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Trucy's Big Birthday Party

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September 4, 2029, 10:18 AM
Edgeworth-Wright Household

“I do hope you enjoyed the drive home, considering it will be the last time I let you behind the wheel.” Edgeworth closed the door gently behind them as they walked into their house, the same mammoth building that Edgeworth had been living in since he'd returned to the states years ago.  

“Aw, come on! It was just one tiny speed bump that got away from me,” Phoenix pleaded as he juggled the keys in a bizarre game of keep-away. After his husband’s third attempt at a mid-air grab, the defense attorney got cocky and tried to toss them behind his back. He failed miserably, and Edgeworth grabbed them off the floor before Phoenix could reach down.

“In case you've forgotten, I know far too well what your 'act now and ask for permission later’ face looks like. If you want a 4 wheeler, I suggest you save up for one.” Edgeworth teased in monotone.

“Oh please, those were shrieks of joy, weren't they, Miss floofy floof!” Phoenix bent down to pet Pess, the Pomeranian mix that sped to the door to greet them.  

“They were not,” Edgeworth sighed and returned the keys to their proper place on a rack by the door.

“Sometimes, I fear I married a child instead of a professional defense attorney.”

“Okay, now you're just being mean,” Phoenix pouted, in part because Pess had abandoned him to get some attention from Edgeworth. He ruffled her ears before she ran to the back porch to watch the birds outside.

“With all your childish attachments, I have all the evidence I need to prove my point.” Edgeworth scoffed, and settled down on the couch in the adjacent living room.  

“Like I'm the only one with ' childish attachments’ ,” Phoenix sat next to him with a huff, but softened when Edgeworth laughed at his failed imitation.

“Thank you for proving my point.” Edgeworth replied with a peck on the lips. He was glad to be home instead of feeling like he was the unwilling participant in one of Franziska's extreme sledding adventures from childhood. He put his arm around his husband and didn't notice the scheming look in his eyes.

“Okay Google.” Phoenix's phone lit up with a beep.

“Play the Death of the Steel Samurai Neo Olde Jokeo video, please.”

“Here, Spiky Power Bottom, I found this,” the phone chirped back.

The familiar theme song began to play through the speakers and Edgeworth refused to look at the screen. He knew what he'd see: a poorly drawn fan-animation of the Steel Samurai who was fawning over the Evil Magistrate, heart eyes and all, which would end in his favorite hero being sliced in half and thrown at the moon.  Maya had found the video a few months ago and was delighted by how much it'd irritated him at the time. Unsurprisingly, she'd shared that information with Phoenix.

“You are a child ,” Edgeworth failed to stifle half a laugh at his partner’s changed phone nickname. He gave a sideways glance to the attorney, unable to remain half as upset as he should be.

“I believe you, of all people,” Phoenix tossed the phone onto the other side of the couch, his voice now gravelly.  

“should know just how much of an adult I can be...” he brazenly jumped into the other man's lap and removed his cravat. But he couldn't manage to unbutton the collar below, and mumbled a string of curse words.

With a smirk, Edgeworth pulled his partner as close as possible and kissed him with just the right amount of passion that he knew got him hot and bothered. They'd only been married for a couple of months, but they were still relatively fresh from their late honeymoon and it showed.

“You can program your phone to call you anything, but I'm not calling you that,” he whispered into his ear with a breathy laugh.

Phoenix bunched his lips together. “Mean.”

“You can't pick your own nickname. I never was one for intramural sports, yet I'm even aware of this rule.”

Phoenix attempted to object, but was immediately thwarted by a well planned trail of kisses down his neck. It truly was Edgeworth's secret weapon, the one surefire way to actually turn off his endless train of thought. Phoenix hummed, gyrating his hips in the hopes of making Edgeworth's face the same color as his suit. And it was working, especially as he finally managed to undo a number of the prosecutor’s buttons. And then the front door banged open without warning.

“Hope you two horny teenagers still have your clothes on, Pearly and I are coming in!” Maya Fey’s shout reverberated off a metal support beam with a ping.

Like a blushing bride, Edgeworth shoved Phoenix off his lap and scrambled to tidy himself up. Phoenix landed with an oof on his side, and rubbed his bad back in a petty attempt to make Edgeworth feel guilty.

Really ?” he glared at the prosecutor.

Edgeworth frowned sheepishly, not offering a hand to help as he finished buttoning his shirt. He was thankful to hear the barking and thuwmp thuwmp of Pess's tail as the sisters greeted her.

“Where is my cravat? Edgeworth whispered through clenched teeth.

“Under my ass,” Phoenix hissed. “You can have it back after you help me up, jerk.”

The clattering of dog paws indicated that the girls were moving again, and Edgeworth delicately grabbed Phoenix's outstretched hand with an apology.

“You two are decent, right?” Maya shielded her eyes.

“Yes, Maya. Are clocks against your religion now? You're forty minutes early.” Phoenix didn’t try to hide the anger in his voice.

“Well y’know,” Maya grinned and lowered her hand.

“Oops, guess we did interrupt something after all. Though my timing seems better than last time.”

Edgeworth groaned and rubbed his forehead like he was trying to erase the memory. Last month she'd barged in unannounced at the agency to find the two of them in a dangerously close to compromising position. It could've been worse, but Phoenix still threatened to take away her emergency key.

“All clear Pearly!”

“Hi! Sorry we're early! I wanted to wait, but Mystic Maya thought you guys might need help setting up for the party, and I didn't want Trucy’s Ice cream cake to melt,” Pearl waved politely, truly apologetic unlike her sister.

“It's...fine.” Edgeworth said with exhaustion, looking between the two of them.

“Oh no, Mr. Edgeworth! Did you lose your cravat?” Despite the fact that Pearl could finally vote, the same overtones of childlike innocence rang in her voice.

“It's been...squashed.” Phoenix said with a touch of humor, and turned to glare at the man behind him.

“And Mr. Nick your shirt...oh, you two are adorable! Three weeks after your honeymoon and  you two still can't keep your hands off each other for moment.” Pearl gushed and clasped her hands behind her cheek.

Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck, now embarrassed instead of annoyed, and very concerned about everything he'd been confiding in Maya.  “Haha, yeah...so, um, the cake?”

Maya snorted. Edgeworth gave her a calculated glare and she rolled her eyes.

“I put it in the cake holder on the dining room table, is that okay?” Pearl replied, leaning down to scratch Pess’s ears again.

“We should probably put that in the freezer,” Phoenix hoisted himself from the couch and cracked his back. Pearl followed suit, enthralled by the promise of crepe paper decorations.

Which left Edgeworth alone with Maya, the latter grinning knowingly.

“Maybe I should start calling ahead, if you and Nick can't keep it in your pants…” she was goading him, and the Chief Prosecutor knew it. Much to his chagrin, his blush hadn't died down at all.

Edgeworth tried to push his glasses close to his face in an attempt to stall as he gathered his thoughts, but remembered he wasn't wearing them, and instead ran a hand through his hair.

“Everything else going according to plan?” He grabbed his cravat off the couch and walked into the kitchen, with Maya and Pess in tow.

“Yep! Fran’s picking her up after rehearsal and Polly’s flight landed about…” she glanced at her phone. “Ten minutes ago.”

“Correct me if i’m wrong, but weren’t you the one tasked with collecting him from the airport?” His tone said he knew he wasn’t.

“Yeah, but I had a better idea. I spoke to the Piano Man and he was more than happy to do so.”

Edgeworth finally turned around at the island, which was full of fresh fruit trays and an empty punch bowl.

“Prosecutor Gavin? Oh that is brilliant .”

Maya matched his smile. Unbeknownst to Phoenix, the two of them had replaced a number of their Steel Samurai marathons with an impromptu Jane Austen book club. Once they'd read Emma , the two of them had been eager to try their hand at some matchmaking of their own. To their credit, neither of them saw themselves as the romantic disasters that they were.

“See? I knew you couldn't stay mad at me, ya big softie.” She elbowed Edgeworth lightly in the side and although he frowned, the joy in his eyes was obvious.

“I’m still somewhat perturbed. Franziska’s horrid privacy manners have seemed to rub off on you, and I really don’t care for that.”

“Edgelord, I really should buy you a book on innuendos.”

“I know what I said, Miss Von Fey.” He smirked, and walked to the staircase.

“I need to get another cravat. Can I trust you to make the punch without making a mess? Or have you not mastered that skill yet?”  He smiled, now atop the stairs and looking down at her from the balcony.

She rolled her eyes at the pun, refusing to acknowledge it beyond that.“Last time was a fluke and you know it! Everyone forgets to add baking soda every once in a while!” She hollered at him, but he was already out of sight. She read the recipe card in front of the punch bowl and grabbed three gallon jugs of lemonade from the fridge with a clatter.

“Maya, please tell me you haven't already broken something in the couple minutes that we left you unsupervised?” Phoenix inquired from the dining room, and Pearl snickered.

Ugh! I wish we'd come later because then maybe you two would've banged it out and your grumpiness wouldn't be wrecking this happy party atmosphere.”

Edgeworth bumped his head against something upstairs and groaned in a mix of pain and embarrassment.

“I better go check on him,” Phoenix laughed to himself and whispered to Maya as he passed through the kitchen: “Give him a break today, alright? He still feels guilty about all the hubbub from our wedding and doesn't want Trucy to feel left out.”

“God, you're such a dad . But if the bed starts squeaking I will start bellowing sutras to drown out the noise. Also…” she walked over to inspect his neck.

“Concealer. Lots of it. Sure you aren't married to a huge leech?”

“Look at this place Maya, if anything I'm the leech.”

And with that, he lept up the stairs, determined to comfort his husband away from prying eyes. Unsurprisingly, Edgeworth jumped at the intrusion, as he was ironing his jacket.

“Sup, hubby?” He teased, and he could practically hear Edgeworth roll his eyes.

“I can assure you I don't need checking up on. I have everything sorted.”

“Miles, you have five other identical suit jackets. Why are you ironing this one.”

He was silent for a moment, still not looking away from his work. Phoenix walked up to inspect it, and Edgeworth put a hand up.

“I have a special surprise for Trucy, and I need this jacket in particular. Don't bother trying to give me puppy dog eyes, you'll have to wait just like everyone else.”

“What happened to married couples keep no secrets?” Phoenix complained as he tried and failed to uncover the jacket’s secrets with his eyes.

Edgeworth pivoted to glare at him, but instead his eyes went wide. “Your neck. I didn't think I was that careless…”

“Oh, you were,” Phoenix put his hand on the ironing board, and leaned into the prosecutor as he turned on the charm.

“Y’know, we do have enough time for a quickie…”

“Wright. Not only are there two kids downstairs, but we're also on a limited time frame. Furthermore, you are fortunate I did not accidentally burn you with the iron I am using.” Edgeworth looked far from aroused, and doled out another glare.

“The queen is not amused, I get it, I get it. I'm stealing your green stick.” He spun in disappointment and pretended that he couldn't feel Edgeworth's glare follow him into the bathroom.

“You loooooove me,” Phoenix grinned as he peeked his head out the doorway.

Edgeworth sighed. “I believe the 'in sickness and in health’ part of our vows was more about influenza and less about you giving me a headache. But yes, I love you,” as always, there was a hint of softness in those three words regardless of the circumstance.

An ' I love you too,'  was muffled by the sound of drawers slamming as they were quickly opened and abandoned for another.

“Uh…”

“Bottom right, same as all the other cosmetics.”

“It's not spiky, but I guess I can accept Bottom Wright as my new nickname.”

And Edgeworth was almost mad that he'd been set up. Almost. After ensuring that his husband was still in the bathroom, he cracked a smile and slowly slid his arms into the red sleeves. He’d spent a lot of time preparing his magical surprise for Trucy, all he could do now was hope that it would go off without a hitch.

Chapter Text

Four Months Prior
May 3, 2029, 2:04 AM
Justice Law Offices (Khura’in)

( If I stare at this document any longer, my hair is going to stay droopy for the trial tomorrow. )

Apollo Justice sighed and unlocked his phone again. It hadn’t changed since he’d checked it two hours ago. He crossed his fingers and called Ema Skye again.

“Scientifically speaking, I’m really busy right now. Unless it’s super confidential, hang up and text me instead. If it’s confidential, just send me a text without all the details, and i’ll call you, okay? It’s not rocket science and i hate checking these things.” Her voicemail ended with a beep and Apollo groaned into it before hanging up.

He’d waited nearly a day for Nahyuta to return his call, and he was running out of time. Which meant he had no choice but to try someone else in the prosecutor’s office. He grimaced, and scanned through his contacts with a defeated yawn.

“Herr Forehead! To what do I owe the pleasure?” Klavier Gavin picked up on the second ring. He sounded far too awake for Apollo’s liking, probably because Los Angeles was 12 hours ahead of Khura’in, which made it two in the afternoon.

“Hey. Prosecutor Sahdmadhi isn't answering his phone, and I need to talk to him about a case he covered that's getting a retrial tomorrow, er...later today. Are you in the office?”

“Ja, but I'm afraid Herr-Holier-Than-Thou isn't. Probably not the news you wanted to hear, but just hearing your voice has certainly made my day much brighter. Fräulein Magician says you've been working your forehead to the bone. She was worried if you were sleeping enough, and judging by the time, perhaps she should be.”

“Aha ha...every time I talk to her I get the same lecture. Has she been doing okay? She always says she's having so much fun, but I think she just doesn't want me to worry.”

“Ah, you're not wrong. She's very nervous about her audition for that performing arts college. If she's not performing or sleeping, she's at the auditorium practicing for hours on end. I pick her up whenever it gets too dark and her fathers are too busy, so she's not walking or busing home with the shady characters.”

(Typical. It only took him a few sentences to make the conversation all about himself.)

“I'm surprised Mr. Wright's okay with that.”  The thought of Trucy on a motorcycle with her hands around the rockstar’s waist didn’t paint a much safer picture in his mind. She was nearly eighteen, and Klavier was, well, Klavier. Not that he thought of him as a predator exactly, but there was no such thing as a healthy relationship between an 18 year old and someone who was even four years older, much less six.

“Not on my hog mind you, or do you see me as that poor of an influence?”

“I just meant he's super protective. I thought by now he would've threatened your life for flirting with her so much,” he replied with some hostility.

“Apollo, you don't seriously believe I intend to court young girls, do you?”

“That's…well…uh,”

Klavier frowned like the whole world smelled terrible. “I would never!”

(you’ve been flirting with her since she was 15, what was i supposed to think?!)

“Well, you do flirt with them an awful lot…”

“I flirt with everyone! But the way I flirt with girls is entirely different than the kind of flirting I do with people I'm actually interested in. It's entirely focused on validating their experiences, helping them see themselves as beautiful, and showing them what positive attention is! I purposefully never mention specific aspects of their bodies or objectify them in any way. I might say they’re clever or sweet, tell them that i was looking forward to seeing them or that i love their sense of style, but i would never cross the line. I want them to feel special and more than good enough at being themselves.”

Apollo’s mouth was agape, and his cheeks had turned light pink. He’d expected Klavier to give an excuse for his behavior, but not something so well thought out. It felt like he was talking to an entirely different person.

“Self esteem in young girls is alarmingly low, and the rate of eating disorders and suicide continues to increase. So many women are pulled into dangerous relationships or chose to stay in abusive ones because they haven't experienced what healthy and positive attention is. And society as a whole has done little to correct this problem, nearly everything teenagers consume is about making them act or look or think a certain way for male attention. And that’s appalling, so I throw a little charm their way in an attempt to correct some of that disbalance.Think of it this way; If a celebrity that you thought was hot said you were lovely just the way you are,  wouldn't that stick with you?”

(How can he switch from playboy rockstar to scary smart prosecutor so easily? And dammit why is it so attractive!?)

“Uh…”

“What? Surely I told you that I got my undergraduate degree in child psychology?”

“...you did not.”  

“Mein Gott. All this time you thought I was some sort of pedophile.”

“No, i mean...I don't know about that, I just….saw you as more of a shameless flirt that would sleep with anything that moved.”

(Did I say that aloud? Shit, I'm too tired; I need to hang up immediately.)

Thankfully, he laughed. “Believe it or not, Herr Forehead, I happily spend most of my nights alone ,” he replied in a tone dark enough to imply the exact opposite. Apollo felt the color rise on his cheeks for an entirely different reason than earlier, and scrambled to change the subject.

“So, uh, child psychology? What made you chose that instead of, i dunno, music?”

“I grew up with Kristoph, and while I didn't understand why I was so motivated at the time, I wanted to help kids who were going through gaslighting, trauma, and all that jazz. Even while i was on tour with the band, I was determined to become a resident in a children’s psychiatric ward for quite some time. However, things changed when mein bruder began inviting me to his court cases. I observed countless attorneys who didn't give a strong enough defense to children who had barely survived horrible things. Likewise, there were prosecutors who would treat children like adults for crimes they’d committed after living in abusive households. Some would even mock them for how hard it was to remember every detail of an abuse change while the perpetrator was in the same room. It was maddening. They’d go through even more trauma under the guise of the law, and I decided the only way I could help was to change my trajectory.”  

“Your brother...he would take cases that supported some really terrible people. He’d always say things like ‘someone has to do it,’ or ‘is it not our job to figure out who is telling the truth?’ They always turned my stomach, and i’m sure he could tell. I only shadowed him for one case like that, where a skeevy older man was caught with some pictures of kids. I remember being appalled by the lenient sentence that the prosecution suggested at the start of the trial. What’s worse, our defense got him out on probation three years earlier. That was the only time I raised my voice at him in his office. I told him I didn’t agree with how he’d handled the case, and I remember feeling like such a child when he told me it was something that ‘delicate people like yourself shouldn’t have to see.’ After that, I think he hid those cases from me.” Apollo ran his finger over his attorney’s badge from Japanifornia that he still wore on the lapel opposite the Khura’inese one. At the time, he’d let himself be swayed by Kristoph Gavin’s rhetoric, partially because he didn’t think he could follow his gut and leave the practice with the hope of finding another firm that wouldn’t take on the same cases.

“That’s not surprising. He thought the most effective way to find the answer was through fear based psychological manipulation. No matter the circumstance. While I'll admit I learned some of that from him, I thought love based manipulation was better, kinder, nicer. I used to tell myself it was like hypnosis... people would only do what they really wanted to. After Kristoph was arrested I had a lot of time to think about myself, and i discovered that i was doing a poor job of covering up my own trauma by working myself half to death with cases and touring. After I got Daryan’s toxicity out of my life, I made it my mission to deal with the aftermath. I feel ten times lighter than i used to, and i like to think i’m a better person for it. I won't lie, I still flirt to get my way, but it feels...different now. More genuine perhaps? With the exception of some particularly unruly witnesses and young fräuleins, where I do try to use my powers for good or getting to the truth. I’ll admit, I feel no remorse once an abuser has taken the stand and told me all his secrets under the false persuasion that I support him. But I refuse to use those methods, even if they were to work, to get answers from a child who has spent far too much of their youth simply surviving.”

“I’ve noticed that change in you, even if the times we’ve faced off in court since then have been sparse. That's what Athena cares about too. She doesn't want kids to go through what she did.”  

“Fraülein Cykes truly is one of a kind. She took what had hurt her the most in the world, harnessed its power, and used it to save the person she was told to despise. She is nothing short of remarkable. Trauma leaves a mark, and no matter how much you grow from it, it's what you do with it that matters.”

“I hear that. As much as I love helping Khura'in and honoring Dhurke’s work, somedays I just can't shake the past. But I don't want kids to grow up like I did, watching people they'd grown to know and love march to the courthouse with soulless eyes, or turn into corpses.”  When Dhurke went into hiding, they’d all gone into hiding. They’d had to leave a few falsely named safe houses when one of the guards turned up dead, or worse was shot right in front of them. He shook the image he could feel trying to break through his mind. He’d done his best to make peace with it, through therapy and even a little bit of EMDR that Athena used her mood matrix to do. But Dhurke, Datz, and others who only remained in spirit had returned to the very room he currently sitting in covered in blood too many times for him to forget it entirely.

“I...always suspected Mr. LeTouse was not the first body you'd found.”

“Haha, far from it. Wow, that sounded dark. Speaking of which, it's late here, Prosecutor Gavin. I need to get some sleep.” He glanced at the clock on the wall and frowned.

“My apologies. I distracted you from your urgent mission. Although, my door has been open and I haven’t seen hide nor braid of Prosecutor Sahdmadhi.”

“It’s...fine. If you see him, would you mind asking him to check his email? Or call me between eight and ten.

Absolut. Perhaps he’s just in session and is planning on calling you afterwards.”

“God, i hope so. If i don’t hear from him, i guess I’ll just have to figure something out.”

“I have no doubt that you will. They’re lucky to have you over there.”

Apollo tried to explain away his racing heartbeat as a sign of exhaustion.

“Ah, um, thanks Prosecutor Gavin.”

“Apollo, are we not...friends enough for you to call me Klavier?” The rockstar sounded uncharacteristically humble.

“Oh! er, of course we are! Sorry, I was just so used to calling you Prosecutor Gavin in court that I never really thought about changing it. Goodnight, Klavier.” Saying his name left a fuzzy feeling in his chest.  

“Pleasant dreams, Herr Forehead. And, don’t be a stranger, okay? Trucy isn’t the only one who worries about you,” He said sincerely, with a touch of sadness.

“Yeah, i'll uh, talk to you soon then.” He hung up before the other man could say something else to fluster him, and ran a hand through his hair.  

(It’s just nice to be cared about, that’s all. And you’re exhausted. Nothing more.)

From then on, about every two weeks they'd talk on the phone for a few hours, discussing everything from the ridiculousness of the legal system to what everyone was up to back at home. Klavier would tease him every so often on how rarely he went out, until Apollo eventually caved to the pressure about two weeks before he was due back in Los Angeles.

“Ach, do you do anything but work Herr Forehead? Surely it wouldn’t kill you to enjoy yourself for once. I’m not saying you need to go to club or anything...Oh sorry. A club is place where young people go to have fun.” Apollo could hear the metal of his rings clack together as he snapped his fingers.

“Oh, i’m well aware, Klavier. For your information i was at one a few days ago, and a hot guy gave me his number!” His smug grin faded once he realized what he said. No one back home knew that he was gay, aside from Phoenix who’d comforted him after Clay’s murder. But back then he was still heavily closeted, and Phoenix had kept his secret without issue. It was strange, in Khura’in he felt much less afraid to be himself.

“Achtung! Look at you, Casanova. You’re going to call him, right? You can’t chicken out now.” Klavier had hesitated for a moment in shock, but made quick use of the adrenaline to say whatever positive words first came to mind.

“I...uh...don’t...well,” He was grasping at words like a stream of handkerchiefs billowing out of Trucy’s sleeve, and they were evading him just as deftly. The validation of Klavier’s words didn’t register, he just felt surrounded by fear and embarrassment.

“Fuck,” Apollo muttered under his breath, just loud enough for Klavier to hear.

“You...didn’t mean to tell me, did you,” It was more of a statement than a question, and Klavier reprimanded himself afterwards for not controlling the hurt in his voice.

“It’s not that i didn’t want to, i mean it’s not like i don’t trust you or-” Apollo felt the words spill out of him, and he wanted nothing more than to hang up the phone and pretend that the conversation had never happened.

“That came out wrong. It’s your business, not mine, and rest assured i won’t spread it around to anyone here. If it’s any consolation, i understand how terrifying coming out can be. As flirtatious as i am with you or other men, even I haven’t found the nerve to out myself officially to the press.”

“Oh. So, you do,” (actually like me? ) He stuffed that thought down and tried to finish the sentence. “I mean, er, you are…” (Bisexual? Pansexual? Queer?)

“Queer? Yes. Oh, sorry. I know that word can be a trigger for some, it’s just always been what makes the most sense for myself.”

“No, no its cool. I’m...i’m gay. Just regular ol’ gay,” It felt like he was eating cotton.

(ol’? What am i? A homosexual from the twenties? Men are just the bees knees! Kill me now. )

“Thanks for telling me, even if you didn’t mean to.”

“Um, i’m uh...i’m glad i did. I wish it was always this easy.” He felt his nerves finally begin to settle down. His world wasn’t crumbling around him, and he was oddly certain that Klavier wouldn’t start treating him any differently now that he knew.

“Pardon me for asking but, have you told anyone else? In Los Angeles I mean.”

(I’ve told the dead, does that count?)   

“Not...many. So far you, Maya, and Mr. Wright are the only other ones who know.”

“...I see.” It wasn’t a judgemental tone, but Apollo felt his own guilt amplified by it.

“I want to tell them, i’m just...ugh this sounds so pathetic, i’m scared okay? Stupid, right? I mean her dad is gay! I know she wouldn’t care i just…” He felt a few tears prick at the back of his eyes.

“Apollo, It’s not stupid at all. Gay marriage has only been legal for 14 years,  and hate crimes and discrimination are still a problem.Scheiße, I prosecuted one just last month. Ack, My apologies; that’s probably far from reassuring. But my point still stands: There is nothing wrong with you taking your time.”

“But i don't want to be afraid anymore.” He felt a few tears prick at the back of his eyes, and shoved them away through sheer force of will. It was bad enough that he already felt like he was blubbering, but he didn’t think he could take the sheer embarrassment of crying over the phone to Klavier of all people.

“Perhaps you just need to bite the bullet, ja?”  Apollo could practically hear the young magician bragging about how she could do just that in a disconcerting tone.  

“You don’t think she’ll be mad at me?”

“Nine. I believe Fräulein Magician will be delighted. Possibly too delighted. She may endeavor to send you a cake or something.”

They laughed at that, both happy that a little lighthearted comedy could ease the tension. Apollo finally felt like he could breathe again.

“I’ve gotta go Klavier, i think i need to make a phone call. Or two.”

“Three perhaps? Don’t tell me you’ve only come out of the closet to break every heart in Khura'in.”

“I’ve already broken one since i’ve been here, what’s another?” Somehow, talking about his failed dating life didn’t hold the same sting that it used to. It felt freeing, almost.

“Shameless. If you want to enrage the young magician, you can always tell her that.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said with a chuckle. “Hey, Klavier? Thanks.”

“Anytime. I’m at your beck and call, should you need me. Auf wiedersehen!”

“Talk to you later.”

Apollo leaned back in his chair and played with his hair. Every time he thought he had a grasp on the prosecutor’s character, he always managed to surprise him.

( And he’s actually gay too! so all that flirting might just be for real) He shoved the terrifying thought back into a corner of his mind. He did not have a crush on Klavier Gavin.

(He’s just a really good friend is all. A hot really good friend.) He ran a hand down his face in frustration. But he knew one way he could get the rockstar out of his head: He grabbed his cell phone and hit the call button before the butterflies in his stomach could form their own colony.

“Hiya, Apollo! I thought we were gonna talk tomorrow, but i’ve got some time right now! What’s up?”

“Oh, nothing really. I just...need to tell you something. Promise you won’t freak out?”

“Cross my heart and saw me in half!”

“Well, you see…” He felt less confident by the second, and dug down deep to find the words. “I’M GAY!” Apparently the words had been locked behind his chords of steel. He felt his face burn and almost threw his phone against the wall in panic.

Trucy had lied. She shrieked in joy so loudly that Apollo was certain anyone within twenty feet of the Agency could hear her. He called Athena next, and thanks to the enthusiasm of both girls he became worried that his ears would never stop ringing. After deciding to wait until tomorrow to try and get ahold of Ema, he took a deep breath and stared at the number scrawled on a napkin.

“Hey, um, it’s Apollo, from the other night? Would you be interested in meeting me for lunch this week?”

Chapter Text

Apollo: Where are you? I'm at baggage claim six.

Maya : Sorry. Had to help the newlyweds with stuff

Maya: Don't worry tho I sent Klavier. Be nice, okay?

Apollo felt a headache coming on as he read the last text. He and Maya had become friends in Khura’in, as she came back every month to work with Princess Rayfa. Thanks to her renown and cultural importance, she’d helped Apollo recruit new attorneys all while keeping the budding justice system in a positive light. She’d also made it her personal mission to ensure that Apollo left the office sometimes instead of “watching him turn into a hermit at 25,” which really meant she dragged him out to bars and social events without any future warning. She’d been his wingmam more than once, albeit an awkward one, but he’d be lying if he said he was unhappy about her impact on his dating life. He was pretty proud of himself, actually. He'd been on a couple dates despite his long work hours, admittedly thanks to a combination of Maya’s pep talks and some liquid courage at the local dance club. No one had been the right fit for a long term relationship, but at least he made some new friends. And he wasn't the same paranoid closet dweller he'd been for the majority of his life.

Which made the spirit medium’s betrayal all the more frustrating. He'd admittedly gone to absurd lengths to avoid discussing Klavier Gavin with the her, after the one time he foolishly admitted that he found him attractive. But when he’d asked her to save him from alone time with the rockstar at the party, she’d agreed, saying overly flirty guys made her feel uncomfortable too. He hadn’t felt his bracelet tighten at the time, so she clearly hadn’t been lying, so he chalked up her behavior to her usual flightiness.

Thinking of the devil, the Gavviner strolled through the automatic doors with a incessantly loud “Herr Forehead!”

Apollo scoffed in response at what he assumed Klavier thought was an undercover outfit. He had on shutter shades, and either he’d cut his hair or he’d shoved the braid into what looked like a gas station snapback that had LA EVERYDAY written in rhinestones.

“Wow, you definitely put the shudder in shutter shades,” Apollo said dryly, and Klavier dramatically put a hand to his chest in mock pain.

“You wound my pride. Speaking of which, nice bracelet. Is it fair to presume that you did call your mystery hottie then?” He gestured at the woven bracelet around Apollo’s wrist. It was mostly black, aside from a thumb shaped panel where multi colored strands formed a rainbow. I’d been a gift from Wild’e, a date turned friend whose family had a small weaving shop a couple streets down.

(Shit. I was going to use that as a casual way of coming out to the few who didn't know at the party. Why did he have to notice it right away?)

“Yep! Got my bag, let's go. Now,” Apollo said with an awkward squak, and zoomed past him in a fast walk. He wanted nothing more than to avoid talking about boys with the rockstar. Just because he’d come out over the phone to him didn’t mean he wanted to discuss his love life in detail, especially with every stranger in earshot. His thoughts raced as he sped into the parking lot.

(Clearly he's already jumped to conclusions. Think, Apollo! What can you talk about that will sufficiently keep him off the subject?)

“I know you're eager to see everyone, but is something wrong?”

“No, why?”

“Because you have no idea where I'm parked.”

Klavier turned to the left, and stopped in front of a black motorcycle. Apollo felt all the color drain from his face.

“Klavier, I have a suitcase.

“Und?”

And I don't want it flying across the freeway.”

(Or getting hit as we weave between traffic. I still can't believe that motorcyclists can drive however they want here.)

“Just humor me.”

He sighed loudly, already planning all the ways he could prove Klavier’s plan was an accident waiting to happen. But if it meant he wasn’t prying into his dating life, he decided it was worth a try. He sat on the bike and placed his duffle bag on his back like a backpack. It didn't work well, and he was certain the weight would drag his body to the ground the moment the bike started moving.

Klavier sat in front of him and handed him a helmet. Apollo stifled the urge to lecture the prosecutor about the idiocy of only having one helmet and buckled it under his chin.

“I will give you one chance. One . If I scream or fly off, then the bike stops and you immediately call a cab.”

“Fair. However, I can promise you’ll fly off if you don’t hold on to me.” He could hear the grin in his voice, and somehow, looking at the back of a gaudy snapback made it worse.

“Fine.” Apollo begrudgingly put his hands around his waist. Or, at least that's how he acted. For a moment he let himself picture flying down an open road like he was in the Lizzie McGuire movie. While in Khura'in, he'd come to better terms with his slight attraction towards him. After all, he was a nice looking man and being gay meant there was a rather predictable chemical reaction in his brain that went PRETTY BOY! before returning to business as usual. But as the two had started talking on the phone more, he’d begun to recognize the little pangs of anxiety as what they were: a crush. He could’ve handled a crush on the straight delivery boy better than this. Klavier flirted with everyone, aside from those who’d made threats against his life for doing so. Apollo had grown to value his friendship and insight, especially during a tricky case, but he was certain Klavier was more of a friends-with-benefits kind of person rather than a relationship one, If his number of guitars were any indication, and that just wasn’t something the defense attorney would ever be interested in.

But he didn't stuff the feelings down like he used to, he simply accepted their presence and tried to think of a clever quip which would make Klavier admit defeat before the bike started moving.

Apollo raised an eyebrow as he felt the prosecutor's stomach begin to shake. A moment later Klavier erupted in laughter strong enough that his braid escaped.

“If you're ticklish, this is definitely going to end with me splattered across the freeway. And I will make Mr. Wright charge you with murder.”

“Ich kann es nicht glauben,” He wiped a tear of laughter from his eye.  

“I hope that means you finally admit that this was a terrible idea and it's time to call a cab?”

“No need. My car is parked across the lot. We probably should get off, as i have no idea whose hog this is,” He flicked his hair back behind his ear, and set his free hand on Apollo’s which were still wrapped around his waist. He shied away at the touch, and could feel his cheeks burning in some mixture of embarrassment at being tricked and the electricity of Klaiver’s hand.

After Apollo finished looking absolutely dumbstruck, he burst out laughing as well. He wanted to be angry, but it was nice to be back in Japanifornia where pranks like these were the worst of his worries.

“You got me, damn.” He took the bulky bag off of his back, set it on the ground, and wrenched the helmet off of his head. He ran a hand through his hair and was relieved to find that it sprang back up.

“I didn't think you'd even consider-”

“Hey! Get off my bike!” A middle aged, slightly balding man pointed at them from about twenty feet away.

“Time to run,” and with a grin Klavier grabbed Apollo's duffle bag before breaking into a sprint across the parking lot. Apollo took an extra minute gingerly getting off the bike, and yelled “Sorry!” at the man who was shaking his head with a half smile. He began to sprint as well, and caught up to Klavier easily.

(He's not screaming or chasing us across the lot. He probably has kids.)

Apollo tried to convince himself that he had to stare at Klavier because he had no idea where their getaway car was parked, but his eyes wandered on their own accord to the ornate pockets on the rockstar’s jeans and he ran out of excuses.

(Considering the number of times he’s blatantly stared at my ass, i’m more than entitled to enjoy the view for a second.)  

Klavier skidded to a stop in front of a black honda CRV.

“No vanity plate or purple headlights? Who are you?” Apollo looked up at the still out of breath Klavier. He turned around and leaned on the car with an arm outstretched.

“Well, I do have a Benz, but I thought this was more your style, ja?”

“Actually, the Mercedes sounds cool.” Admittedly, Apollo appreciated the more reserved style, but seeing Klavier look confused was a rewarding subtle revenge.

“You really aren't the same Herr Forehead as when you left us all behind. How do I know you're not a doppelgänger?” Apollo rolled his eyes in response.

“Can you pop the trunk already? We're gonna be ten minutes late for Trucy's party thanks to your motorcycle shenanigans.” Klavier did as asked and delicately set his suitcase inside.

“You’re being dramatisch, that didn't take ten minutes,” Klavier sassed as he slammed the trunk loud enough to warrant a glare from a nearby mother with a baby in a stroller.

“We missed our optimal traffic window. Now there's going to be...traffic.”

“Herr Forehead, welcome back!” Apollo glared at his cheesy smile and was buckled up before Klavier had even made it inside.

“You’re not gonna drive with those on your face, are you?”

“If you wanted to look into my eyes, all you had to do was ask.” He grinned.

“You wish. They’re a safety hazard and offer no protection from the sun.” He crossed his arms, proud of himself for not blushing so easily anymore.

Klavier looked disappointed, and put on a pair of sunglasses.

(Take that! I’ve flirted with a dozen guys this past year! Okay three, but i kissed all three! Your stupid gorgeous smile doesn’t have the same effect on me anymore.)

“Achtung baby! Get ready for the safest drive of your life!” The car roared to life and he played air guitar with his free hand. He backed up, and noticed Apollo was giving him a look.

“Seatbelt.”

“Ach.” He buckled in, and looked at Apollo sheepishly.

“Not a great start.” Apollo tried to hide his smile

***

The first bit of the drive involved the usual feverish pointing and mild yelling that accompanies anyone trying to go from the airport to the freeway, because there were an insane amount of exits and lanes crammed together in a very short and crowded stretch of roads.

“I’m actually glad you picked me up instead of Maya. The handful of times i’ve ridden with her have followed more of an ‘act first, think later’ policy, and once she rapidly changed through three lanes to make an exit at the last minute.” He shuddered at the memory.

“I’ll admit, i haven’t had the opportunity to get to know Mrs. Von Fey, but that doesn’t surprise me,” He laughed in perfect harmony with whatever rock song was playing quietly on radio station. Apollo had no idea if he did it on purpose on accident, but damn if it wasn’t endearing.

“I'm guessing you're the entertainment for Trucy's party?”

“Ja, but don’t worry your pretty little forehead, I’m only singing a few songs and Fräulein promised that she’d do a sound check while i’m gone.”

“Huh. In the invite she called it a ‘dance party to the max!’ so i assumed you’d be doing a full blown show with the new and improved Gavinners,” Apollo sounded less disappointed than he’d intended, and he couldn’t tell if the butterflies in his stomach were there because a less busy Klavier was a good thing or a bad thing.

They spent the rest of the ride discussing how busy life had been for the last two weeks. They hadn't spoken since he'd accidentally come out, and Apollo was doing his best to avoid any conversations about his date. Thankfully they'd both had heavy enough caseloads that there were a few gems of witness and strange policy problems to discuss for the majority of the duration.

“Alright, drab and dumb cases aside, did you do anything other than spend your evenings staring at manilla folders?”

“I did, thank you very much!” Klavier grinned in response, and Apollo realized that he’d fallen right into his trap.

“I take it that’s where your bracelet came from. So, what’s his name and how long has he been a lawyer?” Klavier’s hands tightened on the steering wheel, unbeknownst to Apollo who was busy staring out the window.

His tie felt far too tight, and he knew he was blushing now. “Actually, none of them were lawyers,” slipped out, and he wanted to hit his head on the dashboard.

“Achtung! Sounds like someone’s guilty of leaving a trail of heartbreak behind them. I weep for the men of Khurain.”

“N-no, it’s not like that!” Apollo flushed deeper as the rockstar gave him a wink at a stop sign.

I just, um, didn’t meet someone who lasted long term. Khura'in is small, so…” He breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled in the driveway. Perhaps they weren’t as late as he’d feared.

“Relax, Herr Forehead. I promise not to make a big deal about your newfound freedom. Just remember to brace yourself for the enthusiasm of Herr Wright and the Fräuleins.

“I already told Trucy and Athena over the phone, so they probably won’t make a big deal out of it or anything.”

Klavier raised an eyebrow at him and he felt his stomach drop. He put his head in his hand, feeling stupid for not considering the obvious.

Klavier chuckled. “I hope you brought ear plugs, ja?”

“At least I know they’re happy about it. I’ve got this pit on my stomach that only seems to grow when I think about someone who doesn’t know seeing this bracelet.” He looked down, feeling foolish.

“It takes a lot of courage to be yourself, Apollo. That bracelet is a sign of courage, and i’m certain everyone else will be as well. However, If anyone gives you hell, send them my way.”

Apollo raised his head, and swallowed hard when he noticed just how close Klavier was. Combined with the man’s kind words, he was at a loss for them. He stared like an idiot for a moment before feigning fascination with his seatbelt.

He heard the driver’s side door open. Klavier leaned over his shoulder and with a fiendish glint said: “Do try to keep your eyes up though, unless you want people to get the wrong idea, Herr Forehead.” He raised a single eyebrow and left the now frozen Apollo behind. Suddenly the car felt very warm, and Apollo wondered if he could fry an egg off of the heat coming from his face.

(I wonder if it could stay in this car long enough and pass out from heat exposure.) He checked the weather on his phone, and frowned at the cheery sun icon that showed the high for the day was a perfect 75 degrees.

“Stupid LA weather being so stupidly nice, ugh .” He rested his hand on the door handle, waiting for his blush to disperse, and realized that Trucy’s gift was still tucked away in his bag. Instead of running in and asking Klavier to pop the trunk for him later, he decided that the most effective way to avoid humiliation was to crawl into the trunk while he was still in the vehicle and get it himself. Which was a solid plan, until he managed to get himself stuck when he crouched between the seats at the site of a yellow blur running towards the car.

“Heya, Apollo!” A familiar voice cheered and tapped on the glass.

He swore under his breath, and continued reaching his arm out in the hopes that he could grab the bag by more than his fingertips and unwedge himself in the least embarrassing way possible.

“Helllooo?” The banana yellow attorney moved to the trunk and squished her face against the tinted glass. He heard a computerized voice chirp “Uh oh.”

She backed up and Apollo could see that her hair had been done up in high pigtails, but the angle Apollo was at made them look more like alien antenna. Being abducted sounded much more appealing at the moment.

“Hi. I’ll be inside soon, okay?!” He yelled. Athena was rambling incoherently, and he continued to wiggle his fingertips until the bag was finally close enough to be grabbed by his fist.

“Yes!” He unzipped it and pulled out a long package wrapped in holographic paper.

“Okay, I’ll go get Klavier to get you unstuck!”

“No! No no no no…” He heard Athena yelling Klavier’s name as she ran from the CRV and Apollo collapsed in defeat for a moment.

(If there is any mercy left in this world, please kill me right now.)

But death didn’t come, so he tried to figure out what his pants were getting stuck on. Somehow, he’d managed to get on of the belt loops contorted around the buckle and at least one part of it was so embedded that wiggling around had made it worse, if anything.

He heard the click of doors unlocking, and made a last prayer for the ground to swallow him whole.

The door opened and with some effort he managed to contort his body enough so he wasn’t greeting Klavier ass first. A strangled noise escaped his throat, which Apollo guessed was his attempt at smothering a laugh, and sure enough Trucy was a few feet behind him with a thumbs up as she snapped a photo with her smartphone.

“I’m fine! I just got a little stuck when i got Trucy’s gift.” He assumed that his face was as red as his vest by now, and felt his lower leg starting to give out.

Klavier delicately pointed a finger at the ceiling. “I think you got stuck on the piece that attaches to the center seatbelt when the middle seat is up. Check below your leg.”

Sure enough, the buckle Apollo was attached to was coming out of the floor, but in order to free himself, he’d have to return to a much more compromising position. He couldn’t save himself the embarrassment, so he looked away and returned his torso to the floor. The buckle was now much loser and he could maneuver it with his hand rather quickly. He sat up with a start, relieved to see that Klavier had grabbed Trucy’s telescope instead of it being crushed. The rock star offered a hand, which he took after noticing there were no other options since he was in the way of the door. He let go the moment he had both feet on the ground outside.

“Thanks,” He muttered, pretending to be fascinated by the cement driveway. Thankfully, Trucy showed him some mercy as she barreled into him at full speed with a hug.

“Apollo! I think that's the best entrance you've made yet!”

He grimaced. “Nice to see you too, I guess.”

She crossed her arms in a pout.

“Hey, you're the one who took a photo of me for future blackmail.”

“Nah, I just wanted to make sure I'd never forget it. Much more reliable to keep things on the cloud than in the old steel trap.” Apollo could hear the clang of metal as she knocked on her hat.

“I'm really hoping that's for a trick, and you didn't join a doomsday prepper’s club while I gone.”

“You'll have to wait and see,” she sang the last word and skipped back inside. They followed.

Apollo bit the bullet and finally looked at Klavier, who at least wasn't laughing anymore.

“i must say, It's a good look for you,” Apollo was certain the glint in his eye was just a trick of the sunlight.

Apollo did his best to sound disinterested, and tried his best to make his blush fade from sheer will power.

“We will never speak of this again.”

“Next time, just ask me to pop the boot, ja?” He snapped his fingers in the air and held out Trucy's wrapped gift.

Apollo grabbed it without a word and began walking to the door, his mind swirling with everything that next time could mean as he desperately tried to stop blushing.

“Quick question Apollo, why’d you go along with Klavier’s motorcycle prank? Just wanted an excuse to be close to him, huh?”

Maya put a hand on his shoulder and shook him teasingly. At the moment he felt like a cat being lifted to the ceiling in some poor taste Lion King reenactment and his expression matched.

“I’m running on three hours of sleep in a country that’s six hours ahead. I’m lucky i remembered what my suitcase looked like.”

The lie would've been more convincing if the tips of his ears hadn't gone red, but he tried to ignore that.

Klavier gave what was clearly a sympathy laugh, and Athena looked at him with worry.

“I couldn't tell earlier, but Mon Dieu! You've got some really dark circles Apollo. Maybe you could use a nap?” Athena spoke kindly, but he could do without the prodding. She frowned before popping to life with a glint in her eye.

“I'm going to go make Trucy's bed for you, see you in five!”

“That's not-” he held up his arm to object but she'd already raced away. He sighed and tried to fix his hair spikes that were refusing to return to their proper position.

“A likely excuse. I'm not saying I'm a genius or anything, but would it kill you to admit that my plan was clever?” Maya playfully nudged Klavier, and it was probably just a trick of the light but Apollo could swear his cheeks turned the lightest shade of pink.

(Her...plan? Oh, i’m going to kill her.)

“I should’ve known someone else was behind it! The fop could never orchestrate that kind of prank by himself,” Apollo tried to continue with the same playful energy, despite feeling a stab of guilt for the semi-needless insult. The women around him all glared. Klavier pouted dramatically and Trucy struck a defiant wonder woman pose.

“Hey! Don’t make fun of his music! It’s good and he works hard on it!” The magician jabbed Apollo in the chest.

“Trucy, I meant orchestrate as in plan not like...whatever.” He stopped talking when he realized no one was listening to him.

(And i’m the lowest rung on the ladder again, shocking.)

He tuned out Klavier’s lack of humility as Trucy proceeded to fawn over him like usual, and walked into the kitchen where Edgeworth was carrying some plastic cups.

“Need a hand with anything?”

“I believe everything is prepared. I do apologize for not having enough beds to accommodate you, but i was told you’d prefer staying at a local hotel instead of sleeping on the couch.” He lied, and hid a smug smile. He and Maya had deliberated on what method would be the most effective at ensuring that the pair had sufficient alone time, and requiring a ride to the hotel after the party ended was the easiest way to do so.

Did Mr.Wright forget that I can sleep literally anywhere? Oh well, maybe i’ll be able to get some real rest instead of worrying about Trucy messing with me while i sleep. Besides, it’d be weird to ask now.

“Whatever works is fine with me.”

Edgeworth stopped for a moment right next to him and spoke softly. “Welcome to the club, by the way. You didn't hear it from me, but my husband does have a gift and a bit of a fanfare planned for you. My apologies: His boisterousness is both a blessing and a curse.” He smiled warmly, and Apollo raised a hand to his hair as his cheeks turned pink. The knitted rainbow suddenly felt like it weighed more than the large gold bangle on his other wrist, and he stood in the middle of the kitchen lost in thought for a moment.

“Politoed! We're only got an hour before the party really begins! You're missing out on prime nap time!” Athena bellowed from the balcony on the staircase.

Apollo poked his forehead with a finger tip. “Sorry! I'm on my way.” He climbed the stairs.

“Oyasuminasai. Don't worry, I won't let you miss the great gift reveal!” She beamed and gave him a pat on the head before she rode the railing down to the floor and flashed him a peace sign.

“Thanks Athena,” he said sincerely, hoping he remembered which room was Trucy’s. As childish as it made him feel, it was nice to be taken care of for once, and as he heard a crash somewhere downstairs and a chorus of people yell “Maya!”, he was very happy that cleaning up was not his responsibility.  

Chapter Text

September 1, 2029
Electrical signals and radio waves

Unsurprisingly, Larry called to rsvp a week later than he was supposed to. After Phoenix hadn’t answered him for the third time, since it was the middle of a work day, he left a message. Phoenix had noticed the call log in the afternoon, but because he was representing a particularly difficult client, he decided to save his energy and wait until he was home. Hopefully the positive energy from his husband would negate how draining Larry could be. Once the pair was home and settled at the table with some tea, Phoenix put the voicemail on speaker.

"it's Larry, though you probably already know that, since you’re trying to break my heart by not answering. But i won’t let your anger make me any less pumped for Trucy's big bash! It feels like only yesterday when we first met and she stole my wallet and my heart. I still can’t believe that she's all grown up!” Larry said with a heavy voice, and sniffled.

“Obviously I'm coming, It'd break her heart if her favorite godfather wasn't in attendance!”

Phoenix felt the usual wave of fond annoyance for his childhood friend. Larry was in fact, not Trucy's godfather. Initially Edgeworth had been chosen, but the longer the two dated, the stranger it felt to have Trucy call him such. So, they passed the title and subsequent responsibilities to Detective Gumshoe and Maggey. Predictably, Larry overreacted to the news with an overdramatic meltdown and a proclamation that he was Trucy’s ‘true’ godfather. Eventually, the attorney’s just stopped correcting him

“But, I gotta make sure the people there are gonna be good, y'know for Avril’s sake? She's dealing with some major ignorance at work and I really don't want to put her through anything else, okay? So call me back, hotshots! Larry out!" The recording ended with a beep and Phoenix rolled his eyes. Edgeworth took a sip from his teacup and kept a watchful eye on his husband. While the Chief Prosecutor’s annoyance with their loud mutual friend hadn’t changed over the years, Phoenix had noticeably become more bristly towards him. His husband had dodged the subject the last time it was brought up, but Edgeworth suspected it had something to do with the idiot’s lack of involvement in anything queer, aside from their friendship,, before he met Avril at their wedding.

Avril Holkham was Larry's girlfriend, and the longest relationship he'd ever had. They'd actually met at the wedding seven months ago, as she was Kay's favorite cousin.

 

February 2, 2029
11:40 pm
Edgeworth-Wright Wedding Reception

Predictably, Larry had been overtaken by a borderline obsessive infatuation once he’d started chatting up Avril at the bar, which thankfully was reciprocated in some ways. Which made the newlyweds feel compelled to talk to the man.

“Larry, I'm glad you like Avril, but-” Phoenix began, as Larry yelled over him.

“She's the woman of my dreams! Did she say anything about me to you?”

Edgeworth and Phoenix exchanged an annoyed glance. Even at their own wedding, Larry still felt like the he was the center of attention.

“No. But if you're interested in courting her, we need to make sure that you will do so only with the utmost respect, understood?” Edgeworth crossed his arms.

“Whaaaaaat? I'm always the utterly mostest respectable!” He downed the remaining half glass of his beer like it was a shot.

“Right. Look, I know you're an ally, but Avril is…” Phoenix sighed, hating that he had to out someone without permission. But Larry had taken some time to accept that he and Edgeworth were not only interested in men, but also dating, and due to his volatile nature he’d decided it was more a matter of safety for the woman than anything else. To his credit, Larry had moved past his lower-level homophobia to allyship and then unfortunately to the same tactlessness and dirty jokes as he used with his straight friends. But he still relied on stereotypes and misgivings, and was only marginally more accepting of criticism than a middle-aged white woman with a can-i-see-the-manager haircut with an expired coupon.

“She's transitioning.”

“Oh, she's moving away? That's okay! Long distance ain't no thaaang!” Phoenix was about to walk away and grab another drink to help him deal with the conversation, when his partner replied callously.

“No, you bacchanalian squash. She's trans gender . She's most definitely a woman, but certain deplorable members of society refuse to see her as such due to their own ignorance and stupidity,” Edgeworth leaned forward with an intimidating glare.  

Larry’s eyes went wide. “But she is a lady right? Like she doesn't think she's a man?”

“Correct. But her... hardware may or may not be different than what you traditionally correlate with womanhood. And if you dare say or do anything to make her uncomfortable, I will ask security to escort you out of the building.” The Chief Prosecutor did a poor job hiding his smirk with his glass. Alcohol tended to bring out a competitive vindictive side of him, which was usually all in good fun.

“That's it? Pfft. Damn you really had me going, I thought you were gonna say she was a serial killer or some shit.  Who cares about that ?”

Edgeworth nearly spit out his drink, and began to cough as it went down the wrong pipe. Phoenix gaped at him, and steadied himself on a table.

“Why do you guys look so shocked? Listen i like women. All of 'em. Not that you'd understand Edgeworth, but I've got a certain sense for these things.”

Phoenix bit his lip but failed to restrain himself from laughing, and Edgeworth shot him a dirty look.

“After two sentences I knew she was 100% woman. I mean, everything about her is! The way she walks like a queen of the night, the way she stares at you with those gorgeous amber eyes...my point is, ladies don't have to look a certain way to be beautiful!” He yelled at them angrily, his teeth snapping like a rabid dog’s.

“Larry, you've dated at least a dozen models,”  Phoenix replied deadpan.

“and 8 farmers, 2 construction workers, 3 vets, 4...no 7 teachers, 7 mechanics, 3 engineers, a plumber, a logger, and 4 firefighters. Beauty isn't skin deep Nick! All the women I've dated have been beautiful, but they didn't look the same! If anything, you're the one with the bad idea of beauty, I mean you've only dated people with pale skin!”

“That's not true! I just didn't tell you about the guys I dated because i knew it would’ve freaked you out!” He felt his face flush even redder, as a couple people nearby gave him an odd look.

Edgeworth stared at him with wide eyes and took seat at a nearby table.

“Talking about ex's at your wedding? Tsk, bad call man.” he shook his head, and Phoenix raised a finger to object in futility.

Larry looked over her shoulder at Avril, who was laughing on the patio with Franziska.

“Dammit! You two made me miss her laugh!” He bolted past them, just inebriated enough that he couldn't move in a straight line.

“Miles?”

The newly married prosecutor took a sip of his scotch. “I will never, never understand that man.”

“Phew, I thought you were mad at me.” He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Phoenix, we've had a number of lengthy discussions about our past relationships. I've told you countless times I don't need to know your 'number’,” he grabbed his husband's hand, pulled him down beside him, and stole a kiss right before he sat down.  

“So, you're really not curious about how many people I've been with?”

Edgeworth looked away. They'd had similar conversations where Edgeworth confirmed time and time again that it wasn't his business. But the energy from dealing with Larry had worn him down considerably, and the alcohol in his system declared that he couldn't lie to his now I husband.

“Fine. I might be... curious. But I do not want to talk about it on our wedding night.” He turned back, love in his eyes, and Phoenix pulled him in for long slow kiss which they only broke when Kay Faraday heckled them about getting a room.

And somehow, Larry hadn't screwed up majorly since then. Phoenix knew for a fact that Kay had threatened his token straight friend with a fate worse than broken bones soon after their second date, because Larry had called him in tears. But after a few months, they'd gone on a double date and found a surprisingly respectful Larry in a healthy relationship.

As tempting as it was to continue reminiscing about their wedding night, he sighed and tapped Larry’s grinning face in his contact list.

“Nick, Finally! You always take forever to call me back!”

“It’s almost like some of us have to work in the middle of the day,” Phoenix replied playfully.

“Yeah yeah, anyway you heard my message right? I just gotta make sure, you know.? She's been more depressed than usual cause her workplace is taking forever to file a disciplinary action against some asshole who refuses to use her pronouns and she won't let me come by and cuss him out or hit him with my car.”

Phoenix rolled his eyes. Larry's protectiveness had been endearing at first, but every other week there was a conversation about some transphobe he wanted to throw into traffic. And Nick was expected to drop whatever he was doing and agree with a furious Larry over the phone. Some of his irritation was admittedly because Larry had never offered a similar kind of protection to Edgeworth and him during their courtship, combined with a grating fear that he was ignoring his girlfriend’s ability to deal with her own problems as an adult. The newlyweds had already talked to him about how he needed to spend more energy comforting his girlfriend, and less threatening random passerby. And yet his demeanor appeared unchanged.  

“Larry, you do realize that you are our single token straight friend right?” He replied with spite.

“Yeah, but just cause you're gay doesn't mean you can't be transphobic. I'm not saying I think you guys would be all buddy buddy with someone like that, but what about Trucy's school friends?”

He put his head in his hands and clenched his jaw. It took far too much energy not to  go off on the other man's self-insertion into a world he didn't truly understand. He couldn't verbalize the thoughts in his head, that Trucy’s own half brother was trans: not that either knew they were related, yet they acted like family all the same. That a number of Edgeworth’s colleges lived their lives under that trans umbrella in one way or another. But even for those who didn't keep their status secretive, he knew there was nothing he could saw to accurately describe how he felt that Larry could relate with.

“She's capable of her own judgement, and furthermore-”

“I know I know, I just...I want her to have a good time you know? She deserves it! I love her Nick. Really love her. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me. And I know she's strong enough to deal with all of this on her own, but we've talked about it and she's so glad she doesn't have to anymore, y'know?”

He sighed, reminding himself that Larry was coming from a place of love. And admittedly, this was the most mature he'd ever seen him. Maybe their talk had left some impression after all. And at least his complaint today was about someone at her work, not a random stranger.

“I do. Trucy has quite a few friends that don't follow gender roles, and while I haven't met every single one of them, she personally wrote every invite and knows that Avril is coming. I'm sure she's made sure everyone feels welcome.”

“Even if she wears pants? Like I think she'd look amazing in a paper bag but I don't want someone misgendering her y'know? To me she still looks like prettiest lady in the universe but some people…”

“I can pass that along to Trucy to make sure all the kiddos know, would that help?” He lied, knowing that it wasn't necessary. He wasn't eager to put a Target on Avril's back as 'that trans woman in pants’. But he was too tired to explain why Larry's worry was transphobic at it's root. As usual, the most ignorant person in this situation was Larry.

“Hell yeah! Oh, and do you want me to bring anything? Aside from the best gift she's going to ever get.”

“I mean, if you want to buy or have Avril bake a desert I wouldn't say no.”

“So you mean you don't want any more of my burnt cookies?”

They laughed. Back in college Phoenix had let Larry use the dorm room oven to bake toll House cookie dough and had failed so poorly that every single one of them had come out a smouldering brick. The dorm had to be evacuated because the smoke alarm went off.

“The party starts at 3 Larry. It'll go late, but we're gonna open up gifts and all the traditional stuff around then so please try to be on time.”

“Okee dokie! See you in two days, and give Trucy forty hugs for me!”

“I'm not going to do that.”

“Shameful. You call yourself a father?”

“Goodbye Larry.”

“Byeeeee!”

Phoenix smushed his face into the table and groaned.

“Did he just... explain the importance of respecting trans identities to you?” Edgeworth piped up, and put a hand on his husband's back.

“Remind me why we have non-queer friends again?” He muttered into the wood.

“Diversity.” He set his tea cup down, and they both burst out laughing. Phoenix pivoted his face to the side, and met Edgeworth's eyes.

“Thank goodness we only have one .”

Chapter Text

September 4th, 2029
Edgeworth-Wright Household

“A member of security informed me that a member of the Kitaki family is parking what appears to be a food truck on the street. I'm assuming you knew about this ahead of time and simply forgot to mention it?” Franziska dragged her brother aside by the sleeve and spoke in a concerned tone that didn't match her irritated expression. Due to the high number of legal personnel who would be in attendance, he’d added some additional security, and one of said temporary guards had informed Franziska.  

What. Oh please no, please let them be here for some ill formed assassination attempt and not for the party,” He ran off, leaving Franziska with one of her rare confused expressions.

Edgeworth had had the misfortune of sitting near Mrs. Kitaki at one of Trucy's magic shows about three years ago. Not only was the woman overly enthusiastic, but she made her dislike of the Chief Prosecutor painfully clear through no less than five thinly veiled threats about what she thought was in Trucy's best interest. One of which was getting her a proper mother. To her credit, she had no idea that the two men were dating in secret, but the chief prosecutor took it rather personally and proceeded to pick apart each point with the cutthroat cruelty that had once earned him the nickname of Demon Prosecutor. Phoenix had intervened far too late, and Edgeworth’s forced apology the following week did little to mend the rift between the two of them. Since then, Mrs. Kitaki still would shoot the prosecutor a glare if they crossed paths.

“Trucy Gramarye Edgeworth-Wright, is there a reason you neglected to inform me that you invited the mafia?!” Edgeworth pulled the enthusiastic magician away from a steadily accumulating table of presents.

Ex -mafia. Of course i invited them, Little Plum my friend! And you know exactly why i didn’t tell you, so please just try to behave.” She bounced in place with anticipation.

“Little Plum? As in Miss Plum Kitaki?!” His recollection wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t believe the mob boss’s wife would happily be referred to by a diminutive.

“As i expected, they were invited and are not a security threat.” Franziska materialized behind them with Phoenix in tow.

“Yep! We’ve been buds ever since daddy got hit with that car.”

“Wait, which time?” Phoenix scrunched his nose in an attempt to recall.

Franziska raised an eyebrow in shock and carefully hidden concern.

"How many times have you been hit by automobiles, fool?"

“Just four. Turns out my body is fairly aerodynamic, so the only time I fractured anything was when I got hit by that bus. To be fair though, it is really easy to break a pinky toe,” he replied unsarcastically.

"Just..." She shook her head and Edgeworth gave her a knowing smile.

"Aw, she's worried about you,” Trucy nudged Franziska, which only made her bristle.  

"Of course not. It’s simply a miracle that you’re still alive, that’s all.”

‘Oh, it's more than one,” Maya strolled in from the kitchen and stuffed a deviled egg into her mouth.

Anyway , it was back when you still wore sweatpants all the time, Mr. Eldoons stand was stolen, that creepy dude stole my magic panties...”

“Oh right! Apollo’s first trial with the agency! That certainly was a….time.” Phoenix trailed off with a distinct look in his eyes. Edgeworth put a hand on his husband’s shoulder and pulled him back into the present. Phoenix leaned against him in thanks.

“I do not understand, why do you dislike this woman? ” Franziska asked her brother.

“Because she’s aggressive, overbearing, presumptuous, her ideologies are archaic-”

“No, it’s because you hate each other’s guts. Besides, Little Plum says she only threatens to break fingers now. More importantly, they have a bakery!”

“Ooh! Do you think she brought some doughnuts with her? Or muffins? I hope they’re blueberry!” Maya clapped her hands and blew a raspberry at Edgeworth’s annoyed expression.

After ringing the doorbell a dozen times, a round faced woman in a kimono decorated with red flowers burst into the house and pulled Trucy into a bear hug with a loud “Wa ha ha ha ha ha!”

“Prosecutor Edgeworth,” Mrs. Kitaki nodded in his direction with a smug expression, and then pulled Phoenix into a hug. The prosecutor made a childish sneer at her back.

“Your daughter's a good egg!”

“Thanks,” Phoenix managed to squeak out. He wasn’t sure if the cracking noises in his spine were a good thing or a bad thing.  

“And you seem to have shaped up too! Found a proper job and a husband to help pay for her higher education, way to clean up your act!”

“I, uh, try my best,” Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck at what he assumed was a compliment.

“I wish i could stay, but i’m not sure how long the bakery can run without me. The last time i took a day off, some of the underlings- i mean, employees, forgot to add baking soda!” She grinned and everyone but Edgeworth let out a weak chuckle.

“Something funny?” She leaned into Phoenix with a glare.

“No Ma’am.” He straightened up immediately.

“And here i thought i was getting better at making jokes, ah well. For you, darling.”

She handed Trucy a box wrapped in red paper. The magician tore through it with a squeal and let the box fall as she held up her prize. Do no harm, But take no shit! Was written in gold glittery letters on a black T-shirt.

“Aw, you remembered! I’m going to miss you so much!” Trucy pulled the woman in for another hug.

“is that entirely appropriate?" Edgeworth whispered to his husband.

“She went to public school babe, much to our chagrin, she knows all the swears now.”

“What're you two whispering about?!” Little Plum shot them a look could slice them in half. The pair jumped, and all four ladies burst into laughter. A couple bystanders laughed nervously, and the poor guard near the door nearly toppled over as a small figure darted past.  

Kay Faraday yelled something unintelligible and high-fived the ex-mob wife.

Edgeworth gave her a look with wide eyes, soundlessly asking how they were acquainted.

“Oh don’t give me that, you’re not my dad. Besides, Little Plum and I go way back.”

Edgeworth pinched the bridge of his nose. He wasn’t sure if he should be more concerned about Kay being corrupted by the ex-mobsters or about her corrupting them.

“Wait, when did you get here Kay?”

“About ten minutes ago. Figured i should test the security of the place, so i scaled the house and hopped in through the door on the roof. Really lackluster security here Edgeworth,” she pivoted on her heel to face the chief prosecutor. “The curtains in the master bedroom are really nice by the way, love the navy.”

“Sorry Kay, we told security to watch for a dark haired spiderman. We knew you were here the moment Gumshoe pulled up.”

“Aw what? Gummy spoiled my plans! And for your information, Wright, i’m no spiderman. Even in the depths of night-”

“You’re the Great Thief, Yatagrasu! Sorry Kay, i’m on a time crunch. You should stop by the bakery soon, we’re working on a black custard that i’m sure you’d love!”

The Great Thief looked a bit deflated, and gave her a half smile. “Sure. It’d be nice to catch up after all these years.”

“Absolutely. I wish i didn’t have to run, but business is business. Oh right!  I also brought you a watermelon!”

“Sweet! I'll go get a knife.”

“No! I mean, Trucy, please. I'll slice it for you later.” Edgeworth put a hand on her shoulder to steady himself.

“You don’t eat it right away, silly! Miss Kitaki’s my self defense teacher! I've been practicing real hard and I think I can finally squish it between my thighs!” She put on her best grimace and mimicked exploding the fruit with her hands. Kay opened her mouth in pure joy and glanced at the two parents behind her. Edgeworth looked horrified. Phoenix, however, was beaming with pride.

“That's my girl! Why didn't you tell me you reached the watermelon stage yet?!” He raised his hand and Trucy met it with a strong high-five. .

“You knew about this?! Why was I not informed?!” Edgeworth put a hand on his hip in indignation.

“Sorry, but she's been in this class for years now and she's damn good at it. With everything that’s happened over the years, there was no way i was going to risk you pulling her from the class because of some...animosity. And because we knew you'd freak out. Like you are, right now.”

The chief prosecutor's cheeks turned pink.

"I think you and I will get along quite well. Miss Kitaki was it?" Franziska held out her hand and smiled warmly when it was met with an equally firm handshake.

"Franziska Von-Fey. The frilly maroon fool is my little brother, and this is my wife, Maya.”

Maya hesitantly shook her hand, as she would've preferred a high five.

"Ah, you must be the strong female influences Trucy's told me about. I can see where she gets some of her power."

For a fraction of a second, Franziska blushed. Maya beamed with pride.

“You talk about us?! Oh Truce, you're gonna make your aunties cry!" She wiped away a non-existent tear and nearly toppled the watermelon in her rush to pull the magician close.

"Miss Kitaki! How's the bakery business going?" Apollo asked, finding his voice. He’d slowly crept downstairs when he heard her signature laugh, but despite his nerves he was determined to redeem himself.  

"Fantastic! Wocky's coming by in a bit with his date for the show and he's bringing some very special muffins for Trucy! I hear you're overseas now in a country that requires some grit. Glad to see that backbone has finally grown in, ha!” She slapped him on the back, and Apollo forced a smile despite the pain. He winced the moment Miss Kitaki shifted her gaze to Edgeworth and Phoenix.

“Oh, and before I forget, his date uses they/them pronouns. The Boss is still learning, but I'm sure you know what that means, being gay and all.” She waved a hand dismissively.

Edgeworth looked like he'd swallowed a bug. The idea that Mrs. Kitaki was unbothered by his gayness was about as hard to swallow.

He'd become more comfortable talking about his gayness in close company, but when it came to acquaintances he still tended to clam up like he did back when he was in the closet. He’d only came out the majority of his office when he and Wright were engaged. The first few months had been tough. On top of the whispers that would mysteriously disappear when he was nearby, four members of his lower staff and one prosecutor had quit somewhat diplomatically. However, Winston Payne attempted to start a media firestorm and smear campaign. It didn't gain traction for the most part before he moved to Khura'in, but the eventual reaction from the media had fairly positive. Unfortunately, he could still count on at least one homophobic question hurled at him every few press conferences and in his mind, he’d lumped the ex-mob wife in their company. Despite what she’d just said, it was hard for him to view her as anything but a threat.

Phoenix held his hand lightly for support, and he let out the breath he'd been holding. Thanks for letting us know. Truce, can I count on you to make sure they get a pronoun pin when they come in?”

“Aye aye sir!” She gave Phoenix a salute, and turned to Miss Kitaki.

“There's already a few non-gender conforming folks here, so I don't think it'll be a problem. But if someone messes with them, they'll have to answer to these thunder thighs!”

Trucy’s joke got the desired laughter, with the exception of Edgeworth and Apollo who put their hands over their faces.

"The last time i saw Wocky, he was making a huge cake! He’s getting really good at baking, you must be so proud,” Trucy smiled.

"Beyond proud. I got him kitchen knives for his last birthday, and they stay in the kitchen!" Little Plum smiled like a parent talking about their kid making honor roll.

The older adults could only blink wordlessly in response.

“And speaking of knives, check under the tissue paper in the box later. I left another gift in there that’s a little sharper,” She whispered into Trucy’s ear, and Trucy’s eyes lit up.

“Well, I have to get going. Don’t forget to give me a call while you’re gone, and if any creeps try to hurt you, just remember the watermelon,” She left with another deafening roar of laughter, but not before Kay slipped something into the sleeve of her kimono. She winked at the thief and slammed the door behind her with enough force to shake the windows.  

“Kay, what was that about?” Edgeworth asked.

“Ah ah ah, that’s confidential.”

“It was just a bakery order, wasn’t it,” Apollo smirked.

“Good to see you too, Apollo. Keep using your skill on me, and your bracelet might disappear.”

“Good luck. Trucy’s tried, and she can tell you just how hard it is to remove when it’s squeezing my wrist.” Trucy looked like she wanted to cross her arms, but the watermelon was in the way.

“Any last words watermelon?” She cackled and threw it a couple of inches in the air.

“I think the watermelon wants to spend its last moments in the soft grass outside, come now,” Franziska plucked the fruit from her fingers and lured her out of the hallway.

“Wait for me! I want to see you crush it like a stupid boy’s head!” Maya yelled after them. Everyone else followed, leaving only a lone guard behind.

“I wish i could crush a creep’s head with my thighs” she muttered before continuing to keep an eye on the front entrance.