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12 January 2010 @ 06:27 pm
090 | April 09, 2019 | Nobu Los Angeles | [2/3]  
Initially, Phoenix hadn't known what to think of Franziska's words. The hypocrisy and endless contradictions seemed to wind themselves together like the molecular structure of a piece of DNA, continually complicated and seemingly impossible to untangle. However, Phoenix didn't have a chance to respond to Franziska's words before Kristoph and Edgeworth spoke, and as a result Phoenix moved on from the general subject, instead deciding to address Franziska's question for the moment. Removing his hand from Edgeworth's lap, Phoenix's expression turned contemplative as he considered his answer. The answer wasn't as simple as merely saying a defense attorney existed to find the truth, as a prosecutor was part of the larger picture as well as the opposing side - neither side was mutually exclusive from the other. Edgeworth had taught him that much over the years - and Franziska should have known better. She had been there, and how she remained in denial was still beyond Phoenix.

A pair of waiters appeared by the table a moment later, one gathering up the towels and small plates in his arms and moving away while the other shifted to offer the bottle of wine that Edgeworth had ordered in both hands from his right side, presumably for verification. The first waiter then came back to the table, placing an empty glass next to Edgeworth for the tasting before moving to the opposite side of the table and delivering Kristoph's glass of wine to him. He then reassured Phoenix that his martini would be on the way shortly, and left the table.

Once Phoenix had successfully pulled his attention away from the waiters, he looked back over at Franziska. He felt incredibly uneasy having to explain this to her, as the concept was almost childishly simple to Phoenix after everything he had experienced, and he tried to word it as delicately as possible without hitting any of her nerves. Phoenix knew that Franziska's win record was important to her (even while she had lost cases to him), and it seemed to be based almost entirely in her father's illogical need for perfection, so he decided to attempt avoiding the mention of it entirely.

Lifting his left hand and scratching his head awkwardly as he rested the digits of his right upon the cover of his menu, Phoenix began to speak. "...I'm not sure if Kristoph will know about the Engarde case," Phoenix glanced over at Kristoph briefly, before returning his gaze to Franziska, "but I learned all of this from Edgeworth back then. To me, defense attorneys...prosecutors...we aren't that different. We're working two sides of the same puzzle, but it's the truth that matters beyond everything else. A defense attorney fights for the 'not guilty' verdict, but there is always a possibility that the accused is the guilty party. Our job as lawyers is to make sure that criminals don't get away with their crimes, and to make sure that the innocent people who are wrongly accused don't end up executed or punished for crimes they didn't do."

Edgeworth was grateful for the sudden appearance of the waiters - not only did he now have his wine, but he had also hoped that their presence had distracted from the bitter smirk that had unwittingly graced his features. Franziska's mention that the corruption in the Prosecutors' Office was only an infrequent occasion was nearly laughable in Edgeworth's mind. Hadn't Phoenix been hospitalized with a gunshot wound only weeks before due to one of those 'infrequent occasions'? For that matter, what of the SL-9 incident and the trouble it had caused?

And, of course, there was the issue of Manfred von Karma, but he had hoped that Franziska wouldn't need reminding of that.

As much as he hated to remember it, he himself had been corrupt for the majority of his career, albeit in a lesser meaning of the word. Not long after that thought had passed his mind, Edgeworth felt the familiar pang of unease that often accompanied thoughts of his past. Perhaps this wasn't the best topic to embark upon.

Verifying that his wine had been appropriately selected was a simple as offering the waiter a nod, and the man began the task of unscrewing the cork from the bottle. Listening carefully to Phoenix's words as the waiter filled Edgeworth's glass, the prosecutor's gaze moved over to Franziska, the expression on his face speaking volumes more than he intended to say. Phoenix's words had encapsulated exactly what he had been trying to impress on her, and it was hard to keep the sudden sense of approval off of his features.

Anything that he could have added to the conversation would have been reiteration or unintentionally critical, and he decided against both routes; instead, Edgeworth's hand sought out the filled wine glass. The waiter settled the bottle down on the table, and the prosecutor muttered a soft 'thank you' before he helped himself to a sip. It wasn't as though the quality of the wine itself was bad, but the bitter aftertaste resounded on Edgeworth's palate, leaving the prosecutor a little hesitant to down the first glass too quickly.

While Kristoph was very aware of the presence of the waiters, he chose to use their sudden appearance as a point to consider his response; though he was polite as his glass of wine was delivered to him, his thoughts were clearly elsewhere. Wright's words were something that he had taken into consideration a long time ago, of course - part of the risk involved in taking cases laid in the fact that there always the possibility that one was blatantly wrong about their client, or that the evidence would be faulty in some way.

If anything, the business card currently nestled somewhere in that silver case that had been spending time buried deep in one of the locked drawers of his desk at the apartment ensured that he couldn't forget that fact. Falsified evidence was very much a reality, and so was the possibility that one was wrong in their pursuit of the verdict; it was a dangerous line to start blurring, and Kristoph was very aware of the consequences of doing so - at the same time, he intended to leave it intact for as long as humanly possible.

After all, Kristoph knew better than to put blind faith in his clients; he had seen enough holes in 'flawless' testimonies to be anywhere near that optimistic. Entire trials had gone by in which the case put forth by the prosecution had simply stacked one contradiction upon another, leaving a series of holes revealing the dark underbelly of the case and the truth at its core - and perhaps those were the cases he enjoyed the most, on some morbid level. Though others tended to look at him strangely during those trials, they had been greeted only with a soft smile and a wait-and-see look; there was a dark sense of pleasure at unraveling the entire thing in one go, and it was this tendency that caused him to be so severely underestimated in court - the prosecution tended to see him as soft at first, a doormat, only to find in the end that they had been quite mistaken.

It was an error that had been made by Strauss, and the memories of that case had come back quickly at Franziska's words - the fact that Franziska would still sit next to him, and so close to Wright, yet claim that there was 'infrequent' corruption in the prosecutors' office was ludicrous to the point of not even warranting a response; there were, quite frankly, no words. Cases of that nature were the very reason why the blind faith in others was never an issue that Kristoph had to grapple with - regardless of how trustworthy the client or the person standing across the courtroom as the prosecution seemed to be, the only thing that could be taken with any sense of faith was how well one knew what they were doing in regards to themselves.

However, there were the points that Wright had brought up, and it was these that he addressed when he spoke next, his fingers trailing lightly around the base of the wine glass in small semicircles as he nodded slightly.

"I can't say that I'm terribly familiar with the case against Engarde, but I've heard enough to understand the relevance to the point you're making. There is a sense of balance that needs to be maintained, regardless of the assigned court roles; however, the fact that defense attorneys and the prosecutors that they face across the courtroom are fighting for the same thing is often lost on others. It's an understanding that I don't expect many to come to anytime soon, either, unfortunately enough."

Despite the apparent contradiction between his thoughts on the matter and his words, the discrepancy wasn't as large as some might have seen it, at least not as far as he was concerned - after all, it was this lack of harmony, this corruption in the courts that led to the presence of falsified evidence and amoral behavior to begin with.

Franziska found that her glare at Kristoph Gavin intensified as her hands crept back towards the whip lying in her lap. "Fascinating," she said dryly, "but I don't believe I remember asking you for your opinion, Mr. Kristoph Gavin."

She looked across the table at Phoenix then, and also noticed that sometime amongst the waiter's previous bustling, she had been poured a glass of water. She picked it up, taking a sip to deal with her dry mouth before continuing. "Fascinating," she said once more, but with slightly more sincerity when directed to Phoenix, "how you seem to believe that the roles of prosecuting and defense attorneys to be fundamentally similar. Previously, I would have called it naive. Perhaps even foolish...however, I do believe that..." Franziska faltered then, running a finger around the rim of her glass to distract herself from the truth of what she was about to say. "...that the system as it is now, in both Germany and the United States is flawed, and there is a place for defense attorneys after all. Especially attorneys such as yourself, Phoenix Wright. After all, you're the only one who has ever come close to defeating me, so I suppose your beliefs must have some basis in...truth." The last part of the sentence was said through gritted teeth, and Franziska's gaze almost immediately dropped back to her glass of water, which she tinkered with for a few moments before turning to glare at Kristoph once more.

The sounds around them seemed to muffle in Phoenix's ears, the clinking of silverware and glasses taking a backseat in his mind. A look of intense relief appeared on Phoenix's face at Franziska's words, and his gaze softened as he focused it on her. It was the first moment in the entire time that he'd known Franziska that he'd felt she had understood - even only to a certain extent - and that they had begun to see eye to eye. Even if she still was stuck on the idea of her win record, her admittance had been a step in the right direction, and for that Phoenix gained an smidgen more of respect in regard to her opinion.

A wry, almost playful smile tugged at Phoenix's lips after a moment. 'You're the only one who has ever come close to defeating me.' Strange, how the idea didn't only apply to the courtroom for Franziska - it was eye-opening to realize that she, in most probability, applied the same theory to everything. After some consideration, Phoenix decided to bolster her ego, knowing that the admittance hadn't been an easy one. When he spoke, his tone wasn't mocking in the least - if anything, it was more accepting - he wanted to express in an oblique way that he got what Franziska was saying, without managing to injure her ego. "Even if it has a basis in truth...I still haven't won. So I'll have to keep trying." In the courtroom...and to you, Franziska, Phoenix thought to himself.

Every step forward towards turning the corruption in the courtroom around was a miniature victory, even if the war hadn't been won yet. A swell of emotion blossomed in Phoenix's chest, and he glanced over at Edgeworth. There had only been one person who had been able to open Phoenix's eyes to the truth of what his job was all about, and to say that Phoenix was thankful was an understatement. However, Phoenix managed to tamp down the emotion, knowing that Edgeworth wouldn't approve of a shmoopy look thrown in his direction - and he settled for having an internal, private moment of affection.

As he had yet to relinquish his glass of wine just yet, the slight smile on Edgeworth's face was blocked by the deep red liquid in his glass. That was new, wasn't it? Looking past the fact that he didn't know what exactly had caused Franziska to alter her beliefs (not to say he wasn't curious - only that the thought was placed on the back-burner for the time being), Edgeworth hadn't realized that any progress had been made thus far. A sequence of awkward conversations coupled with a nasty whip wound on his shoulder hadn't been all that promising, and it was hard for him to keep the initial relief muted from his features.

It wasn't until he noticed Phoenix's eyes on him that he returned the eye contact, the look on the defense attorney's face almost puppyish to the prosecutor despite Phoenix's attempt to remain even. The memory of his discussion with Gumshoe earlier in that day - of getting Phoenix's tail wagging - surfaced in his thoughts, and endearing as the defense attorney's expression was, Edgeworth couldn't help but compare the look on his face to a dog awaiting a treat.

The idea was so very Gumshoe-like in his mind, and Edgeworth wasn't sure whether or not to feel amused or despaired.

The eye contact he shared with Phoenix was brief, and he settled his wine glass back on the table before he spoke. "You both have a lot to learn," he said, his tone intentionally arrogant. "...but so do I. It isn't a concept that can be easily embraced or understood. Every trial we undertake will present new challenges to us, and, in a manner of speaking, each trial is a test of our strength. The bottom line is that the truth needs to be at the forefront of our thoughts - even if the journey to find it is an arduous one. Doing our job to the best of our ability is key, of course," his gaze settled on Franziska then, "...but the victory is in seeing the criminal put behind bars - not necessarily the defendant."

Franziska smirked into her glass of water before settling it back down onto the table and looking at Phoenix again. "Best of luck with that, Phoenix Wright," she said, unable to keep the traces of amusement out of her voice, "you'll most definitely need it."

Her gaze flickered towards Miles after that. There were still some things she disagreed with him about, but this was neither the time nor the place for them. She found she was getting rather hungry, despite not having had any real dinner plans several hours previously and that she was glad to be here, even if it meant having to sit next to Kristoph Gavin. "Maybe you're right, Miles Edgeworth," she said lightly, "or perhaps, you think too much." She kept her hands on the table for now, although she could still feel the weight of her whip on her lap.

As the conversation fell into a comfortable lull, the waiters returned to the table with Phoenix's martini, setting it before him. They then announced that dinner was about to be served, and that they could begin to take their orders if they were ready.

While the waiters began to pay attention to Franziska, as she was the first priority at the table based on her gender, Phoenix pushed his chair back with a soft, (and what he hoped to be) unobtrusive scrape, and he stood. Phoenix was feeling somewhat waterlogged after running through the rain, and the air conditioning of the restaurant was chilling Phoenix to the bone, making sitting an uncomfortable ordeal, beyond the fact that it felt like his chair was imprinting its design on his buttocks. "I'll be right back," he said, moving his gaze from Franziska to Kristoph. "I need to clean up a little - go ahead and order without me."

Turning his attention to Edgeworth, Phoenix paused briefly, an affectionate, slightly amused look crossing his expression. While he got the feeling that Edgeworth would kill him for this later, Phoenix couldn't resist - after all, he couldn't let Edgeworth get away with thinking that he was an impenetrable fortress of perfection for longer than was absolutely necessary. Leaning in, Phoenix pressed his lips to Edgeworth's, savoring the flavor of the wine on his mouth briefly. Drawing away, he turned and rested his right hand on Edgeworth's shoulder, squeezing gently before he let go and made his way to the restrooms.

Ever since Edgeworth had consented to no longer hiding his relationship with Phoenix, he had become gradually more used to public displays of affection, despite his discomfort. In this sense, when the kiss came, he wasn't exactly surprised, and he returned it reflexively. As they parted, he opened his eyes to meet Phoenix's, his expression was soft and nearly uncharacteristic of him, but as it stood, he was entirely unaware of the affection on his features at all. It wasn't until Phoenix had pulled away and had been on his way that he recalled the company he was keeping, and he instantly flushed, embarrassment simmering in his chest as he quickly tried to divert his attention to his menu.

Thankfully enough, the waiter was busy tending to Franziska, and he prayed that she hadn't noticed. Praying that the focus was away from him, his hand sought out the wine glass again, and he took a healthy sip from it to try and calm his nerves. Inwardly, he began scolding the defense attorney, despite the fact it would do him no good now.

Raising the menu to try and cover his face, Edgeworth quickly began scanning over it as though he hadn't already made his choice. Anything was better than meeting the eyes of Kristoph and Franziska, and he wouldn't do so again until it was absolutely necessary.

While Kristoph couldn't speak for where Franziska's attention had been, the fact that Wright had addressed him as he had stood guaranteed that Kristoph's gaze had been focused solidly in that direction before he left. He had nodded in acknowledgement of Wright's words and would have been content to leave it at that; however, the oddly mischievous look that had crossed Wright's features before he had left the table had caught his eye.

As a result, morbid curiosity had ensured that Kristoph's attention was on Wright's next actions; he soon found himself gripped by the same complete inability to look away one experiences upon witnessing some sort of traffic accident.

He wasn't sure what to make of it at first; kissing in public wasn't something that he was exactly unaccustomed to seeing, and at first the action inspired nothing but the usual immense urge to make some snappish remark about finding a room. Overall, however, it was nothing truly out of the ordinary; a little odd to think that two men he was acquainted with were administering affection on one another like that in such an open area, but really nothing that concerned him outside of the general awkwardness of the situation.

What struck him oddly was the expression on Edgeworth's face afterwards.

The look was one that Kristoph would have had a hard time picturing across Edgeworth's face; it was one of pure affection, a sort of contentment that Kristoph admittedly found himself unfamiliar with. It wasn't the kissing itself, then, that led to the slight coloration finding its way across Kristoph's cheeks as well; rather, it had been that look - continuing to stare was quite suddenly registering as an intrusion, but looking away in favor of picking up that glass of wine in front of him, toying with it for a moment before drinking some of it, did nothing to dispel the strange, uneasy sense that was settling in behind his ribs.

It was plain after a moment that the feeling was not one that was going to depart easily; the inability to settle his nerves ran thick and deep, to the point of almost being felt physically, though if one were to ask him he couldn't state the source of the issue if he tried.

He lowered the glass, as he had continued to toy with it after he had consumed some of the wine, setting it on the table lightly; he didn't release the stem, however, trailing his fingers along it lightly as he tried to think of something suitable to say and attempted to ignore the slight flush that was still evident across his features. He kept his eyes averted, following the path his fingertips were taking up and across the stem of the glass, finding the bowl of the glass before following the same path down.

"Right. Well."

It was then that it was made incredibly obvious that speech, if anything, was going to do nothing but make this more awkward. Kristoph fell silent abruptly; he had also realized that this was yet another reason why he disliked these little social outings, and wondering exactly how many more reminders he was going to receive by the end of the evening as to the fact that he had no idea why he had taken Wright up on this.

Franziska's previous look at the menu had been fleeting, so when the waiters came to her, she hastily picked it back up again in one hand, the other moving back to her whip, toying with it nervously. This really wasn't her favourite sort of food, and she found herself thinking aloud, not wanting the people taking her order to be waiting in silence. "...Squid pasta? No, perhaps not. Lamb chops?" Choosing something to in an unfamiliar place was a frustrating experience for Franziska, but she only realised how indecisive she was sounding when Phoenix Wright spoke, telling them all to order. She didn't look up from her menu, but she snapped her mouth shut, glaring at the waiters as if it was all their fault that she didn't know what to eat.

Perhaps she would ask the others what they were eating. She raised her head from her menu for the first time since the waiters had arrived to find Miles staring at his menu and Kristoph Gavin staring at his drink. As pointless and foolish the concept of small talk was, Franziska was starting to find the silence somewhat confronting and leaned towards Miles, determined to attract his attention. As fascinating as he seemed to be finding the menu at the moment, Franziska was somewhat glad he seemed to be thinking entirely too hard about this as well. "What are you getting, Miles Edgeworth?" she asked, her voice slightly louder than necessary, almost as if to compensate for the previous silence.

The wine glass was still concealed behind the menu, and Edgeworth had helped himself to nearly the whole of it before Franziska had spoken. Lowering the menu slowly, a hint of confusion on his expression, his gaze met with hers. The flush still hadn't faded entirely, but since Franziska didn't seem particularly bloodthirsty, he had to assume she hadn't seen the spectacle that Phoenix had thrust upon him.

Clearing his throat, Edgeworth set his near to empty wine class on the table along with the menu. "Ah, I'll...the beef tenderloin appears to be suitable enough." He would have gone on to discuss the particulars of his aversion to the majority of the foods served at Nobu - more to keep the nervous chatter going than to actually make conversation - but it seemed a bit rude to do so in front of the waiters; for one reason or another, tact won out rather than his urge to assuage his own nervousness. "Well done, if you will," he added to the waiter, who was making a note of his choice in entrée, despite the fact Franziska hadn't made her decision just yet.

Turning his gaze carefully to Kristoph, he was surprised to see that he, too, was flushed, but he couldn't begin to understand why. Inquiring about it seemed even less tactful than insulting the food in front of the waiters, and instead Edgeworth groped for an excuse himself - perhaps Kristoph simply didn't do well with public displays of affection.

A moment later his attention was brought to his wine glass, and he began refilling it, more for the sake of keeping himself busy than anything else. He made no move to drink from the glass again - fortunately enough, the edges of his nerves had been dulled by the first glass - but he did begin toying with the metal tipped corner of his menu once he found that he had no real activity to keep himself distracted.

The fact that Franziska seemed to be taking this in stride was surprising, though if the indecisive chattering that had been going on was anything to judge by, Kristoph was inclined to believe that she simply hadn't seen anything to begin with. Regardless, the process of ordering was quite a welcome distraction; most of the flush had dissipated by the time he turned his attention toward the waiter.

Judging by Edgeworth's order - not to mention the specification when it came to the way he wanted it prepared - it was easy to assume that the man wasn't exactly interested in touching anything that was remotely close to raw. It was a sentiment that Kristoph couldn't exactly say he shared; while sushi wasn't something he ate on a regular basis, he had recognized a few things on the menu and made his decision a while ago.

"I think...yes, the botan ebi, then." The words were unfamiliar as Kristoph said them; though his pronunciation was nowhere near a complete massacre, it was apparently enough for the waiter to deem it necessary to shoot an odd look in his direction. Kristoph simply smiled at him; despite the gentleness of the expression itself, the look in his eyes was a firm one - the yes, I'm sure was perfectly clear without needing to be voiced.

He returned his attention to the table then; considering Edgeworth was looking a bit more put-together but still about to suffer a drawn-out, painful death by awkward silence, Kristoph's next words were directed toward him. "A bit different, isn't it?" he said, picking up his glass again before moving his hand in a vaguely sweeping gesture, indicating the restaurant as a whole; the soft smile was still present across his expression. "I've never been, but the experience is...well. I can't say that I'm disappointed."

He took another sip of his drink; speaking had been decidedly easier now that the silence had been broken to begin with, and the fact that his attention had been drawn elsewhere by the waiters had done wonders when it came to calming whatever had been going on with his nerves. For once, Franziska seemed to have proven herself useful - or, well, her indecisiveness had, but there wasn't much point in being pedantic at the time.

Franziska nodded upon hearing Miles's choice, leaning back into her seat and tapping the menu lightly with a finger. "The lamb chops, then," she said to the waiters, and she watched them momentarily to ensure her order had been recorded correctly before snapping her menu shut again, lying it down on the table.

It was then that she properly looked at the faces of her dinner companions for the first time since her attention had been diverted by the waiters; now both of them were looking up, they were easier to see. She then noticed that they both looked slightly flushed, and that realisation made Franziska tug at her collar slightly. Was it overly warm in here, and she just wasn't realising it as she was wearing less layers than usual? Or was it something else?

Probably just warm, she thought to herself, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ears. And yet, she didn't have anything better to ask - if she acknowledged Kristoph Gavin's foolish conversation, she might encourage him to do something irritating again, and there was a surprising lack of conflict so far and for once, Franziska found herself wanting to keep it that way. So she focused her attentions on her little brother once more, raising an eyebrow as she asked, "Is everything all right?"

Something about the smile on Kristoph's face inspired something similar on Edgeworth's own, though there was an obvious, slightly bitter tinge to it. "I suppose that's good to hear. I've never really...frequented this sort of establishment, but I can only hope the quality of the food lives up to the rumors."

Edgeworth's knowledge of cooked fish was a lot wider than raw, and as such the majority of the menu had more or less been gibberish to him. The lamb chops were distinctively more recognizable than whatever Kristoph had ordered, but the waiter's questioning look was a bit unnerving.

When the waiters went off on their way, they had gathered all the menus from the table except for Phoenix's. Without something additional to toy with, Edgeworth's attention turned to his wine glass, lifting it gingerly before he took a small sip. Though there was nothing in Edgeworth's tone to betray his discomfort to Franziska, he answered the question a little too quickly. "What could possibly be wrong?"

Kristoph couldn't say that he was discontent with Franziska's blatant ignoring when it came to him; while in normal company he would have found such a thing to be irritating, the facts were that there was less friction this way, and besides, Franziska von Karma remained anything but normal. He tipped his head slightly in acknowledgment of Edgeworth's words, but Franziska's question rendered any sort of verbal response rather pointless.

Not to mention that there was a vague sense of amusement that crossed the forefront of his thoughts for a brief moment at Edgeworth's response to her; though the smile quirked slightly and shifted closer to smirking, at the very least Edgeworth wasn't looking at him.

Subtle, Mr. Edgeworth...

Overall, however, the dynamic between Franziska and Edgeworth was interesting to watch; he would grant them that. She seemed so aloof most of the time, seeming to feel an almost continual need to assert herself, regardless of anyone else's thoughts; at the same time, the way that she had asked Edgeworth what he was ordering when she was clearly unfamiliar with the menu, and had a habit of asking him things after making some unconscious display of uncertainty...

It was rather telling, really.

And so, for the time being, he was content to remain silent, still holding the wineglass despite no longer drinking from it; after all, he had no doubt that any interjection would be frowned upon by the harpy next to him - he would remain neutral for now.

If Franziska noticed anything strange about the speed at which Miles answered, she did not let on. Instead, she watched the waiters walk away for several moments before turning her gaze back towards her little brother. "Nothing," Franziska answered with a small shake of the head. "You just appear...is it too warm in here? Or is the wine getting to your head too quickly?" She smirked then, drumming her fingers on the table, watching Miles's face.

At that precise moment, Phoenix reappeared at the table, looking considerably drier. He'd washed the gel from his hair, as it was sticky from the rain Phoenix had run through, and he had spent a long while in front of the hand dryer. As a result, his hair was loose and somewhat floppy - he'd combed some of his bangs from his eyes so he could see, and while it was a different look than what he normally sported around other people, it wasn't an unpleasant mess. His clothes were another story, but most of the unpleasantness wasn't from the looks - it was the wearing of soggy layers more than anything else.

Sitting down, Phoenix pulled his chair in, and settled himself comfortably once more. He'd come back while Franziska was finishing speaking, and he glanced over at Edgeworth, an amused smile coming over his expression as he took in the flush on his face. He then picked up his martini glass, taking a deep sip as he closed his eyes and savored the flavor briefly. The chocolatey alcohol warmed his mouth and throat, spreading through his belly - and Phoenix agreed with the waiter internally, as it was good.

Flipping open his menu and opening it to the middle page with his free hand, he took one more sip of his drink before putting it down. He then turned his gaze to Kristoph, curiosity entering his expression. "What did you order?" As Kristoph hadn't been too involved in the conversation previous to Phoenix having gone to the bathroom, Phoenix had an idea as to getting Kristoph more involved in the interaction between all of them - even if it avoided Franziska. Phoenix was pretty sure Kristoph wouldn't mind that, however, considering the current tension between them.

If looks could kill, Phoenix would be dead, and Franziska would more than likely carry on the family tradition of prosecuting Edgeworth at his trial.

It wasn't as though it was enough for Edgeworth to endure the torment of becoming a spectacle to any hapless individual who had glanced over during Phoenix's whim of initiating a public display of affection - the defense attorney had the cheek to grin about it. Edgeworth waited until Phoenix was seemingly celebrating his victory with a drink from his martini before he impulsively kicked the defense attorney's shin. The contact was louder than it was painful, as Edgeworth occasionally had some dexterity when it came to pulling punches (or kicks, in this instance), and his glare remained pointed at Phoenix, even while he addressed Franziska.

"You should be more than aware of my tolerance by now, Franziska - you're simply imagining things."

Kristoph's gaze had flicked over to Wright as he'd made his return - the change in hairstyle certainly hadn't escaped his notice, and he arched an eyebrow slightly as he took it in; while it was a definite departure from the strictly-gelled spikes he was accustomed to seeing, it managed to look tousled without being completely unkempt. At the very least, it was interesting; in some ways, however, it was almost endearing.

Though he refrained from staring, returning his gaze to the wineglass still between his fingers; he set it down lightly, tracking the motion with his eyes, and though he heard Wright's question, he was promptly startled by the subsequent sound coming from the other side of the table.

It wasn't difficult for Kristoph to spot the source - Edgeworth's expression combined was far more than enough evidence, in this circumstance - and he shot them a rather pointed glance, though the expression passed quickly, as did any other visible signs of agitation. Though the phrase Honestly, children, are you finished? crossed his mind, he bit it back, responding instead to Wright's question and managing to keep the smile across his expression and the disdain out of his voice.

"Ah, I ordered the botan ebi," he said. "It isn't something I'd have on a regular basis, but it's been a while since I've had it last. What are you considering?"

Franziska heard something akin to a thumping noise from underneath the table, but she managed to ignore the temptation to kneel down and find out what had caused it. It didn't matter here - this was dinner, not a crime scene. However, with people like Kristoph Gavin here, who knew what could happen? Thinking of Kristoph's presence just irritated her again, so instead she continued to direct her attention to her little brother, the smirk on her face widening. "I'm well aware of your tolerances, which is why the question has to be asked. Or do you dare imply that I am just foolishly 'seeing things'?" Her tone was teasing enough, but she couldn't help but look slightly bitter at the same time too.

Her gaze drifted to Phoenix then, and she blinked for a moment, as if fully acknowledging Phoenix's return for the first time. "Phoenix Wright," she said, "you look ridiculous." And ridiculous he did look - if Franziska remembered his arrival at the restaurant correctly, the man had been soaking wet, and now he appeared to have dried himself off in front of a heater. Of course, she couldn't expect a fool such as him to remember to bring an umbrella along. Clearly, that would require far too much common sense.

Phoenix jumped and released his hold on his menu at the contact of Edgeworth's hard shoe thumping on his shin, the menu flapping shut. A flash of sharp pain ran through Phoenix's leg, the sensation reverberating up into his knee, and Phoenix resisted leaning down and rubbing it to somehow manage the pain. Ugh...I guess I deserved that, Phoenix thought to himself, before he looked at Edgeworth with an obviously pained look, as if to ask him why he'd resorted to violence, of all things.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he turned his attention to Franziska, before scratching his head with his right hand. Not having gel in his hair was nice, to say the least. His head felt lighter, and not feeling like a sticky mess was preferable over keeping up appearances. "I try my best," he said lightly, his tone having no bite or sarcasm to it. He then glanced over at Kristoph, focusing his gaze on Kristoph's before opening up his menu and flipping to the page he'd had it open to prior to being kicked. Listed on the page were descriptions of several sushi platters of various types. "I was thinking...since we both like seafood..." His thoughts moved back to the lunch he'd shared with Kristoph only a couple of months before - the memory felt as if it was years old, and the notion was an odd one in Phoenix's mind. "...did you want to split a sushi platter?"

The sharp edges of Edgeworth's glare had softened at Phoenix's pained expression. In truth, the kicking had taken out most of his frustration, and by the look on Phoenix's face, he had done it a little harder than he had intended to. The behavior had been reflexive - he and Phoenix were often more than a little childish with one another - and he had forgotten himself initially when he'd done it. Once Phoenix was glancing back at the menu, Edgeworth turned his gaze away, focusing on his wine glass before he picked it up and took another sip.

When he again spoke to Franziska, the wine was still inches from his lips. "It's hardly a foolish assertion if it's the truth, Franziska." His cocky tone remained despite the small flare of guilt, and he was very tempted to offer Phoenix some sort of physical reassurance as an apology for striking back too hard, but he refrained in light of the defense attorney's discussion with Kristoph. It could wait.

The time he had run into Wright outside of his offices was something that had long ago escaped Kristoph's immediate recollection; a questioning expression had overtaken his features momentarily, but it quickly faded away as the details of that particular meeting came back to him. The pleased expression that replaced it was an honest one; the fact that the man actually remembered their early and more pleasant meetings was a bit of a surprise, considering the fact that whatever relationship they had to each other had become incredibly tumultuous with amazing speed, but that surprise was by no means an unpleasant one.

"I'd like that," he said, folding his hands in his lap as he spoke, "although to be honest, I hadn't imagined that you would be fond of sushi...at least, not before arriving here. Of course, given the location, it's fairly obvious now."

Not to mention that judging by the orders placed by Edgeworth and Franziska both, it was more apparent than ever - they both seemed to have some sort of aversion to things that were seared less than completely through. Given both that and the occasion, it followed that Wright would like that sort of thing; however, the fact remained that it hadn't exactly been something that Kristoph had considered before, regardless of that outing they had gone on months ago.

Franziska looked pointedly at the wine glass in Miles's hands before answering. "I'm not seeing things, Miles Edgeworth. I suppose it is simply just too warm in here." That being said, she tucked another errant strand of hair behind her ears and took another sip of water from her own glass.

She took a second look at Miles then, and the flush seemed to have faded somewhat. She blinked; perhaps she really was seeing things, but there was no way she would admit that to those at the table now.

[Continued here.]