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[2019]

“I trust you have heard the news, detective? About … Wright?”

“Yes, sir, I read it in the newspapers the other day! I couldn’t believe it! Mr. Wright doesn’t… I never would have expected-”

“He didn’t do it.”

“... Sir?”

“I am certain he didn’t do it.”

“Have you talked to him, then?”

“Briefly. Time zones make it a little difficult, but he assured me he didn’t do it, and I believe him.”

“... I- I see.”

“Detective, Wright isn’t the type to-”

“No! No, I … trust your judgement, Prosecutor Edgeworth. That’s not it.”

“What is it, then?”

(He doesn’t know, he doesn’t understand why the thought that Prosecutor Edgeworth seems to phone with Mr. Wright, regularly, probably, as far as time zones allow it, is … odd, he doesn’t know why his first reaction was to think “He almost never phones with me”, because what reason could there possibly be, he’s a detective, assigned to cases over here, Prosecutor Edgeworth is a prosecutor, busy in Europe, he doesn’t know, he doesn’t know. It’s none of his business, anyway. They stop talking about five minutes later, and the last thing he says is “How long has it been since you’ve slept? I- I mean, you … should probably… … I mean, it’s late over there, isn’t it? We should probably… I should go back to work”, and after the connection has been ended, he feels incredibly stupid. Prosecutor Edgeworth is none of his business.)

~

[2020]

His knocking is answered with a “Come in”. These two words alone sound tired, and he sighs softly before opening the door.

“I thought I’d bring you some tea, sir!” He sets the cup down on the desk. Prosecutor Edgeworth doesn’t look up for almost ten seconds, he’s staring down at a document. He has returned from Europe almost three weeks ago, and the prosecutor’s office has welcomed him back with open arms like always, assigning him to a few different cases immediately. He gets it! He really does! Prosecutor Edgeworth is great at his job, he’s the best! But … still.

He clears his throat and feels a little awkward because Prosecutor Edgeworth is looking at him now, but he still hasn’t said anything. “... Sir? Are you alright?”

He blinks once, looks down at the cup and sighs, running his hand through his hair. “Yes, of course. Pardon me, please. I’m- … Nevermind. Thank you, detective.”

“Sure thing, sir! I have to make sure that you take care of yourself, after all!” The words are out of his mouth before he can think them through, and then he feels bad for them. It’s the same words he used years ago, after an earthquake or after an especially nerve-wracking case, and they seemed as true then as they seem now, but still, Prosecutor Edgeworth has changed a lot, and maybe he-

He doesn’t know what he’s actually thinking, but he’s worried, and it feels almost wrong to be worried, because Prosecutor Edgeworth has grown so much, and-

A small laugh. Half a sigh, perhaps. “I … appreciate it.”

“No problem, sir. Really. We didn’t get the chance to talk much since you arrived, and I just thought…” I just wanted to check on you. He doesn’t say it.

He nods and says nothing more, and he should probably leave now, but he finds himself just staring. And then there’s more words he didn’t think about- “How long has it been since you’ve slept, sir?”

Silence, a little stunned, perhaps. Maybe Prosecutor Edgeworth really doesn’t notice just how tired he looks, how exhausted. But he does.

“... Detective, I appreciate your concern, but-”

He almost flinches. He knows he shouldn’t have said it, it’s always like this, always with his stupid, rash words, his unprompted worry, and really, Prosecutor Edgeworth doesn’t need a babysitter. He knows that.

“Yes, I- I know, sir. I’m sorry. I have work to attend to, now!”

He gets a little smile in return, as genuine as it never was years ago, never during the Demon Prosecutor days, and he finds himself wondering how a single person can change so much to the better, how a single person can improve so much, when all he ever seems to do is stagnate.

“Try not to mess up any crime scenes so you won’t give your assigned prosecutor any grey hair.”

He laughs, but something inside of him hurts, and then he leaves.

~

[2021]

Mr. Edgeworth is back in Europe, and he’s cleaning his office, force of habit, probably, and he knows that Wright is over there, too, assisting him with … something, something which once again is none of his business. Really, nothing Mr. Edgeworth does is, and he finds himself looking at the spot where he set down the cup of tea a few months ago, finds himself thinking about his own, idiotic words, “How long has it been since you’ve slept”, what kind of stupid question is this.

~

[2022]

He’s in L.A. again. It is weird, having him gone, then back on site again, and again, and again, and again.

“Detective, I need you to gather some information for me. And … I need you to be discreet about it.”

He looks at Prosecutor Edgeworth, baffled. He hadn’t expected this when he had been called into his office - really, he hadn’t expected anything at all. But he never would have thought that he would ask him for help.

“Anything, sir!”

“I need as much information as you can get about Kristoph Gavin.”

He blinks, a little confused now. “Isn’t that … that defense attorney?”

“The Coolest Defense in the West, they call him. Yes.”

“But why-”

“I suspect him to be involved in Wright’s disbarment somehow.”

“... Oh.” He hadn’t actually expected to get an answer, it was just him, talking before thinking again. “I see.” He takes the notepad he’s always carrying out of his pocket and writes down the name.

“Furthermore … I trust you are familiar with the UR-1 incident?”

It takes him a few seconds to connect the case name with the actual incident, but he nods, slightly uncomfortable. It was ugly, back then, having a prosecutor arrested for murder. The Dark Age of the Law, indeed.

“I need information on that, too. About the people involved. Witness accounts. I know someone took these things down already, but I’d like you to go over everything again.”

And then he tells him some more, he tells him … everything, in fact. That a spy might have been involved. That he believes in Prosecutor Blackquill’s innocence. He’s taking some more notes, listens to Mr. Edgeworth’s determined words, amazed by it.

How long has it been since you’ve slept, he wants to ask, because Prosecutor Edgeworth looks tired, he always does, but instead he asks, “... Why me?”

“Because I trust you,” is the almost confused answer, as if this was clear, and he finds himself smiling.

~

[2023]

It’s the annual Christmas party, and he and Ema and Bobby somehow managed to convince Prosecutor Edgeworth into coming, too, they all like him, they all think he’s working too hard, and “The prosecutors are our trusted partners in justice, of course you can join!”, “It’s a scientific fact that parties thrown by detectives are the most fun”, and so here he is, sitting next to Prosecutor Edgeworth, and he’s drunk, talking without thinking, as he always does, rambling on and on about a case, so much for the ‘fun’ part, and somewhere between the sentences “There was so much blood” and “I’ve never seen anything like this before” he has started crying; so much for the ‘fun’ part, so much for the-

“Detective, please stop crying.” He offers him a handkerchief and he takes it and then just stares at it, and then-

“Y’know, Prosecutor Edgeworth, sir! I admire you so much, you are always so passionate about your work and everything else, always so- You never talk without thinking, you’re a real hero, sir, and I don’t know why you trust me so much, I really don’t deserve this, and-”

He doesn’t know what else he says, just that he’s outside, then, Prosecutor Edgeworth has dragged him there, and he’s still crying, or crying again. Eventually, he finds himself in a cab, Prosecutor Edgeworth still by his side, he doesn’t exactly know how he got here, and this is what makes him realize just how drunk he really is, and he closes his eyes, he doesn’t know if the other detectives noticed what’s going on, he hopes they didn’t, it’s bad enough that Prosecutor Edgeworth did, that he’s still with him, even-

“You don’t need to do this, sir”, he mumbles, and he also just now realizes how slurred the words sound. A lot of embarrassing things have happened to him over the years, spilling coffee on a murder victim was the first on the list until now, but this, this is so much worse.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re in no condition to make it home by yourself.”

His apartment is clean, tidy, but even in his drunk state, he’s aware of just how out of place Prosecutor Edgeworth looks in here. It’s tiny, one room, a small kitchen, an even smaller bathroom. Prosecutor Edgeworth doesn’t comment on it, he just helps him sit down on the sofa bed, and then he’s looking at him. “Please get some sleep now, detective,” he says.

“How long’s it been since you’ve slept,” always without thinking, “I always talk without thinking,” always making it worse, “I wish I was Mr. Wright,” always stagnating.

Prosecutor Edgeworth pauses. “... Detective, what are you saying?”

Silence.

“Why would you want to be Wright? He’s unemployed, he struggles to take care of his daughter,-”

“But you’re always there for him,” oh Dick, always, always making it worse, why can’t you just be quiet.

“... What? I- I don’t understa-”

“I really … admire you so much, sir,” please just be quiet now.

Silence.

“... Oh.

Oh.

‘Oh’, and Prosecutor Edgeworth is gripping the left sleeve of his jacket with his right hand, and he almost flinches, this isn’t a pose he ever wanted to see again.

“... Detective, just to clarify, Wright and I aren’t- … It’s … not like this.”

He’s smiling, then, a little, he can’t help it, and then he lies down and then there’s nothing, he can’t remember falling asleep or when Prosecutor Edgeworth left, he can’t remember anything at all, and he’s certain the vague memory of a fleeting kiss the next morning is just a remnant from his dreams.

~

[2024]

“Good evening, sir! I thought I’d bring you tea!” He smiles and sets the cup down on Prosecutor Edgeworth’s desk.

He looks up and briefly smiles back. “Thank you, detective.”

It’s nine in the evening. It’s dark outside, and the heavy wind more or less throws the rain against the window. Splash. Splash. Splash. He’s looking outside. He likes rain. It calms him.

“I am sorry for canceling our dinner ... appointment.”

“Oh!” He shakes his head. “Not at all, sir! I get it, you’re a busy man, after all!” And really, it’s no problem, he’s just … worried, he thinks, working so much isn’t healthy, can’t be healthy, Bobby says it all the time, the prosecutors are working too much.

He just stands there awkwardly, then, it’s still … strange, weird, and he doesn’t really know how this even happened, that they are-

Whatever it is they are. Dating is such a silly word, he thinks. At least he’s not alone, Prosecutor Edgeworth seems to be just as awkward with it as him, they are looking at each other, and he thinks about how it’s still “Prosecutor Edgeworth, sir!” and “Detective”, never their actual names, unless they are in private. New and weird and strange and wonderful and-

Dating, they are definitely dating, and he wants to ask How long has it been since you’ve slept, but he tries not to speak without thinking, so he just keeps silent, but they are dating, they definitely are, and when he leaves, when he tells Prosecutor Edgeworth that he’ll go home now, he gets a kiss before he does.

~

[2025]

“... Wright, what have you done?! … … Yes. … Yes, I see. … … Alright. … And about the defen- … … … … You what? A newbie?! … Oh, God, Wright. You never cease to ... amaze me. … That wasn’t a compliment. … … Certainly, yes. … Yes, we’ll do that. … Good. Take care.”

He hangs up his jacket right when Miles puts the phone away and rubs his temples. “One of these days, he’s going to kill me.”

He laughs a little. “I sure don’t hope so! … What happened?”

“He got arrested.”

“... What?”

“He killed someone.”

“... … He what?!”

“Yes. … I mean, he didn’t, but he’s the main suspect.”

“Ohhhh, that’s bad.”

“Guess who he had dinner with tonight.”

“Mr. Gavin?”

“Exactly.”

“Ohhh.”

“Yes. This will most likely be … interesting.” He looks down at his phone, then up at him, he’s smiling now, he walks over to him and kisses him, and his eyes, the look in them, so warm when they part. He’s still smiling. “I’ll go pick up Trucy. She should be asleep already of course, but Wright doesn’t want her to be alone upon waking up.”

“I can do that, too,” he says, he’s tired, but never too tired to go pick up Trucy, how could he be, she’s a real sunshine, and she immediately started calling him “uncle Gumshoe” when Miles had first introduced him.

“No. It’s past two already, and you only just got home. Please just go to bed, I’ll join you once I brought Trucy here.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault I came home late! There was this murder, and-”

“Still. Must I remind you about your email from last night in which you let me know that you’re investigating a special case together with Detective Fulbright? You didn’t even come home. I’m going. ... Seriously, how long has it been since you’ve slept?”