Diego opened his eyes and was greeted by darkness.
In the few minutes after he wakes, he likes to lie perfectly still on the bottom bunk of his cell, and float in darkness. It's during those quiet, dark moments when the prison hasn't stirred yet that he thinks of simpler times. Times when he wasn't in a God-forsaken prison, when the coffee wasn't a muddy swill, when there wasn't a sneer waiting for him at every turn (that seemed to be the customary look given to any ex-prosecutor who wound up in prison), and when the bed wasn't as hard as the concrete floor underneath it.
Diego's thoughts drifted to busy mornings of looking over case files, just a few hours before the trial, a hot blend of Godot #78 resting comfortably in his hand. He remembered his days as a senior attorney at Grossberg & Co, listening to his boss's stories of his lemon-scented fill youth and other stories. He remembered seeing Mia's face cringe as Grossberg's stories turned to his hemorrhoids, and he couldn't help but laugh.
More often he would remember the lazier mornings, the languid Sundays where he'd wake up to the sun shining through the blinds, with Mia nestled comfortably against him, her breathing slow and relaxed as she remained asleep. He would move his arm to run his hand lightly through her long, brown hair, his finger tangling gently in her soft locks. Mia would open her eyes and yawn, smiling sleepily at him as the colors of dawn played across her smiling face. "Do you want any coffee?" She mumbled, then laughed. "Never mind, of course you do. I think I'll make you a special blend of mine today." Diego would smile back and say, "Whatever you want, kitten."
As of late, however, he had been thinking of what got him put in this hellhole in the first place; killing the love of your life's mother wasn't a thing easily forgotten. When it was Misty Fey's or Dahlia's face that filled his thoughts, he quickly reached for his visor and entered a world filled with red.
He put on his visor, and after adjusting it slightly, he labored out of bed to stretch, then raked a hand through his snow white hair. It was then that he heard the guards beginning their normal rounds. Diego sat down on the bed, waiting for one of the guards to pass by and open his cell to let him hit the showers.
After a few moments, a guard finally arrived near his cell, with someone trailing behind him. For the first time in a long while, Diego was shocked. "Detective Gumshoe?" He asked slowly.
"That's right, pal." Gumshoe replied, adjusting his worn, green overcoat. "I'm here on request from Mr. Edgeworth."
"Mr. Edgeworth, huh?" Diego repeated. He was stumped; he didn't exactly know Edgeworth, other than that he was a prosecutor, and a friend of Trite's. Diego didn't have a clue as to why he'd want to see him.
The guard opened his cell, and Diego stepped out. Gumshoe gave him a trademark goofy smile. "Must be exciting to know you're stepping out of this place for a while, huh, pal?"
"Step out?" Diego asked suspiciously . "What are you talking about? I don't exactly count the visitors center as a stroll through the park."
"Then it's a good thing we're not going to the visitor's center."
Diego didn't bother to ask where they were actually going. The security around the prison was so tight not even an ant could slip through the dingy cracks in the wall.
His second surprise of the day came when Gumshoe led him to the front entrance of the prison.
"We're leaving?" Diego said, wincing at how hopeful he sounded. It's not like they were letting him out of prison. Even good behavior wouldn't blot out the stain of his crimes.
"Well, we can't go far." Gumshoe admitted sadly. "Prison regulations, you know. But Mr. Edgeworth can really pull some strings when he wants to, pal!"
Diego nodded, and continued to follow Gumshoe outside the prison walls. He passed guards looking at him suspiciously, like they did all convicted killers. After a quick word with Gumshoe, they turned their heads away to mind their own business.
"Edgeworth isn't trying to pull something, is he?" Diego asked warily as he slowly positioned himself in the backseat of a black Sedan.
"Nah, pal." Gumshoe reassured as he settled himself in the drivers seat. "He just wants to chat, is all."
"We could have 'chatted' in the visitation rooms. Not that I'm complaining, though." Diego said, chuckling slightly. He thought that once he was got thrown in the pen, all surprises would be over. He prepared himself to follow a life a routine prison monotony for the rest of his life. "Nothing less than I deserve." He thought as he looked down as his shackled hands.
Gumshoe wasn't joking when they said they weren't going far. The ride was no longer than five minutes, and they stopped at some slightly run down old park. Gumshoe stepped out, and helped Diego out the back seat and released his handcuffs.
Diego took a look around the park, shaking his head. "Somehow this place seems more appealing than the prison grounds could ever be." He looked up to see a slightly overcast sky above him. "Even the sky seems brighter outside the prison walls."
Diego continued to look around. There was an old dilapidated playground, with swings and slides and monkey bars that hadn't been used in years. He spotted a couple of out of use water fountains as well, and a dried up fountain in the center of the playground as well. There were trees everywhere, though a lot of them were missing leaves.
"Doesn't exactly look like the place a fancy prosecutor like Edgeworth would bring his guests." Diego remarked wryly. Gumshoe shrugged.
Diego settled down on the bench facing the dried fountain, and sighed. He was just beginning to wonder what Edgeworth was planning when he saw someone else approaching the park.
And when he saw her, his heart dropped.
It was Maya Fey, and she was talking to Detective Gumshoe ,occasionally glancing over at him.
He quickly got up, ready to leave, when he realized he couldn't really go anywhere. He was a felon, and if he ran out of the park, there'd be a manhunt in no time if Gumshoe didn't tackle him to the ground first.
He reluctantly sat back down as Maya approached him at the bench. She smiled, then sat down next to him without a word. They sat in awkward silence for a while, she fidgeting with her hands and he looking away.
With a sigh, he turned to face her. "You sure don't look like Mr. Edgeworth." He said, speaking through the lump in his throat.
Maya smiled again. "Took you long enough to notice."
Diego couldn't help but catch her infectious smile, but guilt quickly wiped it off his face.
"I'm guessing it's you who wanted to meet me, then?"
Maya nodded. "I asked Mr. Edgeworth for a favor. We had to use his name though, or you wouldn't be able to get you out."
"You could always have come to the visitors center to see me." Diego replied, wondering why she would ever want to visit him in the first place.
Maya shook her head. "No...well, at least not today. Personally, I wanted to got to a burger joint, but Edgeworth and Gumshoe said no way…"
"Why?" Diego asked, and mentally cursed himself at how harsh he sounded. "I mean, why would you want to see me, of all people? After…" The words died on his tongue.
Maya looked up at him, looking more solemn than her nineteen years.
"What you did…" Maya paused, searching for the right words. "Of course, I'm hurt, I feel angry, and I feel betrayed. But what you did...even how bad it was, it doesn't really define who you are, Diego."
Diego stared at her in stunned silence. "Maya-"
"You meant a lot to my sister. You meant the world to her, actually. She loved you." Maya said, wiping at her eyes. "She loved you, and if things had went differently, maybe you'd even be my brother in law."
"Maya, don't do this." Diego admonished. "Don't torture yourself with what if's."
"It's not that, it's just….I forgive you, Diego." Maya said quickly. "I really do. I don't hate you...so don't hate yourself."
Diego was too stunned to speak.
"And because I forgive you...I want to do something for you."
"You want to do something for me? After what I did to you?"
"I already told you, I forgive you." Maya replied. "That why I want to do...what I'm going to do."
Before Diego could respond, Maya closed her eyes. Diego knew by her concentrated look that she was channeling.
In what seems like seconds, Maya's body changed, and he was looking at Mia instead.
Maya, or rather Mia in Maya's body, opened her eyes. She glanced around, dazed for a moment, then turned to look at Diego.
He thought his heart would stop. His hands trembled, and his throat felt dry, the words he wanted to say getting stuck in the Sahara that was his mouth.
Mia stared at him for a while, her eyes filled with sadness. Then, to add to Diego's many surprises, she smiled. She smiled all the while the tears flowed out her eyes.
Diego gasped, trying to find the words to say, any words, when she laid a hand on his cheek. She brushed away the tears he hadn't even known he was shedding.
Diego reached up and grabbed her hand, feeling it's warmth. Part of him knew this was Maya's hand too, and that this should feel wrong, so wrong, but yet he couldn't let go off the soft hand pressed against him.
Mia leaned forward so that her face was a hair's breadth away from his. She took in shaky, choked gasps that mirrored his own. She closed the space between their lips, crying the whole time. She kissed him with a passion and a hunger that he'd never felt before, and would never feel again, as he returned the kiss just the same.
Finally she broke away from the kiss, gently and still with a linger of longing. Diego reluctantly surrendered the kiss, though his lips yearned for hers once more.
Despite feeling more breathless than ever, he finally found the words to speak. "I'm sorry." He croaked. "Kitten, I'm so sorry."
Mia shook her head. "I know. But I forgive you." There was a short pause before Mia spoke again. "Mom is where I am too, you know. Meeting her again after all those years…" Mia trailed off to clear her throat. "I asked her how she ended up with me...and when she told me, I was furious. I couldn't believe it. I thought I would become so angry I would turn into an evil spirit, like Dahlia…"
"I still can't believe I did what I did." Diego admitted. "It feels like it was all a dream."
"Maya channeled me, and wrote me a letter." Mia continued. "She explained that the murder was based on a misunderstanding, and that you didn't fully understand it was mom you had killed until it was too late. She described your regret, your sadness, and your hatred towards yourself."
Diego stayed silent.
"And she wrote something else. She said...she didn't want you to feel like that anymore. That she knew those feelings were eating you from the inside, and would destroy you."
Diego chuckled mirthlessly. "I think I'm past the point of destruction, kitten."
Mia shook her head. "That's not true, Diego."
"Not true? The minute I planted that sword in your mother's back...that was the day my soul shattered beyond redemption."
"You're not without redemption." Mia smiled warmly. "Maya forgives you, I forgive you...and even Mom forgives you. We all know you were trying to save Maya's life."
Diego sighed. "Was I really? All I knew is that I saw Hawthorne standing before me, and I was filled with rage. Saving Maya...I don't know about that."
"Youre' a good man, Diego. Deep down, you're such a good man. I have no doubt...that you were only thinking of doing the right thing."
For the first time in his life, Diego honestly had no idea what to say to the woman he loved.
Mia picked up on his attitude, and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I have something for you." She said.
Diego watched as she turned to dig in Maya's handbag. She pulled out a small gold painted box, with a small black lace ribbon on top.
"Is that...a gift?" Diego asked, incredulous.
"You bet!" Mia acknowledged happily. "Maya helped me pick out." She said as she gently placed the box in his hand.
Diego slowly tore off the lace ribbon, and opened the lid to the box. Inside, was a small gold brooch in the shape of a heart. Again, Diego was speechless.
"I know it's seems a little girly" Mia explained nervously. "But I thought...it looked nice. I know you can't wear it around in the prison, but you're allowed to keep it. Mr. Edgeworth really has been helping us pull some strings recently."
Diego ran his thumb over the smooth gold, relishing the touch to his finger. "Mia...I…"
"Happy anniversary, Diego."
Diego's head whipped up from the piece of jewelry to stare at her. He had stopped really tracking each individual day of the month in prison, for his own sanity's sake. He hadn't even realized the enormity of the day. The day he professed his love for Mia, and his desire to be with her forever.
Diego embraced Mia, nearly dropping the gift in the process. He kissed her neck, the side of her cheek, her forehead. "I love you." He muttered between kisses. "I love you so much."
"I know." She replied. "I love you too. I always will."
Diego held on to her, wishing and praying to whoever was listening that they could stay like that forever.
To his despair, Mia slowly pulled away from the embrace. "I...I have to go now." She said looking at him wistfully. "I'm glad we could spend time like this. I don't know...if it'll happen a lot."
"I didn't expect it to, sadly."
Mia placed a hand on his chest. "Even if we don't meet again, just know I'm always right here."
Diego nodded slowly, fighting back the tears that threatened to fall.
Diego watched as Mia's form began to fade, and Maya slowly began to return. His face burned hotly as he suddenly felt ashamed of all the kisses he had given Mia, but had been planted on Maya's body. He had lost control of himself, again.
"I'm sorry." He said quickly. "I should let you know now that Mia and I kissed."
"It's fine." Maya reassured. "I already knew something like that would happen when you met again. I was prepared for it, so I don't mind."
Diego nodded, but couldn't fight his embarrassment.
Maya flashed him a huge smile. "Really, it's OK! I'm just glad you guys got to see each other again."
They sat in silence for a while, Maya watching the clouds shift in the sky, and Diego rubbing his thumb over the smooth brooch in his hand. He swore he could feel warmth emanating from it.
"It's as if...she''s still here with me." Diego said, smiling wistfully.
Maya nodded. "No matter what, she'll always be with us."
Diego tucked the brooch inside his jumpsuit, placing it near his chest. "Thanks, Maya."
Before he knew it, Diego was back in the police car with Gumshoe, as Maya waved goodbye. He watched the park, and Maya, fade into the distance, until he was again looking at the walls of the prison, as sight that would normally send him into despondency.
But with the brooch (and Mia) so close to his heart...he believed the rest of his days wouldn't be so lonely, anymore.
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