by llamajoy

The special summons to Mr. Edgeworth's office ought not to have surprised him; Private Detective Dick Gumshoe was having one of those days. Just that morning, his car had started making a new noise (sort of a "clunk," that he knew from experience was much worse than any assortment of "whirrr" or "dink" noises that were actually quite homey after a while). He was going to have to get it looked at on his next paycheck. So with the car acting up, he'd been late to work, and then he'd made coffee in the Police Chief's best coffeepot-- which wouldn't have been so bad except that he'd gotten the grounds and the instant coffee mixed up. Again.

The Chief had wanted to know how he'd been on the force for so long, which was pretty unfair, really. But Gumshoe didn't have an answer for that, for all that it smarted. Surely he hadn't always been such a klutz? He'd gotten some commendations in his day (even one from Miss von Karma, which was supposed to be impossible!). But none recently, for sure, and maybe his performance really was getting worse.

So now he was taking the elevator to the twelfth floor, wondering why the prosecutor had called him up there, wondering what wort of work it would mean... wondering if he'd screw that up, too. Mr. Edgeworth hadn't talked to him much for the past few weeks, not even to "dock his salary" for old time's sake. The elevator ride took just long enough for Gumshoe to work himself into a fine state of nervousness.

Edgeworth's door was open. Gumshoe swallowed once and stuck his head inside. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

Edgeworth was not sitting at his desk having his morning tea, as Gumshoe had expected. Instead, he was looking unhappily out the window. It had turned into a grey sort of morning, not raining yet, but oppressive just the same. He almost looked surprised to see him, which was definitely odd, but he quickly regained his composure and indicated that the detective should close the door behind him.

He never did beat around the bush, Prosecutor Edgeworth. He didn't even sit down. "Answer me one question, if you would, Detective."

Gumshoe's mind raced. It wasn't like the prosecutor to have pop quizzes, unless maybe he was in a really sour mood. Sure it had been a difficult couple of months, but Gumshoe realized he had no idea what to expect. He shrugged gamely. "Well sure, sir. Shoot."

"Do you believe that Phoenix Wright is innocent?"

"Of course!" The question was so easy that Gumshoe's response was even heartier than he'd planned it. "I mean, of course, sir. And so should--"

"What I think is immaterial," Edgeworth said, stalling Gumshoe's argument before it could make it out of idle. He eyed him levelly over his desk, standing there with all the dim weight of the morning heavy in the window behind him. "I need to know-- where you stand, Detective."

Maybe the question wasn't as easy as he'd first thought. Gumshoe shook his head; when in doubt, he'd always figured honesty was the best policy. "Are you asking me to... to choose sides, sir?"

Edgeworth pressed a hand to the windowpane with a thin-lipped smile. It took him a moment to speak. "If you believe Wright is innocent, then you believe someone else bears the blame for the travesty that occured in our courtroom not two months ago. Are you prepared to stand by that conviction?"

Ah, well. Some days just weren't meant for getting out of bed. Mr. Edgeworth's moodiness surely didn't bode well. Gumshoe squared his shoulders, wondering to himself how he'd ever get his car repaired if his salary were docked again for real-- or worse, if this was it; if his days on the force really were over. Even so, he nodded. "Yes, sir. I am."

It seemed to take Edgeworth a long time to turn away from the window, and Gumshoe was attempting to do the math in his head: surely he'd get at least two weeks; that was the bare minimum of severance, and he'd been on the force for years-- they'd have to give him that. He was so engrossed in attempted budgeting (yes, times four, one for each week, carry the one-- but carry it where?) that he didn't notice Prosecutor Edgeworth turning back to look at him with a very different expression on his face. "Detective."

"Sir!" When he snapped to attention, he saw the change: less of a smile, even more stress in the set of his shoulders, but something brighter in his eyes. "...Sir?"

All business again, Edgeworth strode behind him, locked his door. "I want to thank you, Detective Gumshoe," he said, with more warmth than he'd yet heard since Edgeworth's return to the states. "You seem to have a knack for making my life more complicated, and somehow simpler at the same time."

This was all utterly beyond him. Maybe things were rougher than Gumshoe had thought, and he'd been slipping something a little stronger in his tea in the mornings? "I don't quite get your meaning, sir."

"Not yet you don't. But, if I can be assured of your cooperation, and utmost discretion..?"

It was only slowly starting to dawn on Gumshoe that he wasn't fired. "O-of course! But Prosecutor Edgeworth, sir, you asked me about Mr. Wright. What does he have to do--"

Edgeworth smiled a rare, unguarded smile. "Mr. Wright," he said slowly, "and I are both going to need your help, if we're to get to the bottom of this situation."

A tremendous weight lifted from Gumshoe's shoulders, all in half a breath. "You've spoken to him! You've patched things up!"

With a short laugh, Edgeworth said, "In a matter of speaking, yes. Though the rest of the world must think that we are--"

He was cut off abruptly as Gumshoe wrapped him in an enormous impulsive bear hug. "Sir! That's the best news I've heard all day, sir!"

In a tiny breathless voice, he managed: "Detective!"

But Gumshoe didn't let him go just yet, beaming from ear to ear. Sure it was still gloomy looking outside and the Chief of Police was probably still irked about his ruined coffee, but none of it mattered so much anymore. If Mr. Edgeworth and Phoenix Wright were friends again after that horrible row, then surely anything was possible.

Edgeworth tried again, pink across the bridge of his nose. "...Richard."

Sheepish, Gumshoe released him, straightening the ruffles of his cravat as he let him go. "Sorry. Sorry, sir. It's just that it's been such a lousy day so far, and I'm just so glad to hear it--"

Edgeworth, perhaps sensing another happy exclamation, didn't let him elaborate. "Yes, well. As glad to hear that, as to hear that the Chief Prosecutor has assigned you a higher rank within the police force, so that you might be his particular assistant?"

For once, Gumshoe was genuinely speechless. "Sir!"

"That is, if you should choose to accept it, of course. It may mean less time on the beat and a bit more paperwork--"

His gesture may have just been an outstretched hand for emphasis, but Gumshoe grabbed it and shook whole-heartedly. "Of course I accept, of course. You shouldn't have to ask. Whatever you need, I'm your man."

Edgeworth's eyes flicked away, and he said softly, "Thank you, Detective. I definitely find myself in need of your cooperation, and your silence on the matter. I will make it worth your while."

Gumshoe's eyes shone. He wouldn't have believed it: getting a promotion and a raise, and even better, Mr. Edgeworth's confidence, all in one morning. His car would get fixed, and-- and Phoenix Wright-- and Mr. Edgeworth would be happy again. He grinned. "You got it, sir."


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