It was halfway through Miles’ first year of college at Ivy University. The rainy winter season was nearing its end, and the promise of warmer weather lured students from their desks and onto the lawn for sunbathing or games of frisbee. Miles frowned as he watched them from his dorm window. Didn’t they have studying to do?
He turned away from the window and back to his own textbook. He never knew when Wright would return, and he couldn’t waste the precious few quiet moments he had before Wright’s obnoxious presence disturbed the peace.
Miles had never imagined that he would see Phoenix Wright again, much less as roommates at the same university. Sure, they had been friends for one year in grade school, but they hadn’t spoken since. And yet, as soon they found out they had been matched as roommates, Wright picked up their friendship right where they left off, as though nothing had changed in those nine years. Miles had long since given up trying to enforce a professional distance - Wright stubbornly insisted on being friends regardless of how Miles himself felt about it.
The peace was short-lived. As though just thinking about him was enough to summon his presence, Wright burst through the door, cheeks flushed and grinning like a maniac. “Guess what, Edgeworth? Guess what?”
He probably thought he caught another glimpse of the Ivy U Headless Badger, Miles thought to himself, ignoring Wright. Every other day was a new outburst about something improbable or mundane. Every little thing ignited some new sense of wonder, as if Wright were a child just discovering the world and not an 18-year-old adult, for heaven’s sake. It didn’t help that Larry encouraged him with his childish antics. Wasn’t it time they grew up?
Wright either couldn’t sense that Miles was ignoring him, or he didn’t care. “I’ve got a girlfriend!” he crowed, slinging his bag onto his bed.
Miles rolled his eyes. “That’s nice.”
Wright seemed to take Miles’ lukewarm response as a sign to continue. “Her name’s Dollie,” he said, sighing and flopping on the bed. “We met in the courthouse today, and she came up to me and told me that - get this - that as soon as she saw me she knew I was the one! Can you believe it!! And she gave me THIS!”
Wright dangled something over Miles’ textbook so that it was impossible to ignore. It was the gaudiest necklace that Miles had ever seen, with a small crystal bottle encircled by a gold heart and strung together on a thick, coiled chain.
“I’m trying to study.”
Wright sighed dramatically, but thankfully pulled the necklace away. “Ugh! You’re no fun, Edgeworth. This necklace is a sign of our undying love!”
“Sure it is. Now why don’t you tell someone who actually cares, like Larry?”
Now it was Wright’s turn to roll his eyes. “Because you know Larry would try to make a move on her! There’s no way I’m telling him! Besides…” Wright grinned as he slung the necklace around his neck, “you’re my best friend!”
Pity, Miles thought. That meant he would be Wright’s conversation victim for the next week or so. Perhaps it was time for him to hole up the library.
Edgeworth had been just about as excited to hear the big news as Phoenix had expected him to be - which is to say, not at all. But Edgeworth was a grump whose only joys in life were studying and watching children’s television shows, so it wasn’t like his opinion could be trusted. And Phoenix was so happy, he felt as though the happiness would burst out of him at any minute. It was his responsibility to share this unlimited happiness with the world, and that started with his best friend, regardless of whether said best friend was interested or not.
Edgeworth would have called him foolishly naive or, at best, hopelessly idealistic. Phoenix preferred relentlessly optimistic. It was one of the things that marked the difference between the two of them.
Phoenix had long since gotten over the initial disappointment of their reunion. He had been so excited to discover that not only was he was going to the same university as Miles Edgeworth, but that they would even be roommates. He spent his last few weeks of summer wondering what Edgeworth looked like now; what major he was pursuing; what kinds of fun they would have together. He imagined several different scenarios for their first meeting - in some of them, Edgeworth would already be settled in and they would chat as Phoenix unpacked his belongings; in others, Phoenix would arrive first to help Edgeworth and his father and they would all go out for dinner after. The minor details would change, but each variation followed the same pattern: they would greet each other, share highlights from the past nine years, and reconnect their friendship. Not everyone was so lucky to have a college best friend from day one.
He had even reached out to Edgeworth a few times via email to share his excitement about being roommates and try to summarize nine years worth of catching up that was long overdue. Edgeworth hadn’t responded, and at the time Phoenix attributed it to him traveling for vacation or being busy cramming in one last week of fun before getting serious with schoolwork.
Needless to say, their first meeting didn’t go as expected. Phoenix had opened the door, heart in his throat, to find Edgeworth at his desk with his back to the door. He hadn’t looked up at all at Phoenix’s entry, but Phoenix had been too excited that this moment was finally here to think anything of it.
“Edgeworth! It’s me, Phoenix!”
Edgeworth turned around then and locked eyes with Phoenix. His face had become longer and sharper than the round-faced boy Phoenix remembered, framed by hair so light it almost looked silver. His jaw was clenched and his lips pursed in a thin line. Edgeworth had grown, certainly, but it was his eyes that had changed the most. A grey, flinty gaze assessed him cooly, and Phoenix became uncomfortably aware of the stains on his oversized pink sweater and the scuff marks on his worn grey shoes.
“Umm...Phoenix?” he repeated, gesturing to himself. His excitement was rapidly stuttering. Edgeworth couldn’t have forgotten about him, could he? This hadn’t been in any of his scenarios.
After giving him another dismissive once-over, Edgeworth turned back to his desk and said, “I know.” His voice was flat-toned and clipped.
Phoenix took another breath. “So...um, good to see you again huh?” It came out a little shakier than he meant for it to be.
“The fact that we are roommates does not mean that we are friends,” Edgeworth said. “I just want to make that clear. We share the same space, but beyond that you will live your life and I will live mine. I don’t care to know to your business, and I would appreciate it if you stay out of mine. We are roommates, nothing more.”
To say that Phoenix had been disappointed was a huge understatement. His imagined scenarios of a smiling Edgeworth and sparkling college life fizzled into nothing. The helplessness overwhelmed him for a brief moment before a new idea took hold. If he couldn’t get Edgeworth to be best friends with him now, he’d just have to take longer to convince him. And what better way to do that then as a roommate?
Forcing his largest grin, Phoenix said, “Yep, roommates, you got it!”
Over the course of that first quarter, Phoenix dedicated himself to becoming the best roommate he could be, according to his own definition of the word. He memorized Edgeworth’s schedule so that he could “know when not to be a bothersome roommate”. He pulled Edgeworth away from his desk to grab food from the dining commons to “ensure a happy and healthy roommate”. He studied with him (or made a valiant attempt to, at least) because “it’s more efficient as roommates”.
Edgeworth had stubbornly resisted all of these attempts at friendship with barbed words and cold shoulders and stony glares. When he realized Phoenix wasn’t going to back down from anything less than friends, however, he began to relent. Regardless, it was still a lopsided friendship, and often Phoenix found himself wondering if there was anything left of the kind, quiet boy he remembered in this cold, standoffish version of Edgeworth.
In spite of everything that might have changed about Edgeworth in the past nine years though, one thing remained the same - his dedication to becoming a defense attorney. Phoenix had been relieved to find out that Edgeworth was studying law, because honestly Edgeworth was part of the reason - or, rather, the entire reason - Phoenix had decided to pursue law in addition to his art degree. And if he hadn’t been studying law, he wouldn’t have gone to the dusty reading room of the old courthouse downtown, and he wouldn’t have met Dollie! It was truly fate.
And speaking of defense attorneys, there was still one other person he wanted to share his big news with.
“Office” was too strong of a word to describe Mia Fey’s working space situation. “Cubbyhole” was a little more accurate. Phoenix nearly kicked down the flimsy door in his excitement, causing the carefully sorted piles of ungraded student essays on Mia’s desk to scatter across the floor.
“Phoenix!” she exclaimed, and attempted to grab up the papers before he trampled any. “What a surprise! What brings you here?”
Phoenix tugged the necklace out from under his sweater and triumphantly held it out for Mia to admire. “Guess who’s got a girlfriend!!”
“I guess...you?” She smiled, bemused. “I’m kind of in the middle of grading right now, but if you want to sit down…”
Phoenix didn’t have to be asked twice. The door was still blocking a third of the room, so he maneuvered the folding chair so that there was enough space for the door to close, then plopped into it with a thud and a sigh. “It’s great to be in love!”
Mia’s smile became strained. “I bet it is.”
“Her name’s Dollie,” he said. “She’s a freshman here, too, you know. We met at the courthouse today, and she came to me first! It was like, love at first sight!”
“Mmhmm.” Mia seemed distracted. She had been in the middle of grading papers, Phoenix supposed. He continued on regardless, caught up in the babble of overflowing happiness.
Phoenix had delved into a description of Dollie’s perfect face and elegant voice that had told him he was the one when Mia finally cut him off, looking drained. “Sorry Phoenix, I really need to finish these papers. Maybe you can come back another time, if you’re not here for anything else?”
“No problem!” he said, bouncing up out of the chair. The more he talked about Dollie, the more it solidified that this was really real - he had a girlfriend, and she was more beautiful than he could have ever imagined, and she had chosen him of all people. It was all still a little hard to believe, but tomorrow he would wake up and they would still be together, and he would have even more time to share his happiness with the world.
“See ya, Mia!” he said, and left feeling as though he were floating on clouds.
Mia sighed and rubbed her eyes once Phoenix was gone. She had a soft spot for the kid - he was bright and tenacious, with all the makings of a great defense attorney (why was he majoring in art again?) - but sometimes talking to him was like being swept up in a whirlwind, and she hadn’t had the energy to deal with it today. And that lovestruck expression had been...a little too sickly sweet for her tastes.
The door burst open again, this time revealing another source of her headaches.
“Would everyone please stop kicking my door?” she groaned.
“Afraid that’s a no-can-do, kitten.” The man grinned behind the stack of case files that occupied his hands before dropping them unceremoniously over Mia’s ungraded papers with a hearty thump. “I’m known for a lot of things, but not for having three hands,” he said, and winked.
“Armando…” Mia said, pinching the bridge of her nose, “does it look like I have time to help you cross-reference case files right now?”
Armando leaned over the desk, resting his chin on the back of his hand. “You knew what you signed up for with this internship, kitten. Or are you admitting you’ve bitten off more than you could chew?”
Mia wished she could wipe that smug grin off his face. Diego Armando was a junior defense attorney at Grossberg Law Offices, making him her co-worker and superior. With three years of courtroom experience under his belt compared to her half-year of part-time interning, she respected him as a talented and charismatic attorney. That didn’t mean she had to like his personality though.
Armando laughed. “Why don’t you direct that glare of yours to those files instead?” He straightened and rubbed the stubble around his chin. “I could use another pair of sharp eyes. You might catch something I’ve missed.”
She tossed her bangs out of her face. “I’ll do it when I’m finished grading, if you’ve already gone through them. The case?”
“A tragic tale from five years ago. Young love, kidnapping, betrayal, murder. The man was convicted and sentenced to death row.”
“Sounds like it’s been settled already then.”
“You’d think so.” Armando smiled, all blindingly brilliant and wolfishly sharp. “But something doesn’t sit right with me about it. And the bitter dregs of blend #102 left me a message clear as a crisp spring morning: DH. Right there, in the coffee.”
At Mia’s blank stare he added, “It’ll make more sense when you read the files.”
“At this point I’m not sure what makes more sense: the fact that your coffee apparently talks to you or that you believe what it says.”
“The coffee never lies,” he said knowingly, and exited the office with a smirk and a wave.
Mia was reorganizing her increasingly crowded deskspace when a knock interrupted her again. “Come in!” she yelled tersely.
This time it was yet another person. Three different headaches in one hour, Mia thought. Lucky me.
The woman entered, thankfully gentle with Mia’s poor door. She stepped inside the cramped office and raised her eyebrows in amusement. Mia sighed. Of all days, of all people, of course Lana Skye had to barge in when Mia’s office was at its most chaotic. Lana couldn’t be caught dead with anything out of place, and that included her meticulously organized office as well as her perfectly pressed clothes and carefully arranged scarf. Her long brown hair fell straight down her back, with not a flyaway to be seen.
“Have I caught you at a bad time?” she asked.
Mia refused to be pitied. Like her, Lana was also a graduating senior and had taken on teaching assistant duties for some of her classes. They were equally ambitious peers, each dedicated to the law yet drawn to opposing sides of the courtroom. “No, I’m not busy. It’s fine.”
“Good. I wanted to check in with you about our mock trial.” At Mia’s startled expression, she raised her eyebrows again and said, “You haven’t forgotten, have you?”
“Of course not!” She had, a little. She had been overwhelmed with grading and work, but wasn’t about to admit that to Lana.
Lana suppressed a grin, but Mia still caught the slight twitch of her mouth. “In any case, I wanted to update you on a new development. I know you had looked forward to facing off against me, but some family matters have come up and I’ll no longer be able to participate. Nothing serious,” she added as Mia frowned with concern, “but I’ll be gone that week, unfortunately.”
“So the mock is off?” Mia asked. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t disappointed - she always looked forward to mock trials, and this would be one of the last ones of her school career before trials suddenly became very real, with all the consequences attached.
“No, it’s still on,” Lana said. “I’ve found a replacement who will represent the prosecution. He’s a freshman, actually.” Lana smiled. “But I think you’ll find him a worthy challenge.”
“A freshman, huh? I promise not to beat him too hard then.”
Lana chuckled. “Don’t underestimate him just because he’s young.” She began to turn away. “Anyway, don’t say I didn’t give you a fair warning.”
Lana took her leave with a clack of her heels and a click of the door. Mia lunged forward to lock the door behind her, determined not to face any further interruptions today. And finally, she was left to tackle her grading in peace.