“Please!” Miles was desperate, the nurse’s questioning was taking too long for his comfort. He needed to know if… “Where is--??”
“Mr. Edgeworth is fine,” the nurse answered with a calm smile. “We had to put you in separate wings because you’re a minor, but you two both made it out safely. You’re both very brave, Miles.”
Normally, being talked down to like a child would have made him upset, angry, but instead he let himself actually relax for the first time since waking up. So that scream wasn't… “What about the others? The man and the woman in the elevator?”
In an answer, the nurse simply looked at him, smiled, and pulled the blanket back up over him. “Don't worry about them. Just focus on recovering.”
Miles shot up from his resting position, gasping and drenched in sweat. He had to get up. Had to make sure his father was okay. He had to--
“Miles.” A steady hand rested on his back, and Miles knew immediately who the voice belonged to.
“Father!” Normally Miles didn't like to act childish, didn't like to make a big fuss or demand attention, but right now, he didn't care about that. He turned around to squeeze his father tightly, afraid that he would slip out of his fingers. “You're okay!”
“Miles,” He felt his father return the embrace, his hand resting in his hair. “You're not hurt, are you?”
“I’m fine, Father.” Miles finally pulled back. Even as he said that though, his father checked just to be sure. His father sat next to a small table with two “get well soon” cards made by his friends, and it was then that he noticed a bruise on his head. “Father, your--!”
“It’s alright, I just fell over while we were in the elevator. Nothing to fuss over.” That was a relief, especially when paired with his father’s smile.
But then it turned into a troubled expression, filling Miles with worry. “Miles, we’re both okay, but the other two who were with us… one of them was killed. Mr. Yogi, the bailiff, shot the woman who was with us, Didi Reelyduitt.” He took his son’s hands and squeezed them comfortingly. “Miles. Detective Badd is waiting outside your room to ask you some questions, but let me ask you this first: did you see what happened?”
Miles shook his head slowly. “I didn’t see anything, Father.” It wasn’t… entirely false, he hadn’t actually seen the woman get shot. But that nightmare… the gunshot, that horrible, horrible scream…
“That’s a relief.” His father smiled, apparently unaware that his son wasn't being truthful. “I’ll let the detective in now, okay? Make sure you answer his questions as honestly as possible.”
It was all Miles could do but nod.
“Edgeworth? Are you okay?”
It took him a moment to remember where he was. He wasn’t trapped in the elevator. There was no gun. No fighting, no blood, no screaming. It was just him at his friend’s--Phoenix Wright’s--house for a sleepover. “I’m fine.”
Wright turned on the lamp next to his bed. “Are you sure? You look kinda sick, and you were making weird sounds...” and then his friend was bending down, sliding his hand across his forehead, “you feel really warm, Edgeworth. Do you want me to wake up my parents? Do you want your dad--”
“I said I’m fine!” Miles snapped, immediately regretting it when he saw how hurt his friend looked. “I’m just… I had a nightmare, that’s all.”
For a moment, neither one of them spoke. “Do you wanna talk about it?”
“...Not particularly. Why?”
He shrugged. “My moms always tell me that talking ‘bout these things help. It always makes me feel better. Well that, and sleeping in their bed.”
“I’m not nine anymore, Wright.” He was ten years old, darn it! “Besides, I’m… I’m used to them by now.”
“Huh? What’s that ‘supposed to mean?”
“I’ve been having this dream for a year now,” he didn’t mean to say it, but the words came tumbling out of his mouth before he could stop them, “ever since my father and I got stuck in that elevator after Christmas.”
“Oh.” The space between them grew quiet and awkward once again, and Miles was about to apologize, when one again, he spoke, “Maybe you really should talk about it with someone.” He was serious.
“You can’t be serious.”
“Well of course ‘m being serious! Edgeworth, you’re my friend, I wanna help you feel better!”
“I can’t tell Father, I don’t want him to worry about me anymore than he already does!” Especially since Miles passed out only a few months ago after one of the smallest earthquakes in his life.
“It’s okay! You can tell me!” Wright protested, waving his arms in the air frantically, “I’m good at keepin’ secrets!”
“I don’t think… I don’t think this will bring me any restitution…” Miles was starting to run out of excuses, but his best friend kept pressing him.
“...I don’t know what that means, is it another legal term?”
“...Yes, it means restoring something to how it used to be.” Perhaps if he were to distract Wright…
“Well, you’ll never know unless you try it!”
He should’ve known better than to try to distract him. Once he set his mind to something, he never gave up until he pursued it to the end.
With a sigh, Miles relented. “I… I went to my father’s trial, and afterwards he and I went into an elevator with Mr. Yogi and Ms. Reelyduitt, only for us to all become trapped in one of the elevators thanks to the earthquake. Mr. Yogi… he tried to hurt us, attacking Father first. I was so scared… it was dark, I couldn’t see anything. Then there was a gun at my feet, and without thinking… I picked it up and… I threw it at him to save father. I heard the gunshot, a horrible, terrifying scream, and then… I passed out.”
For a moment, his friend didn’t say anything, then Wright hopped off his bed and hugged Miles where he slept on the floor. “That sounds really scary, I’m sorry.”
“...It… it’s not your fault Wright.”
“I know, but still… did it help you feel any better? Talking about it?”
“...not particularly.” Miles answered bluntly, still wrapped in his friend’s hug.
Phoenix finally released him, “...So you never told your dad?”
“No. I told you, he doesn’t need to know.”
“...Okay. Um…” Wright hesitated, probably trying to think of what to say or do. “Well… You can’t sleep with my parents, I don't think, but do you wanna sleep in my bed? I know that usually helps me more than talking about it does.”
“I already said I’m not a child anymore, Wright,” he sighed. He already knew this was a losing battle. “Besides, there wouldn’t be enough room for both of us.”
“Sure there is! We’re both ten, it’s not like we’re eleven or anything, besides, I’m sure it beats sleepin’ on the floor!” When Miles said nothing, he added, “C’mon, I won’t kick you, I promise!”
“You’re not going to take ‘no’ for an answer, are you?”
With a sigh, Miles relented. “Alright. But if you kick me then you get the floor.”
“But I won’t!”
For a short while, neither one of them said anything, but Miles found himself struggling with something, weighing the pros and cons of telling his friend the most upsetting part of his nightmares. “Phoenix?” He didn’t even know if Phoenix was awake.
“What’s wrong? Are you not comfortable? Is the floor better?”
Miles shook his head. “...I’m afraid… I think my nightmare might be real. It might be the truth.” Miles’s voice was so quiet, so faint. Maybe Phoenix didn’t even hear it. “I think I was the one who killed--”
“No way!” Phoenix sat up next to him, “I-It’s just a dream, right Edgeworth? You just made it up ‘cause you were scared, that’s all!”
“But…” now Miles was sitting up too, “but it feels so… so real! Phoenix, there’s no other explanation!”
“Objection!” His friend shouted, pointing at Miles with such passion it reminded him of his father. “So what! I believe in you!” Miles’s mouth fell open, “Didn’t you say the only thing that matters in a court is evidence?!”
“Doesn’t matter!” Phoenix retorts, “There’s no proof that you did it, and I believe in you Miles!” Miles could practically see the knowing and determined grin on his face. “You’re innocent. You never killed that lady, and you’ll never kill nobody ever!”
Miles stared at him in the dark, barely able to make out his silhouette in the darkness.
He could almost believe his friend.
“...Thank you, Phoenix.”
In an answer, his friend pulled him into another hug. “Of course, Miles. You did the same for me last year, after all!”
“...One last thing?”
“What is it?”
He hesitated, knowing this might be too big a request for his friend. “Promise me… Promise me you won’t tell my father, alright?”
“Okay,” Phoenix answered immediately. “I won’t tell him, I promise. But I still think you should tell him.”
Miles held up his hand. Even though he knew it was childish, even though it wasn’t as good as a legal binding contract, even though he was much too old for such a thing, he felt it was necessary. “...Pinky swear?”
He could hear the grin in his friend’s voice when he answered, hooking his own pinky with Miles’s. “Pinky swear.”
“Do you really have to go?” Miles realizes that he shouldn’t speak like this any longer, he was almost in high school, yet here he was, pouting like a ten year old child.
“I’m really, really sorry, Edgeworth,” Phoenix sighs, his room full of mostly empty boxes, “but one of my moms found a better job in another part of the city, and it’s too much of a hassle for her to commute back and forth every day.” He sighed, “Again, I’m really sorry, Edgeworth. I was really excited to go to high school with you and Larry, but I’m still just a teenager.”
Miles nodded, understanding his point but still feeling hurt. He didn’t even try to enroll in one of the nicer schools in Los Angeles for this very reason! Apparently he wasn't very good at masking his disdain, however, as Wright gave him that look.
“C-come on, Edgeworth! Don't give me that look!” God, he knew that look, it was the “I’m-About-to-Start-Crying-Uncontrollably” look Phoenix had since they'd first met. “I already t-told you! I hate this just as much as-as much as you do!” Tears were already pricking at the corner of his eyes.
“I know,” Miles replied quickly, not wanting to accidentally upset his friend further. “I’m sorry Wright. It’s just…” At a loss for how to finish that thought, he decided to change the subject slightly, “You’ll still keep in touch, right?”
“Of course I will,” tears vanishing almost instantly, Wright smiled, though he still seemed sad. “I have your number in that book, remember? As long as I don't lose it when we move, I’ll call you right away! Besides, we aren't moving until the end of the summer, we still have about six months together.”
“Good.” Miles moved to sit next to his friend on his bed, feeling exhausted. He’d only found out about the move two days ago, and with yesterday’s earthquake causing him to pass out and have more than one nightmare that night.
Phoenix sighed, resting his head on Miles's shoulder. “...I’m really sorry again, Edgeworth.”
Miles said nothing. If he weren’t so drained already he would have tried to push his friend off of him, or gotten incredibly flustered at the contact, but instead, Miles found himself relaxing into his touch while staring into nothing. “You’re fine, Wright. I just… it’s a lot to take in.”
He felt his friend tense up, release a sigh, before looking at him wearily. “...Are you doing okay, Edgeworth? I know there was an earthquake yesterday and all, but…”
“Thankfully, I was with my father, and he was able to help me recover quickly.” It wasn’t like that time when he was in the middle of giving a presentation in class. He’s lucky none of his classmates made fun of him to his face, though he’s certain Wright and Larry would have stepped in to stop them.
“That’s good,” There’s another beat of silence, then Wright pressed a little further, “have you, uh, told him--?”
“No.” He doesn’t mean to sound angry, but Phoenix backed away a considerable amount. Miles tries not to miss the contact.
“Okay,” said Wright. Miles could practically feel his friend staring at him. “...It wasn’t real, you know,” his voice was soft, and he tentatively wrapped one arm around Miles’s waist.
“...So you keep telling me.”
“I’ll keep saying it until you believe it, Miles.”
“I don’t believe that’s how that works.”
“I have to go, Wright,” He hadn’t noticed before, but he was hugging himself, as he always did when thinking about the incident. “Father is expecting me home soon.” Without looking at his friend, he stood, moving for the door.
“Miles--!” Wright’s hand just barely missed his arm in an attempt to stop him.
Miles stared blankly at the envelope he’d received in the mail. From a man he usually tried to avoid if he could help it.
“Miles?” He nearly jumped out of his chair when Gregory Edgeworth, his father, appeared in the door to his office, looking concerned as always about his son’s well being. “Is everything alright?”
“I-I’m fine, father,” Miles answered quickly. That was a lie. He was never fine in December. “I’m just… I’m simply tired.”
His father’s face grew soft, moving further into the room and sitting in the chair next to him. “You’re always tired, especially in December.”
“The holidays are a busy time of year,” Miles excused himself.
“Miles. Talk to me. You’ve been sulking more than usual this December, I would have thought after you reunited with--”
“I’m twenty four years old,” Miles interrupted, “I don’t need you to constantly worry about me anymore, Father.”
“I’m your dad, it’s my job to worry about you.” Miles stayed silent, and Gregory huffed out a sigh before sitting on the edge of his son's desk. “Miles… Wait a second…” his eyes drifted towards the envelope. “...what does Robert Hammond want to do with you?”
“I…” he had to think fast, come up with a believable lie before his father could figure it out on his own (after all, he was the smartest man Miles knew).
“He wanted to consult me with me on a case,” Miles said quickly. It wasn’t entirely false, but some part of him felt ashamed for lying to his father, even slightly.
Gregory frowned, perplexed by the request. “I don’t mean to sound rude, but why wouldn’t he request someone with more experience?”
“I don’t know,” Miles lied again, “perhaps it has something to do with some of my more recent trials?”
“Well… I will admit, those trials came extremely close; but still, I can't imagine why he’d ask you for help when you barely know each other.”
Miles didn't answer, instead he checked his phone, feeling relief when he saw the following notification:
P. Wright [11:23]
Sure. I can meet for lunch! The usual?
After typing a quick response, Miles turned back to his father. “I apologize, but Wright wanted to get something for lunch.”
His father smiled again, “You know you can call him Phoenix, right? You’ve been friends since you were children,” but his eyes said something else, “We’ll talk about this later.”
Miles left his office, ignored Raymond’s usual “Say hi to your boyfriend Nicky for your Uncle Ray,” and began driving.
There was only one person who could help him. Surely he would know what to do.
“...‘Meet me at Gourd Lake, midnight Christmas Eve. It's about DL-6. Come alone, Robert Hammond.’” His friend frowned, handing the letter back to Miles. “I don't like this Edgeworth, not one bit.” Phoenix sighed, “Did you tell your dad about it?”
“He saw my letter, but…” Miles sighed as well, “I told him he just wanted to talk about a case.”
“...Never thought I’d see the day where Miles Edgeworth lies to his dad's face.”
“I wasn’t lying,” Miles clarified, stuffing the letter in his pocket. “Not telling him the full truth isn’t the same as lying.”
Phoenix snorted, “Yeah, tell that to the witness stand, see if that saves your clients.”
They stared at each other for a long time, but then Wright began to laugh and Miles actually grinned. For the first time since the damn month started, Miles was actually smiling.
Eventually, Wright’s laughter died down, replaced by a cloudy expression, “...You really never told him?”
“Of course not.”
“Of course not,” Phoenix repeated, looking up at the sky. “What was I thinking…" Phoenix turned back to him. "So what do you plan on doing then? Are you going to meet him?”
“...I was going to ask you for advice.”
Wright smiled wryly, “As your friend? Or as a detective?”
“Both, I suppose.”
“Well, as a detective, I’d say don’t go. This note has premeditated homicide written all over it…”
“So you’ve finally started to pick up on legal jargon, I see.”
“...And you absolutely should not go.”
“And… as a best friend?” Miles ventured.
“...As your best friend, I know how important DL-6 is to you, and I want you to have some closure… but I also don’t like or even trust Hammond, he’s the worst kind of defense attorney.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that,” came the curt reply. He’s very well aware of Hammond’s… priorities. From what Miles later found out, Hammond was the kind of attorney who didn’t believe in his clients, nor did he care about the truth, he simply wanted to collect his five digit paycheck and never think about a case ever again.
“And, as your best friend, I know that once you put your mind to something, it's nearly impossible to stop you.”
“Says the one who chewed a glass necklace,” came the retort.
“Hey! I was twenty and stupid.”
“I’m surprised Mia didn't strangle you after that stunt--”
“Well I’m surprised you didn’t leave the trial--”
“I wanted to make sure you were--”
“--I remember you dashing in, throwing a bouquet at my face while mumbling ‘congratulations,’ and bolting out of the defendant’s lobby before I could ask if you were my old friend.”
“Ngh…” Miles had never been any good at expressing himself, ever since he was a child. Finding out his childhood crush was going to be tried for murder only made that worse, especially because Mia needed an older, more experienced member of the office to help her with the case, so he wasn’t able to help at all.
That was perhaps the most stressful trial I’ve ever spectated. Well, save for one that happened 15 years ago.
“Edgeworth.” Miles hummed in response. “...are you going to go?”
Wright sighed, “I should’ve known you’d meet up with him. Even though it's in a secluded area, in the middle of a lake, on a holiday when everyone--”
“I get it, alright!” Miles snapped, but then he sighed again, grabbing onto his arm. “I know you don't like it.”
Phoenix sighed as well, “I’m sorry, Miles… I know it's not my decision to make. I just can’t help but worry about you sometimes…” Miles was well aware, “Alright. If you’re meeting him I want you to call me afterwards,” before Miles could protest Phoenix held up a hand, “I know it says come alone, but you should really consider telling your dad and having him come with you, at the very least have him drive you there and back if you don’t want him to know about DL-6. I’d consider recording everything he says just to be safe, in case he… well never mind about that. You should also--”
“Phoenix.” Miles knew using his first name would drag his friend out of his rambling, “You’re starting to sound like one of your mothers. I’ll… I’ll be fine, Wright. I’m not nearly as impulsive as you are.”
Phoenix smiled again, “I know, I know, but like I said, I worry about you.” Then the smile was gone. “Just… be careful, okay?” Phoenix placed his hand on Miles's shoulder. “I’m not working until after New Years, and I don't know if I can handle not being able to help you out, should it… come to that.” His eyes seemed to say “Don’t leave. Don’t meet him this is the worst idea you’ve ever had. I can’t stand the idea of losing you again, this time for good.”
“I’ll call you.” Miles told him, “I’ll call you before I meet him and after I’m done. You’ll be the first person to know what happens,” and likely the only person, I hope, “I’ll be fine, Phoenix…”
“Yeah… yeah, you’re right… Hey, Miles, I--” Whatever his friend was going to say would have to wait, because it was just then that the Steel Samurai theme started blaring from his pocket. “Hold on a sec… Yes sir? Okay… I’ll be back soon, I just need to wrap things up here… yes sir. Alright, goodbye.”
“Ugh, yeah,” the detective ran a hand over his face, “I think I picked the wrong career, maybe I should quit and become an actor like I planned, or a defense attorney like you.”
Miles snorted, “I’d love to see you try.” Knowing his friend’s luck, he’d end up with the most complicated cases in the world, even more complicated than State vs Powers. Miles had thought he was going to have a heart attack at the ripe age of twenty-four during that one.
“Whatever, Edgeworth. You just don’t want to admit I’d do a better job than you,” his friend teased. Then the smile was gone again, “...alright, I have to go. I’ll talk to you on Sunday, Edgeworth.”
Miles nodded, turning back toward his car. “Goodbye, Wright.”
If only they knew what fate had in store for them.
Phoenix didn’t sleep that night. Instead he sat, waiting for the phone in his hand to ring, a million different conclusions, most of them awful, swirling around in his mind.
In the end, he received a different kind of phone call, and he raced to the detention center the minute visiting hours opened.