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Mia’s Magic Couch

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Mia Fey had left two things to Phoenix that he refused to move out of the office. The first was of course Charley, who kept his silent vigil year after year, steadfast and green even when they forgot to water him every day. When he felt particularly lonely, or afraid, Phoenix would pat the leaves, and be reassured by the living tissue under his fingers. Sometimes the leaves fluttered in a soft breeze, though the window was closed and the AC off.

The second constant was far less flattering and far more functional. The couch from Mia’s office had probably been new when she bought it, but after nearly a decade and a half, it was no wonder it had begun to show it’s age. They’d covered the cushions which couch covers, and Trucy had attempted a moderately successful patch job that left the couch still usable, but noticeably less fancy.

But Phoenix couldn’t bear to move it out. (And it wasn’t because he was ‘too old and out of shape’ to manage to get it out the door, thank you very much.)

He’d helped Mia move it into the office when she first set out on her own. She’d sat down with him and drank to her new place, had spread his textbooks and flash cards across their laps and it’s cushions and quizzed him long into the night.

She’d thrown her arm around him, laughing at the fact that the dumb kid who’d swallowed a poison bottle was too nervous to open his bar exam results. Then he’d spilled wine on it when they celebrated him passing the bar. Mia had even let him sleep on the couch when he all but passed out, because despite being friends with Larry, who was a partier in college, Phoenix had been a lightweight who could barely handle his wine.

The memory was hazy, and he was certain Mia hadn’t known he was slightly awake, but he remembered lying on that couch, trying to smother himself in the pillows and Mia tsking as she covered him with a spare blanket she kept around for particularly cold office days. Sleeping on the couch hurt his back these days, but sometimes he liked to fall forward onto it, bury his face in the new throw pillows, and let the memory come to him, all the clearer for the re-enactment.

This couch is magic, she had told him when he woke up the next morning. It was brought up without prompting or preamble, but Phoenix listened intently. He always did whenever she told him something.

“Yeah, whenever two people who are in love sit on it, they’ll always end up having their first kiss,” she explained.

“Really boss?” He tried to raise a skeptical eye brow, but it probably looked like he was awkwardly winking due to his residual sleepiness.

Of course, she’d said. And then she went on to explain in far too much detail how the couch had gotten her her first kiss with Lana and Diego respectively. And further than that of course, she’d said with a wink and Phoenix did not want to think about that, god Mia was his boss for crying out loud!

She just punched him in the shoulder, laughing at his prudishness. It’s magic, she insisted. Just watch.

Phoenix didn’t believe in magical couches. But over the years he would learn how wrong he’d been.

Chapter Text

The first time it happened, Mia was around to say ‘I told you so.’ The fact that it involved Larry made it even worse.

What should’ve been: Before that day Phoenix thought he had only ever really loved three people and two of them hurt him in ways he couldn’t even imagine. One left when he was a child and the other tried to kill him for a bottle of poison. The third was Larry and even he didn’t understand their friendship. And though he guarded his heart better after Dahlia he knew deep down he was still that kid that wanted to believe.

He thought he might come to love Mia, the cool older sister he wished he’d had growing up. They should have sat on the couch immediately after the case, and Mia would critique the whole thing, help him become a better lawyer than he ought to have any right to be.

They’d argue about take out, he knew, and she’d refuse to let him pay like always, and while they were eating she’d look at him with that cool intensity she’d always watched him with. Phoenix knew he was a little weird. He embraced it. To take the kind of clients they did? You needed that.

But there was another expression towards him that Mia would make, only during those moments when she would sneak extra food from her own meal into his takeout container. It was doubt.

It took Phoenix a long time to figure out that the doubt was there before she looked at him, and gone in the fleeting instant after she looked away. Maybe, he considered, he wasn’t the only one that needed to lean on someone to fuel the faith and trust that made him the lawyer that he was. Perhaps his unjaded belief in people helped Mia be more certain in her own. Perhaps his strange little heart helped her feel more free with hers. That’s what he hoped anyways.

He never got the chance to find out.

What was: Paperwork after the trial was normal. Mia had sent him to ‘get new pens from the store’ while she brought Larry back to the office to fill out the final forms. Embarrassingly, Phoenix didn’t realize she’d sent him on a snipe hunt to ground him after the excitement of his first real trial, until he was puffing and red on his bike.

It was what he needed he realized, but he was absolutely going to be a little bitch about it, he decided, as he parked his bike.

He’d planned to play the dumb kid routine, and use the few inches of height he almost always forgot he had on her to hold the pens just out of reach. Mia had such presence, that he felt short near her.

He took the stairs two at a time, and maybe he was a little too excited to spend time getting critiqued by his mentor. It was probably bad that his only real friends were his boss and Larry Butz. 

Phoenix ignored that nagging thought and pushed it down as deep as it could go, to hibernate next to the place where he ached for the loss of his friendship with Miles Edgeworth.

Stopping at the agency door, Phoenix put on the best faux pout he could find, rolling his shoulders forward and slouching just a bit — Mia had worked hard to build up his confidence and posture, but it was easy to slip back into his old patterns. And this time it was for a joke, which made it all the better. He held the pens behind his back as he opened the door.

“I’m back boss, but I couldn’t find the pens,” — Phoenix trailed off, the sing-song lilt of his voice vibrating into a low gravel as he took in the scene before him.

Larry was making out with a woman he had never seen before on the magic couch. Mia looked more tired than he’d ever seen her. Even more tired than after defending him and having to deal with Dahlia.

Phoenix shoved the package of pens into his back pocket and walked over to Mia’s side. She let out a long suffering sigh, and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“What’s all this,” Phoenix gestured vaguely in the direction of his childhood friend, who he was having serious doubts about in that moment.

“Apparently,” Mia spoke drily, “she watched the trial and was absolutely so captivated by Larry,”

Phoenix started. Since when did Mia remember Larry’s name correctly? At his questioning look she only offered a wink.

Mia continued, “that she stalked us here because she ‘just had to meet him’.”

It was alarming and impressive how much mockery Mia could squeeze into the impression of the women’s apparent falsetto while still managing to keep her voice low enough that only the two of them heard.

“They sat down on the couch and well.” Mia pointed at the two of them, who were still making out on said couch, oblivious to Phoenix and Mia. It was kind of rude honestly.

“I told you so.” Mia finished triumphantly. 

“Objection!” Phoenix shouted.

Mia winced, but Larry still didn’t notice them.

“Sorry, Chief.” Phoenix rubbed the back of his head nervously. “You don’t really believe they were in love and the couch did that, do you? You can’t be happy about this. I mean you hate straight people.”

Mia rolled her eyes at their little in-joke. “Overruled. I don’t hate straight people. Just certain kinds of straight people. And besides that isn’t a contradiction, Phoenix. You need to try harder.”

“Oh?” Phoenix slammed his hands on her desk in challenge.

“I can hate straight people and still be smug about being right about the couch. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.” She flicked his hands off her desk.

Phoenix had to concede that she was correct. He leaned back onto his heels, stuffing his hands in his pockets. A piece of paper on the desk shifted from all the jostling and for the first time since walking in to the office he noticed Mia was working on something.

It was certainly something he had never seen before, the majority of the pages covered in dark red ink, the cursive letters swirling and difficult to read. He could just make out some of the short hand Mia took notes with.

“Whatcha workin’ on Chief?” He tried to ask casually.

Mia was saved from answering him by Larry, who had finally noticed that he was not the only person in the room.

“Nicky!” Larry clapped his hands together and cried dramatically. Again. Where did he even manage to get all those tears from Phoenix wondered? Didn’t he ever get dehydrated?

The woman next to him was exactly Larry’s type: taller than him, blonde, probably a super model, and wearing a full face of makeup. She batted her eyelashes prettily at Phoenix. He could see some of the threads of the couch coming loose where her long fake nails had scratched at them. One glance at Mia was all he needed to understand exactly how she felt about the woman Larry had been making out with. If Grossberg were still there he would be very injured. As it was, Mia’s knuckles were white where she was gripping the fancy ball point pen in her hands. The only saving grace from Larry being bodily ejected from the agency and dumped on his ass on the street was that Mia considered herself a professional.

And professionals just smiled though the mess. Which Larry was a lot of.

“You took forever Nicky!” Said mess crooned. “Timantha wants to thank you for saving me. You got me off and helped me find a new girl so we owe you, we’re gonna find you someone to date. We gotta go right now!”

Phoenix didn’t bring up that he would much rather be paid money, which could be exchanged for goods and services, than someone Larry Butz picked out for him.

“I’m sure the Chief still has stuff for you to fill out, Larry,” Phoenix tried to deflect. 

Mia smiled. “Oh, come now Phoenix, I’m sure you can help him fill out the paperwork on your own.”

He could. It wasn’t hard. But he kind of wanted to celebrate this win with Mia more than he did with Larry.

“Besides I can’t leave the Chief here early, I got stuff and things.” Phoenix tried not cringe. Even he knew how pathetic that sounded.

Something icy filled his chest. Maybe he should go with Larry. Maybe he was being too clingy in his friendship with Mia.

“C’mon Nicky, you gotta come out and let us find you a girl! Or guy! Stop being an old man. Please!” Larry whined.

Phoenix opened his mouth to protest it. Studying and working hard didn’t make him old. He had a goal he was reaching for. Under the ice in his chest something whispered that the truth was he was frightened to go out with Larry and realize he would never have any more friends, would never find the family he wanted. That maybe Mia really did only pity him, and he wasn’t her friend.

He looked to Mia to help him. Surely his boss would say no to him leaving early, giving him a coward’s way out. It would quell the desperate anxiety too.

Mia looked at the papers on her desk. They were deeply creased, evidently having been folded and unfolded numerous times. Then she looked at Phoenix. She ran her fingers along the edge of the papers as she regarded him. Blood welled up from a paper cut. A drop of it fell to the desk. The entire office was very still.

Mia’s voice cracked the silence. She pulled out a handkerchief to wipe away the blood from her finger and gave Phoenix a smile that tried to make it’s way to her eyes, but faltered halfway into a grimace.

“I don’t mind giving you the rest of the day off, Phoenix. I have some” — Mia picked her next words carefully. “Paperwork for a personal project that needs doing.”

“If you’re sure, Chief.” Phoenix ran his hand through his hair awkwardly, coming away with some left over gel. He wiped it on his pants absentmindedly.

“Of course, Phoenix.” Mia smiled indulgently. “Harry’s right. You’re young.” 

The look in her eyes grew far away. “You should go out with him and enjoy yourself. We’ll do your critique tomorrow.”

“Sure,” Phoenix breathed.

Larry whooped, and all but dragged him out of the office, his other arm wrapped around Timantha’s waist. What started as a mid-afternoon celebration bled into a long night of drinking. He never did get those pens to Mia either. The night blurred and in the morning -

In the morning Phoenix arrived to work, if not bright, at least early, head swimming with the leftover alcohol from a wild night, and would’ve flopped down onto the couch to smile at Mia and open a case file across his legs, ready to do whatever she asked if it meant getting closer to his goal.

Except when he sat down he shot up again with a yell. There was a box there. For a month it didn’t move. When he asked Mia about it she didn’t respond, giving him clipped answers until he dropped the question.

Mia did his critique with him hovered awkwardly next to her desk.

It was a long month. As the pile of papers on the couch grew, so did the silences between him and Mia. He wondered if that night with Larry had been some test he failed after all.

But Mia had never been like that. She didn’t play with his head. Or at least he thought she didn’t.

For a month there were only tight silences and Mia’s pinched expression when he suggested takeout or tried to ask something not work related.

For her the nights grew longer, dark circles that she couldn’t quite hide perfectly with makeup formed under her eyes. A near permanent scowl usurped her kind smile.

For Phoenix, he was sent home exactly on time. Sometimes he would call Larry, but mostly he would worry at his cuticles, or cut his lips biting them, or bruise his knees pacing into the furniture of his tiny apartment. He became far too acquainted with crappy evening television.

He’d been so excited when Mia had told him to come see her, that evening of September 5th. Her voice had been light, holding some of the warmth he was accustomed to from before. The paper safety blanket and the heavy box covering the couch were cleaned up that day, and Mia had told him that she was going to introduce him to someone important. Someone special. It felt like a thaw, like a turning point.

Mia taught him her secret to cleaning and disinfecting a couch, and he thought they might sit on it, like old times, with whoever they were meeting. It wouldn’t be magic. But it would’ve been nice.

Had he known that the last time he would sit on the couch and eat take out with Mia, nerves thrumming through his whole chest was the night before Larry’s trial, he would’ve tried harder to remember it better.

Instead all he got was the smell of blood that settled thick over the whole room, clinging to the fabric of the couch for too, too long after.

Later, much later, when he’d saved Maya and gained a best friend and little sister, he would understand what it all meant, those tight silences and pinched expressions, the couch covered with boxes and paper, the change between them that began that moment with Larry on the couch. Mia had only been protecting him from Redd White, perhaps reminded of his youth by Larry that day. But for awhile he could only hate the couch and Larry and the girl he’d been with who dumped him after a week, a little bit, for the gulf it left between him and his friend and mentor. The gulf he hadn’t been able to fix in time.

If the couch had any magic then, it must’ve been cruel magic, he thought, to instead separate the two people who had sat on it most.

Chapter Text

The second time was probably the most traumatizing thing that had ever happened to Phoenix. Walking in on your pseudo little sister making out with Prosecutor Franziska von Karma on your couch was bad enough. But Prosecutor von Karma enthusiastically reciprocating was even worse.

Phoenix’s tongue stayed tied in his throat long enough to see Maya slip Franziska some tongue and groan as Franziska retaliated by pressing her thigh between Maya’s legs.

“Maya what the fuck!”

Maya pulled back from Franziska with incredible calm, and unfortunately Phoenix had to contend with the knowledge that her lips were swollen and she had a dark hickey on her neck.

“Hey Nick.” Maya gave him a cheerful nod.

Franziska blinked owlishly at him. “Hello, Fool.”

They didn’t move the slightest bit apart. In fact they didn’t even have the decency to at least pretend they were embarrassed at being caught. Having two people with almost no shame or filter dating was going to be a nightmare, he realized.

“How long has this been going on?” He managed to squeak out.

It hadn’t even been three days since the conclusion of the Hazakura case, when had they had time to get that far in a relationship already?

“Just started, why?” Maya answered.

“Your first kiss was that?” Phoenix thought he was going to lose his mind. If the rules of the couch were to be believed they had just kissed for the first time and they were already about to ruin the furniture?

Maya winked at him, pleased by the horrified look her was giving her. “Mia wasn’t kidding when she said this couch was magic, Nick. And besides she would definitely haunt my ass properly if I was sitting on this couch and turned down the advances of the pretty girl I’d been crushing on since she prosecuted me for murder.”

Maya was probably right about that. Mia had always encouraged him to fight for the things he wanted. He switched degrees to save Edgeworth, but it was Mia who lit that fire, who helped stoke it when pain threatened to smother it.

Franziska clicked her tongue, evidently tired of watching his brooding thought journey. “And unlike some fools, I do not waste time. When I want things I take them.”

Phoenix tried not to let his heart lurch at the smug look she was giving him. He tried not to think of Edgeworth. How did she know? And shouldn’t she be the embarrassed one, considering she seemed ready and willing to have sex on his couch just a few minutes ago?

Phoenix let out a long suffering sigh. “Look I’m happy for you, really Maya. I love you, and I want you to be happy. But can you please not do this in my office again?”

Maya considered the request thoughtfully for a few moments, before shrugging. “No promises, Nick.”

And then she very pointedly and much too excitedly went back to kissing Franziska.

Phoenix counted himself lucky that he didn’t trip on his way out of the office, so fast did he scramble out of there. He had no idea when it would be safe to go back, and he assumed that even taking the time to walk to the store to get something to disinfect the couch with wouldn’t be long enough. Maybe if he asked really nicely Edgeworth would let him sleep on his couch for the night as he tried to forget what he saw.

Chapter Text

The third time, blessedly, was actually rather cute. It helped that Apollo had actual tact and an overdeveloped embarrassment complex, thank god. Phoenix wasn’t sure he could take another event like what had transpired between Maya and Franziska.

Phoenix hadn’t meant to be quiet. He liked playing the bumbling surrogate father role to his attorneys, and that meant opening doors much too loudly and pretending he didn’t know how to not annoy them.

But sometimes he opened the door soft and slow, hesitant. Maybe this time he would open it and Mia Fey would still be alive, his traitorous brain would suggest to him in those moments, before the memories came flooding back.

For once he wasn’t able to stalk to the couch in his grief, wrap his arms around the cushions and cry, because Apollo and Klavier were there. Something hard and sad in his heart loosened, and he held his breath. He didn’t want to interrupt.

Klavier had thrown his arm casually over the back of the couch, across the line of Apollo’s shoulders, but he did that with everyone, Trucy and Athena included. It was hardly a romantic gesture. Phoenix tried not to read too much into it, but he suspected Klavier did it because he was starved for touches that held genuine care and love behind them, not just obsessed caresses from fans that notched their belts on getting a lock of his hair, or inappropriately touching his chest.

That moment was different though. Apollo was leaning up and in to Klavier’s body. He pressed the most chaste kiss possible to the side of Klavier’s mouth.

Klavier almost cried. His fingers came up to brush the spot. He gazed down at Apollo like he was his namesake, like he hung the shining sun in the sky and Klavier was but a mere worshipper who would be happy for all the rest of his days if he could just drink of the light Apollo gave off.

“Herr Fore — Apollo,” he corrected himself. “Do you like me?”

Apollo rolled his eyes, flicking Klavier’s chin as the man looked down at him. “Of course I do, you dumbass.”

“Ach. Will you kiss me again?” When did Klavier learn how to be shy, when did he whisper, when did he stumble over his words?

Phoenix felt his skin prickle, and a sudden strange embarrassment settled in his stomach. Somehow this felt more intimate than Maya and Franziska.

Apollo and Klavier kissed properly, and Phoenix felt like an ass. He wanted to say something, because teasing Apollo was one of the greatest pasttimes he had. He would probably scream the roof down with his Chords of Steel.

Later, Phoenix decided, backing out as quietly as he came. Let his lawyer son have his moment of joy. Let the couch be a place of only happy memories for someone, please, he decided. Let them exist in that perfect moment for as long as they could.

It was the closest he’d ever gotten to thinking that maybe the couch was magic, after all.

Chapter Text

The fourth time it happened, Phoenix was starting to think Mia had cursed him.

He was in full dad mode, so really there was no reason that anyone in the office shouldn’t have heard him. Supposedly love was blind, but he thought that being young and in love rather made you deaf instead.

Athena and Juniper must’ve been very in love, if they completely missed him coming in. In their defence, by that point the couch had been moved so their backs were to the door. Which is why Athena didn’t see him. Even from the back that fiery red hair was unmistakeable though. Juniper should’ve seen him, as she was apparently, if Phoenix could trust his eyes (and he hoped they weren’t working properly), sitting on Athena’s lap and more or less able to see the door over her shoulder. It was only when he saw Juniper pulling away from a panting Athena he understood why they were far too busy to ever have seen him.

“Junie,” Athena breathed.

Phoenix hated that he was reminded that Athena was practically like a daughter to him, because his other daughter wasn’t much older and he did not want to think about her having a relationship.

Juniper actually giggled, light and teasing and airy. It seemed like her shyness wore off when she thought she was alone with the girl that she liked.

“When did you say Mr. Wright will be back, ‘Thena?” She suggested with a tone that Phoenix could only call coquettish.

Oh no. Phoenix felt himself freeze. This was not happening. He could run across a burning bridge with no thought, but this is where he froze up?

Athena seemed to take an absurdly long time to answer, as if she was trying to reboot her brain.

“Not for another hour, I guess,” Athena hesitated.

Widget didn’t. “More than enough time to kiss more.”

Juniper laughed again. “Well, now that you’ve finally kissed me, there’s something else I’ve been wanting to do.”

Oh god did her voice drop an octave?

Juniper leaned down and started sucking a hard bruise onto Athena’s neck. She gasped, and moved her hands to tangle in Juniper’s hair.

Juniper was not content with that and oh god Phoenix did not want to know what she was doing with her hands that had just trailed down below Athena’s neck.

That was traumatizing enough to galvanize his body to move. And to think he had expected that maybe his luck had turned after Apollo. That at least had been far more expected than Juniper being an instigator in her relationship with Athena.

It really was the quiet ones that you had to watch out for, wasn’t it? But he couldn’t really blame them. He hadn’t lied at the time when he told Athena how long he’d expected to be gone. But, well, he’d finished faster than he thought and he really needed his office back.

And honestly, what was it with lesbians and going directly from kissing to sex on that couch? Granted Mia had been bi, so this only counted as the second time it had almost happened, but it was weird that it happened twice.

With much reluctance Phoenix kept his eyes firmly on the ground as he walked to stand behind the couch.

Athena was a jock with ADHD who literally jumped up and ran laps of the office when she was feeling under-stimulated and yet he had never seen her move so fast as when he cleared his throat behind her and Juniper.

“Boss, holy fuck!” Athena screeched.

She practically threw Juniper off her, but still had the presence of mind to make sure she would end up on the soft end of the couch. Athena herself ended up tripping into a pile on the floor.

“I am so fired.” Widget sighed in a sad, tinny little voice, flashing blue, as Athena tried to collect herself and scrabble to her feet.

“M—mr. W—wright,” Juniper stuttered, face flaming red and shyness slamming back down like psyche locks slamming on people’s hearts.

Then she looked between Phoenix and Athena and found some hidden steel. She was going to be a judge after all. Her voice only shook a little when she responded, “P-please don’t fire her. It was my idea.”

Phoenix didn’t respond to that immediately. It was time to bluff and pretend he was completely indifferent “How long had this been going on?” He asked coolly.

Athena tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and sucked her cheek. Juniper looked down at her hands. Phoenix let them stew in it.

Finally, Juniper took a breath and started to explain, “I mean, I think we both sort of knew we liked each other and have been orbiting around our feelings for awhile.”

“But they didn’t really come to a head until today I guess. We were both sitting on the couch, and I don’t know something about it made me feel like if I didn’t confess and finally kiss her, I’d never do it and end up regretting it,” Athena finished.

“And this is probably stupid of me, but I don’t regret it at all, but also please don’t fire me boss,” she pleaded.

She gazed up at him imploringly, unmoving from where she was sitting on the floor. Did he really give off such hard ass vibes that he would fire Athena for something that was misguided but ultimately fairly harmless?

Phoenix laughed. “I’m not gonna fire you, Athena. I’m glad you found someone.”

Then to Juniper he turned and said, “And I’m not going to give you a shovel talk, because I’m sure Prosecutor Blackquill will handle that instead, but please don’t hurt her. I really care about Athena.”

“Aww, boss.” Widget flashed green, and Athena flushed red. Her usual enthusiasm came back to her as she realized she wasn’t a disappointment to him, and she jumped up to her feet and dusted herself off.

He was relieved Athena took it well, he was worried he’d read everything wrong and was overstepping in his mentor/dad role. Yeah, Athena had accidentally called him ‘dad’ once, but despite her degree in psychology she seemed determined to remain in denial and never ever examine her feelings about it more closely. Or at least that’s what he suspected. It made his heart hurt to think about it too deeply.

And in that moment of course he didn’t have time to get distracted by fuzzy familial feelings, he had questions that needed to be answered.

It was time to play prosecutor. “I’ll give you a warning this time, but don’t ever do that on my couch again, what if my kid came in? You know better, Athena.”

“Eep, sorry boss.” Athena bounced from foot to foot. The giddy energy dissipated and she literally drooped, looking suitably chastised.

“Don’t you have your own couch you could be doing this on?” He tried to lighten the mood a little.

Athena winced. “Not really.”

Oh. The agency couch was the only couch she had. Oh. The closest to a family was in those four walls, and perhaps the only place she had to go back to at nights echoed with its emptiness. Oh. Life was so unfair for his attorneys.

Juniper glared at Phoenix for the pitying look he was giving Athena. He thought about Mia, and that same pitying look that he had hated when he wasn’t much older than Athena. He had to admit his lawyer child was far more competent at her age than he had ever been. And yet even so, Mia had made sure he was taken care of.

After his first case, Mia had told him that, he was a rookie, but he was still her partner, and that meant no more living in the cramped little shoebox that was basically just a kitchen with a bed shoved into it. She’d promised to help him find a place worthy of the great ace attorney she knew he would become.

Even death hadn’t stopped that. Charley, the couch, a living area that he didn’t think he deserved, right above the office - that was her final gift.

He always liked being a dad figure, and maybe what Athena needed right then was an understanding dad, far more than a stern mentor.

Phoenix sighed. “Jeez, you’re making me feel like an ass here. It’s fine if you want to sit together and cuddle or whatever you kids call it today, but whatever you were doing there, that was farther? Just don’t do it again, okay? If you want to spend time with Juniper, I can give you actual paid time off, y’know? Lord knows you and Polly are workaholics. And I’ll help you find a couch for your own place.”

Athena was going to protest. He knew why it had really happened, and it was because Athena didn’t have a real place she thought of as home. He was kind of touched she thought of the agency and by extension him, as a place safe enough to make out with her girlfriend though.

“I know you practically live in an unfurnished shoe box because you were living for someone else for seven years, but if you’re going to start living properly again, and having a girlfriend, you need a couch.” Phoenix insisted.

Juniper crossed her arms and raised her eyebrow at Athena, as if to say, ‘see someone agrees with me.’ Oh boy, he had definitely touched an exposed nerve there. This was a conversation that Juniper and Athena had had before.

Playing the girlfriend card probably helped, more than hurt, he hoped. Maybe he’d be able to convince Athena to shop around for a better apartment once they got past the hurdle of the couch.

Athena raised her hand to bring it down into her fist, as if she were going to object to their offer. Phoenix was ready though. He knew he was right, and that he had figured out the situation. And yes, he’d taught Athena everything he knew, but not everything Mia had known. He had tricks still.

He didn’t have to use them, because Athena forced herself to take a deep breath and accept their help.

But Phoenix didn’t drop his guard as a sly smile crossed her face.

“Simon would love to help you too, y’know. I’ve been trying to help him get re-adjusted, but you’re right, I guess I have been neglecting myself. He keeps telling me that, but he’s already done so much for me.” Athena twirled her hair through her fingers, trying to sound nonchalant, but he could hear the spots where her voice caught.

More quietly Athena admitted, “I guess I’ve been in denial.”

Juniper reached over to where Athena was standing and intertwined their fingers together. “I’d be very happy if you finally got a couch for your apartment Athena. It would be nice to come over. I can make you a blanket for it too!”

Athena smiled, Widget flashing to a happy green as she squeezed Juniper’s hand. “You should make sure Simon and the boss don’t pick out something horrendous.”

Phoenix scoffed. “I have great taste.”

Juniper giggled. “So you won’t buy a yellow couch because you think it’ll match Athena’s style? She’d lie to you that she likes it. Same as if Simon got her an all black one. I can only imagine what the both of you would come up with together.”

He wanted to be offended at Juniper Woods of all people reading him for filth, but he’d honestly given up on maintaining dignity with his junior lawyers ages ago. She was right - there was a reason that furnishing the office was a task Mia assigned to herself. He’d just helped move the furniture.

He had a feeling that was the extent of his involvement in this situation too; being the dad that complained about his back while the whole thing turned into a pissing contest with Simon about who could help and support Athena the best. Working with Blackquill sounded like more of a threat than a help, but if it meant helping his sometimes daughter, he’d do it.

“Let’s do it!” He cheered. “I promise it’ll be great Athena.” And it would be.

Especially if it meant no more make out sessions on his office couch.

Chapter Text

The fifth time and Phoenix thought he might develop an eye twitch. Especially because it involved another Fey, on his couch, making out with a girl. A girl who was his daughter! But this time he was ready.

Phoenix was a dad, after all, and one with experience under his belt.

The first shock was hearing Dancing Queen screaming through the walls of the Agency. It was one of Athena’s rare days off that he convinced her to take and Apollo was in Khura’in of course, so for once it fell to him to buy some takeout for lunch and come back with it.

He’d thought Mia’s old CDs had been lost to time ages ago, but he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised anymore at what Trucy could find. Mia had always pretended to be above liking ABBA, would brush off his teasing with the excuse that they were her ex’s CDs and she just didn’t bother getting rid of them. The excuse held less weight when she contradicted it the second time he asked by saying they were her sister’s CDs and that’s who she kept them around for.

The door creaked silently under the weight of the sound of ABBA, and Phoenix walked in to perhaps the nicest sight he’d seen in a long time.

Pearl and Trucy were dancing. When Phoenix met her, Pearl had been a serious eight year old, and she grew into a serious adult over the decade he’d known her for.

Seeing her in socks, bouncing on the creaky springed cushions of Mia’s old couch, glowing with a smile as she sang-screamed to the lyrics with Trucy, looking for once entirely unguarded, made Phoenix’s breath catch.

They’d come a long way. Joy wasn’t always easy for any of them, so seeing them reach out and take it - that was a wonderful sight.

Mia had had a beautiful voice - he’d caught her singing only once and she’d threatened him within an inch of his life to never tell anyone.

He hadn’t ever had the chance to test the limits of that threat.

Pearl was mediocre at best - Phoenix might’ve been a dad, but even he could be objective about some things. Because the truth was, it was nice to see Pearl not caring about her voice. She quivered with the happiness of it all, pleased to be spending time with Trucy.

Trucy was a natural performer, key word being ‘natural’. Even as her dad, when she was on stage it was sometimes hard to see where ‘Trucy the magician’ ended and ‘Trucy the person’ began. That she let her own voice wobble, that it was obvious her hands were shaking - for once it wasn’t hard to tell at all.

Trucy grabbed Pearl’s hand as the last riff of the chords started to play, pulling her into a dramatic twirl. Their laughter bubbled and bounced, and Phoenix could only stand there, the takeout containers in his hands slowly growing uncomfortable to hold. Had he ever been so joyful when he was their age? He tried to remember. Even when he’d been with Dahlia, and thought he’d known what love and joy were, he never would’ve danced with her the way his daughter was with Pearl, as if there could never be doubt that there was love and joy in the world and it was what they deserved simply for living in it.

Pearl spun too hard and knocked into Trucy, who dissolved into a full fit as she pulled the two of them down. They hit the cushions with a whump!, the old couch groaning but holding firm under the stress.

The music faded for a moment, then the slide blared in again; Trucy had obviously set the song onto a loop. Normally, this was done to see how long he or Apollo could last before the repetition would drive them insane; Pearl, Athena and Trucy never seemed bother by it. The two girls breathed heavily, punctuated by occasional laughter.

The moment turned serious when Trucy produced the remote for the player from thin air somehow and turned the sound low; in strict performer mode once again. No, perhaps not strict. It flickered and wavered; an imperfect shield. Trucy gulped.

He wasn’t sure who moved in first, but it seemed like both of them decided to screw up their courage at the same time. They kissed for the briefest moment, and when they pulled away they were smiling.

“Finally.” Pearl grumbled.

Trucy made an affronted squeak. “What do you mean finally? I’ve been flirting with you for like a year, Pearls!”

“So have I!” Pearl exclaimed.

They both took the moment to look aghast about it.

“I can’t believe I’ve been as dumb as daddy about this,” Trucy whispered.

Phoenix nodded his head, they really had been obvious to anyone who was paying attention and - wait a minute what did she mean ‘as dumb as him’? He was smart as hell when it came it to love.

Okay, admittedly he didn’t believe in the couch, not really, and yeah he hadn’t seen the Maya and Franziska thing coming, but he had totally called it that Apollo liked Klavier and well Athena was so much the opposite of shy that it bled into oversharing territory. They even came to him for advice on occasion - and yes, of course, he wasn’t either of his lawyer children’s first choice for love advice, that went to Nahyuta and Simon, but still he was at least on their list of choices. He was great at love. And yeah maybe he’d been dancing around his feelings for Edgeworth for decades, but that wasn’t dumb, that was strategic, there was method and logic to his pining and—

His train of thought was interrupted when he realized that Trucy and Pearl had moved in to kiss each other more intensely and for the love of the legal system and all that was holy why did this keep happening to him?

Stepping forward, he stomped a bit to give them the courtesy of a warning, and said, a bit too loud to be casual, “Hello girls.”

“Daddy!” Trucy gasped, jolting away from Pearl.

“Hey Mr. Nick.” Pearl hedged, grabbing her arm as though winding up for a strong hit, still a little bit that eight year old he had first met. Shy, but with more determination than people twice her age. 

The first thought Phoenix had was ‘I wish I could complain to Miles that our kid is all grown up now.’ And then ‘Wait “our”?’ Finally, his dad instincts kicked in and he knew he just had to embarrass his daughter as much as possible about it.

“Oh, mine own daughter!” He gasped frantically, flailing the one arm that wasn’t holding the takeout. “Stealing the hearts of young women on the couch of my esteemed mentor! Oh whatever shall I do?”

Phoenix threw his hand up on his forehead, leaning back to faint a bit. ‘Should I get a fainting couch?’ He asked himself, then shook the thought away when he remembered he was supposed to be focusing on embarrassing his kid.

Trucy rolled her eyes. “You can’t embarrass me, daddy. I’m immune.”

Phoenix snapped back up to standing. He let the dopey grin he had perfected during his years of disbarment cross his face. “No, I suppose you’re right, sweetie.”

“I’m always Wright.” She chuckled, as Phoenix found somewhere to put down the take out.

He laughed with her for a few seconds - he had to, he always laughed at that joke - before letting a mischievous grin cross his face.

“But she can.” Phoenix pulled out his phone, flipped it open, and pressed the second number in his speed dial.

Who better to both commiserate with and use to embarrass Trucy than Maya Fey, shamelessness personified?

Technically, she was in Germany, on vacation with Franziska, which was why Pearl was spending time at the office in the first place. She was eighteen and insisted she didn’t need a babysitter, but Phoenix liked having her visit, and that had been enough to convince her.

It was probably midnight in Germany, if he remembered the time difference correctly, and normally he would not call so late, but given what he knew of Maya and vacations, she would definitely still be awake.

It only took two rings before she answered.  Which was good, he would’ve hated to interrupt Maya and Franziska at something important, especially because Franziska would likely whip him for it when they got back to the states.

Maya came on the phone with a way too excited greeting, but Phoenix had known her for a decade and could hear that she wasn’t pretending for anyone’s sake, she was genuinely excited to take a call from him and was bright and chipper as ever at midnight in Germany, when she should be spending time with her wife instead.

Phoenix smiled wistfully. Mia had always sounded happy to take his calls too, no matter the time. He really did have the best family. Realizing he was wasting time he could be using to tease his daughter on being nostalgic, he quickly flipped his phone to speaker and held it out in his hand for all to hear.

“Maya Ami Fey do you have any idea where your cousin is?” He yelled in fake consternation. He never used her middle name.

“No, why? She’s a big girl, I know she can handle herself. I trust her.” Maya explained easily.

“She’s on my couch, debauching my daughter!” Phoenix tried to squeak his voice, but it was a lot harder these days to reach such a high pitch.

“Oh, sweet, get some Pearly.” Maya cheered, and Phoenix didn’t have to see her to know she was doing a fist pump.

“You’re on speaker, Maya.”

“I sure hope I am.” Maya chuckled out. He hadn’t heard that vine in ages, was he old now?

Still it was a relief, that Maya had understood what he was hinting at with the use of her middle name, and was more than willing to play along.

“Still a big deal Maya.”

“Oh c’mon Nick, it’s fine. Pearly’s not me, she’s not gonna try and have sex on your couch.” Maya said flippantly. “Although, with the right persuasion...”

Pearl almost choked. “Master Maya!”

“Oh, Pearly, you don’t even know the half of it. That couch has gotten two generations of Fey’s laid! It definitely is magic. If you’re going to be the third generation, make sure you treat Trucy right, okay?” There was a dull thud, and Phoenix looked over to see that Pearl had punched the couch. Based on how she was shaking her hand, she probably hadn’t done it voluntarily. Trucy was trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

Phoenix could practically hear the wink Maya was giving the kids.

“Has Nick ever told you about the afternoon he walked in on Franny and I on that couch? He didn’t even try to kick us out of his office, and he should’ve. Come to think of it, that wasn’t the only time we did that, we just didn’t get caught all the other times and oh yeah, be careful of the springs in the middle cushion, talk about mood killer, oh and there’s this thing you can do with the armrests, of course you have to be pr~ett~y flexible, but I think Trucy should have it covered and —“

“Oh my fucking god, Auntie Maya please stop.” Trucy shouted, lunging for the phone over the couch, which Phoenix pulled away from her. Pearl looked green. 

“Daddy, I am going to disappear your phone.” Trucy jumped over the back and stretched to tiptoe to try and reach for his flip phone, which he was holding above his head.

Phoenix figured he had a non-zero chance of her being unable to sleight of hand her way out of this situation so long as he didn’t give her the chance to touch his phone. Above him, Maya was laughing, the sound crackling and staticy through the long distance connection.

“I thought you were immune to embarrassment sweetie?” Phoenix asked. 

Trucy shuddered, while her face remained impassive, trying to keep up the facade of being unaffected.

“Since you’re so un-embarrassed maybe we should ask Maya for more details, hm? I’m sure she has some excellent advice about girls.” He threatened.

Trucy had a great poker face, but Phoenix was her father. The tips of her ears were red and she was mortified. Conversely Phoenix had a much better poker face, which allowed him to stay absolutely stone cold unaffected as he found out that Maya and Franziska had ruined his couch more than once!

Trucy glowered a little, and gave up trying to reach the phone with a huff. She stomped back over to the couch, making the face that she always did when she knew if she spoke more it would only dig her own grave.

Phoenix flipped the phone off speaker as Maya cackled. “That should have traumatized them enough that they won’t try anything. At least on that couch.”

“Maya please don’t remind me, that traumatized me, too.” Phoenix growled.

“I know! Whenever I’m sad I remember the face you made and laugh.”

Phoenix sighed.

“I’m off speaker now right?” Maya asked carefully.

“Yeah.”

“Oh good! I was lying about that ‘other times and other things’ shit by the way, I just thought it would be more effective at convincing Trucy and Pearls.”

That was a relief.

“Yeah, Edgeworth of all people visited Franziska and I to lecture us after that first time. He was all ‘it’s not right for you to kick Phoenix out of his own office for your frankly immature and licentious courtship’.” It was honestly kind of frightening how easily Maya could imitate Edgeworth’s annoyed, haughty tone.

She continued said tone with, “‘ and further more I do not enjoy having people randomly drop in on me, so I would appreciate it if you were not the instigator of such an event in the future’.” Even though I knew he was full of shit because the faces he made talking about having you over that night to do nothing but sleep on his couch? Disgusting.”

Phoenix was not going to unpack that. Nope he was going to repress that knowledge forever.

“It’s so easy to get under his skin. He’s all confident elder brother lecturer and then all it takes is one joking threat about me and Fran ruining his couch instead and he can’t even speak. You’re both hilarious.”

“Ugh, you’re a menace, you know that Maya?” Phoenix couldn’t keep the fondness from slipping into his voice. At this rate Maya was going to get a big head about that fondness, but ah well, what can you do? She was his sister.

“Yeah, but I’m your menace! Anyways, Fran’s back so I gotta go! You’re welcome for traumatizing your kid for you. Love you, bye!” And then just like that Maya was gone, and Phoenix was left with only the soft beep of the dial tone.

“You didn’t have to call Auntie Maya, daddy.” Trucy crossed her arms and stuck her tongue out at him.

The fact that she was trying to hide her amused smile, meant that he hadn’t gone too far in teasing her.

“Oh, but I did! My little baby girl was practically having sex on my couch,” Phoenix wailed in faux horror, moving around to the front of the couch. “It’s so startling that I think I’m feeling faint! I’m melting!”

Pulling the melting trick was one of his favourites. He leaned back, back, back, into a controlled fall. Trucy sighed, and he felt her hands meet the small of his back as she tried to push him off of her. He could feel her holding back laughter, though as he pretended to threaten to squish her. When she was little it never failed to make her laugh and laugh. He was glad it still could.

“C’mon Daddy, it was only a little kissing,” Trucy groaned. He leaned more of his weight onto her.

Very quietly, Pearl, redder than Phoenix thought possible, mumbled, “We weren’t even going to doing anything like that.”

Of course Trucy wasn’t going to let a golden opportunity like that pass her by. “Yeah, if we wanted to do that I have a perfectly good bedroom upstairs.”

Then she grinned wickedly before landing the final blow and finished with, “Speaking of, Pearl would you like to go up to my room with me?”

That made him startle and Phoenix thumped onto floor.

Chapter Text

“And what was I even supposed to say to Trucy in response to that, Edgeworth? I mean I don’t want to make my daughter feel ashamed about sex, because it’s perfectly normal, but I just can’t believe I walked in on someone in my family making out on this couch again! It was the fifth time!” Phoenix’s voice rose to a high, almost hysterical whine as he said it.

Which he might’ve been exaggerating for effect. But could you blame him when the Chief Prosecutor, his best friend and crush of literal decades was sitting so beautifully on said couch and laughing? Not even haughtily, but the genuine kind of laugh, with tears sprung at the corner of his eyes and one hand clutched across his stomach, as if he would fall apart if he laughed any harder.

When he finally stopped laughing Miles wiped his eyes, mirth still contorting his face every now and again.

“I suppose Mia Fey was right.” He managed to find a reserve of dry indifference somewhere, pulling it out with much effort against the mirth.

Phoenix found it horribly endearing.

“I dunno Edgeworth, I mean most of those couples were already trending towards getting together anyways, I still don’t see anything magic about this couch.” Phoenix picked at the fraying fabric beneath his fingers. The sudden realization struck him that he’d never properly sat down on the couch with Edgeworth before.

“I’m supposed to be the skeptical one Wright.” Edgeworth looked away, his cheeks dusted with a little pink. The admission stuck wetly in his throat.

Phoenix scoffed. “What? Are you actually saying you believe this couch is magic?”

Edgeworth was suddenly very, very close. Phoenix could smell the smoky cologne he wore. The Chief Prosecutor put his hand on Phoenix’s knee, pausing for only a moment before saying “What if I said I wanted to believe?”

Phoenix swallowed heavily. “Then I’d say that I hope you’re right.”

Edgeworth smiled, and bit his lip, suddenly unsure. Phoenix laid his hand on top of his. The couch, alarmingly, strangely felt too small, like it was folding and pushing the two of them together. Phoenix moved closer to Edgeworth, closing the small gap between them. They fell into the kiss like they’d been doing it all their lives. There were no fireworks, no sparks and the heat wouldn’t come until later when they were alone in his bedroom, but instead it felt like coming home, soft and perfect.

The window was closed and the AC off, but as Phoenix kissed the man he’d loved for longer than Charley had been around, it’s leaves fluttered softly. And Phoenix swore he heard Mia laughing.

Chapter Text

“Mia Fey, it will be my honor and pleasure to help Phoenix Wright get his revenge,” Miles slurred, extremely drunk.

“You know she doesn’t live in the plant, right, sweetie?” Phoenix chuckled, pulling Miles’ hands into his own to stop him from roughly handling Charley’s leaves.

They might’ve both had a little too much wine to drink. After finally kissing they wanted to celebrate. One glass turned into two. Two into three. Three glasses turned into… not exactly four, but it was hard to measure when a tipsy Miles had insisted on kissing him with wine in his mouth, and swallowing the alcohol he stole that way. The aftertaste was intoxicating. The wine paired perfectly with the smell of Miles’ cologne and the neutral state taste of his mouth. Dimly, Phoenix worried that Miles would be grossed out at the memory when they both sobered up, but that was a problem for future, hungover Phoenix to deal with.

Current Phoenix… Current Phoenix was struggling to remember why his new boyfriend declaring revenge in his name could possibly be a bad thing. Miles was so perfect and good and sexy, he could have whatever he wanted, and it would surely be great.

“Wait honey, revenge for what?” Phoenix managed to wrestle out the question from his alcohol addled mind – Mia would’ve choked laughing to know he was still a lightweight.

“Everyone in your family disrespects you, baby.” Miles whined petulantly. Phoenix tried not melt at the endearment.

“They come into your amazing office, after everything you’ve done for them, and make out on your couch? The nerve. I will get revenge for you.” Miles made a few wild slashing motions, and sound effects that Phoenix never thought he’d hear from the Chief Prosecutor’s mouth.

“What. What are you doing, Miles?”

“I’m the Steel Samurai. I’m going to protect you.” Miles mumbled, stumbling around as he turned randomly in a circle.

It was going to be a long night at this rate, if Miles was serious at getting ‘revenge’. Phoenix looked forward to whatever insanity came next though, as long as it meant keeping Miles by his side.

Chapter Text

Miles was deathly serious as it turned out. First stop: Larry’s house, at three in the morning, both of them sloshed out of their minds, and riding high on the delirious burn of love long held but only newly reciprocated. The cab driver had been hesitant at first, but folded quicker than an unreliable witness on the stand when Miles shoved a hundred-dollar bill into his hand.

“There’s more where that came from.” Miles tried to wink, but ended up just staring blindly into space for far too long.

“Just get in the cab,” the driver grumbled.

“Phoenix, did I do it? Did I wink?” Miles asked as he was bundled into the cab.

“You sure did, honey,” Phoenix lied, somehow the more sober of the two.

 The short ride across the city to Larry’s apartment was silent and pleasant, Edgeworth absolutely fascinated the whole way by merely holding Phoenix’s hand.

Miles gave the driver two hundred dollars to wait around for them. Phoenix added three crumpled dollar bills from his pants and told him he could leave without them if they weren’t back in three hours.

They stumbled their way up to the second floor of the condo Larry had moved into only a year ago, when his art career finally started taking off, the outdoor stairs proving more difficult than either of them remembered. Miles gave a little whoop when they made it all the way up without either of them falling and bashing their brains out on the pavement.

And then he proceed to absolutely pound on Larry’s door, screaming: “Laurice Deauxnim, you better, you better, fucking open up!”

“Miles, baby, we gotta be quiet,” Phoenix tried to shush his boyfriend, but Miles just looked at him and smiled.

“You called me, baby. You’re the baby, baby.” Miles kissed him quick and sloppy.

Phoenix giggled and Miles followed suit, both of them forgetting what they were doing in the midst of their giggle fit. They remembered very quickly when Larry yanked the door open.

 He was in nothing but white boxers with polka dots, and a well-worn muscle shirt. Holding his hand was Timantha, (which made Phoenix blink like a startled owl. He had forgotten they’d reconnected after all these years) wearing an extremely plush bathrobe that was definitely supposed to be Larry’s.

“Edgey, Nicky?” Larry rubbed his eyes, hush in the dark of the morning.

“Hi Larry,” Phoenix waved awkwardly, suddenly very, very aware that they had drunkenly showed up at three in the morning like a pair of the worst serial killers.

“Care-bear, whose this?” Timantha asked, pointing at Miles.

“Oh, Edgey? He’s my other best friend! We’ve known each other since we were nine.” Larry spoke fondly.

“Oh,” Timantha drew out the syllables on the word. Then she leaned into Larry, and winked conspiratorially, adding in much too loudly, “Are him and your lawyer to~ge~th~er?”

Phoenix opened his mouth and fully planned on speaking words, but what actually came out was one long confused ‘uh.’

“We’re going to make out on your couch!” Miles shouted, interrupting the awkward atmosphere.

 “Edgey?”

“You just sat there and disrespected Mia and Phoenix when you… you… sucked face on Ms. Fey’s couch! As his boyfriend it is my job to defend Phoenix’s honour and get revenge for him.” Miles waggled his finger at Larry.

“Ergo, your couch!” he pushed passed Larry with a huff, stalking through the dim apartment looking for the living room.

Larry stared a much longer than 50 yards stare, trying to process everything Miles had said and reconcile it with the fact that they were in his house at too damn early in the morning. Timantha whispered something in his ear. He kissed her hand.

“You should go back to bed, Ti. You’ve got work in the morning.” He murmured. “I’ll introduce you to Nicky and Edgey better next time they come by.”

The unsaid If they even want to come by was heavy on all of them.

“Okay, Care-bear,” Timantha acquiesced and kissed Larry softly on the lips, before heading off back to bed. “Have fun talking with your friend.”

Larry and Phoenix watched each other when she was finally gone, the click of the bedroom door ringing in the silence.

“That couch thing was over a decade ago, Nick,” Larry spoke each word slowly, as if he was figuring out what was happening as he talked.

“It was still kind of rude,” Phoenix hedged.

“Then I really am sorry about it, Nicky,” Larry apologized softly.

As if to prove his sincerity Larry pulled out a bunch of crumpled bills from a candy bowl near the door that seemed to hold keys, loose screws and a battery. “Here. I know it’s not all of it, but it’s a start. All I can do is start finally paying you back the money I owe.”

Phoenix tried to refuse but Larry wouldn’t let him, shoving the money into his hand and folding his fingers closed firmly. Phoenix just stared in a drunken stupor at the man he still occasionally mocked with that mean moniker they’d given him all those years ago.

Somewhere over the years, Larry had grown up, and Phoenix had missed it. Nausea pulled at his gut, and he wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, or the guilt. Larry had always been a good friend to him, attentive and kind in his own way, and almost as ride-or-die as Maya, and the realization that he might not have been doing the same for Larry was sobering him up horribly quickly.

Hell, they were only visiting Larry to tell him about them because they were drunk and Miles had an ill-fated idea of revenge. Larry was an open book, had called him right away months ago, gushing with the news that Timantha and him had gotten back together, that she was interested in his art, and his skills and him not just his looks or his dick, and she was still a model, but also she was an insanely gifted coder now and how cool was that Nicky?

Phoenix had just mhmmed his way through that conversation, and filed it away for later, but felt terrible for the way that Larry was looking at him, so happy to be sharing in Phoenix’s happiness, that he wanted nothing but good things for his ‘best buds.’ That he wasn’t even angry for all that their friendship had become sort of one-sided.

As they walked together into Larry’s living room, a heavy silence between them, Phoenix tried to figure out how to talk down an extremely intoxicated Miles from his plans. There had been a few liquor soaked nights out between them before they’d gotten together and Phoenix knew that Miles was somehow even more stubborn when he was drunk – and also more of a crier than Larry. Perhaps he could make out with him a little bit while letting Larry go make some coffee or something, just to satisfy Edgeworth’s need for ‘revenge’ and then they could try to sober up a little and be better friends to Larry?

But all that planning was for naught when they got to the living room and Edgeworth was lying face down on the couch, one shoe off and the other half untied, snoring loudly. Larry and Phoenix shared a look and then laughed, and the world righted itself between them. It was like being nine again at their sleepovers, and Miles trying his hardest to stay awake, but always ending up asleep first in some strange place, while Phoenix and Larry snickered.

It was always only with the backdrop of Miles sleeping that Larry was able to open up more easily, as if free from trying to wrestle himself into someone respectable for Miles, and that moment, almost three decades, later was no exception.

“Tell me about it, Nicky,” Larry smiled at him in the dim light, throwing a thumb over his shoulder to point towards his kitchen.

And Phoenix did, suddenly glad that he had the same story of the couch that Larry had, that they had some fragile thread to connect across. He was glad their revenge plan had failed, and that Larry, who had always been there, was one of the first he was going to tell about him and Miles.  

Chapter Text

Getting revenge on Maya was something they never should’ve tried.

Larry was nice enough to drive them both home so they wouldn’t have to do the weirdest walk of shame ever together or even worse – the weirdest cab ride of shame. The whole drive he kept looking at the back seat and smiling at them both. It really was nice how happy he was for them. And though they hadn’t planned on him being the first to know, they didn’t regret that it was him. Trucy was the second, when they arrived together at Phoenix’s and she shrieked. The neighbours nearly called the cops. After that, well, there were really only two people they wanted to tell right away: their sisters.

Which is how they ended up on Franziska von Karma’s couch in her lavish L.A. apartment later that afternoon. She had taken one look at the two of them on her doorstep, both strangely sheepish but excited and walked back into her apartment with a sigh, calling out to Maya: “Liebling, your fool and my fool have finally gotten together.”

The pounding of feet was the only warning they got before Maya slid into view from wherever she had been hiding in the apartment and pounced, hugging and screaming and laughing and generally being in their physical space as she congratulated them. She was literally strong enough to grip Phoenix around the waist and lift him several inches off his feet, and Miles did not understand where someone that short and small got all that strength from. And that was just Maya – if Phoenix was correct, his lawyer daughter Athena was even stronger than that. He’d always felt a mix of respect, awe, fear (and love) for his sister, but he thought he might have to reconsider Maya in those terms too.

Maya spun the two of them, and Phoenix yelled, the two of them happy and jovial and bickering like the siblings one saw on sitcoms. It was nice. Miles and Franziska were not the siblings one saw on sitcoms, however. (Miles thought he wouldn’t have it any other way.) As the two of them watched the strange sibling display between the two people they loved most, Miles shuffled next to Franziska and lightly nudged her shoulder with his. She nudged him back. Tentatively, he put his arm around her shoulder, and squeezed just slightly. Franziska gave a quiet hum of approval, consciously leaning in to the side hug.

“I am happy for you, little brother, even if he is quite the fool,” she whispered.

“I’m glad. I love him so much, big sister,” Miles replied.

Deciding he could perhaps push his luck a little, Miles added, “I love you too, you know. Which is why I am glad.”

Franziska rolled her eyes, but it was fond, and they were a little watery, “I am aware, dummkopf.”

“I love you too,” she added, in a barely audible rush of breath, as he moved his arm back to his side.

Miles just smiled, keeping his gaze fixed on Maya and Phoenix, who were somehow still managing to yell about how great their partners were and how much of a dummy Phoenix was. From the corner of his eye he could see Franziska staring resolutely ahead as well, wiping at her eyes when she thought he wasn’t paying attention.

And then, with two terrifying mirror image expressions of sibling chaos, Maya and Phoenix turned to their other siblings. Miles didn’t even have time to consider how to run away before Maya’s arms were around his waist and she was lifting him up in a similar weird hug to what she’d given Phoenix. For his part, Phoenix was attempting to coax Franziska into hugging him, and seemed like he was succeeding.

“Fine.” She eventually relented. “Since you two finally not being idiots about your feelings is a momentous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we may engage in one awkward sibling-in-law hug, and then I shall continue to refrain from hugging you unless it is Christmas or your birthday.”

Phoenix beamed, and pulled Franziska in, and because Miles liked not getting whipped, he didn’t even antagonize her about the fact that she hugged back for longer than was strictly necessary for someone who was simply ‘hugging to get it over with.’ He couldn’t really blame her, as his boyfriend gave excellent hugs (even though he’d only had five his whole life from him so far, he decided that was an acceptable sample size based solely on the quality.)

When they had finally settled down, Franziska had all but pushed Phoenix and Miles into her living room, telling them to keep themselves entertained as she prepared something for them to eat in celebration.

“You’re making lunch?” Miles blurted out. He had never seen his sister cook before.

“Of course, I’m making lunch. I am an excellent host. Much better than you, little brother,” she sneered. Miles had clearly touched a nerve and Maya signalled behind Franziska’s back to drop it. He wisely did, thumping down with Phoenix on the couch to wait for whatever Franziska suddenly had planned. Maya went after his newly seething sister, casting one final glance at him, that said, really, Miles? Really?  

In the bright, clean, classy apartment, it felt almost weird to sit too close to each other, their relationship new and raw in the daylight, when they were sober. They had giggled about revenge over breakfast, but Phoenix had thought that was all talk, just wishful thinking, leftover bravery from the alcohol, he wasn’t even sure they could get revenge on Maya, had to be talked around to it by Miles. And he felt stuck fast by the newness of it all. It was overwhelming how much he wanted Miles. What was even more overwhelming was that he was allowed to want, that want was reciprocated, and there were too many options to choose from, all of them equally good and enticing.

But he’d never quite managed to learn how to be as shameless as Maya was.

The determination in Miles’ eyes buoyed him. Across from him in court, or beside him on the couch, he could do anything if they were together. It was petty, if they thought about it too hard. And Phoenix wasn’t entirely convinced it was a good idea. But Miles could have a little bit of pettiness, as a treat, he decided.

They were going to traumatize Maya the same way she had traumatized them.

And hopefully neither of them would face the wrath of Franziska von Karma.

At least it wasn’t something he would have to feel guilty about doing later, considering Maya would likely encourage such bastard chaos and would definitely be able to laugh about it quickly, unlike the frankly mortifying ordeal of being known by Larry and understanding that they weren’t being fair to him.

They had to time it right, was all. Phoenix did want to rip Miles’ clothes off, and he was pretty certain Miles wanted to reciprocate, but he didn’t want to actually, actually do that on Franziska’s couch. Just look like they were going to do that. And if they spent too long pretending, while waiting for Maya to walk back in, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop the both of them from making it real.

Miles solved his hesitation by treating the whole thing with the level of clarity and exactness he would use for a case. With careful, deliberate moves he rolled up Phoenix’s sleeves for him, rucked his shirt slighty, undid his top button, and ruffled his hair. Then Miles moved on to himself, each piece of dishevelment perfect and exactly placed.

When the sounds of quiet talking seemed to grow nearer, he crawled on Phoenix’s lap, grabbed his shirt, and kissed him like this life depended on it. That kiss… that one had fireworks, that one decidedly did not feel like coming home, it felt like the exquisite ache that flared in your throat just before tasting a cold sip of water when you were so thirsty you couldn’t even breath, it was a kiss that fucking hurt, and Phoenix never wanted it to stop. He completely forgot why they were kissing as they did it, Miles coaxing his mouth open, fingers stretching the fabric of his shirt tight. Some dim thought told him he was supposed to be worried about enjoying the kiss too much, but he pushed it away, because that was stupid.

The sound of footsteps passing the threshold of the living room reminded him why it wasn’t a stupid thought after all. Maya didn’t even flinch as she walked in to see them in their cleverly orchestrated display of inappropriate behaviour. Franziska followed after, deceptively calm and sporting her own evidence of dishevelment – but hers was subtle, just a high flush to her cheeks and the few slightest hairs out of place. It was obvious how Maya had calmed her down from the upset Miles had caused.

Miles stopped, and gulped, feeling both their eyes on him as he slowly pulled back from Phoenix, a line of saliva connecting their mouths. Phoenix tried to think calmly, rationally, but that was a little hard when Miles hands were still fisted in his shirt and his tongue had just been in his mouth. He focused on going cross eyed trying to look at the saliva trail, and wipe it away.

“Huh.” Maya wrapped her arm around Franziska’s. “Our bros are getting frisky on the couch. Kinky.”

“Must you?” Franziska asked Maya. It was said with a dry annoyance. There was no trauma or anger or embarrassment. She barely emoted about it at all. Maya just nodded, with her tongue stuck out.

That was incredibly frustrating. Miles hadn’t quite believed Phoenix when he’d told him that both Maya and Franziska had had absolutely no shame, considering how easily flustered Franziska became when talking about squishy little things like emotions. But there was the evidence, she was absolutely ambivalent about him fucking Phoenix on her couch or – no that was it, she didn’t believe them. She didn’t believe that they would do it (yes, dear sister because unlike you and Maya, I have class).

Eventually, Maya’s gaze settled back on Miles and Phoenix. “Isn’t this a little, oh what was it,” she said, one finger on her chin. “ ‘Licentious and immature’? Yeah, that was it.”

Edgeworth felt his cheeks go immediately hot. That was the real embarrassment, getting called out on his hypocrisy. “Well, you see, Maya, that was….” Miles floundered for a little until he settled on “different.”

“Explain how,” Maya shot back immediately. Right. This was Mia’s sister. Someone who had helped Phoenix on some of his trickiest cases. She would not be easily dissuaded off a line of questioning once she got it in her mind to seek an answer.

Miles floundered for an answer that was both true and wouldn’t make his sister mad.

Maya took his silence with surprisingly good humour, snickering as she looked at him, “Right, so things are just good when you do them, and bad when someone else does it, got it.”

Miles wanted to protest, but he felt vaguely like he was being mocked somehow, even though Maya was, technically, correct. He didn’t have time to worry about that anymore, because his sister decided the correct course of action was to torture him in the way only a sister could.

“You are aware, Miles Edgeworth, that that couch is one we have actually fucked on, yes?” Franziska asked.

Edgeworth practically choked on his own spit, hacking coughs following a horrible wet gasping noise that tore out of his throat. “Why?” He felt foolish the moment he asked it, but it was out there, and he couldn’t take it back.

“Really, little brother, I didn't think I'd need to spell it out for you. Very well, the couch is not only quite comfortable, but offers several advantages such as –”

“I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!” Miles screamed.

“You don’t need to have a conniption, Miles Edgeworth. You asked. And it’s not as though we don’t clean that couch.” Franziska smirked horribly, looking like she was ready to launch into detail if they let her.

“Wait?” Phoenix yelled, interrupting with a sudden realization of his own. “’Actually’? What do you mean actually? Have I been living with the knowledge that you had sex on my office couch, and now you’re telling me you actually didn’t? I spent three hours disinfecting it!”

“Maybe we did, maybe we didn’t,” Maya winked. “A lady never kisses and tells.”

“Why are you like this?” Phoenix complained, while at the same time, Miles mumbled sarcastically, “Yes, you are exactly the picture of a lady.”

“Cause what kind of sister would I be if I didn’t torment my big brothers?” Maya grinned.

It was admittedly heartwarming. Miles had always, always lived with the dynamic of Franziska claiming him as the younger sibling, so it felt strangely nice to be seen as the older one for a change. It implied that Maya looked up to them, that she wanted to follow their example and make them proud – and more importantly to her, he suspected, being the younger sibling meant it was her god given right to bother them both.  

The beeping of the oven drew Franziska away. With a final kiss she left, reminding Maya: “Make sure to not let my brother win, darling.”

“Of course, Fran.” Maya preened.

“Do hurry along with debauching Phoenix Wright, little brother, the food will not take much longer,” Franziska bragged as she flounced out of the room, giving the most cocksure grin Miles had ever seen. 

Maya watched her wife go, sighing as she left, and if this were any other time, Phoenix would have ample opportunity to tease her about being smitten. But as it was Maya was the one with the upper hand, gazing at them coolly, with her arms crossed. She moved her hand in front her to examine her nails, the perfect picture of nonchalance. Just daring them to go through with their plan. 

“Well, go on boys,” Maya taunted, “Do it. Fuck on the couch.”

It was like playing the worst game of women-loving-women vs men-loving-men chicken. Especially because Maya was one hundred percent confident that she would win, and would not back down.

And she was right.

With a sigh, Miles crawled off Phoenix, adjusting his clothes and moving to sit a respectable distance away.

Maya laughed. “That’s what I thought.”

Miles glared at her. Maya laughed harder, clutching her stomach as she followed Franziska back to the kitchen.

“Told you we shouldn’t’ve tried to beat Maya,” Phoenix grumbled.

Miles wasn’t sure if he should be more affronted by Phoenix saying the word ‘shouldn’t’ve’ or if he should keep focusing on his annoyance at Maya. He settled for the latter with a prickly sort of embarrassment roiling in his gut, as Maya laughed her way out of the room.

It took everything in him to admit: “For once I will concede your point: you were right, Maya is incorrigible.”

Phoenix snorted. “I’m pretty sure I said ‘annoying’, but yeah, that too.”

Then he leaned over to press a soft kiss to Miles’ temple.

“But we have all the time in the world now to try and beat her at being disgustingly in love,” Phoenix promised.

Miles felt his stomach swoop. Yes, they really did.

Chapter Text

“I cannot believe you would propose to me in the country where you and Maya nearly died. We’re not even at a landmark or anything.” Miles Edgeworth growled, looking around him at the frankly unfairly beautiful Khura'inese landscape outside their hotel room window.

Pulling his glasses off to rub at the bridge of his nose, he groaned, “No, actually I can. It is by far not the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done.”

Phoenix took his left fist and kissed it, rubbing circles in Miles’ skin to coax him to open his fingers. “Hey, don’t be mad at Khura'in for that, this place is a great country and it’s going to be even better when Apollo and Nahyuta are done with it.”

“I suppose I am being a tad unfair,” Miles conceded.

Phoenix hummed in agreement, the sound softening into a sigh when Miles gave in and opened his hand. Phoenix slid the engagement ring on so tenderly it hurt.

Miles distracted himself from that ache of happiness with practiced sarcasm, “And I suppose the reason for why now is equally as charming and well thought out as the place, hm?”

Phoenix had the grace to look sheepish. “I’ve been meaning to ask you for weeks, I want to be able to be sappy and gushy on Apollo’s couch, so that I can finally tease him about the time he and Klavier were sappy and gushy on mine.”

“Ah, so that’s why you’re asking an hour before we’re supposed to meet them, while I’m trying to get ready,” Miles snarked.

“Do I get points for saying that the way you furrow your eyebrows when you can’t decide between two cravats that are the same color white—”

“I keep telling you, one is mushroom white and the other eggshell white, they are completely different.”

“See Miles, shit like that just makes me want to have this argument with you every day for the rest of my life. I love you so much it makes me stupid.” Phoenix was still on one knee, eyes sparkling with brilliant earnest warmth.

Laying his hand on Phoenix’s head, Miles gave in fondly. “Alright.”

“Alright?”

“I will not repeat myself, love.”

“Hell yeah!” Phoenix shouted, jumping to his feet and pulling Miles into a bone crushing hug.

“You owe me a proper proposal when we get home,” Miles deadpanned when Phoenix put him back down.

"Of course.” Phoenix smiled.

“Right. Well. Until then, what is your strategy for annoying Apollo?” Miles asked, feigning indifference.

Phoenix rubbed his hands together. “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.”


Phoenix knew Apollo could handle it, and that was the only reason he suggested the plan they were implementing. Apollo was not the same man he had been when he first left. Somehow the insane stress of juggling a dozen cases at once, while reforming the legal system of an entire country had made him less uptight – perhaps, Phoenix reasoned, it was because he had somewhere for all his energy to go, and had none to spare to freaking out about other things. Or his relaxed posture as they sat on his office couch was a one-off thing due to the presence of Klavier, leaning against the wall and interjecting softly whenever there was a lull in the conversation.

Klavier still prosecuted, and mostly in Los Angeles. Though he insisted he could be useful as a prosecutor anywhere, and that his solo music career could blossom no matter what country he was in (my music is sold mostly digitally now, Herr Forehead, he always said) Apollo would not let him move permanently to Khura'in with him. He was the rock, the link to LA, the reassurance that Apollo would one day be back. Klavier and Apollo worked well together even at a distance.

Phoenix almost felt bad interrupting their visit together to tease Apollo.

Almost.

They waited until Apollo was momentarily distracted by Klavier, who was somehow able to visit with them, keep his boyfriend entertained and work on cases in a display of work ethic that had Phoenix jealous. Not even his younger self would’ve ever been able to manage the work output Apollo gave himself.

As the banter (slightly saucy on Klavier’s part, and absolutely deadpan on Apollo’s) wound down to its natural conclusion, Phoenix put his arm around Miles’ shoulders. The movement was timed perfectly so that the deliberateness would be very noticeable. Apollo turned to stare at them, Klavier biting off a final quip.

Miles kissed Phoenix as chastely as possible on the side of his mouth, and wasn’t it brilliant, he decided, that he had to remind himself to keep it chaste?

Phoenix touched his lips, flicking his gaze between adoring his fiancée and shooting the most shit eating grin he could at Apollo. “Edgeworth, do you like me?”

Apollo clued in quickly. “Oh, fuck off.”

Klavier snorted, an undignified sound that Phoenix had never heard from him before.

“Of course I do, you dumbass, we're getting married,” Miles replied, and if ever Phoenix had any doubt, the tone Miles had used there washed it all away. Even for a teasing plan, Miles said it with such love, such tenderness, that he could never doubt again.

“Seriously?” Apollo yelled, burying his face in his hands.

“Will you kiss me again?” Phoenix asked, unable to keep the smile off his lips.

Miles pulled him into a very heated, very long kiss. One with tongue and fire, and the click of their teeth against each other. And Phoenix was in love with him even more, for kissing him like that in front of someone else, for being unafraid of what that affection meant and what people would think.

“Knock it off, you horny bastards,” Apollo groaned, having the audacity to spray them with a mist of water from a squirt bottle for the little cactus he kept in his window sill.

Klavier’s face was red and he was wheezing, trying not to burst into long peals of laughter. Apollo sprayed him too for good measure.

“I knew you’d heard us that day,” Apollo accused. He turned to Klavier. “I told you I heard the door open.”

Klavier was too busy trying to compose himself to offer an answer.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Polly, Edgeworth and I just love each other so much, we came up with that all on our own.” Phoenix teased.

Miles placed another chaste kiss on his forehead.

“Ugh, fucking gross.” Apollo gagged. “You know what, since I’m reforming the entire legal system here, I’m making you two illegal. And before you say it, no I’m not homophobic, homosexuals are more than welcome here, it’s just you two! No making out on my couch, and no more stepping foot in this country.”

“That’s no way to treat our work dads, Herr Forehead!” Klavier exclaimed, with the most shit eating grin he could manage.

It somehow got even wider when Apollo used his Chords of Steel to absolutely lose it about Klavier calling them ‘dads’. Phoenix didn’t make out every word but he distinctly thought he heard something about ‘divorcing him before they even got married’, and wasn’t that sweet? What was less sweet was that all the yelling brought down a whole group of royal guards tasked with protecting Apollo. It wasn’t exactly to plan, but Phoenix would count it as a successful revenge anyways, as his lawyer son explained to the men why he wasn’t in danger, it was just his annoying, overbearing mentor and the Chief prosecutor.

Watching Klavier and Miles share a rare laugh between them was worth all the yelling Apollo could do.

Chapter Text

Dropping in on Athena was, admittedly, not their best idea, even if she told them they could come by anytime to celebrate her finally picking out a new apartment. Phoenix suspected that she hadn’t quite expected them to actually take her up on her offer, and normally she would’ve been correct. The Chief Prosecutor didn’t just drop in on people – it was unbecoming. He sent a note ahead. But revenge needed to be a surprise.

To Athena’s credit, she didn’t even flinch initially when she opened the door to find them on her doorstep with a small housewarming gift and a bottle of wine that she was finally allowed to drink. When they got in to the apartment was when the trouble started. Neither Athena nor Apollo had ever really gotten one hundred percent comfortable with Miles, and that became even more apparent as Athena fretted about the cleanliness and tried not to show it, all her energy going in to her anxiety.  

Before she could get too deep into an anxious cleaning spiral, Miles stopped her with a soft smile and kind shrugging gesture. “It is all right, Miss Cykes. It would be incredibly rude of me to judge the state of your apartment considering that you are still moving in. Even if you were not, no one is perfect. You need not strive for it.”

That calmed Athena down, who took their coats and tried to play good host, though Phoenix was prepared to subtly guide the interaction if he had to – he wasn’t sure how much experience Athena had with hosting get togethers that were any more formal than Simon or Juniper.

As if reading his mind, Athena lowered her voice and said, “Juniper is still sleeping. She’s studying for the bar, and very stressed, so we should be quiet.”

So. Athena and Juniper had had a ‘sleepover’, which explained the awkward energy that hadn’t seemed to dissipate, especially considering it was not only him this time, but the Chief Prosecutor. His lawyer kids may have become too casual around him, but around Miles Edgeworth? They were more buttoned up than a sinner trying to look holy in Sunday church. To be fair to Athena though, this was her apartment, and therefore she was allowed to have whoever she wanted over and it was his job to not be weird about it.

“We can be quiet,” Phoenix replied. Miles nodded listlessly next to him.

“Okay, okay, okay, great, perfect,” Athena rambled. “I’ll just go get some glasses and then I guess we could… catch up?” She trailed off, clearly not exactly sure what to do when her boss and his fiancée suddenly appeared for a housewarming get together.

“We’ll just sit on the couch,” Phoenix suggested throwing her a bone.

Athena nodded, scurrying off to the kitchen. On her way there Widget shouted something vaguely like “Act normal!” and Athena tensed hard, before she was gone around the corner and safely ensconced by a dividing wall. 

When in the light of an actually well-lit apartment, the couch Phoenix had helped pick out with Simon looked more garish than he remembered. Miles was quick to point it out and promised that Phoenix would never be allowed to even entertain the idea of picking out furniture for them.

At least it was comfortable, and Phoenix thought that had to count for something. It was the perfect amount of fluffiness, the fabric was soft and clean, and the cushions didn’t sink or sag. They relaxed into them, and Phoenix put his arm across the back of the couch.

Miles leaned on it with a sigh, resting his neck there. While Miles rested, Phoenix took in the rest of the apartment, wondering where Athena would sit when she finally got back; the majority of the living room taken up by as yet still packed boxes. Although he wouldn’t put it past Athena to just sit on one of those. He thought he remembered her telling Apollo that she was a lesbian, of course she couldn’t sit straight, the one time he had tried to lecture her for sitting on something that wasn’t, technically, meant for sitting on. Trucy always said the exact same thing every time Miles told her that scrunching her body into an armchair was not good for her posture.

As the sounds of Athena rustling in the kitchen changed to signal she would be returning, Miles leaned forward, bright and alert. That was it, the moment they were waiting for. The reason they had come there.

The kiss was heated – not as heated as it could be, but definitely toeing the line of appropriateness. Phoenix pulled Edgeworth onto his lap, and he relaxed into him, opening his mouth greedily when Phoenix tried to coax his tongue into it.

“Dad, what the shit!” Athena screeched as she walked back in. The sound echoed painfully in the small apartment, and Phoenix hoped they hadn’t woken Juniper. The stemless wine glasses Athena had been carrying clattered to the floor with a hollow tink noise, revealing that they were plastic instead of glass.

“Ha!” Miles crowed, pulling away from Phoenix to point at Athena. “I have helped defend the honour of Phoenix Wright. Our revenge is complete by turning the tables and making out on your couch –”

“That’s great, honey.” Phoenix pushed Miles off of him to study Athena. Miles spluttered. “But Athena calling me dad again is way more interesting than getting revenge.”

Athena went crimson. “I didn’t say dad!” It was shouted so loud that if Juniper wasn’t awake before then she certainly was after that. The tapping of Athena’s foot and the way she didn’t meet his eyes was enough to tell him she was lying. He didn’t even need a Magatama. “I said, ‘bad’! Like, when you’re scolding someone, you just say that they’re bad and stuff like that!”

“Athena, why do you deny it every time you call me dad? Do you not see me as a father figure?” Phoenix asked. He had to be cool about this, he reminded himself. He was older, it was his job to make sure Athena didn’t get hurt.

“Ah.” Athena bit her lip, and fiddled with her earring. “I do see you as a father figure Mr. Wright.”

“So then why?”

Athena’s hand went to Widget, pre-emptively cutting him off from being able to out her thoughts as she gathered them. “I didn’t want to intrude, I guess. You already have a daughter.”

“Athena,” Phoenix started gently.

“And you’re not single anymore, Mr. Wright.” Try as she might, Athena couldn’t keep the tinge of bitterness out of her voice, even as she was ecstatic for them too. “You can’t just adopt an adult, especially without consulting your fiancée.”

Miles cut them both off as they tried to speak at once. “I am sorry Ms. Cykes, but your logic is highly flawed. I would never stop my love from expanding his family. He has so much love to give and he gives it with his whole heart. I knew that from the moment we got together.”

“See,” Phoenix beamed. “There’s no problem with you thinking of me as a dad. You’re not an intrusion, Athena. And, well, since we’re being honest, I think of you as a daughter, so, I wouldn’t just be humouring you.”

Athena’s grin could’ve lit the darkest room as she let out a loud cheer.

“I am no stranger to Wright adopting people, nor having young people forcibly adopt me as their father, so I suppose,” Edgeworth seemed to physically struggle to get the rest of the words out, but eventually he managed. Phoenix was so proud of him, “if you would like to think of myself as a father figure as well, since I will be marrying Wright, I would not be opposed.”

Athena nodded hard, too overwhelmed to articulate much more than excitement.

“You just got yourself two new dads in a matter of minutes, ‘Thena, I think that’s some kind of record,” Phoenix joked, raising his fist level to Athena’s where she was standing. Hopefully fist bumps were still cool, and not something Trucy had lied about to make him look old. Athena raised her eyebrow but curled her own fist to give his a rough bump.

“Just know I’m the cool dad,” Phoenix bragged.

“Cool?” Miles drawled. Oh no, this was going to become a competition, wasn’t it? “You still can’t even drive, meiner Leiber. I have a cool car, cool clothes and being a prosecutor is by far the cooler job in the legal world.”

“Oh come on!” Phoenix’s voice raised higher. “I am so cool!”

“Neither of you are cool,” came the deceptively calm tones of Juniper Woods, standing at the threshold of the room in her pyjamas and bedhead.

“Junie!” Athena shouted in surprise, rushing over to pull Juniper into a hug.

The young woman relaxed fractionally. Then she moved to push Athena behind her, throwing her arm protectively across Athena’s body. “Mr. Wright. Chief Prosecutor. Just because you made Athena happy, does not excuse the fact that you came here with suspect intentions.”

Phoenix gulped.

“Athena already apologized and faced embarrassment for that misguided afternoon on the couch. It is quite immature to try and get revenge for it.” Juniper took Athena’s hand, squeezing it warmly. “Even if it did lead her to finally stop being in denial.”

Juniper let go of Athena’s hand to cross her arms and level the best glare she could. Even in her unkempt state, it was incredibly effective. “I am going to have to give you both a penalty.”

Phoenix tensed, as Miles let out a muted ngooh beside him. He wondered if it was too late to change careers again, maybe this time he could become a painter. Because honestly? He was a little frightened to have to present evidence to Judge Juniper Woods in court, once she passed the bar.

Chapter Text

The revenge plan fizzled out after Juniper. At least the purposeful part of it. When it came to getting revenge on Trucy and Pearl, it happened purely by accident.

It was familiar and strange all at once. The motions were familiar – him and Phoenix bickering over music as they washed dishes together, the task going more efficiently for their arguing than it otherwise would’ve until reaching its boiling point.

Miles finally conceded that ‘You may play your ABBA, Wright, but I then will be playing the much superior Steel Samurai Love Love Happiness Original Movie Soundtrack after’. Phoenix laughed so hard he almost broke a dish, but the fondness with which he did was almost unbearable.

It was while fiddling with the CD player – a task that everyone agreed Phoenix shouldn’t be trusted with, given how bad he was with technology – that the strangeness of it all struck him once again.

They weren’t in his house, or the WAA or even Trucy’s dorm. They were in Pearl’s small apartment, the little place she had been so excited to help pay for, during her time in the city, deliriously happy to get to go to college, and it felt far more comfortable and normal than it should, given that Pearl herself wasn’t there.

He knew, logically, that Pearl had told them to make themselves at home while she walked to meet Trucy at her university and walk back with her, and had very kindly showed him how to use her fancy multi-CD player, with the intent they should use it, but it still felt odd. It had been odd enough, without anything else to do, alone in someone else’s home that they had both been more than happy to clean for Pearl, after a lengthy debate about whether it would be overstepping or appreciated. Phoenix had countered that since Pearl had deviously put them into that situation to have as much extra alone time with his daughter as she could during their visit, then she could deal with them cleaning for her.

Miles had snorted, but acquiesced. There were worse reasons to clean for someone he supposed. And he wanted Pearl to thrive while she was there too. She was normally very cleanly, but he didn’t begrudge her that it was nearing finals and thus only natural that some of the chores would’ve slipped her mind. And she refused to let him pay for her schooling, was barely letting Maya, her own cousin that had helped raise her, help pay, in a fit of stubbornness that was so indicative of the Fey clan.

But he wanted her life to be easy – isn’t that what everyone should want for the youth they cared for? He couldn’t imagine ever being one of those people that said that since he had it bad, everyone else should too. Dishes it was then, he supposed. And maybe he’d hide a few twenty dollar bills around the place, a demonination of currency that wouldn’t be suspicious but would still be useful, perhaps dust something, anything to make her life a little bit easier.

Miles hadn’t realized he had zoned out until Phoenix brushed his hand along his arm, drawing him out of his scheming. Dancing Queen was already three verses in. Not that he knew every word of the song enough that he could tell exactly where they were. He didn’t like ABBA, he just knew their entire discography for completely unrelated reasons.

Phoenix’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, revealing his perfect forearms, little spots of water stained his shirt, and a few dish soap bubbles clung to his cheeks. The spikes of his hair were drooping with a bit of sweat, and he looked casual, unprofessional, every bit a father happily doing chores so his daughter wouldn’t have to. Miles loved him most ardently.

“Dance with me,” Phoenix suggested, wrapping his warm palms around Miles’ forearms and tugging.

Miles blushed. “You know I don’t dance, Wright.”

“C’mon Miles, please. It’s only me here. And besides, it’s ABBA.”

Miles wanted to protest – what difference did it make what band it was – but he couldn’t. Not when Phoenix was looking at him like that.

“Very well,” he groused.

Phoenix pulled him into a sloppy box step that became a circle step that became simply moving their bodies for the pleasure of doing so, hand in hand. It was more freeing than Miles thought possible and he heard his laughter echoing through the small space before he even realized he was doing it.

And then, in typical Phoenix Wright fashion he had to ruin it by falling over the arm of the couch and taking Miles with him, hands still entwined together. Pearl’s extremely classy couch (Miles was ninety-five percent sure that Franziska had helped pick it out, as Pearl had all but admitted that she was the only person who she trusted when it came to aesthetic choices) broke their fall, Phoenix groaning as his back hit the cushions. Miles fell on top of him, knees and elbows stopping him from knocking the wind out of his fiancée. Their noses were inches apart.

Miles watched Phoenix. Phoenix watched him. The familiar ache, the one that was glad, instead of sad, bolted through his entire body. Phoenix put his hand on the back of his head, just holding him, staring into his eyes and burning with the knowledge that they were together, and so, so happy. Miles never wanted the moment to end.

He changed his mind when Phoenix leaned up and their mouths met. He smiled through the kiss. It was soft and gentle. Familiar and hesitant all at once. Phoenix sometimes kissed him like he would lose him. Miles could hardly blame him. He certainly didn’t have the best track record of staying. He responded the way he always did when Phoenix kissed him scared and small. He proved it to him, deepening the kiss, frantic and needy and warm.

Trucy and Pearl chose that exact moment to open the door, hand in hand, talking loudly about one thing or another.

“Daddy! Papa!” Trucy exclaimed.

“That’s not what I meant when I said you two could make yourselves at home,” Pearl said cheekily.

“Uh,” Phoenix stammered nonsensically.

Miles was nonplussed and extricated himself from Phoenix’s grip, both of them moving to sit beside each other. “I will admit, Trucy, my dear, that we were not trying to get revenge on you two, like we did with everyone else, but now that we have achieved it, I am not displeased.” He crossed his arms, flushing smugly.

Trucy flipped her hair out of her eyes, throwing out her best impression of Miles’ signature pout. “I suppose, my dear Papa, I shall admit that you have won. Good job, and to the victor goes the spoils. But…”

But Trucy wasn’t one to waste a golden opportunity and she barrelled her way into the apartment, coming to stand triumphantly in front of Phoenix and Miles. With a flourish she pulled out her phone.

“Now it’s my turn to call Maya for help embarrassing someone!” She smirked at him as she unlocked her phone, rocking on the balls of her feet in a familiar façade of innocence.

“Y’know,” Phoenix smiled gamely, “Maya’s pretty chaotic. There’s a fifty percent chance she’d help me instead of you, kiddo. Are you sure you want to take that chance?”

Trucy reluctantly decided that no, she did not want to take that chance. Pearl took her hand, coming up beside her to comfort Trucy with a kiss to her cheek. “That’s okay, Mr. Nick. We’ll just call Franziska instead.”

Miles blanched. Franziska would definitely take Pearl’s side over theirs. Trucy’s wilted smile turned back into a wicked grin, glad to finally have the upper hand. Phoenix narrowed his eyes at her. She narrowed hers back.

“Not if I get you first!” Phoenix lunged for the phone in Trucy’s hand.

Trucy shrieked, bouncing away from him with a light and easy step. Phoenix lumbered, but quickly, grinning maniacally as he jumped up to chase her around the small apartment.

“Daddy no!” Trucy yelled, sleight of handing her phone away.

That didn’t deter Phoenix. They both laughed as he chased her, trying to grab her and pull her into a hug, while she tried to grab him and tickle him until he forgot why he was chasing her.

As Phoenix and Trucy ran around the apartment Pearl came over to sit primly on the sofa next to Miles, watching the two of them.

“Should we help them?” Miles asked Pearl, leaning down slightly to meet her gaze.

“No way Mr. Miles,” Pearl responded with a laugh.

“Of course,” he said, in mock seriousness, “you’re right.”

“Well, not yet,” Pearl mumbled shyly. “But I will be.”

It took Edgeworth a moment to catch on, but when he did he couldn’t help the tenderness that bloomed in his chest. He’d known Pearl for so long, but for almost as long he had thought he wasn’t worthy of anything but a fond distance from her. But she could be his daughter-in-law one day. Would be, if her confidence was anything to go by. And it usually was.

It was a pleasant thought. He wanted it, he realized, sitting on the couch with her, watching the Wrights cause chaos in the tiny apartment. Pearl, braver than him, sidled closer, and leaned against his side. Miles wasn’t totally hopeless – he remembered his own, hedging, hesitant shows of affection towards his father who had always been more than ready to smother him with love, but held back for his comfort – and wrapped his arm around Pearl. She smiled up at him, and he took a moment to stop and really consider everything that had brought him to that moment.

Across six couches and five ill fated attempts at revenge, Miles was there in that moment with a family so large it almost overwhelmed him. One couch had brought them all together, and the other five had done nothing to help his revenge plans.

Perhaps the best revenge of all, he considered, was a life well lived together. It was him and Phoenix, kissing soft and lazy in the morning, it was going on surprisingly decent double dates with Larry and Timantha, meeting his oldest friend over again and learning about him in a new light, and having interesting conversations with his coder/model girlfriend, it was Franziska and Maya, barging into his house at the most inconvenient times to remind him that he hadn’t been paying enough attention to them, his big sister refusing to admit how much she missed him and his little sister being far, far too emotionally candid about it, it was Apollo and Klavier, who almost had too much of him and Phoenix in them, one half of the set of young people Miles had carefully guided to make sure he didn’t become the second Demon Prosecutor, it was Athena and Juniper, another daughter and her girlfriend, one who was finally, finally, starting to warm up to him, and talk to him like a human, ask him for opinions or advice when she went to see Simon, and it was Trucy and Pearl, the woman who still called him Papa, no matter how old she got, and the woman who had seen him at times that were his lowest, and forgave him, who was leaning into his touch like they’d always been a family.

Most importantly, it was his. It had started on Mia’s couch, of course when Phoenix kissed him, but perhaps even earlier than that. Perhaps it started when she opened her own office and she sat down with Phoenix on that couch, sweaty and tired, but satisfied from a long day of moving furniture, decades ago and declared that she would make a lawyer out of him yet, rookie.

It was his. There was magic in Mia’s couch, and he would swear it as long as he lived, as long as his life was his.

Chapter Text

Charley lived on. But couches didn’t last forever. They aged like humans. It wasn’t revenge, there was no inciting incident to it. It was simply the way of things.

Miles couldn’t remember the exact year it had happened, but sometime between them actually finally getting married and Trucy graduating from college, the couch moved from the office to the guest room of the house Phoenix and he shared together. It would last longer there, he had argued, and could be still be useful and within reach. It was as much for Maya’s benefit as for Phoenix’s, as she took the couch to be a tangible recognition that she was always welcome in their guest room, that it was basically her and Franziska’s room within his house.

That it seemed to be the only thing slept on when it was Maya alone who came to visit them, whether for Steel Samurai or other reasons, was a fact that Miles kept close to his heart. He didn’t believe in ‘sleeping on the couch’ when Phoenix and him had a disagreement they couldn’t resolve easily, as that would just mean waking up sore and angry. But Miles also knew that grief was not linear, that sometimes it circled back to bite hot and heavy, and so on the rare days that Phoenix hurt too much to cry about it – usually around the beginning of September, Miles would just cover Phoenix with a blanket as he slept on Mia’s couch, and go to bed alone. The years were not kind to the couch, but Miles tended to it as well as one could tend to anything that aged, knowing that his husband and dear little sister Maya needed to be able to sleep on it as long as possible.  

Amongst the humans in his life, Maya aged gracefully, more gracefully by far than some people Miles had to deal with on a regular basis. She never bemoaned time changing her body, and embraced the laugh lines and wrinkles that slowly etched onto her face. On her fortieth birthday she appeared at her own party with a silver streak in her hair, responding to the few strands of silver that had only just begun to appear in the most Maya way possible.

It made him think of Mia, of what she might’ve done at fifty, at the foundations of the legal world she would’ve shook, and where the silver would’ve made its home in her hair. Mostly it made him quiet and contemplative. It had been a long time since he had disrespected her in court, and he’d found absolution in taking care of her family, and the couch she had given them, that had brought them together. Miles tried not to think words like ‘deserve’ anymore, but he felt it proper to think about Mia from a distance, as someone his husband and little sister knew better than him; not because he did or didn’t deserve it but because their feelings would always be first in his mind when it came to Mia.

Milestone birthdays were always difficult for Maya because as a decade her senior they should have also been milestone years for Mia. She only cried when it was over though, in the twilight after the party, when she could drop the façade of worrying about everyone else and let other people look after her. It felt like a privilege for Miles to have worked his way past her walls; the kind that he hadn’t seen when he was young and blustery and angry at how easily she scaled his own emotional walls. Even in her grief, Maya had the grace of age to laugh when she sat on the couch after the party and it finally fell apart in a great heave of fabric and wood.

“Guess that’s it, boys,” she’d said to them, thinking of Phoenix’s feelings about the couch before her own, and gripping his shoulder tight. When she hugged him, she was the last to let go.

They had a funeral for it, which a younger Miles would’ve found too silly too handle – but he had married in to silly, he loved his silly family, his husband who was so earnest and kind, his big sister who still clung to certain oddities of perfection and stoicness – but they were her own, grown and cultivated with love from them all, and the little sister he had gained twice over, who still had the silliest opinions about Steel Samurai and the new reboot. And that was just the beginning of it all, there were even more silly members of his family he could name, but the silly little funeral was just for the four of them, and the magic couch that had done so much.

Maya insisted on a Viking funeral, which meant they foolishly had to find a barge to burn on Gourd Lake. (It helped that, as Chief Prosecutor for over a decade he was trusted and liked, and could easily pull the strings necessary to legally have such an event.) The hardest part, it seemed, would be finding an archer to do the honours of lighting the barge. It was Kay who eventually did it, archery just one more of her hidden talents. Another, even better talent was the way she understood discretion, his sometimes daughter was there and gone with the breeze, the only evidence the burning barge and after-echo of the snap of a bowstring. She understood that it was for the four of them, and did not begrudge them their tiny private silly little moment for the couch funeral.

It was silly. But also perhaps too real. A funeral meant death, it meant corpses. They worked in the law, and almost all of them had observed executions before, or been haunted by their specters, so it wasn’t psychologically unreasonable that calling it a funeral would connect the couch to a corpse. Miles didn’t want that for his family. The couch was brilliant.

It took it him perhaps a little longer than he cared to admit to think of the idea, but once he had it he knew it was a good one. There was enough salvageable fabric from the underside of the cushions to make two small serviceable pillows – the couch would live on, in a new way. It would be no crumbling corpse, but a thing that was now something else, changed and remade.

The only problem was that he didn’t think of this until a few days before the burning, and he had barely sewn his entire life, partly because he could pay people to do it for him, and partly because the ‘paper crane incident’ had shown him he was not good at rote mechanical skills. And needle and thread could not be logicked into sewing themselves, no matter how hard he tried.

But he was Chief Prosecutor, and he would not lose when it came to his family. He would just have to practice with other scrap fabric first, so that he didn’t waste the small amount of material he had. It had seemed like a perfect plan at the time.

Miles had sewn until his fingers burned with pain, and even then it hadn’t been enough. He’d had to reluctantly let Franziska in on the plan to help, and accept her fond rants about his foolishness ‘of starting an endeavour he has no experience or ability for in a foolish bout of sentimentality, and waiting until the night before it needs to happen to get her help’, as she helped him finish the gift he made them. She guided his clumsy fingers with her small hands, and he remembered an old time, long buried, her doing the same when he was twelve and she five, and he tried to hide a rip in their couch cushions that he had made accidentally from Manfred von Karma. It took late in to the evening, both their eyes and their fingers burning together, but they managed with just enough time to spare to get back to their loved ones without raising suspicion and that was all he could hope for.

Miles waited until the barge was half burned down, and Maya and Phoenix had finished passing a flask of whiskey between them, reminiscing wetly about Mia and the couch, to present the gifts. (He hadn’t taken part in the alcohol because unlike some people he had an appreciation for how difficult it had been to make the burning legal in the first place and clear out the park of random bystanders, and wasn’t about to risk getting in trouble for public intoxication. Franziska had declined at first on the basis of not drinking from something that Phoenix Wright had put his mouth on, but as with many things, Maya managed to wear her down, and she drank with a reluctant, if fond, grumble.)

The pillows were wrapped perfectly. Miles could at least do that, even if he couldn’t sew. Maya and Phoenix both froze when he presented them with the wrapped bundles, looking suddenly small and unsure. Miles almost regretted it, until they actually moved and opened the gifts, in a slow, methodical way that didn’t match either of their personalities.

Phoenix started crying first; Maya’s resolve crumpled shortly thereafter, as she hugged the pillow to her chest and let the tears come. The gesture was perfect. It didn’t matter that the stitching was uneven, and the stuffing was lumpy, it was enough to have them, a visible tangible reminder of the couch and all it meant to them – and the work of the hands of loved ones, distilling that magic, that love into the little pillows.

Maya threw herself into hugging Miles, lifting him to tiptoe and he took back his thoughts about her grace – things changed, but they also stayed the same, and Maya was still Maya. It was comforting. If Maya could still be herself, at forty, with a streak of silver in her hair, and laugh lines on her face, then the couch could still be magic, even as two ugly pillows. And Mia could still watch over them all, from wherever the dead went.

With the strength that made her a force of nature, Maya pulled an awkward Phoenix into the hug, stopping his dallying and dithering with her usual enthusiasm. And then Franziska was crashing into him bodily, yanked into the crying, horrible, foolish mess they’d become, as the last dregs of the barge burned out on Gourd Lake that soft September evening.

And if you asked Miles what he saw as he held his husband and sisters in his arms, over their shoulders, he would simply give a wry grin and say that he saw nothing strange at all. There was nothing strange, after all, about the smiling ghost of Mia Fey, and equally nothing strange about Miles lifting his hand just so to thank her with a wave.