Author's Note: Hi, guys! Sorry that this chapter is a week late; I was busy all last week doing horrible things and crying. Sounds ominous; it's really not. Anywho, thanks for your epic reviews, you guys are brilliant. (: I hope you support me in this chapter, which I really think you'll like!
~Rainbow Fruit Loop xx
~Irresistible Love and the Turnabout~
Miles sighed quietly to himself as he glanced around the slightly dismal café. It was small and cramped, and, although Phoenix would probably say that it had a cosy feel to it, Miles was beginning to feel somewhat claustrophobic.
Why am I here? Surely I could have made up some excuse as to why I could not come. This is going to be such a waste of time. Swimming; how childlike.
Unsurprisingly - Phoenix wasn't exactly the most reliable person in the world when it came to punctuality - Miles couldn't find the man he was looking for.
Trust you, Wright, to be late.
With a prickling feeling deep in his stomach, Miles sat down at one of the tables, and, even despite himself, willed Phoenix to turn up.
This is going to be a horrendous day. Why did I ever agree to this? Though… I suppose that, if I had to choose one person in the world to share this nightmare with, it would be Phoe- er, Wright.
Stop calling him by his first name.
"Hey, Edgeworth!" Phoenix slumped down in front of Miles, giving the prosecutor a bit of a fright. "You made it!"
Miles frowned. "I said that I was going to come, so don't act so shocked.' he snapped.
Come on, Miles. At least try to be cordial. He's trying to help you in his own special way. Without him, you'd still be at square one.
Phoenix chuckled. "Come on, show me your enthusiasm."
"Don't annoy me, Wright. I'm still trying to understand why you think that this is a good idea."
Phoenix grinned. "It'll be fun!" he said, emphasizing the word 'fun' almost as though he was trying to convince himself that the plan he was carrying out truly was a good idea.
Miles said nothing.
I suppose I can delay this swimming experience by having a coffee in this café.
"Do you want a coffee?" Miles offered, glancing up at the 'Hot Drinks' menu that hung suspended over the counter. "My treat. …Again."
Phoenix, who looked slightly confused at this change in attitude, smiled. "Sure. I'll have… a caramel latte, please."
Miles nodded his head in acknowledgement, and got out of his chair to order the drinks. Briefly, he wondered just how much money he had spent on the past few days simply making sure that Phoenix was fed.
You're an expensive date, Wright.
What? This is definitely not a date. At all.
Shaking his head to chase away his unwanted thoughts, Miles ordered the drinks and went to sit back down with Phoenix.
"They'll be here in a minute."
Phoenix grinned, and Miles got the feeling that he could barely contain his enthusiasm.
He glanced out of the window. He could see the pools from the window, and, although it was only ten o'clock in the morning, they were fairly busy. Perhaps it was full of people who swam for the exercise, but Miles highly doubted that. Knowing his luck, it would be full of screaming, immature children who had no better place to be.
Miles turned his head to look over at Phoenix, and was surprised to note that the defence attorney was studying him carefully.
"What is it?" Miles asked, instantly suspicious. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Phoenix blinked, and shook his head. "It's, uh, nothing; I was just thinking about us."
Phoenix smiled, and Miles couldn't help but notice that his cheeks were pink. "Our… our friendship. Maybe 'friendship' isn't quite the right word to describe whatever it is we have, but… I don't know. I'm just being stupid."
Miles, who was curious as to what Phoenix was thinking, raised an eyebrow. "No, go on. What is it?"
"Uh, it's just; sometimes I wonder what our relationship is. Like… what we would say to people if they asked us what we were to each other. It's, er, something I've been thinking about for a while now."
Miles paused. "Our relationship? Well, obviously, we're…" But then he stopped.
What are we, Wright? I've been feeling strange around you for sometime now. What does this mean? Is it possible that I'm… no, it can't be.
I'm not feeling anything for Phoenix Wright.
Miles was just about to speak up, when a man placed their beverages down on the table. "Anything else?" he questioned.
"No, thank you." Miles replied politely.
Phoenix was watching him expectantly. "So?"
"I think… I think I consider you to be a friend." Miles said slowly, averting his eyes. "I would say that you're," he cleared his throat awkwardly. "I would say that you're a close friend. My best friend, actually."
Phoenix beamed, his dark eyes lighting up with an animated enthusiasm that made something in Miles' stomach stir. "Really? So you don't consider me to be your rival, then?"
Miles shook his head. "…I don't think so. I think our… friendship comes before our courtroom competition."
Phoenix smiled again, and Miles wondered why his affirmation of something Phoenix surely knew already was having such a positive impact on him.
"That's good to know, Edgeworth." he grinned, and Miles felt a little bit of his heart melt.
Friends… I think there might be more to it than that, but I'm not quite sure as to what.
Miles was curious again. "What did you think I was going to say?"
Phoenix shrugged, and took a sip of his latte. "I'm not sure. I thought you'd be all high and mighty and say that I was merely an acquaintance or something."
Miles was silent. It hurt that Phoenix had felt that he hadn't thought anything of their friendship. Perhaps Miles gave Phoenix the impression that he didn't care enough, and… Miles wanted that to change.
You were always going to be more than my acquaintance, Phoenix.
After both men had finished their drinks, Miles shot a last glare at his coffee cup - wishing that it had been larger.
"Let's go swimming now!" Phoenix enthused, jumping up from his chair. He made his way over to the door, and beckoned Miles. "Come on."
Miles followed the bouncing attorney a lot less eagerly, a scowl on his face.
It'll all be over in a few hours.
Phoenix grinned at him, and the two men walked in silence. Miles took the time to - for reasons he didn't want to look into too closely - examine what his friend was wearing.
He looks nice today. Not that he doesn't usually look nice. Because he does. Even in that tatty suit of his. Not that I've noticed how he looks, of course, because I don't notice things like that. Especially not about him.
Miles scowled to himself, and wondered briefly when he had started thinking about his friend so much.
Stop it, Miles. This is getting ridiculous. This is Wright. He's your childhood friend, and your courtroom rival. Stop thinking about him.
Without really noticing it, the two men had reached the entrance of the building.
Phoenix smiled at him. "You'll be fine. Like I said yesterday; it's all about stepping out of your comfort zone."
Miles sighed a tad dramatically, and stormed inside in front of his friend, muttering a grumpy, "That doesn't mean I have to enjoy it," as he went.
The two stopped at the large counter, where Phoenix - who had money for once, and was actually quite proud of it - paid the measly pool fare, which, oh-so-fortunately, allowed them entrance.
As soon as he walked into the pools, Miles couldn't help but to wince.
This is horrendous.
Though it was only ten thirty in the morning, the pools were busy. And, like Miles had feared, it was full of giggling, screaming children who obviously couldn't read the rules suspended on the wall. 'No bombing, no running, no bullying.'
Everything was so loud, and Miles could feel a pounding headache beginning in the back of his head.
"Didn't the doctor say that you shouldn't do any physical activities for a while?" Miles suddenly remembered as he trailed after Phoenix into the changing rooms, avoiding large puddles as he went.
"Yeah, but she said I couldn't do any physical activities for, what, twenty four hours, and it's already been twenty four hours. And, anyways, it's not like I'm going to start swimming lengths or anything."
Miles sighed; visibly frustrated that another one of his efforts had failed. "Well, what are you going to be doing, then?"
"Er, playing around. Going on the waterslide. Doing handstands." Phoenix grinned at him, and Miles resisted the urge to tell him to act like an adult for once.
As they made it into the changing rooms, Miles rolled his eyes. It was small and cramped, foul-smelling and obviously dirty.
I already hate it.
Phoenix gestured to the small cubicle on Miles' right. Miles noticed that only one of the cubicles was free.
"Do you want to get changed in there? Or…" Phoenix smiled, and turned around to indicate that Miles could get changed in the public area. "You know, there."
"I'll try to maintain what little dignity I still have left." Miles scowled, and stepped into the cramped room that smelt moldy and had suspicious marks on the floor.
Avoiding the stains on the cold, wet floor, Miles shut the door and locked it firmly. He opened up the small backpack he had brought with him, and pulled out his swimming shorts.
Absentmindedly, he rummaged around - looking for the shirt he had packed; Miles never had been one for exposing himself in public.
However, after a few minutes of increasingly frantic searching, Miles came to the sudden, sick realization that perhaps he hadn't actually packed his swimming shirt.
I did pack it, didn't I? Didn't I?
After emptying the contents of his bag and confirming that, no, he hadn't packed the shirt, Miles scowled to himself.
Well this is bloody brilliant. How utterly embarrassing. I'm going to have to go out there and tell Wright that I can't swim because I don't have my shirt.
…No, he'll just think that I forgot it on purpose. I don't want him thinking that I'm too cowardly to go swimming.
I can do this.
And, with the forced courage of someone who wants to curl up into a ball and die, Miles unlocked the rusty door and strode into the - thankfully empty, save for Phoenix - changing rooms, his arms wrapped tightly around his naked torso.
I'll just have to pretend that I-
Phoenix wasn't wearing a shirt.
Now, it wasn't the fact that Phoenix wasn't wearing a shirt that made Miles' heart beat at twice its normal speed, it was because, well, Phoenix wasn't wearing a shirt, and he looked good.
Luckily for Miles, Phoenix had his back turned, so he didn't notice Miles' unintentional ogling.
I… I didn't know he worked out…
Phoenix had surprisingly tanned skin, Miles noticed. Even from the back, Miles could tell that he was made up of muscle - slim muscle, perhaps, but that made it all the more attractive to Miles.
His black shorts were a size to big, and the drawstring was doing nothing to keep them in a place where Miles wouldn't be having breathing issues. Instead, the board shorts hung low - invitingly, temptingly, teasingly low - on his thin hips.
And when Phoenix turned around…
The first thing Miles saw was the thin line of hair that ran from his naval and, eventually, disappeared from Miles' inquisitive eyes.
Belatedly, Miles realised that Phoenix was watching him, and he yanked his eyes upwards; not missing Phoenix's modestly muscular chest as he did so.
"I, uh…" Miles trailed off, wondering how he could explain why he had been staring at his friend's body without sounding, well, gay.
"You're not wearing a shirt?" Phoenix asked, raising an eyebrow.
Miles breathed an inward sigh of relief - thankful that Phoenix was as dim as ever; too oblivious to notice that his best friend had just been ogling his body.
Which, obviously, was not what I was doing.
"Of course I'm not wearing a shirt." Miles finally managed to force out; his voice sounding slightly strangled. "Were you expecting me to?"
"Yes." Phoenix answered honestly, and flashed Miles an award-winning grin. "You're always so uptight and private. Well, I'm not complaining, so…" With that, he bounded out of the room - as impatient and animated as always.
As he followed Phoenix, Miles wondered what he had meant by 'I'm not complaining'.
Obviously he just meant something… something not weird. He wouldn't mean it like that, would he? No, of course not. I'm nothing to look at; especially of he's ever looked in the mirror.
Christ, Phoenix, why are you so frustratingly hard to read?
After dumping his bag next to Phoenix's, Miles went and stood next to where his friend was standing at the edge of a large pool. Absentmindedly, Miles marveled at how different their skin colours were; milky white against glossy tan.
"You okay?" Phoenix asked him gently, and Miles remembered that he was supposed to be having a panic attack at the thought of going swimming, and not because he had seen Phoenix's naked chest, and he didn't hate it. At all.
"Uh, fine." Miles replied. "I'm fine."
Phoenix nodded, and, with that, dived into the large pool in a way that Miles would almost call elegant. Miles watched on in amusement as Phoenix's head popped up out of the water. Phoenix then shook his head violently, causing water to spray everywhere.
Just because he hadn't had enough surprises that day, Miles was taken aback, though he didn't quite know why - he was a smart man, and he understood the concepts of physics - to notice that, when Phoenix's hair was wet, it lacked its usual pointed style.
Instead, Phoenix's dark hair hung down around his jaw line - framing his strangely adorable face and reaching his chin.
You look hot, Phoenix.
There was no other way to put it - Phoenix looked hot. His tanned, toned body was glistening with tiny droplets of water, his hair wet and mussed up and all around his face, and, goddamit, that stupidly endearing grin was on his face.
What does this mean, Miles? What does… viewing Wright in this new light mean? You never used to think of him as hot - you always thought that he was a disheveled mess.
Oh, shut up, it means nothing. Surely I can appreciate someone's body without it meaning anything, even if it is Phoenix we're talking about.
Okay, so maybe drooling over his body does make me a little bit gay, but that doesn't matter, does it? It's not like I want Wright of all people. That's just stupid.
Oh, for God's sake, brain; just shut up now. You're not gay, especially not for Wright. Definitely not for Wright. He's your friend. You don't really think that his body is hot, you're just tired.
Yes, that's it. You're tired. You're not thinking properly.
Scowling to himself, Miles unwrapped his arms from his torso and slipped into the pleasantly cool water. He waded out to where Phoenix was floating on his back, and raised an eyebrow as Phoenix smiled lazily up at him.
"It's nice, isn't it?"
Miles sighed, and had to admit that, no, it wasn't as bad as he had been expecting. Though, maybe that was because his brain was distracting him with other, more treacherous thoughts.
"It's all right." Miles allowed, hovering awkwardly next to Phoenix's static body. "I would still have preferred to meet in a café or something."
Phoenix made a noncommittal noise of acknowledgement, and, suddenly, stood up.
"Hey, Edgeworth, can you do a handstand?" Phoenix asked him. Before Miles got the chance to reply, Phoenix ducked under the water, and balanced on his hands; his legs out of the water. He then wobbled slightly, and Miles smirked as he rose to the surface of the water.
He raised an eyebrow. "You're rubbish, Wright. I can see why you're a lawyer and not part of a synchronized swimming team."
Phoenix chuckled. "Yeah, because you're so much better than me." he challenged.
Before he could change his mind, Miles submerged into the water and made his legs as straight as possible. He managed to stay balanced for nearly twenty seconds more than Phoenix, and, when he emerged, he smirked.
Phoenix was grinning at him like an idiot.
"Aw, see, you can have fun!" Phoenix enthused, his gaze softening. "The Miles I knew back in grade school is still in there, somewhere."
Miles sighed softly, and wiped water from his eyes. "Perhaps he is." he said gently; more to himself than Phoenix.
I just… need someone to find him.
Addressing Phoenix this time, Miles raised an eyebrow. "Why is it so hard for you to comprehend that I have fun sometimes?"
Phoenix's eyebrows drew together, and he held back a laugh. "Er, because you're you-"
"Strangely enough," Miles muttered sarcastically.
Phoenix shot him a look. "And I always presumed that your idea of 'fun' would be watching Steel Samurai re-runs with a cup of tea." he continued.
Deciding that it was time to ignore the conversation, Miles said nothing about Phoenix's - all too true - accusation.
Phoenix soon piped up. "Can we go on the waterslide now?"
"Great." Phoenix enthused, making a strange face at his friend. "Let's go." He grabbed Miles' arm, and started leading him towards the waterslides.
Miles groaned under his breath, though he wasn't sure whether he was groaning because he didn't want to go on the waterslide, or because Phoenix was touching him again.
"See, there's three different waterslides." Phoenix explained as the two made their way over to the metal stairs. "One's for kids, the second one's more, er, fun-" he hedged around the word 'terrifying', Miles noticed. "And the last one is absolutely brilliant."
Miles looked upwards at the twisting plastic of the waterslides.
"If you think I'm going on one of the waterslides, you've got to be joking." Miles hissed. "I am not - I repeat, am not - going to partake in any activities involving those horrendous looking… things."
Phoenix rolled his eyes playfully, as if to say, 'Oh, what are you like?'
"They look horrendous." Miles repeated, shuddering.
"You'll be fine. You're the Demon Prosecutor, remember? You're not supposed to be scared of anything."
"I'm not scared." Miles lied, noticing that he was still following Phoenix to the waterslide, and that Phoenix still had his hand on his arm.
"Sure you're not. It's okay to be afraid, Edgeworth. Even the best of us have fears."
"I'm not scared."
"Just admit it."
The two had reached the steps up to the waterslides, and Miles decided that they looked even more frightening up close.
"Coming?" Phoenix enquired.
"Scaredy cat." Phoenix shot Miles a glance, and slowly made his way up the metal stairs.
Miles glanced around him. He was standing amidst a group of small children - children who were watching as their older brothers - older brothers who were probably only nine - braved the most terrifying waterslide.
Feeling foolish amongst the children, Miles sighed, and made his way up after Phoenix.
"Decided to join me, Edgeworth?" Phoenix sounded far more amused than Miles would have liked.
"You wouldn't have shut up about it otherwise." Miles grumbled, his slight fear of heights preventing him from looking downwards.
When they reached the top of the steps, Phoenix turned to Miles. "Which slide do you want to go on?"
Miles looked at the three different slide openings.
Best go on the middle one. Then we won't have to wait in line with children, and I won't have to go on the last one…
"The middle one." Miles selected carefully.
Phoenix grinned at him, and made his way over to the - thankfully cue-less - slide.
"I'll go in the front." Phoenix said as the two reached the entrance. "Sit behind me and hold onto my waist."
Phoenix clambered into the opening of the slide, and held onto the plastic handles at his sides to prevent himself from going down without Miles.
With a huff, Miles cautiously climbed in after Phoenix, and hesitantly placed his arms around Phoenix's waist.
"Let's go!" Phoenix released his grip on the plastic railing, and Miles felt himself hurtling down the slide.
There was a sudden splash of cold water on his face, and Miles realised that they were plunging down the slide faster than he would have liked; twisting and turning painfully around every corner.
But them everything went dark; completely and utterly black.
Miles gasped loudly; suddenly afraid of the tight, dark space. He was overcome with a sudden feeling of claustrophobia - a feeling he hadn't experienced since that fateful day in the elevator.
"It's all right, Edgeworth!" Phoenix yelled over the rushing sound of water. "It's meant to be like this!"
Miles pulled himself closer to Phoenix in response - clutching desperately at his slim waist.
Oh Christ. Please don't faint. That would be utterly degrading. Please don't faint.
He pressed his eyes closed, and tried to breathe normally.
In, out. In, out. In, out.
A small part of him noticed that Phoenix was shouting, "Whooop!" at the top to his lungs.
At least someone's enjoying this object of torture.
A particularly violent turn in the waterslide made Miles gasp again, and, involuntarily, he dug his nails into Phoenix's soft skin. He briefly wondered if Phoenix would be marked by him - deep red crescent moons - and the thought made him shiver.
Surely it should be ending soon…
As if on cue, the waterslide came to an abrupt stop - causing both men to tumble out of it and into the pool below. Limbs were entwined; legs, arms, even bodies, and so, rather shamefully, Miles pushed himself away from Phoenix.
Immediately, Phoenix noticed the strange look on Miles' face.
"What's wrong?" he asked, pushing his still-mesmerizing hair out of his eyes.
"It's, uh, nothing, really." Miles cleared his throat.
"Well. The slide was just so… dark and enclosed. It reminded me of that day in the elevator. But I'm fine. It's nothing."
Phoenix shook his head; spraying water droplets everywhere. "That incident really screwed you up, huh? Reckon you'll ever learn to live with it?"
"No, I don't think so. It… It caused me a lot of heartache; too much to forget, I think."
"The incident after the DL-6 case caused me a lot of heartache." Phoenix commented casually, fingers drifting down to drag across the surface of the water.
"The SL-9 incident?" Miles asked, confused.
"No, not that one. The one after the SL-9 case."
Miles raised an eyebrow.
Which incident is this? I'm sure I asked Franziska to tell me if there were any serious cases while I was away. Which case could possibly have caused him a lot of heartache?
Phoenix turned slightly pink. "You know, the incident when the note 'Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth chooses death' was found on your desk." he said, the emotions in his brown eyes unreadable.
"Oh…" Miles was at a loss for words. He had known that his 'suicide' had upset his friend, but, when he sat at his desk and wrote the note, he would never have thought that Phoenix would be 'heartbroken' about it. "Did that, er, incident really concern you?"
Phoenix looked positively aghast. "Of course it did! You're my best friend, and I'd only just found you again after all those years. Of course I was heartbroken. I thought you had killed yourself, and that I hadn't been able to do anything to help. That… That you didn't want me to do anything to help."
Miles swallowed thickly, a strange sort of emotion building up in his stomach. "I'm sorry, Wright. I had no idea that I… that I hurt you so much. When I left the note, I did so thinking no one would care."
Phoenix's gaze softened. "Everyone cared. You should have seen Detective Gumshoe. And I definitely cared. I'll admit it - I was a bit depressed for a while. And…" He paused.
"And?" Miles prompted, mildly aware that the two men were almost indecently close. He could feel Phoenix's warm breath ghosting along his cheeks, and it was a sensation that he hadn't experienced before.
He was glad that the pool they were standing in was almost empty.
"And, that first night when I realised that you were gone, I cried myself to sleep." Phoenix admitted quietly, lowering his eyes to watch Miles' reflection in the water.
You… cried? Because of… me? My 'death'?
"I'm sorry, Wright." Miles murmured quietly. "I really am."
"It's all right." Phoenix said gently, taking a miniscule step forwards. "You're here now."
It was then that it suddenly occurred to Miles that, if he were to tilt his head to the left, and move forward ever-so-slightly, then the two men would be kissing. It was strange, because even though he despised physical contact of any kind, Miles wanted nothing more than to connect his lips with Phoenix's; to feel Phoenix's silky skin beneath his fingertips.
He wanted the physical connection so much that it almost hurt.
He glanced upwards and found himself staring into Phoenix's beautiful eyes, and there was something there, in those dark orbs, that made Miles think that, maybe, Phoenix was thinking the very same thing.
Miles' breath caught in his throat as Phoenix's gaze shifted downwards to quickly glance at his mouth. Probably without realizing it, Phoenix tilted his head downwards, angling his mouth in such a way that it would take no effort at all for Miles to capture his friend's velvety lips with his own.
Is this all in my head, Phoenix? Or… Or is this something you want too?
Slowly, Phoenix licked his lips - not seductively, but nervously - and Miles found himself following the action; his heart thudding and his eyes unblinking.
Phoenix was breathing heavily, Miles noted, and his face was a pale shade of crimson; utterly adorable in the childish way that only Phoenix could manage.
I think… Phoenix, I think I'm…
Slowly, and without thinking about the consequences of his actions, Miles leaned forward; gently, quietly, softly, causing noses to brush and-
Phoenix pulled back and ducked under the water.
When he surfaced, Phoenix grinned at Miles, though the prosecutor got the feeling that it was a bit of a forced smile.
"Well, I've had enough angst for one day." he announced, running his fingers through his hair.
"Can't handle emotional situations, Wright?" Miles smirked, his heart pounding painfully in his chest.
Damn it. Why was I so unguarded? I genuinely wanted to kiss my best friend then. What's wrong with me?
… And, how embarrassing; Phoenix obviously doesn't feel… the way I do, whatever that is. Good job, Miles, you've gone and stuffed everything up between us now.
Phoenix smiled in response. "Guess not."
There was an awkward silence as both men debated about whether they should say something about the event that had almost transpired.
Should I tell him that… despite the odds, despite everything I believed about myself, I truly wanted to kiss him?
But, perhaps that was a confession for another day.