It had been a long time since Miles had a pleasant dream.
For most of his life he'd been haunted by his father's death, reliving the painful memory every night for fifteen years. His unconscious mind had apparently grown accustomed to misery; now he tended to dream only when faced with uncertain or troublesome events. Most recently he had dreamed about Phoenix, his agony over his capture and possible murder manifested into new, anxious nightmares.
But this time his mind had taken pity on him, and had given him a most… enjoyable dream indeed.
Thoughts of Phoenix had lingered, distracting and all too tempting, particularly after that searing affirmation in the hospital. And it seemed those desires had followed him into his sleep. He could feel a pleasant weight on top of him, and with the certainty of dreaming he knew it was Phoenix lying against him. The weight shifted, hands moving to his shoulders and chest, followed by the soft press of lips to his skin. He followed the sensation as it traveled to his breastbone, to his navel, further and further down until he dreamed he felt Phoenix's breath against him.
He had pictured this more times than he dared count, had imagined the feeling of Phoenix's lips–
Ah. Yes, just like that: lips pressing against him, tongue laving in slow, deliberate trails, until at last he felt himself engulfed in warm, wet heat. Even in his sleep he heard himself moan, a low rumble that shook his chest and set his pulse racing. That hot mouth moved around him, enthusiasm making up for a lack of fine technique. The brush of tongue against him, rough-soft and sweeping right there, made every muscle in his body twitch in pleasure.
His hands drifted down automatically, searching, and as his fingertips carded through short, soft spikes, Miles gasped as he realized this was not simply a dream. His eyes flew open, irreversibly awake. Gaze traveling down the length of his own nude body, he saw the hotel sheets pushed aside and found that he was not alone.
Because Phoenix- Phoenix was–
His head collapsed back against his pillow, heart thudding with the memory of the previous night, scarcely believing they had–
The thought was abruptly cut off as Phoenix slid even further down his length. Breath heaving in and out, Miles forced himself to keep his hips still. He let his eyes fall closed again, allowing him to turn every ounce of his focus to the slide of lips and tongue against him, faster, bringing him right to the edge all too quickly. His fingers entwined in those disheveled spikes.
"Phoenix," he murmured, voice low and rough, the name almost reverent on his tongue. He heard – he felt – an answering hum vibrate through those lips and over him, through him.
He had to- he needed to see–
Miles wrenched his eyes open and found deep, guileless blue ones looking up at him, and the enormity of it overwhelmed him.
Muscles seizing, mouth falling open in a wordless gasp, he tried to push Phoenix away. Instead, Phoenix stubbornly sealed his mouth around him, blue eyes alight and piercing, as sensation overtook him and crystallized into deep, aching release.
"God, Miles," he heard Phoenix mutter, breathless, once he had been released. Phoenix rubbed his palm gently against his hip as the last tremors of pleasure pulsed through him. "You're just – amazing."
He let out a shaky laugh. For the first time since awakening, his mind started to arrange itself into proper order, instead of the staccato snatches of thought that Phoenix had reduced it to. The smile Phoenix gave him, pleased and brilliant, felt warm like sunlight.
He couldn't even chastise himself for such a sentimental, foolish thought. Of all the things he had expected to happen in his life, the fact that Phoenix was alive and, moreover, sharing his bed was more amazing than he could find the proper words to express. It left him a little uneasy, waiting for the illusion to shatter; and a bit uncertain, suddenly sharing not just his bed but his life, himself, with the person he valued above all others; but most of all, it left him profoundly happy.
Phoenix pressed a kiss to his stomach, and rose to disappear into the restroom.
Miles remained on the bed, his breathing beginning to return to normal. The morning light gave the hotel room a crisp glow, still early in the day. Sated from his release, and delighted at that satisfied look Phoenix had given him, Miles felt a bright surge of hope spread through his chest, his limbs, into every bit of him. He was not given to extremes, but he couldn't recall ever feeling so content: this was truly the best morning of his life.
And he had almost let this chance slip away.
The sound of the gunshot in the shipping container was burned into his memory, just like the echo of another gunshot in an elevator. He remembered opening his eyes, a leaden weight in his stomach, and found Phoenix still standing, still breathing; the momentary silence was broken as Christopher Banks cried out in agony. The gun clattered to the ground as Banks staggered back, Agent Chase leaping forward to pin him down; and Phoenix, unconscious again and no longer supported, tipped forward.
Miles had never moved so fast, heart racing manically, as he skidded forward across the container floor to catch him.
He had despaired once more when Wright could not remember their kiss, the moment stolen from them. His actions had nearly cost Phoenix his life. Seeing him pale and bruised and hurt in the hospital, he had convinced himself that Phoenix would be safer, happier, oblivious of his feelings and away from him. Consumed with self-loathing, he had isolated himself in his office, rebuffing all attempts to draw him out.
But Franziska had forced her way in, and drove him to action.
"You are a fool," she had admonished from his sofa, arms crossed, tapping her finger against her elbow in an all-too-familiar gesture.
"I will not lose my little brother again because of Phoenix Wright," she interrupted, eyes and words both sharp as diamond. "If you're going to be foolish, then do so with him. Be perfect fools together."
She had marched to him and faced him head-on, leveling a von Karma glare at him. "It seems for once you need to catch up with me, Miles Edgeworth."
He owed her a tremendous debt.
Phoenix returned and clambered onto the sheets beside him, and pressed a quick kiss to the corner of his lips; he tasted like mint, and early morning stubble scraped across his jaw. Miles tugged Phoenix against him to deepen the kiss, his senses reawakening with the warm body curled into him.
"I figured I'd get some practice in while you were asleep," Phoenix admitted when they parted, cheeks darkened red.
"Mm." A slow smile curled his lips. "I admit it's an exceedingly pleasant way to awaken."
"Yeah." Phoenix shifted his hips slightly, enough to press fully against the side of his thigh. "Do you want to, um, return the favor?"
He felt his heartbeat pick up again at the hope and desire laid plain in Phoenix's voice. Perhaps this morning held even more promise than he thought.
Without giving any sign or warning Miles promptly turned and pushed Phoenix beneath him, enjoying the sound of his breath hitching in surprise. He lay against him, covering him, skin-to-glorious-skin. So close together again, he could feel how much Phoenix needed his own release. Some distant corner of his mind marveled at the fact that Phoenix would want this with him, even as the rest of it was wholly preoccupied with the sight before him.
Blue eyes stared at him, their depths endless, growing darker as Phoenix's breath slowed and turned shallow with anticipation. Dark hair, soft and messy and still spikey, tousled around his head on the pillow. Skin lightly bronzed by the California sun, a light dusting of hair across his chest and enticingly down his navel. Hard lines, strong thighs and biceps, no longer hidden by the fabric of that inexpensive blue suit. Even the last vestiges of bruises couldn't detract from Phoenix's striking looks; they merely added appealing shadow to the firm lines of his torso.
For each one he had suffered Miles vowed to bring him pleasure ten times more, a hundred times, penance for endangering him. It would take a lifetime to apologize, and more to repay Phoenix for saving him. For believing in him. Loving him.
Phoenix Wright loved him.
His heart swelled with emotion he thought long stamped out by von Karma and his days as the Demon Prosecutor. Miles knew, with the conviction of a man who prized truth above all other ideals, that he loved Phoenix in return.
With one hand he laced his fingers with Phoenix's, and the other he brought to his cheek, catching the stubble, to guide their lips together. The touch of Phoenix's tongue to his own, hot, needy, sent sparks through his nerves. He hadn't yet recovered fully, but with the way Phoenix arched against him, hips rocking into his own, he could sense the stirrings of renewed arousal.
He pulled away in the midst of their kiss, ignoring Phoenix's indignant noise, to nose against his messy hair.
"What is it you want me to do, Phoenix?"
His voice was low, still getting used to the morning, a register deeper than his usual tones. He didn't miss the shudder that crept over Phoenix as he murmured near his ear. When he received no answer, he ran his hand slowly across Phoenix's chest down to his stomach.
"What do you want?" he repeated, pressing his mouth to the divot at his throat. Perhaps he should repay Phoenix's mark as well, though the man's neck was far too exposed to seriously entertain the idea. Elsewhere, perhaps…
"Y-You're not gonna make me spell it out, are you?" Phoenix's voice was tight, distracted, Adam's apple bobbing precariously.
He allowed himself a smirk. "I'm sure with your spelling, it would make for some interesting activities."
Phoenix groaned, whole body shifting with need. "Just–"
He silenced Phoenix's plea by closing his mouth around one of the dusky buds on his chest. Teeth lightly scraping, teasing, he let his hands drift upward in a long, heavy caress, the way Phoenix had enjoyed the previous evening. He was rewarded with hips canting into him.
"Mi-iiles…" His name dragged between parted lips, caught between a surprised huff and frustrated groan. Phoenix wrapped his legs around him, heels digging into his calves, fingers clenched at his shoulders, trying to drag and push him inexorably down.
He glanced up to catch the look on Phoenix's face, and spotted the lubricant bottle lying on the nightstand – and Miles's pulse quickened as he realized exactly how he wanted to give Phoenix his release.
The halting exhale of breath, as Miles finally closed his mouth around Phoenix, set his blood racing, hot and thrumming. He savored the taste of Phoenix on his tongue, the smooth hard length sliding between his lips, scent close and masculine and appealing. He brushed slickened fingers against Phoenix, studying his expression; moved them gently into him; let his tongue drag along his length in distracting wet lines as muscles gradually relaxed and welcomed him.
When Phoenix nearly arched off the bed, eyes wide with shock and pleasure, Miles was ready once more.
"Lie on your stomach."
Miles could feel his chest rumble with contentment as he let his eyes, and his hands, trace the muscles across Phoenix's skin. Strong shoulders tapered down to a trim waist, and Miles kissed the nape of Phoenix's neck and pressed his lips along the line of his spine down to the small of his back, stopping just at the swell of firm flesh.
Phoenix bent his knee and brought one leg forward, voice low with want as he breathed, "Yes."
Only a moment of hesitation, a moment to capture the image of Phoenix waiting for him, to know that Phoenix trusted him and wanted him. Every emotion Miles kept bottled inside, pain and gratitude and unfathomable love, spilled out into senseless, foolish endearments. He grasped Phoenix's hips and pushed himself inside, muscles tight with the effort of moving slowly. At last Phoenix enveloped him and his senses were devastated, overrun, lost in heat and pleasure. To give and to take, to push down onto Phoenix or to bury himself in Phoenix's warmth – both filled him with aching, immeasurable bliss.
Chest against Phoenix's back, Miles maneuvered them onto their sides so that Phoenix was half-lying on the bed, half-lying against him. Phoenix's thigh slid over his own, leaving him open and exposed. Almost every inch of him was within his reach, just as Miles wanted, so that he could give him every ounce of pleasure he possibly could.
He rocked forward and slid his palm across heated skin. Phoenix bowed his back, gasping, as Miles skimmed across the buds on his chest, down past his navel. He wrapped his long fingers around Phoenix's length, tunneled around him. With every grind of his hips he pushed Phoenix into his hand, pleasure inescapable: only a few thrusts and he had Phoenix writhing against him.
He usually scoffed at sentimentality. But with Phoenix leaning flush against him, head thrown back onto his shoulder, chest rising and falling rapidly with barely-controlled pants, arching up into his hand and back down onto him, little moans of need escaping his parted lips – Miles was ready to admit Phoenix was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
And as Phoenix cried out his name, clenching around him, shaking, trembling, spilling against his stomach, Miles shuddered and met him in that moment of perfect pleasure and release.
Phoenix pulled Miles's hand to his chest and weaved their fingers together, as they leaned against each other and caught their breaths. As his heartbeat returned to something more normal, all of Miles's senses lingered on Phoenix: the scent of his hair, the taste of his skin, the stretch of his calf as he ran his toes – his toes – along the firm muscle. Phoenix's eyes, bright blue and filled with warmth. His voice, softly speaking his name.
"Miles? You still here?"
He blinked, almost overwhelmed by the intensity of the emotions pooling in his chest, and tightened his arms around Phoenix in response. Phoenix let out a short, breathy laugh.
"I think that seals it, Miles," Phoenix said, neck turned to kiss along his jaw. His eyes grew sharper, playful and sincere all at once. "We have to stay in this hotel room forever."
They would have to leave eventually, of course. But for the first time in his life, Miles was content to shut himself away and forget the rest of the world existed, not wrapped in despair but filled with joy.
Three weeks after the best morning of his life, Edgeworth returned to Los Angeles.
He had been left with few tasks while confined to the hotel room. He had reorganized his personal affairs, including his finances. He had his case files, though most of his trials had been reassigned. The police occasionally dropped by to deliver news on the investigation. One bewildered officer had even handed over a care package, bundled in Samurai wrapping with a note from the Master of Kurain. The parcel was filled with tea and sweets, and several colorful drawings from Pearl: an unexpected, and touching, gift.
With his responsibilities temporarily lightened, Edgeworth had appreciated his forced vacation. After having kept his feelings at bay for so long, once the dam was broken, he had thoroughly enjoyed the long stretches of uninterrupted time alone with Phoenix.
It almost seemed like a dream.
During their sojourn, Agent Chase had offered Christopher Banks a deal: information on the counterfeiting ring in exchange for a reduced sentence. She had built an impressive pile of evidence against him, implicating him in the murders of the previous prosecutors and police officer. In exchange for his cooperation, the state would press for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.
Banks had agreed, on one condition.
One by one, members of the counterfeiting ring were apprehended. With their honeypot in custody and fully cooperative, the police and the FBI wasted no time in shutting down the ring's operation. Edgeworth had been cleared to return home, as had Wright – which meant it was time for the prosecutor to hold up his end of Agent Chase's bargain.
Wright had secluded himself in his office, lazing about on the couch and watching inane cable programs. He had his cell phone out, complaining to Maya on the other end of the line about the terrible quality of daytime television. Edgeworth knew it was a determined, deliberate indolence, a way for Phoenix to keep his mind occupied instead of dwelling on other matters.
They both had to build their defenses for today.
"If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you're free to leave," Agent Chase said as he cleared the security checkpoint with her and entered the prison's visiting area. "You don't even have to talk if you don't want to."
"On the contrary," Edgeworth stated as he settled into the hard plastic chair facing the reinforced glass partition, "I find I have many words. The difficulty lies in holding my tongue."
Agent Chase, standing behind him, placed a hand on top of his shoulders and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "You can swear at him if it helps, yell at him, call him any name you want. He only asked to see you; he didn't say it had to be polite."
Call him any name you want.
Edgeworth considered her advice as he heard her heels clicking away, leaving him alone in the tiny, private visitor's cell. The lone security camera would record their conversation, though only Agent Chase would have access to the tape. She had promised to edit out anything personal or embarrassing. He trusted her to be discreet.
She had fired first. He owed her a tremendous debt, too.
The indistinct, muffled sound of the heavy door opening on the other side of the glass drew his attention. Flanked by two officers, a man in an orange holding jumpsuit was escorted to the small chair in front of the divider. Once he was seated and secured, the officers shot Edgeworth a dubious look. He nodded, and moments later he was alone with the inmate.
Incarceration had not been kind.
The once-smooth strands of dark hair had become frazzled, thin wisps that obscured his face. His right arm was locked in a plaster cast, secured with a strap around his neck. Edgeworth had been told a full recuperation was unlikely; the nerve damage was too severe. The orange jumpsuit was stark against his sallow, pallid skin, a far cry from his fitted, flattering suit. He sat slumped, shoulders rounded, defeated. Even his eyes had dulled to a tarnished, brownish-red.
They looked at each other. Edgeworth almost felt a pang of pity, buried beneath his simmering anger. Taking a long, steadying breath, he reached for the phone receiver and held it to his ear.
Slowly, moving clumsily with his non-dominant hand, the inmate picked up the receiver on his side.
"Why did you request my presence, Mister Miller?"
The man on the other side of the glass winced. "I preferred Christopher Banks."
He had had several aliases: Alexander King. James Worthington. Christian LaCroix. Christopher Banks. A different name for each city, for each victim. A different identity. A different life.
"Your legal name is John Miller."
Banks – Miller – curled his lip in disgust. "So depressingly common, a boring name."
"You have not answered my question."
He heard a long sigh over the receiver. "Do I need a reason?"
Edgeworth bristled; he could nearly feel the hairs on his neck rise, a tremor of rage erupting in his chest. But he was disciplined; the only outward hint he allowed was a tightening of his jaw.
"My time is not so plentiful to waste it on you." He rose, moving to set the receiver back into its holder.
"Was he worth it?"
Edgeworth froze. Their eyes locked, grey and red, both sets filled with anger and loathing.
Miller smirked, and cradled his receiver closer. "He's broken now."
Heart pounding frantically, Edgeworth wrapped himself in icy fury. It was an old, comfortable sort of anger, the kind he wore when he cared only for his record and for punishing criminals. It reminded him of von Karma, the disdain and the obsession with perfection. If anyone deserved Edgeworth's contempt, it was the defeated, imperfect failure, the broken wreck of a man imprisoned before him. It would be a simple thing, to destroy what was left of the man's dignity.
Miller had wanted the Demon Prosecutor, after all.
But that man, the one Edgeworth used to be, was only a shell now. It was a weapon, a shield, a façade used sparingly. Wright had brought out the best in him.
"If you believe you have broken Phoenix Wright, you are mistaken."
He chose his next words carefully. Nothing could hurt quite like the truth.
"Everything you've done has served to draw us closer together. I believe we're going to be quite… happy."
Miller blinked, taken aback. He had obviously expected Phoenix to still suffer, for the two of them to be driven apart. Their bond shattered. Something dark passed over Miller's face, his expression faltering.
Perhaps living well truly was the best revenge.
After a moment of stunned silence, Miller gathered what remained of his composure. "Well. I suppose I'll see you in court." His tone was sullen, a final effort to lash out with the promise of an embarrassing trial.
Edgeworth shook his head.
"No, you won't. Regulations prevent me from pursuing my own case against you." He let the corners of his mouth quirk up. "I leave that to my sister."
He met those startled eyes for the last time. "Goodbye, Mister Miller."
Edgeworth replaced the receiver and turned away. He trusted Franziska to perfectly conduct the trial, which meant he would never have to see Christopher Banks – John Miller – ever again.
No more time wasted on foolish mistakes.
Edgeworth felt lighter as he exited the visiting area, as though a weight he had been unaware of carrying had been lifted from his shoulders. A tension, slowly starting to uncoil.
Agent Chase met him outside the security checkpoint, a small, sympathetic smile on her face. "I can only imagine how difficult that was."
As she looked him over, she drew in a sharp breath, her demeanor turning professional. "You've helped us keep our end of the bargain. The FBI and the police appreciate your assistance." She paused, waiting for him to meet her gaze. "And so do I."
He gave her a brisk nod and strode toward the entryway, anxious to leave the prison far behind.
She matched his pace. "You'll be informed once the case goes to trial. From this point on the local police will be in charge of wrapping things up."
When they reached the edge of the parking lot, she stopped him with a hand at his elbow. "Prosecutor." At his expectant look, she held out her hand. "I fly out this evening. It's been a pleasure working with you."
He hesitated, remembering everything she had done to help Phoenix, and all he felt he owed her. Something must have shown in his expression; her eyes softened as she waited for him. He grasped her hand, hold firm, and his voice was thicker than normal. "And you, Agent Chase. Thank you for all you've done."
He was grateful she didn't press; the gleam in her eye told him she understood.
"Take care of Detective Gumshoe, once you're back working together."
He raised one of his brows, feeling more comfortable on familiar ground. "I already recommended a raise, didn't I?"
"Well, I suppose that counts." She laughed and pulled her hand back. "Give my regards to Mister Wright. I'm happy for you both."
Edgeworth felt his face warm, but answered her regardless: "So am I."
To his surprise, Phoenix was not sprawled out on the office couch when Edgeworth returned. He was quietly working at the back desk, papers stacked a little unsteadily beside him. He was even fully dressed, tie straightened, jacket on.
It made Edgeworth's pulse pick up, heart beating more firmly.
Phoenix swiveled around in the chair and smiled softly at him. "Turns out work is better than mindless daytime talk shows to stay distracted."
"I should hope work is normally more than just a distraction, Wright."
"Yeah. But today was…" He trailed off, head turning to stare absently out the window, expression growing somber. "Did he say anything?"
Edgeworth was quick to respond, hoping to stamp out that resignation in Wright's voice. "He wanted to gloat." Phoenix's eyes flicked back toward him, and Edgeworth gave him a tight smile. "He was unable to do so."
A slow, meandering grin worked its way across Wright's mouth. There was something stunning in the way that Phoenix could look at him and know his meaning. Even more amazing were the emotions laid plain on his face, everything Phoenix had once held back now free and open.
He was helpless in the face of that answering grin. Miles shifted forward, dragged Phoenix to his feet by his lapels, and soundly kissed him.
They could finally have this. They could be happy together. It was a potent, exhilarating thought, filling Edgeworth with deep, immeasurable joy.
Holding the cheap, endearing suit material, Edgeworth brushed his thumb over the topmost buttonhole on Phoenix's lapel. It was empty.
He abruptly frowned when they parted.
Phoenix tilted his head, curious. "What's wrong?" He followed Edgeworth's gaze and chuckled sadly. "Oh, yeah, I guess it's gone now. I should put in for a re-issue."
Edgeworth cleared his throat. "There's no need."
He reached into his trouser pockets and found Wright's badge, nestled against his own. Moments later he pinned it back in place on Phoenix's jacket; he could practically feel the smile radiating from Wright.
"You know, I'm the one who usually shows that off," Phoenix teased. "Should I guess why you had it?"
"I'm sure you can work it out on your own." He felt his face warm, but he could endure the momentary embarrassment for the satisfaction of seeing Phoenix happy.
Badge back in place, Phoenix truly looked complete.
He hadn't realized he was staring.
Phoenix moved forward, arms outstretched, and drew Miles to him, and Miles found himself kissing Phoenix, again and again, utterly, happily lost.
They had suffered. Had endured hardship. Had both been fools and had chased after a dream – and now they finally belonged with each other.
It had been a long way to fall in love.
Author's Notes: Thank you to everyone who has read A Long Way to Fall. I had no idea ALWTF would grow so much! It's been an extremely emotional journey for me to write, and I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed telling this story.
Thank you to my most wonderful beta and friend, akadriver. This story wouldn't have finished without you, and I am thankful beyond words that we could work together. A huge thank you to the Big Bang community for all their excitement to write and create - particularly to Surreality for your amazing artwork and encouragement, to Madra for your support, and to Tellezara for keeping the Big Bang together.
To everyone who has commented on the story here or elsewhere, or let me know how much they liked reading this – you have my most sincere, my most heartfelt gratitude.
Thank you so much for reading A Long Way to Fall!