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“I think they’re fucking.” Klavier said out of nowhere.

Apollo took a deep breath and wondered why they could never just go over their cases, like they always said they would. What was even the point of these meetings then, if they never got any real work done?

“What are you talking about?” Athena asked, now officially distracted from her paperwork.

“Don’t encourage him.” Apollo muttered. He could sense, deep in his soul, that it was too late already. The meeting would now descend into ridiculous gossip. At least it was only Klavier and Athena here, instead of Blackquill or, god forbid, Mr. Wright. Then again, maybe that was the problem. Maybe these meetings would actually be productive if there were people who could actually be professional present.

Athena and Klavier continued on as if they hadn’t heard Apollo’s upset muttering.

“Herr Wight and Prosecutor Edgeworth. I think they’re fucking.” Klavier smiled, lounging in the rolling chair he’d claimed as his own.

“Oh my god.” Apollo groaned, head officially in his hands.

“No way!” Athena said. Then she paused, chin in her hand as she thought it over. “You don’t really think so…do you?”

Klavier leaned forward, clearly excited someone else was now considering it. “Think about it—“

“I don’t want to think about it.” Apollo cut him off. “How is this appropriate? They’re like our bosses! And it’s not—I mean, it wouldn’t even be our business if they were...doing that.”

“So you think they’re doing it?” Athena asked.

“That’s—that’s not what I said!” Apollo said, trying very hard not to yell. It was supposed to be empty in the Wright Anything Agency Office, but with his chords of steel you could never be too careful. He didn’t want to chance anybody hearing this embarrassing conversation.

“I bet you ten bucks they’re doing it.” Klavier said.

“You’re on!” Athena yelled back. This was bad. Athena had a tendency to get…competitive. He should probably put a stop to this before it went any further.

“Hold on you guys…How exactly are you going to prove this anyway?” Apollo pointed out, hoping it would put an end to everything. “You should probably just let it go…”

Both Klavier and Athena turned in sync to look at him. Then they began to smile. It was creepy.

“What?” He had a bad feeling about this. Then it hit him.

“No.” Apollo said, adamant. “I am NOT using my bracelet to settle this dumb bet of yours!”

“Aww, come on Apollo.” Athena begged.

“Yeah, Herr Forehead.” Klavier added. “All you would need to do is ask Herr White—“

“I’m not asking my boss if he and Mr. Edgeworth are sleeping together!” Apollo yelled.

In the brief silence that followed, all three of them heard the key turning in the front door’s lock.

“Shit!” Widget squeaked from his spot on Athena’s neck.

The door to the office opened, revealing Trucy.

“Oh thank god.” Athena sighed. Apollo agreed. At least it wasn’t Mr. Wright.

“What are you guys talking about?” Trucy asked, frowning.

Klavier recovered the fastest. “Hello Fraulein,” He gave a small bow, the fancy show-off, “It’s been too long.”

Trucy, who was usually more star-struck around Kalvier, simply stared at them and crossed her arms. “Why are you guys talking about Daddy and Uncle Miles?”

“Uncle…” Apollo muttered. “Since when is he ‘Uncle Miles’?”

“Since always!” Trucy replied, stamping her foot. “Now tell me what’s going on!”

“…We’re sorry Trucy.” Athena said. “It was just, Klavier and I were wondering if Mr. Wright and Prosecutor were together or something.”

“We were curious.” Klavier added. “Especially since they seem to be spending more time together lately.”

“And you’d know, right Trucy?” Athena asked, becoming excited again. “Mr. Wright would tell you if he was seeing someone, right?”

Trucy shrugged. “If it was serious, yeah.”

“Do you think it could be a fling then?” Klavier wondered.

“Ugh.” Apollo groaned.

“No, I don’t think so.” Trucy said. It seemed that, after they'd explained themselves, she was taking their conversation seriously. She moved to the office couch and laid down, taking up all the cushions. “I don’t think Daddy would risk his relationship with Uncle Miles like that.”

“It could be possible though.” Klavier argued.

Trucy ignored him. “He’d tell me if they were dating. Daddy’s not great at hiding things.” There was an awkwardness in the room as they all recognized the reference to Mr. Wright’s revelations regarding Trucy and Apollo’s mother. It had been nearly five months now, but Apollo was still trying to get used to the news.

Thankfully Trucy continued talking. “But…if it was a recent thing, then he might wait a while to tell me. And the two of them started ‘reviewing cases’ a couple of weeks ago…”

“Ja, the ‘reviewing’ that happens late at night in Herr Edgeworth’s office.” Klavier said.

“Sometimes it’s over at Uncle Miles’ house.” Trucy added.

“That does sound suspicious.” Athena noted. “But wouldn’t it be weird if they only started dating now? They’ve known each other for ages. It’s unlikely both of them have had feelings for each other and never mentioned it until now. And since Trucy doesn’t know about it, I think it would have to be a more recent thing if it IS happening.”

“Why are we still talking about this?” Apollo asked. Everyone ignored him.

“I’m betting $20 that they’re seeing each other.” Klavier said.

“I bet $20 that they’re not!” Athena replied.

“Wait, you guys are betting on this?” Trucy asked. Apollo was ready for Trucy to throw a tantrum, but instead she simply asked, “Can I get in on it?” Maybe he should’ve taken into account the fact her father spent years making money as a poker player. Gambling probably wasn’t too strange to her.

“Hmm…” Klavier thought about it. “I’m sorry, Fraulein, but I think your insider information might give you an unfair advantage.”

“You can help us figure it out though!” Athena offered.

“Okay then!” Trucy said, jumping up from the couch.

Apollo hated his life.

~

It took a week of begging from both Athena and Klavier until he gave in and helped them. He still refused to ask his boss if he was sleeping with the Chief Prosecutor, but he figured it was harmless enough to ask him a vague question about his love life. Something small enough that it would get his friends off his back at least.

“So, Mr. Wright…” Apollo asked one day when it was only him and Mr. Wright in the office, “Have you been seeing someone?”

Mr. Wright looked up from his paperwork. At least he didn’t look offended at the question. He just seemed surprised. “Huh? Why do you ask?”

“Um, no reason.” Apollo replied. He hoped Mr. Wright couldn’t tell how awkward he felt about this whole thing.

“I see…I guess you’re getting to about that age.” Mr. Wright nodded. Then he stood up from his desk to walk towards Apollo and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Relationships are complicated, Apollo. Now, I’m not an expert or anything, but you should know I’m definitely here if you want any advice. Whatever it is, no questions asked.”

“Um…thanks.” Apollo said. He wasn’t really sure how the conversation had turned out this way.

Mr. Wright smiled, removing his hand from Apollo’s shoulder. “Now, was there something specific you wanted to ask me?” Mr. Wright paused, as if suddenly troubled by something. “You do know how to use protection, right?”

“Okay-I-gotta-go-bye-Mr.-Wright.” Apollo practically ran out of the office.

It took a couple of minutes afterwards for Apollo to realize that Mr. Wright had never even answered his question.

~

It took Athena a little while to figure out when Sergeant Gumshoe was free. While he was known to be pretty friendly, she didn’t think he would appreciate her bugging him while he was at work. But she had to talk to him! Sergeant Gumshoe had known both Mr. Wright and Mr. Edgeworth for years, and was generally known to be one of the few people who was actually close to Mr. Edgeworth.

The interview didn’t go well.

Sergeant Gumshoe listened to Athena patiently as she explained what she was doing at his front door. At the end, all he had to say was this: “Look pal, it’s my kid’s birthday today, but even if it wasn’t—you couldn’t pay me to get involved with that. Now scram.”

~

Trucy waited until after she had caught up with Pearl before asking to talk to Aunt Maya. She was as cheerful as always. They talked a little bit about what had been going on in both of their lives before Trucy remembered to bring the topic up.

“Aunt Maya, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Trucy, of course!” Aunt Maya replied.

It was better to get it over with. “Do you know whether or not Daddy and Uncle Miles are dating each other?”

There was a moment of silence over the phone, followed by Aunt Maya laughing hysterically.

“Um, sorry,” Trucy apologized, “It’s only—some of the others are having this bet, and I thought you might know…”

“Good luck!” Aunt Maya laughed again, “I’ve been trying to figure that out for years!”

Trucy could still hear her laughing as she handed the phone back to Pearl.

~

“Prosecutor Edgeworth.” Klavier greeted. “Here’s the papers you wanted.”

“Thank you, Gavin.” Edgeworth returned, organizing the files Klavier had put on his desk. Edgeworth looked up once he realized Klavier was still standing in front of him.

“Is there something you want, prosecutor?” Edgeworth asked.

“I have a question sir.” Klavier said, “Are you sleeping with Phoenix Wright?”

Edgeworth’s jaw tightened, but he didn’t answer. Instead he glared at Klavier unwaveringly until the younger prosecutor backed out of his office.

~

“I couldn’t find anything.” Trucy grumbled.

The sullen silence from the rest of the group betrayed how no one else was having any luck either.

“Guys…I’ve been thinking.” Trucy said. “Maybe we’re not finding anything because there’s, well, nothing to find.” It was also starting to feel a little weird, prying into her dad’s love life.

“That means I win, right?” Athena asked, perking up a little bit.

“Objection!” Klavier pointed, “We haven’t found any evidence that they are together, but neither have we found any evidence that they aren’t together.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Athena sighed.

“Maybe…” Klavier said, “Maybe we'll never know. If one of their oldest friends can’t tell, then perhaps Herr Wight and Herr Edgeworth will always exist in that questionable state of being together and not being together.”

“Like Schrödinger’s dating.” Athena nodded.

“Do you guys even hear what you’re saying?” Apollo mumbled. Trucy suspected that he was just upset because he hadn’t found anything either.

While everyone else was still confused, Trucy privately decided there was probably nothing going on. She trusted her dad to tell her if he was seriously seeing somebody.

And that might have been the end of that if it hadn’t been for the trial.

Trucy had acted as a legal assistant plenty of times, not only for her dad but for all the lawyers at the agency. But her dad’s latest trial, a murder case (as so many of their cases were), was the first trial Trucy had seen where he faced off against Edgeworth.

Trucy had heard stories, sure. She knew her dad and uncle were famous for their cases together, but she had never seen it for herself. During the retrial of the UR-1 incident she had been stuck with the other hostages, preforming magic tricks in an attempt to keep everyone else calm. And it was rare for the Chief Prosecutor to step down and personally take on a case.

This case was a special exception it seemed. Their defendant, Lola Frost, was accused of killing her long-time boyfriend, who was a bit of a local celebrity. There was a lot of publicity around the case as a result, and that (paired along with some office politics Trucy didn’t really understand) meant Edgeworth had been assigned to the case.

Trucy had been excited to see her dad and uncle in action. Their fights were legendary!

She was now regretting everything.

Why didn’t anyone tell her it was like this?

Look, Trucy loved her dad a whole lot, but she never needed to hear him swap sexual innuendos with her uncle. In the courtroom.

She knew she wasn’t the only one noticing it. Quite a few people in the audience had risen their eyebrows or even cringed at some of the more risqué comments. The Judge didn’t react at all. God, was this something he was used to?

There was nothing Trucy could do but watch in horror as her Uncle Miles used the word “penetrate” for no good reason.

It was ridiculous. Who talked like that?

She hadn’t thought too much about all the time her dad and Uncle Miles had been spending together, besides that it was a good thing her dad had friends. But after Athena and Klavier had pointed out that there might be more to the “work meetings”, she considered what it would actually mean if her dad was dating her uncle.

And the thing was, she thought it would be pretty cool. She liked Uncle Miles. He could be awkward and a little weird, but he always looked out for them. And he made her dad happy.

But it had been two weeks and they still hadn’t been able to figure out if they were together. By then Trucy figured that, if her dad hadn’t told her anything, then there was nothing going on. Why would he wait so long to tell her, if they were really dating?

Now she didn’t know what to think. The way those two were flirting, they pretty much had to be doing…things, Trucy thought with a shudder.

She was going to get to the bottom of this.

In the meantime, if Trucy heard the words “naked examination” one more time she was going to scream.

~

Phoenix thought the trial went pretty well, if he did say so himself. Sure, there was still a day left, but he felt pretty confident in his ability to prove his client was being framed by her landlord. He had all the evidence he needed, which was nice. It was late, and it felt great to be able to go straight home for once. Stepping into his apartment felt like a victory.

“Maybe we should order some pizza for dinner, to celebrate. What do you say, Truce?” Phoenix smiled, looking over at his daughter. But Trucy wasn’t smiling back. Her face was grimly determined, but in preparation for what, Phoenix wasn’t sure.

Phoenix finished locking their apartment door with a sense of unease. “Everything alright honey?”

Trucy took a deep breath and Phoenix braced himself.

“I can’t take it anymore!” She yelled, “Are you dating Uncle Miles and not telling me?”

Well, Phoenix hadn’t really been expecting that.

“Um, what?” Phoenix didn’t have a lot of time to digest what was happening before Trucy started talking again.

“Don’t lie to me! I mean its fine, really, but why wouldn’t you tell me? Why make up stuff about ‘case reviews’?” this Trucy punctuated with air quotes before placing her hands back on her hips, “Why don't you admit that you’re seeing him? I could maybe understand for the first two weeks or something, but it has to have been going on for more than a month now!”

“Trucy…” Phoenix said, “I’m not dating Edgeworth. We really are just going over cases.” Specifically, they had been meeting to look over some of the legal research Edgeworth had done in Europe over the years. Some of them were cases Phoenix had been there to help out with, after all.

“But…you can’t be!” Trucy argued, though she sounded less sure now. She walked over to their couch and lightly held a throw pillow to her chest.

“I promise, we’re not secretly dating.” Phoenix assured her, taking the other side of the couch. “What even made you think that?”

“Well…the others were having this bet—“

“Apollo and Athena were betting on this?” Phoenix asked, not sure whether to laugh or feel offended.

“And Klavier. Apollo wasn’t too into it I guess.” Trucy admitted. “And you guys do spend a lot of time together now.”

“We’re friends—” But Trucy interrupted him, as she seemed to suddenly remember something.

“And the trial today!” Trucy pointed at him. “You two couldn’t stop flirting!”

“That?” Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck, starting to feel a little nervous. “That’s just courtroom talk.”

“Nu-uh!” Trucy said. “Are you telling me you’d say that stuff to Klavier? Or one of the Payne brothers?”

“Uh…” Phoenix didn’t have a good answer. “You see…”

“Don’t lie, Daddy!” Trucy hit him with the throw pillow.

Phoenix grabbed the pillow and laughed weakly. “Okay…okay, you got me. I-well, I get a little caught up sometimes. Edgeworth starts it and then I just…kind of roll with it? He doesn’t mean anything by it though.” Phoenix examined the red thread of the pillow as he talked. It was awkward, having this discussion with his daughter. Hopefully this would be the end of it.

There was a moment of silence before Trucy talked again.

“But do you mean something by it?” Trucy asked.

Phoenix looked up and saw his daughter looking at him with concern, understanding dawning on her face. Well, shit.

He thought about lying, but this was Trucy. He was always honest with Trucy. She had been there for him when he was at his darkest. There was little point in hiding this from her.

“Yeah, a little bit.” He sighed.

Trucy grabbed his hand. “Why don’t you tell him that, Daddy?”

Phoenix smiled. “Thanks honey, but I don’t think that’d go too well. I’m alright, really!”

Trucy frowned. “Why not? Uncle Miles loves you, I know he does. Even if it’s not the same way you do…he’s your friend! He wouldn’t be upset or anything! And how do you know he doesn’t like you back?”

Phoenix didn’t really have an argument against that.

He’d thought about broaching the topic with Edgeworth, but he always chickened out. The possibility of ruining their friendship wasn’t even that good of an excuse. With everything they’d been through, it was unlikely some unrequited feelings would permanently ruin their relationship. Edgeworth might be weird and distant for a while, but they were both mature enough now that they could eventually move on.

Honestly, it was the fact Edgeworth might like him back that freaked Phoenix out. It seemed so unlikely that he could barely entertain the possibility. He even refused to daydream what their relationship might be like if his feelings were mutual. What did Edgeworth’s bed hair look like? How would their morning routine go? Imaging those things was the point of no-return.

“Why not talk to him about it?” Trucy asked again, her voice soft. “Isn’t it better than not knowing?”

“I’ll think about it.” Phoenix promised. “How about that pizza though?”

Trucy accepted the topic change, bless her. “Can we get one with mushrooms?”

“Alright, you heathen. But only on one side.”

“Yay!”

~

It took him three days to decide to take Trucy’s advice and finally do something. He even had a plan for how he’d go about it. Like most of his plans, he had the first few steps outlined and was going to wing the rest.

Tonight was the perfect time to do it. He and Edgeworth were reviewing the last of the European cases at Edgeworth’s house. Technically they were doing work, but the atmosphere was casual enough that they were seated on the couch, both with a glass of wine from Edgeworth’s fancy collection.

Phoenix waited until they had been working for about two hours before he made his first move.

“So…” He said casually, “Trucy asked me if we were dating the other day.”

“Oh?” Edgeworth gave him a moment’s glance before turning back to his paperwork.

“Apparently all the kids have some kind of bet going on.” Phoenix continued.

“That explains a few things.” Edgeworth chuckled. Phoenix waited for an explanation, but none came.

Okay, so far so good. Now came out the big guns.

“Hey, Miles?” Phoenix asked, making sure he got Edgeworth’s attention. Edgeworth looked at him, seeming curious but not too worried about whatever it was he thought Phoenix wanted. Phoenix hoped it wasn’t obvious he was sweating a lot.

“Why did we never date?” Phoenix finally asked, as if it were a simple and obvious question. He swirled the wine in his glass while maintaining eye-contact with Edgeworth for the maximum 'I'm not that invested in this' effect. Like a calm bad-ass. Even if he felt like anything but.

Edgeworth looked at him for what felt like hours. Then he blinked. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then closed it again. Phoenix felt like he was dying.

Finally, Edgeworth spoke. “Technically, we’re still engaged.”

Phoenix took in a breath, since apparently he had stopped breathing. Then Edgeworth’s words registered. “Wait, what?”

Edgeworth continued to look at him blankly, as if Phoenix would magically remember the time they apparently got engaged—

“Oh my god.” He did remember.

They were watching The Little Mermaid in Phoenix’s room while his mom made them dinner. It was just him and Miles, since Larry had spent the past few days at home sick with the stomach flu.

Phoenix was a little happy about that, in a way. Larry could get weird about what movies they watched, and he always complained when Phoenix tried to watch The Little Mermaid with him. But Miles didn’t protest when he suggested it, had only said he’d heard of it but had never seen it before. He didn’t even seem to mind when Phoenix started to sing along with the songs.

“This is my favorite part.” Phoenix whispered as Ariel walked out of the ocean in her shimmery dress and into Eric’s arms.

From the corner of his eyes he could feel Miles glancing at him.

“You’re gonna miss the wedding.” Phoenix told him, and Miles obediently looked back at the screen.

When the credits rolled Phoenix turned back to Miles, excited to learn what he thought of it.

“It was cute.” Miles said.

“What was your favorite part?” Phoenix asked.

Miles paused, thinking it over. Finally he said, “The crab.”

“Sebastian?” Phoenix didn’t really get it. Not that Sebastian was bad or anything, he just wouldn’t guess he’d be someone’s favorite.

Miles shrugged. “He tries hard, but everything around him keeps going wrong. I sort of feel bad for him. Plus, he’s a good singer.”

“That’s true.” Phoenix conceded.

“You liked the wedding though, right?” Miles asked, smiling slightly.

“Yeah!” Phoenix said, excited that Miles' didn’t seem to judge him for liking the romantic parts. “Her dress was really pretty, and it’s cool all her sisters were there for it.”

There was a natural lull in the conversation, one that’s common after watching a movie, as if it took a few minutes to transition back into the real world.

“If it were me though,” Phoenix said after a moment, “I wouldn’t have my wedding on a boat. I went on one once and I got so sea sick.” His face cringed at the memory.

“It couldn’t be on the beach either.” Miles added, “I don’t like how the sand gets everywhere.”

“So you’d want one in a church?” Phoenix asked. He didn’t think Miles was religious, but maybe he liked the traditional or scenic aspect to it.

But Miles shook his head. “We could have it outside, if you wanted. Maybe in a courtyard or something.”

“We?” Phoenix asked.

Miles’ face turned an alarming shade of red as he realized what he’d said. “I mean—that’s…” He stammered, becoming more and more frazzled.

“Do you wanna marry me Miles?” Phoenix asked. He felt embarrassed, but it helped a little bit that Miles was clearly more so.

Miles grabbed his arm, a nervous tic of his Phoenix didn’t see often. “Only if you’d want to, I mean…” He stopped, then crossed his arms and turned his head away fussily. “Besides! We’re nine, so it’s not like it matters anyways.”

There was an awkward pause. In that short moment Phoenix looked at his best friend, who was probably his favorite person in the world, and made a decision.

“Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Phoenix said, getting up and running out of his room before Miles could respond. He went downstairs to the kitchen as fast as he could.

“Mom? Where do we keep the twisty things?” He asked as soon as he thought he was close enough for her to hear him.

“The twisty ties? Left cupboard dear.” His mom said, not even looking away from whatever she was stirring in the pot. It smelled like spaghetti.

“Thanks!” Phoenix replied, opening the cupboard and finding what he was looking for. There were a couple of different colored twisty ties, but after thinking about it for a second he grabbed a blue and white one.

“Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes!” His mom called out, but Phoenix was already half-way up the stairs again.

Miles was right where he had left him, sitting down and looking at the floor.

“Back!” Phoenix said, taking back his spot next to him. Miles refused to look at him.

It wasn’t until Phoenix grabbed his left hand that Miles finally looked up.

“What are you doing?” He asked, sounding annoyed. But he didn’t rip his hand away, which was good.

“I got us rings!” Phoenix smiled. His face warmed a bit saying it out loud, but he stayed on task and wrapped the blue twisty-tie into a make-shift ring around one of Miles' fingers.

“I got the white one for me.” Phoenix explained, showing the remaining twisty-tie he carried in his hand, the one that wasn’t still holding Miles'. It suddenly felt too embarrassing to admit he chose the white one for himself because the color reminded him a little bit of Miles' weird hair.

Miles didn’t say anything for a moment, and Phoenix worried he'd made a mistake or misinterpreted everything. But then Miles wordlessly took the white twisty-tie and wrapped it around one of Phoenix’s fingers.

“My point still stands,” Miles said when he finished, “we’re too young to get married.”

“That’s why they’re engagement rings!” Phoenix explained. “And this will give us more time to figure out how the wedding will go.”

“Hmph.” Miles said, apparently fully recovered from his earlier embarrassment. “Well, if you insist.”

“You’re the one who started it.” Phoenix pointed out. Miles blushed and opened his mouth as if to argue, but stopped when he saw how wide Phoenix was smiling.

“If you say so.” Miles said. His own smile was smaller, but just as happy. They didn’t let go of each other’s hands until Phoenix’s mom called them down for dinner.

“You remember that?” Phoenix laughed.

Edgeworth rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t have brought it up if I didn’t.”

“Man,” Phoenix sighed, “I think I lost my ring sometime around sixth grade. I was depressed for like a month. Larry had no idea what was wrong with me.”

“I still have mine.” Edgeworth said casually, as if he wasn’t admitting to keeping a decades old misshapen twisty-tie.

“Are you serious?”

Edgeworth looked down at his glass. “I hid it away when I moved to Germany. I didn’t find it again until I was in my late teens. I kept it then as a reminder of how silly my childhood dreams were. And out of a…” The edges of Edgeworth’s mouth curled into a small smile, “…not insubstantial amount of nostalgia.” He took a sip of wine. “It’s at my house now, nearby where I keep some of my limited-edition figurines.”

“Never took you to be such a romantic, Edgeworth.” Phoenix said, unable to help himself. Edgeworth glared at him instead of replying. At least he hadn’t teased him about the figurines.

“We never did decide the location of the wedding, did we?” Phoenix thought out loud. “Where would you want to get married now?” He asked, making sure he was looking directly into Edgeworth’s eyes.

The other man blinked, as if not expecting Phoenix to continue along his previous track of conversation. Maybe Edgeworth had brought up the childhood memory as a change of topic, in order to discourage him. He wasn’t sure. If that was the point, then Edgeworth didn’t have to bring up that he still had the ring.

The situation hadn’t changed. Phoenix wouldn’t know anything for sure unless he pursued this to the end. Whatever that end was.

Edgeworth seemed to gather himself. “Wright. We are not discussing wedding plans before even going out on a date.”

Phoenix nodded. “I understand.” He put his wine glass down on the table and turned his body fully towards Edgeworth.

“Miles,” Phoenix leaned forward, “Would you like to go out with me this weekend? On a date.”

Edgeworth’s face was blank but he was still maintaining eye contact, which Phoenix took as a good sign.

“Are you being serious about this?” Edgeworth asked, placing his wine glass on the table.

“One hundred percent.” Phoenix replied. To anyone else, Edgeworth might have looked like he was completely unaffected by their discussion. But Phoenix saw how stiff he was holding himself, and the subtle shaking of his fingers.

Phoenix placed his hand over Edgeworth’s. “Is this okay?” He asked softly, and they both knew he was talking about more than the physical contact.

In answer, Edgeworth turned his hand over and placed his thumb over the back of Phoenix’s palm. It was easy from there to interlock their fingers.

“What about Trucy?” Edgeworth asked, his voice sounding thinner than usual.

“Trucy loves you.” Phoenix responded. “You know that.” He leaned in closer. “And she knows how I feel about you.”

“And how is that, exactly?” Edgeworth asked, closing in some distance himself. They were now barely two inches apart.

Phoenix laughed weakly and lowered his head. “Aw, come on, you’re really going to make me say it?”

Phoenix could feel Edgeworth’s breath on his skin. “Yes.” Edgeworth demanded. The order was softened by Edgeworth placing his forehead against Phoenix’s.

“I proposed to you when we were nine and then changed my career just so I could meet you again. I think that sort of speaks for itself.” Phoenix murmured.

Edgeworth’s other hand, the one that wasn’t holding Phoenix’s, crept up to hold Phoenix’s upper arm. “We’re not nine anymore.”

Phoenix chuckled. “Oh believe me, I’m very aware of that.” Their noses were brushing against each other now. Phoenix wasn’t sure if he wanted them to kiss already or to try and make this moment stretch out longer. Edgeworth’s eyes were nearly closed and Phoenix could feel his own were half-lidded.

“You know,” Phoenix whispered, “You still haven’t given me an answer.”

“Hmm.” Edgeworth hummed and then finally pressed their lips together. Phoenix started to giggle, and he could feel Edgeworth smile in response.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Phoenix said, pulling back the bare minimum space he needed to breathe again.

“An astounding observation.” Edgeworth replied.

“Smart-ass.” Phoenix leaned back in and gently pushed Edgeworth against the end of the couch. Edgeworth moved his hand from Phoenix’s arm into his hair in retaliation, using the angle to pull Phoenix even closer.

He still felt giddy, like he might start giggling again at any second, because he was really actually kissing Miles Edgeworth . The reality of it was starting to sink in though, helped by the fact that he currently had Edgeworth’s bottom lip gently grasped between his teeth.

“You’re going to rumple my suit at this rate.” Edgeworth murmured.

“Then take it off.” Phoenix replied. He felt a surge of pride that the comment caused Edgeworth’s already pink face to blush further. “At least the jacket.” He amended, moving to kiss the edge of Edgeworth’s jaw.

“You’re so demanding.” Edgeworth complained. But all the same he moved his hand out of Phoenix’s hair to move him away, then used the other to start taking off his jacket.

“I can help with that you know.” Phoenix suggested.

“I’m sure you can.” Edgeworth said. “All the same…” He got up then, moving to hang the jacket over the end of one of the other chairs. The air seemed much cooler all of the sudden without Edgeworth’s close proximity. But he was back in his spot quick enough.

They both paused, looking each other, as if they were finally registering exactly what sort of shift their relationship had taken.

“Hey.” Phoenix said, suddenly feeling shy.

“Hello.” Edgeworth replied. He was smiling, a small and soft smile which made Phoenix feel like his whole body was filled with warm water.

“I should probably head home soon.” Phoenix reluctantly admitted. He’d promise Trucy that’d he’d be back home by ten. She needed some help with revising one of her essays, and he’d volunteered to look over it.

“I understand.” Edgeworth replied. He didn't look upset, to Phoenix’s relief. He didn’t want Edgeworth to think he was trying to find an excuse to leave.

“I know this one Italian restaurant.” Phoenix said, “It’s fancy enough for your tastes but won’t destroy my wallet. We could have our dinner there on Saturday?”

“Sounds good.” Edgeworth said. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“Perfect.” Phoenix leaned over to kiss him again. It was a soft and lingering one, a kiss that Phoenix tried to convey as a promise of more to come.

From the look Edgeworth gave him afterwards, Phoenix felt confident that the message was received.

~

To say Phoenix arrived home happy was an understatement.

“Heya Trucy!” He said when he saw his daughter. “How was your day?”

“Good, I guess—” Trucy squeaked when Phoenix picked her up. She started to laugh when Phoenix tried to spin her around, only lasting about two seconds before he had to place her back down. So he was getting older, that didn’t matter. Nothing was going to kill his buzz right now.

“I guess your day was good, Daddy?” Trucy giggled.

“I made out with Miles Edgeworth.” Phoenix placed his hands on Trucy’s shoulders. “I made out with Miles Edgeworth and I’m going on a date with him this Saturday.”

Trucy seemed to instinctively cringe at her dad saying 'made out', but she was smiling by the time he finished talking. “That’s great, Daddy!”

“Yes, yes it is.” Phoenix couldn’t stop smiling.

“I’m happy for you.” Trucy hugged him. Phoenix returned the hug with gusto.

“Thank you sweetie. For everything.” Phoenix said.

Trucy just smiled.

~

It took everyone else about two months to find out. Everyone that is, except for Apollo, Athena, and Klavier. Phoenix thought it would be funny to never tell them, and Edgeworth seemed to silently agree.

Phoenix told Maya about a week after their first date. He couldn’t really wait any longer than that. It was Maya after all.

He didn’t know what he was expecting when he told her, but it certainly wasn’t for her to say “Finally…I can rest in peace.”

He wasn’t sure what that was all about, but she seemed happy for them.

Even Larry found out. They had met up for one of their rare catch-up nights. He hadn’t really planned on telling his old friend about the relationship yet, but it had just came out. Larry was happy for them. He didn’t even seem surprised which…Phoenix wasn’t quite sure how he felt about that. By then Larry was on his fifth beer, and spent the rest of the night trying to make Phoenix promise he’d be the best man.

“I’m the reason you guys met after all!” He kept protesting. While he was technically right, he wouldn’t listen when Phoenix pointed out that he had done that by stealing Edgeworth’s lunch money. And then he almost let Phoenix take the blame.

The rest of the kids found out eventually, of course.

By then, both he and Edgeworth were starting to become more comfortable with public affection. Phoenix had forgotten about his ongoing prank on the kids and, when Edgeworth had handed him his coffee order, had kissed him on the cheek.

Chaos ensued.

“I knew it!” Klavier fist-pumped.

“Holy shit!” Widget screamed, expressing Athena’s surprise.

Apollo somehow managed to look simultaneously shocked and tired.

“Pay up, Fraulein.” Klavier said, holding out his hand to Athena.

“Objection!” Athena argued. Then she turned to Phoenix and Edgeworth. “How long has this been going on?”

“Oh god.” Apollo muttered.

“Objection!” Klavier said before they could answer. “How is that relevant?”

“We made that bet three months ago!” Athena said. “The question was whether they were dating then, in that moment. It doesn’t matter if they’re dating now. What matters is if they were dating then!”

Edgeworth gave him a look that seemed to say: these are the children you hired.

Phoenix just returned it with one of his own: the blond one is yours.

“Well?” Athena asked.

Phoenix thought about whether or not he should answer the question. He settled it the way he usually did with the kids—what would be funnier? And then it hit him.

“We weren’t together at the time,” Athena made a victory jump in the air, “but we were sort of engaged.” Phoenix smiled as he heard Edgeworth choke on his tea. “Does that help answer your question?”

There was a moment of blessed silence before chaos erupted again. Athena and Klavier started to argue, and there was the distinctive sound of Apollo grumbling.

Edgeworth glared at him, rolling his eyes when Phoenix turned his smile towards him. But he didn’t protest when Phoenix grabbed a hold of his hand, and there was the barest suggestion of a smile on his face.

Phoenix loved his life.