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.