There were six impossible things which happened before breakfast that morning.
February 14th, 2019. Valentine's Day-- how sentimental.
Miles Edgeworth had never been one for sentimentality, and only in hindsight did he realise and appreciate the significance of the date, that strange Wednesday evening which blurred into what should have been an unremarkable Thursday morning, which could never be remembered as such due to the events which took place in those pre-dawn hours.
The first of those impossible things was that he'd seen Wright cry.
It wasn't that that was especially impossible, he supposed, all human bodies have a need to excrete waste-- he'd heard somewhere that tears were an essential part of being human, that the body released them to remove dust and dirt and foreign bodies from the delicate tissue around the eye. He didn't know how true that was; he was a student of law, not biology, so it was perfectly possible that the fact that Wright was crying wasn't an especially impossible feat.
It was just that he'd never seen it before, and he'd never seen Wright looking so vulnerable.
The second impossible thing was that Wright had laughed, his face still moist with tears, it was a chuckle of irony. His own voice was hollow with disbelief, and he wasn't quite sure what was so amusing.
"I thought you were romantically interested in Sister Iris," he'd said after the confession. "Which was why I'd never said anything." He paused uncomfortably. The statement which preceded that had been beyond impossible, it had been surreal, one which he couldn't quite believe and felt the need to shoot down with logic. "I'd always thought that you preferred company of the female kind."
And Wright had blushed, a tinge coming into his face as he rubbed the back of his neck. "I suppose I have a lot of female friends," he'd said. "I guess I find it easier to talk to women, that's all." He'd chuckled again. "But I'd be around a four on the Kinsey scale if you want to get technical. A four or a five." He'd smiled shyly then, and Miles could see the way he trembled in the muted light of his living room.
"Why didn't you say anything earlier?"
"I just didn't think I had a snowball's chance in hell with you, Edgeworth."
Then the third impossible thing happened; they'd kissed. It felt so organic and unscripted, yet managed to be like something out of a movie; in hindsight, Miles would spend years attributing the kiss to an overindulgence of bourbon on Wright's part and gin on his own; but in that moment, it was a glorious, exploratory moment. His mouth was soft and warm and inviting; he tasted sweet and smoky courtesy of the alcohol, his tongue seemed more experienced than his own, and he yielded to the kiss and to Miles' touch in a way Miles, at that point, felt too still shocked and reserved to.
The fourth impossible thing was that it hadn't stopped; that Phoenix Wright had no qualms about taking it further, that his gesture seemed so desperate and as though they'd reached some sort of a destination-- it was an ending of sorts, a strange sort of celebration, as though they were both able to sigh with the relief of years of awkwardness between them finally being over.
Miles always liked closure; he longed for it, he fantasised about it. In hindsight he'd come to realise that he needed closure because he'd missed or avoided it when it came to the most dramatic and shape-shifting events of his life; he'd never had it when his mother had died, he'd never had it when his father had been killed, and he'd fled overseas before Manfred met his date with the executioner's needle.
The kiss was the thud of a gong, symbolising the end of an era. It was a sweet, beautiful sound.
The fifth impossible thing was when Wright had taken him in the shower; joking, at first, about his obsessive-compulsive attitude to personal hygiene and leaving him alone initially, then changing his mind and walking into the bathroom, startling him with his nakedness and his arousal. He'd unabashedly walked behind the pane of glass, had unhooked the showerhead from its cradle, turned the spray to the wall behind him, and gently pushed him against the warmed slate tiling.
Miles had been too startled, to aroused, too full of disbelief to say anything, but his kisses and the slight moans and rumbling, appreciative sounds he'd made were more than enough indication for Wright to know that this was acceptable.
He found himself wondering, as Wright found an alternative use for his organic shea and cucumber conditioner, if he could get used to this, or if it would be forever lost in some part of a dreamscape unrealised at the moment. Did it mean anything? He knew at the height of orgasm, men would say just about anything, that lust and sheer unadulterated pleasure could cause incoherency and strangeness to rise to the surface; that mother tongues could be remembered and grunted out, that atheists could scream for god, that usually the verbally astute could be reduced to a collection of gasps and mewls and obscenities.
Wright didn't do any of these things as his thrusts increased in speed and force; he yelped with a kind of strained "Ah-ahhh-ahh" and threw his head back, closing his eyes, the shower spray pelting down on the both of them, his hands still holding his shoulders steadily, his mouth thrusting forwards to steal a few more aggressive kisses; claiming him, for that moment, as his own.
Miles remembered his own reaction-- something about seeing Wright like that, human and perfectly vulnerable and without any kind of airs-- the strange strangled yelp and the way the water ran down him like that, the taut rosy skin and those hands on him, the pressure and the way he was moving into him-- the world went black for a moment a his eyes shut, there was the shudder and he felt himself go weak, wondering how he was going to remain standing. The spray of the shower washed them clean but didn't stop the kisses, the throaty mewls of mutual pleasure, the dazed and contented bliss which followed.
He couldn't allow himself to believe it was more than Wright being very very good at physical activity.
The next impossible thing which had happened wasn't when they retired to bed, Wright wearing a pair of his pyjamas which were slightly too big for him; nor was it Wright turning to him coyly in the darkness and asking "Are we clean enough for another go?" nor was it the fact that he'd fallen asleep next to him and stayed there.
The sixth impossible thing had been in the monochrome light hours later, when Wright had kissed him on the lips as they realised that they were both somehow awake, and had blinked, those big blue eyes almost embarrassed.
"I know it's forward and probably too early and I shouldn't ruin the moment," he babbled stupidly, "But I know there's been this weirdness between us for years, Edgeworth, but-- god, I love you."
That was the sixth impossible thing, and the damning one.
Something had changed with that statement. Something twisted and horrible and ironic and unfair, but Miles was determined to keep a brave face.
They had breakfast in a little cafe near the noodle stand where Wright would often grab a quick on-the-go lunch, some casual, pointless conversation about nothing as the day began, they'd headed off to their respective offices in a still hazy sense of whatever it was from the night before.
But Miles was aware of the sense of ill ease moving through him. Love was serious-- everything was serious, but to make a statement like that, in the perfectly earnest and heartfelt manner in which Wright had had been been even moreso.
He wasn't sure whether he wanted love. Love was complicated and messy and carnal-- entertainers who depicted it in films understated the intensity, love could be wrapped up in under two hours with a happy ending. Those who sang of it said it was some sort of higher order, love could drive you crazy, possess and intoxicate you, cause you sleepless nights, make you vulnerable and distracted, and in his years as a prosecutor, Miles knew one thing to be clear and true: love could cause people to destroy one another.
He evaded it; he kept his distance from Wright, kept their phone calls brief and short in the two weeks he remained in America. He kept his voice even and calm, and was relieved when the subject never presented itself again, grateful once again for Wright having the tact not to bring it up.
But he could tell there was an enthusiasm there which hadn't been before. The light in his eyes, the sweet little gestures, the way he looked as though he wanted to spontaneously giggle or jump in the air in a public place-- that public place at the time being People Park.
It was an ordinary park, flat grassed ground with a small playground for children off to the side, a few trees and a drinking fountain, the red and white stripes of a hotdog vendor's cart somewhere in the distance behind them.
Miles had made his decision; he'd agreed to meet Wright after work, to tell him of his decision on mutual grounds, somewhere public, where hopefully emotion wouldn't be able to get the better of either of them, lest something emotional come about.
As the sun set and they sat on a bench, they spoke quietly to one another. It had started innocently enough.
"I'm glad we're able to do this." The enthusiasm hadn't left Wright; he seemed even giddier lately, and for a moment Miles felt a pang of guilt-- had suggesting they go out been assumed to be something significant?
"As am I," Miles agreed, feeling the pull of something worsening. "I'm glad I reconnected with you, Wright."
He smiled then, leaning over and cupping his chin with a hand, pressing their lips together for a lazy, contented kiss.
"I have something I need to tell you." His dismissal of whatever Wright was about to say was so harsh and final that he almost felt guilty, and curiousity drive him to want to know what Wright was going to say to him.
"I hate how you say that," Wright said with a grin. "It reminds me of when the police have to tell someone that their kid has died, or like when I was a kid and I'd be informed that I'd been caught doing something that I shouldn't have, or--"
"I'm going to be spending awhile abroad."
Suddenly Wright's smile vanished. "How long?" he asked softly.
"I don't know yet," Miles replied, calm and now consumed with guilt. "It could be indeterminate."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means I don't know yet." He could feel his body tensing with dread as he spoke; he knew it wouldn't be pleasant telling Wright about this, but he didn't imagine how those blue eyes would deaden and how Wright's mouth would hang open, slack with hurt and disbelief as though he'd just been punched.
"Can't you... tell them you have things to do here?" The look on his face was desperate, as though he was trying to calm himself and laugh instead. "Like me?"
The worst of it was that Miles wasn't heading overseas because he'd been asked. He'd arranged the trip himself; he needed space, to get away. it wasn't as though he was doing what he did last time; he wasn't disappearing, there was no suggestion of him not returning-- even though he mightn't and had no immediate plans to.
He shook his head slowly. "I'm leaving tomorrow morning, Wright."
That was when he'd felt the full blow of it; Wright's face crumpling like a discarded catalogue; the best he could do, treacherous as it made him feel, was to reach around him and put an arm over his shoulders, pulling him close to his own body, allowing him to muffle his face into his shoulder-- if only to avoid seeing the expression on it and to pretend that maybe Wright didn't actually just sniffle then.
He felt a strange lump in his throat, and wondered if he could somehow pull a Wright of his own, a turnabout which would see him overthrowing the entire mess, if he could cancel everything at last minute and just not go.
Which would still leave the initial problem there, that Wright said he loved him. It wasn't going to become easier if he became sentimental.
He felt Wright pulling away from him in that moment, and saw him gaze up into the nondescript sunset, the strange gradient of pink and white and blue merging together but not quite.
"I'll see you off at the airport, then," he said.
"You don't need to do that."
"No one else will, and..."
To avoid the growing lump in his throat, Miles pressed a kiss to his jaw. "I can take care of myself."
Wright chuckled, the sniffle in his voice clearly evident now. "No you can't," he said playfully. "That's why you've always had Gumshoe and I..."
"I'll be fine, Wright."
"Still," he said insistently, "I'm seeing you off at the airport."
There was a brief silence as the two stared out into the expanse of the sunset.
"It's a beautiful sunset, isn't it?" Wright asked vaguely. "It's all chaotic and messy and uneven tonight."
Miles didn't say anything-- the sunset did not look beautiful, and for precisely the reasons Wright had stated it was. It was as though that statement somehow symbolised something, confirmed his suspicions, that remaining in America and around him was a terrible idea. He felt a little better.
"It's funny how much we get used to sunsets, how much we take them for granted. And how, whether we notice them or not, the sun still rises and sets anyway."
Wright could be strangely romantic and insightful, Miles thought to himself. If Wright was looking at loving someone, he deserved someone who would appreciate that.
They headed back to his apartment soon afterwards, and made love for a second and final time. It wasn't romantic, Miles thought to himself afterwards, it was mere sentimental distraction.
"So you're just leaving everything here?"
The sun was only rising; both of them were still tired. Miles wanted to be on the plane now, to be away from this tired-and-frantic feeling that he couldn't quite stop. The cab driver ignored them as they drove down the freeway in the slowly developing morning light. This side of the world was just waking up, still.
What had needed to be packed and taken had been, and was in the trunk of the vehicle. Everything else remained at home or in the office, and thinking about it some more, Miles admitted that he'd probably made a rash and stupid decision, giving no thought to a few houseplants and the food in the refrigerator. No major complication, of course-- Gumshoe could be trusted to call past if need be; the detective would be flattered to be able to assist him.
He felt another pang of guilt when he thought of Gumshoe; in their years of working together he still wasn't sure whether he found his concern for him pleasantly affectionate or stifling. Either way, Gumshoe could be counted on if there was a need, and at that moment, he was grateful for it.
It was a silent taxi ride barring Wright's question about just leaving. Beyond his quiet one-word response he offered nothing, and the driver all but ignored them. At one stage, Wright's hand rested on his thigh and he could feel himself shaking under it; irritated, he flinched away. Wright made no further gestures. It was like some part of him realised and he could calm down with that knowledge, though there was a strange sort of emptiness in that.
"Do you have money to get a cab back to the city?" Miles asked after they'd carried out his luggage and checked it in.
"Yeah," Wright admitted. He was rubbing his neck again, uncomfortable.
Half an hour til takeoff.
They looked up at the boards, watching numbers flicker advising landings and takeoffs, departures and arrivals. Airports used to make him tense; there was so much activity controlled in one relatively small area. There were emotional people; rushed people, sad people, overjoyed people. In the years he'd become accustomed to international travel the activity ceased to bother him, but the emotional responses of strangers still did. He felt intrusive looking at their faces, seeing tears or stress or elation-- perhaps if he'd been reacting to something as well, it wouldn't have been so strange, but it was rare for Miles to react.
Twenty minutes til takeoff.
"I suppose we should head up to the boarding lounge."
Wright nodded and followed him, having offered to carry his on-board briefcase for him; Miles had acquiesced; it was as though Wright longed to be helpful or some kind of comfort-- the least he could do was allow that and not explain that the primary reason he was leaving was him.
Planes were landing and taking off outside; baggage handlers and other airport staff with roles neither of them could ascertain walked about on the ground below. Looking out the window, standing alongside one another, Wright casually tapped him on the shoulder.
"I'm going to miss you," he said quietly. "I spent fifteen years of my life trying to see you again, and it feels like I'm just losing you to... whatever's out there."
Miles nodded curtly. "I'm not dying, Wright," he said. "And we have means of contacting one another-- surely you've learned how to use email by now, haven't you? And I know you have that phone of yours." He smiled back weakly.
"I always feel like I'm interrupting something when I do contact you."
"I'm always being interrupted, Wright, because I like to keep myself busy."
Was that some sort of defense attorney roundabout fashion of asking him to call or email? He wasn't sure.
"And even if you don't call--" Was that a choked up sound in the back of Wright's throat?-- Miles looked steadfastly out the window as the silhouette of an enormous plane of some description lifted into the sky-- "You'll know where to find me." He reached out once again, tentatively touching Miles' elbow, his thumb and forefinger idly playing with the magenta crease in his suit-- "It's not like I'm going anywhere, Edgeworth-- I certainly don't feel like any trips up to the mountains at the moment, and I've got the office established now and..."
"I realise that." There was a terseness, a nervousness in his own voice which he couldn't place for some reason. Was he angry with Wright? Or just irritated?
"I mean it-- it's not like I didn't mean anything by what I said two weeks ago-- I'll wait for you, Edgeworth... I've already waited fifteen years-- what's another fifteen, anyway?" He chuckled.
"Let's not get sentimental," Miles said. He turned to Wright, and the look on his face caused him to recoil in shock, tilting his head to the side, gripping his elbow with his hand. When he was younger, he used to do that and pinch himself; or dig his nails into his skin, leaving nasty little half-moon bites from his nails.
Manfred had told him that it made him look weak, so he'd stopped that, but he still found himself instinctively clutching his shoulder.
"That would be foolish, wouldn't it?" There was a laugh in Wright's voice despite the glistening twinkle in his eyes.
A bell sounded behind them somewhere. "Flight CT-three-zero-four-six, now boarding..."
People were starting to assemble around them; the lounge area had now become crowded.
"I suppose I should get on that plane," Miles heard himself saying, but amongst the rustle and murmur of other voices, and with the look on Wright's face, he had another bout of uncertainty; he wondered if he as stating the obvious aloud to convince himself as much as Wright.
And then, somewhere in between handing his briefcase back and them shifting towards the line waiting to be boarded, his arms enveloped him in a suffocating hug, holding him tightly, his head finding that nook between neck and shoulder.
"I mean it, Edgeworth," Wright said against his ear, his voice choked with saliva and tears and snot-- "I'll wait for you-- make sure you come by People Park sometime, hey?" There was a little laugh from him and then a murmur of something else which sounded suspiciously like it could have been another I love you.
He felt himself hugging Wright back, convinced once more that he was making the right decision. Sometimes you had to be cruel to be kind. Wright might be sad now, but Miles knew he wouldn't spend too much time alone; Wright was too extroverted, too good at connecting with people-- he had far too many bonding tendencies to wait around for someone. Wright needed, as he did, to figure himself out and find someone compatible with him-- they didn't need strange sentimental hookups; Miles needed to get some breathing space and concentrate on building his experience abroad, Wright needed... he wasn't sure what Wright needed. But it wasn't whatever mess this had the potential to become.
Letting go of Wright and shuffling towards the flight attendant, he gave Wright another nod, refusing to look him in the face. He smiled at the young woman who accepted his boarding pass and walked on into the plane.
He did not turn around.