- He still has the letters. He still keeps them in the wooden treasure box that Larry made for him on his ninth birthday. The box is scratched and battered, most of the letters have never been read, but he keeps them anyway. The law book that Phoenix gave him on the same day still graces his bookshelf.
- He doesn't keep many photographs. As a child he learned to store things in his memory by necessity. But he does have some. There's an old booth photograph of he, Larry and Phoenix as children, taken at the mall on his ninth birthday. There's an even older B/W one of his father, sitting at his desk in the study, with his glasses pushed up onto his forehead. It was taken by a journalist who visited their home to conduct an interview and from whom Miles asked for a copy. The first is kept in his wallet, the second in the treasure box. The only photographs on display are one of his sister and Adrian which was taken on the steps of the Von Karma house, one of Pess, and one of his father that he found among his stored belongings fifteen years after his death. He never did find any photographs of his mother.
- He attends a fencing school in the Latin Quarter twice a week. His favoured weapon is the sabre. He found it difficult to make the switch in his mind from academic fencing to sport fencing at first - but persistence has paid off.
- He walks. A lot. He loves Paris, and enjoys exploring it on foot. Sometimes in summer he walks to the Jardin du Luxembourg and spends an afternoon reading in the shade among the roses. Their scent reminds him of the ones in his father's garden when he was a child.
- Every year, on the anniversary of his father’s death, he goes to La Sainte-Chapelle. He first did this the year of Lana Skye's trial and now it has become a ritual.
- He has been writing letters to Phoenix Wright ever since he last saw him eight years ago. He has no idea if they ever reach their destination or if they are ever read. But he still writes. He has never told anyone else about them.
- Since Pess died, he has not owned a dog. But he donates money regularly to a canine rescue charity in Pess’ name. Other causes that he regularly donates time or money to include legal reform, orphanages, and educational programs throughout the world.
- Every Xmas he visits with his sister and Adrian at the Von Karma house. They still keep the studio apartment in Paris and they spend a week or two there every summer. He wishes he could visit with them more often.
- He still has the same London tailor that he has always had, although George has noticed that the suits he orders have become considerably less flamboyant in the last few years.
- He still has a red sports car, although it’s not as expensive or as showy as the one he had in Los Angeles. He rarely uses it in the city, but at weekends he likes to take off to the countryside and drive far too fast with the top down. At certain times of the year he is more reckless than at others.
- He never uses elevators. Fortunately this is much less of an issue in Paris than it ever was in Los Angeles, to the extent that most of his acquaintances don’t even realise that he avoids them. Few people in Paris know his full history.
- He gained his PhD while working at the Sorbonne.
- He owns an apartment on the Ile de St-Louis. From the balcony he can see the Palais de Justice and Notre Dame. It reminds him of the year he spent here after Lana Skye’s trial.
- He has been in a number of relationships since he left LA for the last time. They don’t usually last more than a couple of months, although the present one has been on and off for six. Even so, they still don’t live together and nor do they have keys to one another's apartments.
- His musical tastes are surprisingly diverse. Apart from classical (in which area he tends to prefer the German and Austrian composers) he likes jazz, and a surprising array of modern genres, of which ambient probably features most highly. He often spends evenings at a live jazz club in the Marais. He is not very fond of opera, nor of the ballet.
- He is famed among his acquaintance for his love of tea. He loves it in almost every form, as long as it actually contains tea leaves. And it's true that as a drink it fascinates him. But truthfully? 99% of the time he's just as happy with a good cup of coffee.
- He still has nightmares about his father's death and about Von Karma. And he still suffers from periods of insomnia, sometimes self-imposed. Waking nightmares are more of a rarity these days.
- He always keeps a bottle of Stolichnaya in the freezer and has a collection of rare single malt whiskies that he adds to whenever he is in London. When he drinks wine he prefers Merlot or Chardonnay. Sometimes he drinks good gin or brandy, but never rum.
- He is an avid reader, but rarely of fiction. He tends towards philosophy, history and politics, and he reads Le Monde every day. He also has a collection of poetry books and one or two classic Bandes Dessinees that he became interested in after a conversation with one of his students.
- He has never, and will never, handle a gun of any description.
- He is not a heavy smoker most of the time, but rarely goes a day without a cigarette. The habit was formed at university, but abandoned during his time in Los Angeles. As in many other things, he is a creature of habit, and invariably smokes unfiltered Gitanes Brunes.
- His greatest fear is causing pain or distress to others, and particularly to those he is closest to. He will do anything to protect those he loves or trusts.
- He lectures internationally on the subject of legal reform and also carries out pro bono work in that field for a number of organisations.
- He is a fan of the Steel Samurai (although nowhere near as big a fan as Maya Fey) and has the entire collection on DVD. One of his most prized possessions is a postcard of the Steel Samurai that he bought when he was in Paris after Lana Skye's trial and that he kept pinned to the wall until he returned to the USA. He has since had Will Powers autograph it, and now it's pinned to the noticeboard in his kitchen where it makes him smile whenever he makes tea.
- He tried to commit suicide once. Or he thinks he did. It could have been an accident, but he's really not sure. It was a long time ago, and it has never happened again. He's ashamed that if it was intentional, then he nearly succeeded.
- He remembers that final telephone conversation with Phoenix perfectly - word for word. He replays it in his head frequently and wishes that he had handled it differently.
- When he puts his mind to it he is a good cook. He rarely bothers to put his mind to it. Some days he doesn't eat at all. If people notice he tells them that he simply forgets, but that's a lie.
- When he is in London he likes to go to Wiltons for oysters and Chardonnay and stays at the St James Hotel and Club.
- He is the godfather of the Gumshoes' second daughter.
- He speaks three languages fluently and two more proficiently. He also has an excellent grasp of Latin. He picks up other languages easily when he travels abroad, and recently started to teach himself Arabic as a challenge.
- He would be the first to admit that his tastes in the arts are relatively uninformed. Education in those areas was not something that was ever encouraged in the Von Karma household beyond the basics required to engage in dinner conversation. He was never taught true appreciation or how to express it and has done his best to fill that gap in his education while he has lived in Paris. He often spends weekends in galleries or musuems and likes to go to the theatre or to concerts. His favourite painter is Caravaggio.
- His father named him after Miles Davis.
- The ring he wears is a signet ring that belonged to his father, engraved "GE". Apart from a wristwatch, plain gold cufflinks and a plain gold tie pin, it is the only jewellery that he owns.
- Most commonly, the cologne he wears will be Floris - he favours "Limes", "Elite" and "No. 89".
- His date of birth is May 18th 1992.
When he'd found the set of rooms, he hadn't been thinking of anything in particular, that he was aware of. But the resemblance of them to his college rooms in the year he had spent at Cambridge was striking enough that he had occupied them almost at a whim.
The main door is heavy and slightly too low for modern comfort. It opens onto a room that is high-ceilinged and grand; large, but not too large to lose its cosiness. The walls are panelled, the wooden floor varnished and mostly bare, the ceiling painted plain white. On the wall, opposite the door, there's a tall, arched window that reaches almost to the ceiling, heavy burgundy tapestry drapes pulled back, to reveal a snowy scene. There's a cushioned window seat at its base, and it always seems to be winter outside.
The wall to the left of the window houses the centrepiece of the room - a large, tall stone fireplace with a small fire in the grate that is lit most of the time - a pile of small logs stacked on the hearth beside it. There is a large mirror over the mantlepiece and a small wooden carving of a green man propped up against a few leatherbound books of poetry. In front is a deep rug, an armchair, a small low table and a large leather sofa. The latter has a grey wool blanket thrown over it and a few cushions piled up against one arm.
Either side of the fireplace are heavy oak doors. One leads to a surprisingly modern bathroom and the other to a small study, lined with bookshelves and with an antique oak desk under the small, deep window - which also looks out on the same scene as its larger counterpart. On the desk are papers, a fountain pen, and a small laptop.
To the right of the window in the main room is a large wooden bedstead - the bed itself neatly made with a feather comforter and white sheets, a cover matching the burgundy of the curtains folded partly back over those. On one side is a nightstand, on the other, a rug and the doors of a small walk-in closet. On the nightstand is a small vase containing three dark pink, heavily scented roses.
On the same wall as the door is a bookcase and a long, low cupboard that houses some crockery and a small, built in refrigerator. On the counter top is an electric kettle and yesterday's copy of Le Monde. It is always there, and always the most recent copy. He has given up trying to understand how it happens.
The bookcase is filled with a mixture of law, history, philosophy and poetry books - some were here when he arrived, and some he has borrowed from the libraries he has found here. There is also a small stereo and a selection of CDs.
There are no personal belongings, save for the books and CDs, and a few things he has been given since he arrived. Woodsmoke, floor polish, coffee and tobacco mingle with the scent of the roses and the air in here is always slightly cool, as if winter is encroaching from the view outside.
"Still may Time hold some golden space
Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them..." - Rupert Brooke
Miles is average height at 5ft 10inches tall, and average build - fairly athletic, with noticeably broad shoulders and large hands. His hair is prematurely grey, and has been since he was quite young. His eyes are also grey, and his skin tends to be fairly pale unless he's had the chance for extended and gradual exposure to the sun, which is rare. He has his nails manicured regularly, a habit that Manfred instilled in him.
Distinguishing marks include a scar from the removal of his appendix as a teenager, and another on his right hip that he acquired through falling out of a tree. His skin is lightly freckled in places, particularly on his back. He often has the appearance of someone who does not sleep enough - quite simply because he doesn't. Much as he might try to disguise it, reddened and dark-circled eyes tend to give him away.
He's not traditionally good looking - his nose being just a little too lacking in symmetry, his mouth a little wide and his jaw just a little too square to allow him to pass as such. But people often call him handsome, regardless - and when he smiles genuinely, which is not often, he can light up the room.
Since he is no longer a prosecutor, he rarely wears either burgundy or jabots as he has no use for what he once considered his in-court “uniform”. In fact George, his tailor, has observed that in the last few years his tastes in suits have sobered a good deal. For work, he generally wears grey or black single breasted suits with contrasting waistcoats; white cotton shirts with button collars and double cuffs, and either ties or plain cravats. He usually wears plain gold cufflinks and a tie pin that remind him of ones his father used to wear, and he has a signet ring that used to be his father's that he always wears on the ring finger of his left hand. Apart from a watch, that is all the jewellery that he owns.
Out of work he generally lives in vintage button front jeans and the same white, cotton shirts, with the addition of waistcoats, jackets or sweaters depending on season or occasion – mainly chosen from the monochrome spectrum. He has become more relaxed about his out of work attire as the years have passed and he has moved out of the glare of the media spotlight. He has even been known to go outside in an un-ironed shirt.
In winter he invariably wears a long, black, wool overcoat and does still possess a suit for almost every occasion. He may even admit to a kilt in his wardrobe somewhere if you got him drunk enough.
You just need a change of scenery
So strange how everything went wrong so fast
And I hope that this confusion does not last
These words might be, too little too late,
And I'm afraid that I have already lost you.
Now three months equals eternity and this will be so hard
And I will long to hold you in my arms
And when you ask do you love me
And I should reply with yes most certainly
And I always hesitate there's something lingering
And I will try harder to be all that I can be
These words might be, too little too late,
And I'm afraid that I have already lost you now
Three months equals eternity and this will be so hard
And I will long to hold you in my arms
Music and lyrics by City and Colour
The silence is absolute save for that drip-drip-drip and the sound of his heart beating in his ears. He doesn't know how he got here and when he looks down he's wearing his old court suit - as perfectly tailored as it ever was - shirt and jabot crisp and white, the faint scent of lavender still trapped in the wool. Pushing away from the wall, he walks - because he doesn't know what else to do. He walks, despite the emergency lighting flickering and his pulse with it, the fear of an earthquake sparking each time the lights dim. He walks, and always forward, forcing himself to take step after step until he reaches the end of the hall.
...And at the end there is nothing - just a blank wall. He stares at it for a moment, disbelieving, and swallowing hard against the rising sense of unease as the lights flicker more vividly and he feels the hairs on the back of his neck prickle and his pulse quicken in response. Finally, he runs his hands over it, nails seeking any crack or seam, but it mocks him with its solidity until he gives in, resting his forehead against the paint, the coldness of the bricks beneath pressing hard against his skin.
He turns to retrace his steps but only takes one before he realises this is not the corridor he entered. Still green, still dark, still lit by that strange flickering blue glow – but now it has telescoped in on itself, a mere few feet between him and the other end. And at the other end there is a sliding door, an illuminated arrow and a button beside it; the unmistakeable outline of a bullet hole in the reinforced glass.
The terror is instant, choking the breath out of him and freezing his limbs, and he takes that one step back again, almost a stumble, pressing himself back against the wall, shaking his head unconsciously, too numbed by the horror of it to think or to speak.
He looks away, down, anywhere except at the door, and he blinks. Suddenly the burgundy wool of his suit is frayed and shredded; the jabot ripped from his throat; his shirt and vest torn - missing buttons as if he'd been fighting for his life, or as if someone had been fighting him. He doesn't want to move, but something propels him forwards, a leather-gloved hand on his shoulder, large and strong, jovial laughter echoing in his head as a finger reaches out to press the button.
The door slides open and the stench hits him immediately - death and terror and stale air and sweat and blood. The blinking light from the emergency sign lighting up the scene and shining on the polished metal walls. Panic seizes him and he tries to turn, to scramble away, but that hand on his shoulder becomes a hand on his back, shoving him forwards until he stumbles, the door sliding closed behind him.
And he stands there, the fear and the revulsion making him shudder and almost fall to his knees, he finally finds the resolution to at least raise his head. And then he sees it, that thing he knew would be here all along.
The body is slumped in a corner, half-turned away and drenched in blood. His spectacles are laying to one side; frames bent and lenses fractured; the blue neon reflecting from the shattered glass and on the pool of blood that encircles both him and them. It looks almost black, gleaming in the unnatural light, thick and viscous. The metallic scent catches in the back of his throat like the smell of his hands when he had covered his face, the tang of warm gunmetal still lingering on the skin.
His legs finally give out then at the sight of it, and he sinks to his knees on the floor - the blood still warm as it soaks his pants and seeps through to the skin, almost hot against his hands when he crawls forwards, the smell and the sensation of it making him sick to the stomach.
But when he reaches out a hand slick with blood and places it on a shoulder to turn the body towards him, it's not his father that he sees, but the sightless face of Kristoph looking back at him, his throat slashed neatly across the jugular and his hair slicked dark with his own blood. The scar on his hand stands out in stark relief against skin paler than he ever remembers it and lips so faint a blue as to be almost white.
The shock is enough that he gags, then, the smell and the fear and the sight of it too much for him – the thought that he is covered in Kristoph’s blood – that it is on his hands and on his clothes and in his hair, that he can taste it on his tongue…
His head swims and he would have fainted, were it not for that baritone laugh that breaks the silence behind him, freezing him to the spot, the vomit caught in his throat and a fresh fear creeping up his spine.
When he looks up he knows exactly what he'll see, but he doesn't get the chance. Before he can move his head, long, strong fingers deliberately twine in his hair and jerk his head around, the pain of it forcing him to move on his knees, his bloodied hands reaching up and gripping the hem of the blue wool jacket, nails catching on the brocade almost in supplication as he is dragged to face in the opposite direction.
And then he sees them - the others.
His father, shot through the heart and spreadeagled on the floor, his head at an odd angle against the wall, glasses reflecting the blinking emergency light blankly. Blood still seeping from the wound and mingling with Kristoph’s on the floor, the two finding each other and binding like drops of mercury into a pool. Beside him there’s a gun, its safety off, the smell of gunpowder hangs on it, and when he looks down at his own hand he can see the imprint of the handle in the blood.
And Phoenix, his skull crushed by something heavy and blunt, features almost unrecognisable save for those wide, blue eyes that had once held so much life but that now gazed sightlessly in shock back at him. Blood spray covers the wall behind him, pieces of brain and skull visible on the base of a heavy bottle that rolls of its own volition from side to side just out of reach of that dead and grasping right hand. Inside, he can see a hand of cards – two black aces, two black eights, and the five of hearts.
Klavier, then. Slumped in a pool of his own vomit, lips blue and eyes wide in pain and fear as he’d died. His left hand is claw-like, the raking marks of fingernails leaving livid trails from jaw to heart as if he’d tried to tear out his own throat as he died. His clothes are torn, filthy, and the fingers on his right hand broken, casting twisted shadows in the blue flickering light.
He struggles against the fingers in his hair but the hand presses down, forcing him to stay on his knees, to look at the bodies, preventing him from turning his face away or up. But he doesn't need to - that soft chuckle, warm and deep, recognisable to him from years of hearing it - tells him all he needs to know.
I won't let them have you, Miles. You'll always be mine.
He can’t answer – just sobs incoherently in response, ashamed of himself even as he does but lacking the will to do anything else, And then, as suddenly as it appeared, the pressure is gone, the fingers untangled from his hair. He sucks in a breath of relief, his only thought to get out of this place, but before he can get up from the floor, they're on him again - hands encircling his throat, thumbs pressing relentlessly against his windpipe.
He tries to struggle to his feet but he can't, shoes and knees scrabbling at the floor, unable to find traction in the wet blood, hands slippery with it, too slippery to grip those wrists or pull away those fingers that dig ever deeper into his skin, and he chokes on his own fear and on his own blood while that rich and quiet laughter builds into something more manic and high pitched.
Finally he looks up, desperation forcing him to plead for his life…. but it's not Manfred's face, serene and smiling, demanding his obedience and his perfection, nothing more and nothing less. Instead, it's Kristoph's face looking down at him, his eyes full of rage - those same eyes that had looked at him with such hatred and such disgust in the dungeon; Kristoph's hands around his throat, and Kristoph's laughter that echoes from the metal walls of the elevator.
His lungs burn as if they are on fire, and rational thought slips away when the panic overtakes his mind and his body and his vision begins to fade, the sound of his own pulse in his head slowing almost to nothing.
If he could draw a breath, he would scream. But he can't. All he can do is die.
Fingers open, he can see it, he can feel the soil falling over his head.
He can't move, he can't speak.
"I'll bury you with my bare hands."
I'm not dead.
I'm not dead.
Faint laughter - deep, musical and baritone.
"Of course you're dead, Miles. I killed you."
The rustle of silk and wool, the passing scent of lavender.
"Don't you remember?"
Hands around his throat, manicured thumbs pressed hard to his windpipe.
"Don't you remember the dying of the light?"
Fingertips soft as silk against his skin and goosebumps blossoming where they touch.
He remembers, now.
Fingers long and boney, nails digging in to his flesh.
Tightening fractionally, inexorably, after every breath - each one becoming harder, shallower, more desperate.
It's a slow death. Agonising. He knows it will take days, weeks, months, years.
And yet he does nothing but kneel and bare his throat.
"You gave yourself to me freely, Miles. You always did."
He doesn't even close his eyes, or try to beg for mercy.
He remembers the dying of the light.
He remembers the dimming of his vision, the narrowing of his focus.
He remembers the slowing of his heart, the feel of his pulse fluttering,
He remembers the loss of hope, the gradual erosion of his consciousness.
And finally his hands on those hands, wordlessly begging for it to be over, to please kill him, to stop the pain.
And that laugh again.
"It will never be over, Miles. You'll always be mine."
It had been fifteen months.
To be precise - and Miles Edgeworth was nothing if not precise - it had been fourteen months and twenty-two days.
Today he stood on his apartment balcony, hair wet from a recent shower, jeans half-buttoned, loose white shirt un-tucked and un-ironed. Resting his elbows on the wrought iron balustrade, he sipped a glass of wine, the sun warm on his face as he looked across the Paris rooftops towards Notre Dame. August’s heat baked the tiles, creating a haze that softened the edges of the distant buildings and left behind warmed concrete that felt pleasant under his bare feet.
Fourteen months and twenty-two days since Miles had last heard his voice. Fifteen months and nine days since he’d last seen him, touched him, tasted his lips; smelled his hair, his cologne. Miles’ heart fluttered slightly and his mouth set in a thin line as he remembered that stilted goodbye at the airport. The unsaid words, the formal handshake, the constant looking at the clock. He remembered walking through the gate, forcing his feet forward while his heart pulled in the other direction. He frowned. If he’d known then that it would be the last time, he would have listened to his heart.
A soft rustle of movement from the French windows at his back made him glance over his shoulder.
“As-tu bien dormi?” Miles smiled softly and the other man shrugged, before joining him on the balcony, mimicking Miles’ pose against the balustrade and gazing down to the street below. He wore just a sheet wrapped loosely round the lower half of his body, right hand securing it at his waist while the rest trailed behind him. The whiteness of the bed linen contrasted sharply with the warm brown of his skin and his black, tousled hair. He had a cigarette in his mouth and he lit it, half-closing his dark eyes against the brightness of the sun.
They didn’t speak. Miles watched out of the corner of his eye as the other man smoked, slim fingers touching his lips lightly, thumb brushing the stubble on his cheek, inhaling with soft breaths, unconscious of the sensuality inherent in such mundane actions. But, Miles reflected, that was one of the things he found most attractive about Samir - he just had no damned idea how sexy he was. The smoke from the other man’s cigarette drifted undisturbed in the windless air and the scent of it caught temptingly at the back of Miles’ throat.
“Veux-tu?” As if he could read Miles’ thoughts, Samir casually offered the cigarette without looking up. Miles took it, letting his fingertips brush and linger on the other man’s hand unnecessarily as he did so. That elicited a knowing smile, although Samir still didn’t look up. Miles chuckled lightly in return. “Merci.” The other man pushed away from the balustrade and disappeared back inside the apartment – moments later, Miles heard the bathroom door close and the sound of running water.
They’d met in June, at a reception for the Paris Summer Institute and where Miles had given a lecture to PhD students that Samir had attended. Conversation about the law had been followed by eye contact held just that fraction too long, smiles that were just a fraction too intimate, and eventually dinner at Lapérouse.
He was just a distraction, of course. Miles knew that. Samir knew that. At the end of the summer he’d be leaving anyway, going back to Morocco. But in the meantime, it was a pleasant way to be distracted. Miles put the cigarette to his lips, inhaled and relished the taste of it – dark, bitter, unfiltered - with the flavour of black coffee. He held the smoke at the back of his throat for a while before exhaling.
It was a habit he’d given up years ago – concerned about his health and his professional image when he started working in Los Angeles. But in the past fifteen months he’d stopped caring so much. A pack of Gitanes and the bottle of vodka he kept in the freezer had helped him through many sleepless nights. Phoenix would no doubt be appalled. A bitter smile curved his lips at that thought, and he took another slow drag on the cigarette, watching it glow brighter in response. He still didn’t smoke often enough for the nicotine not to have an immediate effect, and he suddenly felt light-headed.
He couldn’t remember a day that had passed in the last fifteen months when he hadn’t thought about Phoenix in one form or another. Sometimes it was to wonder where he was, worry about what he was doing. At other times it would be more mundane – he’d see something in a shop, a restaurant, a street and find himself making note of it to tell Phoenix later. But of course there was no later, and instead those mental notes made their way into letters that never elicited a response. He had no idea if they reached their intended recipient or whether, if they did, they remained unopened. A box of unopened letters in his own wardrobe inclined him to the pessimistic view, but he still kept writing. He couldn’t stop.
For weeks he’d fought the urge to call, to fly home; reminding himself that Phoenix had asked him not to, had made it clear that he didn’t want Miles around for whatever he had to do. Miles suspected revenge was involved, but he didn’t know against who, or what form it might take. He’d wrestled with the temptation to call Gumshoe, get a private investigator, to try and find out. But whenever he’d started to dial a number he could hear Phoenix’s voice, clearly. “Don’t try to find me. Please.” And so he never had.
In the end, the frustration had led to anger. It was the anger he most remembered. Irrational, occasionally violent, in his mind its target fluctuated constantly between whoever was responsible for the falsified evidence, Phoenix, and his own stupidity.
"You have a life in Europe. You have to live it and leave me to live mine.”
I don’t have a life at all without you. That was what he had wanted to say, what he should have said. But he hadn’t. And Phoenix knew that he wouldn’t. That was really what hurt, what he resented the most. Phoenix knew Miles was incapable of saying those words, then. He knew that no protest would be offered. Miles had made it easy for him, and Phoenix had taken advantage of that weakness and dismissed him as a complication. He suspected that the other man would never know just how deeply those words had been felt. He barely trusted himself to say Phoenix’s name out loud, now. He hadn’t even talked about it to Franziska when he’d visited her at Christmas, although he was aware she knew something had happened.
The forgotten cigarette suddenly reminded him of its existence as it started to burn his fingers. Hurriedly, he stepped over to the table and stubbed it out in the ashtray, taking a swig of his wine as he did so. He could still hear the shower running in the apartment, so he didn’t need to dress for dinner yet.
Miles had given up his old job in the end, to ensure that he never had to return to Los Angeles. If anything was worse than being five thousand miles away from Phoenix now, it was the prospect of being in the same city under the same circumstances. He’d been offered a job lecturing at the Sorbonne and had taken it, immersing himself in his work, and studying in his spare time. He had made a life in Europe, of sorts, but it was a hollow one.
The hardest times were still those first few moments after waking, the memory of warmth and happiness that was always there, before reality rushed in and reminded him of what he had lost.
Sometimes Miles thought he saw his face, or his suit, or his hair - in a crowd on the Metro, or in a gallery, or a restaurant. It was as if his subconscious was punishing him constantly for his failure to act or speak. He’d learned to deal with it, over time, but he couldn’t prevent the slight leap of his heart whenever it happened, no matter how irrational he knew it was.
Even now, after fifteen months, he sometimes woke in the middle of the night and reached out for someone that wasn’t there. Sometimes he reached out and touched warm skin, or woke with an arm across him and imagined for a moment that it was Phoenix lying there, next to him. Those were the most miserable nights, and they inevitably ended with him laying awake and unmoving until daylight, or spending the rest of the night on the sofa with Pess and a bottle of vodka for company.
“Then don’t say anything. That’s usually how it is.”
The worst thing about it was that Phoenix had been right. And for that, he would never truly forgive himself.>
(Originally written for the gyakuten100 community)
Three years later, that trial still haunted his dreams.
A respected defence attorney murdered; only two people at the scene, no report of an intruder. No apparent motive, some evidence that led nowhere. Of the two suspects, one was a relative, the other a colleague.
Manfred had assigned him the case, handed him the file without comment - but his mentor must have known. The way his fingers had lingered on it for a second, the unspoken challenge in his gaze when their eyes met, the tension in his shoulders when he turned away.But he hadn’t seen it then. He’d been alone in the darkness, suffocating under the weight of his own guilt, aware every day that his life was a sham, and hating himself for it even as he marked the victories on the record of his own perfection.
In court, all he could feel was the room closing in, the air growing thin, and the cold metal of the gun in his hand. Maya Fey, Phoenix Wright – they were nothing to him but names on the docket. All he knew was that one of them had to be a murderer. He knew. And that had driven him on, relentlessly, regardless of evidence and testimony. He’d never even paused to consider any alternative.
You did it. You killed her. You’re lying. I won’t let you get away with it again. You have to be punished. Someone has to pay. You’re a killer. I know you murdered him. I remember it all.
He was sure now that if he’d ever truly been close to losing his reason, it had been during that trial. In the back of his mind for three days had been the echo of that scream that had wrenched him from sleep for fifteen years, and the burning self-hatred that was his constant companion, then.
And all the time, it had been right in front of his eyes. Redd White had been the answer to everything: the fourth man, the evidence that didn’t make sense. Manfred had seen it, waited for him to see it, waited for him to make the connection to his father. But the guilt had blinded him, and the indoctrination had been too complete. He had been unable to find his way out of the darkness, and Manfred had known then that unassisted, he never would.
He had hoped once that he might be rescued from the dark and from the horror; that a familiar hand would pull him into the light, that a familiar voice would tell him it had all been a dream. And in reality, losing that case was what had saved him, in the end.
But in his nightmares, he always won.
In his nightmares, when the gavel slammed down, the light and the hope were extinguished forever.
(Originally written for the gyakuten100 community)
Miles Edgeworth didn’t exactly remember when his feelings about Phoenix Wright had started to change. He would have found it difficult to answer if you’d asked him to pinpoint a time and a place when he’d stopped viewing the other solely as an old school friend that had saved his life and starting seeing him as… Well, he wasn’t quite sure what he saw Wright as now, but he did know how the man made him feel.
He had brooded over it many times since he returned to Europe, but was no closer to an answer than he had been when he had walked away from Wright and the Fey girls at the airport. Away from those sparkling blue eyes that wrinkled at the corners when he laughed, from that ridiculous grin that made Miles feel warm inside, and from that expressive voice that he could hear whenever he closed his eyes.
Maybe it had been during Lana Skye’s trial when things started to change. That was when those deep blue eyes had faced him across the court, trusting and trusted; giving him the strength to continue the case even in the face of threats, scandal and intimidation.
Maybe it had been that year in Europe, when he’d thought of Wright almost every day, regretting the stupidity of leaving that note and the ingratitude he’d shown for everything the defence attorney had done for him. When it had hurt him beyond measure to hear that the man would no longer speak his name — even if that was exactly what Miles deserved.
Maybe it was when he returned and saw Wright again for the first time; saw the hurt in his eyes - the betrayal, the shock, the relief, the anger - and that look had cut him straight to the heart.
He didn’t remember for sure. But the simple fact was that now he couldn’t think of Wright without his heart skipping a beat and his pulse speeding up a little, in what during his more self-critical moments he considered to be a deeply embarrassing and unsuitably teenage manner.
It wasn’t just that the man was disconcertingly appealing, with his high cheekbones, his perfectly proportioned features, and those eyebrows that should have been ridiculous but that somehow managed to be endearing. Phoenix had always had those, even when he was a child. It just seemed that somehow, in the last two years, either Phoenix had changed or Miles had, and what had been commonplace now seemed sublime.
He couldn’t call those bright blue eyes to mind without marvelling at their beauty, and the disarming way that they expressed every thought and emotion in the man’s head. They never lied - and that, he reflected, was a rare beauty in and of itself. He found it difficult to look away from them whenever Phoenix was in the room and usually found his attention wandering to wherever they were. He could follow any conversation Phoenix was having now, even from a distance, just by watching the expression in those eyes.
He couldn’t think of that jet black hair without wanting to touch it and run his fingers through those damnable spikes. Not that he ever had, but it didn’t stop him imagining it all the same — its softness, the lingering smell of whatever shampoo it was that Wright used that was uniquely a part of his scent, just like that cheap cologne that one could recognise from the other side of court.
He had even started to think that the cheap blue suit was attractive, not that he would have admitted that to anyone, especially Phoenix. The way it brought out the colour in those eyes and hung in a particular way that accentuated the muscular shoulders and long legs it concealed.
He tried very hard not to think about those broad hands that he had started to find himself studying when Phoenix gestured extravagantly in court or during their conversations, as he often did. He tried very hard not to think about those lips that he could now watch forming shapes for hours as they sat opposite each other across a desk or a restaurant table. Considering either of those at any length tended to lead to thoughts that he found slightly shameful. It really was quite ludicrous.
But Miles Edgeworth knew that none of this was the real problem. The real problem was how he felt about what was below the surface, the Phoenix that no-one else ever saw or if they did, they didn’t appreciate. That loyalty, courage, passion and honesty that sent a thrill through him every time they spoke, every time they faced each other in court. That trust that they had shared since fourth grade, despite the years and the setbacks. The way that they communicated without words; that Miles could know instinctively what the other was feeling, to feel in return that Phoenix understood him, even if he didn’t have the words or the courage to explain it himself. It took Miles’ breath away and it left him feeling vulnerable and more than a little ridiculous.
At least here, in Europe, he didn’t have to risk making a fool of himself. He didn’t have to risk seeing Phoenix constantly, half-hoping for what could never be and fearing the day that the man would appear in his office with a starry look in his eyes and a woman’s name on his lips, asking for advice on classical poetry, good wine or violin concertos. Two years ago that would have been a humorous thought and a scene that he would have relished, but Miles knew that if it happened now, he would die inside.
He’d heard about the posting in Europe while conversing in the Prosecutor’s Lobby at the Court. That someone was needed to carry out a study of foreign judicial systems as the first step in a path towards reforming the whole system of law in the state. A quiet word in the right ear and a few strings pulled had secured him the position, and he’d escaped that impossible situation and the constant, underlying feeling of dread. Now he could immerse himself in work, safely away from the danger and the impossibility, and the beauty.
“Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you I had no control over.” He smiled wryly. He’d read that quote years ago, somewhere - in a poem, a newspaper, on a web site, or maybe even on a t-shirt. When he’d filed it away in his mind like he did so many other snippets of information, every hour of every day, he’d probably never expected to recall it again. He’d probably never considered that it was the kind of thing that Miles Edgeworth would ever need to say or think until Phoenix Wright had held out his hand, unwavering, and pulled Miles from the brink; showing him that he was no demon but just a man like any other. It was as if Phoenix had given Miles Edgeworth permission to live on that cold day in December - and for Miles that was the most extraordinarily beautiful thing of all.
I did it. For a moment he imagined that the myriad showers of light were just for him. He remembered the trial. He remembered the confetti in the courtroom when the not guilty verdict was announced. He remembered Edgeworth smiling in the lobby. He remembered Edgeworth earlier that evening, joking over a drink in a bar as if nothing had happened.
Happy New Year.
He thought about Edgeworth, smiled, and raised the bottle in a toast.
Miles Edgeworth sat at the desk in his empty apartment, a cup of tea cooling rapidly at his elbow, working his way through a stack of case files. From outside, there was the sound of an explosion, and it jerked him out of his study.
I did it. For a moment, he imagined that the sound was a gunshot. He remembered the hum and flicker of electricity. He remembered the stench of gunpowder and sweat. He remembered that scream and the photographs of his father’s body. He remembered sitting opposite Wright in the Detention Centre; the shame and the fear and the guilt.
Happy New Year.
He thought about Von Karma, closed his eyes, and put his head in his hands.
Jazz Club (Includes Miles6, Rocking Lawyer, Ghostshield, Wrightforgotten, Held Objections, HoboPhoenix and EdgedRevival)
Hobo Street (Includes LilPhoenix)
Lami's Garden Redux
Klavier's Study Redux (Rocking Truth and Managing Chaos)
Mirror of Erised
Cello Lessons (Managing Chaos)
Diorama Room (Managing Chaos)
IC Secrets Chaos
Post EQ also with LilNixxie and GhostShield
Post EQ also with LilLarry
Main Room then Kitchen
Tea Party and Garden
Coffee Kitchen (also with Lost and Rookie Ace)
(Maze and Post Maze)
Truth Room, also with Pearl and Lost
Bar (also with ManagingChaos, Veiled_Hatred and Watcher_Hobo)
With My Little Hobo
With Older Franziska
Night Terror Room
WIth Larry (SexyButz)
(Pre-EQ, also with I-Think_Wright) http://community.livejournal.com/
(More pre-EQ, also with I_Think_Wright) http://community.livejournal.com/
(Post EQ) http://community.livejournal.com/
(About PDK) http://community.livejournal.com/
(More About PDK) http://community.livejournal.com/
(Post EQ) http://community.livejournal.com/
(Boba Shop) http://community.livejournal.com/
Study (also with Ghost!Nick and ManagingChaos)
With Rocking Truth
With Watcher Hobo
Borscht Bowl and Clubroom
Bluffles and Lil Miles
(Cake room) http://community.livejournal.com/