windsnocturne: (Phoenix/Edgeworth)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: Beyond Black and White
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Characters/Pairings: Phoenix/Edgeworth
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance, Angst
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Allusions to murder, Manfred von Karma being himself

Summary: Once upon a time, a young man strove to be the best defense attorney he could. Once upon a time, a bitter prosecutor strove to cleanse the legal system. This is their story.



Once upon a time, a young man named Phoenix started a journey through law school with his two dear friends Mia and Diego. The three of them aimed to become the best defense lawyers in the country and open a practice.

But one day, they stumbled on a speech given by a man named Manfred von Karma. After the speech, a serious-faced young man named M stopped Phoenix and demanded a mock trial, to test his convictions. Phoenix won handily, and they would repeat this process every few thousand miles.

After the second battle, Phoenix found he couldn't stop thinking about M. Which was understandable, Mia said, the guy was a certifiable crackpot with a grumpy face. All he ever talked about was "purifying the legal system" and creating a world with no criminals. How defense attorneys only existed to give the guilty a free ride.

"It's completely crazy," Phoenix said. Granted, at times he did wonder if M had a point. Usually when someone played the devil's advocate they had a reason to, and people seemed to believe what both M and von Karma said. Maybe they're right. Maybe the world is full of dirty criminals and we're making it worse. Maybe defense attorneys are evil.

"We're not," Mia insisted, and the trio kept to their journey, studying and working their hardest to prove those crazy speeches wrong.

But every time they ran into M, he challenged Phoenix to a mock trial. Only Phoenix, while Mia and Diego became quickly convinced that M was obsessed with their friend.

Not that Phoenix couldn't deny a certain fascination with M. What exactly did he hope to accomplish in creating a world without criminals? Did he really think it was that easy to control people? What put the idea in his head in the first place?

At one point, he wasn't sure if M kept finding him or it was the other way around.

"I'm the King of Team Prosecutor," M confessed to Phoenix one day as they rode on a ferris wheel. It seemed strange that someone as serious as M would enjoy such things, but he seemed happy. Almost...blissful. "Our goal is to ensure a guilty verdict for all criminals. To keep this world clean, safe, peaceful."

"That's a noble goal," Phoenix said. "But sometimes, the wrong people can be convicted. Sometimes people are set up to look guilty by even worse criminals." M frowned.

"But if someone is caught violating the law, they need to be stopped," he said. "A prosecutor can't afford even a moment's hesitation. Hesitation invites doubt, and it only takes one moment of doubt for a criminal to walk free."

"But what if someone's in the wrong place at the wrong time? The law isn't just about punishing the guilty, it's about protecting the innocent and knowing the truth," Phoenix countered. M said nothing, but challenged him to a mock trial once the ride was over.

It only escalated from there. M went on to state that he was to become the legal hero the world needed...that he would be the one to bring the infamous DL-6 case to a close after fifteen long years.

"That case," Mia said, clenching her fist. It was the elephant in the room for them, something they aimed to push from their memories but could not. Mia's mother had fled in shame when her spirit medium powers failed to bring the true culprit to light. Phoenix's best friend had disappeared after reports placed him and his father at the scene. Diego's father had been a reporter for the case and died searching for the identity of the murderer.

"But we can't just keep running from those memories," Diego said. "Phoenix...for some reason, M's picked you as his one true rival. You've got to find the truth about DL-6 before he puts whatever his plan is into action."

"It involves the dragons, and that's all he'll say," Phoenix sighed. Two dragons of justice: truth and ideals. M hadn't even said which he planned to awaken, but Phoenix knew he would need to awaken the other. Legends said that when both dragons awakened, things would change forever.

M awakened ideals. Phoenix awakened the truth, the one thing needed to put the DL-6 case to rest. Not long after, the final courtroom stage was set, and Phoenix would uncover what had really happened the day he lost his friend, Mia lost her mother, and Diego lost his father.

I'll avenge them, all of them. Everyone who suffered because of that day...!

"You've come." M smirked. "Your honor, let us begin."

The battle raged on for hours, and it was a tight race. M always had a rebuttal, and even the best evidence Phoenix had didn't seem like enough near the end...but then, a memory sparked. A simple one, Phoenix and his old friend Larry and another boy sitting at a table, eating cookies, watching-

"Signal Samurai."

M's face turned white.

"That's..."

"Our favorite show." His gaze locked with his rival's. "Me, Larry...and you."

M's hands shook.

"Wright. You..."

"It's been a long time, Miles."

Silence fell. Long, suffocating silence, the two men's gazes still locked...until finally, M smiled.

"Phoenix Wright," he whispered. "I knew from the moment I saw you, there was something special about you." He closed his eyes. "I'd lost my memory that day, and when I got out of the hospital, Team Prosecutor took me under their wing. I never thought about anything else, but...then I saw you."

"You disappeared so suddenly after that incident," Phoenix said quietly. "Your father was reported dead, and everyone thought you had died, too...Larry and I were devastated. It wasn't the same, even Signal Samurai..." He shook his head. "I should have recognized you, but..."

"It doesn't matter. Phoenix-"

"Enough!" Manfred von Karma stormed to the front of the room, slamming the end of his cane into the floor. "Miles Edgeworth, you are a disappointment! I spend the best years of my life grooming you for this very moment, and you waste my time having a jolly reunion with this whelp!"

"Mr. von Karma-"

"I'd almost gotten away with it! You, Miles Edgeworth, you and that father of yours are my curse!"

A collective gasp rose from the audience. Mia's eyes narrowed, while Diego dropped the cup of coffee he'd been sipping. Miles turned even paler, and suddenly, the ultimate truth hit Phoenix like a speeding truck.

"You!"

"I almost had it. For years, I'd had the perfect means of making the legal system my bitch!" von Karma ranted. "Destroy Gregory Edgeworth, the one man who almost destroyed me, take his son-"

"And brainwash him," Mia snapped, leaping out of her seat. "You stole all his memories of his father, his friends, everything that mattered just so he could be your puppet!"

"You really are a bastard," Diego said, picking up the styrafoam cup and tossing the remains in von Karma's wrinkled old face. Phoenix left the defense bench to go to Miles's side, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Miles, I'm so sorry-"

A chortle. A cackle. Full-blown maniacal laughter as von Karma turned his gaze on the two of them.

"And you, thinking you can expose the truth and bring Miles back to his old self?" he challenged. "M is nothing but a freak without a human heart! He was the perfect puppet, a traumatized little thing with no memories!"

"Objection!" The scream tore itself from Phoenix's throat, pain coursing through him as his fist pounded the wooden surface. "You're the one without a human heart, von Karma. You ruined four lives and stole two just for the sake of your own selfish desires. You exploited Miles's desire to protect people and turned it into something ugly!"

"I knew you were the one who killed my father," Diego said. "He was getting too close to the truth, wasn't he?"

"And you killed Mr. Edgeworth before he knew you were even in the area," Mia said. "I remember now. That's why my mother couldn't get an answer when she channeled him. That's why she left us."

The judge, who had been silently watching, shook his head as he rapped his gavel on the table.

"I've heard enough. Normally, trials like this demand evidence, but Mr. von Karma did us a favor." He raised the gavel. "Mr. Manfred von Karma, this court finds you guilty of murder in the first degree, manipulation, abduction of a child, and forgery."

"Nooooooooooo!" The man was on his knees by now, pounding the floor. "You can't do this to me! I am a von Karma! I am perfection!"

"Get him out of here, bailiff," the judge said, clearly disgusted by the man's screaming tantrum. Luckily, the bailiff was strong enough to toss von Karma over his shoulder despite all the thrashing.


Twenty minutes later, the dust had settled, leaving Phoenix and Miles alone in the courtroom. Miles hadn't said a word since everything had come spilling out, but he looked seconds away from tears.

"I'm sorry, Miles," Phoenix murmured. Miles shook his head, reaching for Phoenix's hand.

"I should be thanking you. That day was the first time in fifteen years I'd met a defense attorney who wanted to help people," he said. "Manfred taught me that all defense attorneys were dirty crooks, that they just wanted to let criminals run free...but you're different. You were seeking the truth."

"But you were seeking your own, weren't you," Phoenix said. "That's why we kept battling it out. Even underneath all the lies, you were looking for something, too."

"Maybe I was," Miles sighed. "All I knew was I couldn't stop thinking about you, and all you said. And after our ride on the ferris wheel..." His cheeks went red and he looked away, coughing a bit. "Your words that day gave me some rather...unwanted feelings."

"Oh?" Phoenix's own face grew a bit hot. He thought of the sleepless nights he'd spent thinking about Miles, wondering what made him tick, why they kept running into each other. How as a child he'd instantly wanted to make friends with the new transfer student in the fancy suits, admired his cool nature and intelligence, treasured his rare smiles.

"Yes." And then Miles turned back to him, still red. "Phoenix...I'm not sure what I want right now. After all that's happened, I'm not even sure I should still be here. All the lies I've spread, my ties to von Karma-"

"That doesn't matter!" Phoenix cut him off. "Miles, you've just proven that underneath all of that you're a good person! Stay, please..."

"I need to find myself," Miles said. "I wouldn't be leaving forever. I just...need some time. I need to clear my head."

Phoenix nodded.

"I understand."

"But...know this, Phoenix." Miles squeezed his hands, bringing his face close. "When I come back, you'll be the first person to know. And..."

He pressed his lips to Phoenix's, quick and soft. Phoenix barely had time to register the kiss before Miles pulled back.

"Think of it as a preview," he said, slowly letting go of Phoenix's hands. "Until we next meet...follow your dream, Phoenix. Seek the truth. Protect the innocent...you and your friends. The future of the legal world depends on you."

"I will," Phoenix said quietly. "Take care of yourself, Miles."

He watched the other man gather his belongings and leave, fingers brushing his still-warm lips.

Miles...

He gathered his own things and left the courtroom, filled with a new sense of purpose and something stronger.

The legal world seemed much brighter from then on.

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