Miles Edgeworth was a private man.
Almost everyone knew this.
He liked having things neat and orderly.
Everyone knew this the minute they walked into his office, polished and sparkling as if no one had ever been inside.
Which is why, when one day a framed photograph appeared on his desk, even Detective Dick Gumshoe was shocked.
One might chalk it up to the fact that he no longer believed himself to be his father’s killer that he was going to be more open to people than before, that he would allow a tiny crack in his professional life.
But one day, when another prosecutor needed some files or another, she asked him a simple, curious question. “I can recognize Detective Gumshoe, but who are the rest of these people?”
It hadn’t even been a month since it was taken, but it almost felt like an eternity to him. As the prosecutor mentioned, the detective towered over everyone else, throwing leftover confetti from the trial before. On the other end of the line was the faint outline of a woman that he barely recognized, however he brushed it off as a trick of the light; that woman had been killed months prior.
Therefore, the person on that end was an old childhood friend. Although he often caused misfortune just by breathing, when it truly mattered, his old friend could be surprisingly dependable. He’d proven as much last month when he suddenly burst into the courtroom to help save his life (that doesn’t mean the old childhood saying was voided, in the end he would always be the butt of all jokes).
In front of him was the young girl who risked jail time to help save him, even after he tried to get her convicted of murder only three months before. Looking out of place with her robes as always, she held a sign that said, with bright red letters, “VICTORY!” (where she got it from, Miles had no clue.) Perhaps one day he would be able to help her in the same way she helped him.
That left the only person left in the photograph… That man… he was… well, it was hard for Miles to truly describe how he felt about that man, let alone what their relationship was like. He was also a childhood friend, but unlike his relationship with the butt of every joke, their friendship at the time had been more than just playing games together. They talked about everything together. Their hopes and dreams, their family, their problems, their fears… and then when they were separated, Miles forced that all away. He did not plan on ever seeking him out again.
And then suddenly, he stood before him in a courthouse. Bold and inexperienced. Turning a case that normally would have taken him only a day into two. And then suddenly he was the one being accused and Miles tried everything he could to get his verdict, even if it meant throwing his childhood away for good (at the time, he thought it was the only way to truly leave his past behind him).
But then he won. And suddenly Miles, who had built his whole life around perfection in order to survive, had a dent in his perfect record.
And when they faced each other again, Miles found himself gripping with who he really was, found himself struggling to do his job properly. Am I doing the right thing…? He’d found himself asking in the middle of the trial. And then suddenly before he knew it, Miles was objecting to his own witness. He helped that man win, went into the defendant’s lobby, and told him he never wanted to see that man ever again.
Unfortunately, he ran into him the two months later under the worst circumstances possible.
“Edgeworth,” he’d said, his voice full of determination and bravery. “Let me defend you.”
His first attempt to get him to leave this case alone was by insulting him. Insisting that there was no possible way he’d allow an attorney with only three trials under his belt to take his case. But eventually, he had to settle for the truth. “Regardless, I don't want you involved in this,” he’d told him, surprised that he was able to keep his voice level. “You in particular I cannot ask to do this.”
But that man persisted, and Miles gave in. It wasn’t that he didn’t think he was capable of handling a hopeless case (that man had proven quite the opposite several times already); he wanted to keep him away from his past.
Then, when he finally was pronounced innocent, Miles shocked the entire courtroom. “I'm not innocent at all!” He shouted, right then and there on the witness stand. And he’d confessed. Told everyone that he killed his father. It was the last day to put the damned incident to rest, and Miles Edgeworth swore to himself that he would finish the job now.
When everyone gathered in the defendant’s lobby, all of them panicking while Miles apologized, that man didn’t seem worried at all. Rather he looked at everyone in that room, looked at Miles firmly with kind eyes and a reassuring smile, “Huh? Isn't it obvious? I'm going to prove that Miles Edgeworth is innocent.” Miles just stood there, and not for the first time in several days, he was completely stunned. “It's just a dream. It's not real,” he’d smiled at him, slowly taking his hands and giving them a firm squeeze. “The truth is right here in this Court Record. In any case, tighten your belts. The real fight is just beginning. I'll prove you're innocent. Trust me.”
It was all Miles could say but his name.
Three hours later, the photo was taken. That man had saved him.
Miles hasn’t spoken to him since.
Who was that man to Miles? A friend? An enemy? A colleague? A rival?
“Who are the rest of these people?”
“...A reminder,” was all Miles allowed himself to say.
Promptly a month later, when Miles Edgeworth “chose death,” that photograph had also disappeared.
“Uh oh sir, it looks like your photo fell d--”
“Detective, leave it alone,” he wouldn’t call it snapping, but he certainly was speaking to the detective in his signature “Mess-This-Up-And-We-Will-Have-a-Long-Talk-Afterwards” glare, and the good detective seemed to get the hint.
There was a reason why he kept the photo faced down sometimes. Actually, two reasons. Both were very good.
It was an old photograph of him, his old dog, and… his father. Gregory Edgeworth. Smiling at the park.
For many years, he’d had the photo tucked far away where he couldn’t see it. He’d hidden that part of his past in a box labeled “never open again,” but while he was away in Europe, he’d tentatively taken it out. Now it sat on his desk. Sometimes upright, sometimes face down.
Sometimes looking at the old photograph was too much for Miles. It reminded him of what once was and what might have continued to be. Had it not been for that incident.
No, it wasn’t an incident. It was an intentional murder. Miles was well aware of that now.
Other times, Miles still felt so… ashamed of his path, of who he had become. It was a foolish, stupid sentiment, one he would never admit out loud under any circumstances; however seeing Gregory Edgeworth constantly stare at him from behind the glass had become unbearable for him. He couldn’t stand the idea of his father knowing about him now.
“Eek! S-Sorry sir, I won’t ask about it again, I promise!!”
“Who’s that girl in the photo?”
This time, it was a rookie detective who asked. “That’s obviously you and Detective Gumshoe, but who’s that girl pulling you into it?”
Next to the photo of his father (he still sometimes couldn’t bring himself to look at it), was a photo taken only a week ago after he, Detective Gumshoe, and the self-proclaimed thief had reunited and put an end to a smuggling ring.
After the dust had settled, the young girl pulled both himself and Detective Gumshoe in front of her camera and snapped a shot before the prosecutor could run away, laughing alongside the large man in the green coat.
Although Miles hated taking pictures, he treasured the photo, just as he treasured the young girl.
They’d first met when she was still a child, eager and chipper. Meanwhile he’d only recently turned twenty, bitter and cold. He thought their only interaction would be so she could get some change, some extra money for the vending machine.
But a single stab wound in the courthouse changed everything for the young girl.
Just like a single bullet in the courthouse changed everything for Miles Edgeworth.
Though their time together back then had only been for a day, the young girl sought him out eventually, and the two of them (with help from other allies of course) worked together to take down his killer and the organization she worked for.
Now all that had come to a rest, and the young girl quietly slipped out of his life again, for now, at least.
Still, even though their time together again was brief, he had grown quite attached to her. She was a great ally, a partner (investigative, not in crime), a friend, and most importantly she was like his own…
“She’s a friend.”
“Pardon me for asking, but who’s that with you in the photo?” This was the chattiest sanitary worker Miles Edgeworth had ever met. He’d already asked about every other picture, but this one was recent.
Miles Edgeworth stood side by side next to another man in the Zodiac Art Gallery.
If you had told Miles Edgeworth only a few weeks ago that he would have run into his father’s old apprentice, he would have laughed at you. However, after a whirlwind of murders, legacies, and the almost loss of a badge, that was the least of his worries.
At first, he seemed to hate Miles; he even went as far as to call him “Manfred Von Karma,” when they reunited. However, Miles was able to gain his trust once again, and showed him that he refused to allow his mentor to control his life as he once had before.
So the two of them worked together to solve the final mystery Gregory Edgeworth left behind.
Who really murdered Isaac Dover?
Together, they found the truth behind that seventeen year long case. And Miles felt closer to his father than he had in seventeen years.
As did Mr. Shields when he snapped the photograph, Miles was certain.
“That’s my Uncle, Raymond.” Miles’s cell rang in his pocket, and he had to excuse himself before he nearly sprinted out of the prosecutor’s office.
He had just heard the second worst news of his life.
“Who are these two, sir?”
This photo in question was perhaps Miles’s favorite.
It was taken during one of his many trips in Europe, and one of which he was able to invite two very precious guests.
The peculiar father/daughter duo grinned at him from the frame, their noses and cheeks a rosy pink from the cold winter chill of Sweden.
The small girl had been adopted a few years ago after her only family vanished in the courthouse. Luckily, she was adopted by the right person. Now the magician was the head of their talent agency, wooing crowds with her stunning tricks and magical attitude. Miles never missed a show if he couldn’t help it, but he had a preferred trick of hers that went unnoticed by most audience members…
She was one of the few people who could make that man smile like that, as if it were nothing.
That man… he lost almost everything because of one simple mistake. That man who always fought so hard to save others. That man who always risked everything to help a person in need. That man who fought so hard to find and uncovered the truth. That man who once cross examined a parrot. That man who pulled miracles out of thin air, that man who could survive a fall off a burning bridge and into an icy river, only to end up with pneumonia and a few bruises, to save a dear friend.
That man who worked tirelessly to connect with him again. That man who dropped everything for Miles, changing his career and passing the bar exam in one shot. That man with his ridiculous blue suit, ridiculous black hair, ridiculous eyebrows. That man who knew Miles Edgeworth better than anyone else ever has, and ever will. That man who saved him, both literally and figuratively. That man who Miles Edgeworth loved.
Now his life was riddled with rumors, newspapers calling him a liar, a job at an awful restaurant pretending to play the piano and playing cards, and an occasional trip to Europe for an investigation.
Despite all that darkness, despite the uncaring persona, the mask he wore everyday to the public that shattered like glass behind closed doors, he was working endlessly to right that wrong. He was going to find out who really commissioned that damned scrap of paper that made the rest of the world lose faith in him, that fateful piece of evidence that made Miles lose his most trusted ally and partner in the courthouse.
But Miles would be damned if he let that man do this all on his own.
So Miles worked. He worked harder than he ever has in his life because he has to. He works hard trying to weed out corruption, he works hard so that one day the two of them can put this all behind them. So that one day the two of them can face off again in court.
So that one day Phoenix Wright could freely smile like he did in that photo again.
One look at the pair, and Miles knew that he could be strong. Miles knew why he worked so tirelessly every damn day for seven years under such a horrid atmosphere.
He gave a simple, two word answer, and he left it at that.