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Mirrors of the Soul

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In spite of his young age, Miles had already learnt to read situations well enough to know that there was a difference between the questions he could safely ask and the ones he should keep for later.

For example, the moment when you’ve just met a new classmate, recently transferred and introduced to the class and looking absolutely terrorised, was not the right time to ask delicate questions. No matter how burning the question felt in his mind.

Not that Miles was that talkative anyway. He was glad with his current situation—the quiet child genius in the back of the classroom. He didn’t care that other children thought he looked strange and arrogant: at age 8, Miles liked to consider himself a genius. It was either this or an alien, the only plausible explanation to the fact that it seemed like the language he spoke was totally different from that of the others’.
“Genius” sounded kind of better than “alien” in his mind. So what if it drove his homeroom teacher crazy enough for her to snap at him at least once a week to “put down the book and go play outside already?”

When you’re the quiet, aloof and well-kept student (“goody two shoes”, the others chanted sometimes as he passed by them), you don’t just go and blurt out to a newcomer “why do you only have one eye?”, right?

Still, the fact stuck out, of course. It stuck out about as much as the weird pointy haircut and the huge glasses the new child was sporting. His other classmates didn’t even think twice before attacking the newcomer with an abrupt load of questions.
“Where are you from?”
“Why are you here now?”
What do your parents do?”
“What is your favorite Pokemon?”

The boy answered that he had transferred because his parents just got separated. He was living with his mother now and she was a nurse and it was awesome because she saved people but she wasn’t much at home but that was alright and he hoped he could make friends and he liked this place because the playground was so cool and also he really liked Growlith.
Miles figured out the new boy could pack a lot of words in one low breath.

Not liking to talk much didn’t prevent Miles from having good ears—which was good, because else he wouldn’t have caught what the kid said. Despite the toothy and bright grin his face sported, the child was shy . His voice was barely mumbles sometimes, and under the unrelinquishing attention, his complexion became an interesting shade of red. 
He seemed frail, sick and uneasy, but friendly. 

Not that Miles really cared much. Novelty never lasted long.

By the time his classmates asked the Question, Miles had already grown unconcerned again and dived back in his books.

“Why are your eyes like this?”

Miles merely caught a mumbled answer about “having a weak eye” and “my mother” between two lines of his latest story.

 


 

Miles had learnt how to become sensible with time. Or, at least, he had learnt how to fake it. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it made people upset. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, really, it was just that he could have trouble reading situations sometimes.

Thankfully, this was not one of those situations. Even he could deduce that it definitely wasn’t the right time to ask about “weird eyes” when the owner of said eyes was abundantly snotting on your shoulder crying while blurting out that you “saved him” and that “he owed you his life” and that he was “sorry” (what even for?) and crying and snotting some more. 

Right. 
So maybe everyone had been surprised when he had shouted Objection in the middle of the class trial. It wasn’t that often that you could hear “Goody Two Shoes ’s voice so loud, but also, it wasn’t that often that Miles felt so angry about something. 
He usually was very obedient and ready to follow the rules set by the adult, but… the nerve of this teacher! Really. 
Trying to separate him from his books was one thing, but that day she had been going against the law , blaming an innocent .
He really didn’t hold much esteem for her anymore.
It didn’t take a genius to deduce that there was no way the kid who was abundantly blowing his nose in his shirt was anything but innocent. 

Miles awkwardly patted the boy’s shoulder, unable to free himself before his father reached the entrance of the school.

Gregory Edgeworth was a very composed, if slightly stern, man, with an usually calm and collected face, yet even he had a hard time keeping the surprise from showing when the snotty kid claimed Miles was “his hero”. 
And then, after hearing the explanation, his straight face clearly struggled not to break into an amused grin. 

Miles knew his father well enough: he could read him in a heartbeat. The glimpse of pride in his eyes was more eloquent than any praise he could have received and Miles couldn’t help but beam while waving goodbye at his new, first friend. 

It seemed like screaming “Objection” out of nowhere really could change one’s life.

 


 

Before he knew or could really comprehend what exactly was happening, “Goody Two Shoes” Miles found himself with two new friends. They made quite the band, with “When It Smells” Larry and “Weird Eyes” Phoenix.

The nicknames stuck as they played together during the recesses, their classmates snickering behind their backs every time they saw the weirdly assorted group of kids. 

Miles had managed to learn their names—which was quite a feat in itself. He had never done it for any of his classmates before, but he guessed that was the least he could do for his newfound friends.

“Friends” were nice, Miles mused, if a bit energetic and loud sometimes. 
No matter how overwhelming they could be, they also were understanding, and they knew how to make it still pleasant to play with them. Quickly enough, Miles and Larry found themselves invited for a sleepover at Phoenix’s, whose mother was one of those protective mothers who really loved their child and wanted them to have the best birthday ever. 

So there they were now, all three of them bundled in soft and warm covers in Phoenix’s room, chatting about the latest episode of their favourite series they had just watched before heading to bed, when Larry opened up his (way too big) mouth to remark:

“Hey Nicky dude, why do you have these huge glasses? You look way better without it and the eyepatch makes you look weird like a… crazy pirate kid only not as cool? Aren’t you tired of being called Weird Eyes?”

Miles somewhat agreed with Larry, thought he wouldn’t probably have phrased it the same way. Now that he was able to see him like this, Phoenix looked way better without his huge glasses obscuring his face. His visible eye was a deep brown. The other was still hidden behind a dark patch.

Phoenix let out a self-deprecating laugh and answered in a voice he couldn’t hide the resent from.

“You know, Larry, I’m sure they’d still call me Weird Eyes even without the glasses and the eyepatch.”

He then proceeded to remove the patch that covered his left eye.

Larry loudly gasped. Miles didn’t manage to prevent his jaw from falling open. A bit. Miles knew restraint. But still, nothing he’d observed before could have prepared him from the sight.

Taking in their reaction, Phoenix sighed and averted his eyes—the brown one Miles had thought rather fine-looking before, and the other, which shone a bright, water-clear, almost translucent blue in the dim light of the bedroom. 

“Mom says I need to keep the patch to prevent my left eye from getting burnt by the light. The glasses are just here to protect my other eye, but it doesn’t fear the light as much. If I don’t wear them, I might become blind. And Mom also said.. This way I can avoid having people do weird remarks on my eyes, at least until I get old enough to wear eye-protecting contact lenses. But I guess it didn’t really work, right?”

Phoenix dejectedly shook his head, still not meeting their eyes.

The moment of surprise passed, though, Larry was the first to break the awkward silence. 

“Nick, dude, this is so COOL! You look like a hero from one of the mangas Ma agrees to buy me sometimes!”

Though not as loud (Larry would forever be the best of them three in that respect), Miles couldn’t help but nod, fascinated at the shining, mismatched eyes Phoenix still refused to raise towards them. 

“It’s uncommon, but it’s… really elegant. It suits you, Phoenix. Your eyes are indeed… really cool .”

At these words, Phoenix finally raised his head to look at them, baffled.
It was really unsettling to have these two eyes stare at you, Miles thought, but it was cut short by the way Phoenix’s face suddenly broke into a beaming smile. 

“Reverse! You guys are cool. You’re the best friends in the world I could ever have dreamt of having.”

As Larry started making up Signal Samurai heroes based on them, Miles’s chest felt warmer, his mind racing through the memories all three had already made together.
The other children had school may still consider them misfits, but Miles felt like he had found a place with them.

 


 

Life had its ways, Miles guessed, its ups and downs. 
Life was facetious. Miles had stopped trying to make sense of it after he had witnessed his life break into pieces and had been whisked away in a cold place, a foreign family, given a new purpose all at once, far away from “Goody Two Shoes”’ expectations.

Miles hadn't felt much concern about anything other than following the flow after it felt like his life had turned into a nightmare. Or rather, like his life had been a dream he had awoken from when a loud “bang” had echoed through the walls of a dark elevator.
Miles was now twenty and the memories of “When It Smells” Larry and “Weird Eyes” Phoenix were far away and blurry, replaced by perfect trials, irreprochable prosecution. He was on his way to become the Youngest Prosecutor in the District.
Miles didn’t care much for family reunions, especially in the grim Von Karma manor. The place itself was nice enough, elegant and well-kept, but even the warm colour of the wooden beams on the ceiling and the heat from the burning logs in the fireplace couldn’t make up for the cold atmosphere.

It wasn’t that the Von Karmas really hated each other, per se. 
It wasn’t even that the Von Karmas hated him , or he didn’t feel so, at least. 

It was just that even in the closeness that brought them all together in a Christmas gathering, they seemed to find comfort in distance. 

Von Karma’s wife Anna was like a ghost in these walls. Miles knew she was here, but he barely ever saw her. The manor was big enough for everyone to cohabit with little human exchanges.

Miles had never really known Von Karma’s older daughter, Aleksandra: she had already left for her studies when he’d entered the mansion.
Franziska, Von Karma’s second daughter had stopped hugging him by her fourth year, because “hugging was for babies”.

Sofia, Von Karma’s first granddaughter, had tried hugging him once because he had helped her do some creative work for kindergarten. She had been so severely reprimanded that she had never tried again. 

Miles had learnt the hard way that Von Karmas seldom touched others physically if it was not with the purpose to harm. Perfection came with a price .

Christmas Eve was over, and with it the feast and the twelve strikes of the clock, and Sofia was jumping up and down with excitement because her mother seemed very intent. 
Miles tried to tune out the conversation, a foreigner in his own foster home. He knew he wouldn’t get much, maybe a new book, but he would probably be forgotten. If he was lucky, he’d avoid the ceremony altogether: his hatred for Christmas had never really gone.
Curiosity still got the better of him. Aleksandra was a very cold woman; for her to show some kind of expectation was a wonder.

As it turned out, no matter how cold she seemed, Aleksandra’s heart had been warm enough to cave in to Sofia’s supplies (Miles had witnessed her begging for over a year): said present was a puppy and Aleksandra refused to keep it locked and hidden any longer.

A long time ago, “Goody-Two-Shoes” Miles had liked dogs. Miles Edgeworth, Genius Prosecutor, had almost forgotten about it, but when he witnessed the ball of fur with a ribbon jump out of his box, it all came back to him at once—a warmth in his chest he hadn’t experienced in what felt like forever.

Prosecutor Von Karma didn’t look very happy to have a way too energetic puppy yapping and running around his living room, but young Sofia’s enthusiasm mirrored that of the dog.

“I’ll call him Strawberry! No, Butternut. Or Ginger?”
“He’s not the right colour at all, Darling. Wouldn’t you pick a more fitting name?”
“Sam? Bo?”

Von Karma harrumphed and muttered something about “childish names”.
In the meantime, Miles tried his best not to look fascinated. Aleksandra was right, though: those names didn’t suit the husky pup at all. Not that Miles would have voiced this thought. He schooled his features and did his best to ignore the animal.

With his current preoccupations, really, he should want nothing to do with anything that could make him lose focus. 
He had to be perfect. Succeed. Fulfill expectations.

Still, when the puppy suddenly ran at him and light fell on its bright, happy yapping face, Miles’s gaze fell on the dog’s mismatched eyes.
One brown, one blue.
Uh.
Miles wasn’t sure what came over him when the name fell down his lips:

“Phoenix.”

Sofia blinked, surprised that he would talk to her, then yelled in happiness.

“It’s pretty! Feenie! Feenik!”

Aleksandra tried to intervene, to no avail:

“But phoenixes are birds, Darling, you can’t name a dog like a bird.”
“I don’t care! Mom! This is Fe...Phoe...PHOENIX!”

Despite her mother’s best effort, Sofia ran after the husky and held him close, chanting “Feenick, feenick, feenick”.
The dog seemed happy enough despite the tight lock he was in. For a fleeting moment, Miles thought it was quite morally dubious to offer a living animal as a present for a three year old. Then he remembered the Von Karma
At least, he knew the dog would be taken good care of.

“Feenicks… Phoenix!”

The dog looked at him from behind the kid’s arms, his eyes wide as he panted against Sofia’s tiny chest. 
Brown and blue met grey. Aleksandra sighed and accepted defeat, proclaiming that the dog was officially named Phoenix.

Miles’s chest constricted and for one fleeting moment, he thought it should probably mean something.

And then the night was over, and he promptly proceeded to forget everything about it.

After all, he had a bar exam to focus on.

 


 

As if one time was not enough, Miles Edgeworth’s life was turned upside down another time, five years later. Another loud “bang” was involved, and another Christmas time, too. It seemed that despite trying to file away any memory of the event, finding out that “Weird Eyes” Phoenix had become an attorney in the same district had brought back older memories and a need for answers.
Especially when the statute of limitation was so close.
Miles should have known better.

The days were long in detention. The earthquake was very unwelcome, too; Miles hated himself for having made the decision to come back to Los Angeles. 
It had never got easier with time, especially since earthquakes were so rare in Germany. It was hard not to get overwhelmed by the sensations. It was also hard to prevent his subconscious from linking it with traumatic experiences.

And oh, how traumatic experiences were discussed during this cursed trial.

Miles kept silent during most of the trial, torn between despair, guilt, and then, bafflement as the truth was unravelled before his very eyes.

Phoenix Wright was not the way Miles remembered him at all. He spoke clearly, threw loud objections through the room, pointed at details, and was quick to analyze new situations.
The defense attorney was such a far cry from Miles’s memory that the sense of wrongness he felt every time he dared look at him, although he often averted his eyes.
He could perceive a glimpse of the fumbling child Wright had been, and his infuriating stubbornness as well as that ridiculous haircut made it no doubt that they still were the same person, the shy kid and the self-confident attorney.

When Von Karma tried to make fun of Phoenix by mentioning the dog’s name, Miles winced.
He’d forgotten that Christmas. It seemed so long ago. The naming of the dog had been purely accidental, although it had betrayed that somehow, in his heart, “Weird Eyes” Phoenix had never been so far away after all.

That was when it hit Miles. The sense of wrongness.

Phoenix’s eyes were both brown.

 


 

A turnabout that was sure to make him reconsider his whole life (and possibly send him to a therapist) and a terrible celebrating picture taken later, Miles was 38 dollars richer and Phoenix was beaming at him.

Miles let out a deep sigh, trying to take it all in. “When It Smells” Larry Butz had obviously run away, and Miss Fey was partying with Gumshoe, so he was left to face the deeply unsettling monochromatic gaze of the adult Phoenix Wright he felt like he was always meant to meet (but never expected to).

“I take it your mother finally let you wear lenses?”

Wright looked taken aback by the unexpected question. Miles couldn’t even explain why it had come to him. 
Wright chuckled nervously, his hand on the back of his neck.

“Wow, you really have… a good memory. You’re right. I… got tired of ‘Weird Eyes’ Phoenix in middle school and my mother bought me lenses as soon as I got old enough. It stuck.”

Miles allowed himself to observe the attorney more clearly. Wright looked nervous.

“It dims the light in your eyes.”
“Does it, now?”

Miles took a step back and nodded.

“I think it slightly does.”

Wright’s face twisted in a strange, unreadable sort of way. He just mumbled “Give me a moment” before turning his back to Miles.

“Yuck, Nick, it’s really disgusting to see you put your fingers in your eyes! Why are you doing this here? I’ll never get used to it.”

Despite Miss Fey’s complaints, Wright completed the operation and turned back to Miles.
The difference was striking.

Right there, standing before him fifteen years after the last time they had met, was the real “Weird Eyes” Phoenix, all nervous smiles, wild hair and bright eyes.
Except he was wearing a suit and had just saved his life, somehow. Life really loved its irony.
Miles wouldn't cry, though. They were not nine year old anymore.

Instead, he gave a sharp nod. When his eyes met Phoenix Wright's, though, he felt his lips stretch, felt the air on his teeth—a smile, uh. It wasn't an expression his face was used to show. It felt foreign, a long-gone memory suddenly brought back to life.

Miles suddenly found himself lost in the brown and blue colours, his mind opening gates to a glood of memories, and before he knew it, he was grinning.
Grinning like “Goody Two Shoes” Miles had when “Weird Eyes” Phoenix had been mimicking his favourite Signal Samurai moves, or when they’d argued about the best character with “When It Smells” Larry, when it was only the three misfits who had made their own place together.

Witnessing his sudden change of behaviour, Wright—Phoenix loosened up and his smile became less tense, slipping into a true, warm expression.
Miles felt the warmth reach him, spread through his chest. Miles Edgeworth never squirmed—he tried to gather himself, to find something to say.

“You know… As much as it hurts me to admit it, Larry was right about something. It really is the look of a hero."

Well, his composure was definitely lost now, but Miles couldn't find it in him to feel bothered. In for one... In a trial's time, he'd learnt that keeping things to himself was not the way to go.
He blurted out before he could regret it:

"And it suits you. Thank you, Phoenix.”

Phoenix’s remarkable eyes only shone brighter