-Los Angeles, November 2044-
Phoenix Wright sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair, distributing the last of the gel evenly among the spikes, hoping they wouldn’t flop before the evening was out.
The face reflected back at him in the mirrored doors of the bathroom cabinet did not match the one that he had in his head as he went about his daily life. In his own mind, he was still twenty-five - young, passionate, and at the height of his career as a defence attorney. Whenever he looked at Apollo's junior law partners, he saw himself, and it was difficult to remember that a quarter of a century separated them.
Reality only really hit him when he was alone and face to face with what other people saw, every day. He turned his head slightly to one side, squinting at his reflection. His fingers wandered over the grey that had somehow crept into his jet black hair; he noted the deeper lines that had started to appear around his eyes, on his forehead, around his mouth. When did that happen? When did I get old? He sighed again, pulling a face at his own reflection before opening up the cabinet door to put away the tube of gel.
“We’re going to be late, Wright. Trucy won’t like it if we’re not there right on time for dinner. It is her birthday, remember. And we’re supposed to be picking up Pearl on the way.”
Phoenix closed the cabinet and looked into its mirrored surface again. Miles was standing behind him, pointedly looking at his watch and arching an eyebrow. He watched as Miles ran a critical eye over his gelled hair, grimacing and taking a step forward to pinch some of the spikes into place a bit more neatly.
“What’s wrong, Phoenix? It seems as if you’re not looking forward to this evening at all.”
Miles’ face was questioning, and his hands moved down to Phoenix’s shoulders, giving them a light squeeze before resting there as if in reassurance. It struck Phoenix, not for the first time, how much Miles, now, looked like the old black and white photograph of his father that hung in the living room. With each passing year the resemblance had grown stronger – shorter hair and the addition of a pair of reading glasses only adding to the effect. I wonder if he even realises?
“When did we all get old, Miles? Where did the time go?” Phoenix asked of the reflection in the mirror.
A soft chuckle from the other man was followed by another squeeze of his shoulders, “Is that what’s bothering you today? I suppose birthdays do have that effect, sometimes.”
“It just seems like yesterday that we were kids,” Phoenix sulked, his mouth a moue of discontent. “Even bloody Larry looks sensible and respectable these days – and Maya looks – well... motherly.”
Miles’ eyebrows shot up in clear surprise as his eyes skirted Phoenix’s in the mirror, creasing with concealed laughter. “Maya? Motherly? Good grief, Phoenix, if she heard you say that you’d be limping for a week." He smiled. "I think she is what the ... um … popular opinion would regard as a ‘MILF’. Well... if your tastes incline in that direction, obviously.” This time the laughter wasn’t concealed and his eyes twinkled with humour at the afterthought.
Phoenix couldn’t help but smile back at the reflection. He's changed so much. I can hardly remember the old Edgeworth any more. He’s a completely different person than he was twenty-five years ago.
“I guess I’m just having a ‘facing my own mortality’ moment,” Phoenix said ruefully. “Every time I look in the mirror I seem to have more grey and more wrinkles. I hate it.”
Miles looked back at him for a few moments, his expression suddenly serious again. “You shouldn’t. Our lives are written on our faces. It’s … important for us to remember.” His voice trailed off, as if he had run out of words.
“Oh come on, Miles, you can’t tell me you like waking up and looking at an old wrinkly in the mornings.” Phoenix knew he sounded sulky, and also ridiculous, given that they were the same age. But Edgeworth really did seem to have aged better than he had himself. Maybe it was an illusion brought on by the fact that the other man had already been mostly grey by the age of twenty-five, or perhaps because as the years passed he had become happier, more open. Or more likely it’s down to the facial treatments I used to tease him about.
Edgeworth’s face had taken on a distant look. Phoenix could tell that he was considering his words carefully – a habit he always had if he was trying to say something deeply personal. Phoenix had long since stopped suspecting that it indicated insincerity and accepted it for what it was. With the passing years had come patience with his partner’s foibles. And I can’t imagine how many things he’s learned to tolerate while living with me, either.
He felt the light breath of a sigh below his ear as Miles leaned in to kiss him there, gently. Then he lifted a hand, reached round, and touched a light forefinger to the faint laughter lines on Phoenix’s face, their gaze meeting directly in the mirror as he did so. His steel grey eyes had taken on that sudden intensity that they often held when he was trying to express a message that went deeper than his words.
“These,” Miles said, tracing one of the lines with his fingertip, “Are the day that you saved my life.” Then his finger moved to one of the deeper creases under Phoenix’s left eye. “This one is the day we went out for a drink as friends and I stupidly showed you how I felt about you.” His finger moved again, gently marking each line on Phoenix's face with an invisible trail across his skin, leaving a tingle of excitement in its wake. “This is the day you told me that you felt the same way after all. These? The day you left me and the day we met again eight years later. And this?” The finger finally stilled on a recently emerging crease across Phoenix’s brow. “This is what happens when you won’t admit that you need spectacles.” He smiled again, his eyes laughing at Phoenix from the mirror, seriousness banished as suddenly as it appeared.
Seeing Edgeworth happy always made Phoenix’s heart leap, even now, and he couldn’t hold back a grin. “I’m an idiot, aren’t I?” He shook his head, feeling a bit foolish and turning away from the mirror. The slight heat of a blush warmed his neck.
“You’ve always been an idiot, Wright,” Miles replied with a smirk. “But some things never get old.” He cupped Phoenix’s face in his hands, leaning in to kiss him deeply and passionately.
As Phoenix responded, parting his lips and sliding his arms around Miles' shoulders, he decided that this evening - for once - they were going to be fashionably late.