Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission.  This fic is rated NC-17 for adult male/male content.  C&C welcome and appreciated.




One of Every Color

Chapter 1

Monday September 16th, 2019.  10:04 am




Phoenix still had his breakfast--a tart green apple--held between his teeth as he nearly tumbled into his office.  His brilliant idea to take some of his work home with him over the weekend had backfired. Somehow he was bringing in three times as much paperwork as he'd started with, briefcase in hand and binders under each arm.  Business hadn't yet settled down after the upswing his victory against Godot had spurred, and may have even picked up more.  With so many clients asking after him he'd started doing a bit of investigating into each case before even agreeing to take it on.   It was exhausting work, which led to hours of recording evidence and testimony, without any help and sometimes for no money.  He considered it worthwhile, though, if it kept him from defending the guilty.


There were no messages on the machine for once; Phoenix sighed in relief and took the time to set down his things and shrug his coat off.  Only then did he finally remove the apple from his teeth.  He flopped onto the office sofa, opening and closing his mouth a few times to work the stiffness from his jaw.  "Five past nine and I'm already exhausted," he muttered with a wry grin.  "Day's off to a great start."  He took a huge bite of apple and winced at how sour it was.


Phoenix was just getting down to the core when there was a knock at the door: first visitor of the week.  Figuring he might as well begin on the right foot--by Friday maybe he could slack some--he tossed the rest of his apple out and pulled his suit coat back on.  "Come in!"


The door opened slowly, much more slowly than most of the people that rushed into his office needing help.  It even seemed to creak a little in a way he couldn't remember it doing before.  Phoenix started to push to his feet, but he only got halfway upright by the time he saw who was entering, and the surprise made him recoil so quickly he ended up right back on the sofa.  "Y-You--!"


She stepped into the office so quietly, so smoothly, that it was like a shadow seeping through the open door.  She hadn't changed much in the half a year that had passed since Phoenix last saw her: she was clad in the same simple, black dress, but her hair was a bit longer, and the bandages around her head were long since shed.  With eyes half lidded and lips gently curled she offered him a nod.  "Good morning, Mr. Wright."


"Urami…"  Phoenix gulped, and could only hope his face didn't show the brief moment of panic he felt.  This time he made it to his feet.  "Um, Miss Urami," he corrected himself.  "Good morning…?"


Urami Shikabane dipped her chin slightly, and smiled.  The expression was just as dreary and unnerving as Phoenix remembered.  He had been half expecting this meeting for the past several months, ever since her accomplice, Zenitora, had finally been put behind bars for a laundry-list of crimes.  After several brushes with the criminal underworld he feared his attack on a Shikabane ally would finally push his luck too far.  But he'd managed to dodge that bullet a little longer…until now.


"I hope I'm not interrupting," Urami said.  She moved further into the office with a slow, casual air, as if it were her own, and didn't look at Phoenix as she spoke.  "I hear you've been very busy lately.  And why not…?"  She traced the corner of the desk with her fingertip, inspecting.  "This city always has a healthy need of lawyers…"


Phoenix licked his lips as he watched her move carelessly about the office.  When a quick glance at the door showed no tall men in black suits he relaxed, but only just slightly.  "Um, yes.  Can I help you with something?"


Urami giggled softly--it sent a chill of Phoenix's spine.  "I can't imagine why I would be here otherwise."  She rounded the desk once more and lifted her gaze to his.  "Unless it was for something…naughty."


Phoenix winced, but Urami spared him from becoming too nervous.  "I want to hire you," she told him, for a moment looking downright shy.  "As a lawyer."


"Hire me?"  Phoenix stared at her, baffled.  "Are you…under arrest or something…?"


Urami smiled again, seemingly charmed by his stuttering responses.  "It's not for me.  For a friend of mine."


She reached into a pocket of her dress that Phoenix hadn't noticed before; the dull matte of the fabric prevented any lines from being very visible in it.  He tensed, but it was only a folded newspaper scrap.  "Did you hear about the arson case four years ago…?"


Phoenix accepted the clipping, and frowned to himself as he glanced over it.  "Four years ago…I was still in law school," he said thoughtfully.  "I spent so much time studying, I didn't pay much attention to the news…"  Still, the contents of the article seemed vaguely familiar: someone had set fire to a small duplex, killing five people, including an infant.  The investigation had been surrounded by rumors of mob and gang involvement.


"Chassie Gander," Phoenix read the name of the accused in that case aloud.  He glanced to Urami.  "What does this have to do with me?"


"Chassie is a friend of mine," Urami explained.  Her tone and expression had sobered, making her at least look as if she really were taking this hiring business seriously.  "Since we were children...  She was convicted of causing that fire, but she didn't.  She's going to be executed for it next month."


Phoenix held out the clip for Urami to take back, but she didn't move to accept it.  He held it between them awkwardly for a moment before putting it in his pocket with a quiet sigh.  "The case was four years ago--why did they wait so long to sentence her?"


"Because…of my Grandfather.  We've been trying to appeal all this time.  But his lawyers are only willing to pursue it so far…"


Phoenix's shoulders drooped.  The last thing he needed, when he already had every criminal in the city after his help, was to take a case for the mob.  "I don't know if I can help you, Miss Urami.  If your lawyers haven't been able to help her by now, I don't see how there's anything I can do."


Urami stared at him, her dark eyes blank and disquieting.  "She didn't set that fire, Mr. Wright."


Another chill.  Phoenix might have even taken a step back, if the sofa weren't directly behind him.  He asked before he could stop himself.  "How do you know?"


She didn't reply except to lift her eyebrows, but that response was more than enough.  Things, like usual, were going from bad to worse.  "Because it was you."


Urami's eyes rolled to the side innocently.  "I didn't say that."


"Of course you wouldn't."  Phoenix gave his face a good hard rub, hoping that maybe he'd really fallen asleep on the couch while eating that apple, and none of this was real.  What a mess.  "You know, turning yourself in would clear the whole thing right up.  But I guess that's not an option."


"It's not if I didn't do it…" Urami replied simply.


Phoenix rolled his eyes, but he quickly reigned himself in--he and Urami had managed to part on reasonable terms after their last encounter, but that didn't mean she wouldn't change her mind about him now.  Better not to test her temper…  "So what you're asking me to do," Phoenix summarized, "is appeal a four year old case to get your friend off death row.  Without raising an alternative suspect."


"It's not what you're…used to, I know."  Urami reached into yet another previously unnoticeable pocket, retrieving a small, black leather change purse.  She held it out to him expectantly.  Phoenix would have liked to ignore it, as she had done to him, but as the seconds passed and she kept staring at him he relented.


"What's this?"  He hefted the small purse, and could feel something hard and lightweight inside. 


"That's the evidence that will prove she didn't do it," Urami said quietly.  She took a step closer then, her head tipped down but eyes lifted eerily.  "She's in prison…because of me, Mr. Wright.  Because to the police…being my friend was enough to connect her to my family.  But she's not one of us."


She reached out, closing her cold fingers over the ones Phoenix was holding her purse with.  "I don’t want her to die because of me…."


Phoenix tensed, caught off guard by the almost sincerity in her voice and expression.  He couldn't help but stare at the hand on his.   "How can I trust you?" he asked at last.  "I'm the one that got your partner put in jail.  And I already know you're a murderer--how do I know this isn't some scheme of yours?"


Urami frowned as she withdrew her hand.  "If you don't trust me…how about this…?"


She crouched down, lifting the hem of her skirt just enough to reveal a short black boot and white sock.  She plucked a small, folded slip of paper from her heel and straightened once more, handing it to him.


Phoenix took it with his left hand, as he was still holding the purse with the other, not sure what to do with it.  He managed to unfold the paper between his fingers.  "It's a check," he said dumbly, glancing over Urami's narrow cursive.  "For…"  He gaped.  "Twenty-five thousand dollars?!"


Urami's thin smile returned.  "You can cash it today, if you like….  Or deposit it…I wouldn't give it to you if I planned to kill you, would I…?"  She brushed at invisible dust on her dress.  "Besides…isn't it customary to pay at least ten percent of the fee up front…?"


"Ten…percent?"  Phoenix was beginning to feel dizzy, and this time he didn't fight the urge to slump down onto the sofa.  "You…you want to pay me…$250,000?"


"Is that not enough…?"


Phoenix wavered, a mystery pouch in one hand, check in the other, convinced now he was imagining all of this.  "I…"  He stuttered and couldn't come up with a response.  "I have…to think about it…"


"That's fine…" Urami assured.  She looked puzzled by his reaction, which only made him want to pass out from shock all the more.  "Please…don't take too much time.  The execution is soon.  But that…"  She pointed to the purse, "…should be enough to grant the appeal...when you make up your mind."


Phoenix nodded dumbly, still holding both items away from his body as if either were likely to bite.  "I'll…think about it," he said again, trancelike.


"Good…I wrote my phone number in the memo."  Urami smiled, and gave his necktie a gentle tug before turning back for the door.  "Let me know when you decide…Mr. Wright…."  With a quiet giggle she strode from the office, leaving as smoothly as she'd entered.


As soon as the door closed behind her Phoenix collapsed onto his side.  Both items slipped from his hands and dropped lightly to the floor.  The more he thought about it, staring across his office at the spot Urami had occupied a moment ago, the more he had to accept there was a real decision ahead of him.  If Urami was telling the truth, this was his chance, again, to save an innocent woman.  But no matter the outcome, even investigating into it would draw attention.  Phoenix Wright, the famous up-and-coming attorney, taking a case for the mob….  His head was beginning to hurt just thinking about it.


Not to mention….


Phoenix rolled onto his stomach, peering over the edge of the sofa at the fallen check.  From his vantage point he could clearly see the outrageous amount written on it.  As ridiculous as he felt for it, he was intimidated; he didn't even like carrying around too much cash in his wallet at any given time, let alone a check of that amount.  Thinking about Urami's "full fee" just yet was out of the question. 


This is a good chance, some voice in his head was telling him.  An innocent client with a ton of money?  Isn't that the sort of thing that defense firms are made of?  He frowned, nudging the check with his outstretched index finger.  Well, not always the innocent part.  But the police are getting better, and if I want to keep Mia's office in business….


Phoenix pursed his lips.  He couldn't stop thinking about how good it would feel have some money for once, to help pay for all the investigating he was doing lately, and of course the bills.  And there was still the possibility that Urami was telling the truth.


A full ten minutes later Phoenix slipped the check into his wallet, the pouch into his coat pocket.  All he had to do was talk to her, he told himself.  Just like any other case, he would meet with the woman himself and see what she had to say.  He just…wouldn't cash Urami's check until after then.




Phoenix rode his bike into town, and from there took a taxi to the state prison.  He'd been here several times over the years, meeting all number of strange clients.  The people there knew him, and were never especially happy when he showed up with his lawyer's badge.  He couldn’t really blame them.  This time earned him a few especially pointed glares when he asked to meet with his latest client.


From the moment he saw Chassie Gander, it was pretty obvious she was a friend of Urami's.  Her eyes were heavy and round, with dark circles under them, and her long black hair was thick and straight, bangs cut low across her eyebrows like a doll.  She was pale and skinny and the bright orange prison jumper somehow only made her look more dreary.  As the guard escorted her to the seat across from Phoenix he was irrationally relieved for the glass separating them. 


Chassie recognized him.  He could tell by the way her eyes squinted, watching him with the strict attention a snake might fix on a scurrying mouse.  Despite her gloomy and ragged appearance her dark eyes were unnaturally intense.  She didn't even seem to blink as she sat down and shooed the guard away.


Phoenix gulped; to say that he was unsettled would be quite the understatement.  "Miss Gander…"  He shook himself and continued in a more confident tone.  "My name is Phoenix Wright--I'm a defense attorney.  I've been asked to look over your case."


Chassie stared at him, blinked once, and then spoke.  "I know who you are."


"Um…yes."  Phoenix frowned, suddenly wishing he had Maya at his side.  She'd be good to lift the mood, not to mention that handy Magatama of hers…  "I need to ask you about the case," he continued.  "There's a lot of evidence against you, so I can't promise anything.  But I want to hear your side of it."


Stare, blink, response.  Like a computer processing data.  "I don't have a 'side' of it."


"The district attorney's office disagrees," Phoenix replied, uncommonly frustrated.  The lack of emotion in her face was making her incredibly difficult to read.  "I want to help you, Miss, but if I'm going to do that you have to be honest with me."


Her mouth twitched, and this time she blinked twice.  "What is it you want to know?"


"I want to know what happened that night," Phoenix said.  He removed the newspaper article Urami had given him from his pocket, setting it on the table close to the glass.  "Everyone thinks you killed five people.  According to this, you were doing a favor for the Shikabane.  Is that true?"


Chassie tilted her head down, glancing over the black print with that same unreadable expression.  Slowly her eyelids drooped to half.  "Mr. Wright…."  Her hands, still handcuffed at the wrists, curled around each other on the table.  "Can I ask you something…?"


"Me?"  Phoenix frowned.  He didn't like that Chassie was dodging all his questions.  "I guess."


"Let's pretend, just for now, you believe I am innocent," she said slowly.  "How would you get me acquitted?"


"How?"  Phoenix leaned back as he considered that question, remembering the pouch in his jacket--he had yet to open it, admittedly a little scared of what he might find inside.  "By using the evidence to disprove the prosecution's case against you.  Showing you couldn't have done it."


Chassie kept her eyes lowered and nearly closed as she responded.  "It's not that simple.  In order to do that, you'll have to give them a new suspect."


"Well, that is the easiest way to prove you didn't do it…."


"No," Chassie said quickly.  "If you can't acquit me without accusing someone else, you're no good to me.  Like every other lawyer I've had…."


Phoenix's brow furrowed as he watched the tendons stand out tensely on the back of Chassie's hands.  Her face was unmoved but he could almost feel the sudden desperation seeping from her.  Urami was telling the truth, that same voice of his whispered.  She knows Urami did it.  She'sprotecting her?


"Miss Gander…."  Phoenix leaned forward once more.  "Like I said, I can't promise you anything," he said slowly, still overcoming the surprise that he was going through with this at all.  "But if I took your case, I wouldn't point the finger at someone else."  The Shikabane would probably kill me if I did anyway, he thought dryly.  He licked his lips and continued.  "You can trust me.  Which only leaves…can I trust you?"


Chassie glanced up at him once more, and though her eyes were just as dark and steady as they had been before, somehow they didn't disturb him as much anymore.  As eerie as her appearance was, there was a frailty in her face and figure that Urami lacked, maybe even approaching sensitivity.  She blinked slowly.


"I didn't set that fire, Mr. Wright," she told him quietly.


Phoenix watched her closely.  Though he lacked the familiar jewel that had helped him in cases in the past, for the past several months he'd been working under his own power, and he liked to--or maybe just wanted to--believe that he was capable of detecting a lie by now.  He could find nothing in Chassie's expression that might give away a hint of guilt.  It helped ease his mind somewhat, but he still wasn't entirely convinced.


"All right…."  Phoenix tucked the newspaper clipping back into his pocket.  "I'll look into it.  If there's enough evidence…I'll take your case."


Chassie stared at him silently for a long moment, as if judging his sincerity the same way he had just a moment ago.  Finally she nodded.  "Okay."


"Okay," Phoenix repeated.  Everything still seemed a little unreal as he stood up, and the guard stepped forward to retrieve Chassie.  Her eyes didn't leave his until the meeting area door closed behind her.  As Phoenix finally turned to leave he couldn't help but feel as if they'd left some mark on him, pressed into his suit like fingerprints.




The district police station.  Phoenix frowned heavily as he climbed out of his second cab ride of the day.  By then it was nearing one o'clock, but it might as well have been dusk, for as exhausted as he already was.  But there was still a lot of work to be done.  Word around the prison was that Chassie's execution was less than three weeks away, and with such an old case he'd need time to collect the necessary evidence.  Every day counted.


His bank was just across the street.  He bit his lip, his wallet suddenly feeling all too heavy in his pocket.  Shaking his head he continued to the station.


"Hey Pal."


Phoenix jumped; he had been so lost in thought he didn't notice a pair--a trio?--of familiar figures just beside him.  Detective Gumshoe was seated in the shade of a bus stop alcove, feeding bits off his deli sandwich to a tail-wagging Missile.  Next to him, looking oddly out of place with his own cheap lunch and soda, was Miles Edgeworth.


"Oh…hey."  Phoenix scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment.  Four months later and he was still getting used to running into Miles around the city.  "What are you doing here?"


Miles lifted an eyebrow.  "What does it look like?"


"Uh…eating lunch…?"


"There you go."


"Mr. Edgeworth offered to meet me for my lunch break," Gumshoe said gladly.  When Missile nudged his hand with his nose, he gave the dog a quick pat and fed him another piece of roast beef.


"So what are you doing here?" Miles asked.


Phoenix shifted his weight, uncommonly nervous as if he'd been caught doing something wrong.  I'm just looking into some things for a client.  That was what he should have said, but the words didn't reach his mouth as clearly as they should have.  "I'm, just, uh, doing stuff."


The two men exchanged dubious glances, prompting Phoenix to try again.  "I mean, for a client.  Hey, are you guys familiar with this case…?"  Figuring news would spread around the station pretty quickly if he started asking questions anyway, he pulled out the newspaper clipping and handed it to Gumshoe.  "You were both around back then."


"Oh yeah, the mob fire," Gumshoe said knowingly.  When Miles leaned closer he turned it so they could both look.  "She was a skinny little thing.  Never would have guessed it was her."


Phoenix winced.  "Yeah…um, who was the detective on that case?"  When his question earned him some curious looks he struggled to come up with an excuse.  "It's, um, kind of relevant to a new case I might be taking."


Gumshoe didn't look convinced.  Detective and prosecutor stared at the clip more intensely, probably thinking over all their recent cases, trying to figure out which Phoenix meant.  "It was Miss Starr," Gumshoe said at last, handing the paper back.  Phoenix quickly tucked it away.  "Last case before she got canned."


"Really?  I thought after…."


"It wasn't an easy case," Miles added thoughtfully.  He paused to take a sip of what looked like cola.  It wasn't something Phoenix had thought was to his taste, and it was oddly distracting--enough that he didn't realize what Miles said until a moment later.  "Angel didn't trust me after SL-9.  She gave me a hard time prosecuting."


"She…."  Phoenix blinked, trying to comprehend.  "Wait, you mean….you prosecuted this case?"


"Of course.  So?"


Phoenix's hands curled at his sides.  An indescribable chill clenched in his chest as the implications of Miles careless admission unfolded in front of him.  As if it weren't bad enough he might be appealing the death row case of a suspected gangster, just by getting involved he would be questioning the judgment of a former high prosecutor.  Someone who, for the past several weeks, he'd been trying to rekindle an old friendship with.


Phoenix sighed grimly.  Thanks a lot, Urami….




He started, and glanced hesitantly to Miles again, who was watching him with concern.  "What's the matter?  You're pure white."


"See a ghost or something, pal?"


"N-No…."  Phoenix shook himself.  "No, I'm fine.  It's just been a long morning, that's all."  He grinned and hoped it didn't look as forced as it felt.  "By the way, Detective--is it okay if I take a peek in the evidence room?  You've always been so helpful."


Gumshoe rolled his eyes, but Phoenix had long since earned his trust, and he couldn't deny him such a simple request.  "Yeah, all right.  Just behave yourself, Pal.  I ain't supposed to let you do that."


Phoenix gave him a quick wave as he started toward the police station's entrance.  "Thanks a lot, Pal.  I'll be good."


"Hey!  Who you calling 'pal', pal?"


Phoenix chuckled as he hurried away.  He couldn't shake the feeling that even with this much he was doing something wrong.  And he knew, without looking, that Miles had watched him the entire way inside.


His day didn't look like it was going to get any easier.



To Chapter 2