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Consequences

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“I cannot believe you’re out of bed, Wright.”

Phoenix cracks a smile, tries to hide quite how lightheaded he is as he maneuvers down the courthouse steps. “Well, it wasn’t like I could leave this to you, right?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.” Edgeworth sounds bitter, sarcasm heavy on every word, but he’s taking the steps much more slowly than Phoenix has known him to before, is keeping perfect pace with the other’s slow stride.. “You should be in bed still.”

Phoenix waves a hand with as much casual disregard as he can manage. “C’mon, do you know how boring it is to stay in bed? I only just got up, there’s no way I’m going back now.”

They hit the bottom of the stairs. Phoenix walks forward to the edge of the curb, hoping he looks less like he’s swaying than he feels he is, peers down the street in search of an oncoming taxi.

“Wright.”

There’s a dangerous edge to his name. Phoenix doesn’t look back. “Yeah, what is it, Edgeworth?”

“You’re not planning on going back to the office, are you?”

Phoenix doesn’t turn around. He’s better at dodging questions when his interrogator can’t see his face. “What? Why would I go back to the office?”

Wright.” The irritation is so audible Phoenix doesn’t have to turn to see Edgeworth’s finger tapping against his folded arms. “You are not going back to the office.”

“I just --” Phoenix starts, and then the familiar shape of a taxi turns onto the block, and he starts to raise his hand to signal himself freedom.

Fingers close over the cuff of his jacket. Edgeworth steps to the corner, flags down the taxi with so much self-assurance he’s turning back to Phoenix before the vehicle has even drawn to a complete stop.

“You’re going home, Wright,” he says, reaching for the handle of the cab without looking. “If I have to take you there myself, I’ll do so.” The grip on his wrist tugs Phoenix off-balance, stuffs him into the backseat and shuts the door on him; he’s still pushing himself upright and trying to catch up with events when Edgeworth opens the front door himself, climbs into the passenger side and calmly gives Phoenix’s address to the driver.

“How do you know where I live?” Phoenix asks from the back.

The look Edgeworth gives him it at once chilly and weighed down with condescension. “Wright. I am a prosecutor. I have led investigations.” He turns back towards the front of the cab, staring out at the road with as much intensity as if it is his attention keeping the vehicle on the right path. “Of course I know your address.”

“I don’t know your address.”

Phoenix can hear the disdain in Edgeworth’s voice without the other even turning around. “As I live in Europe, that’s not unreasonable.”

There’s something not quite right about that chain of logic. Phoenix can sense it without being able to pin it down or form words around it in his head; he turns it over, tries to consider the question from a different angle, but it won’t come together. Maybe he does need to rest, because he’s still pondering it when the cab pulls up in front of his apartment.

Edgeworth is out of the car before Phoenix can unbuckle his seatbelt and slide across the seat to manage the door, pulling the door open for all the world like a valet except for the scowl at his lips.

“Come on, Wright, you ought to be in bed.”

A few extra minutes isn’t going to hurt anything, Phoenix is certain, but he doesn’t bother protesting. “Just a minute, let me pay the fare.”

Edgeworth rolls his eyes so ostentatiously Phoenix can see it in his peripheral vision. “I took care of it. Must I lead you like a child?”

“Oh.” Phoenix hesitates, his motions stalled into confusion for a moment, then he shoves his wallet back into his pocket, offers a nod of thanks to the driver, who looks alarmingly like he’s about to laugh, and gets out of the cab as quickly as he can before Edgeworth really does make good on his threat.

“That’s better.” Edgeworth doesn’t actually grab Phoenix’s arm, as the other was half-afraid he might, but for all his scowl and voiced impatience he is slow about the walk up to the front door, so it’s Phoenix who takes the lead over the short distance.

“Okay,” Phoenix declares as he pushes the door open, deliberately takes a step inside. “I’m home. Happy now?” When he turns around Edgeworth is watching him with folded arms, and he’s not frowning anymore but the self-satisfaction in the almost-curve of a smile at his mouth is possibly worse than his anger.

“Don’t go back to the office for a week,” Edgeworth says in lieu of answering. “You need to recover, Wright, there can’t be anything more critical in the next few days.”

“Not now that the case is over,” Phoenix admits. He lifts his hand in a mock salute, offers a smile as conciliatory as he can manage. “I promise I’ll take it easy, okay?”

Edgeworth doesn’t even nod. He just looks away, turns his head down so his face is in shadow. Phoenix can see his fingers tighten at the sleeves of his coat. “Good.” His voice is softer, a little more gentle and a little less steady, but he’s turning away before Phoenix can try to see his face and coax more meaning out of the sound. “Goodnight, Wright.”

Phoenix blinks, but the farewell is unmistakable, Edgeworth is already striding out to the curb. He steps back from the door, swings it shut until it clicks on the sight of Edgeworth’s retreating form.

And opens it again a moment later. “Edgeworth!”

It’s not as loud as he intends; the voice that echoes in the courtroom dissolves in the open air, until Phoenix doesn’t expect Edgeworth to react at all. He’s just taking a breath for another, louder call, when the other turns back to look at him.

“What is it, Wright?” He doesn’t sound like he’s shouting, but his voice carries as clearly as if he’s still on Phoenix’s doorstep. There must be some trick to it.

“Where are you staying?”

Edgeworth pauses. It’s too far to see his face, but Phoenix can see something tense in his shoulders as he forms his reply. “I’m not.”

“What?” Phoenix takes a step back out of the doorway. “You’re not staying?”

Edgeworth huffs, the motion visibly shifting the tension out of his shoulders, and comes back in, retracing his steps until they’re within conversational distance again. “I have things to do back in Europe, Wright.”

“But.” Phoenix feels inexplicably betrayed, like something he had been taking for granted since Edgeworth came back in the first place is being stolen from him. “But I’ve barely seen you at all, yet.”

“I only came in for the case,” Edgeworth points out, so reasonably Phoenix isn’t sure why he didn’t think of this before. “I have a chartered jet waiting for me, and I hardly packed for a vacation.”

“Can’t you get another flight back later in the week?” Phoenix asks. “I never see you anymore since you --” and there’s an opportunity here, all he has to do is take it. “-- since you let me think you died.”

It’s something of a low blow. They’ve talked this through, already, and Phoenix might not totally understand Edgeworth’s logic but he has forgiven him; he’s never been good at holding grudges. Still, the other man flinches as though from a blow, looks away and down, and Phoenix jumps at the opportunity.

“Just for a few days,” he pleads. “You don’t even have to get a hotel or anything, I have a couch you can stay on, or I can stay on the couch and you can take the bedroom.”

“You’re not sleeping on a couch while you’re sick,” Edgeworth insists. “I have nothing with me, Wright, I can’t possibly stay.”

“I’ll lend you some t-shirts,” Phoenix blurts. “You must be nearly my size, you can raid my entire closet.”

“A tempting offer,” Edgeworth deadpans, but his hands are loosening at the sleeves of his suit, and his mouth is starting to twitch. Besides, sarcasm usually means he’s amused, and that’s always a good sign.

“It’ll be fun,” Phoenix insists, and then another burst of inspiration strikes. “I’ll be so bored by myself.” He takes a breath, puts on the best expression of innocence he can manage. “The office is really tempting after I’m stuck at home for a day or two, you know.”

“You are not going back in,” Edgeworth snaps before he realizes the implications of what he’s saying. Phoenix starts to grin before Edgeworth can pull his expression into a frown and fix him with a glare.

“Only a few days,” he declares, but he’s walking back up the few stairs to the door, and when Phoenix stands aside the other walks past him into the apartment without hesitating.

He can be as snappish about it as he wants. Phoenix knows a victory when he scores one.