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you're the greatest state of all

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Miles is in the shower when the call comes in, beginning his day as he means to go on, with dispatch and a modicum of peace. It's Phoenix's ringtone, and he hesitates on the brink of stepping out to answer it, but--wonder of wonders--he can hear the thump that means Phoenix has rolled over, and then the sandpaper tones of Phoenix's six A.M. voice. He finishes up, catching snippets of conversation. "...time it... no, you..."

Seven hours today of nothing but conference calls, then two hours of gladhanding law students. When he'd decided to take Phoenix to Sacramento with him for once he'd pictured wielding the might of his office, clearing his schedule, introducing his partner to the governor, keeping him far away from lobbyists; perhaps a demonstration of tidy legal habits in a taxpayer suit. That was before TFOEJ had dropped the petition on his lap about the logging runoff, and eighteen years of toxic rivers in Humboldt County had suddenly become today's problem. He takes a moment to regret the lost, halcyon days of yelling at people about murder.

Phoenix's voice rises sharply. "No!"

Miles dries himself off in a hurry. When he enters the room, Phoenix is sitting upright in bed, his hand cupped over the receiver. He looks guiltily up at Miles. "I have to go," he tells his interlocutor. "Thanks for l-- yeah, just send it to me. Bye." He hangs up. "Miles," he says, "please remind me to block Maya next time I want to get a good night's sleep."

"Why did she call you at six in the morning?"

"Because of the time change," Phoenix says, covering his eyes. He flops backwards onto the covers.

"Between Sacramento and Los Angeles."

"Yeah. Okay. Listen. Neither of us ever go north of Bakersfield," Phoenix says. "The Master of Kurain thought that maybe it was on Farming Time."

"Sacramento has two and a half million people in it."

"Right, so," Phoenix says. "What is that, the size of SF?" He yawns, and rolls over onto his stomach, and Miles strongly considers hitting him over the back of the head with a pillow. "She called to give me some political news. Apparently the AG's stepping down."

"What?" Miles says. "No, I certainly am not."

Phoenix smiles tenderly at his phone. "Miles," he says, "you nerd."

"No, I'm sorry, Phoenix, this is serious," Miles says. He gropes around for his glasses, then for his laptop. "If there's a rumor circulating that I am taking myself out of commission, then I need to assemble a show of strength. I know that these political games don't interest you, but they are necessary to the basic functions of a well-run--" Google finishes loading, and Miles stops talking. "Oh," he says, after a minute. "The Attorney General."

"I know you're the most important person in seventy counties," Phoenix says, in offensive tones, "but yes, Maya was talking about the real one. In D.C."

Miles sniffs. "I am the real one."

"Well, that was the other part of her news," Phoenix says, and clears his throat as his phone finishes loading some screen Miles can't read. "What The News Isn't Telling You About The Next AG: Six Things About Miles Edgeworth That Will Make Your Blood Run Cold."

Miles stares at him. "That is not a real headline."

"No," Phoenix admits. "It actually says, 'That Will Make Your Blood Run As Cold As His,' but I thought that was hurtful. Hey, they have Franziska on this!"

Miles leans over him. They do indeed have Franziska on this; she makes number two, "His sister's the judge that blocked the bullet train." The picture is... not flattering.

"Three. Astroturfed environmentalism. While Edgeworth campaigned on a 'clean state' platform, promising to bring down the hammer of the law on companies who pollute the water poor communities depend on, there's a big difference between his office's policies and his frequent compromise with Big Ag. Monsanto knows they can depend on his satanic charm whenever they need it--"

"If TFOEJ is quoted in there," Miles says, "I am not going to be responsible for my actions."

"I actually have no idea what Teefoge is," Phoenix informs him. "But relax. There's no actual quotes in this. It's all just speculation and hearsay." He tabs out. "Oh, here's the Sac Bee version. They... Yep, they think you can't be trusted either. Because you're dating a... 'shady Los Angeles-based defense attorney, who, after his public disgrace--'" He rolls his eyes. "They think you're going to be a tool of the machine because you helped me get reinstated. They should know you better than that."

"Thank you."

"You're a tool of the machine for completely different reasons," Phoenix continues, opening a third link. "Will California AG Miles Edgeworth Be the Steady Hand Our Criminal Justice System Sorely Needs? Nah, this one isn't funny. Wait! Yes it is. Listen to this: At a press conference last month, Edgeworth announced his intention to appeal People v. Rosado, the case in which the Ninth Circuit rejected the three-day trial system as 'obviously' violative of prisoners' constitutional right to due process. 'I know, too personally, the terrible cost the system has exacted on the truth,' Edgeworth said, with rare emotion. 'But as a faithful agent of the state, I cannot take the decision out of the hands of the people.' What other candidate in this day and age can claim that they have followed the dictates of conscience to such an end?"

"I was not emotional," Miles protests. "I was professional."

"You were great." Phoenix drops his phone, and rolls again, this time fetching up on his side, facing Miles, the world's least sensual Odalisque. "I hadn't thought of that, though."

"Of what?"

"If you're federal AG, you won't have to lead the appeal on Rosado," Phoenix says. "Less fun for me, maybe. But a lot easier on you. Plus," he adds, "whoever takes your place won't be as persuasive."

Miles' mouth quirks. He reaches over to straighten Phoenix's unruly hair, and Phoenix submits to this with good grace, tilting his head into Miles' hand a little to improve the angle. It's been a year now, and he still hasn't quite become used to this permitted liberty. He pictures Phoenix in a Washington condo, walking around the place in his socks and judging the decor, and the whole concept suddenly springs into high relief: Attorney General.

"Wright," Miles says, finally. "There are fifty-eight counties in California. It's appalling that you don't know that."

"Get out of bed," Phoenix says. "We're going to get the Satan of Monsanto some waffles."