He waited for her to continue, her hands shaking from nerves. At any moment now, she was about to be taken away to prison on the charge of being an accomplice in a murder. After being the center of such a bizarre and emotionally draining trial, Iris was at her wit’s end. They were left alone by the excited group of people that made this turnabout possible, along with the guards that placed handcuffs on the delicate and soft hands of the lady who faced him.
Her cheeks were as red as the setting sun; the heat from her body creeping between the gap that separated them. She composed herself before she allowed the words to leave her mouth. “Can I hold your hand?”
Phoenix, warm-hearted Phoenix Wright, didn’t have the heart to say no to a request like that.
Iris raised her ensnared hands bound by strong pieces of metal. The skin around the manacles were red and warm, and Phoenix felt his eye twitch at the sight. His palms made their way up past her arms, and clasped the small pair of warm hands. His wrist came in contact with the contrasting cold of the irons, but he persisted. He squeezed her hands tightly, hoping that the gesture could somehow express his feelings more than his words could.
The hands wrapped around hers were big and warm. They were the hands of an artist, with faded cuts from working with knives; and callouses from the hours of sketching muses that refused to stay still.
There was nothing left to say. After such a heartfelt confession on the witness stand, Iris and Phoenix had nothing left to say to each other. They finally reached the true end of their story, where they can finally sign the last page and shelve the book.
Iris didn’t want that.
She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out except for a tired sigh.
“I feel the same,” Phoenix said quietly, as his grip tightened around the little hands he wanted to protect.
Iris made a face at the man, making sure to pout her lips. This casual vibe that they built up comforted her. It felt like she could show him her soul, and he wouldn’t judge the sins attached to it. She looked for the words she needed, and opened her mouth to try communicating again.
“Would it be okay if you held me?” Her voice was so small, that a cricket could have made a louder sound. She wanted to feel him close to her. After all, deep in her heart, she knew that she could never love again.
A love as grand as the one she had for Phoenix Wright only came once to a person, and on this day, this love will perish. It will fade, and it will be silenced under the locks of her heart. If it was a crime to desire to feel his love for the last time, she was ready for her soul to be burdened with another sin.
Humans are selfish beings. When all is lost, they desperately cling to whatever is left; to whatever is available to scavenge. Some create their own means to survive, and some live off on the bits and pieces, hoping that they’ll be enough to last.
Phoenix was taken aback. “Huh?!” was written all over his face, as Iris’s second request was much bolder than the first. She was serious, however, as she would have moved to hug him if she was not in chains. Her eyes that looked identical to the sinister Dahlia Hawthorne did not have the least bit of malice in them. They were soft and pleading, sincere and tearful. The sands of time were running out, and the court bailiff peeked inside more than once. It was now or never, as they say.
He slowly let go of her hands, now warm from the touch of his own. The bounds of metal stood in between the two, mocking that they’ll never be as close as they want to be. Iris placed her hands to her left, hoping that she created enough space to rest on her ex-lover’s chest, if she would be allowed to. Phoenix slowly placed his arms behind the young lady, attempting to pull her close. Iris complied, scooting closer to the only man she ever loved. She felt his warmth surround her, as she wedged her face to his strong torso.
“Feenie, this is real, right? We’re here right now. You’re…” She pressed her face to his chest, looking for concrete signs that supported everything going on in her mind. “You’re Phoenix, and I’m Iris,” Her words were but a whisper, as she inhaled his scent. She needed to remember all of this before it was too late, before the closest they’ll ever be is with a glass boundary in between them. She had to remember how warm and sturdy his chest was, how the smell of soap seemed so sweet.
Phoenix held her tighter, the soft strands of her braids tickling his chin. “That’s right. You don’t have to think about anything else right now. Do you remember that song we used to dance to?” She raised her head to pay better attention to what he was planning to say. “The French song you liked so much? Do you want me to sing it to you?”
She nodded and slowly pushed herself towards him, wanting to be even closer. She wished that she had the strength to tear her shackles apart, so that there could be nothing in between them.
The defense attorney’s grip never faltered, as he started swaying side to side. Iris followed, her feet, careful to not step on his. He hummed the soulful music, making sure that they were the only people who could hear it; that they were the only people who could bask in this intimate moment.
Iris closed her eyes, and focused on regulating her breathing. She was close to bursting into tears, and she wasn’t even sure on the reason anymore. Was she happy because she was finally getting the closure she wanted, or was she outrageously upset at the fact that this would be the last time he would hold her like this?
Phoenix Wright’s soft voice eased all of her troubles away.
Their little dance seemed like forever, and no one dared to interrupt. One wished that they could stay this way forever, and the other wished that it didn’t have to end this way.
The shrine maiden looked up at the man who held her like she was his world. It was temporary, it was only for a few minutes, but she would have taken any chance to be with Phoenix Wright again. Everything that she wanted to say was already said, and right now, the last thing she needed to embed into her mind was how the love of her life looked.
She gazed into his eyes, and studied them. She tried to memorize how his hair stood up, and how his chocolate brown eyes would look away if her gaze was too intense. She tried to take a mental photograph of their surroundings; the sun’s setting rays engulfing the defendant’s lobby in soft gold rays, the ambience of the room, romantic enough for the last moment they’ll share together. She wanted this to be their last important memory. Not the trial that had her sister arrested.
Phoenix’s soft ballad was the only thing she wanted to hear. She wanted to reprimand the crickets and frogs, the murmurs and footsteps. She wanted to enjoy this moment and keep it as pure as possible. She wanted to record everything and wrap it in a little bow for her and only her to have and look back on.
The pair immediately separated from their dance, and turned to the source of the harsh voice. They witnessed the court bailiff's face resembling a red, red rose before he slammed the doors shut. He shouted from behind that he was giving them two minutes more.
Two minutes? What could someone possibly do in two minutes? A confession? A continuation of their slow waltz?
Crying, was Iris’s answer.
Everything was falling apart all at once, and the weight of it all broke her spirit. She didn’t want to be separated from Phoenix right when they were just reunited. She wanted to spend time with her little sister, with her lively cousin, with the people that worked so hard to prove her innocence. She didn’t want to go.
She sniffled and sobbed, raising her bound hands so their back could wipe her sorrow away. Phoenix placed his hands on her arms and moved them away from her face. Iris could barely see with the tears blurring her vision. Now, she could barely see the person she wanted to remember the most. She was upset, and mad, and-
He kissed her forehead.
Gently, as if he was hesitant on doing it in the first place. Careful, as if she would crumble at his touch. Quickly, as if the gesture was not meant to happen in the first place.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands, wiping the tears that were falling at a steady rate.
“It’s okay,” He whispered. “You’ll be okay, Iris. You’ll be okay.”
The only sounds that came out of her mouth were her stifled sobs; her lips, quivering, her cheeks, bright red. Iris of Hazakura temple cried her heart out, caring not about the noise she made with her selfish screams of protest. She whimpered and wept, and Phoenix reassured her with his thumbs, wiping all of the grief away. Shoulders shaking, throat burning, teeth clenching, it was not the wisest use of their limited time, but perhaps it was what they needed the most.
Everything that followed came like a blur. She followed instructions without question, allowing herself to be escorted by the people who would put her behind bars, for her crimes against her own blood. Her small figure disappeared behind the double doors, her presence from the area slowly fading away.
Defendant lobby number two was another room, another common place that could be found anywhere in the world. The faint scent of flowers were gone, replaced by the stench of newly painted walls.
Phoenix Wright dropped his hands, wondering why they were suspended in the first place. He was all alone in the room, his friends, waiting for him to come out of the lobby. His mind traveled to many places, one of them being Iris’s future cell. They may have had a tearful goodbye today, but that did not mean that he was barred from visiting her everyday until her release. It would be when he had free time, or when office hours were slow. When he needed the comfort of someone who was a part of his past, and when he needed someone who would listen to him without a drop of bitterness.
The sound of Pearl Fey’s curious voice traveled through the air, as Phoenix finally snapped out of his thoughts.
He and Iris have finally written the conclusion, and it was time to start the next chapter of their lives.
He signed his name neatly, and she, with the lightness of a feather. Their love story was over, and it was time to write their first chapter; with different people- An adorable Miles Edgeworth peeked from the crevice of the door, attempting to stop Maya and Pearl Fey from entering the room- and as different people.