had entered and won a somewhat-major poker tournament, unlimited drinks were pressed on him and Maya as celebration. Dead drunk, he and Maya stumbled around, eventually finding themselves just outside the coin-operated Drive Thru Wedding Chapel.
"It's a Drive-Thru wedding chapel!" slurred Maya. "Isn't that romantic! People can get married whenever!" She rested her hand against the coin receptacle to steady herself.
"Yeah," hiccupped Phoenix in misty-eyed agreement, recalling vague romantic fantasies.
"You know, Nick, I always thought how nice it would be to get married. It's never happening though."
"Never? That's terrible!" Tears filled Phoenix's eyes, recalling the devastating loss of romantic fantasy he kept buried in his saner moments.
"Oh. Don't cry Nick," soothed Maya, hugging him overly affectionately.
"But you said you really wanted to get married. It's tragic if your heart just gets broken!"
"It doesn't matter, it's just a stupid fantasy.."
"But I'd do anything for you, Maya! Because *sob* I know you'll do anything for me!"
Maya began sobbing too, in drunken mutual over-appreciation.
"Wait.." she suddenly recalled. "Weren't you once engaged to somebody.. else?"
"Oh yeah. My Dollie. Wait… I have a picture of her…" Phoenix's unsteady hands thrashed through his wallet and then pockets, but it seemed somewhere along the course of the night, his photo had gone! Perhaps it fell out when he was forking out betting money at the poker table… or did something else happen? Phoenix sifted through a drunken fog of confusion, trying to remember his relationship with Dollie, but without the picture, it was hard to make a mental connection. "No, I think we broke up," he eventually concluded vaguely.
He reached into his still-open wallet and shoved the requisite coins in the slot.
"I hope it doesn't matter we don't have a car," he worried, still alert to contradictions even in his intoxicated state.
The coins activated a computer, and a video link with a bored attendant celebrant, who slid into marginally more attention at the unbridled enthusiasm lighting Maya's delirious face. Phoenix and Maya clutched each other in support to avoid falling over in their enthusiastic renditions of 'I do' to the stock wedding vows the celebrant recited. They eventually succeeded in rendering shakey signatures on the printed-out marriage document, subsequently sent back to the official government wedding registry computers.
"We're married! Let's kiss!" cried Maya, thrilled.
In frenetic over-eagerness, their lips met in a thoroughly un-cousinly manner. When they finally broke apart, both almost collapsed from the intensity of connection.
"Oh. My. God…" Phoenix could not avoid exclaiming aloud. This was thoroughly nothing like with Iris. (Particularly when he had his eyes closed.)
His drunken mind flailed for words to conceptualise the experience, but could only surface bad clichés like 'the planets sliding into cosmic alignment' 'now the last x years of my life make sense' and 'I have found my pre-destined other half.' He gave up and agreed to the sense of Maya's begged request. "Please! Let's do it again!"
The usually-bored celebrant remotely manning proceedings was provoked to cry over the video link. "That was about the most moving display of romantic love I've ever seen here!"
Iris was distraught that Feenie had run away. She'd forgive him but... no! Actually, she was kind of mad! And Cousin Maya seemed to be a terrible influence on him.
Iris felt guilty. Maybe she'd better atone by returning to the shrine to pray. She could pray for Feenie's poker-playing, evidence-forging hobo soul at the same time.
She rang Bikini. "Oh, Iris, I'm so sorry. I can't accept guests now, my back seized up and I'm stuck in bed for 6 weeks."
Bikini all alone, with nobody to look after her?
Maybe Bikini needed her more than Feenie did.
Of course, it was all her fault that the fairytale hadn't worked out this time either, but then again, fairytales weren't real. And just maybe... some of her family were in the end more important to her than Feenie.
Phoenix awoke slowly. His head ached so intensely he could barely open his eyes, but this was eclipsed by an intense delirium he couldn't completely place. It dented somewhat when he became aware of the sounds of bitter sobbing.
"Maya…" he gasped, concern ejecting all awareness of his headache. "What is the matter?"
"I'm *sob* so sorry, Nick! It's all my fault! I'll go and file a divorce right now before anyone notices.." She choked into incomprehensible sobs, collapsing into the gutter.
"W..what are you talking about?"
"H.. how much do you remember?" Maya was eventually able to heave out.
"I.. I remember enough."
Maya evidently took this in the negative interpretation. "I… understand if you never forgive me…"
"Forgive you?" Phoenix was momentarily confused. "Isn't it more like I should be asking you to forgive me…?"
Maya stared blankly.
"Wait," reasoned Phoenix, rubbing his head, "let's just figure out the truth of exactly what happened."
"Right," agreed Maya, attempting to dry her eyes.
They discussed their recollections of the previous night candidly. Nobody felt incentive to use the Magatama.
"I'm so sorry," Maya explained about her 'marriage desire' comment the previous evening. "It was only about some fairytale fantasy I made up years ago. I never, ever expected it to be more than a kids' story."
"Oh, it's okay," mused Phoenix in sympathy. "I had one once too, but they don't seem to really come true, do they?" He paused. "Wait… does that mean you were pretending I was somebody who wasn't me?"
"Oh no," correctly Maya hastily. "It was really about you.. I mean.. no, I wasn't pretending it wasn't you."
"That's all I needed to hear," observed Phoenix.
"Iris, sweetie," soothed Bikini, "I know you're a lovely girl, and you want to forgive Feenie, but him just running off like that wasn't very nice."
Iris had recently tried to suppress some awkward thoughts. It was actually a relief not to have to try to look after Feenie, so ungratifying with all his unrestrainable grape juice consumption vices, the futility of trying to keep track of his shady poker activities (particularly when she was too scared to visit the Hydeout herself), and those incomprehensible and now-cynical ideals he had about 'justice', so different from her own beliefs. (Shouldn't he forgive Mr Gavin?)
Continually trying to cover for him so he could appear sort of respectable was tiring, Feenie so totally resistant and oblivious to her efforts. No, such thoughts were probably sinful.
But looking after Bikini was infinitely more rewarding; Bikini appeared to actually understand her intents to help her. She could also join her in genuine participation in daily rituals for Dahlia's soul, not just polite incomprehension.
"Feenie," ventured Iris, clutching the script Bikini had suggested she write as backup support to intimidation. "I've done some thinking while we were apart and.. and… maybe we should reconsider the engagement while we take more time to work on the relationship."
"Iris? Y.. you want to break off the engagement."
"Y…yes!" Iris managed to gasp out, finally giving conscious admission that Bikini actually.. meant more to her than Feenie now.
"Nick…" ventured Maya, "I'm so happy you decided to admit your feelings for me and everything, but I won't be mad if you still want a divorce…"
"You want one, Maya?"
"No… but if you don't want to already be forced in that kind of commitment.."
"'Already'? We've known each other, how many years now? I guess it was just a wake-up call."
"And I did ruin your previous relationship."
"No," corrected Phoenix. "I think it was already over. Fairytales just aren't real."
"Yeah," agreed Maya. "Nothing in them ever happens."
"Yeah. Or," mused Phoenix contradictorily, "maybe parts of them do."