by Tenshi

When Miles Edgeworth woke up, he spent the first thirty seconds of his consciousness wondering what the hell he had drunk the night before, and another thirty seconds after that vowing never to do so again. It was only when he noticed his bandages and the collection of pain pills on his bedside table that he remembered. The only spirits he had had the day before had been kicked out of him, repeatedly, by some very angry and very guilty bastards who had been slammed face down on the hood of a cop car shortly afterwards. It was a gratifying memory, and Edgeworth replayed it three or four times as a balm for his aching body. Anything after that was a fuzzy haze of paperwork and pain, but for some reason Edgeworth had spent the night dreaming about Phoenix Wright, of all people.

He had relaxed back down into his pillows and was actually drifting off to sleep again when a noise from his kitchen made him suddenly, intensely alert. A quick glance around his bedroom revealed both dogs were gone, but the clunking and thumping were not sounds produced by dogs. It was a human intruder, there in his apartment. It could not be Gumshoe, who he sort of remembered driving him to the hospital. He would have dropped off Edgeworth, walked the dogs, and left, as he had always done before. Edgeworth's apartment made him uncomfortable, and expensive vases and things always seemed to get in the way of his feet and elbows whenever he was there. His retreats were invariably swift. But, Edgeworth thought, if in leaving, Gumshoe had not locked the door, then anyone could simply stroll in, silence the dogs, and--

Edgeworth's hand was already in the drawer of his bedside table, nudging off the safety on his pistol.

The plush rugs and smooth floors were silent under his bare feet as he moved through the living room; and at any rate, the thief was making enough noise on his own. Edgeworth wondered, briefly, what kind of moron housebreaker would start his rampage in the kitchen and make so much racket doing it, but the thought did not linger. On the whole, he had a very low opinion of the common criminal mind.

All the same, Edgeworth had learned the hard way to be careful when it came to guns. When he spun around into the kitchen doorway, his pistol was lowered, and it was his voice that fired into the room first.

"What the hell are you doing in my apartment?!"

Phoenix Wright recoiled away from the fridge, two eggs slipping from his fingers and spattering on the marble floor like tiny bombs.

"Uh… making breakfast?" Phoenix said, glancing between the gun and the mess on the floor, his hands in the air on instinct. "But if you're that opposed to scrambled eggs..."

Edgeworth let out all his air at once, lowering his gun and thumbing the safety back on. "What," he said, in a very different way, "are you doing here?"

Phoenix, figuring out that he was not going to be the victim in Edgeworth's next murder trial, pulled a streamer of paper towels off the counter. "Well now I'm cleaning up your floor."

"I can see that, Wright, I just--" Edgeworth ground the heel of his hand into the bridge of his nose, feeling the onset of that particular kind of headache that he always associated with the defense lawyer. "I meant, why are you here in the first place?"

Phoenix was doing his best to clean up the eggs before the dogs could do it for him, in their own unique way. "I didn't want to leave you alone after I brought you back from the hospital, so I--"

"Wait. You?" Edgeworth lifted his head. "What do you mean, you took me to the hospital?"

Phoenix shrugged, throwing soggy paper towels in the trash bin. "I mean I took you to the hospital. You want some coffee?"

"Yes. No, I want explanations. Why were you... I mean..." Edgeworth felt himself groping for clarity, while Phoenix stood there in his shirtsleeves, one hand on hip, expectantly.

"Sounds like the prosecution isn't his usual straightforward self. You're not gonna get anywhere with a line of questioning like that." His expression softened. "You look like hell."

Edgeworth blinked at the gun in his hand, and then made a grimace of distaste, putting it down among the flour canisters. "I feel like hell," he admitted.

"No kidding. Sit down."

Edgeworth wobbled between pride and pain; pain won. He dragged himself onto a chair at his kitchen table, watching as Phoenix Wright poked around in the fridge for the creamer. In a few minutes there was a cup of coffee at his elbow, and a plate of toast and scrambled eggs in front of him.

"Should be edible," Phoenix said, rinsing out the pan. "Even if it's not what you'd make, I'm sure."

"That's my crepe pan," Edgeworth said, weakly.

Phoenix held out the soapy skillet as though he had just been told it was a shovel, and made a face at his warped reflection on the bottom of it. "Look, I've only got one frying pan, so I went for the flattest thing. You're lucky I didn't try to use an okonomiyaki pan, or something. I don't claim to have any leet kitchen skills."

...You make good scrambled eggs, Edgeworth thought, but he would have to be punched a lot harder in the face before he admitted to that one. Instead he chewed his toast and discovered he was suddenly, ravenously hungry. He demolished his plate and then another round of toast after it, with jam, and tea instead of coffee. Phoenix made a good show of being occupied with his own breakfast, not venturing any conversation to break the awkward silence. From time to time Edgeworth caught Phoenix looking at him, a strange, inscrutable expression on his face.

Once breakfast was over, the tea strainer oozed tannic dregs onto its china saucer while Phoenix and Edgeworth started at each other in mutual discomfort. Had a courtroom been between them, the exchange would have been fast and furious, words snapping like synchronized cracks of a whip. Separated by the domestic length of a mahogany table, however, with breakfast dishes and a glass vase of orchids for judge and jury, neither of them could find anything to say.

"Well," Phoenix began, and then his voice wandered off to find some other words to make friends with his first one, to no avail. So he said the first one over again, "Well," and then, in a burst of creativity, he added, "Um."

I suppose I should thank him? Edgeworth thought, twiddling with his teaspoon. Not so hard. Just say, 'Thanks, Wright,' and then he can leave, and we can both pretend this never happened. Easy enough. Out with it, Miles. Except, in spite of this strategy, the only thing that came out of Edgeworth was a cough. In the kitchen doorway, Sturm whined softly, hoping for Phoenix's eggy bread-crusts.

"Sooo, I guess you'll be all right then?" Phoenix said, succeeding at a whole sentence.

Thank Christ, Edgeworth thought. "Fine," he demurred, and dropped his purple napkin onto his plate. "Really, Wright, you needn't--"

"I can stick around if you think you need--" Phoenix began, at the same time. The two sentences collided head-on like cars on the freeway, and neither one of them went any further than that. In the kitchen doorway, Drang began to chew noisily at his back foot.

Phoenix twiddled with the collar of his shirt, as though he wished his tie was still there to yank on. "You know," he said, with a laugh that was half-embarrassment, half-forced, "I always figured if I was making breakfast for you, we would have slept together first."

Edgeworth was grateful the orchids covered up most of his alarmed expression, and that Phoenix, at that moment, was not looking him in the face. It was not so much horror at the prospect as shock that Phoenix Wright would say such a thing out loud.

"Anyway," Phoenix said, both talking and standing up too fast, "I'll get this cleaned up and go, you probably want to be left alone, I know you feel like crap. Oh, and the blue pills are every six hours, you should have another one now probably; the yellow ones are pain ones as needed, but they'll probably knock you out. The nurse said you could just take some aspirin or something if you didn't want to be a zombie..." Phoenix had practically fled to the kitchen, and was running the water full blast, as though hoping somehow the noise would somehow cover up the color of his face.

Edgeworth looked with longing at the billows of steam, and forced himself to his feet. "I'm taking a shower," he said. "Lock up when you leave, Wright."

Phoenix followed him with his eyes, his wounded expression eerily similar to the dogs' as the breakfast scraps disappeared into the garbage disposal.

You're a real asshole, Edgeworth accused himself in no uncertain terms, as he downed the pills that had been neatly parceled out for him on his bedside table. The defense side of his conscience was quick to spring into action with a counter argument. He's got better friends than you to waste his time on, so it's just as well not to encourage him.

The court of his emotions adjourned with no decisive verdict, as was always the case when Phoenix Wright was the crime. Edgeworth limped into his shower, bent over, and wrenched the water on full blast. He stood up too quickly and was reminded just how many of his ribs he had cracked yesterday, and how hard he had been hit over the head. His bathroom collapsed into a black tunnel in his vision, and Edgeworth collapsed with it.

"He's such an asshole," Phoenix said to Sturm, scouring the china plate hard enough to take the pattern off it. "He could just say, 'Thanks Wright,' you know? Is it that damn hard? Seriously."

Sturm whined in something like agreement.

"Well, I tell you what," Phoenix continued, drying off his hands. "Next time he can just sit there and bleed to death. Because I'm not gonna hop to it every time Miles Edgeworth, Esq. skins his ickle knees--"

There was a thump from the bathroom, a completely distinctive noise of a prone body smacking into the floor, and Phoenix Wright was out of the kitchen like a shot.

"...worth? Edgeworth!"

"Go away," Edgeworth moaned, when the fog in his mind at last cleared, and he found himself curled up naked in the fetal position on his bathroom floor. The gilt handle of the locked door rattled ominously.

"Hey!" Phoenix said, muffled from the other side. "Hey, are you all right?"

"No," Edgeworth said. "Go away anyway."

"The nurse said you might be kinda lightheaded, you shouldn't push yourself--"

"Thank you for that timely evidence, Counsel for the Defense," Edgeworth snarled. "I've only already been convicted and sentenced."

"I'm coming in!"

"Don't you fucking dare." Edgeworth hissed, managing to get up to his elbows. Hot pain licked up his battered ribs like fire, and he went right back down again. "I can't stand up," he added.

"That's supposed to make me not come in?"

"Yes, because if you do, I'll..." Edgeworth glared at the underside of his toilet. "I'll bite your ankles off. Just give me a minute."

The door creaked; Phoenix was leaning on it. "One minute," he warned. "And then I'm coming in there."

Edgeworth tried to slow his breaths, but each one was like a knife in his ribs. A few inches away the shower was running. If he had only managed to get in there, to sit down on the ledge of his tub and just let the hot water soak into his muscles, he might have made it through the day without help, but no. No, he was lying on the ice-cold floor with Phoenix Wright beating down the bathroom door, and not even a towel for dignity's sake. Edgeworth had had some pretty wretched days in his life, and they were hard records to beat, but this one was well on its way to being one of the most annoying.

"Minute's up. Are you standing?"

"Yes?" Edgeworth tried.

"I can tell you're lying even from here, Edgeworth."

"All right fine. But don't break my door. There's a key on the hook next to the bedroom lamp."

The handle turned, and Edgeworth couldn't decide which was worse, facing Phoenix tackle-out or ass first. In the end he just stayed where he was, curled on his side. It hurt too much to move.

"Seriously, Edgeworth, it's not like you have anything I haven't seen befo--god, your thighs are amazing."

Edgeworth was grimly pleased. "Well, I've been taking the stairs every day for the last fifteen years." He looked up at Phoenix, who was looming, impossibly tall, in the steamy doorway. "Just--would you--"

"It's called help," Phoenix said, tossing down a towel for the sake of Edgeworth's dignity. "And you ask for it by saying, 'hey, I need some help.'" Phoenix knelt down on the tile, his shoulders blocking the light. Had he been on a witness stand, Edgeworth could have gotten a guilty verdict on him in ten minutes. Phoenix‘s eyes were shifty and wouldn't light on anything, the best they could do was focus nervously on Edgeworth‘s hands, knotted up in the bathmat. “Or you can just yell 'help!' Or if you don't like any of those there's always the standby of 'please.' You could try them all together! Like, I need some help, please! Give it a shot."

"How about tell anyone about this and I'll kill you." Edgeworth reached up for Phoenix's shoulder and couldn't stop the noise of pain he made.

"Easy," Phoenix said, suddenly gentle as he slid his arm around Edgeworth‘s bare back. "Don't strain anything, okay? Just let me pull you up."

"Right," Edgeworth panted, and he felt Phoenix's grin against his temple.

"At your service."

"If I didn't hurt so much, I think I'd make you pay for that."

"You're already making me pay for it." Phoenix grunted with the effort of moving him, finally getting Edgeworth to his feet. "Whoof! How much breakfast did you eat?"

"I'm not the one who lives on cheetos and red bull--" Edgeworth was interrupted, then, by the blissful heat of the shower drumming into his sore back, leeching the pain away like the fingers of a skilled masseuse. Phoenix had gotten him onto the marble bench running around his tub, and his protest died away into a groan of relief.

Phoenix stepped back out of the shower, mopping back his drenched hair. Even then, the spikes could not be fully subdued. Edgeworth tried not to notice how Phoenix's translucent wet shirt made the outline of his undershirt stand out against the skin of his throat and arms, and failed.

They stared at each other, and the silence welled up between them like water in the bottom of the tub. It was nothing like the awkward silence over the breakfast table, and more like the crackle in the air of the courtroom, yet the hum in the air was still something entirely its own, potent and intangible.

It was shattered, ruthlessly, by a dull buzzing sound and the cheery beeps of the Steel Samurai's theme song. They both started as though they'd been caught red-handed at something.

"Ah, sorry, that's my phone," Phoenix said, fumbling for his back pocket.

"It certainly isn't mine," Edgeworth breathed, and spent a few seconds being grateful for the towel around his hips, covering up some telling evidence. Phoenix might be oblivious to the completely incriminating clues he blurted out at random, but Edgeworth was not so naive.

"Phoenix Wright here," Phoenix said into his phone, chipper. "How can I help--"

"Where in the name of all that's holy ARE you?" The speaker on the other end of the line was perfectly audible, even over the shower's hiss. Phoenix held the phone as far away from his ear as he could, wincing.

"Oh, Hey, Maya, I--"

"Are you dead? Because-- no, seriously if you were dead I would KNOW WHERE YOU ARE--"

"It's Maya," Phoenix mouthed weakly to Edgeworth, as the channeler's rant continued, unabated, from the phone.

"I noticed," Edgeworth murmured.

"--figured you were lying in a ditch somewhere, it's nearly noon and you're not at the office, no phone call, no email--"

"I'm at Edgeworth's place," Phoenix broke in, when Maya paused to take a breath. "Sorry, I stayed over here last night." The sudden silence from the other end of the phone was ominous, as though there was actually a cord between the phones, and it had been cut. "Maya?" Phoenix put the phone up to his ear, straining to hear his suddenly silent partner. It was a mistake.


Phoenix cringed and put as much distance between himself and his phone as he could manage, without actually dropping it in the toilet and flushing it.


"No!" Phoenix shouted back, unwilling to put the phone to his ear again. "No, he got hurt yesterday, so I took him to the hospital and stayed with him, it's not like--" He broke off, comprehension creeping across his face. Something combusted behind his eyes, a flash of insight that almost invariably led to a heated round of objections in the courtroom. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, YOU KNEW IT?!"

Edgeworth thought for a minute that something was wrong with him, perhaps a seizure. It was only when his ribs protested with pain that he realized he was laughing, helplessly. Phoenix Wright was too busy defending the unlikely suspect of his manhood to his partner, with rather less success than he usually had in the courtroom, and didn't notice Edgeworth's hiccupping.

"I'm a channeler, Phoenix, I know these things--"

"You are so not psychic you liar! You can only talk to dead people, you can't even win at poker--"

"Only because you totally cheat!"

"I am not having this conversation with you now, Maya--"

"You can at least tell me if it was good or not--"

"It was not good because it was not anything and I will see you later."

"Okay, okay! Tell your sweetie hi for me--"


"Unless he's more of a 'baby.' No, just 'babe'! Ooh, or you could call him 'daddy'! that would suit him--"

"Rgggh!" Phoenix said into the phone, and hung up. "That girl, I swear, I don't know where she gets these ideas--" He blinked at Edgeworth. "Hey, are you all right? I know she's bonkers, but you don't have to be mad, she doesn't mean anything by it--"

Edgeworth flung himself back against the tile wall, trying to get air in his lungs. "Oh, god, oh--ow." The shower stream was between him and Phoenix, but he could see the bewildered comprehension on the other man's face.

"Are you laughing?"

"Yes," Edgeworth said. "And it's about to kill me." He winced, trying to get himself upright again.

"I didn't know you knew how," Phoenix continued, wonderingly. "Well, I know you had the bitter laugh down, and that kind of smug chortling 'ha' that you do when you're about to eat my lunch during a testimony--"

"I don't make a habit of it," Edgeworth said. "Laughing."

"I'll say, I thought you were having a fit."

Edgeworth mopped his hair back out of his eyes, falling back against the steam-warmed tile and stretching his sore legs. He had forgotten to take the bandages off, and they clung soggily to his face and wrist. "I suppose I should have tried to keep these dry."

"They probably can come off by now," Phoenix said, leaving his phone on the counter and stepping into the shower. "those glue stitches they do, you know, don't need to be wrapped up for long. It's really neat, actually..."

"You're going to ruin your clothes," Edgeworth said, as the water spread in a glistening wave over the knees of Phoenix's pants.

"Hey, I'm wash and wear, not dry-clean only, like you are." Phoenix peeled away soggy bandage to reveal a long, jagged incision in the back of Edgeworth's wrist. "This must have hurt like hell."

"I don't remember," Edgeworth said. Water was dripping off of Phoenix's chin, clinging to the gray line of stubble that he hadn't shaved away that morning. The pain pills were kicking in at last, and there was a comfortable, leaden warmth in all of Edgeworth's extremities.

"Hell, I'd remember if someone tried to--"

"Do you always talk so much?" Edgeworth asked, putting his bruised cheek against the tile.

"Only when I'm nervous," Phoenix admitted, tracing one fingertips over the pale blue veins in the back of Edgeworth's hand. He looked up, meeting Edgeworth's gaze at last, and in his eyes was a heartfelt confession that Edgeworth knew he was not prepared to hear. Phoenix started to say his name, but anything after it was lost, as Edgeworth tilted his head in closer and effectively silenced his witness.

Phoenix was caught off-guard for only a moment, and then his mouth moved hungrily against Edgeworth's, his hands tightening on the prosecutor's knees. Edgeworth thought that probably when he was not high as a kite on painkillers he might really regret this, and then he thought that thinking wasn't what he wanted to do anymore, at all. He shoved Phoenix's wet shirt off his shoulders, and Phoenix peeled off his undershirt and flung to the bottom of the tub, where it stopped up the drain along with Edgeworth's discarded towel. Modesty, at this point, was a cause long lost. Phoenix's fingers wrapped around the aching weight of Edgeworth's cock, and the noise Edgeworth made had nothing to do with pain.

Phoenix was not so quick to forget. "You're hurt," he gasped, flinging back his wet hair like a drowning man. "You shouldn't--"

"Dammit, Wright," Edgeworth said, wrapping his hands around Phoenix's and urging them to go faster, "Don't you start telling me what I should and shouldn't do."

Phoenix's pants were shucked off and slung in a sodden heap over the edge of the tub, where they leaked little rivulets of blue into the rising water.

"Thought you said your suit was colorfast?" Edgeworth panted, teeth bared as though in pain, or mid-prosecution.

"Oh, who the hell cares," Phoenix answered, and buried his face between Edgeworth's legs.

Edgeworth never admitted, not even to himself, how many times he had thought about this. It would flash through his mind unbidden, often at the worst possible moment, the ways in which he would like to shut Phoenix Wright up, and good. Phoenix pulled him down into the water of the sunken tub, where gravity no longer had any way to remind him of his injuries, and they wrapped themselves up in a tangle more convoluted than any cold case. It was furious and desperate and there was no clear indication of who was in the lead; Edgeworth was somehow mollified that it was as much like a court battle as he always thought it would be.

"Edgeworth," Phoenix managed, underneath him at the moment. "I don't… I never really… Uhgod--"

He went rigid in Edgeworth's hands, the breath hitting hard against the back of his teeth as the water was churned violently by their motion. Pleasure burst in little explosions of sensation all over Edgeworth's skin, climax felt as much in the backs of his knees and the roof of his mouth as it was between his thighs. Phoenix's voice broke over Edgeworth's name, and the water lapped up over the sides of the bath as they both came, bodies strained against each other in furious need.

Edgeworth's legs wouldn't hold him up. Phoenix practically carried him out of the bath and into the bedroom, and Edgeworth no longer had pride to care. No man who came with as much helpless honesty as Phoenix Wright did could be arrogant over such a thing as helping a friend. Edgeworth thought, maybe, he might understand that now.

"There," Phoenix said, sliding Edgeworth down into blissfully cool sheets. "You just get some sleep, and I'll lock the door behind me when I go. Don't forget you need another antibiotic at--"

Edgeworth caught the other man's wrist. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Phoenix's brows drew together. "You said, after your shower..."

"You suit is drenched, you're stark naked, and it's chilly outside." Edgeworth said, wondering if the warm, contented feeling down in the pit of his stomach was a side-effect of painkillers. "If you go outside you'll catch pneumonia and die, and then I'll have to go to your funeral. I look terrible in black and I'll never have a worthwhile opponent in court again." He pulled the sheet up over his shoulder. "I'm cold, Wright. Quit standing there like an abandoned puppy and get in the bed."

"...Are you sure?"

Edgeworth opened one eye to look at him. "Don't make me repeat my testimony."

Phoenix hesitated only for a moment and then the bed creaked under his weight, and he pressed up warm against Edgeworth's back.

"I'm really glad you didn't shoot me," Phoenix said.

"I might yet," Edgeworth said, and sank back against him, hiding his relieved smile in his pillow.


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