In hindsight, he should have known dating the daughter of a Codophian noble would be more trouble than it was worth. For starters, he'd had to borrow one of Edgey's suits to make an impression on her at all, and of course after he promised to spoil her with all the luxuries he would get fired again. Even up-and-coming childrens' book illustrators had to pay their bills, and the follow-up to Franzy's Whippety-Whip Trip was still in the planning stages.
Of course, no fancy lady wanted to date a starving artist who couldn't take her to nice restaurants and the opera, so he got dumped. Luckily, in the past few months he'd found a real friend. Someone who didn't say I Told You So or suggest he stop trying to date rich girls or give up dating, period.
"I can't say I know exactly what you're feeling, since, you know, rebels don't get to date much," Datz said, tossing him an apple. "Except Tahrust and Dhurke...of course, they were already married before things got bad! But Yuty swore off everything but his studies, and me, well..."
"Always on the run?" Larry bit into the apple, skin and all, crunching noisily. "Yeah, that'd put a dent in things."
"Well, that, and my last girlfriend got tired of waiting for the Revolution to fix everything. And having to bail me out of jail. And cover for me anytime I escaped." Datz shrugged. "But it's like you said, being a rebel really puts a dent in the old love life!"
"So does being poor. And having to work minimum wage at the Taco Shack," Larry groaned. "And having to pretend it's a lot fancier so your girlfriend doesn't find out the only suit you own isn't even yours!" He sighed, gnawing on the apple. "And then of course I try to vent to Nick and Edgey but Nick has to go on about being yourself and how many times has this happened now and you're thirty-five years old, when are you ever going to learn your lesson. And Edgey's all give me back my suit and don't ever ask me for help with your hare-brained ideas again or I'll personally have you thrown in jail and I'm embarrassed to know you. Some friends!"
"I hear ya," Datz said without missing a beat, tossing his apple core into the trash. "Dhurke, Tahrust, Bel'eeb, even Yuty were always getting on my case, too. Don't be so loud, your fighting poses are useless, wash those lizards before you eat them, stop leaving chicken bones all over the hideout. It was like having three extra parents and a tattletale little brother!" Larry snickered.
"Yeah, that was Edgey and Nick, all right. Especially Edgey!"
"I can imagine." Datz looked thoughtful for a moment. "Still, I wouldn't trade them for anyone...we were like one big family, all of us, plus Queen Amara before Ga'ran stuffed her away in the palace and made her dress like an old lady. They gave me a hard time, but..."
"But that's what families do, isn't it?" Larry smiled. "I know Nick still thinks of me like a brother, and Edgey does too even if he'll deny it to hell and back."
"Yuty's the same way!" Datz snickered. "They mean well, you know?"
"Yeah, even when you're tired of hearing the same junk over and over again." Larry dropped his apple core in the trash. "Got anything else around here? I could go for some meat." Datz grinned, pulling out a sack of beef jerky.
Man, this hangout keeps getting better and better, Larry thought as he grabbed a stick.
"I just don't like it," Nahyuta said, rubbing his temples. "Datz on his own is enough of a handful, but that man...they're too much alike. It's a bad sign."
"Oh, come on! Mr. Butz isn't that bad, and from what Mr. Wright's told me he could use someone more like himself anyway," Apollo said. Ema lowered her Snackoo back into the bag and her glasses onto her face.
"It sounds like we need to look at this from a scientific standpoint!"
"No, we don't," Edgeworth said crossly. "Larry is trouble enough without having an enabler by his side, and Mr. Are'bal caused enough problems for Wright during the civil trial and during Maya's hearing. Hence, we must keep these two apart as much as humanly possible."
"But that's just cruel!" Apollo protested. "Nahyuta, you've said yourself that Datz is still capable of getting things done. Maybe that'll rub off on Mr. Butz."
"Very rarely, and only when my father or my father's memory was there to knock some sense into him," Nahyuta said. "Besides, from what Mr. Edgeworth has said, Mr. Butz's stupidity is incurable."
Phoenix, who had been listening back and forth between the psuedo-debate and for any trouble coming from the hideout, just smiled and shook his head.
"At this point we'd be better off worrying more about how to bail them out of trouble," he said. "And the sooner, the better."