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 5

Wednesday September 18th, 2019.  10:27 am



"You're in a good mood this morning, Mr. Edgeworth."


Miles didn't glance up from the papers he'd been paging through, but the edge of his lips tipped in a faint smile.  "What makes you say that?"


Gumshoe smirked back, wishing Miles could see how obviously he'd answered his own question.  He had stopped by the office that morning to drop off information on a case off to Prosecutor Payne, but he couldn't pass Miles' office without saying hello.  "Oh, nothing."


His tone was vaguely teasing, and Miles straightened; he knew that if he didn't stop Gumshoe's imagination now there might be trouble--or rumors--later.  "I had some unexpected company over last night, that's all."


"Ema?" Gumshoe hazarded, earning him an un-amused look.  Both offices were well aware by now of just how much time the young Ema Skye spent visiting their lately returned prosecutor.


"Wright and Butz, if you must know," Miles corrected.  "We had some drinks.  You ought to join us next time, Detective.  You get along with them well enough, don't you?"


Gumshoe, surprised by the invitation, stuttered over a response.  "W-Well, sure!  They're not bad guys."  He scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment--truth be told, he still couldn't shake the feeling that he owed the defense attorney for his work over the past year.  "I'd like that."


"Good.  Then next time I'll…."  Miles frowned, glancing toward the door.  "Do you smell something?"




Another early morning for Phoenix.  When he arrived at the office that morning--just to check messages before heading out again--he discovered an envelope had been slipped under his door.  It was from Angel, with a short message inside:



                This is all I could get for you.  It's a list of the evidence the investigators and I submitted to the Prosecutor's office when they decided to go ahead with the case against Gander.  I marked the entries Edgeworth didn't present in court, but I don't know if they mean anything.  You'll have to ask him.  See you in court.

                -Angel Starr


Phoenix skimmed down the list, and saw most everything he'd been able to dig up at the police station.  There were only three things that Angel had highlighted, near the bottom of the list--the autopsy reports for the innocent family killed in the arson: Jack Hoff, Ann Arky, and their baby.


Phoenix frowned slightly.  He had yet to spot the name of the unfortunate baby, and couldn't help but wonder why it hadn't been in any of the reports.  As for the autopsies, he could see why Edgeworth might not have entered them into the court record, as his case focused on Chassie's premeditated murder of the people next door.  There wasn't any reason to talk about the family, other than as unfortunate bystanders.


Phoenix made sure his cell phone was charged and then headed out for the day.  There was a tiny pit of uncertainty brewing in his gut as he took the bus into town.  He had finally come to the inevitable moment--he had to tell Edgeworth.  As soon as he filed the appeal, word would spread through the prosecutor's office, and he couldn't let him find out that way.  He wasn't sure what to expect from Edgeworth's reaction, other than it wouldn't be pretty.


The bus slowed a few blocks short of the office, pulling to the side as sirens blared from the rear.  Passengers muttered to each other curiously as they watched an ambulance speed down the middle lane and continue on.  It wasn't an uncommon sight in a city as big as L.A., but Phoenix frowned slightly, following its path with his eyes as far as he could.  When he listened hard enough he could hear more sirens echoing back from further down the road.


A little boy closer to the front of the bus stood on his seat and poked his head out the window.  "Mommy, I see smoke!"


"There must be a fire up ahead," replied his mother.


Phoenix had no gift for foresight.  Despite his acquaintances he didn't even consider himself especially spiritual.  But those casually spoken words made the knot already twisting his stomach tighten tenfold, until he was sure it showed in his face.  He tried to beat back the foolish conjectures of his imagination but it was difficult when he could still hear the sirens throbbing in his ears.


No.  Don't be ridiculous.


The bus started up again, but it only made it another block before they came upon police cars.  "I'm sorry," the driver reported to his passengers.  "They've got the road blocked off."  He twisted the doors open.  "You can get off now or wait here, but it looks like it's going to be a while."


A few people stood and moved to the doors, grumbling irritably about the inconvenience.  Phoenix clenched his jaw as he joined them in stepping down to the sidewalk.  There were a lot of people outside by now, moving in a kind of dull wave toward the direction of rising black smoke.  He joined the moving crowd but at a swifter pace than the rest.  By then his fingers were beginning to feel numb and he had to check his briefcase several times to be sure he was even still carrying it.


The crowd thickened, and it soon became obvious just what building their attention was fixed on.  Phoenix was propelled forward by near panic until he was face to face with the whole mortifying scene.  The District Prosecutor's office was surrounded by fire trucks and police cars, and up and down the streets men and women in uniform were doing their best to keep people back and direct the arriving ambulances.  There were no actual flames visible from the street, but thick, black smoke was pouring out of the windows on the twelfth story and above.  The ash left a horrible smell in the air that stung the back of Phoenix's throat with every breath.


It was unreal.  Phoenix stood dumbfounded with the rest of the onlookers, trying to take in the scene without being overwhelmed by it.  He wasn't aware that his hands were shaking until he felt his briefcase tapping against his thigh.  His insides curled nauseously, and when his brain kicked back into function there was only one thought in his mind: he knew who was responsible.


Phoenix was so shocked by what he was witnessing that it took a moment before he realized who stood next to him amidst the crowd of horrified spectators.  It wasn't until there was a dull crashing noise from within the building, causing both of them to jump, that Phoenix finally took notice and glanced over.  It was a woman, dressed in trim tan slacks, and a mauve-toned sweater with an oversized neck.  She was watching the burning building with a hand covering her mouth and wide, worried eyes.  It was her expression that let Phoenix recognize her in the different clothing.  "Lana?"


She flinched, lowering her hand to her chest as she turned to face him.  "Mr. Wright…?"  She looked horribly shaken, and he almost offered his arm to steady her.  "How long have you been here?" she asked quickly.  "Do you know what happened?"


Phoenix cringed--he felt as if his blood were draining from his body.  "I just got here," he replied.  "I don't know anything.  What are you doing here?"


"I was on my way to meet with my sister."  Lana glanced back to the prosecutor's building with a look of dread.  "I heard about the fire on the radio.  Ema comes by here all the time.  I thought…maybe…."


She trailed off, and almost looked faint.  But Phoenix was saved from having to come up with some kind of reassurance when another familiar figure came bobbing towards them.  "Lana!"


Lana's head snapped up, and a moment later Ema broke from the sea of bodies and threw her arms around her sister.  They embraced tightly as Lana whispered a few thankful words.  "Are you all right?" she asked, too many concerns coming out of her at once.  "I was afraid you might be in there.  You're not hurt?"


"I'm fine, really," Ema assured as she pulled back.  "I wasn't even inside.  They've almost got the fire under control already."


Phoenix snagged the sleeve of Ema's lab coat, startling her, but he couldn't wait any longer to know.  "What about Edgeworth?" he demanded anxiously.  "Is he all right?"


Ema looked surprised to see him, but thankfully she didn't hesitate in giving an answer.  She pointed to an ambulance parked just outside the front of the building.  "He should still be over there."


Phoenix's heart rose into his throat.  All manner of vicious imagery flashed through his already overworked mind, and before he realized he'd dropped his briefcase he struck through the waves of people.  This isn't really happening, he continued to tell himself.  Just last night we were drinking and having a great time.  And then--


His thoughts were cut off when a familiar voice rose among the commotion already spreading, and he almost laughed out loud in relief.  If Miles was all right enough to be yelling, he couldn't be that badly hurt.


"I want every available forensic officer at this scene," Miles was saying angrily as Phoenix approached.  "And the area blocked off until this arsonist is found.  Are you listening to me?"


Phoenix moved around the open ambulance door, and some of his relief was staunched when he finally laid eyes on the angry prosecutor.  Miles was sitting in the vehicle's open back, stripped of his suit coat and collar laid open to help him breathe.  His hair, clothing, and skin were stained dark with smoke and made him look even more ghastly pale beneath it.  He didn't appear to have been burned but the mere proof that he had been inside the building when the fire started was enough to make Phoenix's knees feel a little weak.


"Sir, please calm down," the ambulance technician was trying to quiet him.  He held up an oxygen mask for him.  "I'm sure the police will--"


Miles' roving eyes spotted Phoenix quickly.  "Wright!"  He pushed to his feet, to the technician's dismay.  "Do you see this madness?  Someone is getting hung for this, I swear it!"  He shook his head in disbelief.


Phoenix's shoulders sagged.  "I'm just glad you're okay," he said honestly.


"Thanks to the good detective."  Miles waved his arm toward a nearby fire truck, where Detective Gumshoe was seated with more paramedics.  He was just as covered in smoke as Miles, his broad shoulders uncommonly slack.  "It's a good thing he was there."


"Sir, I need to take you to the hospital," the technician tried again, taking Miles by the elbow.


"I'm fine," Miles snapped, trying to pull away from him.  "It's just smoke."


"But sir--"


"Where's that Ema?  I want her on this case--she knows that building as well as--"


Miles broke off, his eyes wide, and was quiet for a few brief seconds until he shook with a sudden, violent cough.  Both Phoenix and the paramedic reached for him at once.  Each grabbed an arm, steadying the man as he nearly doubled over.  Most of his weight slumped on Phoenix, who did his best to keep Miles upright even if he wasn't feeling much more stable himself.


Miles covered his mouth, incapacitated until the fit ended.  When the paramedic pressed the oxygen mask into his hand this time he didn't protest.  "Now keep that on, for God's sake," the man told him, his voice dripping with vindication.  "You inhaled a lot of smoke, and you're going to the hospital."  He looked to Phoenix.  "You got him?"


"Y-Yeah."  Phoenix adjusted his hold, and was surprised when Miles willingly leaned against his shoulder for support.  "I've got him."


"Thanks--I'll be right back."


The paramedic went to check on Gumshoe, and had to call over another colleague to help him support the detective on his feet.  Phoenix didn't pay attention as they helped Gumshoe over and into the ambulance--his attention was solely on Miles. Now that Miles seemed to have given up any pretense of good health he looked remarkably weak.  They were standing so close that Phoenix could feel when a tremor passed through him, and his grip on Phoenix's blue suit collar was faintly clinging.


"Edgworth…?"  Phoenix licked his lips, watching as his friend put his concentration into each slow breath.  It was oddly chilling to watch.  "Are…are you okay?"


Miles lifted his head, watching the smoke that continued to billow from his office window.  He sighed, and lowered the mask so he could speak.  "My signed Steel Samurai holofoil card was in there."


Phoenix stared, speechless, even as the paramedic returned to help Miles into the ambulance bay with Gumshoe.  He gave no resistance to the officers prodding him out of the way.  The last view he had of the pair before the ambulance doors were closed was Miles slumping against Gumshoe's shoulder.


The ambulance left the scene, and was followed quickly by another that Phoenix hadn't even noticed.  It didn't make the scene feel any less crowded; there were still lines of people stopping on the sidewalk to watch, in addition to the ever-growing number of police officers and other city officials.  Phoenix swayed on his feet, disoriented by the commotion.  The words Miles had told him wouldn't leave his head.  Ironically, it was those simple, almost childish concerns that impressed on Phoenix just how lethal an incident his friend had been involved in.


His phone rang several times before he thought enough to answer.  He cleared his throat.  "Hello?"


"Hello…Mr. Wright."  That familiar, chilling voice sent a pulse of heat through Phoenix's disheveled frame.


"Ura--"  Phoenix clamped his jaw shut, and glanced around quickly to make sure none of the nearby officers had heard that.  He strode quickly past the thickest collection of spectators.  "You!" he hissed into his phone.  His hands began to tremble angrily.  "What the hell is the matter with you?  Where are you?"


"Where…?  Does it matter…?"


"Don't mess with me, I know this was you!" Phoenix all but yelled.  A few people glanced at him, and he sucked in a low breath and strode to a new patch of sidewalk.  "Tell me why!"


Urami's tone sounded vaguely bored.  "I'm really not sure what you mean…."


Phoenix's chest clenched painfully.  It had been a long time since he'd felt this angry, at anyone, and it was making his temples pound.  "Damnit, this isn't a game!" he exploded.  "He could have been killed!"


"Ahh…so I was right."


Phoenix tensed, the blood leaving his face so fast it left him feeling cold.  "…What?"


"Those rumors about you and Prosecutor Edgeworth being friends…" Urami explained coolly.  "They weren't false, were they…?"  She chuckled darkly, sending goosebumps down Phoenix's arms.  "That's…good to know."


Phoenix shuddered, his eyes focusing dizzily on the sidewalk at his feet.  Because of what you said last night, he finally realized.  He covered his mouth with his free hand in sudden nausea.  You told her you didn't want Edgeworth prosecuting the case.  And shedamnit, she!


"Besides…" Urami continued in that same, dreary tone.  "You underestimate me.  If I…wanted someone dead, they would be, wouldn't they…?"  She chuckled again.  "This is just…a lucky coincidence."


Phoenix squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lip, determined not to let his anger get the better of him.  It wouldn't do him any good against Urami.  "You said you were leaving it in my hands," he said once his composure was a bit stronger.  "Don't you trust me to win this case?"


"I do….  And I trust you to continue moving forward."  Urami's voice sharpened slightly.  "So please don't let me down, Mr. Wright."


She hung up then, and in his frustration Phoenix nearly threw his phone into the street.  He managed to control that impulse and settled instead with cursing under his breath.  I knew she was Shikabane, but I didn't think she was capable of this, he thought bitterly.  He ran a hand over his slicked back hair and realized it was still shaking subtly.  And all because of one stupid remark I made when I was drunk!  She's completely insane!  And now--


The phone rang again, and Phoenix pounded on the receive button.  "Now what!?"


"My my, Feeny.  Don't we sound grumpy."


Phoenix let his breath out in a loud sigh.  "April…."  Just great.  "What do you want?"


"Hmph, that's no way to talk to a lady," April admonished.  "And here I had all those lovely pictures you asked me for."


Oh, right.  The pictures.  Phoenix's shoulders sagged.  He was still irritated and tense, but as April drew his mind back to the case he was able to focus better.  "How many were you able to get?"


"Dug up about half a dozen.  I'd drop them off myself but I'm a busy girl.  You better come get them."


Phoenix frowned, his mind spinning through options.  "I'll pick them up," he said.  "Or have someone else pick them up.  You're still at K.B.?"


"Of course.  It's my job, you know.  But if you send someone make sure they--"


"You'll get your damn money," Phoenix snapped, and hung up on her vengefully.  Damn criminals.  But as soon as he did, he felt an uncommon stirring of guilt.  He rubbed his eyes.  Calm down.  You've got to keep it together, Phoenix.  When he was calm again he dialed a new number.  "Hello--Lotta?  This is Phoenix Wright."


"Oh hey, Mr. Lawyer," Lotta said brightly from the other end.  At least someone was in a good mood.  "Y'gotta story for me?"


"Something like that."  He paced up and down the sidewalk.  "Listen, I need you to do me a favor.  Can you go to the K.B. Security headquarters, and ask for a Miss April May?  She has a bunch of photos that I'd like you to blow up for me.  You still do that, right?"


"Well I am a photographer.  Just how many and how big are we talkin' about?"


"Half a dozen, 8x11," Phoenix told her.  "I need as much detail as you can give me.  I'll pay for it, of course."


Lotta hummed thoughtfully, seemingly relieved that he hadn't counted the entire job as the "favor" he was asking for.  "Sure, I'll help ya out.  K.B Security?  I'll drop by this afternoon."


"Thanks, Lotta, I owe you.  Oh, and if April asks you for money, tell her I'll pay her myself."


"Gotcha.  Seeya, Wright."


They both hung up, and there Phoenix paused, staring at his phone for several long seconds in case it rang again.  When it remained silent he shoved it in the pocket of his jacket, and wavered a few seconds longer before sitting down abruptly on the curve.  The moment of distraction had passed, and now he had no choice but to face what came next.  Whatever that might be.


What am I going to do?  Phoenix lowered his head, elbows resting on his drawn up knees.  The odor of smoke was still heavy in the air, and every time he took it in he felt more disturbed.  God, Urami tried to kill him.  Can I really go through with this?  His hands were still shaking.  But what will she do if I don’t?  If Chassie knew about this, it means I might be trying to free a murderer.  But what if she didn’t?  What if she really is innocent, and Urami's just taking it too far?  Condemning Chassie for her friends is the same mistake the police made.


Phoenix clenched his jaw until it ached.  EdgeworthI'm so sorry.  He covered his face with his hands as he tried to calm himself down.  I wish Mia was here.


"Mr. Wright?"


Phoenix flinched.  He had no desire to speak to anyone at the moment, but he couldn't just ignore whoever it was.  He drew his hands from his face with a brief rub and lifted his head.  "Yes?"


It was Lana, staring down at him with his briefcase in hand.  "You dropped this."


Phoenix frowned--he had to stare at it for a long time before realizing she was right.  He sighed and accepted the briefcase back.  "Thanks.  I didn't even notice."


Lana sat down beside him.  She was fixing him with a concerned look that made him wonder how awful he must appear at present, to warrant such attention.  "Are you all right?" she asked softly.  "You're pure white."


"Am I?"  Phoenix smiled grimly.  "I'm just shaken, that's all."


Lana didn't stop staring at him.  There was something unsettling in having her cool eyes on him, as if they were trying to draw something out of him.  He chuckled.  "Well, I guess you were a detective," he said, mostly to himself.


Lana frowned, and looked about to question, but there wasn't a need.  The story was already too close to Phoenix's mouth for him to stop it.  "I'm in trouble, Lana."


They hadn't met face to face like this in over two years, but Lana didn't hesitate.  "Tell me."


And he did.  Phoenix knew it was probably wrong to open his mouth like this, especially after the trouble his carelessness last night had caused, but he had spent the last two days running around the city, and he was too tired of keeping this secret alone.  He told her about Urami's first visit, her extraordinary fee--without disclosing the amount--along with his interviews with Hotta, Angel, and April.  Talking about the evidence he'd collected only reminded him how deeply he had believed, even a few hours ago, that his client was innocent.  He had even entertained the idea that Miles would be convinced as well, and accept the results graciously.  There was very little chance of that now.


Lana listened without interruption and without change in her expression.  It was both intimidating and oddly reassuring, and it helped Phoenix to speak his mind.  When he was finished she finally glanced away.  "I see."


"I have to talk to Chassie again," Phoenix said, staring straight ahead.  "The evidence can still prove her innocent but I have to hear from her that she didn't know about this.  I'm not sure I can defend her otherwise…."


"I wish I could be of some help to you," Lana said honestly.  "But I was in a new position when that case took place--Edgeworth handled most of it, with von Karma's supervision."  That particular name didn't help Phoenix's ill ease any.  "I'm not familiar enough with it to give you an opinion on her innocence."


"It's all right," Phoenix said with a shake of his head.  "Whether or not I trust Chassie…is something I have to decide on my own."  He sighed, and glanced over at Lana.  "I just haven't been able to talk about it with anyone.  Thanks, for listening."


Lana smiled thinly.  "I understand.  I know how hard it is…shouldering a secret by yourself."


Phoenix nodded.  That's right--she would.  "All I can do is keep going," he murmured.  "That's what Mia would say."


He pushed to his feet and took in a deep breath to steel his determination.  "I guess my next stop is the prison."


Lana stood as well, and touched his arm briefly.  "Mr. Wright…just try to understand who you're dealing with.  You do realize what people will think of you, if you win this case for them."  She lowered her voice.  "And what it will do to Edgeworth's career, if you prove he sent an innocent woman to her death."


Phoenix grimaced.  "I know--I do understand."  His hand clenched around the handle of his briefcase.  "But if she's innocent, her life matters more.  The truth is more important than anything--Edgeworth understands."  He smiled faintly.  "He's the one that taught me that."


Lana watched him a moment, and then offered her hand.  "Good luck, Mr. Wright."


Phoenix shook her hand gratefully.  "Thanks, Lana.  I'll probably need it."


They parted, Lana to find her sister once more, Phoenix to find a taxi.  There was still a long day of work ahead of him.



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