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12 January 2010 @ 06:31 pm
091 | April 09, 2019 | Nobu Los Angeles/Parking Lot | [3/3]  
The remainder of the dinner passed quickly and without much conflict; Kristoph ate his botan ebi, much to Edgeworth's chagrin, Phoenix and Kristoph shared a sushi platter, Edgeworth thoroughly enjoyed his non-bloody steak, and Franziska managed to sneak a small amount of wine from Edgeworth's bottle. And after everything, Phoenix was served a birthday dessert, and flushed bright red as nearly the entire serving staff sang to him.

In truth, Phoenix hadn't expected the dinner to go so well once he'd realized the tension between Franziska and Kristoph. However, Franziska hadn't once taken out her whip, even while Phoenix had almost tread in the wrong direction conversationally, and Kristoph and Franziska had managed to squeak past strangling each other. And while Edgeworth had been initially cranky towards being kissed in front of company, Phoenix couldn't say he regretted doing it.

After the group had finished eating, paid the bill, and left the table, both Kristoph and Franziska had given Phoenix his birthday gifts. All of them had then parted ways, save for Edgeworth and Phoenix, as they were both going home together. The air was relatively cool outside the restaurant - Phoenix surmised the temperatures were in the low 60's - and as he and Edgeworth made their way down the stairs and into the parking structure, Phoenix shivered. Phoenix's clothes were still damp, and he hoped he wouldn't catch a cold - all he needed was another illness to combat after his multiple visits to the hospital in the past few months.

As the two attorneys found their way through the parking structure, the amount of people they passed grew scarce. Once Edgeworth was properly comfortable with the amount of potential onlookers, he took Phoenix's hand, threading their fingers together with a soft squeeze.

"I certainly hope you enjoyed yourself," he said, his voice echoing against the thick walls of the structure. While the statement was an accurate depiction of what Edgeworth felt, his tone was slightly dismayed in light of the kiss that wouldn't evacuate the forefront of his thoughts.

The contact between their hands warmed Phoenix slightly, and a slight smile appeared on his face as he nodded, turning his head so that he could look at Edgeworth. "I did," Phoenix said easily, ignoring the edge of emotion in Edgeworth's voice. He instinctively knew what Edgeworth was thinking about - however, unless Edgeworth planned on bringing it up, Phoenix felt that enough time had passed and that he could play at not being aware of it for a little longer.

Their footsteps echoed in the quiet, Edgeworth's more primly styled shoes tapping in contrast to the quiet of Phoenix's cheaper, heavier pair, and Phoenix couldn't help but wonder how Edgeworth could investigate wearing shoes that were designed for a ballroom, not an area where a crime was committed.

Edgeworth knew Phoenix had to have been playing dumb - that impish grin the defense attorney had given him after returning from the restroom was proof enough that he was completely aware of what he had done - but for the time being, he dropped it. It still was technically Phoenix's birthday, even if the festivities were over. Instead, Edgeworth's mind wandered over to the gifts under Phoenix's arm.

The proposition that would lead to his own gift was an awkward one - in Edgeworth's mind, anyway - but he had decided to go through with it despite his discomfort. "...Wright, this Thursday...after we tend to the paperwork for the house, I trust that you have no plans?"

"Hmm," Phoenix hummed thoughtfully, as his mind went to his plans after the signing. He'd planned on coming back to the offices to do some work, but if Edgeworth was interested in doing something, Phoenix was willing to take the work home and finish it after. He rarely had time alone with Edgeworth - the prosecutor was always working - and Phoenix could always adjust to accommodate what Edgeworth wanted. "It depends. What did you have in mind?"

The grip Edgeworth had on Phoenix's hand tightened, though he was entirely unaware of doing it. "Your present," the prosecutor said after a moment. "I would prefer not to select it without your input. I'm aware of what the item is, but it's a bit...personal, and I would rather that you had a say on the particulars."

"...uh..." Phoenix's gaze went down to his left wrist as he lifted it up to look at it, the watch peeking out from underneath his sleeve. He'd done some research while he'd been in the office - the watch had been expensive, almost too expensive - and he couldn't help but think that Edgeworth had done enough for his birthday. Especially after going through the trouble of getting reservations, tolerating both Franziska and Kristoph's company, and paying for his dinner. A light flush appeared on Phoenix's cheeks, and he scratched his head awkwardly with his left hand as he cast a shy look in Edgeworth's direction. "...y-you...you don't have to, Edgeworth...you've done enough..."

The awkward edges to Edgeworth's expression softened, and his brow rose almost curiously. While he understood that the generally polite thing to do would be to play off the necessity of the gift (just as Phoenix was doing), the prosecutor didn't seem to think that protocol applied to the situation at hand.

Admittedly, his opinion was based more upon the meaning behind the item he would be purchasing rather than the present itself, but it didn't keep Edgeworth from shrugging off Phoenix's statements.

"Nonsense. It's your birthday, and you're receiving a proper gift for it." Edgeworth slowed as the two attorneys finally arrived at his car. "...besides, regardless of whether or not you want to call it a birthday present, I believe that the present itself is...important."

Stopping alongside Edgeworth, Phoenix turned so he could properly look at him, his curiosity thoroughly piqued. If one knew him well enough they could hear the clockwork grinding in his head, and his expression became interested, as if he was investigating a case and had caught the scent of a lead. "...you just bought me a thousand dollar watch and you paid for dinner tonight." Even though you hid the bill away from me, Phoenix thought, a bit sourly - at least if he had been able to see it he'd known what he needed to top for Edgeworth's birthday. "What could be more important or proper than all of that?"

Despite Edgeworth's prior conviction, actually admitting to what he wanted to purchase suddenly seemed like a harrowing task. Averting his gaze, Edgeworth attempted to feign nonchalance in light of Phoenix's pressing. "The watch was a separate gift altogether, and -"

Edgeworth's brow furrowed when he realized that Phoenix had researched the price of the watch; however, there wasn't much he could say on the matter after it had already been done. Squeezing Phoenix's hand, the prosecutor's eye contact returned along with an attempt to divert the subject. "...I'll leave you to think on it. I doubt that you will be able to puzzle it out before the signing."

"...more meaningful than the house, too?" Phoenix pressed as he gently untangled his fingers from Edgeworth's and took a step closer to him, nibbling a few kisses up his jaw and loosely slipping his arms around Edgeworth's waist. While his badgering was decently effective in court, Phoenix knew that adding a little incentive to answering the question wouldn't hurt. The alcohol on his breath was light, the scent of fish barely detectable after the mint-chocolate birthday cake, and Phoenix was glad he hadn't eaten something smellier - otherwise, he wouldn't have had this card up his sleeve.

The prosecutor had every intention of answering Phoenix's question in a nonspecific manner, but the contact and the kisses against his jaw were thoroughly distracting. Slipping an arm around Phoenix's waist, Edgeworth gently ran the fingers of his opposite hand through the defense attorney's hair, smoothing his fingertips against the soft, gel-free locks.

"...you could say that," he said after a moment's hesitation. The urge to kiss Phoenix was strong, but the memory of the raw monstrosities the defense attorney had ingested was enough to deter him from initiating anything of the sort.

The answer took Phoenix off guard, and it took him a few moments to process the meaning behind Edgeworth's words. A surge of emotion swelled up in Phoenix's chest, the feeling emphasized by the warm fuzziness of the alcohol in his system.

There was only one thing that was more important, and it had to do with what Phoenix had asked Edgeworth on the dock only the night before. The memory of the dream he had experienced in the hospital struck him then - of Edgeworth, sleeping on his desk, the ring on his left hand shining in the lamplight...

...pulling away only enough so he could look at Edgeworth's face, a gentle warmth entered Phoenix's expression. "...I'll go, under one condition."

Arching a brow, Edgeworth's expression became incredulous. And since when has giving a gift required a condition...? the thought came impulsively into his mind, though he dismissed it in favor of his curiosity. "And what is your condition?"

Phoenix leaned in, tilting his head and briefly pressing a chaste, soft kiss to Edgeworth's lips. When he withdrew, the aura he exuded was one of focused confidence. If Edgeworth was insistent on buying a gift for him - especially if it was this - Phoenix wasn't about to let him get away without buying one for him as well. "Let me buy one for you, too."

A slight, amused smile parted the prosecutor's features. "You're very confident in your deductive reasoning," he gibed, his expression soft despite his teasing. "...but I can only agree to your condition if your funeral for your wallet will be a brief one."

Phoenix laughed softly and shook his head in response, a grin on his lips as he looked back up at Edgeworth's face. "...how can I not be?" he asked after a moment, his tone playful. "I wouldn't win any cases if I didn't have some type of expertise in that field."

Pulling Edgeworth closer, Phoenix wrapped him up in a warm hug as he tucked his face into the crook of Edgeworth's shoulder. "And let me worry about my wallet's funeral if I have to," he murmured against Edgeworth's neck, his lips moving against the soft skin underneath his jaw as he spoke. "It's important to me, too."

Edgeworth's breath caught, his eyes coming closed as he surrendered to the embrace, Phoenix's lips lightly teasing him and causing him shiver. "...very well, then," he finally replied after his voice properly returned to him.

All of the prosecutor's discomfort from the dinner and Phoenix's antics was forgotten entirely as he lost himself in his affection for the defense attorney. It unnerved him sometimes how palpable the emotion was - how simple it was for Phoenix to bring down his barriers. For better or for worse, nothing in regards to his relationship with Phoenix ever went quite like he imagined it would, but the prosecutor couldn't ever say he was unhappy with that fact. Having Phoenix by his side was empowering in its own way - however inexplicable the notion was - and Edgeworth found that he didn't want to have it any other way.