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Chapter Text

Like most forays into cleaning somewhere that hasn’t been touched for a long time, Maya spends more of her time looking through old photo albums and inspecting old toys than she does actually cleaning when she decides to venture into the attic of Fey Manor.

Unfortunately, her mother’s and sister’s untimely deaths a few years ago have left her without a lot of knowledge about her family’s past, so she feels like she’s stumbled into a goldmine the further she digs through the dusty boxes piled in the attic.

She gathers up a few of the best things she finds: an old photo album with faded black and white photos inside, a notebook that appears to have been the diary of one of the past Kurain Masters, and a scrapbook that seems to be a family tree, completed up to a few years before she was born.

On her way back to the attic’s ladder, she bangs her foot on an old dresser as she passes. She hisses in pain and drops her pile of books on top of it. Out of curiosity, she opens the first drawer, and inside she finds an old shoe box. She lifts the lid and finds envelopes, not as old or yellowed as the other things. These are a little more recent.

She pulls one out and finds it’s addressed to her sister, from none other than an Elise Deauxnim; her mother’s pseudonym. Maya pulls the letter out of the envelope with shaking hands and unfolds it. The date written at the top indicates it was sent in 2014, back when she would have been fifteen years old, before her mother had died.

Maya skims the contents of the letter, up until she sees her own name written in her mother’s cursive handwriting.

Tell Maya I love her.’

Tears immediately spring to her eyes. She knows her sister must have had a good reason for keeping these letters from her, but it still hurts knowing they’ve been here all this time, sitting forgotten in an attic.

She places the letter back in the envelope and puts the lid back on the shoe box before gingerly lifting it out of the drawer. She leaves her other items where they are and takes the letters downstairs with her. She has some reading to do.

Chapter Text

Phoenix wasn’t even looking when he found it; the perfect birthday present for Maya. Her upcoming birthday had been in the back of his mind since Pearl had not so kindly reminded him of it a few days ago, but he’d had no idea what he was going to get her. A gift card to the local burger joint didn’t seem meaningful enough somehow, though he knew Maya would probably appreciate it anyway.

He stood in front of the comic book store, staring through the window as people passed him on the sidewalk. No, this was much better. This would gain him best friend forever status for sure.

He stepped inside the comic book store, feeling a little self conscious as he approached the cashier. The man looked up from the book he was reading.

“Can I help you with something?”

Phoenix pointed towards the window. “That statue over there, how much is it?”

The cashier looked towards the window with his eyebrows raised. “That limited edition Steel Samurai statue?”

“Yes.”

“Three hundred.”

Phoenix balked. “Three hundred dollars?

“No, three hundred cents. Of course, dollars. It’s a limited edition, only a few were made. It’s hand-painted, and a lot bigger than a regular figure would be. If you tried to buy it online you’d be paying a lot more, I can tell you that.”

Phoenix sighed. He did have some money saved up, and he knew how much it would mean to Maya. Not to mention this was something that even she wouldn’t ask him for, knowing the price. She had no qualms about begging him for food or smaller things like video games or manga, but she would never ask him for something like this. Knowing that only made him want to buy it more. She wouldn’t be expecting it at all.

“I’ll take it then,” he said. “Do you take credit?”


It was difficult getting the statue home without Maya or Pearl seeing it due to its size, but somehow he’d managed. It sat in his closet, one place he figured Maya wouldn’t look, until the day of her birthday, when their friends gathered in his tiny apartment for some food and drinks.

It was impossible to miss the way she eyed the large wrapped box the entire party, but when it came time for her to open presents, Phoenix specifically told Pearl to save that one for last. She went through everyone else’s gifts first, getting a lot of gift cards in the process. It made him glad he’d decided against that.

When she finally got around to unwrapping his gift, her eyes lit up as soon as she saw the first bit of the box underneath the wrapping paper. She tore it open eagerly after that, squealing in delight the whole time.

She jumped off the couch to wrap him up in a hug. “Thank you so much, Nick! Aah, I love you! Best friend forever!”

“You’re very welcome, Maya.”

Three hundred dollars well spent.

Chapter Text

Misty Fey blew out the match she’d used to light the candles and closed her eyes to breath in the scent of her incense. This would be her last time meditating in the halls of Fey Manor. It broke her heart, but she knew she had to leave tonight. It was for the best, she told herself. Her eldest daughter would be angry, and her youngest would not understand, but they both would someday. They would realize she did it for them. Perhaps she would see them again, but perhaps not. So long as they were safe, she was happy.

Chapter Text

Franziska sat down on the couch, dreading the moment her father would arrive home. Her father could be scary when he was angry, and he would most certainly be angry. She would apologize profusely, of course, and explain how it was an accident. Hopefully her father would see reason.

She flinched a bit when she heard the front door open and close, but steeled herself and hopped off the couch. Better to come clean now than to wait for him to find out. That would only make him angrier.

She entered into the foyer to greet Manfred von Karma. “Welcome home, Papa.”

Manfred looked up at her, not a hint of a smile on his face at being welcomed home by his youngest daughter. “Thank you, Franziska,” he said, walking briskly past her.

Franziska followed behind. “Papa, I need to tell you something.”

“Come, then.”

She followed him across the house and into his study where he gestured for her to sit. He sat down behind his desk, opposite her.

“What is it?”

She put on a brave face. “I was practicing with my whip in the hall earlier, and I accidentally knocked a vase over. It broke.”

Manfred frowned. “Which vase was it?”

“The blue one.”

He waved a hand dismissively. “A trifle, simply decorative. Your mother can purchase a new one.”

He wasn’t angry with her? He wasn’t going to scold her? “But Papa, don’t I deserve to be punished?”

He levelled his gaze at her. “You will not practice with that whip indoors any longer, not until you’re proficient. Is that understood?”

Franziska nodded. “That’s all?”

“Would you like something more severe?”

“No, Papa.”

“Then that is all. Go now, before I change my mind,” he said.

Franziska stood from her seat and bowed. “Thank you, Papa.”

Chapter Text

Absolutely nothing interesting is happening at all, Edgeworth muses, tapping his pen against the top of his desk. No court cases, no one needing his attention for this, that, or the other thing, no paperwork to do, and nothing to gossip with his secretary about; something that he will never admit to enjoying but definitely does find amusing on slower days.

He could call up Wright and invite him over for tea, but he’s probably busy either with his daughter, one of his employees, or Maya. Edgeworth is almost envious of how busy Phoenix is these days. As Chief Prosecutor, he should have more to do than sit around his office all day. He misses the days of prosecuting cases, and the adrenaline rush that always came with going up against a talented defense attorney, and working with them to find the truth together.

He sighs and sets his pen down. There is a new episode of the Silver Samurai—the latest spin-off in the Samurai series—that he hasn’t had time to watch yet. There’s time now.

He taps the call button on his office phone. “Miss Fright?”

Hannah, his secretary, clicks back right away. “Yes, sir?”

“Please bring some tea to my office. Make a cup for yourself, as well.”

“Right away, sir,” comes the reply.

Edgeworth retrieves his laptop as he waits, and a few minutes later Hannah Fright is entering his office with a tray in hand. “Is there a new episode?” she asks.

Edgeworth gives her a small smile. “That there is. And it’s been a slow day today, so I figured we can both take a break to watch it together."

She nods and sets the tray on the coffee table over near the couch. This isn’t the first that they’ve spent some time together in his office. It’s purely friendly of course, he would never disrespect her or use his power as her boss over her, and he has no interest in her that way anyway, but strangely enough he enjoys her company. She’s also proven herself trustworthy. She knows more about him and his life than some of his closest friends, but he never has to worry about her divulging things to people she shouldn’t.

He stands and makes his way to the couch in the room before setting his laptop on the coffee table and hitting the button for full screen. Hannah settles in beside him and begins making her tea to her liking. She makes his as well, though he hasn’t asked and doesn’t expect her to. She simply knows how he takes it, with one cube of sugar and a little bit of milk. He finds himself smiling as he watches her stir it carefully. She picks it up after and hands it to him.

“Thank you, Hannah.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. Edgeworth.”

He leans over to click the little play button on his laptop.

Yes, nothing interesting is happening at all. But Miles Edgeworth doesn’t mind the quiet.

Chapter Text

Begging. Pleading. Please don’t tell anyone, I’ll lose my job. I’ll lose my kids. My wife will divorce me. They would use any number of reasons to appeal to his humanity, something he didn’t have much of. He had the power to make all of their fears come true if they didn’t do as he told them. They always did, even the ones who pretended not to care, who pretended they would go to the police first, damn their own reputations. That never lasted long. Nowadays he had any number of high powered CEOs, celebrities, lawyers, detectives or other; all working for him. He had dirt on every one of them, after all. They really had no choice.

But it was always the new ones that were the best. They always swaggered about, like they were the smartest in the room, like they were untouchable. And he was charismatic, so people trusted him, and he was very patient. Little did they know that he had people, always listening and watching. Once he found a new target he would wait as long as it took, until they dropped their guard and let something slip. They would screw up eventually and he would catch it, as he always did. Then he would make his move, they would plead and beg and finally relent. They always did, in the end.

Sometimes they would eventually off themselves, unable to bear the weight of the things they were made to do, but it was no real loss to him. He could always find others. There were always others.

It was absolutely splendiferous for him to have someone on their knees in front of him, practically kissing his shoes while they asked for release from his hold.

It was always a beautiful sight to Redd White.

Chapter Text

Phoenix could taste blood in his mouth as soon as he awoke, and god, his face hurt. He opened his eyes slowly, his vision blurring slightly before focusing. He saw Maya lean over him, her eyes widening. “Nick! You’re awake!”

He groaned. “What happened?” he asked. For some reason his voice sounded funny, like he had a stuffy nose.

Maya tilted her head slightly. “You don’t remember?”

He shook his head, but stopped as a bout of dizziness almost made him pass out again. Maya pet his hair like she was comforting a small child. “That guy hit you!”

“Huh?”

“That guy!” she said again, pointing.

Phoenix managed to turn his head slightly towards the flashing lights across the parking lot where a large man with tattooed arms was struggling against the handcuffs the police had put on him. Now he remembered. He’d been on a date with Maya—their first official date ever—and it had been going terribly. They missed their movie completely, and the restaurant he’d made reservations at months ago couldn’t find his name on the list when they got there, so they’d ended up eating fast food instead. He thought things were picking up some on their walk back to the office; Maya had been holding his hand and playfully bumping into him with her hip when they passed the man on the sidewalk.

Phoenix couldn’t even remember what he’d said, but he’d insulted Maya in some way. As her date he figured it was his duty to stand up for her. The other man did not like that one bit. The last thing he remembered was a fist flying towards his face and Maya screaming.

“How long was I out?” he asked, lifting a hand to rub at his face. It came away bloody, and he was pretty sure his nose was broken.

“Only a few minutes,” she said. “The police got here quick. An ambulance is on its way.”

He groaned. “I’m sorry, Maya. This day has sucked.”

She smiled and shook her head, petting his hair again. “You don’t have to apologize. You stood up for me, that’s what counts. You didn’t have to. We can always go out again, so long as you’re okay.”

She leaned down to kiss him on the forehead, probably the only spot with no blood.

He smiled at her. “Well, that just made it worth it.”

Chapter Text

“Are you ready, Pearl?”

Pearl gripped her older sister’s hand tightly. She was scared, but she could put on a brave face. She’d done so in the past, she could do so now.

“Yes, Sister Iris.”

Iris smiled. “If it makes you feel any better, I’m scared, too.”

Pearl looked up at her. “Really?”

“Mhm. She did bad things to me, too, but I need to face her now.”

Pearl looked towards the doors of the women’s prison where her mother awaited. “I want to face her too, Sister Iris.”

Iris tightened her grip on Pearl’s hand. “Then let’s go.”

Chapter Text

In his past life, he would have found no joy at an event like this. He preferred clubs or bars where he could flirt with the women, maybe even find someone to take home for the night. The annual spring festival was no place for a man like him, with its carnival games and booths selling all sorts of different foods, with little kids running around their parents and teenagers hanging around in groups of five or six.

He was only able to enjoy it once, with her. She wanted to go, and he was in love with her, even if they’d only been dating for a few months at the time. He would have done anything for her; anything she’d wanted.

She dressed in a kimono, something he hadn’t seen her wear before, and looked beautiful as always. They took a taxi to the festival grounds where they took some time to listen to the live band. They walked around after, and she had linked her arm with his the whole way. He bought her cotton candy, they played some games. It was fun, but only because it was with her.

It wasn’t fun anymore; not now that he was Godot and no longer Diego, watching the festival grounds pass by from the back of a police car. Not now that Mia Fey was dead.

They’d known each other a grand total of six months, and dated for five of them, up until his accident. He awoke five years later to the smell of coffee, and his first thought had been about her. When he learned of her murder, he wished the attempt on his own life had been successful as well.

That would happen soon enough, though. His last trial against Wright had ended a month ago. Maya was safe, and now he knew that Wright was worthy to succeed Mia.

He only had weeks left. With his health declining and with good behaviour, a judge had allowed him to visit Mia’s grave sight to pay his respects. On the way back, his police escort just so happened to pass the spring festival he’d taken her to all those years ago.

He watched the festival grounds pass by; heard the muffled sound of the music and the laughter of children through the closed window, and closed his eyes.

He would see her again soon enough. He couldn’t wait.

Chapter Text

This was something she should have gotten her sister to do. Unfortunately, in order to keep up their ruse, Iris had to stay at the temple on Eagle Mountain every so often so that nun that took care of her wouldn’t get suspicious. That meant that Dahlia was stuck here, in a stuffy dorm room at Ivy University, with her ‘boyfriend’.

She sat rigidly on the bed, her back against the wall, and stared at the blank TV across the room. Phoenix was down in the common room popping some corn. She wasn’t nervous; Phoenix was gullible and he would do anything she asked. It was easy to manipulate him, and besides, she knew her goody-two shoes sister never would have given him what most college aged guys really wanted—she was too much of a prude—so Dahlia wasn’t worried about that either. Still, she had other things to do and would have preferred being anywhere but there.

When she heard the door beginning to open she put her sweet face on. “You’re finally back, Feenie,” she said.

Phoenix smiled that goofy smile at her as he entered and sat down, setting the popcorn on his bedside table. She watched him press a button on the TV remote and a movie began to play on the TV.

She turned to the TV to focus on the movie. The sooner it was over the sooner she could leave. She ignored Phoenix for the most part, until he slipped an arm around her shoulders. He seemed rather confident, so she let it happen. Iris wasn’t so much a prude that she would forbid something like that.

He shifted beside her, but she continued to ignore him. Then he leaned over and kissed her neck. She jumped and pulled away from him. She only just managed not to glare at him, instead forcing a girly giggle from her lips. “Feenie,” she said, “what are you doing?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Kissing you?” he said, before leaning in again, his lips connecting with her neck.

She pushed her shoulder up, crinkling her neck. “Stop it, Feenie,” she said.

He pulled away. “Now you’re shy?”

“I’m just not…  ready yet, you know.”

Phoenix gave her a strange look. “You were plenty ready the other night.”

Dahlia blinked. Was he lying? He had to be lying. But why would he? It was just them, and he thought she was Iris. So Iris wasn’t as much of a prude as she’d thought.

He leaned in again, and Dahlia allowed him to peck her on the lips. “I’d rather not tonight,” she said again.

He looked a little disappointed, but no way was she going through with that. Not with him. It was bad enough him touching and kissing her, it made her shudder. The thought that her sister had gone farther made her more than uncomfortable.

She didn’t think they would be switching back again anytime soon. She would let Iris enjoy herself. For now.

Chapter Text

“Niiiiick?”

Phoenix set his pen down. What does she want now? We just ate!

He got up. “What is it now, Maya?”

“Someone’s here to see you…”

He rounded the corner into the main office and stopped dead in his tracks. Maya was staring at him with a funny look on her face as she held the door open for a man who looked to be somewhere in his early 50s.

No. Why are you here?

“Dad?!”

Maya blinked and turned back to the man at the door. “You’re Nick’s dad?”

The man outside the door grinned at her. “Yep, that’s me!” He barged his way inside and made his way over towards Phoenix, grabbing him in a bear hug. “It’s been so long, son!”

Uh, yeah. You ran out on my mom and me when I was ten years old.

“Uh… Somewhere around sixteen years, I think,” Phoenix said, not bothering to remind his father why it had been so long since they’d seen each other. His dad had never been one for apologies or taking the blame. “Why are you here?”

“Can’t a father visit his son?”

You could have visited any time within the last sixteen years! He probably just wants something.

“Er… sure, but—”

“And who is this lovely young lady?!” his father interrupted, turning back towards Maya and grabbing her by the shoulders to get a good look at her. “She’s beautiful! Good job snagging this one!”

Gah! I don’t need another Pearls on my hands.

Maya blinked, a blush starting to form on her cheeks. “I-I’m not—”

“Well, Nicky-boy, aren’t you going to offer your dad some coffee? We have a lot to catch up on!”

Nicky-boy? I haven’t heard that since I was eight.

Phoenix sighed. “Sure. Come on in.”

Chapter Text

I watch the steam rise like the fog over a lake, and the heat brings a smell to my nose that reminds me of my mother’s cooking. We never had much, but my mother made do, and I would come home to the smell of chicken or beef broth permeating the house, and always looked forward to dinner.

People seem to feel sorry for me when I mention them, but I honestly don’t mind. The way the noodles swirl in the bowl remind me of that famous painting by that famous artist… Starry Nights I think it was called. I should ask Mr. Edgeworth. He would know.

They may be cheap, and instant noodles definitely aren’t very healthy, but they taste alright. Not like my mother used to make, but good enough.

Now if only Mr. Edgeworth would stop cutting my salary. I would be able to afford more than one bowl a night. He’s been cutting me some slack lately though, I should make sure to thank him. Maybe I’ll invite him over for a bowl of my best instant ramen.

Actually, I doubt Mr. Edgeworth would look forward to something like that. A thank you would be enough.

Chapter Text

“Oh, your little one is so adorable!”

Edgeworth smiled at the woman who sat down on the bench beside him. He looked back out across the park where his little girl was playing with the others. “Thank you.”

“How old is she?” the woman asked.

“She’s almost five.”

“They grow up so fast, don’t they?”

“They really do. I’m thinking of getting another. I think she’d really enjoy a baby brother or sister.”

The woman grinned, bringing her hands to her chest. “Oh, yes! You can never have too many.”

Edgeworth had to agree. He couldn’t really put into words the joy that his little one brought him each day. She was always excited to see him when he got home, was always willing to sit and listen to him, and even if she didn’t really understand what he was talking about, it was nice to have someone to tell it to regardless.

He knew that he wasn’t around often enough, that she deserved even more of his attention. She had babysitters, but of course she didn’t like any of them as much as she liked him. So he made sure to make her life a good one. He brought her to the park so she could play with the others on his days off, she let him sleep in his bed whenever she wanted, she got only the best food that money could buy. She was spoiled, but she was worth it.

He looked out across the field again. They’d been out for a few hours already and she was starting to look a bit tired.

He stood up and bid the woman beside him goodbye before calling out. “Pess! Here girl!”

His little Pomeranian came running at the sound of his voice and he scooped her up into his arms. “Time to go home.”

Chapter Text

Phoenix groaned and turned over, peeling the sheets from his skin. The fan on high across the room hadn’t done much to help him cool down throughout the night. It wasn’t a fun way to wake up. Too bad the repairman wouldn’t be in until Monday to fix the air conditioning.

He glanced at his alarm clock. It was almost 9 am, which meant Trucy would be up and expecting breakfast soon too. He sighed. He’d better start cooking now, while the heat in the kitchen was still bearable.

He slipped on a t-shirt and left his bedroom, realizing as he stepped into the hall that he could already smell something cooking. He hurried to the kitchen to find little Trucy standing on her tippy toes at the stove, the pan she was holding onto wobbling unsteadily.

He felt a jolt of fear go through him, and she turned when she heard him approaching, only for him to reach out and grab her shoulder, pulling her away from the stove quickly.

“Trucy! What are you doing?” he asked her, turning the stove off.

She stared up at him fearfully. “I was going to make breakfast. I knew you were in a bad mood last night. I thought you’d like it. I cooked for my other daddy all the time…”

Phoenix sighed, feeling bad about his outburst. “Sorry if I scared you, sweetie. I appreciate the gesture, really. But if you want to cook something, tell me first so I can supervise, okay? I’m sure you’re capable,” he said, before she could protest, “but what if something happened and I wasn’t here?”

Trucy nodded. “I’m sorry.”

He wrapped an arm around her. “It’s okay. How about we finish this up and eat?”

She smiled up at him. “Sounds good, Daddy.”

Chapter Text

“You’ll die, just like your mother.”

Maya jolted awake, sitting up in her bed. She clutched the blankets to her, as if they would protect her should something be in her room. She gazed around the darkness, but saw nothing. It was only a dream.

She rubbed at her face and took a deep breath, sliding her legs off the bed. She left her small guest bedroom and headed down the hall, passing Phoenix’s bedroom door. It was left open a crack. Though tempted to peek in on him, she walked past and headed towards the kitchen. She got a glass of water from the sink and sipped at it it as she leaned against the counter. It’d been a while since she had such a nightmare. Whenever she thought she was over those nights in Hazakura, she would appear in her dreams yet again. Maya had to wonder if the dreams were simply something her brain wouldn’t let her forget, or if somehow Dahlia Hawthorne was still managing to torture her from beyond the grave.

She didn’t want to go back to bed, but it was still dark outside, and when she looked at the clock on the microwave she saw that it was only three in the morning. She couldn’t very well stay awake the rest of the night.

When her glass was empty she left it in the sink and began to head back to her room. She went to pass by Phoenix’s bedroom again, and found herself hesitating outside his door. The way it was cracked open a bit made it feel less like she was intruding; like he was somehow inviting her in.

She moved closer to the door to peer in, pushing it open a bit more. It was dark, but her eyes had adjusted to the light already, so she could just make out the shape of Phoenix asleep under his covers. He had an absurd amount of pillows piled around him, one of which he was holding onto. Maya snorted in amusement.

At her small noise, Phoenix woke with a start. His sudden waking made her jump too, and he yelled in surprise. Before she knew what was happening, she heard a thump, and realized that he’d fallen off the other side of his bed.

She entered his room in a hurry, jumping onto his bed to lean down over the edge of the other side. “Nick, are you okay?”

He blinked up at her from the floor. “What the hell, Maya?”

“Sorry!” she whispered.

“Why are you in my room?” he said as he sat up, rubbing the back of his head.

“I wasn’t in your room, I was in the hallway.”

He rolled his eyes. “Okay, why were you in the hallway staring at me while I was asleep like some creepy looking ghost?”

Maya puffed her cheeks out. “I don’t look creepy!”

He got onto his knees to look at her face to face. “You’re super pale and have long black hair, which is a mess right now by the way. You might as well have come straight out of The Ring.”

Maya reached over to smack him on the shoulder. “You know I hated that movie, Nick! Don’t compare me to that creepy horror girl.”

He smiled at her. “Okay, seriously, why were you looking at me?”

She moved back a bit to make more room on the bed for him. He got up and sat on the edge, moving some of the pillows out of the way. “I had a nightmare,” she said. “I went to get a drink and on my way back I noticed your door was open. I was just curious. And to be honest, I didn’t want to go back to sleep so I was dawdling.”

“What was your nightmare about?”

She flopped back on the bed to stare at the ceiling. “The same one I always have,” she said. “The one about Dahlia.”

Phoenix made a noise beside her. “She just won’t stop, huh?”

“Yeah. Maybe she’ll get tired of it someday.”

He sighed. “You are going to head back to bed now though, right? I’d like to go back to sleep, too.”

Maya smirked at him, grabbing one of his many pillows in her hand and flinging it at his head. He ducked out of the way and it flew past him and onto the floor. He looked at her, amused shock on his face.

“You can’t kick me out of my own bed, Maya!”

“I’m pretty comfy here,” she said, turning onto her side and adjusting the pillow under her head.

He leaned over her. “Well, I hope you know I’m not going anywhere either. This is my bed.”

“You don’t have to go anywhere else,” she murmured.

He raised his eyebrows at her, but despite her blush, Maya didn’t look away. She wasn’t sure what exactly her feelings were for him at this point, but she did know that the thought of sharing a bed with him made butterflies take flight in her stomach.

She saw something change in his expression, perhaps acceptance, and she swallowed as he lay down beside her, fluffing up his own pillow. “I guess you’re right,” he said. “There’s plenty of room here.”

She smiled at him. “We should get to sleep.”

“Mm. Night, Maya.”

He closed his eyes, but she kept hers on him, finding herself yet again thinking about how grateful she was to have him. His breathing eventually deepened and evened out and she knew he was asleep.

She scooted just a little closer to him, so she could smell the last remnants of the cologne he’d worn throughout the day.

“Goodnight, Nick,” she whispered.

Chapter Text

Phoenix looked up from his conversation when he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. Ema was standing behind him, and once she had his attention, she pointed across the dance floor at another table.

He followed her finger and squinted, trying to see who or what she was pointing at. Finally he glimpsed Maya through the crowd in her purple kimono, sitting hunched over a table, her head in her arms.

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked, immediately excusing himself from his conversation.

“She’s crying,” Ema explained. “We have no idea why. She just started bawling!”

He stood up, and Ema gripped his arm for balance as she stood beside him. Phoenix realized just how drunk she was, and if Maya was anywhere near the same right now, he was in for a hell of a night. Maya was a very emotional drunk, as he’d found out in the past. It was half the reason he refused to take her out drinking. She could be embarrassing in public when drunk.

He nodded at Ema as thanks and made his way around the dance floor to the table where Maya was sitting. He moved to the side she was facing so she would see him coming. Her eyes lit up when she saw him for a split second, before a frown was back in place and she was starting to tear up again.

He took a seat beside her. “Maya, what’s wrong, sweetie?” He rarely used pet names for her—they weren’t even dating!—but when she was in this type of mood it was best to be as nice as possible. She could take offense to anything and be a bawling mess before he’d have a chance to calm her down.

“I’m sad, Nick,” she said, not even lifting her head from her arms.

“Why are you sad?”

“Because this wedding is so beautiful, and I don’t have anyone to dance with! And I didn’t catch the bouquet even though I want to get married too!” she said, pouting like a little girl.

Phoenix blinked. Since when was marriage at the top of Maya’s priority list? He sighed and rubbed her back. “Catching the bouquet is just a dumb tradition, Maya. After all look who actually caught it,” he said, trying to cheer her up. “Do you really think Larry of all people is going to get married anytime soon?”

Maya sniffed. “I guess not.”

“Exactly. So there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll find the right guy eventually.”

Maya hiccupped. “Niiiick.”

“What?”

“If we’re both still single in a few years, will you marry me?”

Phoenix was silent as he stared at her. Maya seemed to take this as a slight and started to cry again, not exactly quietly either.

“Of course you wouldn’t marry me!” she said loudly. “I’m weird, and I’m not pretty enough for someone like you, and I live too far away tooo-hoo-hoooo!” she said, dragging the word out in a sob.

“Maya, sweetie, that’s not it. Please, stop crying.”

She sniffled. Her tears were still running down her face, but she’d at least managed to calm down. Phoenix rubbed her back again, pulling his chair closer so no one else would hear them. Maya wouldn’t remember this tomorrow anyway.

“You’re a beautiful woman, Maya,” he said. “I’m not just saying that either. You really are. Especially all dressed up like you are tonight. You look great. So don’t say you’re not pretty enough for me, or anyone else. You’re pretty enough, believe me.”

She managed a small smile. “Niiiick, you’re so sweet.”

“Tell you what,” he said. “If we’re both still single in a few years, we’ll figure something out,” he said, trying to avoid any specifics.

Her small smile grew a bit wider. “Really?”

“Yeah.”

She finally lifted her head from her arms so she could instead use them to engulf him in a crushing hug. It was surprisingly smothering despite how drunk she was. When she let go, she tried to stand, but she was so wobbly that she ended up simply clinging to him for support. It was a good thing she was so light.

“Do you want to go back to your hotel room now?” he asked her. “You can hardly walk.”

Maya whined and stomped her feet. “I wanted to dance.” She managed to slink her arms up around his neck. “Will you dance with me, Nick?”

He winced as she yanked on his neck, using him still more for support than anything else. He wrapped his arms around her waist to help steady her and alleviate the stress she was putting on his neck.

“Fine, one dance. Then it’s bed time.”

Maya nodded and put her head down on his chest. They hadn’t moved far from their table and weren’t really anywhere near the dance floor, but it was fine. They stood there, swaying slightly to the slow music.

He glanced down at the top of her head. This girl would be the death of him someday, but he really didn’t mind. Every second with her was precious, particularly after her two year stint in Khura’in.

For a split second he thought about what it would be like to marry her if they were both still single in a few years. Life probably wouldn’t be much different than it was now, except he would get to come home to her instead of waiting until one of them had time to visit.

Maya snuffled against his chest, pressing her body closer to his. “You’re so warm, Nick,” she murmured. “I’m tired.”

He sighed. “Okay, Maya, let me walk you to your room, before you fall asleep and I have to carry you.”

She nodded. “Okey-dokey.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and let her lean against him as they left the reception hall. He would take her up to her room and put her in bed and make sure she was safe and comfortable like any good friend should do. Then he would go back downstairs, enjoy the rest of the wedding party, and hope Maya didn’t remember much of their conversation in the morning.

Chapter Text

Apollo yawned as he made his way across the room from his tiny kitchen to the love seat in the sitting area. The bachelor pad above what was now the Justice Law Office was small, but it was perfect for him.

He turned to look out the large window. It overlooked the market below and gave him a perfect view of the rising sun. He picked up the case files sitting on the coffee table and began to read them over.

Another day, another chance to help the people who’d been hurt by the Ga’ran regime. And another day to make Dhurke proud.

Chapter Text

Trucy paced inside the office, glancing up at the clock on the wall for what felt like the tenth time in the last two minutes. It was getting late, and Phoenix was supposed to have been back by now. She knew her dad got caught up in things easily, and he had probably just stumbled upon an old friend and was stuck in conversation, but she couldn’t help worrying.

Death seemed to be a constant in her life. First her mother, then her grandfather, then her biological father. All gone, murdered or killed by accident. She knew all too well that accidents could happen, but she also knew that there were bad people in the world; people who didn’t hesitate to hurt others.

It didn’t help knowing that her dad’s job was dangerous. He’d told her stories of some of the things he’d gotten into back before he adopted her. Kidnappings, attempted murders, he’d even fallen off a bridge once and was lucky enough to come out of it with just a cold. He’d survived so much already, Trucy didn’t want to know when that luck was going to run out.

A few minutes later she heard someone at the door, and glanced up just in time to see Phoenix enter. He was fine, even humming some sort of tune under his breath. Trucy jumped up and engulfed him in a hug. He stopped, surprised, but she felt his arms encircle her to return her hug.

“Wow, I wasn’t expecting this greeting,” he said.

Trucy leaned back to bounce on her heels. “I’m just glad you’re home, Daddy. I missed you.”

He smiled. “Yeah, sorry. You know how Maya and I lose track of time when we’re together."

She smiled. She did know. It still didn’t stop her from worrying.

Chapter Text

Phoenix could hear the dull thud of music coming from somewhere inside the house as he entered. He followed the noise all the way upstairs and down the hall, expecting Trucy or maybe even Pearl in their room with their radio up too loud.

Instead he passed by both of their bedrooms, and continued on to the room he shared with Maya. It was clear the music was coming from in there, and the closer he got, the more distinctive the second singing voice accompanying the music became.

He quietly opened the door a crack, and without the protection of the door the music seemed to be blasting. He poked his head in and looked around, catching sight of Maya on the other side of the room in front of the mirror, dancing to the music with a hairbrush microphone in her hand.

Her eyes were closed as she sang, belting out the lyrics to ABBA’s Dancing Queen.

“You are the Dancing Queeeen! Young and sweet, only seventeeeeeen!”

Phoenix couldn’t help the laugh that burst out of him, and Maya jumped, spinning in her spot. “Nick!” she said, running to the stereo to turn it down. “You scared me!” she said.

“Sorry,” he said, approaching her to take her into his arms in greeting. “You’re young and sweet, yes,” he said, “but definitely not seventeen anymore.”

Maya rolled her eyes as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Thanks for reminding me.”

He leaned down to peck her on the cheek. “Even if you were still seventeen, I don’t think your dancing would make you any sort of royalty.”

She smacked him on the chest. “I’m not that bad of a dancer!” she said, sticking her tongue out and going back to the stereo to turn the music back up.