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[personal profile] mdseiran
Title: Learning to Coexist
Fandom: Phoenix Wright
Warnings: None.

- A companion piece to The Bitter Taste of Coffee but can also stand alone.

Whenever his father turned up with a new babysitter, Miles would spend half an hour arguing that he was old enough to take care of himself. It was an argument that he never won, and by the time he was ten he had resigned himself to the fact that his father was overprotective and he was doomed to be watched by boring old ladies till he was a hundred years old. He'd even tried a prank on one of them once, though that was mostly due to Larry's influence and watching one too many The Sound of Music reruns. It did drive that babysitter away permanently, but the unfortunate side-effect was being grounded for three weeks and suffering his father's disappointment.

It was a week after the incident when his father brought home a young man and informed Miles this was his new babysitter for the foreseeable future. Miles didn't quite know what to make of him. Unlike all the other babysitters he'd dealt with over the years, Mr. Armando didn't do much beyond relaxing on the couch, flipping through the channels and occasionally taking a short nap. He didn't watch Miles, or feed him, or ask him if he needed help taking a bath, which is what the last one had done. It was a little strange, taking care of himself when there was someone else in the house, but he wasn't going to complain about having a little extra freedom. Although that freedom turned out to be a little more restricted than he thought; the first time he tried to sneak out, the sleeping Mr. Armando informed him that if he took one more step outside the door he'd be locked inside his room. Miles suspected it was an empty threat but decided not to risk it.

Instead, he invited his friends over to play.


Larry hadn't done it on purpose. They'd been playing Iron Warrior vs. Rocking Ninja, and one of his rocking moves had simply sent him tumbling onto the couch and the person occupying it. A person who let out an 'oof!', pushed up into a sitting position and picked Larry up by the back of his shirt. He dangled there, fascinated (and a little scared, though he'd never admit it) by the anger on the young man's face, then gave the man his infamous 'whoops, sorry!' grin.

To his surprise, the man rolled his eyes and put him back on the floor, stretching and yawning his way to the coffee maker in the kitchen. "Miles, who's that?" he whispered, straining his ears to catch the curses coming from the kitchen.

"That's Mr. Armando. He's supposed to be my babysitter."

"He doesn't look like a babysitter. It almost looked like he was about to kill Larry!" Phoenix looked more shell-shocked than Larry felt, and he hadn't been lifted up like a piece of furniture.

Miles nodded, tugging them both further away from his sitter. "He's pretty weird, I don't know why Father hired him."

"He's cool!" With a grin, Larry ran to the kitchen, looking back once to enjoy the looks of shock in his friends' faces. "Hey, Mr. Armando! Whatcha doing?"

Mr. Armando took another sip from his cup, peering at Larry over the rim. "Don't call me that, makes me feel old. Diego is fine." He crouched down, offering the mug to Larry. "Here, taste this."

The mug was warm but not hot, and Larry took a big swallow and spit it right back out. Diego grinned at him while he was gagging, and tossed the rest of the foul beverage back in one gulp. "Next time you crash into me I'll make you drink a full mug of that, okay?"

Miles' father came home then, in time for dinner, which passed uneventfully. And when, after sending his friends home, Miles' father commented on how abnormally quiet Larry had been, Miles shared a small smile with Diego and decided that this might not be so bad after all.


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