Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / GyakutenSaiban, 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
September 18th, 2019.
Phoenix's hands were clenched tight when he sat down opposite
Chassie in the prison's viewing area.He was thankful again for the glass separating
them, though for a different reason; it kept her at a distance he wasn't ready
to cross in his present state of agitation.She looked calm enough, though whether that was an admission of guilt or
evidence of innocence he couldn't tell.
Can I even trust my judgment right now?Phoenix
wondered as he collected his thoughts.He hadn't felt quite steady on his feet since leaving the Prosecutor's
Office.It wasn't like him--he had been
to dozens of crime scenes, tried many gruesome cases.But this was personal, and he couldn't get
the image of billowing smoke out of his head.
Chassie stared back at him.When he failed to speak right away her eyes lowered, focusing on his
chest."What did you do to your
Phoenix followed her gaze to his own suit lapel, which bore
traces of ash from where Miles' hands had fallen.He gulped."That's why I'm here," he told her seriously.
Chassie returned her attention to his face, blinking
slowly."Does it have to do with my
Phoenix's brow furrowed as he leaned forward.He knew he didn't have a very intimidating
face or figure, but hopefully he could impress more urgency on Chassie than he had on Urami."Tell me you didn't know what Urami had planned."
The blank palette that was Chassie's countenance gave Phoenix very little clues as to her thoughts, but those he
did pick up on all pointed to one answer.Her eyes thinned, and the muscles in her neck tightened, and her fingers
curled, just slightly, against the metal table.When she spoke, her voice was thin."What did she do?"
The viewing room was
monitored--Phoenix would have gladly implicated Urami
in the fire in front of guards and cameras, if not for the reparations he
feared would come next."She gave
me some incentive," he said carefully."Now tell me you didn't know."
Chassie lowered her head as her hands curled over each
other."I did not ask her to do
anything like that.I had no way of
knew very well he might be playing the fool yet again, but he believed
her.For someone as immovable as Chassie seemed, even her tiny reactions meant she was
affected by the news."At this
point I don't have much choice other than to defend you," he told
we have to be honest with each other.You're going to tell your friend to keep out of it, understand?I can win this, but if she interferes again
I'll drop it and take my chances with her family."
Chassie nodded bleakly."I understand."
right."Phoenix relaxed a little.He had no idea what kind of sway Chassie might
hold over Urami, but it might have been the only way
to reach her."Then there's just
one thing I want to know from you."He took a deep breath."Why
did you go to the duplex that night?"
He half expected Chassie to deny having been at the scene at all, but she
surprised him with an honest answer."I went to see Jackie."
"Mr. Hoff?"Phoenix frowned, trying to remember all he'd learned about
the second male victim."You knew
Chassie leaned back in her chair and slowly folded her
arms."We were…involved.Until a few months before
Phoenix stared dumbly, as if he'd heard wrong."Involved," he repeated."He was your ex?Why didn't you tell me before?"The thought of Chassie
being anyone's lover was enough to
give him a chill.
"You only asked just
now," Chassie said quietly.
Phoenix rolled his eyes; his temper was especially short that
day, and he had no patience for those kinds of games."From now on, when I say 'honest with
each other' I mean full disclosure.Okay?"
Chassie nodded again."We were lovers," she explained softly and precisely."For almost three years.He left me for Ann a few months before the
fire.I would not accept it, so I went
to his home that night."
"April said she saw you
climb through the window," Phoenix said doubtfully.
"He would not have let
me through the door."
Strange, but I guess it makes sense.Phoenix adjusted his tie."So what happened?You ended
up at the clinic with cuts on your hand.Did you hurt yourself on the window?"
Chassie blinked."I hit Jackie over the head with a wine bottle."
Phoenix's hand gave a jerk in surprise, tightening his
necktie painfully.He struggled to
loosen it once more."You
"He was being
unreasonable," Chassie said plainly.
these women.Phoenix shook his head."All right.So you broke into your ex's house and hit him
over the head with a wine bottle for being 'unreasonable'.Is that it?"
"Yes."Chassie turned her
hands over, showing him her palms--there were still faint scars visible on her
pale skin."We had an
argument.He said he would never come
back to me, so I hit him with the bottle.It broke.He kicked me out and I
called Urami from the payphone outside.We met at the Hotta
clinic.She took me home."
It was beyond Phoenix how she could relate her story so dispassionately; he
hadn't been anywhere near the fire that morning, but it still chilled him to
think about it.It was four years ago, I guess.She's
had plenty of time to tell her account."So that's how you got the cuts on your hands,
and the alcohol in your hair."
"And then…."Phoenix frowned, resisting the temptation to glance up at the
visitation room's camera.Got to word it carefully,
just in case."Does that
mean Edgeworth was wrong about the arsonist's
motive?Might Mel Arky
not have been the real target?"
Chassie stared at him, her dark eyes penetrating."I have no idea who really started that
Phoenix smiled grimly.Well of course she wouldn't say
anything to implicate Urami.But it
almost sounds like Urami might have killed the man
just to get back at him, for Chassie's sake.What is
wrong with these people?"Fair enough.We
won't go there."
Phoenix leaned back in his chair, trying to think of anything
else he could ask Chassie relating to the case.He had her excuse for being at the
scene.He had proof she'd left before
the fire started.Anything else he would
have to pry out in court."Is that
the full story?" he asked, just in case Chassie
felt like actually helping her own defense."You promised to be honest with me."
"Yes," Chassie assured with a nod."That is my full story."
right."He had no choice but to trust her."The Prosecutor's Office is…not in order
right now, so I won' be able to file right away.But I have everything I need, and we should
be able to go to court soon."
Chassie clasped her hands, chin tipping down modestly."Thank you, Mr. Wright."
Her sincerity eased some of Phoenix's remaining insecurity, and he managed to smile
slightly."I'll see you again
soon," he promised as he pushed to his feet.He stepped back, and waited until Chassie had been led off again before leaving.
There were thirty-seven
ceiling tiles visible from his bed.He
could see three other patients, not including Detective Gumshoe, who was
snoring like a bear on the next mattress over.He had memorized the names of all the nurses on the morning shift,
overheard two inappropriate conversations, and made a mental inventory of all
the things in his office four times over.There was, very literally, nothing left to do.
"Will you sign my
discharge papers now?" Miles called.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Edgeworth," one of the nurses--Debbie, he had
learned--replied from the hall."The Chief insisted we keep you for a full observation."
Miles folded his arms
irritably.He hadn't so much as sneezed
in the last half hour, more than enough to convince him he was in perfect
health despite the ordeal.Even Gumshoe,
who had suffered worse smoke inhalation from their daring escape, was resting
comfortably.Being in a hospital was
unpleasant enough without being there for no reason.
He glared at Gumshoe."At least you can sleep," he
muttered, reaching behind him to better adjust the pillow at the small of his
back."You'll probably get a day
off after this.A
medal.I get to go back to work
with no office and a headache."
Gumshoe didn't reply.He was stretched out on his side, hugging his
own floppy hospital pillow to his chest.Whatever he was dreaming about, Miles was pretty sure he didn't want to
know."Oh well," the
prosecutor sighed."I guess you
Even Miles had to admit,
Gumshoe's reaction in a time of crisis had been admirable.The had fire spread faster than Miles thought
it could, and if it had been him alone trying to hobble down twelve flights in
a smoke-filled stairwell, he wasn't sure he could have made it.But before he could even begin to formulate a
plan of escape Gumshoe's hand had tightened around his arm and dragged him to
the stairs.Using his cravat to cover
his mouth, Miles had depended on the detective's support down the narrow steps,
floor by floor, until finally meeting with firemen in the lobby.
Miles was trying not to think
about that now, though.This wasn't the
first "death threat" he'd received in his work as a prosecutor.He had faced down every type and size of
criminal without faltering.But nature
itself couldn't be negotiated with or argued against--it was beyond his control
in a way that had intimidated him his entire life.He easily remembered how the smoke choked out
his breath, how the hard stone walls closed in around him, and it was only a small
jump to imagine the floor shaking out from beneath him as well.Every step had been a battle more against his own nature than a means of escape.
Miles closed his eyes,
letting his chin drop to his chest.Just keep it out of your mind, he told
himself.It's over, and everyone made it out all right.He sighed.His rationalizations wouldn't do him any good later, when night fell and
he couldn't sleep, but he was used to that.I don't need the sleep
anyway.I'll have too much work to do.
He wished Phoenix were around.It was always easier to appear calm if there was someone else around who
wasn't.Not to mention he would make
better company than Gumshoe's nasal symphony.
One of the officers stationed
outside his door peeked hesitantly inside."Prosecutor Edgeworth?We have some news from the officers at the
Miles sat up a little
straighter and waved him inside."Well let's have it."
The man stepped closer."The Fire Department says they found the
source of the fire--a storage room on the eleventh floor.The arsonist used no chemical accelerant and
lots of paper to create the most amount of smoke from a small amount of
Miles frowned thoughtfully at
that report."So he wasn’t trying
to burn the building down," he surmised."He was just trying to smoke us out."
"We won't know for sure
until we catch the guy, but that's what the detectives are thinking, Sir."
"I see.Thank you."As the officer turned to leave Miles called
after him, "See if you can speed up my discharge!"
"Mr. Edgeworth?"An unfamiliar nurse peeked inside the room,
and Miles was worried he'd have another shift's worth to memorize, until she
spoke."The doctor will be right
with you with your discharge papers.There's even someone waiting downstairs to drive you home."
Miles sighed, already
reaching for his proper clothing."Thank God."
After leaving the prison, Phoenix returned home.He stopped at a convenience store along the way for a fresh six pack of
beer to compliment a simple sandwich lunch.He hated having to stay put but there wasn't much he else he could
do.With all his evidence assembled and
the Prosecutor's office still in chaos, he couldn't go forward with his
case.There was nothing to do but sit on
Phoenix was usually pretty good at doing nothing.He took cases weeks apart, and had learned a
hundred different little ways to pass the time.None of those seemed appropriate or effective now.He was restless, in a way he hadn't been since
his first trial three years ago.In
desperation he even called up Larry, but naturally, the one time he showed
initiative toward meeting his friend was the first time Larry was too busy to
By in the evening Phoenix had had enough, and he left
his apartment, still in his nice shirt and slacks, to take a walk around the
block.The fresh air did him some good,
or at least, he told himself that it did.After he had been out for nearly twenty minutes, however, he found
himself standing at the entrance to a familiar street.He hesitated, glancing about in unwarranted
paranoia.I can at least check, he thought as he started down the
sidewalk.He should have been discharged by now.
The neighborhood triggered
memories.Phoenix had come down this lane every morning for almost four
months as a kid, carrying his backpack and small blue lunch box.Miles would wait for him at the end of the
driveway, two steps from the mail box, and together they'd pick up Larry on
their way to school.Four months was a
relatively short time in the life of a growing nine year old, but to Phoenix his morning routine meant the world to him.
He still remembered that cold
morning in January he turned the corner and found no one waiting for him two
steps from the mailbox.Over the winter
break his parents had tried to explain to him what the stories on the news had
said about Miles and his family, but it wasn't until he stood at the end of the
Edgeworths' empty driveway that the young Phoenix understood.
The driveway wasn't empty
now--Miles' red sports car was parked in it, confirming Phoenix's earlier assumptions.So he's
home.I don't know how happy he'll be to see me, but I should at least see
how he's doing.He still felt guilty
about the whole incident, and he wanted a chance to explain.Just tell
him straight.What's the worst he could
Phoenix knocked on the door, and fidgeted with his collar and
cuffs.He wasn't sure what to make of
Miles' face when he answered; he had showered and changed, so that there was no
evidence of the fire on his face or in his hair, and already that made him look
much better than how they'd parted that morning.But when their eyes met something in Miles'
expression went tightly blank.He didn't
speak as he stared at the unexpected visitor.
"Um…."Phoenix faltered beneath the uncomfortably heavy gaze."Hey.I saw your car in the driveway, so I thought I'd check up on you,"
he said awkwardly."You know, after
this morning.Maybe even pick you up
some dinner, if you were still recovering…."He tried to smile but it felt forced.
Miles sighed, and turned away
from the open door."You'd better
That…doesn't sound good.Phoenix stepped inside, closing the door behind him.Miles didn't wait for him--he strode down the
hall into the kitchen without looking back.Though already Phoenix had the feeling he'd walked into some kind of trap,
he followed, tugging again at his collar.
When he entered the kitchen
Miles was already at the sink, draining the water from a pot full of steaming
pasta."Oh, so you did make
dinner," Phoenix noted, trying to fill the suddenly painful
silence."I wasn't sure you'd be up
to it, after--"
Miles slammed the pot onto
the counter, causing Phoenix to jump from the dull percussion of metal and
spilling some of his spaghetti over the edges.He turned to face his guest with that same cold, even stare."Stop it."
Phoenix tensed.Shit."Edgeworth, I--"
"I talked to Lana
earlier," Miles said, making Phoenix's heart sink down into his stomach.But it wasn’t anger in his face--it was
something still and indescribable, and it was worse."She met me at the hospital."
"So she told
you…."Phoenix's shoulders sagged.He couldn't blame Lana for that much--she and Miles had worked together,
and she had more reason to be faithful to him than to the lawyer that defended
her once.He struggled to regain some
kind of composure."I was going
Miles snorted and turned his
back, busying himself with slipping the jostled pasta back into its pot."Of course you were."
Phoenix clenched his jaw, and with a deep breath moved around
to Miles' right side.You have to make him understand!"I was going to tell you," he said
firmly, as if a stronger tone might convince them both."Before I filed the
appeal, at least.I
"That's mighty generous
of you," Miles muttered.Suddenly
fed up with the food preparation he shoved the pot to the back of the counter
and turned to face the other man."Before the assault on my reputation, but after the attempt on my life."
"That's not fair," Phoenix said quickly."I had no idea that was going to happen."
"But you know who's
responsible, don't you?" Miles challenged.Finally his tone was beginning to rise--at least his anger was easier to
deal with than cold accusation from a moment ago."Someone set my building on fire today, so don't insult me by pretending you
don't know who."
"I can guess pretty
well," Phoenix admitted quietly.
Miles' eyes narrowed as if Phoenix had given the wrong answer, not that denial would
have annoyed him less."Do you have
Phoenix shook his head as he thought quickly through his
brief conversation with Urami."Of course not.I'm a lawyer, not a detective."
Miles scoffed, and for a
moment Phoenix thought he might have been calming down, until he
asked his next question."Why did
she do it?"
"What do you
"She's trying to get her
friend acquitted," Miles reasoned.Neither of them had to say the name to know who he meant."Attacking the Prosecutor's Office only
slows the process down.It had to be for
She did it because I asked her to.He knew that
wasn't true, but he couldn't stop it from resounding in his mind as Miles
continued to glare him down."I
don't know," he blurted out."She wouldn't tell me."
Miles was silent a moment,
scrutinizing, and then he turned away."I don't believe you."
He walked away before Phoenix could respond, heading back down the hall toward the
door.Phoenix had no choice but to follow."Edgeworth,
come on," he called after him."This isn't my fault!Chassie's innocent--what else was I supposed to do?"
They were only halfway down
the hall when Miles wheeled on him."She's not
innocent!" he all but shouted, giving in to his temper."That's why she's in prison!"
"You didn't have all the
evidence!"Phoenix clenched his fists and forced himself to lower his
voice--shouting at Miles wasn't about to change his mind or ease his mood."She couldn't have done it, and I have
Miles folded his arms over his
chest."What kind of proof?"
"I have--"Phoenix broke off with a sudden, unwanted thought: Miles was
no in any state to be hearing about evidence.The old Miles, upon catching on to a new piece of information, would
start thinking immediately on how to turn it to his benefit.If Phoenix told him about the clinic report now there was a good
chance he would try to prove it false.
Do I trust him?Phoenix swallowed hard as he tried to meet Miles' cool gray
eyes without faltering.I know he's changed. But four years ago, when he took this case, he
would do anything to win.If I'm going
to beat him this time I need every advantage.And that includes…not letting him come up with an explanation for my
evidence before I even present it.
Phoenix took too long to decide--Miles grew impatient, and
with another derisive snort started to turn away again.He didn't get far away this time, as Phoenix quickly grabbed his arm to pull him back."Edgeworth,
just listen to me," he insisted."I know you're mad because I didn't tell you--and maybe I should
have.But this isn't about you and
me.It's about an innocent woman who's
going to die!"
"That thing locked up in prison is not a
woman," Miles growled, shoving Phoenix's hand off."She's a cold-blooded killer and an accomplice to the mob!"
Phoenix didn't try to stop him again when he continued down
the hall.His chest felt thick and heavy
from the confrontation, weighing him down with a sensation of disappointment he
hadn't felt since Miles disappeared from his office two years ago, and from the
end of his driveway years before that.The sight of his turned back made him sick.
"Maybe I was
wrong," Phoenix said."Maybe you haven't changed at all."
Miles straightened, the line
of his spine becoming rigid as he stood with his hand on the doorknob."Wright…."
"I'm sorry."Phoenix steeled himself once more and came up behind him,
though he hadn't recovered enough courage to try and see Miles' face."I should have told you.But I didn't want to bring it up until I'd
checked all the evidence, and was positive
I could take her case.I wasn't trying
to hide from you."
Miles shifted his weight, and
turned his head just enough so that Phoenix could see his troubled profile."Our system doesn't mess around, you
know," he said evenly."Once
you file the appeal, I only have twenty-four hours to gather my evidence and
prepare for court.That's not much time
for a case that's several years old."
Phoenix's shoulders slumped guiltily."I'm sorry," he said again."But you understand, don't you?I just wanted to be sure.It's nothing personal."
personal…right."Miles took a step back, pulling the door
open."I think you should
The knot in Phoenix's gut was telling him to do as he was told.It was pretty clear by now that Miles wasn't
listening to what he had to say.But as
soon as he took the first step toward the door he knew he couldn't leave like
this.He faced Miles again."I'm doing this for you, too."
Miles stared back at him with
that same damnably unreadable expression, and it wasn't until Phoenix realized he was making the same face that he
understood what it meant."You just
said it wasn't personal."
be."Phoenix closed his eyes briefly.It's
betrayal.That's what he's feeling."But you made a mistake, Edgeworth.For your
sake, I have to make you realize that."
The muscles along Miles' jaw
tightened defensively."I did not
make a mistake."
"You sent an innocent
woman to prison."
Miles let go of the door and
stepped forward, putting them mere inches apart in the narrow hallway."Chassie
Gander was guilty!" he insisted.
"She was innocent!"
Phoenix shouted back, unable to resist his goading any
longer."And you convicted her
Miles reached for him, his
fingers twisting tightly in the front of Phoenix's collar."I got her convicted for killing five people!" he yelled,
giving Phoenix a shake."Who the hell do you think you are?These are the same people that tried to kill me, and you're defending them!"
Phoenix grabbed the wrists that were awfully close to his
neck, but he wasn't strong enough to pull them off."Chassie's not
the one who set your building on fire!"
"What difference does it
His words cut through the
last of Phoenix's restraint, and instead of trying to push Miles off
again he threw his weight forward, backing the prosecutor into the wall.By misjudging his own
strength they made an impressive thud when they hit, body against body in an
angry tangle of taut limbs.
"I know at least three
innocent people you would have had killed if not for me," Phoenix snapped, his hands shaking against Miles' chest."Can you really tell me there aren't
more, Edgeworth?Don't tell me you never made a mistake before I showed up to stop
Miles went still beneath his
hands, and for a few short seconds Phoenix found himself staring into a contorted and almost
frightened countenance.But he managed
to collect himself faster than his companion, and with a thin sound of pain
Miles threw Phoenix off him, separating their bodies and sending Phoenix's shoulder blades slamming into the opposite
wall.There they both stopped, short of
breath and wavering on their feet.
Miles turned against the wall,
bracing his palms with his back to the other."Get out," he gasped."Get out--get out of my house!"
Phoenix shuddered, and tried to speak several times, but he
couldn't find any of the words he wanted.Finally he lowered his head."I'm sorry."
hunched."Get the hell out of
Phoenix finally gave in.On faltering strides he retreated from the house, out the door and down
the walk to the driveway.He was shaking
and distraught, and when he heard the front door slam his knees nearly
buckled.At the mailbox he stopped to
regain his breath.
You don’t have any choice but to keep going, he told himself, pressing a hand over his mouth in
case the churning in his stomach overcame him.The truth is all that
calms down, he'll understand.Phoenix squeezed his eyes shut.And
he'll forgive you.You weren't
wrong--this is for his sake, too.
Phoenix started quickly down the sidewalk.I'm
doing this for you, Edgeworth.Please,