Phoenix Wright sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair, distributing the last of the gel evenly among the spikes, hoping they wouldn't flop before the evening was out.
The face reflected back at him in the mirrored doors of the bathroom cabinet did not match the one that he had in his head as he went about his daily life. In his head, he was still twenty-five - young, passionate, and at the height of his career as a defence attorney. Whenever he looked at Apollo, he saw himself, and it was difficult to remember that twenty years separated him from his ex-law partner.
Reality only really hit him when he was alone and face to face with what other people saw, every day. He turned his head slightly to one side, squinting at his reflection. His fingers wandered over the grey that had somehow crept into his jet black hair; he noted the lines that had started to appear around his eyes, on his forehead, around his mouth. When did that happen? When did I get old? He sighed again, pulling a face at his own reflection before opening up the cabinet door to put away the tube of gel.
"We're going to be late, Wright. Trucy won't like it if we're not there right on time for dinner. It is her birthday, remember. And we're supposed to be picking up Pearl on the way."
Phoenix closed the cabinet and looked into its mirrored surface again. Miles was standing behind him, pointedly looking at his watch and arching an eyebrow. Phoenix observed their reflections as the other man ran a critical eye over the gelled hair, grimacing and stepping behind Phoenix to pinch some of the spikes into place a bit more neatly.
"What's wrong, Wright? I thought you were looking forward to this evening."
Miles' face was questioning, and his hands moved down to Phoenix's shoulders, giving them a light squeeze, before resting there as if in reassurance. It struck Phoenix, not for the first time, how much Miles, now, looked like the old black and white photograph of his father that hung in the living room. With each passing year the resemblance grew stronger – shorter hair and the recent addition of a pair of reading glasses only adding to the effect. I wonder if he even realises?
"When did we all get old, Miles? Where did the time go?" Phoenix asked of the reflection in the mirror.
A soft chuckle from the other man was followed by another squeeze of the shoulders. "Is that what's bothering you today? I suppose birthdays do have that effect, sometimes."
"It just seems like yesterday that we were kids." Phoenix sulked, his mouth a moue of discontent. "Even bloody Larry looks sensible and respectable these days – and Maya looks – well, motherly."
Miles' eyebrows shot up in clear surprise as his eyes skirted Phoenix's in the mirror, creasing with concealed laughter. "Maya? Motherly? Good grief, Phoenix, if she heard you say that you'd be limping for a week. I think she is what the ... um … popular opinion would regard as a 'MILF'. Well - if your tastes incline in that direction, obviously." This time the laughter wasn't concealed and Miles' eyes twinkled with humour at the afterthought. Phoenix couldn't help but smile back at the reflection. He's so different now. I can hardly remember the old Edgeworth any more. He's a completely different person than he was twenty five years ago.
"I guess I'm just having a 'facing my own mortality' moment." Phoenix said ruefully. "Every time I look in the mirror I seem to have more wrinkles. I hate it."
Miles' expression was suddenly serious again. "You shouldn't. Our lives are written on our faces. It's … important for us to remember." His voice trailed off, as if he had run out of words.
"Oh come on, Miles, you can't tell me that you like looking at an old wrinkly when you wake up in the mornings," He knew he sounded sulky, and also ridiculous, given that they were the same age. But Edgeworth really did seem to have aged better than he had himself. Maybe it was an illusion brought on by the fact that the other man had already been mostly grey-haired by the age of twenty-five, or perhaps because as the years passed he had become happier, more open. Or more likely it's down to the facial treatments that I used to tease him about.
Edgeworth' face had taken on a distant look. Phoenix could tell that he was considering his words carefully – a habit he always had if he was trying to say something deeply personal. Phoenix had long since stopped suspecting that it indicated insincerity and accepted it for what it was. With the passing years had come patience with his partner's foibles. And I can't even begin to imagine how many things he's learned to tolerate while living with me, either.
He felt the light breath of a sigh below his ear as Edgeworth leaned in to kiss him there, gently. Then Miles lifted a hand, reached round, and touched a light forefinger to the faint laughter lines on Phoenix's face, their gaze meeting directly in the mirror as he did so. Edgeworth's eyes had taken on the intensity that they often held when he was trying to express a message that went deeper than his words.
"These," he said, tracing a line with his fingertip, "Are the day that you saved my life." Then his finger moved to one of the deeper lines under Phoenix's left eye. "This one is the day we went out for a drink as friends and I stupidly let you know how I felt about you." His finger moved again, tracing an invisible trail across Phoenix's face and leaving a tingle of excitement in its wake. "This is the day you called me and told me that you felt the same way after all. These? The day you left me and the day we met again seven years later. And this?" His finger finally stilled on a recently emerging crease across Phoenix's brow. "This is what happens when you won't admit that you need spectacles." He smiled again, his eyes laughing at Phoenix from the mirror, seriousness banished as suddenly as it appeared.
Seeing Edgeworth happy always made Phoenix's heart leap, even now, and he couldn't hold back a grin. "I'm an idiot, aren't I?" he blurted out, feeling a bit foolish and turning away from the mirror with a slight blush.
"You've always been an idiot, Wright," Edgeworth replied with a smirk. "But some things never get old." He cupped Phoenix's face in his hands, leaning in to kiss him deeply and passionately. As Phoenix responded, opening his lips and sliding his arms around Edgeworth's shoulders, he decided that this evening, for once, they were going to be fashionably late.