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The Miracle Never Happened: A Sad Dad Phoenix FicTopic%20Title

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Rank: Suspect

Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2024 7:49 pm

Posts: 1

Title: The Miracle Never Happened
Author: LoakaMossi
Rating: T
Genre: Angst
Status: In Progress
Pairing: None
Summary: Despite Phoenix's best efforts, he was unable to get Matt Engarde acquitted. Now, as the months pass, he must learn to live with Maya's absence. And, more importantly, he must help Pearl do the same.

Having been aware of these forums for a very long time, I have finally made an account! I was hoping to share my stab at fanfic writing here. I also have it posted on AO3, but I thought posting it here as well might be fun! If people seem interested, I might post WIPs of upcoming chapters to try and get more feedback before I publish on AO3.

I hope my fic makes you sad in a way that you still enjoy!

Spoiler: Chapter 1: You're Gone, But I'm Still Here
“I believe I have heard enough.”

The judge's statement makes me break into a cold sweat. What does he mean “enough?” I'm in the middle of cross-examining!

“The defense's actions have made something clear to me: The defendant is responsible for this crime. It's the only thing that can explain his counsel's actions.”

WHAT!? Why did the judge choose now of all times to become perceptive?

“OBJECTION!” Edgeworth's voice rings out, and I can find my breath again. “Your Honor, I believe that you are clearly overstepping the bounds of the judiciary!”

“Your behavior has also left me puzzled. But don't worry; I have more than enough evidence to support my decision.” This can't be happening. The judge has never acted like this before. “Before I declare my verdict, I want to ask the witness: Do you have anything else to add?”

“Mr. Lawyer.” De Killer's voice crackles out of the radio transmitter. My heart is pounding in my chest. “Are you willing to let this happen?”

“OBJECTION!” Despite my throat drying out in an instant, I force myself to shout. I rack my brain, but I can't find any grounds for my objection.

“Do you need a reminder for what is at stake, Mr. Lawyer? I am more than happy to provide that.” I hear some shuffling noises from the radio, followed by a second voice.

“Nick . . . It's OK . . .”

My mind goes entirely blank. I know, Maya. I know you're ready for Engarde to be convicted. But I'm . . . But I'm not!

The judge speaks, tired of waiting for me to respond. “The court finds the defendant, Matt Engarde . . . GUILTY.”

“Very well.” De Killer's voice comes from the radio one more time. The radio makes one more noise before falling silent forever: a shrill, piercing scream that fills the courtroom.

My vision fails. My mind stops. I'm not sure if I'm even breathing. I feel my legs turn to jelly. I'm going to collapse . . .

. . . I wake up in my bed, drenched in sweat, once again. I haven't kept track of how long it's been since the Engarde trial. It's been at least a month. Probably two.

While I'm not sure how many days it's been, I am sure that every night has been plagued with nightmares. Most are warped memories of that trial. Some are more abstract. At first, I wanted to remember them all. But at some point, that became impossible. I'm not even sure which version of that trial is from my memories, and which versions were just nightmares.

“Did you have a bad dream, Mr. Nick?”

Pearl's strained voice comes from a corner in my room. After Maya . . . After the trial, Pearl wanted to stay with me for a while. The Kurain villagers were dubious, but they signed off on it. I can't really blame them for being on edge. They just lost their successor. Of course they'd be protective of the new successor.

“Don't worry about me, Pearls. How about you?” I look over at my clock. It's 5:00 AM. “It's awfully early. Did you just wake up? Or did you not sleep?” I'm not the only one who's been having nightmares. I originally let Pearl sleep on my couch, but she couldn't sleep through the night.

After her first night here, she told me about the nightmare she had the previous night. She was looking at Maya, who had a large gash in her neck. She was staring at Pearl in shock, as if the younger mystic had betrayed her. When Pearl looked down, she was holding a knife. A knife that was stained in blood. She said the last thing she heard before waking up was the voice of her mother, Morgan. She said, “You've done well, Pearl.”

I couldn't let her sleep by herself after that. I bought a cheap sleeping bag and let her camp out in my bedroom. Maybe I should look into getting a proper mattress.

“I . . .” Her voice wavers as she speaks, “I didn't want to go to sleep . . .”

“You need to sleep, Pearly. I know it's scary, but you'll feel worse if you don't.” I roll out of bed and stretch. “But you can worry about that tonight. We're both up, might as well start the day. What do you want for breakfast? I think I have a box of pancake mix.”

“. . . Pancakes sound nice . . .”

“Good! I was also craving pancakes.” I smile the best that I can. I might feel terrible, but no one needs to know that. I need to be strong. For Pearl.

Just like she was.

Within a few minutes, I have breakfast ready: a stack of pancakes for me and a stack of smaller pancakes for Pearl. Pearl comes out of the bedroom and into the kitchen; she's properly dressed, but she's moving sluggishly. Not that I can blame her.

She reaches the table and sits down. Before she digs in, she looks over the table. “Um, Mr. Nick,” she sounds confused as she speaks, “Why do you have a jar of peanut butter out?”

“It's for the pancakes.”

“Really?”

“Oh, have you not tried it?” I shouldn't be surprised. It's not a rare thing to see, but it's not exactly common either. And Pearl has only known about pizza for a couple of months; I can't expect her to know every kind of pancake topping. I slather peanut butter on my uppermost pancake, then cut off a small bit and place it on Pearl's plate.

Pearl places the food in her mouth and her eyes light up. She eagerly grabs the jar of peanut butter, then begins applying it to her own food with a smile on her face. I can't help but grin in response. I haven't seen her this happy since . . .

“Uhhh, Mr. Nick?” Pearl's voice snaps me back to attention, “Is there any left over pancake batter?” I look over at her plate. Nothing remains on it except for syrup. Most days, it takes her at least a half hour to eat. But now she's scarfing it down and asking for seconds.

That's good. She's recovering. She's starting to move on, starting to hurt less. At least one of us is.

“Of course, Pearls! Here,” I slide my plate across the table. I hadn't touched mine yet, aside from the bite I cut off for her, “You can just eat these while I cook more for myself, OK?”

Pearl looks at the stack of hotcakes with a concerned face. She's probably not thrilled to take food away from me. But before she can respond, a growl erupts from her stomach. Looks like skipping meals for several weeks is finally starting to catch up with her. She digs into her second stack of pancakes while I make a third stack for myself.

After breakfast, I take our plates and begin to wash them in the sink. I used to let my dishes and silverware build up in the sink but now, I need the chores to distract me.

Unfortunately, I can't distract myself right now. It's good that Pearl seems to finally be recovering. But I might have to tear all that down. Her family members from Kurain Village called me yesterday. I let them talk to her on the phone, but they want to see her again.

But I can't just say, 'OK, Pearls, vacation's over!' and drop her off. I'll have to tell her what's happening. She's smart for her age. We can probably talk about what she wants to do.

I clear my throat, then I begin to speak. “So, Pearls, what do you want to do today?”

“Hmmm,” She's actually considering something. That's good. Normally, she wants to just stay in the house. Not that I can blame her. “Can we go on a trip somewhere? Like a park, or maybe a zoo?”

“Sure, there are plenty of parks and zoos around.” OK, deep breath Phoenix. Time to broach the waters. “So, how was your family?”

Pearl doesn't respond. I glance behind me. I can't see her face well, but she doesn't look happy.

“You talked to them last night. They were missing you, so I was wondering if you were missing them.”

Still no response. And her face still looks forlorn. Should I change the subject? No, she needs to be around her family members. I need to bring this up.

“You know, I think there's a zoo on the same train line as Kurain Village. We could go to the zoo, then stop-”

“I'm not going back.” Pearl finally responds, but in a voice so small I'm not sure I heard her. I set my plate down, then turn around. She's shaking. Maybe with fear, maybe with anger, I can't tell.

“You don't have to move back in with them. But you should at least see them.” After Morgan was arrested, child services got involved. Pearl'd been put in the care of one of her older cousins. I don't practice family law, but keeping her this long is probably violating something. I think her foster family got an order approving an extended vacation, but this can't be permanent. “They're your family and they care abo-”

“I'M NOT GOING BACK!” Pearl shoots up out of her chair and glares at me with equal parts anger and sadness.

I take another deep breath. Something is clearly wrong, and I need to find out what. “Pearls, what did you and your family talk about on the phone yesterday?”

Pearl's glare immediately softens. “We talked . . . about a lot. M-Most of it was good, actually!” She's trying to sound happy, but she still looks like she's guarded against the world. “But . . . towards the end . . . we talked about Mystic Maya.” Her voice trembles and her anger has been replaced entirely with sadness. “They . . . They wanted to celebrate her death!”

I sigh in relief. This is probably just a misunderstanding. “Pearls, that's not what a funeral is. A wake isn't-”

“I know what a wake is!” She shouts, sounding on the verge of tears. “I know I'm sheltered. I know there's a lot that I don't understand. But I'm a spirit medium. I channel ghosts into my body. I know about death. I've been to wakes before. They don't want a wake!” Her voice gets faster the longer she talks. It's like she's trying to say as much as she can before she breaks down.

She runs towards me and grabs my legs as the tears finally flow. The sentence she wants to say is broken up by long bouts of sobbing, but she eventually gets it out. “They want to celebrate me becoming the successor to the Kurain Channeling Technique.”

She wails and sobs as her tears roll down her cheeks and down my legs. She was finally starting to do better. She was starting to recover. And I had to throw her right back into trauma.

“Please don't get rid of me, Mr. Nick . . .” She's finding the strength to form sentences again. “You're the only family I have left . . . that really cares about me . . .”

I put my hand on the top of her head, and her crying stops. “It's OK, Pearls. We won't go to the Kurain Village.”

“R-Really?” She sniffs, finally calming down. “I won't have to go back today?”

“You won't have to go back at all.” If I'm screwing up, I might as well try to make things better.

“H-Huh?” I don't know anything about child services, but I probably know someone who does. I'll try talking to Grossberg tomorrow.

“I'll talk to your family and see if I can take over as your foster dad.” Is that who I need to talk to? Or do I need to talk directly to CPS? I hope Grossberg can point me in the right direction.

“REALLY!?” She's on the verge of crying again, but this time with a smile on her face. “Th-Thank you, Mr. Nick!”

“Well, don't thank me yet.”

“ . . . Huh? Why not?”

Whoops, I don't want her to have another breakdown. Unfortunately, I'm not the best at being delicate. “Um, well, there are . . . certain rules that I have to follow.”

“And? You'll follow them, right?”

“I will, it's just . . . we'll probably need to get permission.”

Pearl pulls away from my leg, then looks me in the eye. “Permission from who, Mr. Nick?”

“From Child Protective Services . . . And your current foster family.” Pearl gasps. “. . . and maybe your biological mother as well.” Pearl's face shifts and she looks down at the floor, sullen again. Damn it, this is exactly what I was worried about.

I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don't worry. If they say no, I'll fight them on it.”

“ . . . You promise?”

“Of course!” I grin as widely as I can manage. “You've got nothing to worry about!”

“ . . . If you say so.” Uh oh. I guess I wasn't very convincing.

“Welp, if we're not going to Kurain, there's a zoo that's much closer. Do you still want to go?” I hope I can get her mind off of this. She really shouldn't be worried about it. She's only a child.

“. . . Actually, Mr. Nick, I'm not sure I still want to go.”

Great. I completely ruined the first sign of recovery that she's shown in months. But don't worry, I'm sure you're family is just waiting to turn custody over to me! “That's OK, Pearls. But if that's the case, do you think you'll be alright by yourself for the day?”

“What? I mean, yeah, I'll be fine. But why?”

“If we aren't doing anything fun, I want to get started on getting custody.” And I'm not bringing you along. I don't want you to misinterpret anything else.

“Oh! Th-That's great!” She finally smiles again. Dear God, I've put this poor girl on an emotional roller coaster this morning. But I'll make it up to her. The next time we talk about this, I'll be able to start with 'Good news, Pearls!'

“OK, Pearls. I'm going to talk to a friend about this. You be good, OK?”

“I will, Mr. Nick.” I put my blazer on and walk towards the door. I try to remember where Grossberg's office is. “Umm, Mr. Nick?”

I stop in the open doorway of my apartment, then turn to look back at Pearl. “Yeah? What is it Pearls?”

“You . . . You won't change your mind, right?”

“Of course not!” I chuckle, trying to put her mind at ease.

“. . . OK . . .” She still sounds concerned. Does she not believe me? I guess that makes sense; she's been treated like a pawn by so many people already. She's probably learning that she can't trust everyone who's nice to her.

“Pearls, I can't send you back now, after what you told me!” I maintain my grin, then brace myself for what I'm about to say. I'm not sure it's the best thing to do, but I need to say it. I think it's the best way to get Pearl to believe me. “Maya would never forgive me if I did that!”

Pearl gasps, shocked that I can say her name without crying. She then smiles and nods before responding, “Of course, Mr. Nick! She'd haunt you forever!”

I laugh, then close the door behind me. My face falls immediately as the weight of my repressed emotions hits me all at once. Pearl's words play in my mind again.

“She'd haunt you forever!”

She already is, Pearls.
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