"I'm in love with you."
At first, it seemed like there was no reaction to Phoenix's confession, but seven years of playing poker had left its mark- he could see Edgeworth's right hand twitch and jerk a little to the left, as if he was moving to grab his other arm before he stopped himself.
"Why would you tell me this?"
Phoenix scratched his neck nervously, picking at the knit base of his beanie. "I just figured I'd tell you before I officially got my badge back, you know, tie up loose ends and all-"
"So what was the point? Did you want to throw me off guard before you returned to court? Are you trying to put me off prosecuting shared cases? Because I can't really see your logic here-"
"Wait, what? What are you talking about?"
"Wright, don't be ridiculous. We both know that you don't have romantic feelings for me, so just get to the point and tell me why you really said it."
"But I do!" If he were a weaker man, Phoenix might have cried in frustration. But as it was, all he could see was Edgeworth clutching his arm, grimacing and shaking his head in denial. "Why won't you believe me?"
"Because there is no way you could possibly have feelings for me!"
"And why is that?"
"Because-!" Edgeworth faltered. "Because... you... I..."
"Don't have any evidence?" Phoenix stepped closer to the stammering prosecutor. "Then I'll just have to present my own. I wrote letters to you for years after you suddenly disappeared when we were kids. I chose my career after I saw you become the very person your childhood self would have hated. I continued to defend you even after you convinced yourself and just about everyone that you were guilty of your father's murder. I risked losing my badge when I asked you to defend Iris for me, I helped you with your cases in Europe after I did lose my badge, and you were the only person these past seven years to know the whole truth of why I revived the Jurist System."
Edgeworth scoffed, though with a bit more uncertainty with before, "And you did that all because you are infatuated with me?"
"It's not infatuation, it's more than that. I trust you, Miles." Suddenly Phoenix was hit with the full force of Edgeworth's incredulous stare, and that was when it clicked. "Miles... did you really think I didn't trust you? After all these years and all we've been through?"
"Wright, I have done many things in my career that would be classified as 'shady' at best and 'borderline illegal' at worst, and a good part of that was aimed toward defeating you. I didn't think you were that much of a fool."
"Well, you never got disbarred, did you?"
"Sorry, sorry." Phoenix chuckled at Edgeworth's glare, then sobered. "It's not about the things you've done against me, it's about what you've done with me. No matter if it helps your 'side' in court or not, you'll always help me find the truth. That's why I trust you."
There was a long silence, then Edgeworth coughed uncomfortably. "You trust me."
"And that's the reason you're..."
"In love with you? Also yes."
Another pause. "I... am sorry I didn't believe you before." He shuffled a bit, which Phoenix probably would have thought was cute if he wasn't so impatient for Edgeworth to get to the point already. "What would you have me do now?"
Phoenix repressed a sigh of relief. "Well I suppose telling me if you reciprocate or not would be a good place to start," he said.
Edgeworth rolled his eyes. "Do you remember the Will Powers case?"
"...I guess?" Phoenix replied, raising a brow at the non sequitur.
"Do you remember what I told you after the trial?" Edgeworth was avoiding Phoenix's eyes again, though he seemed to be contemplative rather than skeptical.
"Yeah, you said... something about having 'unnecessary feelings', right? Feelings of doubt and uncertainty, I think...."
"At the time, I didn't realise what exactly I was so doubtful of. I pushed those thoughts away a long time ago, but you seem to have brought them back again." He cracked a small smile. "And I've come to realise the thing I was doubting was the platonic nature of my own feelings."
Phoenix blinked. It was rather long winded, as Edgeworth tended to be when talking about emotions, but if he had followed his speech correctly then that meant... "You're in love with me too!"
"It would appear so," was all Edgeworth got out before he was nearly knocked over by a beaming almost-attorney. Phoenix felt him slowly return the embrace, and couldn't keep from laughing breathlessly.
"Hey," he said, and Edgeworth pulled back to look him in the eye. "Does that make us boyfriends now?"
"Don't be so juvenile, Phoenix." He barely had time to revel in Edgeworth actually using his first name before the prosecutor rested his temple against Phoenix's. "Let's stay like this a little longer before we start."