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 2

Monday September 16th, 2019.  3:10 pm




Miles was still getting used to people "dropping in."  He didn't remember receiving so many visitors the last time he had occupied the Los Angeles Prosecutor's Office.  At first he thought it was simply the placement--he was closer to the elevator than he had been three years ago, more convenient for anyone passing by on their way to see the Chief.  It seemed evident now, however, that the people who came in were actually there to see him.


That afternoon it was Ema Skye.  She had taken to visiting often now that she had finally been accepted into their city's law enforcement as Crime Scene Analyst.  She had even worked on the last case he prosecuted, which ended in a well-earned guilty verdict.  Having her around always kindled in Miles a strange feeling of nostalgia.  He had always been fond of her; she had been constantly in and out of the office after her sister became Chief Prosecutor, and in those two short years he had appreciated having someone around who was even younger than himself.


"They're still writing about you," Ema said cheerily as she sat perched on the edge of Miles' office chair.  She pulled what looked like a tabloid out of her white lab coat and set it on his desk for him to see.  "Near the back, but it's there.  Looks like they finally got a hold of one of your European friends."


Miles lifted the magazine, flipping through to the last pages, where there was indeed another article about him.  There had been several since his unexpected return, in newspapers and tabloids alike, flaunting every story about him worth repeating.  He didn't read them himself, but Ema did, and she would bring it to his attention when anything too inaccurate was printed.  So far he'd managed to get recanting statements from two such so-called journalists, after threat of great legal action.


"I thought they would have been bored of me by now," Miles said glumly as skimmed the article.  At least it focused on his time abroad instead of his personal life.


"Not until Mr. Wright takes another big name case," Ema replied with a grin.  "It's been a while, but once he does I'm sure it'll take the heat off."


Miles rolled his eyes.  Finding nothing worth suing over he handed the magazine back to Ema.  "He'd have plenty of work if he wasn't so picky.  Though, now that you mention it…."  He frowned thoughtfully as he recalled their brief exchange that afternoon.  "He did say something about a client earlier."


Ema dog-eared the article and tucked it away in her coat once more.  "He was at the station not long ago," she offered.  "Poking around the evidence room.  Detective Gumshoe was chasing him out just before I left."


"Did he say what he was looking for?"


"Nope.  Sorry."


Edgeworth drummed his fingers against the desk.  He was not curious by nature but something about Phoenix's manner that afternoon had stayed in his mind.  "I wonder what he's up to…."




Phoenix bought himself a late lunch from the deli down the street from the police station.  He could tell why it was so popular with Gumshoe and the rest of the officers: the meat was thin and fresh, and the meals came cheap.  They must have done a lot of business.


More importantly, with the lunch rush over there was a quiet corner table open at the back where he could look over the evidence he'd collected.  It was all photocopies and hastily taken pictures--Larry and Miles had chipped in together to buy him a digital camera for his birthday that year, and it was especially handy for recording evidence.  After having read through the entire case file once, he went through again as he sucked down his lemonade, scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad.


The arson had been committed on October 2nd, 2015.  Phoenix jotted down all the times into his notes: someone had called 911 from the next building at 3:25 am, and though the fire department arrived fifteen minutes later it took most of the rest of the night to put out the blaze.  Forensics later estimated the fire had been started around 3:15, having been sparked in the building's basement laundry room with bottles of alcohol as accelerant.  Many shards of various colored glass were found melted into the concrete floor.


"Sounds like Urami all right," Phoenix muttered to himself as he went on to the evidence against Chassie.  Police had arrested her the day after, having been tipped off by an eye witness who saw her sneaking into the building the night of the fire.  She had been discovered at her house with freshly bandaged lacerations on her hands and traces of many different kinds of alcohol in her hair.  The arresting officers described her demeanor that morning as listless and disoriented.  Once she was identified by the witness and a motive was established, Miles would have had very little trouble convincing the judge she was guilty.


Phoenix sighed.  So far it wasn't looking very promising, and when he noted the name of the witness his spirits dropped even further.  "April May," he read aloud.   "Of all the people I didn't want to see again…"  He scratched her name down and quickly moved on in the report.  "Let's see this supposed motive…"


Urami had been right about one thing, at least; the police had made no effort to hide the bias against Chassie Gander.  "Known Shikabane associate" was scribbled in on several pages of the report.  One of the fire's two male victims, Mel Arky, was reportedly an employee of Blue Corp, which had--according to the report--been at odds with the Shikabane Syndicate for years.  It wasn't that surprising, considering that Blue Corps' specialty was collecting information, especially on people who preferred to remain in the shadows.


"If Arky had collected information on the Shikabane…it's no wonder they wanted him burned down," Phoenix mused.  "Not that we'll ever know that."  It would be just like their city's fine law enforcement to assume such evidence would have burned up in the fire.


Phoenix looked over his papers and pictures, sipping down the last of his lemonade with a loud gurgle.  You've won worst cases, he told himself.  Eyewitnesses?  Hand injuries?  A flimsy motive?  There's not a shred of conclusive evidence.


You've freed people on worse.


Phoenix shifted, and was reminded of the subtle weight in his pants pocket.  He tugged out Urami's small black purse, which he had avoided opening all afternoon.  With a deep breath he finally undid the small gold clasp, turning it over to spill its contents onto the table.


It was a plastic film container, the kind no one used anymore, now that digital cameras were readily available.  It was rather anticlimactic, which actually helped calm Phoenix's nerves.  He popped off the black plastic lid and this time discovered the real object: a roll of thin paper.


"Let's see…."  Phoenix tugged the paper flat, being careful to only touch the edges in case there were fingerprints he wasn't meant to smudge.  It was a receipt, for a payment made in cash to the Hotta Clinic.  Phoenix rolled his eyes at the other familiar name, but grew serious once more when he took in the full information.  Chassie had been admitted to Hotta Clinic the night of the arson.  In fact, if the information on the receipt was correct, she had been undergoing treatment on her hands during the entire window the fire department had specified as being the time the fire could have been started.


She didn't do it.


Phoenix read over the receipt several times.  He compared the times to the fire department's report over and over, until he was certain of what he was reading.  Whatever his misgivings of Urami had been until then, she had given him, and Chassie, an iron-clad alibi.


Stay calm, Phoenix told himself as he slipped the paper back into its plastic container.  Just because Urami gave you this doesn't mean it's true.  You'll have to go to the clinic, get an official report.  That would be enough for an appeal.


Phoenix piled all his files and pictures back into his briefcase, and tossed out the remains of his lunch on his way out the door.




It was shortly after Ema left that Edgeworth got a very surprising phone call.


His caller ID indicated a cell phone number he wasn't familiar with.  That in itself was unusual enough, as his office calls usually came from within the building, or else the police station.  He answered, completely unaware as to what would follow.  "Miles Edgeworth's office."


"Mr. Edgeworth…?"  There was no mistaking that soft voice.  "I'm sorry to call you like this.  Are you busy…?"


"Miss Ayame…"  Edgeworth frowned, and leaned back from his desk.  "No, I'm not busy.  Is something the matter?"


"I thought you might know where Mr. Wright is," Ayame said.  "I can't reach his cell phone.  He's not at his office, or at home."


"I think he's investigating a case.  He could be just about anywhere…"


Ayame paused on the other end, and Edgeworth could just imagine the troubled face she was making.  "I see.  I'll just have to wait, then…"


Edgeworth's brow furrowed.  "You mean, you're in town?  Did Wright know you were coming?"


"Well, not really…but I am in town."


Edgeworth's shoulders sagged as he considered his options.  He didn't know Ayame especially well himself, but he had defended her, and there probably wasn't anyone else in the city she was as familiar with.  And it wasn't as if he had a case to work on.  He sighed.  "Where are you now?"


"Outside Mr. Wright's apartment…."


"Stay there.  I'll try his cell from here, and if I can't reach him I'll come pick you up."


"You don't have to do that," Ayame replied quickly.  "I don't want to be a bother."


Edgeworth smiled thinly.  "A gentleman never leaves a woman unattended," he told her.  Franziska had beaten that particular tenant of chivalry into him enough times for him to know.  "Just stay put.  One of us will be there soon."


"Thank you, Mr. Edgeworth…"




The Hotta clinic never really changed.  When Phoenix passed through the lobby he noticed a few people in uniform he didn't recognize, and wondered if it was a good sign that some new staff had been added.  After a bit of asking around he found the "doctor" he was looking for.  It probably would have been a better idea to locate a more reputable employee, but for his purposes the infamous Dr. Hotta himself was best suited.  If anyone would remember a female patient--and be willing to hand over some privileged documents--it was him.


Dr. Hotta never really changed, either.  "Chassie, Chassie…."  Dr. Hotta mulled over the name, watching Phoenix as if waiting for something.  It wasn't until Phoenix handed over a picture of Chassie from the police report that he seemed to remember.  "Ah, yes.  Miss Chassie.  Mm-hmm.  I remember."  His thin eyes gleamed in a very unpleasant way.  "I 'chased' her a bit myself, if you know what I mean.  Heh heh."


Phoenix winced.  "I know what you mean.  Do you still have her records on hand?"  Please do, so I can get this over with.


Dr. Hotta scratched thoughtfully at his thinning, still pink hair.  "Hmm, records?  Prob'ly.  Guess I better check."  Dr. Hotta waved for Phoenix to follow him and headed down a thin hall, towards the back of the clinic.  "We're doctors, after all.  Gotta keep proper records'n such.  Am I right?"  He chuckled for seemingly no reason and ducked into a small room of file cabinets.  "Even when they don't want us to, eh?"


"I…guess so."  Phoenix glanced around the small records room, frowning at the state of disarray it was in.  There were open cabinets with papers spilling out of them, folders piled haphazardly in the corner, even half an orange peel.  It's not just him, it's the whole clinic, he thought with another wince.  Glad I didn't end up here when I was hospitalized….


"Mm-hmm, here we are."  Dr. Hotta pulled a cardboard box out from under a table against the far wall and tossed the lid carelessly aside.  On the side of the box written with thick black sharpie were the words "My stuff - don't touch" in sloppy handwriting.  As Dr. Hotta flipped through the different files Phoenix crouched down next to him to peek, and caught glances of what looked like mostly young, attractive women.


Phoenix made a face.  "You're stockpiling women's files?" he had to ask.


"Naww, naww," Dr. Hotta insisted as he continued to dig through them.  "Just makin'm easier to find."  Phoenix didn't have time to reply before he suddenly declared, "A-ha!"


Phoenix leaned closer as Dr. Hotta pulled out a thin folder with "goth" written on the label tab.  Sure enough, inside it was a small photograph of Chassie, looking even gloomier than she had at the prison.  He quickly scanned the discharge papers handed to him.  "She was admitted the night of the fire," he said, feeling a strange mix of elation and excitement.  "She was here the whole time--she couldn't have started it."


"Huh?  Oh, right.  Hmm."  Dr. Hotta started to put the photo Phoenix had given him into his pocket, only to have it quickly snatched back.  He pursed his lips out in a pout.  "Ain't she 'pposed to be dead by now?  Executed?"


"Not with me around," Phoenix murmured.  His mind was spinning now--finally, a case with a clear alibi.  "Can I make a copy of this?  It's going to save her life."


"Take it," Dr. Hotta replied with a shrug.  "I gots extras."


That didn't sound very comforting, but it was the last of Phoenix's concerns at the moment.  He tucked the paper away into his briefcase.  "Thanks, Dr. Hotta.  You've been a big help."


He seemed to brighten with the praise.  "You'll tell her it was me, right?" he said, his beady eyes gleaming with mischief.  "Tell'er I saved her life?"


"Uh…sure.  Of course."  Figuring he might as well play along, he gave Dr. Hotta's shoulder a pat.  "I'm sure she'll be very grateful."


Phoenix managed to slip out of the room, and the clinic, before exposing himself to too much more of Dr. Hotta's unpleasant mannerisms.  It wasn't until he was out on the street again, feeling decidedly unclean, that it occurred to him.  He sat down at a bus stop bench so he could open up his briefcase again and check the papers he'd just received.


They still looked authentic.  But if this really is an alibi, why did her other lawyers not use it? Phoenix wondered.  He read over every line to be sure, and still could find no fault in Dr. Hotta's record.  Urami knew this was here.  But it's not in the police report.  Was it never presented?  He frowned sharply.  Has Edgeworth not seen this?


Phoenix stared at the report for a moment longer before putting it away.  He was still collecting evidence, and there would be time to ask Chassie about it before he officially accepted the case.  I just hope this isn't one of Urami's schemes




A bus and a bike ride later Phoenix was finally turning down the street toward home.  He still had a few people to interview but it was getting close to five by then, and it would have to wait until Tuesday.  Angel wouldn't be hard to get a hold of, now that she'd been accepted back into the force as detective, but he had no idea where to start with April May.


As Phoenix approached his building he was startled to see a familiar pair waiting for him.  He recognized Miles first - it was hard not to, with that magenta suit of his - and it made something in his chest clench unexpectedly.  What's he doing here?  He gulped, wondering if someone had spilled to Miles already just which case he'd been investigating.  But then his gaze skipped to the woman next to him, and he tensed all over again.


Along the sidewalk in front of Phoenix's building was a low stone wall, and it was on this that Miles and Ayame had sat waiting for him.  It was just tall enough that both of their feet were dangling a few inches off the ground, making them look very much like school children awaiting their ride home.  Phoenix slowed and walked his bike the rest of the way.  In that short time until he was in front of them his mind spun with too many questions: how long had they been here?  Why was Ayame even in town?  And more importantly, if they had waited here for some time, what had they talked about?


"Phoenix…."  Ayame smiled shyly.  "Good evening."


"Hi…"  Phoenix's own smile was a little shaky.  "Um…."


"You should keep your phone on," Miles told him, looking distinctly smug.  "It's very rude to keep a woman waiting."


"My phone?"  Phoenix dug into his coat pocket.  "But I turned it on when I…oh."  He frowned down at the device's blank screen.  "My battery died."


Miles hopped off the wall and tugged his coat straight.  "Be more careful next time."  He turned to offer Ayame a nod of his head.  "Miss Ayame."


Ayame's hands tensed around each other in her lap.  She looked nervous, which wasn't in itself unusual, but it was strangely contagious.  "Thank you for waiting with me, Mr. Edgeworth.  I'm sorry to have bothered you."


"It was nothing.  Take your time."  Miles then looked to Phoenix again, his face taking on a more serious expression.  His hand tightened briefly against Phoenix's shoulder.  "Good luck," he said.


Phoenix frowned, but before he could question what those words meant Miles was already turning away, toward his car in the parking lot Phoenix hadn't noticed until then.  He watched the prosecutor go with a feeling of bewilderment.  Of course it'd be when I'd rather avoid him that we keep running into each other, he thought sourly.  Not to mention….


Phoenix glanced back to Ayame, who was watching him patiently.  There was something approaching guilt in her eyes that made his heart sink as if he already knew what she was going to say.  He leaned his bicycle against the wall.  "Hey…I'm sorry you had to wait.  If I'd know you were coming, I would have picked you up…."


"It's all right," Ayame assured.  "I only decided today that I was coming.  I should have called ahead, but…"  She tipped her chin down.  "I wanted to speak with you."


Phoenix wasn't exactly well versed in relationship dynamics, but even to him that didn't sound good.  He gulped, and boosted himself up onto the wall next to her.  With his legs dangling he really did feel younger.  "Is something wrong?"


"We haven't seen each other for a while now," Ayame said quietly.  "We haven't really had a chance to talk.  I mean, we've talked, but…."


After all the running around he had done that day, the uncertainty and careful optimism, Phoenix wasn't certain how ready he was to face a conversation like this.  Not that it seemed he had a choice this time.  He had to admit that he had been putting off discussing with Ayame the state of their tentative relationship for a while now.  "Do you want to come inside?" he suggested.


"No, it's all right.  I'm taking a train home tonight…I didn't want to inconvenience you."  She smiled.  "Mr. Edgeworth said you were investigating a case today.  You must be very busy."


Phoenix bit back a wince.  "Well, sort of.  But that doesn't mean you have to rush off…."


"Phoenix...Nicky."  Ayame reached out to him, hesitantly, and almost instinctively he took her hand to hold between them.  "I'm sorry.  I came here to tell you, I'm going to be staying in Hazakurain from now on."


"Oh."  Phoenix lowered his eyes.  He had been expecting her to say something like that.  "Yeah, I…thought you would.  It's your home, after all."


Ayame nodded vaguely.  "The city is too much for me," she continued.  "I'm too used to being in the mountains, and now, after being in prison…"  Her fingers tensed against his.  "Everything is so loud and busy, with so many people.  It…frightens me."


I can understand that, Phoenix thought to himself.  Hazakurain is so closed off and quiet. And Los Angeles is a bit much sometimes, even for people who are used to it.  This city's no place for her.


When Phoenix tried to tell her the same, his mouth went suddenly dry, and he had to recollect himself before he could get the words out.  "It's all right--I understand.  But you know, with my practice…"


"I know," Ayame said quickly.  "Your work means a lot to you.  You belong here."


He could see her shift out of the corner of his eye, and when he glanced up found himself staring directly into her soft gaze.  He couldn't remember having seen that expression on her before, the kind of pained determination that tugged at the lines in her face.  "But that doesn't mean," Ayame told him, "we can't still visit sometimes.  Right?"


Then it's over.  Phoenix felt numb.  He wasn't sure what a man was supposed to feel at a time like this, but he had lost Ayame once before, in a much worse manner than he was now, so he couldn't bring himself to be surprised or depressed by it.  It was like he had told Edgeworth all those weeks ago--they had changed, and this was the way it should be for them.


Phoenix managed a smile.  "Of course."


Ayame smiled back, her eyes watering a little.  "I'm glad."


They sat on the wall for a few minutes longer, just holding each other's hand as they watched the quiet flow of activity pass around them.  Finally Ayame spoke up, as it would soon be time for her to leave for her train.  "Mr. Edgeworth said he wouldn't mind driving me to the station," she said as Phoenix hopped off the wall and the helped her down.  "He only lives a few blocks from here, so I can just walk."


"Oh…that's right, he does."  The mention of the prosecutor's name made Phoenix shift uncomfortably.  "We did attend the same school for a while, after all.  We used to walk together in the mornings…."


"He's a good man."




They hesitated awkwardly a moment longer, and then Phoenix leaned down, giving Ayame a soft kiss to her cheek.  It only seemed right.  "I'll be in touch," he promised.  "Maya said she wanted to come visit sometime around Halloween.  We can all get together then."


Ayame smiled hopefully.  "I'd like that."  She gave his hand a light squeeze and finally stepped back.  "Then…I'll see you soon, Phoenix."


"Have a safe trip back."


Ayame nodded, and turned to head off down the sidewalk.  He watched her for a while, and thought he saw her wipe her eyes, but he couldn't be sure.  It wasn't until she disappeared around the corner that Phoenix spurred back to life, walking his bike to the rack at the side of the building.


It's the way things are, Phoenix told himself as he pulled his briefcase out of his bicycle's wire basket.  You belong here, she doesn't.  You didn't really think you could just get back together like nothing happened, did you?  Besides, if that's what you really wantedyou wouldn't have let her go so easily.  Right?


Phoenix sighed.  It was easy enough to justify it that way.  But he couldn't shake the feeling that something heavy was bearing down on him, that some voice at the back of his mind was trying to tell him something he didn't want to hear.


Or maybe that was the lingering sensation of Miles' heavy fingers weighing on his shoulder.



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