In the first few days, waiting was rather like a game. Phoenix felt like a dog tensing with excitement every time its owner's hand came near the food bin. When Miles leaned over him to adjust the alarm, his heart sped. Foolishly, he wondered whether Miles' morning shower might come with an invitation. After Trucy turned in early one night, even television became exciting as Phoenix imagined that leaning against Miles would morph into enthusiastic, awkwardly clothed dry humping.
It was soon apparent that his imagination's timeline was far too optimistic. No, Phoenix corrected. "Optimistic" was wrong, because that implied that it would be good if Miles was ready... but bad if he wasn't. His thoughts adjusted: a timeline of just a few days was too swift. "Swift" was a word without judgment. And Phoenix would wait, like he'd promised. He'd wait without complaint.
His blood had still warmed, though, and excitement like that was difficult to tamp down again. There were a lot of morning showers that lasted longer than necessary for just washing his hair. Worse, more Agency cases had developed out of that producer's party in the Hollywood Hills. After Apollo and Athena had gotten their first client freed (despite the compelling testimony from the man in a gimp suit), his two junior associates had all sorts of newly indecent evidence to discuss. Every time Phoenix went to work, there were more naughty pictures up on the office's huge monitor.
It was Hollywood. Every person was beautiful.
After about a week of that futile excitement, Phoenix stopped feeling like some terrible second puberty had him in its thrall. Miles' hand lingering on his shoulder still sped his pulse, but Phoenix didn't lose control like a flash flood of teenaged hormones were rushing through his veins. After two weeks, impatience gripped him again, despite his best efforts. He tried not to let it show and mostly succeeded. After three weeks, whether out of resignation or boredom, he stopped keeping a tally of the days spent waiting.
* * *
"Good morning," Miles said, considered the perfection of his outfit one last time, and ignored his briefcase to walk over to the bed.
Phoenix ducked away when Miles leaned to give him a quick farewell peck, so his partner ended up kissing him on the forehead rather than the mouth. "Morning breath. I want you making it to the office alive."
"Appreciated," Miles said, and stood again. Phoenix didn't mind offering that courtesy. Miles Edgeworth didn't do well with overlooking messy biological... anything. "It's an early morning, obviously, but I should be home on time tonight."
A question seemed to lurk there, and understandably so. When one of their Mondays was busy, they'd learned that the rest of the week tended to get sucked away from their home life, too. "I'll be home," Phoenix confirmed. "I'm doing the case research so Apollo and Athena can focus on the courtroom and field investigations." Maybe it made him an old man to happily turn over cold, wet winter field work to his twenty-something employees. Fine. He'd be old, then. Phoenix liked keeping his socks dry.
"You're choosing to do reference work on previous cases? On purpose?" Adjusted for his dry demeanor, Miles sounded downright delighted. "I knew I'd be a positive influence on you, Phoenix Wright."
"Thank you for the big fancy database subscription," Phoenix dutifully said, though he knew Miles hadn't been fishing for gratitude. "Best present ever. Go, run your meeting, be the boss."
A few hours after that, Phoenix began to doubt the cleverness of his 'stay at the office and research' plan.
Over the phone, Athena said, "Okay, it's a folder called something like 'Party Files' or 'Party Pics'—"
"Party Album?" Phoenix guessed, and opened the directory on their office computer. A long list of files, unsorted and still using their default naming scheme, unfolded before him. He needed some practice at being the mature, intuitive Office Research Man. These should have been renamed from those random number strings. "What am I looking for?"
"The latest body in the morgue has a tattoo. Distinctive enough that I don't want to give it away, because if you see it in any of those party shots, it's definitely our guy. Check for a white male, about thirty-five. Shaved head."
Frowning, Phoenix started clicking through the pictures' previews. The producer from the Hollywood Hills liked to take plenty of security images when events were in full swing. It was intended as insurance against his belongings wandering off with guests, but after the bloody party that had resulted in so many trials and reprisal murders, the cameras had been put to even more important uses. With each new suit that was filed, a different picture from the pile proved useful to either the defense or prosecution. "Where am I looking for it on him?"
"Um," Athena said delicately, just as Phoenix found what had to be the tattoo in question.
With a deep, long-suffering sigh, Phoenix adjusted his grip on the phone and tried to look at the picture without actually looking at it. "Male. Mid thirties. Shaved head, and shaved... everywhere else. Tattooed with what looks like a red lipstick mark... um... down on his... please tell me this is what you needed."
"That is exactly what we needed. You can close the picture now, Boss."
"Thank god," Phoenix muttered, but had to look at the monitor again to close out the security image of that naked man who looked very excited to be there. "Why?" he added plaintively.
"I really am sorry," Athena said, "but that proves he was at the party. That means that someone else besides our client could have—"
"No, no." Phoenix tried to put the image out of his head, and mostly succeeded. He still ended up crossing his legs. "I'm just thinking of tattoos. And needles. And pain. And wondering why."
"Oh. On the bright side," Athena ventured after a second, "he's not feeling anything, now? Since he's in the morgue and everything?" A beat. "I probably should have let Apollo handle this call so you could cringe in manly agony together."
With effort, Phoenix shook off his discomfort. "I'm fine, Athena. And I'm glad to hear that this'll help our client. You think you can build a case for the real killer and get our guy off the hook?"
"Now that we know the victim was also there that night, I'm positive we can. And hey! Want to know something else great?"
"You just stared at a guy's junk and your voice isn't anything like I heard before! Congrats on the whatever-you're-doing. It's working!"
Sighing, Phoenix tried not to picture the thumbs-up she was surely giving him. "I'm going to hang up, now."
He squinted at the phone as he hung up. Huh. Japanese. She must be getting bored with randomly sprinkling European languages into office discussions. The past week had been mostly French. Athena was wrong, anyway; his voice had to be filled with tension. No one could look at that much needle work on very sensitive skin and not have his voice choke with stress.
Granted, she was excellent at picking out subtle shadings of emotions. Despite being ready to take the next physical step, the confidence that it would happen had him in an entirely different mental state from when he thought he needed to make it happen. He didn't want to wait forever, and would eventually talk to Miles again, but this wasn't impatience, any more. It was just waiting.
Texts buzzed his phone and Phoenix, cringing, turned back to it. What painful photographs would he need to look at now? When he saw Miles' name rather than Athena's, his concern vanished. "I told Trucy that she could stay over at a friend's," Phoenix recited from the screen. "I hope that's all right. She called here because your office has an active investigation. I've gotten reservations at Thompson's, and will pick you up a little after five."
With a warm smile, Phoenix held his phone up to his ear rather than typing out a reply. "Hi. It's me. Of course it's fine that you told Trucy she could stay over with her friend. But Thompson's? Really?"
"You do still like it?" Miles asked, sounding concerned. Thompson's was a small bistro near their home, and was another restaurant they'd tried from their new neighborhood. Its menu was somehow simultaneously run-of-the-mill and odd, as they favored adding strange ingredients into classic dishes. Trucy hated it, but for whatever reason, Phoenix loved the place.
"I do," Phoenix confirmed, "but you don't." Miles didn't hate every dish on the menu, not like Trucy. But he wasn't a fan, either.
"They cook porterhouse well, and I'm in a mood for it." Lies. Blatant lies. It would sound believable to someone else, but Phoenix knew perfectly well that Miles didn't gravitate toward steak. He'd have it without complaint if there was a restaurant where others wanted to go, though, and Phoenix loved Thompson's weird soup combinations and creative ravioli. "I've requested a table on the patio, but I could change to inside if you think it's too cold."
The patio? Last time they'd gone, Phoenix had mentioned how nice the outdoor seating looked. It was a classic southern California setting, open to the sky under a pergola scattered with climbing jasmine. He's going somewhere he doesn't want to go for my sake, Phoenix thought with a lopsided smile, and he remembered what I said about the patio. Wow. "No, it's warming up. The patio sounds great. And... thank you. Really."
"Of course. I should get back to work, but I'll see you this evening."
"Right. Love you."
"The same, of course."
'The same.' How romantic. His smile turned into more of a smirk as Miles hung up, but Phoenix's heart still felt all warm and gooey.
Learning how Miles Edgeworth showed affection had been a tricky thing, even with experience from a decade of renewed friendship. Anyone wanting romantic poetry or swooning speeches would be left disappointed, for Miles spoke in a different language. He solved problems for the people he cared about, whether through writing checks or by pulling on his vast network of connections. He'd go to an event he'd prefer to avoid because someone else wanted to attend. He dedicated himself to someone else's interests, quietly and intently.
Phoenix was still picking up on some of the phrases from that romantic language, but it was a beautiful dialect in its own way. Miles could avoid saying 'I love you' all he wanted, if he was making sacrifices to keep Phoenix happy.
I don't know why I was ever worried, Phoenix thought as he got back to work. The two of them loved and knew each other completely. And there was nothing to doubt from either side.
* * *
Daylight Savings hadn't yet clicked on, and so waiters came out to light candles before their dinner ended. As the sunlight died, it did end up being too chilly for Phoenix's liking. It was worth the trade-off of seeing the brightest stars overhead, and the even brighter lights of planes making their descent toward LAX. Driving home to their quiet, empty condo made the night feel more relaxing than any Monday had a right to be.
If asked a year earlier if Miles Edgeworth liked to cuddle, Phoenix would have laughed until it hurt. Now, having proclaimed their mutual love and moved in together, Phoenix could say with total, unflinching confidence that... nope, Miles definitely was not a cuddler. He did share a blanket when the television was on, though, because he knew that Phoenix was probably chilly. And he didn't protest when Phoenix leaned up against him like a big, angular pillow. That was all Phoenix needed, and it being given so freely from Miles was more than he'd expected from his eternally grumpy partner.
This was an even more affectionate night than he'd expected at dinner. If you knew Miles' language of love, all of this was practically like him hiring a skywriter to etch a sonnet over downtown.
Unwinding in the living room before bed had quickly become their habit. Miles' interest was limited to only a few shows, but he kept novels handy for other days. Phoenix wasn't a fan of any series in particular, but could always find something that helped steer his mind away from the latest gruesome murder under investigation. Accordingly, most late evenings saw them slack, warm, and sleepy on the couch together, with Miles flipping pages while Phoenix clicked through channels. That was even more true on that night, when Trucy was actually staying with a school friend. She had school friends, now.
It wasn't the sort of future a person painted in their wildest daydreams. It wasn't some grand romantic scene with swelling music on the soundtrack. Still, Phoenix thought as he adjusted the blanket, and then his position against Miles, this was exactly what he'd been looking for. After detours in every possible direction, his life felt wholly and completely satisfying.
Fingers brushed his wrist. Phoenix smiled briefly at the touch before returning his focus to the television listings. A couple of weeks ago, and that would have had me lunging across the couch. After clicking through a few screens of pseudo-documentary and reality series nonsense, it struck him that the fingers on his wrist still rested there. Blinking, Phoenix looked away from the television.
Miles smiled back in that small, secretive way he had, and set his book on the end table.
"Miles?" Phoenix asked. It felt like he was expected to know what was happening.
A broad, strong hand cupped his cheek and Phoenix obligingly leaned in for the kiss that followed. This was easy enough to understand, at least. The kiss was as warm and comfortable as their position under the blanket, and he made a pleased noise at its end. "Going to bed?" Phoenix guessed as they pulled apart. It had been an early morning for Miles, with that department meeting.
"I suppose that depends on your preference."
A faint wrinkle of confusion dimpled between Phoenix's eyebrows. Miles leaned in to resume their kiss, but it was different from before. Deeper. Hungrier.
Something clicked inside Phoenix's head, and excitement replaced uncertainty. Warmth shot through him, so much that the blanket became stifling. He leaned forward to meet Miles and returned the new kiss with sudden passion. As they broke apart he asked, "You sure?"
(God, he hoped Miles was sure.)
"I am." Miles met his eyes, and Phoenix took in his appearance with delighted surprise. Dilated like that, his grey eyes were more like a warm dusk than a German December. His cheeks, normally sharp and pale, were already flushed. Though his hair was barely mussed and his clothes remained orderly, for Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth, this was heading toward... obscene.
The word sent a shiver through Phoenix, and he reared forward to resume their kiss a third time.
As soon as it started, Miles pulled back. As Phoenix tried instinctively to follow, Miles murmured, "Let me. Tonight, let me."
Some small part of Phoenix's mind rebelled against letting Miles do everything. The rest was too thrilled that this was even happening to protest about the specifics, and he let that louder section take the reins. "We're going to bed," Phoenix decided, not wanting their first moment of full intimacy to happen sprawled on a couch.
Obligingly, Miles rose and extended his hand. Now that his plan appeared to be a success, everything about him seemed sleeker and composed again. He was as satisfied as a well-fed housecat, and didn't bother hiding a smirk at how quickly Phoenix shot to his feet to follow.
He'd known exactly what he was doing when he made those dinner reservations. He'd probably called thirty seconds after discovering they'd have the house to themselves. Phoenix considered teasing Miles over his last grand plan, aka The Bet, and just as quickly silenced those foolish instincts. One: Miles' bet, stupid as it had been, had ended with them blissfully happy together. Two: this newest plan was about to earn an even happier ending. Yes, he was more than willing to go along with whatever Miles had planned next.
Though he'd expected a fumbling, stumbling walk as they tried to make it into their bedroom while undressing each other, Miles pulled back when Phoenix reached for his shirt. "Go to bed. I'll be there in a moment."
Fine, Phoenix grumbled. He'd agreed to go along with the flow, and apparently that meant stretching out on their bed and waiting uncertainly for whatever would happen next. Perhaps it should have made him feel like they were overplanning things, as he'd worried weeks earlier, but as he flung off the covers and lay down on the sheets, anticipation buzzed instead.
"I love you," Miles said without preamble when he appeared in the doorway. He'd removed his jacket when they got home, but had kept on his vest and shirt. Now, long fingers moved down the buttons of his vest, and then placed the garment neatly on a nearby dresser. "Accordingly, I wanted this whole night to showcase my feelings appropriately, and in full detail."
He's still trying to explain why we waited, Phoenix realized. Before Miles could continue, he interrupted, "I love you, too. No more talking."
Caught as he began to unwind his cravat, Miles closed his mouth and raised an eyebrow at Phoenix's impatience.
Every weeknight, the sight of Miles' neck emerging from his stuffy work clothes sent a silly frisson of delight through Phoenix. Now, knowing what was coming next, the excitement ached. He felt like a boy about to open up his first-ever dirty pictures. This was not a time for talking. This was a time for doing. "Please," Phoenix said throatily. "No more explaining."
The smirk Miles gave him was as broad as any from the courtroom. With measured, deliberate motions, he unwound the silk around his neck. It had looked tight and constricting while on, but the revealed skin was pale and unmarked. "That's better. You should also...."
He's nervous, too, Phoenix realized with shock, catching a little flutter in Miles' voice as he trailed off. Miles knew what he was doing more than Phoenix, who'd only ever been with a man with rare, one-off fumbling sessions. But he wasn't as composed as his controlling facade would suggest. That was good to know. Reassuring.
Miles gestured mutely toward Phoenix, and then toward his own shirt, and undid the top button.
Finally catching on, Phoenix moved to pull off the t-shirt he'd changed to upon returning home. As soon as his fingers grasped the hem, ready to pull it over his head, he froze. Renewed warmth ran through him. We're undressing. In front of each other. We're about to see....
These were not the thoughts of a man, father, and business owner in his thirties. Biting his lip, Phoenix looked down and tried to compose himself. When he did look back up, he was surprised to see that Miles' shirt was halfway unbuttoned, but the man was staring down at his feet rather than at Phoenix. We really are nervous. All this build-up....
"Come here," Phoenix said impulsively.
Despite whatever plans he'd made for steering the night's events, Miles allowed Phoenix to make that request. He perched on the edge of the bed next to Phoenix and waited expectantly.
"Take it off for me," Phoenix said with sudden inspiration.
After an initial moment of surprise on Miles' face, Phoenix knew it was the right thing to do. Those grey eyes went dark and dilated again and color streaked his cheeks. Nodding, Miles laid his hand on Phoenix's chest and rested it there. It burned, though his hands were normally cold. Phoenix felt as if his heart would pound right through his ribcage and into Miles' palm, and his pulse only sped when Miles' hand began to slide down his torso.
Oh, god. Phoenix groaned, shocked at his own reaction, as he felt the gentle pressure of Miles' hand. This was nothing. This was barely even second base. But Miles was there, touching him, ready to undress him, and every nerve ending in Phoenix's body screamed to speed things along.
Miles hesitated just above his waistband and Phoenix groaned again. Heat rushed to his groin and he arched helplessly. The sensations were hardly anything, not yet, but all those years of anticipation made them maddening. "Please. Keep going."
"Wright," Miles murmured, low and soft.
I'm hard, Phoenix realized distantly, right by his hand. God, oh god, it's happening.
With a soft breath, Miles slid Phoenix's top up and over his head. The moment his arms were free, Phoenix reached forward to finish removing Miles' shirt. It landed on a chair in a fluttering heap. The simple kiss that followed was more intense than any they'd shared before. Their bare chests were blazingly hot against each other and his erection ground into Miles' hip.
When he felt Miles' length press against him in return, Phoenix nearly came in his pants. "Please," he babbled, not even sure what he was asking for. "God, please."
"Lie back," Miles whispered. Phoenix complied, uncertain of what would happen next but trusting Miles completely. A deep, throaty groan escaped him as Miles unfastened the button at Phoenix's waist and then, with agonizing, careful slowness, pulled down the zipper. The sensation of the pressure moving over his straining erection was almost too much to bear.
"You too," Phoenix said as soon as Miles pulled off Phoenix's pants, and then reached for the waistband of the boxers below. "Please. Edgeworth. Miles."
He's so nervous, Phoenix thought with giddy delight as Miles' cheeks darkened. He nodded and unfastened his waistband, but the blush spread to his shoulders. Even in the room's dim light, the contrast was obvious. He was so pale. And he was solid, fit but not overly sculpted, and so very real.
"And them too," Phoenix added as Miles pushed down his pants, revealing a pair of boxer briefs below. In the dim light and with the contrast against Miles' pale skin, some dark color looked pitch black. Totally unrevealing. That wouldn't do at all. "Please," Phoenix groaned when Miles hesitated, and unthinkingly palmed his own erection. "I want to see you. So bad."
For a couple of seconds Miles only stared back. Phoenix was about to ask again, his voice rough as gravel, but then realized that his partner was watching him touch himself with the same hunger that Phoenix felt. Without looking away from Phoenix, Miles hooked his thumbs into the waistband and slid off his last piece of clothing.
He was perfect, nicely sized and curved in a way that begged to have Phoenix's fingers wrapped around him. Hot with arousal, his penis was far darker than the rest of his fair skin or the pale thatch of hair at his groin. Precum beaded at the tip.
Phoenix couldn't look anywhere else, and started fumbling blindly for his own boxers. His underwear was already halfway off when Miles' hands joined his and slid them them free and away.
Miles felt so wonderfully heavy as he leaned in for a kiss, then laid entirely upon Phoenix by its end. Masturbation sessions had involved similar fantasies, but imagination was nothing like the reality of having him there, real and breathing. Phoenix bucked his hips up, seeking whatever friction he could, and for a few delicious seconds Miles pressed back.
The kiss broke off and Miles pushed himself up. Phoenix whined. "Come back," he pleaded when Miles looked like he might leave. A second later, as Miles slid further down the bed and bent back down, all complaints vanished.
Light exploded across Phoenix's vision as Miles' mouth closed around his erection. It was hot and wonderful and perfect and him, it was them, and it was real. "God. Yes. Good," he panted. They'd barely started and he was already short-circuiting.
Cool air abruptly danced across his cock, the contrast made sharper by the saliva that now coated him. Phoenix's eyes fluttered open enough to see Miles' head lifting. His bangs hung down, shielding his face. Time stopped for an agonizing eternity. But then Miles leaned down again, and his tongue returned to Phoenix. Heat licked up him in a strong, confident line.
When Miles had a task in front of him, he was utterly single-minded, and he showed love by working for others. This was the first time they'd touched each other, the first time they'd seen each other, and yet he didn't hesitate. Every squirm he earned from Phoenix seemed planned. Just when everything stopped feeling like enough, Phoenix felt a hand cup his balls. They tightened and his whole body hummed again.
"Miles," he whined when that new stimulation vanished. The base of Phoenix's erection was held in Miles' other hand, and the man's tongue worked the head and teased the slit, but it wasn't enough. He needed to feel Miles everywhere. Why had he moved his hand?
He's touching himself, Phoenix realized abruptly. He's turned on. By me. He has his mouth around my cock and he can barely handle it.
The knowledge was an aphrodisiac like he'd never felt before. Phoenix cried out as pleasure surged, spiraling ever-higher. Miles groaned around him. The hand around Phoenix's erection tightened. The hand around his own cock sped.
"Edgeworth," Phoenix called out, choked. "Please, god, please please please—"
At those desperate cries, Miles came first.
The stimulation around Phoenix's penis stuttered. That should have ruined things, so close to his peak. But Miles Edgeworth was orgasming in front of him, and that was because he couldn't stand watching Phoenix. He'd needed to touch himself because of Phoenix. He was thrusting helplessly into the bed because of—
Phoenix erupted into his mouth. A high, wordless cry followed.
Pleasure steadied out as his racing pulse slowed. Phoenix's hand fumbled uselessly around him. The bedsheets. His chest, dusted with hair and slick with sweat. His heart thumping under his palm. And further down, Miles' hair was silky under his trembling fingers.
Miles rested his head on Phoenix's hip. He breathed hard. It came out hot across Phoenix's belly.
"Wow." Phoenix blinked at the ceiling. His vision blurred. "Wow."
After curving a smile against Phoenix's skin, Miles placed a kiss near his navel.
The humming, buzzing pleasure of his orgasm began to bloom into something calmer and deeper. Contentment like he'd never known wrapped around Phoenix, and love swelled in his chest. "Wow." His hand stroked Miles' hair again. He wondered how he'd ever minded waiting. "Wow. Yeah. Wow."
"Eloquent," Miles sighed. He couldn't manage even the hint of a smirk to his tone. This had been his grand plan, and he'd been the one with a cock in his mouth, but he sounded even more satiated than Phoenix.
After another minute of mutual, blissful silence, Phoenix's higher brain functions began to return.
It hadn't been perfect. They'd been so initially hesitant about undressing. There were some awkward elbows as they situated themselves while kissing, and the rhythm of the act itself had the uncertainty of a first time. But that, without question, was the best sex that Phoenix Wright had ever experienced. "I love you." And that was why.
Miles lifted his head and smiled back. It was such a gentle, real smile. Phoenix didn't know if anyone else in the world had ever seen it before. "I love you, too."
The marriage bed. It did have certain connotations. They were going to be each other's one and only for the rest of their lives. They'd strike a balance between practice and innovation, and every new session of lovemaking would be opening their hearts again. It sounded overwhelming. It sounded perfect. It was everything he wanted, from the foolish romantic dreams of a student to the mature dreams of a committed adult.
Now, Phoenix had something else to be impatient about.