Destined to Repeat

If Phoenix cared about that sort of thing, he would think it sad that Mia had to die. Not sad enough to keep her alive, of course, but sad enough to merit a bit of nostalgia, maybe even a visit to her grave.

Sometimes he wondered if she had begun to suspect him after all. Mia never would have let him pin his first murder (poor, poor Doug) on Dahlia if she was aware of it back then of course, but it had been three years, and the Chief was possibly the most observant person he knew.

Only, not quite observant enough. But he digressed.

It was the afternoon after Phoenix's first courtroom victory, after Larry's full acquittal, and Mia had asked him to explain why he became a lawyer. She already knew most of it. Really all she needed was a name at this point. Either way, Phoenix had agreed, and they'd met up at the appointed time: nine o'clock at the office.

And Phoenix had explained everything. Everything about fourth grade, and Larry, and Miles. Speaking more honestly about his class trial than he had done for anyone else before.

That sort of led him into the statistics of the matter. I've got to meet Miles again, he told her, and she repeated, Miles Edgeworth, as if she still couldn't quite believe it. Phoenix nodded. I've got to meet him, and I've got to do it in court, because if I tried stalking him he'd have a restraining order on me before I could say 'origami.'

Mia looked amused. Probably didn't know how seriously Phoenix had considered that alternative.

Anyway, there are a lot of prosecutors in this city, right? he continued.

There are a lot of criminals to be prosecuted against, she murmured.

Right, yeah, definitely, said Phoenix, but I mean… since there are so many prosecutors, and since cases are assigned to the district attorneys pretty randomly, the chances of me meeting Miles in court anytime soon is kind of low. Right?

Well –

Phoenix cut her off. Unless, I can get myself on some high-profile murder cases. 'Cause those only go to the top dudes at the Prosecutors' Office. Then I'd have like a one-in-six chance of facing him in court, since there's only like five or six prosecutors who deal with those.

You've done your research, she said neutrally.

Phoenix could tell she was getting suspicious though. It was about time. Maybe he should wrap this up.

So, in other words, I'll need to kill six people tops – or, only a couple if I'm lucky – and I'm bound to be facing Miles for at least one of the cases.

You'll need to – what?

And I mean, aside from the fact that you're here and it's convenient, Phoenix continued, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, you being alive sort of poses a problem for me. 'Cause, if I'm working for your firm and we get some great murder cases, the obvious thing is for you to take them, not me. You only had me take this case because the defendant was my best friend. So, really, if I'm to get anywhere, you just have to be out of the way first, you know?

She was backed up against her desk, looking so horrified it was almost funny. But Phoenix knew it wasn't exactly socially correct to chuckle while speaking of one's imminent death, so he managed to just grin his bright, vaguely sheepish grin at her instead as he hefted Larry's statue in his hands.

Sorry, Chief. Thanks for everything.

For the majority of his life, Phoenix had searched for someone who could understand him, at least a little bit. Someone who could understand the feeling of being cold and dead and still breathing. Someone who had two different faces; neither of which were truly them.

He'd thought he had found what he'd always wanted in Dahlia. He figured out quite quickly what the bottle necklace really was, and so had smiled and accepted it and agreed to go out with her. When she asked for it back, though, he refused, telling her it was 'his precious treasure.' The look on her face had been priceless.

Now, if there was one thing he missed about his 'Dollie,' it was her suspicion of everybody. It was so attuned to the slightest deception, so charming in Phoenix's opinion – she had figured out faster than anyone else just how mad Phoenix was, and thus they began their little act, their dance of death around each other. They acted so sickeningly sweet in public, with the pet names and the sweaters and the daily lunch dates, all the while eyeing each other for potential weak spots and ever attempting to get rid of the other – in the cutest, flirtiest way possible, of course.

He had never known he could be so happy.

Of course, it couldn't last. They killed Doug Swallow together with full understanding that only one of them – the more clever and devious of the two – would be escaping prison. They each framed the other. They each acted like idiots when the court case came around. They each put up a fantastic show of trying to protect the other from harm.

Now, Phoenix was a young lawyer with a bright future ahead of him.

Dahlia was dead.

It was clear who had won.

And so Phoenix began his journey for the one person he hoped could keep him even more on his toes than Dollie ever did.

Phoenix felt it wonderfully fitting that he had killed the woman who'd helped him become a lawyer with the decisive evidence of his first not guilty, made by the man who was the reason he'd wanted to become a defense attorney in the first place. Well. Part of the reason, anyway. But it was totally symbolism enough for Phoenix.

And wouldn't you know – he got lucky on the first time around. Miles Edgeworth himself was to prosecute the case.

Thanks, Chief.

"Well…I guess this is it!" Maya Fey declared, looking determined.

"Yeah," said Phoenix.

It was the second day of Mia's murder trial, and Phoenix thought it was hilarious that he himself was the primary suspect.

Of course, Redd White knew nothing about the true murderer of this case. In Mia's memory, the defense attorney had decided to defend her sister and simultaneously take down some sad, petty crook that made proper psychopaths like Phoenix cringe. But when he had come to White's Blue Corp office to blackmail the blackmailer to his fruity little knees, White had surprised him slightly by getting him arrested on no evidence whatsoever.

Phoenix didn't mind. Actually, the very fact that Redd White had gotten him to be a suspect on nothing would make it all the easier to discredit his claim. Even though it happened to be true.

Phoenix loved irony.

"One way or another, this case gets decided today," he told Maya.

And he knew exactly which way it was going to go. Miles Edgeworth was going to taste his first defeat. And Phoenix would be the one with the privilege of handing it to him. The very thought made him close his eyes and hum in pleasure.

"Aaa!" Phoenix opened his eyes at Maya's squeak. She was staring at something behind him.

"Ph-Phoenix! Look!" He looked.

And he had thought this day couldn't get any better… it was Edgeworth.

Prosecutor…Edgeworth. Phoenix savored the sound of that name in his mind.

For the past four years Phoenix had been…well, stalking Miles, for lack of a better word. He had covered his own bedroom walls with pictures and cut out newspaper pieces on the young prosecutor, even if Miles was only given a passing mention in the article. He had spent countless hours watching interviews, reading court transcripts, and wondering hungrily what could have possibly happened to his kind, justice-loving friend from grade school to set him so far around the bend.

Almost like a fan collecting cards, Phoenix had collected all of the many faces of Miles Edgeworth from the beginning of his career to current day. He had Miles's anger, his contempt, his disinterest – but there was one face that Phoenix did not yet have, and he refused to give up until he had acquired it.

The face of crippling defeat.

"I received a call from the public prosecutor's office yesterday," Miles was saying.

Phoenix pouted. Skipping the small talk, then.

Miles seemed to be waiting for some sort of response, so Phoenix obligingly arranged his expression into one of clueless concern, prompting the other man to continue.

"He told me that whatever Mr. White says today, it will be the 'absolute truth.'"

If only he knew, Phoenix laughed to himself.

"No matter how you try to attack his testimony…" Miles swallowed, "I have it on good faith that the judge will listen to me."

Phoenix was floating on air. This was even better than he'd ever hoped. Not only had Miles mysteriously become a prosecutor, and a thoroughly corrupted one at that, he was willingly foregoing the very tenants of justice that he'd always believed in, that he'd become a lawyer for in the first place, and was intending to use them to condemn his own (as far as Edgeworth knew) innocent childhood friend to life in prison.

"So…" he managed to keep a straight face, putting his hands in his pockets. He knew it was a bit mean, as Edgeworth already looked rather tormented by the whole situation, but he so wanted to hear it straight from the man himself… "You're saying I'm going to be guilty. End of story?"

Miles glared at him, then noticed Phoenix's comfortable posture and immediately looked away, guilty and unsettled. To Miles's credit, he collected himself pretty quickly. "I will do anything to get my verdict, Mr. Wright," he bit out. "Anything."

That was it. Those were the words he'd come all this way to hear. The words he'd listened to over and over again on the interviews. And that overly-pompous, almost pained 'Mr. Wright' bit... It was fifteen years of scheming coming together in one beautiful sentence.

"Why…" Maya said weakly, and Phoenix jumped a little. He had forgotten she was there. "Why?!" she demanded, her fists clenching at her sides. "How can you torment an innocent person like this!?"

Phoenix smiled fondly at her. Innocent? She was so cute.

"'Innocent'…?" Miles repeated, as if plucking the word from Phoenix's own thoughts. "How can we know that?" He was looking resolutely away from the defense attorney, one hand clutching his other arm as if he could protect himself from the world. "The guilty will always lie, to avoid being found out. There's no way to tell who is guilty and who is innocent! All I can hope to do is get every defendant declared guilty. So I make that my policy."

"Edgeworth…" Phoenix couldn't help it. Finally, after all these years of searching, there was someone as messed up, as twisted as he was. As damaged as he was. It was a dream come true. The glee curled Phoenix's lips in a demonic smirk and brought the inner madman to his eyes. "You've changed." And the sheer force of it is breathtaking, his mind added.

Nevertheless, Edgeworth picked up on the unusual reaction. His posture went from defensive to downright hunted, eyebrows drawing together and a clearly unsettled glint in his eyes. Miles Edgeworth was…scared.

As he should be, Phoenix mused.

"Hmm?" came Maya's voice next to him. "Phoenix! You know him!?"

They both ignored her. Edgeworth glared hard at him in an attempt to disguise the something else that the defense attorney had seen in his eyes – Doubt? Alarm? Fear? Phoenix enjoyed it regardless. "Don't expect any special treatment, Phoenix Wright."

Phoenix grinned as the prosecutor stalked away. Please. Do your very best, Miles Edgeworth. It will make your utter defeat all the sweeter.

Finally Maya caught sight of his face. "Ph-Phoenix…?" she said, interrupting his daydream. She had stepped away from him in surprise. In that one instant, she looked so very similar to her sister, who'd done the very same thing so soon before her death… it almost made him want to smash her head in as well.

Now, now, Phoenix. Don't get impulsive.

"Well… court will be opening for session soon," he said instead. He began striding to the courtroom doors before the idea could take shape in his mind.

"What?" came Maya's shout from behind him. He heard her scrambling to catch up. "But wait!" She stepped in front of him and held out her arms to keep him locked in place. "Your defense attorney isn't even here yet! He's not…"

Phoenix ran a hand through his hair. Did she really think that he would let some other defense attorney go up against his Miles, now that he'd finally found him after all this time? "I'll be defending myself."

"Whaaaat!?" she cried. He didn't wait for the slew of questions to come, instead dipping his head to study his precious defense attorney's badge. The defense attorney's badge that he'd spent four years of hard work to receive. And now, finally, he was facing the one opponent he'd ever cared to meet; the one and only reason he'd done… well, anything… since he was nine years old.

It sounded creepy when he put it like that, but it was true.

"Okay," Phoenix muttered to himself, rubbing little circles on the badge distractedly. It was time for Miles Edgeworth to finally meet his match. For Phoenix to see that courtroom smirk from the newspapers melt into a look of hatred, shock, and just a little bit of fear. It was time for the prosecutor to find out what true evil was. He looked back up at Maya, unable to repress the maniacal grin that twisted his face.

"Let's do this."