Apollo had spent his nose buried in case files for the last few days, wrapping up the final loose threads relating to State vs. Misham and the trial of the Jurist system. Under normal circumstances doing the paperwork only took a day, but even with his outstanding case record, this was an oddball.
There was a ding from the reception outside, and Apollo would have ignored it if he wasn’t the only one in the Agency at the time, but Mr. Wright and Trucy were both out (Phoenix had promised to be back in an hour, an hour and a half ago—which was fairly typical, frankly), so he was obligated to answer it.
Hopefully it was a normal client with a normal case. Maybe he wouldn’t get a criminal this time.
He slid out of his chair, heading through the door into the reception area, still reading over case files.
Apollo looked up over the edge of his papers and felt his eyes widen. The man standing in reception did not look like their typical client. For one, he looked completely out of place in the tiny office—expensive suit, well-groomed hair…was that a cravat?
Additionally, he seemed entirely calm. Most of their clients usually held an air of worry or anxiety, but this man simply had his arms folded and was waiting patiently.
“Uh, hello” Apollo said, and the man turned, raising an eyebrow at him. “Can I help you?”
“Perhaps. I’m looking for Phoenix Wright.”
“He’s not in right now” Apollo said, rubbing the back of his head. “He should be back soon, though. He said an hour an hour and a half ago.”
A small smirk appeared on the man’s face. “That sounds like him. I’ll wait, then.”
The man took a seat on the reception’s couch, still giving Apollo an inquisitive look, though he had more or less gone back to reading over his documents, heading over to the reception’s seat as to not leave their…guest? Client? well, whatever he was, it would be rude to head back into the office and leave him out here alone.
“If I’m not mistaken, that would be a defence attorney’s badge on your lapel?” the man asked, and Apollo looked up, glancing down to his badge.
“Then you must be Apollo Justice. I’ve heard a little about you from Wright. It’s nice to see this office actually dealing in law again.”
Apollo looked at the other man for a few moments, feeling a nagging sense that he knew him from somewhere, but he wasn’t able to recall where exactly that was. He certainly hadn’t met him in person, but still…he was familiar. It’d probably be easier to remember if he wasn’t neck deep in the test trial paperwork.
“Yeah…it’s been an eventful year” Apollo admitted, glancing at the document. “Never a dull moment around Mr. Wright.”
The other man chuckled quietly. “Very true. He has a habit of attracting the ridiculous.”
“The judge mentioned that during my first trial” Apollo said with a nod. “…which was defending him from a murder charge.”
“Ah…that would be the third time.”
“Third?” Apollo asked, his eyebrows shooting up. “I thought the only other time was during the State vs. Fey trial, which turned into State vs. Wright, and that barely counted.”
“He got genuinely tried for murder while he was still in college” the man explained. “So yes, the most recent charge was the third time.”
The man smirked, looking up over the rim of his glasses. “I suppose you are a fan of his, then?”
“You could have said that” Apollo muttered, scratching at something with his pen, and the other man’s smirk widened.
“Ah. You’re more familiar with that Wright, rather than his Ace Attorney personality.”
“Phoenix Wright, Ace Asshole” Apollo muttered, only half meaning it, but the man chuckled again all the same.
“Would you mind giving me an example?”
Apollo looked up, and he could see that the other man was rather enjoying hearing about Phoenix from someone else—there was a genuine aura to his curiosity so Apollo felt obligated to inform him.
“Well… one of the most prominent examples would be one time where he turned around and said ‘I knew you could do it’…and when I asked ‘really?’ he responded with ‘No, but that sounds better than saying ‘heya’.”
“Dear god, he’s gotten worse” the man said, shaking his head.
“My first trial also involved convicting my mentor of murder, with his instruction…and my most recent trial was again convicting my former mentor of murder. And attempted murder. And forgery.”
Apollo sighed, and the other man raised his eyebrows.
Apollo looked up properly. “Have you not seen the papers?”
“I’ve been out of the country until about four hours ago” the man admitted. “I haven’t had a chance to pick up the paper, and I haven’t checked the news on my phone just yet, either. Do tell about this forgery charge. This is Kristoph Gavin, the defence attorney, correct?”
“Yeah. Prosecutor Gavin’s older brother. This trial was for a girl named Vera Misham, and she turned out to be a forger, and the man who died, her dad…he was the front for the whole thing.”
“So Kristoph murdered him?”
“Yes…but it was delayed? He intended to kill both of them years ago, and he nearly killed Vera during the trial since he’d laced her nail polish with atroquinine, and put it on the back of a stamp that Mr. Misham only used on the night of his death.”
“So Kristoph had commissioned these forgers, and intended to kill them to cover his tracks.”
“…what exactly was this forged item?”
Apollo sat up a bit. “There’s the kicker—a diary page. A diary page he slipped to Mr. Wright seven years ago, and then told Prosecutor Gavin that Mr. Wright had gotten it himself. That’s why Mr. Wright’s out…he’s still dealing with clearing up the fact he wasn’t responsible for the forgery that got him disbarred.”
“He’s been cleared?!” the man asked, sounding extremely surprised and getting to his feet. “And he didn’t call?”
The younger attorney shrugged at him. “Like I said, he’s been really busy…”
“I can’t believe this” the man muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Seven years and he doesn’t bother to call me.”
He muttered something under his breath, something that sounded suspiciously like he’s sleeping on the couch.
Apollo squinted at him, putting his head in his hand. He was getting frustrated by his inability to figure out who this was. He seemed to know Mr. Wright very personally. Maybe he was involved in one of his cases…?
Apollo stared at the hue of the man’s suit for a moment. Magenta.
He promptly slapped himself, jumping to his feet and shouting “MILES EDGEWORTH!”
The man jumped, staring at the younger attorney. “W-what?”
“You! You’re Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth!” Apollo shouted, pointing at him. “I’m such an idiot! I’m so sorry!”
Apollo leapt over the reception desk, grabbing Edgeworth’s hand and shaking it enthusiastically. “I’m so sorry! I can’t believe it took me this long to realize who you are! I’ve watched all of Mr. Wright’s cases, you’re like his ultimate rival…I’m an idiot!”
“Uh, Mr. Justice…please stop shouting” Edgeworth requested weakly, feeling like his arm was going to fall off.
“Oh! S-sorry!” Apollo shouted lamely, letting go and rubbing the back of his head. “I-I just got kind of excited…you’re even more impressive in person!”
“Unlike Wright, I assume.”
“Well, yeah…I mean, no, kinda…well, I met him while I was defending him for murder and he kind of dresses like a bum.”
“Yes, he has been less considerate of his appearance over the last few years” Edgeworth admitted, rubbing at his hand.
“His courtroom technique was still pretty impressive though…he followed through the evidence with logic and was the one who pointed out Mr. Gavin was the culprit.”
“Wright used logic…?” the prosecutor asked, folding his arms and closing his eyes. “Now that is a surprise to hear.”
Edgeworth let out a small sigh. “To think people still consider us ‘ultimate rivals’, after all this time…hmph. Well, there hasn’t been a defence attorney able to give me a run around like he could since, so I suppose there’s some truth to it.”
The older man looked at the younger attorney, giving him a slight smirk. “From what I’ve heard, you do live up to his ‘legacy’…if I still prosecuted trials, I think it would’ve been interesting to stand opposite to you.”
Apollo’s eyes grew very wide, and he somehow managed to look even younger than he already did. “W-wow, Mr. Edgeworth…that’s like the ultimate compliment…”
The younger man folded his arms a moment later, raising an eyebrow. “But…you’re not a prosecutor anymore? When did that happen?”
“Well, it’s part of why I’m back in the country” Edgeworth said. “And I will be staying here for quite some time henceforward…I intend to surprise Wright.”
Apollo was about to speak, but was promptly interrupted by the door to the office clicking open.
“Apollo, are you ok? I heard shouting, and I know you’re generally always shouting but this sounded a little differ…rent…”
Phoenix was standing in the doorway, staring into the office with wide eyes. Well, more specifically, staring at Edgeworth.
“W-what…when did you get back?” he asked breathlessly.
“A few hours ago” Edgeworth said curtly, folding his arms. “It is good to see you, Wright.”
“Y-yeah…I didn’t think you’d be back in the country for another month” Phoenix said, closing the office door and heading inside. “Special occasion?”
“Special occasion for me, or special occasion for you?” Edgeworth asked, raising an eyebrow at him, and Phoenix promptly shot Apollo a glare. The younger attorney began rubbing at the back of his head, looking guilty.
“I was going to call after all the actual legal stuff was cleared up” Phoenix admitted. “...I figured you’d rush back if I told you, so…”
“You are correct, but I’m not here for that reason, however.”
Phoenix raised his eyebrows, though it was hard to see such with his beanie on. “What’s up?”
Edgeworth tried to keep a still expression, but there was a slight crease on his lips. “…the district’s Prosecutor’s Office called me a few days ago, with a proposal.”
“Proposal…?” Phoenix asked.
“…they offered me the position of Chief Prosecutor for the district. Despite my time abroad, I do owe much to this city, so I accepted…which means I am now stationed here for the foreseeable future.”
“You’re…going to be living here?” Phoenix whispered, his jaw sliding open. “Permanently?”
Apollo was not prepared for what happened next, not in the slightest. Phoenix’s cracked a face-splitting grin, suddenly looking ten years younger, and he promptly bowled Edgeworth over and onto the couch, kissing the prosecutor firmly on the mouth.
“W-Wright, calm down!” Edgeworth said after he broke off, looking flustered.
“Calm down? Calm down?!” he exclaimed, kissing Edgeworth again. “I know how much you love Europe, you accepting this job, coming back to live here…thank you. Thank you. Oh, my luck is finally back, well and truly.”
Phoenix leaned his forehead on Edgeworth’s. “We should go celebrate.”
“First of all, if we’re going to be celebrating, I am picking the venue. I know what you eat on celebrations, Wright, and I am not risking a coronary. And second of all…your protégé happens to be standing behind us, and his face happens to match the colour of his suit right now.”
Phoenix turned to look at Apollo, who had frozen the moment Phoenix had kissed Edgeworth, and hadn’t budged since.
“Ah…haha…” Phoenix murmured, clambering off the now-Chief Prosecutor. “Sorry ‘bout that, Apollo.”
“N-no…it’s fine…” he said quietly. “It just…surprised me a bit. I uh…I didn’t…I didn’t think prosecutors and lawyers could…uh…fraternize.”
Both Phoenix and Edgeworth raised their eyebrows at that one.
“Well, I haven’t been a lawyer for seven years” Phoenix said, putting his hands in his pockets. “But we’ve always kept work and home life separate…mostly.”
“You know, besides the countless times we involved our relationships and emotions in our trials” Edgeworth said flatly. “Or that one time I stood as a defence attorney for the sake of your previous partner.”
“Ok so…it’s ok for the defence and the prosecution to fraternize then?” Apollo said, and Phoenix squinted at him for a moment, hand coming to rub the stubble on his chin.
“You wouldn’t happen to be thinking of a particular prosecutor, would you?”
“N-NO!” Apollo yelled, somehow going redder. “T-THAT’S RIDICULOUS, MR.WRIGHT!”
Phoenix just smirked, still rubbing his chin. “Ok then, Apollo.”
The younger attorney made a face at him, frowning.
“Ok, well, I should go get Trucy, she’ll be really excited to here you’re staying” Phoenix said, grinning at Edgeworth. “Maybe even half as excited as I am.”
“Well, perhaps she’ll also be half as happy as I am to hear you’ve managed to clear your name. I didn’t believe for a second that you actually forged that evidence.”
Phoenix looked a bit sheepish at that, and Apollo folded his arms. Probably a bad time to bring up the evidence he actually forged…
“Well…you shoulda heard the price tag Gavin forked out for it. He was really determined to win that case…I still don’t know why.”
“Price tag?” Edgeworth asked. “…How much did he pay for it?”
“Two hundred thousand” Phoenix uttered, and Edgeworth’s jaw slipped open before he could catch it.
“Two hundred thousand dollars for a diary page? That’s…that’s mind-boggling! Who pays that kind of money and then deliberately reveals it as a fake?”
“A man who, at the time, believed the creators were going to be dead within a few months” Phoenix said quietly. “…and a man who didn’t like me very much. He was a good liar, I’ll give him that.”
Phoenix shook his head. “But, I’d rather deal with the questions he still has later. We should go get Trucy.”
Edgeworth turned to Apollo. “I think he should come along, too. After all, without his help, your name would never have been cleared.”
“Oh, is that what he told you?” Phoenix asked, and Edgeworth simply shook his head, closing his eyes and breathing out through his nose.
“Be glad I’m not insisting you go and shave first” Edgeworth said strictly, folding his arms.
“Just admit you like the stubble, Miles” Phoenix murmured, nudging the magenta-clad prosecutor with a small grin.
“No. I suppose Trucy is performing at the Wonder Bar this evening?”
“Yeah. She should be nearly finished, though.”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll enjoy being picked up by a vehicle that isn’t pedal-powered. Judging by the lack of car nearby, I’m going to assume your protégé has also followed in your licenseless footsteps.”
“Uh, heh heh…”
“Thought so. We should get moving. Come along, Mr. Justice. I’m sure you’ll appreciate a meal that isn’t sodium-heavy noodles.”
“We’re not going to Eldoon’s? YES! FINALLY!”
Apollo strode out the door, a spring in his step.
“You need to feed your children better” Edgeworth said, folding his arms.
“Apollo can feed himself” Phoenix said with a shrug. “Maybe.”
“Mm, so you’re not denying fatherhood of your new underling. Am I to expect another set of adoption papers to skim under my nose?”
Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck. “Mph…well, maybe if he wasn’t in his twenties.”
The shorter of the two grinned knowingly, nudging Edgeworth again. “But I’m not the one dad’ing him within twenty minutes of meeting the guy.”
“I was not ‘dad’ing him. That isn’t even a word.”
“Embrace your fatherly instincts, daddy” Phoenix teased, heading for the door, and Edgeworth frowned, deciding that commentary was going to lead nowhere good when Wright was in this mood.