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Little by Little

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Miles Edgeworth couldn’t say he that what he felt for Phoenix Wright was love at first sight. It didn’t work like that for him.

When he had defended Phoenix from all the kids who were convinced he was guilty, he saw the kind of person his father had spent years of his life protecting. He didn’t know Phoenix well, but he knew there was no way he could have done it. The rest of the class and the teacher had no decisive evidence to prove it had been him. Luckily, Miles knew a thing or two about actual court systems and was able to shut them down efficiently, refusing to accept an apology from an innocent classmate.

Phoenix had become his best friend after that, dragging his friend Larry into the mix as well. While Larry was a good friend, Miles didn’t feel as connected to him as he did to Phoenix.

Miles was not the kid who made friends easily. A lot of kids avoided him, and the ones that didn’t, he avoided. It had been like that at his last school, too. He was perfectly content reading anyway. When he transferred schools, he figured it would be the same, and it had been for a while. Until that pivotal moment earned him Phoenix’s favor.

He allowed Phoenix to wedge his way into his life, and Miles nearly told him his most trusted secret. But he never did.

And for a brief moment, as he boarded a plane to Germany, with certainty in his mind that he would never see Phoenix again, he rather wished he had.

====

When Edgeworth saw Wright many years later in court, he didn’t love him then either. Most certainly didn’t after the man tarnished his perfect prosecuting record.

And he really didn’t understand why Wright still seemed so… Attached. It had been years , they weren’t really friends anymore.

His mind drifted to the letters, and he forced them to the back of his mind.

Unnecessary feelings indeed.

====

The following years were nearly a blur to Edgeworth. He had certainly grown over them, and began to value the same ideals he valued as a child. It was starting to hurt, knowing how many innocent people he must have locked away.

But the biggest hurt, the biggest shock, he had ever had must have come a few years into his renewed friendship with Wright when Larry Butz was calling him in the middle of the night to tell him that Wright was on the verge of death.

Saying he did the next part without thinking would be a lie. He thought about it, about the expenses, the time, the need, and decided it was worth it.

He charted a private jet to see Phoenix Wright as quickly as he could.

----

When he did see Wright, he was in a hospital bed, bandaged up and able to speak very little. The nurse told him that he would be fine, and Edgeworth chalked it up to a miracle.

Leave it to Wright to survive a fall from a burning bridge into a rushing river known for its ability to make bodies practically disappear from existence.

When Wright saw Edgeworth, his face twitched into a smile, his eyes alight with joy. Edgeworth couldn’t understand why he seemed so happy to see him, but he couldn’t help but feel happy to see him as well, alive and on the road to recovery.

Edgeworth probably wouldn’t have called it love then, but it certainly was care, a deep, intense sense of relief to know that his dear friend was going to be ok. The feeling washed away the fear and dread he had become acquainted with the many hours he was on the jet.

He couldn’t refuse when Wright asked him to defend Iris.

====

Saying that Edgeworth was shocked to hear of Wright’s disbarment would have been an understatement.

He was even more shocked to hear of his decision to adopt the child who was left behind after the trial’s conclusion.

“She has nowhere else to go, Edgeworth,” Wright had said. “I can’t abandon her.”

“Are you sure you can take care of her?” Edgeworth asked.

“I mean.” Edgeworth heard Phoenix let out a heavy sigh through the static. “I can at least try.”

“Well…” Edgeworth leaned back in his chair. “If you ever need help with anything, never hesitate to ask. I am your friend, and I am here for you.”

Edgeworth could hear the small smile on Phoenix’s face as he said, “Thank you, Edgeworth.”

Edgeworth wouldn’t have called it love then either. But perhaps it was getting there.

====

When Wright told him about Kristoph Gavin, Edgeworth was glad to know that someone was on Wright’s side. He certainly needed it given his circumstances.

It nearly gave way to jealousy, however, when Wright told Edgeworth that Kristoph had been making moves on him. And then those strange, confusing feelings gave way to a new confusion at Wright’s next statement.

“But it’s really… Weird,” Wright said. “And uncomfortable.”

“How so?” Edgeworth asked.

“Well…” Wright sighed. “Ok. I need to tell you something else first.”

“And what is that?”

A silence followed, and Edgeworth heard Wright take a deep breath before finally saying, “I’m trans.”

Edgeworth’s heart nearly stopped as he slowly processed the words.

Wright was…

He was…

“E-Edgeworth?”

Edgeworth sucked in a breath, as if coming back to life.

“I apologize,” he said. “It’s just that…”

He thought about those moments long ago when he wanted to tell Wright his most closely guarded secret, but never did.

What a fool he was.

“I am, too,” Edgeworth finally said.

“Wait…” Wright paused for a brief moment before practically shrieking, “What!?”

“I’m trans,” Edgeworth said. “It’s the reason I ended up transferring to your school partway through the year. And why I was so closed off.”

“Oh…” It was so quiet, Edgeworth could barely hear it. “What happened?”

“Well… I told my father, who was accepting of it,” Edgeworth explained. “Then I transitioned at school. My classmates were fine with it, but some of my teachers weren’t. Same went with the parents of some of the other students.

“They often said I was too young to know and that I would be a bad influence on the other students. They even accused my father of child abuse, and said that if I had a mother, this never would have happened.

“Then the other kids caught on from the adults that I was supposed to be something they didn’t like, and then the worst of the bullying happened to me. My father noticed the toll it was taking on me, and I transferred to your school.”

Wright said nothing for a while, seeming stunned into silence.

“That’s…” he said suddenly. “That’s terrible! How could they say those things!?”

“I wish I knew,” Edgeworth said with a sigh. He smiled as he remembered something. “Oddly enough, the reason I ended up transferring to your school was because my father found out that there was another trans student who was having no difficulties with his transition.”

“I…” Wright seemed dumbstruck. “That was me, wasn’t it?”

“I imagine so,” Edgeworth said, deep amusement plain in his voice.

“Oh my god…”

Edgeworth would have chuckled if he had not remembered how this came up.

“What does you being trans have to do with Gavin?”

There was silence again, but it seemed tense this time. Edgeworth could feel the shift.

“He seems to think that he’d automatically be the top given my…” Wright cleared his throat. “Downstairs.”

Edgeworth didn’t quite understand at first, but as it hit him he felt his blood begin to boil.

What .”

“Yeah… A lot of what he says is really… Fetish-y, to put it lightly. And the comments he makes about my body are really uncomfortable.”

Edgeworth had never felt rage quite like this before.

“How dare that bastard .”

“Woah, Edgeworth-”

Edgeworth wasn’t sure what was riling him like this. Perhaps it was just the care he felt for his friend and his well being, but he knew Wright deserved so much better than some cis man making disgusting comments to him packaged in some sorry excuse for flirtation.

“I’ll get a private jet right now and take care of him myself.”

“Edgeworth-”

“I swear to god, he’ll regret the day he-”

Miles .”

Edgeworth froze when he heard Wright say his first name out loud for the first time in years. He suddenly grew embarrassment by his outburst.

“I…” He cleared his throat. “I apologize for that.”

“Hey, it’s ok,” Wright said. “It’s nice to know someone is looking out for me.”

“I will always look out for you,” Edgeworth immediately said. “You are my dearest friend and your well being is one of the most important things to me.”

“O-Oh.”

Edgeworth couldn’t help but feel embarrassed again, feeling the heat climb into his cheeks.

“Thanks, Edgeworth. You’re my best friend, too.”

It was that moment. Edgeworth knew then.

He had no choice but to admit it, and call it love.

====

“You know, you don’t have to keep calling me Wright.”

Edgeworth was caught off guard by that.

They had been discussing Wright taking the bar again, and how his studies had been going. It had taken a lot of convincing on Edgeworth’s part, but Wright had finally agreed to retake it.

And then Edgeworth had said “Wright”, like he always did, and that had been the response he received.

“I apologize… I’m just so used to it.”

“It’s alright.” Wright smiled at him. “It’s just… Like I said a while ago, you’re my best friend. You’re one of the most important people in my life. We can leave the formalities behind when it’s just us.”

“Alright…” Edgeworth paused, feeling the now unfamiliar name forming in his mouth. It had been so long since he had said his dear friend’s first name aloud without his surname tacked on at the end. “Phoenix.”

Wright- no, Edgeworth reminded himself. Phoenix - grinned wide, and Edgeworth felt his heart stop.

“Thanks, Miles,” Phoenix said, his voice soft, and happy, and Edgeworth thought he’d have a heart attack if Phoenix kept looking at him like that.

Then suddenly, Phoenix smile left him, and Edgeworth nearly jumped from his seat to do something, anything , to bring it back.

“Was that ok?” Phoenix asked. “I know you agreed to call me Phoenix, but I shouldn’t have assumed-”

“It’s fine,” Edgeworth blurted out. He saw Phoenix’s surprised face and tacked on, “I assure you.”

Then Phoenix smiled again, and Edgeworth felt relieved.

And felt like he really, really wanted to kiss Phoenix.

====

The celebration that night was for two things.

The first was Phoenix finally getting his attorney’s badge back.

The second was Edgeworth’s decision to become the Chief Prosecutor, and stay in the states for good.

“You don’t have to share your celebration with me,” Edgeworth had assured him. “It isn’t that big of a deal.”

“What are you talking about?” Phoenix said, seeming genuinely confused. “You’re getting a huge promotion and you’re finally taking up residence here permanently so I’ll get to see you whenever I want? That’s definitely cause for celebration.”

Edgeworth felt his cheeks heat up, and he crossed his arms and diverted his gaze. “Well not whenever . I do still have plenty of work to do.”

Phoenix wasn’t deterred. “But it’s still more often than before!”

Oh god, Edgeworth was screwed. He now had to deal with Phoenix fully present all the time, in his space and smiling, genuinely glad to see him.

He wouldn’t last.

----

The celebration included more people than Phoenix could ever fit into his studio apartment, and since Edgeworth liked his privacy, which included a lack of people in his own apartment, they decided to just go out to dinner.

It was a rambunctious night of eating, and Phoenix immediately feared for his wallet. Edgeworth promised to foot the bill, and silenced Phoenix’s attempts to protest with a stern glare.

Eventually, Phoenix and Miles grew exhausted by the celebration and opted to head out. Everyone asked if they were sure, and they said that they didn’t have to be present for everyone to keep having a good time. However, they were now in charge of paying for anymore food that they bought, a fact Edgeworth made sure they were fully aware of.

They got into Edgeworth’s car, just the two of them. The rest could either take Larry’s car, or take take the train. Phoenix let Trucy stay out a bit longer, trusting her, and trusting Maya to look after her.

Edgeworth drove Phoenix back to his apartment building, and they paused.

“Do…”

Edgeworth turned to look at Phoenix, who was staring down at his hands.

“Do you want to come in?”

Edgeworth wasn’t sure where the question was coming from, but said, “Alright.”

The two of them went into Phoenix’s dark apartment, and he flipped on a switch, Edgeworth blinking a couple of times as he adjusted.

“Any particular reason you invited me in?”

Phoenix looked at him, worry creeping into every nook and cranny of his face. Edgeworth grew worried as well.

“Are you alright, Phoenix?”

Phoenix took in a shaky breath. “Are you really staying?”

Edgeworth raised an eyebrow. “Of course I am.”

Phoenix looked doubtful, and Edgeworth felt the beginnings of guilt creep into him.

“Phoenix,” he said, keeping his voice soft. “I promise you. I’m staying for good.”

He cast his gaze to the side. “I know, I have disappeared in the past.”

He shut his eyes, and then forced himself to look at Phoenix. “But I promise, that is all over now. I’m not leaving anymore.”

Phoenix stared at him a little longer, the look of worry never fully leaving as he stepped towards Edgeworth. Edgeworth opened his arms, accepting Phoenix into them, feeling Phoenix’s arms tighten around his back. Edgeworth tried to keep his breathing steady, but the force of Phoenix’s hug knocked all the air out of him. It felt like drowning in the best way possible, and his nervous lungs refused to come up for air.

He could feel Phoenix start to pull away and he wanted more than anything to pull Phoenix back, to hold him tight against his chest and never let go, anything to prove to him that he was staying by Phoenix’s side.

But he released his arms, slowly letting Phoenix go, and-

Suddenly caught off guard by Phoenix kissing the side of his mouth.

Before he could do anything, Phoenix was pulling away, tears in the corners of his eyes.

“I love you, Miles,” he said, barely above a whisper. “I have… Probably since the day I met you.”

Edgeworth felt his heart stop at the confession. He didn’t know what to say, any and all coherent thought leaving him along with his speaking voice, and so he pulled Phoenix back towards him, kissing him in full this time. He heard a soft sigh escape Phoenix, and Edgeworth thought he’d combust on the spot.

He never wanted to let Phoenix go, but there was something he had to say, and so he pulled away slowly and whispered, “I can’t say the same for the length of time, but I can say I have loved you for a long time, Phoenix Wright.”

Phoenix’s smile was bright, and trusting, and loving, and he kissed Edgeworth one more time.

“Since when?” he asked.

Edgeworth felt a blush creep across his cheeks. “It’s rather embarrassing, I fear.”

“Oh, it can’t be that bad,” Phoenix said, still holding him in his arms.

“Well… I can not say for certain when I actually did start to develop romantic feelings for you,” Edgeworth said. “But I first realized it when… We came out to each other.”

“Miles!” Phoenix laughed lightly. “That’s not embarrassing.”

Edgeworth cast his gaze to the side, grumpling slightly. He felt Phoenix kiss his cheek, and felt his face grow warmer.

“I love you, Miles,” he whispered.

Edgeworth pulled Phoenix flush up against him, burying his face in his shoulder. “I love you, too, Phoenix.”