mdseiran: (Brave Knight)
[personal profile] mdseiran
Title: Drabbles
Fandom: Phoenix Wright
Warnings: Suggestions of slash.

- A set of disjointed snippets that can be related. Or not! Different snippets separated by ***.
- Spoilers for Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations.



Prisons nowadays were hardly as frightening a concept as they once were. Money can buy most things they say, and it remained true for the inside of cells too. Better furniture, better food, items of comfort - precious little remained off-limits, and precious few prisoners didn't take advantage of the new system.

The guards often whispered amongst themselves about the strange man in cell block 5, imprisoned for life on murder charges. Rumors said that the man was wealthy, that he'd had a very successful career. Some of them even recognized his name, having worked with or against Diego Armando on a case. And yet his walls were bare, his mattress uncomfortable, his food bland and unhealthy.

---

When Diego had been in law school, he had taken a course in the history of law. It hadn't been required, but it had interested him. He'd seen images of prisons, read about the unfairness of the legal system, about cruel executions done by cruel methods back when the lethal injection hadn't been enforced. He learned about men reformed by prison or driven insane within the cold, dark cells. He had thought about the number of criminals in his time who had gone to prison and hadn't changed, and wondered: if prison cells can be made comfortable, do prisoners really consider it punishment?

---

He had allowed himself a single comfort, only insisting that he be allowed to keep his visor. Sometimes, it made him feel guilty, selfish, hanging on to something for comfort. Prison was a punishment that he deserved for not rescuing Fawles, for losing Mia, for almost getting Maya killed or sentenced in his place. For cowardice. For not doing the right thing. For not catching Dahlia and walking into her trap.

It was punishment for many things, but never for the murder he was sentenced for.

***

Sometimes, late at night, Miles would wake up to shouting. Diego had nightmares two or three times a week, always leaving him ill-tempered and exhausted in a way that even his coffee couldn't solve. On those nights, Miles would slip out of bed and go back to sleep on the sofa without complaint. Trying to wake Diego from his dreams never ended well, and he could still remember how it felt to be at the end of the man's fist. Offers of talking or therapy got them into fights that ended after a few days of silent treatment from both sides. One time, Diego had mentioned Miles' father, and Miles had flown into a cold rage and laid Mia's death at Diego's feet, despite knowing that's where most of the nightmares came from. Diego had moved out for a week despite his apology, and they were both more careful in their subsequent fights. But the nightmares kept coming, and Miles kept tip-toeing around the man he was living with.

The click of the door woke him up from his light slumber, and he watched Diego's silhouette move to the kitchen. He could hear the water splashing in the kettle - time for coffee then, he supposed. He curled up further in the thin blanket and dozed for a few minutes, and when he next opened his eyes there was a steaming cup of tea on the coffee table and someone was keeping his feet warm. He smiled, drank his tea, and listened like he'd wanted to for months.

***

As a child, he'd been scared of the dark. His mother, an overly superstitious woman, had taught him that leaving a small lamp on kept the demons away from the shadows, making the dark as safe as the light. He had kept a bedside light on till his teenage years when he stopped being afraid of the dark.

---

When he woke up in the hospital, he woke to complete darkness, and for a moment he forgot that he was a grown man who definitely wasn't afraid of the dark and reached for his bedside lamp. He flicked the switch, but the dark remained, and he found that he still feared it after all.

---

Demons were mythical creatures; he knew this. Nothing was crawling in the shadows, waiting for him to fall asleep so it could attack. But there were the other demons, lurking in the shadows of his mind, waiting for sleep to claim him before attacking with the nightmares no amount of counseling could stop. Some of the demons in his dreams wore Dahlia's face, and some wore his. It was the latter that he feared the most.

---

Nighttime, waiting to fall asleep, always made him feel vulnerable. He couldn't sleep with his visor on, so the minutes (sometimes hours) before his eyes stayed shut were spent in a darkness that made him itch to turn on the lamp that he couldn't see. Sometimes he did anyway, wanting to believe the tales his mother told him and not caring how it made him look.

---

His fingers reached for the light switch and were held back. A warm hand tugged his back and then curled around him, that same warmth coming to rest against his side. He could almost see the source, like a glow keeping the dark at bay. "It's alright," Miles' voice murmured, "I'm here."

That night, the demons stayed away.

***

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