"You know," the judge began, resting his elbows on his desk. "I have seen many strange things in this courtroom. I've seen a parrot be cross examined. I've seen assassins testify. I've even seen spirit channelings, circus performers, and great thieves. But…"
He leaned back to fold his arms and give a long-suffering sigh. "Did I not already say at some point that this court should not be used for settling work-related arguments?"
On one side of the courtroom was Phoenix Wright, the Turnabout Terror, and on the other, Miles Edgeworth, the Demon Prosecutor. It was a situation that the courtroom had faced many a time, but never before quite like this. On Phoenix's side, the unlikely duo of Maya Fey and Ema Skye both looked utterly exhausted.
"Mr. Wright, you can't seriously be going through with this…" Ema said, brushing a bead of sweat from her cheek. "I mean, if you wanna get a divorce, fine! I'm not gonna meddle in your marriage! But don't you specialize in criminal law? I mean, there are always exceptions, but-"
"Ema, please," Phoenix replied, scoffing. "Like I'm going to get someone else for this job. If Miles is playing his own lawyer, then so am I. Going through another one would be the same as admitting defeat!"
"It…really wouldn't, Nick," Maya cut in. "If you're putting up a fight, that's…that's the opposite of admitting defeat."
"I know what I'm doing!"
"Whatever you say, Mr. Wright..." Ema drummed her fingers idly on the defense bench and looked across the room to where Miles Edgeworth stood, his sister standing proudly at his side. If they didn't know any better, it'd be easy to make the mistake of thinking she was running the defense. "But, uh, Maya?" Ema leaned close to her to whisper conspiratorially, thought she knew Phoenix could hear every word. "You don't think they're actually gonna go through with this, do you?"
"Yeah, no way," Maya replied, shaking her head firmly. The purple balls affixed to her hair smacked Ema in the cheek, and she hissed in response. "Sorry! But yeah, this'll blow over. Nick's just got that flair for the dramatic, you know how it is."
"Oh, boy, do I… Should I have brought snacks?"
"Girls, please," Phoenix interjected, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Just let me do what I need to do."
Meanwhile, across the court…
"Dear sister, if you keep your jaw clenched like that, I fear your teeth will shatter."
"HUSH, you utter fool!" Franziska tightened her grip on her whip, fist shaking visibly. She was clearly just itching for an excuse to use it, so Miles would have to watch his step. "I cannot believe you dragged me all the way here for this utter foolishness! You know full well that I am BUSY! I have a life, unlike you!"
Miles frowned. "I did no such thing. I merely informed you that I was filing for a divorce. You came of your own volition."
"I DON'T RECALL ASKING!" In a quick, fluid motion, she cracked the whip against the prosecutor's bench and Miles leapt to attention, startled.
"If you insist on wasting time with this foolishness, then it is my duty as your big sister to draw it to a close as quickly as I can."
Again with this "big sister" business? "Fine, but don't blame me. Blame your sense of duty."
"If the defense and the prose- I mean…" The judge cleared his throat. "If the defense and the plaintiff are both through bickering amongst themselves…"
The muttering on either side of the courtroom drew to an almost sheepish close.
"I hereby call the Wright-Edgeworth Divorce Trial to order."
And with the bang of a gavel, all hell was about to break loose.
"The plaintiff wishes to make its case, Your Honor," Miles said, pushing a pair of reading glasses onto his nose. Phoenix squinted. Miles hated wearing those things. No way were they going to last the whole trial.
"Very well. You may begin your opening statement."
"Thank you, You Honor." Miles cleared his throat and gestured to a paper before him. "The plaintiff wishes to draw the court's attention to the transcript of the inciting incident as provided by the Misses Pearl and Maya Fey, who were both present at the time." Phoenix rolled his eyes.
"Oh, come on, Miles," he said, sifting through the meager evidence to look at the transcript himself. "I wasn't the one who started this mess and you know it."
"The transcript begs to differ." Miles gave a cocky smirk and shit, even though Phoenix was still pissed enough to go through with a divorce trial, he still looked cute as hell. "The incident began with me bringing up your uncomfortable, perplexing behavior. I am hardly the one who started it if it was your actions that drove me to say something."
"O…Okay. You got me there," Phoenix bit out, wincing. Okay, maybe it hadn't been that far out of left field for Miles to call him on that…
"Y'know, Nick," Maya said, nudging him with an elbow, "I still think there wasn't anything bad about what Mr. Miles did."
"Alright, fill me in, and make it quick or face my wrath!" Franziska snapped, pulling her whip taut above her head in plain threat, aiming directly at Phoenix. "My little brother neglected to inform me of the precise incident that started this mess. Speak up!"
"M-Ms. von Karma-" Phoenix stuttered, struggling for words in the face of what could very well be his next trip to whip-hell. "Uh, well, as you see here in the transcript," he gestured at the document in question, "Miles- Uh, the plaintiff brought up to the defense that my…habit of speaking to plants was, quote, 'creeping [him] out'. And I returned with, quote, 'it's none of your damn business if I talk to Charley'. And…everything escalated from there."
A moment of discomforted silence passed, the lines of fury on Franziska's face growing more severe by the second.
Phoenix fidgeted. "…You know, when it's said aloud, it sure sounds stupid."
"OH REALLY?" Franziska flicked her whip, cracking it against the defense's bench. Phoenix yelped and went pale, while both Maya and Ema sighed in mutual exasperation.
"No offense, Mr. Wight," Ema began, running a hand over her face, "but a divorce over talking to houseplants is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. And I've met Larry."
"Well, don't look at me! It's not like I'm the one who filed the divorce in the first place!"
Franziska turned to Miles with a look that could only be described as bloodthirsty, while Miles removed his glasses from his nose. The pressure it put on his face could only be tolerated for so long. Phoenix smiled in triumph. He knew they'd come off before the trial was out. "Miles. Edgeworth."
"Wright-Edgeworth," he corrected instinctively. He blinked a bit in surprise at himself and averted his gaze to a perfectly interesting spot on the wall. "It's not my fault the man refuses to communicate. For all his complaints about me being emotionally unavailable, he'd hardly tell me a damn thing about his life since we parted ways. The incident was merely where things came to a head. That's all."
Phoenix bit his lip. He had to concede that point, too. He really hadn't been very talkative about anything. His old girlfriend (or maybe girlfriends, plural), his college years, his apprenticeship under Mia. He'd kept most of his life under wraps. Miles only ever knew the bare bones of all that had happened since Manfred spirited him away to Germany.
It wasn't like he'd been keeping things secret to spite him or something, or even because he couldn't bring himself to talk. Rather, it was because he knew that whatever Miles had gone through had to have been so much worse. How could he ask to take up Miles's time and energy with something as inconsequential as his boring, ordinary story?
"I mean…" Phoenix ventured, all eyes turning to him as he scratched the back of his head nervously. "If you really want me to talk about everything…I guess I can. I just thought that since, you know, the whole…" He looked briefly to Franziska, not wanting to strike any healing nerves with her. "The…DL-6 thing, and everything that came with it, took so much of a toll on you, so why would you need me weighing you down with my own messy story?"
Miles blinked before folding his arms and giving a weak chuckle, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Of course I want to hear everything, you imbecile. I made a vow to you on our wedding day to be there for you no matter what. You extend the courtesy of a listening ear to me on my worst days. Is it so hard to believe I wish to do the same for you? I'm no fair-weather friend, Phoenix."
"Ride or die," Maya piped in. She and Ema had taken to leaning in with their elbows on the bench, as invested as if they were watching a soap opera. Franziska just looked incredibly annoyed, and Miles… He looked more abashed than ever.
"Yes, er… As Ms. Fey said. 'Ride or die'."
"Please don't even try, Mr. Miles," Ema and Maya both chimed in, and Phoenix swore he saw a smile, or at least a smirk, tugging at Franziska's lips through her irritation.
"So, does this mean you'll explain why you whisper to that stupid plant?"
"His name is CHARLEY and he is FAMILY!"
"Please," the judge sighed, dropping his head on his desk with a thud. "Just get out of my courtroom. The verdict is, communicate better and try talking before filing for a divorce!" Without looking the judge swung his gavel.