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Another Chance

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 Date: April 8, 2019 Time: 6:25 Location: High Prosecutors' Offices - Room 1202

     "Finally, it's over..." Edgeworth sighed as he took a sip of his tea while looking out the window, recalling the events that, surprisingly, occured only in the span of two weeks.

     The IS-7 incident. And the SS-5 incident. Taking another sip, at last, he thought, this time he can finally relax after such a tiresome and challenging ordeal. This overwhelming feeling of fulfillment he's having is greater than any of his previous trials, so much it's not enough to put it into words.

     Today, Edgeworth handled Simon Keyes's trial, while Sebastian handled his own father's, Blaise Debeste's trial. Unfortunately, both trials were scheduled on the same day, at overlapping times. And as much as he wants to be there for him, he couldn't. And so, he enlisted the help of Franziska to watch over the rookie prosecutor's performance. Though it took a while to receive Franziska's help... She decided to lend a hand... after receiving several lashes from that 'lovely' whip of hers and her 'foolish' remarks.

     The day they discovered the death of the Zheng Fa president... It became breaking news, controversial at that. Naturally, the most affected are the people of his own country. Like adding fuel to the fire, revealing the truth about the current president being a body double, and the real one assassinated for more than a decade now... Immigrants from Zheng Fa not only invaded the courthouse, but the embassy as well.

     As for Blaise, aside from the murder of Jill Crane and conducting black market auctions... His involvement in the assassination, kidnapping, concealing of case evidence, and other crimes being unearthed are added to the list.

     Of course, the trials ended with a guilty verdict. And as Edgeworth predicted, he was hounded by the press, and took him hours of interviews. After that, he discussed with Gumshoe about his raise, finally, he emphasized, doing a good job on his work... And hoped that this is not a 'once in a lifetime' occurence. Then they, along with Kay, Shields, and many others decided to hold a celebration party on a job well done.

     During that time, everyone had fun. Although some were unfortunate to have caught Franziska's attention, as she lashed her whip at whoever made a fool of themselves. Sadly, or maybe not, Edgeworth was one of those fools, even though he thinks he's innocent of any tomfoolery.

     By six, he made the kids go home, saying they shouldn't wander around at night. While Gumshoe, Larry, and Shields remained, saying they want to drink beer. He, on the other hand, decided to head back to his office, retrieve his belongings and then double-check to ensure he's done for the day.

     "..." Or so he thought. This day tired him out, physically and mentally. Before realizing his mistake, he's already sipping tea, sitting comfortably on his chair, only minutes before seven. Taking his time to marvel the city outside his window, as its buildings began to lit up as the sky was slowly bathed in darkness.

     I wonder how that agent is doing? The person he is referring to is none other than Agent Shi-Long Lang of Interpol. Edgeworth has hoped he'd encounter the agent at the party, but contrary to his expectations, Lang's the only one who didn't attend. The prosecutor wanted to give thanks, as it is only natural to do so.

The SS-5 incident not only circles around John, but the agent and his clan as well.

     He hasn't seen Lang since the day they apprehended Simon Keyes, breaking out in a run in pursuit of the assassin, Shelly De Killer. Letting him and Kay know about his past, it felt unfair to the prosecutor if the agent had gone home to Zheng Fa before he could thank him. Sure, there's always e-mail or phone, but it didn't sit right with him resorting to those methods. And that he doesn't have Lang's contact information.

     Wait... Lang's contact information? Edgeworth opened his desk drawer, and after seconds of searching, he took out Lang's business card. And indeed, the agent's number was easy to spot. Because of their 'unpleasant' first encounter back in Gatewater Land, he simply stored it in his desk drawer.

     Taking out his phone, he nervously fiddled with it, hesitation in mind. ... *sigh* What am I so nervous about? It's a simple call. If the agent's all ready to leave the country, it couldn't be helped. It's better if he say it anyway than nothing at all.

*ring ring*

     "... Who is this?" He heard a solemn voice, as if asking his question with caution.

     Hmm. Perhaps this appears to be an anonymous call to him. ...Understandable. "It's Edgeworth."

     "Heh." Lang scoffed in surprise. "Mr. Prosecutor, didn't expect your voice on the other line. What is it?"

     "Are you about to leave the country?" He asked, earning him a laugh from the other man.

     "Mr. Prosecutor, the trial has only ended. Do you expect me to just leave without saying goodbye? Besides, I haven't expressed my gratitude to you all."

     "O-oh..." Edgeworth felt embarrassed for making a little  fool idiot of himself. "But you were handed the opportunity to do so. Kay invited you to the--" Edgeworth paused. He could hear all kinds of racket on the other line. Feeling of unease crept up on him, thinking he might've called at the wrong time. "I'm sorry. Are you perhaps working right now?"

     "Nah. It's nothing to apologize about. My men are having a party. Food, beer and all."

     "I see." So that's why he refused Kay's invitation.

     "Okay, I'll repeat. Why'd you call? Don't make the wolf wait." It was easy to imagine his wolfish smirk, making the prosecutor flush a little.

     Edgeworth paused once again, his unease getting stronger as seconds pass. He's swift and confident when it comes to work, but one can't say much about his social skills. "I wanted to discuss something with you. It's... more of a personal subject. Though it's alright if you refuse for now because of your current engagement. We can discuss this tomor--"

     "Alright."

     "Eh?"

     "I said I'm down with that. Good timing, too. I also wanted to discuss something with you..." Lang's voice trailed off by the end.

     Edgeworth thought it strange, but need not ponder much about it.

     "It's decided then. We'll meet up at the hotel I'm staying at."

     "Agent Lang, it would be wise not to make decisions by yourself without consulting the other party."

     "... Fine. Is that acceptable for you, pretty boy?"

     "Nngh..." Edgeworth groaned in response. "Y-yes, that is acceptable." Not only is that nickname embarrassing to hear, his face would be flushed red in no time. So as to hide his blush, he'd glare back instead.

     "Then about the hotel I'm staying at. It's Gatewater Hotel." Lang stated, with a hint of spite in his tone.

     "You sound angry."

     "How can I not be? It has the same name as that damn theme park."

     "Hmm. Gatewater Hotel, huh." Hearing the hotel name made him recall a certain law office.

     "Know where it is?"

     "Ah, yes. I know the place. However, there's a more upscale branch called Gatewater Imperial Hotel. Are you sure you're not mistaken about the name?"

     "Not so fast. This wolf's not losing his touch, you got that? Lang Zi says..." Edgeworth swore he could hear the agent opening one of his scrolls on the other side of the line. "'Let your hunting skills grow dull and you'll be left to starve in the wild.' Point is, I'd be out of a job if I don't sharpen my skills."

     ... But you're currently put on leave, right? He couldn't help but comment on that. But it's best not to say it out loud.

     "And besides, I can't call this place imperial. This hotel's decent, but not that grand." Not giving him time to respond, Lang continued. "I'll be waiting then, Mr. Prosecutor. See ya."

     "Ah--wait!!"

*beep*

     *sigh* That man can be hard to handle at times. Without wasting any more time, he tidied up before leaving the office.

 

Time: 7:27 pm Location: Outside Gatewater Hotel

     Edgeworth parked his car at a public parking lot not far from the hotel. As he walked his way towards his destination, he couldn't help but stop in his tracks and stare at the law office beside the building. It's been closed for the day.

     It's been a while since I've seen that man. I guess it's because we hardly see each other outside of work. Can we even call each other friends when we don't even 'hang out'?

     Lost in his own thoughts, he was startled when he heard a familiar voice.

     "Took you long enough, Mr. Prosecutor." Turning towards the source of the voice, he found Lang walking towards him.

     "Hardly. It's a twenty-minute drive from the Prosecutors' Offices." He considered himself a punctual person. And as they've only agreed to meet up on the spot, it was inevitable to make the agent wait.

     "Ehh. Not like I go there a lot." Lang nonchalantly looked away.

     "..." Seems he still harbors hatred, I take it. "What about you? Weren't you in the middle of celebrating with your men?"

     "The party's being held just a few blocks away. I only need to walk here."

     "I see. Well then, shall we get going?" Setting his thoughts aside about friendship, he followed Lang inside.

 

Time: 7:30 pm Location: Gatewater Hotel - Lobby

     "!!" Once they stepped foot inside, Edgeworth stopped in his tracks upon realizing a grave fact. They would have to ride the elevator. In fact, anybody would since it's convenient. He gripped his arm involuntarily and groaned.

     I'm still shakened, even after all that had happened? The DL-6 incident has been solved for three years now. And the IS-7 incident, practically the case that started it all, has been solved as well. So why am I still this weak?

     Earthquakes. Elevators. Any situation likened to those two are included as well. He still hasn't overcome those fears. At times he goes to work, he'd rather use the stairs, despite his office located on a relatively high floor.

     "..." Panic soon took over him. He could simply tell the agent, and insist on using the stairs.

     But troubling Lang because of his own phobias? That would be selfish on his part. Letting the agent get on the elevator while he take the stairs? That would be... awkward.

     Then again, if he revealed his secret, what would this man's reaction be?

     The usual wolfish smirk, provoking the prosecutor on how he can't overcome them? Or maybe... something else. An expression of Lang that he hasn't seen from him...?

     "!" Snapping himself from that train of thought, he felt himself getting hot from shame. Not being pessimistic, but hoping to get that kind of reaction, understanding, from him would be naive of him, he thought.

     Nevertheless, whether he'll explain his reasons or endure the ride inside the elevator, he would have to brace for it.

     "Both are occupied, huh." Hearing Lang's words, Edgeworth caught up to him and looked at the elevators. Just like he said, both are in use, taking their occupants to the highest floors of the building. "No sense in waiting. Wanna take the stairs? My room's just a few floors up."

     "Y-yes. That's... all right with me." Edgeworth sighed in relief, not sure if he should be grateful for this fortunate turn of events. He was prepared for the worst. Lang noticed his behavior, but didn't press on the issue.

     Whilst walking up the stairs, Edgeworth can't help but look at the other man. It's painfully obvious how his gait seems... stiff. Almost awkward. Not sure what to think of it, he simply looked away as they head for the hotel room.

 

Time: 7:33 pm Location: Gatewater Hotel - Lang's Room

     The room is fairly simple, what anyone would expect from a hotel room. Except for a screwdriver jutting out from a drawer and a used wine bottle and two glasses. Those are somewhat odd.

     "Did you book in with someone else?" Another thing to take note is that there are two beds in this room.

     "Hell no. This was the only room available when I booked here. It's not like I can be picky about such things back then."

     Except for the bill...? "Then what about those on the table? Previous occupants, perhaps? If so, the cleaning staff should've taken care of it."

     "About that... There was this bellboy who took care of my luggage. He said not to mess with this table or that screwdriver over there. Said this place was where a killer premeditated his plans before commiting his crime, and he set his accomplice up as his witness... Along those lines." Lang recalled, skepticism clearly written on his face. "One thing's for certain: that bellboy is suspicious."

     "What a bellboy, indeed." Edgeworth agreed, realizing too late that this room was involved in one of his cases, an important case to those occupying said office next door.

     When both men knew that topic was done and over with, Lang went to the window and leaned beside it. Silence then enveloped the room, little sounds coming from the quiet street below.

     "Agent Lang." He stood there, his eyes directed at the other man.

     Lang turned his head to his direction, not saying a word. He could tell the prosecutor almost stammered when he called him. He knew right away what Edgeworth's trying to do, hence why he stayed silent.

     "First of all..." Anxiety creeping up on him, he took a deep breath in order to suppress it. "I'm sorry. For what I've said about the president. I was simply confounded by your praise and admiration over him at the time. Still, I did spoke out of line." He could vividly remeber how angry the agent was.

     He felt fear swept over him like a tidal wave, knowing then the true wrath of the wolf. For having said something offensive, whether or not it's his fault, he felt so ashamed of himself.

     "Hm... Oh, that. Now I know the full story, I understand all too well. Why you and that little crow girl couldn't hide your shock was because... you met that cowardly body double, not the Di-Jun Huang my clan, and the whole nation of Zheng Fa, respects so deeply."

     "That's correct."

     "Heh. Hell,  maybe you guys thought along the lines of, 'The president he described is completely different from the one we know,' right?"

     Lang being on point about that made Edgeworth chuckle. "Yes. That's right."

     "Anything else? You did mention first of all."

     "Ah, yes. I have some things I'd like to hand over to you." With that, Edgeworth placed his briefcase on one of the beds and began searching inside it.

     The other man raised his brow in perplexity. Not 'give' but 'hand over'? He kept his suspicions to himself as he watched the prosecutor take out items one by one. "!! Aren't these...!" His eyes went wide with shock, those items laid on the bed are all too familiar.

     The will about John Marsh. And the drawing his father had hidden for a long time. As if his feet have a mind of their own, he slowly approached the bed and carefully picked them up in his hands.

     "And the last one." Edgeworth finally turned back to face him, holding a thick folder. The title reads, 'SS-5 Incident Case Files (Updated)'.

     "All of these are SS-5 evidence. How did you...?"

     "Me and Judge Courtney had these authorized, to be given to you. There was also the Moozilla doll, but that was for John. As for their importance in the case, the body double and the real president's DNA analyses provide definitive proof. Add Dogen and Roland's confession, as well as Keyes's testimony. It's case closed." Edgeworth explained matter-of-factly, as if he recited the lines over and over again. "You know you have a lot to explain back in your whole country, right?"

     "The whole country..." Lang said in a whisper. The folder in his hands, he sat on the bed, with Edgeworth following suit.

     He skimmed through the pages. The first containing the old doctrined version, the second contained the correct information. He then returned to the beginning, this time, flipping each page with care.

     "My old man hid the truth, for the sake of the country. I still have a hard time believing what he's been hiding. He was trying to protect an enitre nation."

     "..." Looking at the man, Edgeworth almost refrained himself from voicing his opinion. "Your father had good intentions, I can see that. But what he did was only prolonging the inevitable. At that point, the people will be devastated by the news. Like what's happening now."

     "..."

     "Your father chose to hide the truth, for the sake of the people. However, you can also say that he also contributed to the fall of your homeland."

     "..."

     "To put it another way: Your father let an incompetent coward rule a country, the cause of why it's crumbling for the past twelve years."

     "Sheesh... You seriously don't pull your puches, huh?" Edgeworth expected that Lang couldn't stomach his statements anymore and throw his anger at him. But on the contrary, Lang only smirked defeatedly, not having any rebuttals.

     "Unlike your father, I'd rather be upfront with the truth, whether it's cruel or pleasant. People may be weak, but they don't have to be sheltered from it." Edgeworth stopped, realizing he had said too much. "I'm sorry. I spoke out of line. Again."

     "Heh. Don't be. I was actually moved by what you said." Looking at each other in the eye made Lang uneasy, so he averted his gaze elsewhere. "That's one thing I find endearing about you."

     "...! E-endearing, you say?" Now that he didn't expect to come from the wolf's mouth.

     "Yeah, endearing."

     "But the first time we met, you despised me."

     "About that, it's my turn." Lang clasped his hands in a prayer-like gesture. "I'm sorry about the whole prosecutor hate and all. My old man thought that the only way to make up for his mistake is to do everything in his power to unravel the case. And what happened? He was held back from completing his goal. All because of that bastard." He gritted his teeth, his fangs baring intensely. "Ever since, I held a grudge against you people. Maybe some part in me knew it was wrong of me, but my hatred and pain was uncontrollable. As Lang Zi said: The wrath of a wolf lasts a hundred years. Once again, I am sorry."

     "I accept your apology." For him to open up to me. I wonder... "Has your opinion changed?"

     "Yeah. After meeting you, and working with you. It changed. For the better." He added that last bit as a joke.

     "Then does that mean your grudge hasn't faded?"

     "I've been badmouthing prosecutors left and right, it's become a habit of mine. It'll fade in time. Trust me."

     "Trust you, eh."

     "For now, you're the only prosecutor for me."

 

*ba-thump*

 

     W-wait, what? What just happened? Edgeworth was dumbfounded, suddenly feeling butterflies in his stomach. Getting caught off-guard all on his own, it took him a while to give a cohesive reply, awkwardly opening and closing his mouth in the process. Lang was already smirking so wide, he's now fighting the urge to laugh. Embarrassed yet again, he is happy that the man's beginning to acknowledge him.

     "Ah, I remember." Leaving Edgeworth on his own, Lang went to a small hallway, beside the bathroom.

     It's 8:20. I'd better apologize to Pess for coming home late. He thought, looking at his phone.

     Lang came back shortly thereafter, a bottle of whiskey in hand. "Do you drink?"

     "If it's whiskey, no. But I can handle it."

     "Don't be naive now. This one in particular is strong, from what I heard."

     "Heard?"

     "Yeah. One of my men gave it to me." Lang already filled the glasses and presented one to him. "Just one's enough for now. I'll be damned if I have to take care of you." Satisfied making fun of the pretty boy, he sat back next to him.

     Before his lips had touched the rim, Edgeworth paused. "Drinking after such a big case. I assume this is our celebration of our own, I take it?"

     "Then... Cheers. For completing the case." Lang presented his glass towards him, expecting him to do the same.

    "Cheers."

*clink*

     The sound of glass echoed throughout the room.

     "You know, it's better to just outright say it."

     "?"

     "Thank you, Edgeworth. I'm glad to have met you."

     "!" They were about to drink at the same time, had it not been for Lang.

     Speechless, Edgeworth caught slight of that wolfish smirk as it touched the rim of his glass.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                             To be continued...

Chapter Text

Date: April 13, 2019 Time: 4:26 pm Location: Edgeworth Law Offices

     "This is the place..."

     Edgeworth stood in front of the law firm his late father had built. He was a renowned defense attorney, Gregory Edgeworth. The person little Miles admired the most, both as a lawyer and as a father. Unfortunately, fate wasn't so forgiving to either father or son.

     The day his father was murdered changed the boy's life: how he decided to become a prosecutor, how he had grown to 'hate' the profession, and how his future had gone into disarray.

     Three years ago, in 2016, the truth had come to light, just in time before the statue of limitations expired. The tragic truth: the one who killed his father was his own mentor, and 'fatherly figure', Manfred von Karma. It was a shock, no doubt. But little by little, the logic had come to fit altogether.

'The reason why von Karma took me in was another way to get revenge on my father.'

'His true goal was to lead me down the path so different from his.'

'To distort me...'

    Those thoughts haunted him after the case. And a few months later, it drove him to the point of leaving the Prosecutors' Offices without informing anyone.

    Why does he always tell himself not to recall those depressing emotions? Because he gets dejected in the process. So in order to withhold himself, his 'ruthless demon prosecutor' side of his can be considered a facade.

     "..." Edgeworth took a deep breath to quell his anxiety as he heard footsteps getting nearer.

     "Whoops, almost tripped there." That certain happy-go-lucky tone could only belong to one person. "...?"

     It took a moment for him to register Edgeworth's presence.

     "Oh, Miles! This is quite the surprise! Never thought you'd come here." Raymond Shields, defense lawyer and former assistant to the prosecutor's late father.

     "Good afternoon, Mr. Shields."

     "You're the least person I expected to see~ I thought it was finally a client."

     "Sorry, but I'm not here as a client."

     "Hmmm. Then are you here to switch professions? Didn't I just tell you that you can't go back on your word anymore?"

     "Of course not." This person is starting to tick him. "I'm here as a visitor."

     "Ah, the prodigal son finally sets foot on his father's law firm after eighteen years! How wonderful!" He clapped his hands with joy. "How about a hug for old times' sake?" With this, Shields spread his arms.

     "No." Is his immediate answer.

     "Sorry, sorry. It was just a joke! No need to get your cravat in a twist. Come in, then. We can't keep talking in the hallway." Shields went inside, leaving the door open for Edgeworth to enter. Usually a host opens and closes the door for their guests, but Shields is just the same carefree guy he's always been.

    Never had he thought he'd be able to come back here. Shields may be carefree, yes. But his sarcastic demeanor hides intense emotions, both positive and negative ones.

     One such example would be when they reunited three years ago, after the Robert Hammond murder case. The trial where Edgeworth was put forth as the defendant. No doubt the news had reached Shields, as many elements revolve around DL-6.

     Unfortunately, Shields was in Europe at the time, working on his cases. Though afterwards he wasted no time getting back to the country, desperate to know what happened.

 

"It's been a while, hasn't it? 'Prosecutor' Edgeworth."

    It... wasn't the best of reunions. Edgeworth was at a complete loss.

"So the one who killed Gregory was von Karma, is that it? Haha..."

"..."

"The one you idolize so much."

    Shields laughed dejectedly, echoing throughout the park in that snowy night.

"I wonder what Gregory will think if I report this to him. Nobody can tell. Not you or me."

     Due to the state Edgeworth was in, he couldn't remember much else after that.

 

     "Want some coffee? It's not instant." Shields proceeded towards the coffee maker.

     "That's fine with me." Now that Edgeworth was left to his own devices, he began surveying his surroundings. Although he hasn't been here for a long time, he can tell the interior hasn't changed at all. Even the computer is outdated, despite the fact it's 2019.

     As he inspected, he began to feel melancholic. The place felt... empty. And both men knew the reason. "You truly didn't change the firm, not just the name."

     "No way would I ever change it. It's not mine, it's Gregory's."

     "Hm." Edgeworth shifted his attention to the shelves. His eyes then focused on two picture frames beside a small array of books. The first shows him and Shields, two ice sculptures towering behind them. The other shows a younger Shields and his father, standing in front of an extravagant fountain. Past and present photos were taken at the same place, where the IS-7 incident occurred. "This is..." He picked up the latter.

     "That one, huh? That was taken by the fountain patio."

     "Well, I can see that." A sarcastic smirk played on his lips.

     "You finally crack a smile. Let loose for once." Shields handed him his cup of coffee, and went to lean on the side of the main desk by the window.

 

"What do you think, son?"

"It's wonderful, father!"

 

     Shields stopped, a flash of memory flickered in his mind. A boy sitting on his father's lap, both smiling happily at each other. Beneath all the negative thoughts and emotions the two incidents caused, an ethereal scene began to resurface. It was the day they first met, in Christmas.

 

     Edgeworth was in grade school, and Shields had only known about him just then. And so he scrambled on what to get the boy for the holiday.

     Shields smiled as he remembered the boy's reaction to his gift. The kid didn't like it. At all. His blank expression was a dead giveaway. But he smiled and properly gave thanks, so as to not disappoint his parent.

     And then it was Gregory's turn. Little Miles couldn't hide his excitement behind his failed efforts to calm himself. Sitting on his lap, Miles opened his present, and found what seemed to be an assortment of defense attorney's badges inside a plastic container.

     The two young lads were astounded beyond anything else. They couldn't believe what they're seeing. The two still wore shock and disbelief  on their faces when Gregory spoke up.

"Miles, these are made of chocolate."

... Chocolate?

    The two most likely had the same thought. Miles picked one up and examined it carefully, and found folds at the back and unwrapped it. It was indeed chocolate. He was lost in thought as he put it in his mouth.

"It's delicious."

"Isn't it?"

     Raymond hesitated before he spoke up.

"Um... Mr. Edgeworth, are these chocolates made by Mr. Master?"

"Yes. A special request, you might say."

"Well... It's Christmas. Maybe Prosecutor von Karma became lenient for a day."

"... Who can say."

"Here, have some."

    Miles interrupted their conversation by giving Shields a piece.

"Ah, thank you."

     Raymond took it kindly but didn't eat it. He wanted to examine it first, and became more impressed the longer he looked at it.

     The wrapper is likened to the plating of the genuine article, and molded perfectly to be mistaken for the real thing.

If one would wear this, no one would suspect a thing. ...Hah. As if the courts would be fooled.

     Now done examining, Raymond did what is right for the chocolate: to be eaten. And while he chewed he began restraining himself from singing praises about the treat as Gregory watched his son in silence.

"What do you think, son?"

    Miles swallowed before he answered.

"It's wonderful, father!"

    Raymond stopped in his glee when he spotted that behavior again. He caught that blank expression before it quickly turned into a smile.

Don't tell me... he was expecting a real one?

     He looked at Gregory, but can't discern if the man caught the pattern. Looking back at the child, Miles quietly ate his chocolates.

As long as it's from his father, the kid will be happy.

    He concluded. Raymond knew right then just how much the boy loves his father.

 

     "Heh." Shields was now in his own little world, not realizing Edgeworth was looking at him in confusion. "Hey, Miles. Remember the first time we met? It was Christmas."

     "Y-yes, it was." Edgeworth stammered in his answer as the question came out of the blue.

     "Then do you remember what your father gave you?"

     "Um... It was a box full of chocolates. They were shaped like an attorney's badge."

     "Correct! Haha. I remember those times where you would pin one on your clothes, use the kitchen counter as a defense's bench and play attorney all day! Man, were you so cute back then~" Shields sipped his coffee in satisfaction as he earned a glare from the other man.

     "Mr. Shields...!" Edgeworth raised his voice in sheer embarrassment to the point that his voice cracked, making him flush even deeper.

     "Hehe. Relax, how many times do I have to tell you to not be so uptight?"

     Edgeworth took deep breaths to calm himself. Good grief... It's relief we're the only ones here. If Kay or Gumshoe found out... Urgh. Especially Agent Lang... He sighed, not wanting to imagine the possibility any longer.

     Now that things had gone better for the two, Shields felt the want to bring up embarrassing moments of the old days, which always manage to anger Edgeworth even more.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                       To be continued...

 

Chapter Text

Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 10:35 am Location: High Prosecutors' Offices - Room 1202

*knock knock*

     "Come in." Edgeworth didn't bat an eye on the door, as he is currently focused on his paperwork. He heard meek and almost quiet footsteps, unlike Gumshoe's, who would've greeted him with his booming voice if it were him.

     He had expected the detective most of the time, as he always comes in to clean the office instead of doing his actual job. But he fully remembered that Gumshoe had 'passed out drunk' due to Larry's influence and is still out cold. At this point, the self-proclaimed artist is not worth the stress that comes with it. Unless the fool gets himself involved in another case. God forbid...

     "Mr. Edgeworth." Hearing the unexpected voice combined with his thoughts had caused him to lose his focus altogether. Looking up, he comes face to face with the teen prosecutor Sebastian Debeste.

     He set aside his papers before speaking, "Oh, Sebastian. Again, I'm sorry I wasn't able to supervise you in yesterday's trial." Edgeworth felt genuinely sorry. After all, it mattered more to the boy than any other lawyer out there.

     The senior prosecutor had apologized to the rookie back at the party. Unfortunately, seeing as Kay and the other youths had kept him company, along with other boisterous loudmouths who invaded Edgeworth's personal space most of the time... It wasn't the right place at the right time. Now, he is fortunate to speak with him not long after.

     "Ah, n-no sir. It's alright. You were busy in your own trial, right? Besides, Ms. von Karma watched over my performance." Sebastian broke eye contact and looked down sheepishly."

     "Hm... Have you sustained any injuries?" Knowing Franziska, there are bound to be casualties.

     "What do you mean?"

     Edgeworth cleared his throat. "From her whip, I mean..."

     The boy's face lit up in realization. "Oh no, she didn't use her whip at all! Even the bearded judge sighed in release!" Sebastian spoke while waving his hands in exaggerated gestures that he overlooked a mistake.

     "Sebastian, it's 'relief' not 'release'." The senior corrected.

     "Y-Yes. The bearded judge sighed in relief. Thank you, Mr. Edgeworth." To which Edgeworth was inwardly thankful the junior prosecutor managed to compose himself.

     Edgeworth felt pleased with this conversation. I'll have Franziska report to me about his performance later. And hear her thoughts about it as well. Though she may be busy with Interpol in the future, considering she's not that much older than Sebastian, it'd be great to have her support the boy when she has time.

     "Um... Mr. Edgeworth, there's something I want to talk to you about."

     "And that is?" Seeing the boy look down again in preparation on what he's about to say, Edgeworth grew silent. He has an inkling of what it is, but he prefers to hear it from the boy's own lips. Patience is in mind.

     "About being a mentor to me... Is this true? Will you please... be my mentor?" Sebastian bowed down, eyes shut tight to fight off nervousness. He took in deep breaths in order to calm himself. To him, facing Edgeworth, who he had come to look up to, is a nerve-wracking moment. He feels as though the seconds ticking by waiting for the older man to speak will take an eternity.

     Edgeworth observed the boy in front of him, silence filling the room as he did so. He let his lips turn upward in a smile before saying, "Certainly." Causing the boy to look up in a beat.

     "You will?!" The shock almost making Sebastian cry.

     "Of course. It's only natural." He tilted his head, leaning to the knuckles of his left hand, and relaxing altogether.

     "Thank you, Mr. Edgeworth!!" Sebastian beamed up at him, smiling as happy as he can be.

     Edgeworth himself is happy for him, letting his student sink in the good news. He feels apologetic, though, as he has to bring up a topic of grave interest. "Sebastian, I wish to discuss with you about... your lack of education." And true enough, Sebastian's expression slowly turned sour.

     "I-Is it bad...? Will I have to repeat school...?"

     It's truly unbearable, like putting salt on a wound. Edgeworth could practically hear what's on Sebastian's mind.

17 years.

All those years...

Wasted.

     The past can't be altered, no matter how much you want it to. Those who let their past get to them will only hinder them from moving on. And instead of starting anew, they're left behind by the passage of time.

Stuck in the same place.

     Edgeworth sighed. There's no point being tempted by those emotions. Being able to overcome his time of grief a year or two ago, he's done and solved cases he never knew he would tackle. And meet people his younger self would have wanted to have nothing to do with. For Sebastian, he would do everything he can to brighten up his future. "Sebastian, look at me."

     At hearing his voice, Sebastian opened his eyes, little by little, until he locked eyes with Edgeworth's.

     "Do not succumb to your negative emotions. You're still young. There's still time."

     "Mr. Edgeworth..."

     "Remember what I said?" Edgeworth was about to reiterate but was cut off.

     "Yes. That you'll guide me. Aid me in my path to become the prosecutor I aspire to be." Edgeworth was caught off guard to see the steeled almond eyes of his student directed at him, with his chin up and overall posture straightened in determination. To say he is amused is an understatement.

     The senior prosecutor smiled for the third time. To think he'd have an apprentice. A surprising turn of events these three years have been. Though Sebastian isn't the first person he had given advice to. Franziska, Lang, and a certain defense attorney. It's as if I've become a guidance counselor of sorts.

     Sebastian is wearing his school uniform he'd seen since the day he met him, to which Edgeworth finds it peculiar as the boy has already graduated Themis Academy. But the red jacket is nowhere to be seen.

     "You're not wearing your jacket."

     "Huh? Oh, um... How should I put it..." Sebastian began to twiddle his conductor's baton in thought. "I stored my jacket in my room for now. I'll wear it once, you know... the time has come." To which Edgeworth simply hummed in response.

     This will certainly be an arduous task. But it's a task worth accomplishing.

     "I'll be leaving now, Mr. Edgeworth."

     "Ah, yes. Don't be afraid to ask questions, is that clear?"

     "Yes, sir!" Sebastian was about to leave when he was startled to hear knuckles knocking on the door, to which Edgeworth permitted to enter.

     "Hm? Oh, Sebastian. It's good to see you."

     "Ah, Justine--I mean, Ms. Courtney!" As Sebastian said, a woman with an elegantly crafted gavel--part sledgehammer--came in, prompting the boy to give way. The woman being Justine Courtney, a judge.

     "Judge Courtney, were you eavesdropping on us?" Edgeworth asked almost involuntarily, it was too much of a perfect timing to enter. He regretted asking her such a question, but he could mask it as sarcasm.

     "...No." She tilted her head in response, her lips curling into a deeper smile. "However, I can't say the same for this little girl here." Courtney casted a glance beside her, making the two curious.

     "Good morning, Mr. Edgeworth! Sebastian!" A girl in her teens barged in with a wide grin plastered on her face. The self-proclaimed, 2nd generation Great Thief Kay Faraday. "And Ms. Courtney, I wasn't eavesdropping because... when I got here I only managed to hear the last parts."

     "Then it means you still overheard us. That still counts as eavesdropping." Edgeworth addressed.

     "It was just a field experiment! Testing my Great Thief skills!" Kay played with her scarf, hoping that explanation was enough for the skeptical man.

     Edgeworth sighed, thinking it's pointless to delve into the matter any longer. "Anyway, what brings you here, Judge Courtney?"

     The judge bowed before answering. "I have some matters to discuss with you." She then looked Edgeworth in the eye, without saying another word.

     "Kay, why don't you and Sebastian play outside for now." Edgeworth said with a tinge of sarcasm.

     "Mr. Edgeworth, we're not kids, buuut... it's work-related, right? Then we'll be leaving now~!" Kay suddenly moves behind Sebastian and pushes him out of the room.

     "Huh? Then why did come here in the first place?" Sebastian asked trying not to stumble.

     "Nothing. Just gonna disturb Mr. Edgeworth's work, that's all..." She leaned on him and gave Edgeworth a big grin before stepping out.

     Well thank you for finally stating your reason for coming here almost every single day...

     As the door closed, it's quite noticeable how quickly the noise faded into silence. Edgeworth could almost say he misses the vibrance of youth. Almost.

     "I see things have worked for the better." Her words intrigued him, stopping him from reaching for his papers.

     "What do you mean by that?"

     "Why, that you've accepted Sebastian as your apprentice."

     "So you were listening in on us. How unlike you." Again, Edgeworth let it slip from his mouth. Is it due to familiarity with certain colleagues?

     Courtney didn't take offense in that. "You're mistaken. Sebastian was... hesitant at first. But after some reassurance, he told me of his worries and anxiety." She sat down on the sofa before continued. "Seeing the look on Sebastian's face today, I knew he succeeded." Her expression had softened, her mask of a judge gradually faded. Only few people see this maternal side of her.

     "You care for him, don't you? Like a brother or a son." Edgeworth was treading on unknown territory. Though he respects her for fluidly managing her work and personal life, he doesn't have any idea about parenting at all. It's not as if he plans to settle down with someone, much less have a kid of his own. *sigh* Why did I even ask?

     As Edgeworth drifted a bit to his own thoughts, Courtney was observing his expression and let out a modest laugh. "It seems this type of conversation is... too troubling for you."

     Edgeworth was hurt by that statement but was not able to object. "What is your main reason for this visit, Judge Courtney?"

     "We are already discussing it." She made eye contact once more, her brows creased with worry. "It's about Sebastian. And the media and public."


Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 11:00 am Location: Prosecutors' Building - 12th Floor Hallway

     "Hey, Sebastian. Wanna grab a drink?"

     "Ah, sure."

     Passing by few doors, they headed for the elevator. Kay couldn't stop sneaking glances at the boy. "You're smiling."

     "Really?" To which Kay nodded. They've now entered and pressed the button leading to the ground floor. Only now did Sebastian feel the slight ache of his cheeks.

     "Uh-huh. Guess it all worked out, huh?" Kay asked with a hint of hesitation, she didn't know the specifics. But one thing for certain is, with the false ego and pride gone, she found that the junior prosecutor can be pretty adorable. Especially how flustered his face was when he realized he was the only guy in their group of teens, while the other young boy John was being mothered by Courtney. The thought made her grin wider.

     Sebastian doesn't have much social skills. He didn't exactly have people who he could call friends back when he was a student. Every other student seemed to avoid him. He reasoned himself that it might've been his attitude or his 'academic prowess'. Now that the truth was out, he mentally cursed at himself for being so stupidly oblivious. A part of himself hoped he wouldn't encounter his former schoolmates until he's a true prosecutor.

     He was also confused by Kay's positive attitude towards him. He didn't treat her nicely when she was a suspect, when she was so vulnerable with amnesia. To hear her forgiveness come out of her lips back at the party, and introduce him to the other teens, Ema and Regina... He wants to experience things his fath--Blaise Debeste-- had banned him from. "Yeah. It worked out great."

 

Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 11:02 am Location: Prosecutors' Building - Ground Floor

     On stepping out, both Kay and Sebastian noticed a crowd of people just outside the building. The weird thing being they're fangirls by the looks of them. And were they bold to scream and whatnot in front of the Prosecutors' Building, no less. At the center of attention is a young man that stands out from the prosecutors and other personnel within the lobby, besides Kay. Apparently said man also has the same thought as he began to strode towards them.

     "Oh, Fraulein. What is someone like you doing at a place like this?" Donned in blazing purple, short blonde hair that is a pleasant contrast to his skin tone. He exudes charisma and the right amount of intimidation. With looks such as his, Sebastian would, of course, remember him. A fellow student and former classmate back in Themis Academy. Oh, does he want to crawl down into a hole right now.


Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 11:05 am Location: High Prosecutors' Offices - Room 1202

     "The media..." Edgeworth muttered.

     "Yes. I thank you and Ms. von Karma for protecting Sebastian from the press yesterday. Such a big case... Considering he is the son of Blaise, and he himself a prosecutor... He will be hounded."

     "Unfortunately, Franziska won't be here long due to her work with Interpol. But this matter comes along with the job."

     "Sebastian is not ready. He's been sheltered."

     "I know." It's inevitable. The junior prosecutor will have to earn the skills as he goes along with the training. Sheilding him from the press is no different from sheltering him. But he knows right now is not the right time for the boy. It appears preparations for his training starts now.


Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 11:08 am Location: Prosecutors' Building - Ground Floor

     Kay, on the other hand, pointed a finger at herself, questioning if the tall man was referring to her. Now that she looked at the boy beside her, her confusion turned to worry as to why Sebastian's expression quickly turned grim.

     Her gaze directed the tall man's attention as well towards the boy. His brow raised, he slowly recalls the boy, and having knowledge of the two recent controversies, he made sense of the facts.

     Sebastian risked taking a look back at the taller teen. Making out his eyes behind shades. He involuntarily stepped back out of shame.

     "Sebastian..." Kay is beginning to get worried. She reached out a hand to him but was already beaten to it.

     He felt a hand on his head, ruffling his hair. Sebastian looked up and met his eyes, a slight smirk on his lips. "I'm not a cruel monster, you know? Especially in front of Fraulein here." Removing his hand away, he took out a business card and handed it to him. "Have you two heard of our band?"

     With the state Sebastian was in, Kay answered for him. "Um, no... To be honest, I've only listened to the Jammin' Ninja, ehehe..."

     "Hmm... How about I let you in on my next concert? To lighten up your mood, ja? I'll hand you two tickets later. For now, it's goodbye." He walked past them and entered the elevator, waving a hand at them before the doors closed.

     Kay, curious as to who he was, looked at the card.

     "Klavier Gavin."


Date: April 9, 2019 Time: 11:10 am Location: High Prosecutors' Offices - Room 1202

     Courtney felt her herself fidget a bit, so she stood up and proceded to gaze at the chess board on the other side of the office. She took note of the red knights that surround the lone and cornered pawn. "The corruption that has been revealed throughout the years has been piling up. Shining light upon them is the right thing, but it has made the public restless. It is unsettling."

     "We have no choice. Keeping it covered, letting the corrupt get away with it is vile."

     "Yes, it is. Will you stand and fight? Endure the wave of struggles that will come as long as you still bear the title of prosecutor?" Her voice stern, moving her gavel in front of her in a prayer-like manner.

     "Of course. That's the purpose I now strive for."

     "...Very good. Coming here has calmed down my nerves." She casted a smile on the prosecutor. "Well then, I'll be taking my leave. May the blessings of the Goddess of Law be with you." She bowed before leaving.

     Edgeworth was now left with complete silence. The trials that are to come, it made him ponder. As he brewed himself tea, he looked out the window and took notice of the dark clouds floating above in the distance.

A calm before the storm, huh...

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Date: April 13, 2019 Time: 11:27 pm Location: Edgeworth Residence - Hallway

     Waking up from his slumber, Sebastian had gone to the restroom on the second floor. His lecture from his mentor had taken longer than they had anticipated, so Edgeworth had offered him to stay the night.

     Today is his third day. And how amazed he was to see his mentor's house the first time. It has similar features to the office. The obvious being the color. The way the house is decorated is not to the point of gaudy. More quaint than that.

     Walking back the way he came, he noticed a door ajar, which confused him. For he is quite sure all the doors he passed by were closed shut.

     With the room illuminated by bedside lamps, he was surprised by what he sees inside.

     Blue.


Date: April 13, 2019 Time: 11:30 pm Location: Edgeworth Residence

     Edgeworth had gone to the kitchen after looking at his family albums. It was thanks to his visit with Shields this afternoon that gave him the courage to uncover the little number of albums that had been put away in his father's bedroom.

     He has his aunt to thank for taking care of the house, for he was a child back then. She had preserved everything while he went under the tutelage of Manfred von Karma, and was given back to him once he was able to financially support himself.

     Only the maids his aunt had entrusted all these years had entered and did their business. It was the only place that was not renovated to his tastes.

     Looking at the pictures made him melancholic, but it wasn't bad. With the intense week he had, it gave him a peace of mind he needed.

     Satiating his thirst, he goes back to tidy up the scattered momentos he left scattered before going to sleep.

     On coming back, though, he hadn't expected a certain boy standing in the middle of said room.

     "Sebastian, what are you doing here?"

     "Ah, Mr. Edgeworth!" Sebastian exclaimed, stepping away from the drawer where picture frames were put. He was about to explain but a raised hand stopped him.

     "It's fine, Sebastian. You needn't apologize."

     It doesn't take a moment to think how his student had wandered through here. Gregory Edgeworth's bedroom is decorated with a modest deep shade of blue. And according to the maids, it is quite the view how tranquil and peaceful the place looks when the sun shines through the curtains. So of course, out of the vast color of crimson throughout the house, this room would truly stand out to anyone.

     Walking in, his gait light and quiet. He stopped when he was next to Sebastian and stared at the photos.

A boy, all happy and content. And a man, a warm smile on his face.

     His lip quivered, fingers ghosting over the frame. No doubt, even with the dim lighting from using bedside lamps, Sebastian could see his face. And no doubt his student is also curious about the defense attorney's badge pinned on his father's suit.

     Sebastian felt guilty for he still insisted. "... I'm sorry. I'll be going to to my room now." With that he hung his head low, and left Edgeworth immediately before he could utter a word.

     Maybe I should tell him someday? Edgeworth shook his head, too exhausted to entertain any more ideas.


Date: April 14, 2019 Time: 12:02 am Location: Edgeworth Residence

     It was through Courtney that he knew of Sebastian's new predicament. The files he obtained from her contained information of the boy, revealing no relatives who would to take care of him.

     His mother...

     Courtney had advised the once ruthless prosecutor to not reveal that truth to the boy
for now. Sebastian has only recovered, if not, still healing from the emotional breakdown he went through. It wouldn't be wise to put more weight on Sebastian's shoulders, for the struggles the judge had warned him of is going to take a toll on not only him, not only Sebastian or Courtney, but all those within the law.

In fact, it already did.

     Miles sat on his bed next to his bedside lamp, taking a dose of aspirin. He prefers to take these on his own bedroom, so as to not let his student know. Now that he had decided to let Sebastian move in so he could have more time to give him the knowledge he so desparately
needs.


Date: April 14, 2019 Time: 8:55 am Location: Gatewater Hotel - Lang's Room

     "..." Lang laid in his bed, restless. He's not used to have so much free time on his hands, especially when forced to. Being put out of work is one thing, but the duration was further prolonged for medical reasons. Sure, his opponent was formidable, feared upon even. But he can walk. He managed to hide it from everyone. It won't be long before he can go back to Zheng Fa.

     Well, one person managed to find out and is saying otherwise.

     Everything was going so well. Ice clinking inside their glasses, neither one bothered to be talkative and simply appreciate the comfort of silence.

     And just reaching for the bottle... One wince, one that wouldn't be noticeable. But being in a private room with only two occupants to entertain one another... the opposite had occurred.


Date: April 8, 2019 Time: 8:45 pm Location: Gatewater Hotel - Lang's Room

"Is something wrong...?"

     He looked up from his left shoulder to see a look of worry on Edgeworth's face. The other man's eyes were locked on to his shoulder before meeting his own. Well, the prosecutor has him cornered.

     Edgeworth wasted no time in scrutinizing him, feeling his gaze scan him up and down.

     Resisting the urge to fidget out of discomfort, Lang distracted himself by looking at his injury instead. And when he puts pressure around the bandage, he could make out its outline through the fabric.

     Edgeworth continued on, inspecting every detail for any telltale signs of injury. And that's when he spotted the white fabric on the agent's chest, his previous movement caused the dress shirt to shift and reveal the bandage underneath.

     Lang was so focused on his arm he was alarmed to feel a hand on his other shoulder. The sound of his breath being taken away was almost audible to the other man as he leaned towards him, towards his chest.

"You been injured this whole time."

"...Yeah."

     Rather than surprised at the closeness, Lang was more surprised he didn't push Edgeworth away. He felt tense, but not disgusted, considering his lingering hatred still there. He lets the prosecutor take his time inspecting the bandage.

     Edgeworth recalls the stairs they took to get to this room. The agent's gait. The pieces are beginning to come into place. He began to wonder if Lang's hiding more from him, and from his men and everyone else. He let out a breath before meeting the agent's gaze.

"Do I need to ask where you got these from?"

"No."

     Hearing Lang put his trust on his intellectual skills, Edgeworth closed his eyes in contemplation. Lang is a formidable fighter. And reckless. Retracing Lang's steps, at least from what he knows, there's one person that comes to mind who would do this to the Interpol agent.

Shelly De Killer.

     Running swift as wind, zigzagging through alleyways and dodging through lone strangers here and there as he went. He is slightly amused to see the agent catching up to him from the corner of his eye. Knowing it to be inevitable, the ruthless assassin stopped in his tracks in order to put this dog back in its place.

     The Interpol agent panted heavily as he slowed, narrowing his glare back at him. He knows what he's getting into, and he knows he's in for a lot of pain. He's been informed of the assassin's injured arm, and he may take advantage of that. Still, that doesn't mean De Killer is to be underestimated, even a tiny bit. So with one last steady breath, Lang steeled himself for what will be the hardest fight of his life.

     Such a scene would put a Steel Samurai movie to shame.

     Edgeworth's more flabbergasted Lang had the gall to act as if nothing had happened and attended the trial, went to his own party, and drank alcohol with him. He forces himself not to sigh for the umpteenth time, it's becoming unhealthy. And now that he has snapped out of his thoughts, they've been in this position for a while now.

     Lang has been watching the prosecutor the whole time, seeing just how pale the other is and how his hair is more gray than he thought. So seeing Edgeworth's expression quickly change made him bite his lip, suppressing his urge to break out and laugh.

"That's it. No more drinks."

     If Lang didn't know Edgeworth enough he would protest. But he's had enough receiving his glare for the day. Not much happened other than the agent being forced to rest while being nagged by the prosecutor, planning on taking him to the Dye-Young hospital.

     At least he got another reaction out of him. And that was catching Edgeworth staring at him in his shirtless form. It may be the injuries rather than his muscles. But remembering the look on the prosecutor's face, he doesn't mind at all if it's because of the latter.


Date: April 14, 2019 Time: 9:20 am Location: Gatewater Hotel - Lang's Room

     Lang knows he's grinning like an idiot right now, so he smacks himself with his forearm to cover his eyes. He has never thought he would swing that way. Too focused on chasing his past and regaining his family's honor to bother being in a relationship. If he's been like this up 'til now, it's also safe to assume Edgeworth's the same.

*knock knock*

     "Who is it?" Lang stayed in bed, removing his arm to stare at the ceiling.

     "It's Edgeworth."

     The voice jolted him to sit up. Getting up, he went to the door and opened it, healthy brown eyes meeting tired grey ones. "You're early."

     "Day off." Edgeworth scoffed lightly as he broke eye contract for a moment before meeting them again. "I was wondering if you would like to take a walk with me around town."

     Lang raised his brow in disbelief at the offer, but it piqued his interest. He became aware that the other is feeling awkward standing in the doorway waiting for his response. He smirked in an effort to get that awkwardness out. "Y'know, now that I think about it... I never really took the chance to look around."

     "Then all the more reason to accept my offer, yes?" The other crossed asked, crossing his arms in impatience.

     It made Lang think of what he'd do if he refused. But no, it'd be too cruel seeing how haggard the other is at the moment. "It'd be great exercise for my legs. Let's go then."

     "Now?"

     "Yeah. I already took a bath. Just need my jacket--" Mentioning the tight-fitting leather jacket has received him that all-too-familiar glare. "Just gonna carry it around my shoulder. You'd better stop stressing over. This is your chance to finally relax."

     "Yes. You needn't remind me, agent."

     Passing by the rooms, Lang struck up a conversation with him. They both prefer to not be loudmouths, but the reason is enough.

     "Been stuck in your office the whole week?"

     "You could say that." The response was dead-panned. Wholly different from the usual.

     From his daily visits, Lang saw the slow but sure change in the prosecutor's complexion. He didn't think his face could get any paler.

     "How's your leg now?" It was the other's turn to ask.

     "It's gotten better."

     "That's what you said to your men a month ago. Your wound... To think De Killer was lucky to have hit that weak spot of yours. You never did let your leg properly heal, did you?" Seeing the other fail to come up with a response, he sighed. An assassin with an injured arm, and an Interpol agent with a strained leg. It might not be so good of a fight scene after all.

     As they approched the elevators, Miles felt a shiver down his spine at the thought of riding down in one of them. Lang was glad to have moved out of the previous room, weirded out by the constant visits of a certain bellboy. So his room is on a higher floor now.

Again. That problem again.

     He feels angry and frustrated at himself, clenching his fists and stopping in his tracks. He didn't notice the agent walking past the set of elevators and called back to him when he reached the stairs. "Well?"

     Edgeworth looked up, shocked, and scanned his eyes for a clue on what he might be thinking. Does he already suspect? All he saw was a blank face staring back at him.

     Lang grew tired of waiting and shifted his stance in impatience. He hesitated before going back to where Edgeworth stood. "My men told me. Now I don't know what's made you do that. I don't dig that deep in my work. They always see you come from here, anyway. So, uh... Let's go."

     Miles just stood there, dumbfounded in the middle of the hallway. He needed to be called out again before he followed after the agent down the stairs, out of the hotel and set off to wander the city streets with no concrete plan whatsoever.


Date: April 14, 2019 Time: 9:50 am Location: City Streets

     Lang only now realized this is the first time he's seen the prosecutor in casual clothing. The only difference in the agent's appearance is the design of his dress shirt and pants. Having only come here for work reasons, he hasn't packed much variety in his clothing.

     The cravat was nowhere to be seen for once, but was replaced with a red scarf. What, is he ticklish? The rest of his outfit include a blazer that's not crimson, white pants and black shoes. Lang felt put off that the least he could do is not wear the jacket to look different.

     "Have you had any breakfast?" Edgeworth asked.

     "I was about to, but you showed up." Breakfast. A good start on their journey. Lang looked at the stores and other sorts of buildings and pointed at one nearest them. "What about this one? You go here?" It's not the agent's style, for the place is wholly coated in pink and other fancy decorations. Of course he also doesn't think Edgeworth goes here either.

     Edgeworth followed the direction his finger had pointed and winced, much to Lang's amusement.

     Now trusting the detective, especially when it comes to food, is an idea that should never be entertained from the get-go. After a quick search online, the page was bombarded with low-rated reviews and insults. Just this January, he had looked into the absurd case with the fake badge Larry had mentioned, for he couldn't believe the incompetent performance he's hearing while he was abroad and assumed the idiot was just joking. Even if said joke was not funny at all.

     And said case took place at the restaurant they're standing in front of.

     Turning his head towards the agent, he saw a smirk plastered on the man's lips. "You're not serious, are you?"

     "Nope."

     Edgeworth crossed his arms and gestured Lang to follow him. His lips turned upward to form somewhat of a smile. "Come. I'll take you to where I mostly go to."


Date: April 14, 2019 Time: 1:23 pm Location: Gourd Lake Nature Park

     After a peaceful breakfast that became brunch, much to Edgeworth's dislike of the term, they had wanted to go to places full of nature to soothe their worn bodies and had gone to Rising Sun Park first. According to its notice board the park is well-known to be the perfect place to witness the dawn of a new day, hence the name. And it also gets crowded when it comes to New Year's Eve.

     Now... Lang had the 'pleasure' to visit Gourd Lake Park. Unlike the other park's nice description of how it came to be known, this park became famous for its sighting of Gourdy, this place's version of the Lochness monster. And... it made Lang wish he could go back to the other one.

     The place has less people, the lone strangers they do see mostly have cameras in hand and are staring intently at the lake. It still attracts fools even after two years had passed.

     The loneliness that the park somehow exudes has them depressed rather than what they had initially came here for. It may be partly the park's fault, or maybe the frown that Edgeworth has put on since they got here.

     They were now viewing the lake from a rental boat house that has been abandoned, its boats are used by ongoers whenever they please, if people even want to. While Lang had been turning his head here and there to salvage this visit, Miles had his eyes locked on the boats, shutting out the rest of the world.

     His thoughts weren't that deep as he seems to look. The DL-6 Incident, the Robert Hammond case, and the slump that he went to after that. All those seem to be distant memories to him now. He had moved on. That's what is on his mind now.

     Throbs of pain invaded his head just at the mere thought of those. He preferred not let the other man know, but his hand coming to his head gave it away.

     The agent directed him to one of the benches and sat there. He liked the shade the trees had provided them from the afternoon sun. He had avoided mentioning it since this morning, but now it's making him worried. "So, how long have you had those?"

     "It comes with the job. It's not uncommon." It was part truth and part lie. The amount of stress he received came more from his reputation as the once 'demon prosecutor'.

     "But?"

     "...It got worse these past two months." Edgeworth looked away. Yet he could still feel the other's eyes trained on him, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

     Lang let out an exasperated sigh as their roles have switched. "You need to take a break."

     "I know. The others have told me the same thing." Even Larry told me. "Don't worry. I'll be finished by this week."

     "You'd better. What's taking you, huh? ...You don't have to tell me the specifics."

     That gave Miles pause, trying to form words in his head. "No cases in hand, of course. If I have to say... the main part of my schedule is that I still have appointments and meetings. Concerning the uprising we have feared coming from the media and the public."

     That set the agent on edge. "Didn't you already handle enough last week?"

     "The matter with the Zheng Fa president was pushed more into the limelight than Blaise at that time. The matters were easier to handle then. Now, they are going for a more broader issue."

     "And that is?" Knowing Lang, he knows what it is. But he wanted to hear it directly from his mouth.

     "Corruption within the law." Edgeworth met his gaze with tiresome eyes. More tiresome than this morning. It shows how much it's taking a toll on him in such a short amount of time. It hurts to look at those dull orbs.

     Corruption is a serious issue but it is not unheard of. Now they are bringing up old cases such as Manfred von Karma, Damon Gant and notable others. Blaise being part of the law for a long time only made it worse. Utterly worse.

     "This is about him, isn't it? If so, why are you handling it? Where's the prosecutor who handled his trial?"

     Edgeworth bit his lip. Even though Lang's hatred for the fallen P.I.C. chairman is strong, he had attended Simon Keyes' trial for his country. So he hadn't had the chance to meet Sebastian.

     And at the prosecutor's behest, Lang's former men did not give him the chance to go into work mode. The gunshot wound served as a reminder to not let Lang out of their sight again. Get him to finally recover properly.

     Judging by the question, Lang might not have had the chance to look into any information on the boy.

     "It's because his son's still a kid, right? Don't think I didn't look into Blaise's background without knowing about his son."

Well, his assumption was wrong.

     The silence stretched on to who knows how long. Edgeworth is quite apprehensive of the topic, which made Lang change the subject. "Then how about this. Why does it seem like you look worse off than others?"

     "Everyone within the law--judges, defense lawyers, prosecutors, and even the police department will go through the same wave. I only look this haggard because I have the most knowledge of the two cases."

     "What about the others?"

     "They're also holding up well on their end." Edgeworth assumed Lang is referring to Franziska and Courtney. He assumed Lang wasn't well-acquainted with Shields.

     The questions have stopped then. Both of them looking out into the lake. Lang stole a glance at the man beside him. It relieved him to see the tension--at least some of it--have eased off his shoulders. Knowing he won't be around to comfort him in person once he leaves the country, he made a move in an attempt of a lasting impression.

     Feeling an arm wrap around him, Edgeworth is pulled into half of an embrace. And with the other's mouth so close to his ear, he hears, "Don't go losing yourself now, Mr. Prosecutor."

     Looking up, the light of the afternoon sun almost blinded him. And under that light, it wasn't just a smirk that he sees. It's a smile that's more gentle and comforting. Directed only at him.

     Warmth began to flood him, making him forget his troubles even for just this moment, for just this day. He stared at the agent in awe, not knowing what to say but Lang cut him off.

     "I don't watch much of this country's movies. But what do you people say in times like this?"

     Edgeworth rolled his eyes. "Don't go there." Successful in lighting up their mood, Edgeworth straightened himself and out of the embrace. "...Thank you, Agent Lang."

     "No problem." He paused before asking, "This is the reason why you visit me every day, isn't it?" To feel needed by the man beside him in an emotional sense, he's growing more fond of him.

     "Yes." Is the answer that satisfies his ears and the slight tint of pink on the cheeks is what satisfies his eyes.

     I'm seriously considering being in a romantic relationship with this guy, am I? But no, it's not the right time. With the way things are, Edgeworth will be quite busy with all this mess that's about to get more hectic. And another problem would be--

     "You..." Edgeworth finally caught his attention. "I realized, when you get back to Zheng Fa, you are most likely going to end up the same as me." He summed up the downsides for him without intending to.

     "Yeah." Who knew when he'd be back? Not soon most likely. The wolf would certainly end up being the hounded the moment he steps foot back there. Knowing all this, he doesn't want to entertain the idea of a relationship anymore. He got up and gently stretched his bandaged arm. "I think it's time we leave. I'm sick of this place."

     "You're not the only one."

     Continuing on their mindless wandering, they had walked to places Edgeworth is familiar with, no doubt from the cases he worked on. But is glad he didn't bump into familiar people. Especially the obnoxious ones.

     All in all, Edgeworth was eternally grateful to have spent this day in peace. Away from work, away from stress... He was smiling, and that smile spread to the other as well, as they walked back to were they had set off.

     They knew their time is short. It's the reason for Edgeworth's visits after work. The reason Lang wishes to cherish every moment they had.

     The test of endurance that has been laid out for them will keep them apart. But maybe... Once the waves have subsided, even if not fully, they would have time for their bond to grow more than ever before.

That day. They hope it comes.

To be continued...