"Wright, what on earth are you doing?"
Edgeworth paused in the midst of reading his novel, caught turning the page. He was quite comfortable on Phoenix's sofa, socked feet stretched along the old cushions, and had been engrossed in the story until Wright's movement interrupted his attention. He glanced up only to be blinded by a flash of white light. Startled, he let the pages fall away from his fingers and onto the floor.
"Damn, I think the flash was too bright."
Standing across from him, Phoenix brought the old digital camera closer to his face, squinting at the tiny buttons. As Edgeworth leaned down to retrieve his book, grumbling, he heard Wright muttering to himself about unfathomable menu acronyms. Curious, and mildly irritated, Edgeworth placed the book on top of the armrest and moved to see what sort of mischief Wright was up to.
On the camera screen he saw an image of himself. However, the flash had not been received well by his glasses, leaving two white glowing spots for his eyes in the picture.
Beside him, Phoenix sighed.
"Well, I can't keep this one. You're usually so photogenic, but this one makes you look like some kind of evil mastermind."
"Is that Trucy's camera? What are you doing with it?"
"Taking pictures, obviously. You'd think the Chief Prosecutor would be able to make that deduction from the evidence in front of him." Phoenix smirked, blue eyes crinkled with amusement.
Edgeworth folded his arms and glared in return, though he knew there was no heat in it. "Contrary to what you might believe, you have not grown wittier with age, Wright."
"Sure I have. You just don't want to admit it." Phoenix hit the delete button and the picture disappeared, leaving a blank black screen. "But that really is your answer. I just – got in a photographing kind of mood, you know?"
He lifted his eyebrow. "No. I haven't the faintest idea what you mean."
That earned him an eye roll. "Of course not. Artistry and creativity are beyond the reach of someone like you."
"And what is that supposed to mean?" he asked, bristling.
Phoenix chuckled, sliding his arm around Edgeworth's waist and pulling him close, placating. "Just that you're the type to appreciate art, Miles, not make it."
He was warm; Edgeworth hadn't realized how cold he'd grown in the empty living area. As annoyed as he felt, he could not help but lean slightly against Phoenix. Wright may not have grown wittier, but neither had he grown resistant to the man's insufferable charm. "You don't think I can be artistic?"
That flat look spoke volumes.
He abruptly yanked the camera from Phoenix's hands and lightly pushed against his back. "All right then. Get on the couch, Wright."
Phoenix gave him a devilish grin. "But Miles, Trucy should be coming home soon."
Laughter bubbled out of Wright as he seated himself on the center of the sofa. "Should I remove my jacket, Mister Artiste?"
Edgeworth did not hate photographs, exactly; more that he was uncomfortable with them. Objects were fine, landscapes could be quite beautiful, but people – reducing someone to an unnatural pose and a plastic smile cheapened the person. No matter how much Phoenix cajoled him into photos with Trucy or Maya or anyone at his Agency, he found the experience distressing.
As he held the contraption in his hands, he realized he was just as awkward behind the lens as in front of it.
"Just… sit still," he ordered, locating the correct button to press.
Phoenix dutifully smiled at him, hands in his lap. All his energy contained, expression locked in place, unmoving. A moment artificially suspended in time.
Edgeworth snapped the picture.
And there was Wright on the screen. A perfectly adequate photograph. Perfectly adequate, and stupendously dull and lifeless and boring.
"It's bad, isn't it?"
He avoided Wright's mocking stare. "It is not. However, the subject could be a little more interesting."
"Hey, don't blame me for you taking a bad picture."
This was ridiculous. He had neither the training nor, he reluctantly admitted to himself, the aptitude to produce a master photograph. "It is not a poor picture. But if you wish for higher quality art you will need to invest in more sophisticated equipment."
Phoenix narrowed his eyes slightly, fingers drumming beside him on the sofa. Sensing that line of conversation might be dangerous, Edgeworth changed course. "If you were more… lively the picture might be worth saving."
"What, you want me to jump around or something? Act spontaneous? That's a little much, coming from you."
Ah. So now he was neither artistic nor spontaneous.
He closed his eyes briefly, considering. If he found traditional, posed photographs so abhorrent, perhaps what he needed was a more candid shot. Life captured discreetly. Hadn't Phoenix attempted just that, photographing him while reading?
An idea began to take root. A ridiculous idea, foolish and embarrassing, but one that would certainly catch Phoenix off-guard. And if the timing was right, it might make for a pleasing picture.
"Move aside, Wright."
He seated himself next to Phoenix, close enough for their shoulders and legs to brush together. After studying the camera settings for a moment, he held his arm out in front and turned the lens toward the two of them.
Phoenix looked askance at him. "Really Miles? A selfie?"
Moving even closer, Edgeworth scoffed. "That term is incorrect if there is more than one person in the picture."
"Fine, fine." Phoenix let out an exasperated, patronizing laugh.
Edgeworth cleared his throat. "Then, on three. One – two –"
Before he finished the countdown, Edgeworth grabbed Phoenix's tie and pulled, turning the attorney's head toward him. He saw Phoenix's eyes widen in surprise as he shut his own, and pressed their lips together.
The camera flashed on three.
Edgeworth moved away to catch his breath quite a bit later. On five, perhaps, or ten. Possibly fifteen.
Phoenix, cheeks tinted pink, said nothing, but he picked up the camera that had fallen between them. Together they looked at the most recent photograph.
…It was just as foolish as Edgeworth had feared. The angle was slightly tilted, perspective skewed, but the two of them were clearly captured, lips locked in a kiss.
Phoenix blinked, face going slack as he stared at the picture. Edgeworth felt his breath draw short in disappointment; even this foolish display was not enough to make Wright happy.
His eyes snapped up, meeting Phoenix's soft gaze. Wright, smiling sheepishly, looked away. "I guess I was wrong. You do have a hidden talent for art, Miles."
He could feel his face heat up. "It's only a picture, Phoenix."
That smile turned mischievous. "Yeah. Then I guess you won't mind if I let Trucy put this on all the Christmas cards this year."
His breath caught for an entirely different reason. "You wouldn't dare–"
The camera dropped to the floor as Phoenix suddenly leaned into Edgeworth, arms wrapping around his shoulders and lips seeking his own once more. "Oh yes," he promised during gasps for air, "it's going right on the cover."
He knew that tone. As Edgeworth resigned himself to a month of mortification at the Prosecutor's Office once the cards were distributed, he decided the moment was worth it.