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 and some violent material.  C&C welcome and appreciated.




One of Every Color

Chapter 14

Monday, September 23rd, 2019.  9:43 a.m.




Miles paused as soon as he left his car, and cast his gaze upwards--the sky had been overcast all weekend, but it looked especially foreboding that morning.  The clouds were thick and low, and not a breath of wind stirred, as if the sky were waiting to implode.  Thankful that he wasn’t a particularly superstitious person, he braced himself for the impending onslaught of reporters.


They were out in droves that day.  Miles had expected as much, but what he hadn't anticipated was spotting Phoenix already there ahead of him, making a rookie mistake: he was talking to the press.  With a groan Miles quickened his pace.  Damnit Wright, don't be a fool.


"So how much is she paying you, Mr. Wright?" one of the reporters was asking.  The others were buzzing, looking too pleased for Miles' taste--Phoenix must have told them something.


Phoenix laughed sheepishly.  "You know I can't tell you that.  Besides, that's not why I took this case.  I just want the truth to come out."


Of all the naïve--  Miles pushed through the swarm of bodies, and was finally able to grab hold of Phoenix's elbow.  "That's enough," he told the reporters as their cameras flashed.  "No more discussing details of the case."


Phoenix turned his head, and Miles was taken momentarily aback by the cold look on his face.  "Says who?"


"Gag order," Miles replied quickly.  "You can't talk to these people."  He gave Phoenix a tug, pulling him out of the center of attention.  "Come on, you'll be late for court."


The reporters shouted their disapproval, and Phoenix held stubbornly back, making Miles drag him up the stairs.  He didn't care for how it would look in the paper and on the news the next day, but he could deal with that headache after he kept Phoenix from spilling his guts to the vultures.


As soon as they were inside the building, safe from the press behind closed doors, Phoenix planted his feet and yanked his arm out of Miles' grip.  "What the hell was that for?" he demanded.


"I'm looking out for you," Miles retorted, crossing his arms.  "What were you telling them out there?  You don't know how to deal with these people.  You're going to--"


"Why do you care?" Phoenix interrupted with a scowl.  He pushed past Miles, heading for the Defense Lobby without looking back.  "I don't need you to protect me."


Miles frowned after him; Phoenix's uncommonly hostile behavior had caught him off guard, and for a moment he wasn't sure how to respond.  He took a deep breath and followed.  "Wright, I know you're angry with me, but--"


"Just leave me alone!" Phoenix snapped.


Miles stopped again, and this time he didn't continue his pursuit.  He shoulders fell slack as he watched Phoenix continue down the hall and into the Defense Lobby.  I knew he'd be upset, he thought once he finally convinced his feet to start moving again.  Of course he would see it as betrayal for me to call him like I did, after what happened Saturday night.  Andmaybe it was.  The admission sobered him as he continued to his own lobby to prepare.  But what else could I have done?  Not warn him?  He would hate me even more.


Miles shook his head, determined not to think about it until after the trial.




Phoenix slammed the doors behind him, startling the guard on duty.  He already regretted losing his temper, but he had no other way of dealing with Miles at the moment.  It had been made pretty obvious to him the case was, at present, more important than any developing personal issues between them.  And if that was the way Miles wanted to play it….


Pull it together, Phoenix.  He passed a hand over his hair as he stepped further into the room, trying to reassure the guard with a thin smile.  You're frustrated, sure.  But you can't take it out on Edgeworth now.  Just concentrate on the case, for a little longer.


Phoenix glanced up, and quickly spotted Chassie sitting on the lounge sofa.  She was perched at the very end with perfect posture, her hands folded in her lap.  She stood up slowly when he approached.  "Mr. Wright…."


"Chassie."  Phoenix looked about.  "I don't see Urami with you this morning," he remarked, trying not to sound as bitter as he felt.


"I asked her to watch from the gallery today," Chassie explained.  "I know you two…don't get along.  It was better that she not stand with you again."


Phoenix frowned, wondering if Chassie was honestly concerned for his well-being.  It was a strange thought after what had transpired in the Detention Center the day before.  At least I'm alone with her again.  Maybe without Urami here, I can finally speak my mind.


"I appreciate it," Phoenix told her evenly.  "But Chassie, there's still time to tell the truth.  I know you want to protect your friend, but you're the one on trial here.  Urami's already hurt a lot of people--"


Chassie reached out, giving his necktie a tug that quieted him.  "Mr. Wright.  I am sorry, for the trouble she has caused you," she told him seriously.  "But she is only acting for my sake.  I hope that you can forgive her for that."


"I knew she was a murderer long before this case," Phoenix replied.  "So, no.  I can't."


 Chassie's eyes thinned, and she drew her hand back.  "In that case, I am sorry that you got involved in this.  Though…I am grateful."  She lowered her eyes.  "Whatever happens today, thank you.  For believing in me."


Her sincerity won him over--Phoenix nodded as he straightened his tie back in place.  "It's my job," he replied simply.  "Just promise me you'll stay out of trouble once this is over, all right?"


Chassie blinked slowly.  "I will certainly try."


He knew it was the best answer she could offer him.  He thanked her, and just then the bailiff came to call them in to court.


Phoenix walked ahead of Chassie towards the familiar double doors.  Just like last time Miles had also been called, and their eyes met just before they did.  But Phoenix was ready for him; he tilted his chin up, keeping his voice firm as he offered a stern greeting.  "Edgeworth."


Miles looked away.  It was a kind of retreat Phoenix hadn't expected from him.  "Wright."


Phoenix bit the inside of his lip.  The thought that Miles was finally being affected by him--might even feel guilty--made his chest tighten with emotion.  Stop it.  Whatever happened before doesn't matter now.  Once you go through those doors, he's your enemy.


They entered the courtroom together, and it was almost like stepping into some bizarre sporting event.  The gallery was packed to overflowing with curious spectators.  Their excited chattering filled the hall, making any individual voice or word unintelligible.  Phoenix kept his focus as he strode determinedly down the line of staring eyes to his desk, and Miles to his.  It had been a long time since he'd faced an audience this grand, but he was no longer intimidated by it.


Chassie took her seat, looking as calm as ever.  Phoenix held himself stiffly and fought hard not to scan the gallery for his employer.  You're better off not being able to see Urami anyway, he reasoned.  She'll just make things harder.  He did, however, notice a few familiar faces in the seats just beyond Miles--Detective Gumshoe was there, along with Ema and her sister.


And all I get is a mob boss' granddaughter, Phoenix thought with a dry smirk.  It really would have been nice to have Maya here after all.


The Judge entered and took his seat amidst more anxious murmurs.  It took several pounds of his gavel to quiet the gallery down enough for him to be able to speak.  "Order, order!  This court will have order, or I will have the gallery cleared!"


That got their attention.  The audience gradually quieted, though there were still faint whispers spreading up and down the rows of people.  The Judge cleared his throat, still not entirely pleased but willing to continue.  "This court is now in session once more for the case of The People vs. Chassie Gander.  Is council prepared?"


"The Prosecution is ready, Your Honor," Miles replied precisely.  Whatever uncertainty Phoenix thought he had seen in the man's face was now gone.


"The Defense is ready, Your Honor."


"Very good."  The Judge looked to Miles.  "I take it the Prosecution has results to share with the court?"


"Yes, Your Honor."


Phoenix took in a deep breath.  It could end right here, he told himself, hands pressed anxiously to his bench.  As soon as he confirms the report is authentic, I have to push for a verdict.  I can't let him present any other evidence that might confuse the Judge.


"Our forensics lab performed several tests on the Hotta Clinic report the Defense presented on Friday," Miles related.  "We were unable to prove that it was forged or tampered with in any way."


"You mean…the report was real?" the Judge said with surprise.  "That would mean Chassie Gander has an alibi for the night of the fire."


"That's right!" Phoenix interrupted quickly.  "Chassie was at the Hotta Clinic the entire time that the fire took place.  It is impossible for her to have committed this arson!"


The gallery buzzed with mixed reactions, and the Judge was so amazed himself that he didn't think to quiet them for a few moments.  But as they murmured and speculated, Phoenix was watching Miles; the prosecutor was remaining calm, his arms crossed and fingers drumming lightly as he waited for order to be restored.  He's not worried, Phoenix thought, the hairs on the back of his neck beginning to rise.  But he hasn't given in.  Have I walked into a trap?


"Order!"  The Judge finally got everyone under control once more, and cleared his throat before looking again to Miles.  "Mr. Edgeworth, you have no objection to the Defense's statement?" he questioned, clearly puzzled by his silence.


"None whatsoever," Miles replied crisply.  "It is as the Defense has said--the Hotta Clinic report proves that Chassie Gander could not have started that fire."


"And…?"  The Judge frowned in confusion.  "Does that mean…the Prosecution rests?  You do realize what verdict I'm about to give, don't you?"


A slow, smug grin curled Miles' lips--the appearance of that expression set Phoenix instantly on edge.  "I'm afraid it's still too early for that, Your Honor."


What's he getting at?  "Chassie was convicted of arson," Phoenix said carefully.  "You yourself admit it was impossible for her to have committed it--that makes her innocent."


"And that is where you're wrong," Miles retorted smartly, uncrossing his arms.  "For you see, Mr. Wright, Miss Gander was not merely convicted of arson."  He pounded his hand abruptly on his desk, transitioning swiftly into aggression.  "She was convicted on five counts of first degree murder!"


His sudden change in demeanor caught Phoenix by surprise, but only for a moment.  "Hold it!  You're only trying to confuse the court.  Those five people died in the fire!"


"Your Honor!"  Miles turned his attention to the Judge, who stiffened as if expecting to be accused himself.  "It is at this time that the Prosecution requests that the charges against Chassie Gander be modified to fit new evidence!"


"What!?"  For all his planning and rehearsing the night before, Phoenix could never have anticipated Miles' new strategy.  "You--You can't do that!"


"Of course I can," Miles said with a shrug.  "The Prosecution has every right to reevaluate its position, given new evidence.  It's not any different than when you filed an appeal for a case that had already been decided, is it not?"


Phoenix ground his teeth, but not matter how he wracked his brain he couldn't think of a way to prove Miles wrong.  He really did find something new.  Damnit, Edgeworth!


"Mr. Edgeworth," the Judge cut in, still looking rather baffled.  "Exactly what do you intend to charge Miss Gander with, then?"


Miles brushed invisible dust off his cravat.  "Nothing remarkably different, Your Honor.  The Prosecution would merely like to reduce the five counts of murder down to three.  It carries the same sentence--not a terrible inconvenience, by any means."


The murmur from the crowd this time sounded mostly mystified.  They didn't follow what Miles was implying any more than Phoenix did.  Is he saying Chassie killed those people before the fire was started?  But how is that possible?  He glanced to Chassie.  Her posture was as perfect as it had been before, and her eyes were staring straight ahead, watching Miles without trepidation.  It was her baby in there.


"Your Honor!" Phoenix called, pulling himself back together.  "There's no need for this.  The Prosecution is just stalling.  Chassie already has a proven alibi and no motive to commit any murder.  There isn't any evidence to indicate otherwise!  The Defense insists on a verdict!"


Miles' hand came down on his bench with greater force than usual, creating a startling percussion that made Phoenix and half the gallery flinch.  "Wright," he said firmly, meeting his gaze directly across the courtroom.  "I already told you.  Your client is guilty."


Phoenix cringed, unable to help the chill that ran the length of his spine.  Miles was a lot of things, and at the moment every description Phoenix could think of was something he couldn't repeat--but he wasn’t a liar.  At least, not anymore.


Unless he was lying Saturday night, when he acted like he'd given up, Phoenix couldn't help but consider as his hands tightened to fists.  He was beginning to feel ill.  Did he have this "new evidence" then?  Did he not bring it up, just so we would….


"That's enough," The Judge intervened.  "Mr. Edgeworth, if you indeed have new evidence, you're of course entitled to present it."


Miles grinned triumphantly.  "Thank you, Your Honor.  But in order to do so, I'll need some help from a witness."


"Very well."


Stop smiling like that.  Phoenix lowered his eyes, taking a slow breath to regain his composure.  This isn't a game. 


"The Prosecution would like to call Chassie Gander to the stand."


Chassie stood up from her seat, and Phoenix watched her closely as she moved to the witness stand.  She still appeared remarkably calm, with her hands folded in front of her, her wide eyes staring straight ahead.  He had thought he was getting used to reading her, as he was Urami, but now he couldn't be sure.  Phoenix licked his lips and straightened.  All I can do is stay focused, just like any other case.


Chassie looked at him.  Though he was still unsuccessful in gauging her demeanor, he thought he understood what she was asking him.  Tell the truth, he tried to convey by look alone.  I'll protect you.


"Witness," Miles said, drawing both their attentions.  "I think it's about time we heard from you just what occurred the morning of October 2nd."


The Judge nodded.  "The witness may begin her testimony."


Chassie curled her fingers over the polished wood of the witness stand.  "What Mr. Wright said last Friday is the truth," she said, her voice measured and almost mechanical, like the first time Phoenix had talked to her.  "Mr. Hoff and I…were lovers.  For a long time."  Her eyes flickered briefly to Phoenix before she continued.  "We even had a child together."


Again, curious murmurs began to spread through the crowd.  The Judge was quick to speak before they could get out of hand again.  "A child?" he repeated.  "Is that true?"


"It is, Your Honor," Miles assured, holding up his evidence to be retrieved by the bailiff.  "After court on Friday, we were able to recover this birth certificate from Hotta Clinic, which proves the defendant did indeed give birth to Mr. Hoff's son."


"William," Chassie interrupted coldly, "was my son."


Miles lifted an eyebrow.  "Of course.  Please continue."


Chassie was still staring at him as she went on with her testimony.  "After William was born, Jackie decided…that is, Mr. Hoff decided, that he no longer desired to be with me.  He was in love with someone else.  We fought.  One night, he took my baby away from me and went to live with Miss Arky, in the same building as her brother, Mr. Mel Arky."


"Why didn't you go to the police for help?" Phoenix asked.  Whatever trouble Urami had put him through over the last week, he couldn't help but feel sympathy for her friend.  "Couldn't you have fought for custody?"


Chassie shook her head, her long hair batting back and forth.  "I kept the birth a secret.  I did not want anyone to know I had a son.  I was afraid…someone would harm him, because of my connections.  The law could not help me."


Miles snorted lightly with disdain.  "Perhaps you would have been better off not associating with criminals in the first place, then."


Phoenix glared at him.  "You shouldn't make remarks like that unless you have proof."


Miles smirked, but he relented and didn't comment again.  The Judge frowned between them.  "So, this baby," he deduced.  "Are you saying this 'William' is really the young victim from the fire?"


"Yes," Miles confirmed.  He handed off another report to be entered into the court record.  "Our lab completed a DNA test this weekend, and proved just what you've supposed.  The baby that died that night was none other than Chassie's own son."


Phoenix couldn't make out what was being said in the gallery behind him, but he couldn't help the feeling that they were on his side.  You don't have to know Chassie to know it would have been impossible for her to have killed her own son.  She clearly loved him.  Once the Judge had restored order he took his chance.  "If this is the 'new evidence' the Prosecution has to present, the Defense insists again on a verdict!" he declared.  "All Edgeworth has done is prove how unlikely it is that Chassie would harm anyone in that building!"


"That might be true, if this was all the evidence I had to present," Miles retorted easily.  "Why don't you wait until the witness' testimony is over before rushing to judgment?"


"Then…then get on with it already," Phoenix muttered impatiently.


"Mr. Wright," said the Judge.  "Would you like to cross examine any of the witness' testimony thus far?"


Phoenix shook his head.  Everything she's said has only helped my case.  If I fool around here, I'm sure he'll find a way to make me pay for it.  "No, Your Honor.  Chassie is telling the truth."


Miles hmphed again, and they glared at each other for a moment across the court.  I'm done with your games, Edgeworth, Phoenix thought bitterly.  I'm going to prove you wrong.  For your own good.


"Very well.  Witness, please continue with your testimony of the day of the incident."


Chassie nodded.  "That night, I decided to take William back," she resumed.  "I went to the duplex, late at night, thinking I could steal William back while Jackie slept."  Her fingers tightened on the rail.  "As he had done to me.  I broke in through a window."


"Which is when April May saw you," Phoenix assumed.


"Yes.  I had not seen her--the apartment next door was playing music very loudly, so I assumed they were too busy to notice me.  I'll admit I was not very careful."


"So you went inside," Miles prompted.  "What then?"


Chassie lowered her eyes a bit.  "I looked for my son.  I did not suspect that Jackie might be awake.  He caught me, and we argued about William.  Ann watched us from the bed."  She shuddered, for a moment her voice growing thin.  "She was laughing at me."


How horrible….  Phoenix swallowed hard.  He and the rest of the gallery were listening with strict attention as she related the unfortunate history.


"I was angry.  I grabbed a wine bottle from the dresser--they were everywhere--and hit Jackie in the head.  The bottle broke.  It spilled wine everywhere, on my hair and clothes.  As you can see, I am not a strong woman.  He wrestled the bottle away from me."  She turned her hands over, uncurling her fingers like spider legs to reveal the old scars.  "The glass cut my hands.  He dragged me to the door, and threw me out."  She covered her palms once more.  "I called a friend from the payphone.  I was picked up and taken to the Hotta Clinic."


"And you stayed there," Phoenix supplied the rest, "until your hands were stitched up, and you went home.  All during the time the fire was taking place."


"Yes…that is right.  Not that I knew it, at the time."


The court fell silent.  Even the Judge looked mystified by the collection of quiet, compassionate faces.  He cleared his throat.  "What a terrible story…."


They're all on her side.  Phoenix felt a little tremor go through him as he took in the court's unusual atmosphere.  Despite how cold she isthey believe her.  She was just protecting her child.


But he couldn't let himself get too optimistic.  Behind the Prosecution Bench, Miles' expression was unmoved.  He hadn't objected to anything in Chassie's testimony, and yet he still had not caved to defeat.  It's not over yet.  Phoenix took a deep breath, watching as Miles straightened to speak.


"Is that the conclusion of your testimony?" Miles asked.  His voice was a bit more reserved in light of the attention being paid him by the gallery.  "You quarreled with Mr. Hoff, and were removed."


"Yes," Chassie replied precisely, offering him no more or less.


"At the time, did you observe where your son was?"




Miles waited, expecting her to elaborate, but she didn't.  It only seemed to encourage him.  "And Miss Arky," he went on.  "You had no exchanges with her?"


"No.  Other than her mocking me," Chassie said coldly.


"You're lying."


Chassie blinked slowly.  By now Phoenix had learned at least one thing about determining her state of mind, and that was to look at her hands--her knuckles were white as she gripped the witness podium.  He couldn't help a sudden prickling of doubt when he saw it, but he objected anyway.


"Prove it," Phoenix challenged.  His voice came out stronger than he felt.  "If you have a problem with her testimony, present your evidence!"


Miles grinned.  It was a trap, but Phoenix could do nothing but run headlong into it.  It's not over yet.  I've already come this far.  I won't give up until it's finished.




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