foxysquidalso: (edgeworth)
[personal profile] foxysquidalso
Title: The Same Page
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Word count: 7,630
Pairings, Characters: Lang/Edgeworth, Pess, Franziska (with references to Franziska/Adrian).
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Summary: Lang's functional illiteracy is a secret he has kept for years. However, there are many forms of language in the world, and Edgeworth's own personal literacy problem might be even more serious.
Notes: Written as a gift for [ profile] smudwasadraigon, who requested "Edgeworth teaching Lang how to read". I finally finished! Sorry it took me so long! Now it's a birthday-Christmas-New Year gift. This is set at some point after AAI.

Miles frowned at his computer screen as he glanced over his inbox. There was some kind of chain letter forward from Larry which he deleted at once, followed by a mysteriously worded request for a phone call from Phoenix (which probably meant that he needed a baby sitter), and the expected slew of work-related e-mails.

There was nothing from Agent Lang, which was puzzling, seeing as Miles had sent him no less than two e-mails in the past two days. Agent Lang was usually prompt and responsible, so his negligence was puzzling in this instance. Miles wondered if he was involved in a particularly grueling investigation. He drummed his fingers on the desk, considering a course of action. He didn't want to interrupt Lang if the man was so engrossed that he couldn't respond to a simple query, but he didn't like to be ignored.

He decided to call. If Lang were busy, he wouldn't pick up, and no harm would be done.

The phone didn't even have a chance to ring. "Miles Edgeworth," snapped Shi-Long Lang on the other end of the line, so suddenly that Miles didn't reply immediately.

"Edgeworth," he said again. "Is there a problem?"

A moment was all it took for Miles to compose himself. "No, not at all. I was calling in regard to the matter I mentioned in my e-mails."

"Yes," said Lang. "Your e-mails."

Miles waited. When Lang had nothing to offer him in the way of reply, he ventured, "You didn't read them, did you?"

"Lang Zi says: 'Water from the stream tastes sweeter than water from a still pool.'"

"And that relates to our current situation how?" asked Miles, instantly cursing himself for his unintentional "current" pun.

Lang didn't seem to notice the accidental wordplay, or else let it pass without comment, for which Miles was grateful. "What it means, Edgeworth, is that I prefer a more dynamic form of communication to letters on a screen."

"In other words, you don't answer your e-mail?"

"No, that's not what I mean. I was intending to reply via phone, but you called and saved me the trouble."

"Could you perhaps trouble yourself to give me your answer to my question, then?"

"Which question was that? I don't have the message in front of me at the moment, and I've had many pressing matters on my mind of late."

Lang couldn't admit that he had forgotten. Miles was unsurprised. "I wanted to consult you as an expert for a case I'm working on. If you're available--"

"I will meet you tomorrow at noon, for lunch," said Lang.

"It is customary to ask whether a time is convenient rather than making decisions for the other person involved."

"Is it convenient, Edgeworth?" Lang asked.

"Yes, tomorrow would be acceptable."

"Very well. I will come by your office and take you to lunch."

"I'll be here, Agent Lang."

"Good bye, Edgeworth."

It wasn't until he'd hung up the phone that Miles thought to ask himself some questions regarding their conversation. He hadn't been aware that Agent Lang was in town. He'd assumed Lang was overseas, and he'd intended to consult him over the phone rather than in person. He belatedly double checked his calendar, something he would have ordinarily done before making an appointment, but Lang and his brusque manner made it difficult for him to take his time and consider matters fully. Not that he would ever show such a lapse while working on a case, but it was easier for him to lose his footing where social matters were concerned.

Fortunately, as he'd both suspected and hoped, his calendar showed he had no prior engagements scheduled for lunch tomorrow. He would have preferred to keep his afternoon free, but he had wanted to confer with Agent Lang regardless, so it wasn't as if his time would be wasted by going to lunch with him. Perhaps it would work out for the best. Face to face meetings were generally more productive, as long as the person he was face to face with was not named Detective Gumshoe.

Miles leaned back in his chair. He hadn't expected to see Lang so soon. Though, thinking back, a few months had passed since they'd last met in person. Had it been so long? It had been a hectic few months. His services were always required, his duty never-ending.

His phone rang. He checked the ID, half-expecting to see Lang's name there. He wouldn't be surprised if something came up unexpectedly and the man had to cancel on him, considering the many demands on the time of an Interpol agent. The name his phone displayed, however, was his sister's.

"Hello, Franziska."

"Good afternoon, Miles Edgeworth. I was wondering if you'd be able to meet with me today."

From her tone, it was impossible to tell whether she desired a personal or professional engagement, not that it mattered for the purposes of answering her question. "I'm afraid not, Franziska. I have no time. I'm completely overwhelmed with work here."

"I'm sure I would be able to finish your work with ample time to spare, if I were in your place."

"That's as may be, Franziska." He rarely saw the point in arguing where her competitiveness was concerned. "I clearly lack your mastery of time management, and I won't be able to get away."

"Tomorrow, then."

"I'm afraid tomorrow is much the same for me."

"I'll bring you lunch. You can't keep eating whatever refuse your scruffy detective brings you."

"If by 'whatever refuse' you refer to my standing order at the excellent and well-reviewed café down the street, then I don't know what to say to you, Franziska."

"I'll bring you lunch," she repeated.

"No, I happen to have an appointment."

"What kind of appointment?"

He was used to dealing with a barrage of questions from her, so he answered patiently. "I'm meeting with an expert to discuss a matter relating to one of my current cases."

"Then I'll bring you lunch after the meeting."

"It is a lunch meeting, Franziska. That won't be necessary."

"You're meeting them for lunch? That's not entirely professional. What is the nature of this expert? Who are they?"

Lunch meetings were a regular and accepted business practice, but he did not attempt to convince Franziska of that. "I'm meeting with Agent Lang."

"Agent Lang," said Franziska.

"Yes, Agent Lang."

For once, she was taken aback. "That's impossible."

"What do you mean, impossible? I spoke to him on the phone not five minutes ago."

"Agent Lang is taking a mandatory leave, and he is currently in Zheng Fa."

"Mandatory leave? Why is that?"

"Because in the time since he joined Interpol, he has never taken a vacation. Which I think is quite admirable, and I don't see why they would force him to interrupt his important work for anything short of a serious injury."

That did sound like Agent Lang, who had continued to work without complaint after being shot in the leg. "Be that as it may, I am certain I spoke to the actual Agent Lang on the telephone, and he informed me that he would be here. Perhaps he changed his vacation plans and didn't inform you of the fact."

Franziska's answering noise indicated that she didn't believe anyone would be so foolish as to do such a thing. "Then I will bring you lunch the day after tomorrow."

"That would be acceptable." He didn't like to stand in her way any more than was necessary.

At precisely 11:30 AM the next morning, there was a knock on Miles' office door. "Come in," he said, expecting Detective Gumshoe with an elaborate story about why he was not at the police department, doing his job, as he was meant to do.

Instead, the door swung open to reveal Agent Lang standing behind it, dressed all in black. "Hello, Edgeworth."

"You're early," said Miles.

"Lang Zi says: 'The swiftest wolf feeds first.'"

Miles nodded. It made sense that the philosopher would have invented his own version of the metaphorical early bird. It also made sense that Agent Lang would take punctuality a step further and arrive a half hour before he was due. It was not behavior that Miles wished to encourage. "Unfortunately, I can't leave at the present moment. I'm in the middle of something."

Lang nodded, and without asking for permission, strode across the room and seated himself on Miles' couch. "I will wait."

"Very well." Miles returned his attention to his work, but he found it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand with Agent Lang in the room. He glanced up at him. Lang was not looking at him. He was sitting up straight, facing forward, his gaze locked on the wall across from him. Did he mean to sit like that, in silence, for the full half hour? Miles looked back at the report before him, but he found himself reading the same line five times without gaining any greater understanding of what it meant, which was very unusual for him.

Miles cleared his throat and lifted his papers as one, tapping them on his desk until their edges were flush. Agent Lang continued to face forward without so much as blinking. "We can leave now, if you like," said Miles.

Finally, Agent Lang turned. He was grinning. "Only if you're ready."

Miles set his papers down and rose. He was ready enough. He was clearly not going to get anything done here until after lunch. "Yes, let's go."

"I'll drive," Lang said.

Miles did not object, and when they reached the man's rental car, he was relieved to find that it was a black Mercedes, quite presentable.

Lang had made reservations for them. "This is not the kind of lunch I was expecting," said Miles when they arrived at their destination: a French restaurant that he'd actually been meaning to try, La Belle et la Bête. French was not precisely his favorite cuisine, but he'd heard many favorable things about this particular establishment, and he'd been curious.

"Why is that?"

"This restaurant is rather upscale, practically formal."

"So it is," said Lang, neutral.

As they waited for the maître d', Miles examined the decor. Fortunately, the designer's interpretation of the establishment's Cocteau theme wasn't too literal, although the light fixtures were rather ostentatious. "It's fortunate that I'm suitably dressed," Miles said.

"You can judge a wolf by his coat," said Lang.

"Did Lang Zi say that?"

"No, Shi-Long Lang did."

They were seated almost at once, and at a well-placed table, with a view out the window. Miles studied his menu. It was written in English, which wasn't the best of signs, but he supposed that as the restaurant did have aspirations toward fusion cuisine, a menu in French had probably seemed too stuffy and traditional for them. Miles couldn't see eye to eye with the restauranteurs on that issue, but there were far worse offenses possible.

"Are you working on a case here in LA?" Miles asked. It wasn't an entirely disingenuous question. It was possible that Franziska had been mistaken about his forced vacation.

"No, I am not."

"Then why are you here?"

Agent Lang looked at him over his menu. "Is it not obvious? I am here to take you to lunch."

"And what else?"

"Nothing else. I flew in today."

"You must have some other reason--"

"No. I don't. I'm currently on leave, so I may go where I like. I was at home, spending time with my family. Now I'm here."

"I see," said Miles, although that was not the most illuminating explanation.

"You didn't ask why I'm on leave," said Agent Lang, after a moment. "You already knew?"

The man could be quite perceptive. "Franziska did mention it, yes."

"Ah, and how is Franziska?"

"She's quite well."

"Perhaps I can see Sis while I'm here."

"Perhaps," said Miles, then an idea occurred to him. Could it be that Agent Lang was interested in Franziska? He hoped not, for Lang's sake. He wondered if he should tactfully mention that she was in a relationship. No, it wasn't any of his business, and it was possible his suspicion was incorrect. He had no evidence to base it on, and he could admit, if only to himself, that the truth of such matters eluded him at times. He changed the subject. "Have you decided what to order?"

Lang studied the menu again. "Yes."

"What appeals to you?"

Lang hesitated, then turned the menu around so Miles could see. "This one."

"Interesting choice."

Lang frowned. "Is it?"


"You don't like it?"

"It wouldn't be my choice, but it's not my order. If it's to your taste, then order it." Something struck him as odd about this exchange. He made a note of Lang's unusual menu handling.

"I'm getting it," said Lang decisively.

"I'm glad to hear it," said Miles, who had only asked to be polite.

They both ordered, and while they were waiting for their meals, Miles discussed the relevant case with Lang. The man listened to his questions and answered them straightforwardly and succinctly, two traits that Miles admired. By the time their orders arrived, Miles had almost all the information he needed and began to think that Lang probably shouldn't have come so far merely for this brief consultation.

When the waiter gracefully leaned in to set a plateful of food before Shi-Long Lang, Lang stared at it. Miles detected a hint of unease in his features. "Is it not what you ordered?"

"It's what I ordered," said Lang.

"But was it not what you were expecting?"

"It's fine." As if to prove that it was as fine as he claimed, he took a large bite, seemingly filling his mouth with snails and terrine.

"I'm happy to hear that," said Miles, whose own choice of duck egg quiche was not a disappointment. The flavors were strong without being overpowering. He was content to appreciate his food quietly, without commenting on it, but he felt he should say something sociable, as he and Lang were sharing a meal. "How long will you be in the States?"

From the looks of his mastication, Agent Lang was finding the out-of-shell escargot that accompanied his meal to be rather chewy. Yet he swallowed what was in his mouth promptly and replied, "I haven't decided. I was at home for too long. I needed a change."

"Where are you staying while you're in town?"

"In a hotel, I assume."

"Haven't you made arrangements yet?"

"No. I have a car. I can drive to a hotel and get a room whenever I want."

From the sound of it, Agent Lang had simply left home and gotten himself on the first available flight to LA as soon as Miles had called him. Miles considered the situation. He decided it would be appropriate to make a hospitable gesture at this juncture. "If you'd like, you can stay with me. I do have a guest room."

"I wouldn't want to impose."

"It's no imposition."

"Then I will." Lang smiled, then chewed on another snail.

That was how Miles ended up with an unexpected house guest. He rarely had people over to stay, and even more rarely did guests arrive without warning. It was an unfamiliar situation, but not unpleasant. He knew he could count on a professional man like Agent Lang to be a respectable guest, and he assumed the man wouldn't be staying more than a few days.

Lang drove him back to the office after lunch. "I can write down directions to my house for you," said Miles.

"That's not necessary. I'll meet you here when you're done work."

"Are you certain? I'll be working rather late. It might be more convenient for you to head over there by yourself."

"No. I have things to do."

Miles again found Lang's behavior odd. What could he have to do when he claimed to have come here specifically for their lunch meeting? Miles' house wasn't far, and surely anyone would want to rest and wash up after such a long flight, but Miles had no intention of arguing or prying. "Very well. I'll contact you when I'm about to leave."

The rest of his workday passed without event, and when he was ready to depart, Lang, too was ready, waiting outside the Prosecutor's Office. "I'll follow you," he said, and if that was how he preferred to do things, Miles would let him.

It was strange, he reflected as he drove home, not to see Lang surrounded by his loving phalanx of subordinates. Every time he'd encountered Lang previously, the man had been on assignment. It was difficult to think of him on his own, engaged in leisure activities. Even though he was technically on leave, he hadn't acted like it today, reporting for their lunch as if reporting for duty and then running clandestine errands.

Somehow, a solitary Agent Lang was more striking rather than less, or so Miles thought as he stood outside the door to his home and watched the man emerge from his black Mercedes. Lang had a single carry-on suitcase with him. Miles waited until they were standing on the steps together before he took out his keys to unlock the door. He could already hear Pess on the other side of it. She was not doing anything so undignified as whining or scratching, but she did make a small, excited sound.

"You have a dog," said Lang. He sounded pleased.

"Yes, her name is Pess."

"I like dogs," said Lang, an announcement that could not possibly have come as a surprise to anyone.

"Here we are," said Miles, opening the door and ushering Agent Lang inside. Pess greeted them warmly, first bumping Miles' hand with her narrow head until he pet her, then doing the same to Lang. Setting down his suitcase, Lang knelt beside her and scratched her behind her ears.

"You have a nice home," he said.

"Can you tell a wolf by his den?" asked Miles, archly.

"I suppose you can, at that."

Once he managed to separate man and dog, Miles showed Lang to the guest room. "I'll give you your own key, so you can come and go as you like, while you're here."

"Thank you, Edgeworth."

"Have you already eaten dinner?"

"I have not."

"Then I'll order something for us."

"Do you cook?" asked Lang.

"Not often," said Edgeworth.

Lang nodded, but offered no comment.

"I'm going to walk the dog first," said Miles, who found this kind of small talk painful.

"I'll accompany you."

"If you like," said Miles, who could think of no reason to refuse him.

Pess walked on one side of him, Lang on the other. There was a certain restlessness in the man's manner, but he wasn't impatient, content to keep in step with Miles. He didn't speak a great deal, but Miles didn't find the silence awkward, much as he didn't find it awkward when Pess didn't speak. Lang was not the kind of man who was given to unnecessary conversation.

At last Lang asked, "How long have you had your dog?"

"A few years now. I adopted her from a Greyhound rescue organization."

"That's good. All dogs should have good homes. I work too much to keep a pet."

"It can be difficult. Fortunately, I have friends who are willing to look after Pess while I'm out of the country."

"You seem to be fortunate in your friends."

"I think so, yes. For the most part."

"Lang Zi says: 'A man's friends paint a better portrait of him than a brush.'"

"I can see the wisdom in that."

"That is because there is much wisdom to be seen in it," said Lang.

After dinner, Miles couldn't resist bringing up work again. Having an Interpol agent in his house was a temptation too great to be ignored, and he had to pull out one of his files. "Would you do me a favor, Agent Lang?" he asked the man, who had installed himself on the couch, with Pess seated on the floor beside him, her head in his lap.

"Of course."

"Would you mind looking this over for me and giving your professional opinion? It's a rather tricky case, and I'd like another perspective on it." He held out the file.

Agent Lang gave Pess' head another few strokes, then took the offered file. He opened it and gazed down at the pages within. "What do you want to know?"

"Feel free to take your time familiarizing yourself with it."

Lang glanced up at his face again, then back to the file. There was a curious blankness in his eyes, and suddenly everything fell into place in Miles' mind: the e-mails, the menu, Lang's insistence on following him home, and now this. "Agent Lang," said Miles.

"Yes, Edgeworth?"

"Can you read English?"

Lang might have been dissembling, but Miles knew the man would not tell him an outright lie. He was not disappointed. Agent Lang's gaze swept the file a final time before he replied, "No, I cannot."

Miles allowed himself a moment to absorb that information. Before this, he had had no inkling that such a thing was possible, but now that he knew, it made a kind of sense. The way Lang's men were always relaying information to him verbally, how he preferred to communicate via telephone. "But you speak it perfectly."

"I learned from an Englishwoman who worked for our family, when I was a child. She wasn't there to teach me to read, so she didn't. I learned by speaking, and I can read my own language. I don't have to read English." In spite of his words, Miles could tell, by the stiffness in his tone, that it did bother him.

"Surely it must be inconvenient sometimes. If not detrimental You work with so many English-speakers and in English-speaking countries." Because of his admirable verbal fluency, Interpol must have intentionally attached him to anglophone cases.

"I work around it. I don't have time for language lessons."

Agent Lang apparently didn't have time for much of anything, outside of work. Except that now, he was on vacation. For once, he had time. "If you'd like, I can assist you."

Lang put down the file. "You would do that?"

"Maybe I can't teach you everything, but if you'll be staying here for a few days, I can at least give you a starter course."

"I accept your generous offer," said Lang. "You'll find I'm an excellent pupil."

Miles did not doubt that for an instant.


Miles was so distracted by his house guest, he'd almost forgotten Franziska's promise to visit him at lunch the next day. Fortunately, he remembered before Detective Gumshoe left to get his lunch. He called the man in time to tell him to stay at the department. It was for his own good. Spending time with Franziska brought him nothing but pain.

As Miles was fortunate enough to be one of the people she liked, Franziska brought him sushi instead of pain. Well, maybe she brought him a little pain, too, but he could bear with it, for her sake. The sushi was superlative, but that was to be expected, as Franziska did not accept second best.

"How was your lunch meeting with Agent Lang?" Franziska asked him, lacing the words "lunch meeting" with so much scorn that he wondered what she had against them.

"It went well. He provided me with some invaluable assistance. He had some excellent insights into the matter I needed his opinion on."

"Was he on leave, as I said?"

"Yes, you were correct. As it turns out, he was in Zheng Fa when I called him."

"He flew here after your call?"

Miles was more than willing to deal with another of Franziska's interrogations. He knew they made her happy. "Yes, that's right."

Franziska tossed her head in a nod, visibly pleased with herself. "Ah, I see. How very interesting."

"What's interesting about it? I expect he wanted a change of scenery and used my call as an excuse for a trip."

"Oh. Perhaps." Seated in a chair on the far side of his desk, elegantly transporting sushi from her plate to her mouth with gilded chopsticks, Franziska smirked. "And where is Agent Lang now? I assume he has not returned to Zheng Fa?"

"No, I think he'll be staying in the country for a few more days. I offered him the use of my guest room."

"He is staying with you, in your home."

"So he is." Miles had no intention of telling her about his promise to teach Lang to read English. That was a private matter between the two of them.

Franziska's smirk did not broaden, but it grew more superior. "Miles Edgeworth, you're so perfectly foolish."

"Excuse me?" It could be difficult to tell what she thought he was being foolish about when she so frequently accused him of foolishness.

"Oh no, I don't mean anything in particular," she said, although some particular thing was obviously providing her with a great deal of amusement. "Tell me, where did you go to lunch with Agent Lang?"

"A French restaurant. I didn't choose it myself. I was expecting something more casual."

Franziska started to laugh.

"What's so funny?"

"You don't know anything about anything, and I find that humorous."

Perhaps such an extreme statement didn't deserve a tactful response, but he did his best to come up with one. "I'm glad I could provide you with so much amusement."

"Yes, you often do, little brother, for which I thank you. I do hope that you and Agent Lang have a lovely holiday together."

"I'm not on holiday."

"You should take a day off, then. It doesn't sound as if you're being a very good host."

"I am an excellent host, Franziska."

Franziska sniffed and ate another piece of sushi.

"How have you been?" Miles decided to change the subject rather than hear more about his shortcomings. "I trust everything's well with you."

"Of course," said Franziska. "I am fine, and Adrian and I are fine."

He hadn't asked about her relationship, but he was glad to hear about it, as Franziska rarely opened up about her personal life. He would never have dated a witness in a case he'd once prosecuted, but he would also never have mentioned that fact to Franziska. "Excellent."

"Yes, I am very successful in my relationship."

"I'm happy for you."

"When are you going to have a relationship of your own, Miles Edgeworth? Don't you think it's time to start acting like an adult?"

He was sorry he had changed the subject, if this was the result. "Franziska, I'd rather not talk about it."

"Why not? We are siblings."

"Yes, I'm aware. It's not something I wish to discuss at the moment, that's all." In fact, the subject made him uncomfortable. He was very fond of his sister, but he was not in the proper frame of mind to discuss such a sensitive matter with her.

"Is there anyone you would be interested in becoming involved with?"

"Franziska. Please."

"I'm simply making mature conversation, as an adult."

Miles would not have allowed anyone else to discuss the matter with him to this extent, but Franziska had special privileges. However, they only extended so far. "I have no romantic interest. That's all I have to say about it."

He changed the subject again, rapidly, and Franziska thankfully allowed him to do so. It wasn't that he had no interest whatsoever in an intimate relationship, but it was a subject that made him uncomfortable. Historically, he hadn't had much luck where "romance" was concerned, and honestly, he detested most of society's traditional notions concerning relationships. At times, he felt he was fortunate to be free of such attachments. So many unrealistic expectations and false ideals.

He tried to put her questions out of his head, but they continued to nag at him throughout the afternoon and on into the evening. Is there anyone you would be interested in becoming involved with? Why had she asked him such a thing?

He frowned as he walked to his car after work, his keys jingling in his hand. Franziska's other questions had been even worse. He especially resented the implication that he was less mature because he didn't have a significant other. An adult could have a completely fulfilled and rewarding life without needing a partner. He had his friends, his work, his studies, and the truth. What more did he need?

The thought of studies reminded him of his promise to Agent Lang. There was a pleasant distraction. He enjoyed providing instruction, and he was looking forward to his lessons. He'd devoted some time during the day to researching teaching guides online and printing out the more promising ones. His frown faded as he got into his car, and he found himself driving a little faster than usual on the way home. It was pleasant to know that there was someone waiting for him there, and that they might study together later.

Outside his house, there were no signs of Lang's presence, save the black Mercedes parked down the street, but when he walked up the front steps and opened his door, he was overcome by a strong, unexpected scent washing over him. He took a step back and blinked.

It smelled--very good. Delicious, in fact.

Miles took a moment to collect himself, then noticed that Pess wasn't waiting at the door for him as usual. He wondered where she was. He stepped inside, shut the door behind him, and put his briefcase down. "Hello?" he called.

Only then did he hear Pess' familiar voice. She raced toward him from the direction of the kitchen. Her claws clicked sharply across the foyer floor, and when she reached him, she gave his hand a familiar headbutt. She looked up at him, her expression slightly apologetic. "Good girl," he said.

Lang was not far behind. He appeared in the hallway a moment later. "Good evening, Edgeworth."

"Good evening."

"I made you dinner."

"You did what?"

"You eat too much restaurant food. You need a home cooked meal."

"How can you know that when you've only just--" Miles broke off as Lang turned his back and went back the way he came. "Arrived," finished Miles, quietly. He gave Pess' head a few more strokes, then made his own way to the kitchen to see what had happened to it.

Quite a lot had happened. Plates, pots, and pans had been taken out and actually used. They were, for the most part, currently engaged in holding prepared dishes of every description, which was doubtlessly the source of the odor he had been overwhelmed by upon opening his door. "What have you--"

"Go sit in the dining room," said Lang. "I'll be there shortly."

"Really, Agent Lang, this isn't necessary."

"I'll serve you," the man informed him, ignoring his protests. "Go sit."

The table was set for two. Miles sat. He was flustered, but he had no reason to reject Agent Lang's offer of dinner, and he didn't want to. The smell was excellent, and he was sure it tasted at least as good. However, it was a bit too much. Judging by the looks of the kitchen, Lang had spent the entire day shopping for ingredients and cooking. There had been no need for him to do that.

He waited until Lang entered with the first course, and then he informed the man himself. "There was no need for you to do all this."

"It's the least I can do to repay your hospitality."

"I don't need repayment."

After arranging the plates of food on the table, Lang seated himself across from Miles. "Then look upon it as indulging me. I enjoy cooking, and I wanted to make you a traditional Zheng Faian meal."

That sounded acceptable. Yes, he could bear with that explanation. "Very well. It does look wonderful."

"Eat," said Lang.

Miles saw no reason to delay. He began to eat, and the food was even more delicious as he'd assumed it would be. Lang detailed the ingredients of the dish and told him its history as Miles listened politely. Pess arrived shortly to sit with them as they ate. The dog watched them with bright eyes. Miles saw now that Lang's cooking must have distracted her from coming to greet him at the door. She did seem very fond of the man. "I hope you didn't feed her anything unusual," said Miles.

This earned him a glare. "I know how to care for a dog."

"I didn't mean to imply otherwise."

"I would not feed another man's pet without permission."

As Lang seemed genuinely affronted, Miles hastened to apologize. "I'm sorry. I meant no offense."

"Good." He must not have been that affronted, because he immediately showed his teeth in a smile. "I wouldn't want you to think I would show you a lack of respect."

"I would never think that, Agent Lang," said Miles. He took another bite of his dish to hide the fact that he was puzzled. There was something unusual about Agent Lang's behavior, which had nothing to do with reading. Even Franziska had found Lang's sudden arrival here suspect, but Miles couldn't quite identify what was odd about Lang's actions, or what the cause of them might be. The answer eluded him, hovering out of reach, though he had the feeling that he should know. He would simply have to keep an eye on Lang and trust that he would arrive at the truth of the matter, as he always did.

The rest of the meal was as excellent as the first course, and he learned a great deal about Zheng Faian cuisine that evening. After dinner, Lang insisted on washing all the dishes by himself. Miles tried protesting, but his efforts were in vain. "I made the mess, so I will clean it," said Lang, a statement which sounded enough like a proverb that Miles felt sure Lang would stick by it.

Miles went into the sitting room. He turned on the television. There was a science fiction program on that he particularly enjoyed, but he turned it off when he heard Lang approaching from the kitchen. "May I sit?" he asked, as he entered the room.

"Yes. You don't need to ask."

Lang sat down next to him. "Thank you."

"No, thank you for dinner."

"I told you," said Lang. "It's my pleasure to cook, and I haven't been able to do so at home. My mother does not allow her children to cook for her. She guards her kitchen fiercely."

"I'm glad you were able to entertain yourself," said Miles. "I expect it must be strange for you, having so much free time."

"It was, at first, but now I'm beginning to enjoy it."

"That reminds me," said Miles, "would you like to begin our lessons tonight? I looked up some teaching ideas, and I'm ready to begin."

"I would like that."

So Miles began to teach Lang his letters.

Lang followed all his instructions perfectly, and did everything he suggested without question. It was rather refreshing, as the man was usually so stubborn. He watched Lang patiently write and rewrite every letter in the alphabet, and he found himself feeling strangely content. He'd never thought he would want to be a teacher, but there was something immensely satisfying about imparting knowledge and thereby improving someone's life.

Once they'd gone through the alphabet several times, Lang glanced up suddenly. "Edgeworth," he said.

"Yes?" Miles asked. Lang was studying his face with great intensity, as if searching for something there.

Whatever he was looking for, Miles wasn't sure whether he found it. "Thank you," Lang said at last. "For your assistance."

"I'm sure English literacy will improve your job performance."

"That it will," said Lang, and he returned to writing his letters with growing precision.

Miles decided to take Franziska's advice and take a day off. He didn't want to be thought of as a poor host who was absent every day and allowed his guest to cook for him every night. He took Lang to some of his favorite places in the city and also devoted an hour or two to making flash cards to assist in his teaching.

Days passed. As an adult who was already fluent in spoken English, Lang was extremely easy to teach. He was as good a student as he had promised he would be, which pleased Miles, yet at the same time, he was surprised to find himself saddened by Lang's progress. Anyone could see that the man would soon be well past the need for his tutelage. At that point, Lang would return home, Miles assumed.

Miles had never understood how some people could make friends easily. Speaking to people in the context of work he found effortless, but he spent much of his time outside of work alone. Professionally, he was eloquent; personally, he struggled. Lang's daily companionship was a refreshingly pleasant change. He proved a fine companion. He never talked too much, but when he did speak, he often had excellent insights to offer. He was brash without being impudent. He loved to walk the dog, and Pess adored him.

"I have another assignment for you, Lang," said Miles as he looked over his pupil's latest completed assignment. Each worksheet had been filled out impeccably. Clearly, a more challenging task was required.

"Yes, Shifu?"

Lang had begun to call him that--perhaps jokingly, but he couldn't tell--after their first day of lessons. Experience had already taught Miles that nothing he could say would dissuade him Lang from using the term, so he did not remark upon it. "I'd like you to write me a letter."

"A letter? About what?"

"Whatever you like. Conceiving the content of the letter is part of the assignment."

"Very well, Shifu. I will write you a letter." Lang rose to his feet.

"Now?" asked Miles.

"Yes. There is no time like the present. I will write in my room." He strode from the sitting room, headed for the guest room. Pess, who was lying on the floor, got to her feet, glanced from her master to Lang, and after a moment's hesitation, followed Lang.

Miles found her choice slightly annoying, but he didn't dwell on it. He had work to do.

He became so engrossed in reading over his files that he only realized Lang had returned by the sound of Pess' claws on the wooden floor. Agent Lang presented him with a sheet of the college ruled note paper which Miles had given him. "I hope this is acceptable, Shifu."

"That was quick."

"I had a good teacher," said Lang.

"Let me see how you've done," said Miles. Lang's penmanship was brash but neat, his pen strokes strong. As Miles began to read, Lang sat down beside him on the couch. Pess curled up on the floor next to the couch with a small, contented noise.

Dear Edgeworth,

I am able to write this letter thanks to you, for which I will always be grateful. Now whenever I read in English, I will see the face of Miles Edgeworth before me. Lang Zi says, "We are made by our teachers," and so you have shaped a part of me.

Yet this letter only begins with my thanks. It does not end with them. I have another matter I wish to write about. I have tried to speak of it in other ways, but as you were kind enough to teach me this way of communicating, perhaps it is only fitting that I tell you with my pen and the words of your language.

When I was first forced to take leave, I was very discontent. As time passed, I grew calmer. I took time to consider where I was and where I wished to go. For the most part, I am satisfied with my life and my ambitions, but I saw that in all my devotion to my work, there were things I had neglected. I had not spent enough time with my family in recent years, so I was sure to spend time with them. It made me happy, and it made me think.

I am nearing thirty. I would like a family of my own. For that to happen, I will need a partner. I would like you to be that partner, Miles Edgeworth. You are intelligent, trustworthy, and fascinating, and it would be an honor to be with you. Unfortunately, I have been unable to ascertain if you are receptive, because I cannot decide whether you are intentionally ignoring my expressions of interest, or if you are simply oblivious. I currently suspect you are oblivious, but please inform me which is the case. If you would like to be my mate, let me know at once. I will then be able to judge where to proceed from there.

Thank you.

Yours Respectfully,
Agent Shi-Long Lang

Miles tensed as he finished reading. He tried to pretend that he hadn't gotten to the end of the letter yet, to delay the need for a reaction, but unfortunately, it was a rather short letter. He couldn't pull off such a deception for more than a few seconds, which was not nearly enough time for him to formulate a coherent thought, especially as Lang saw through him easily. "Is it correct, Shifu?"

He looked desperately for a grammatical error to correct, but he wasn't thinking clearly enough to spot one. As it was a personal letter, he couldn't expect Lang to use solely formal English. A more casual tone was acceptable. "Yes, it's fine," he said, slowly, raising his head.

Lang's gaze was focused on him, expectant.

All the facts had fallen into place: Lang's sudden trip to visit him, the French restaurant, the home cooked meals, the meaningful glances and long walks through the park at twilight. They had been romantic gestures. That was what Franziska had been trying to tell him by bringing up his love life and making vague, smug comments--something he would assuredly not be thanking her for later. He had missed every sign of Lang's intentions, but looking back, the truth seemed obvious. What was not obvious was what he should do next. "You've made great strides in your studies," Miles said.

"As I mentioned, that is due to the skill of my teacher."

Miles didn't know what else to say. He rarely found himself at a loss for words, but at times like this--actually, he'd never found himself in a situation like this before. The letter was so blunt and inescapable, like Agent Lang himself. He couldn't compare it to anything else, and the same was true of Agent Lang. "This is unexpected."

"Ah, so you were oblivious." Lang sighed with what sounded like relief.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say I was oblivious," said Miles. "You didn't state anything explicitly before now. It's not as if I can read minds."

"Most people can read body language."

"I think you're exaggerating on that count," said Miles.

"I see. Perhaps you too are illiterate?" Lang asked, leaning in a little closer.

"What do you mean by that?" Miles didn't appreciate that suggestion.

"If you cannot read body language, that is a form of illiteracy, is it not?"

"Metaphorically, maybe. I have to object to your choice of words, however--"

"Not so fast," Lang laughed, "you're trying to change the subject."

"Am I?"

"I think that you are, Edgeworth, but you don't have to be embarrassed. The first step to overcoming a weakness is admitting it."

"That is true." Miles could never deny the truth.

"If you have a problem, the least I can do is help you with it, since you've been so generous with me." Agent Lang was very close now. "I would be happy to teach you, Shifu, if you will allow me to."

"I'm not very good at this sort of thing," Miles blurted. He was out of his depth. It had happened so quickly and completely.

"Good. You admitted it." Lang touched Miles' face. Miles' cheeks felt very warm. "Now we can begin," Lang said. "I will be very clear, so you understand me. May I kiss you?"

Miles didn't know what else to say, so he said, "Yes."

Lang's kiss was swift to start, but it lasted a long time. When it ended, Miles was shaken and nearly breathless. The warmth in his cheeks had spread downward, suffusing all of his body.

"How was your first lesson?" Lang asked.

Miles realized that somehow, the lesson had worked. He could now tell from Lang's smile that he was teasing. Lang didn't have to make it clear with words. "Actually, I'm having a great deal of trouble thinking of what to say about it."

Lang nodded. "That a good sign. Words can be counterproductive at a time like this. I will continue the lesson." The man's arms slid around him and pulled him closer. Miles allowed himself to be pulled. Lang smelled good, very much like his cooking did. Lang held him close, kissed his face, stroked his hair, and Miles answered in kind. He could converse this way, after all. It wasn't as difficult as he'd thought it would be. But then, he was beginning to realize that he had a good teacher.

"At last," Lang murmured, "we are on the same page."

Date: 2011-01-03 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You know what would be convenient? If there was a hottie around to teach Edgeworth the language of looooove~
OH WAIT <3<3<3
Meaningful glancesssss <3333


The little additions were wonderful!

Date: 2011-01-04 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm, you know, that would be convenient! ;)

Ha ha, I'm so glad you enjoyed this. And all the little additions, too.

Thank you so much. ♥

*glances at you meaningfully*


Date: 2011-01-03 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No words. There are no words for how perfect this is for me, and how much I love it. I can barely type; now I need an English lesson too XD I would have waited a YEAR for you to finish and it still would have been more than worth it.

As usual, you write Edgeworth beautifully. (Yeah, I've been stalking your journals and reading your stories, ahaha ^^') And Lang! As seen through Edgeworth's eyes--"The letter was so blunt and inescapable, like Agent Lang himself." Yes, just yes. And he got annoyed when Edgeworth suggested he might have fed Pess something, awww! There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of "aww"ing tonight, just so you know XD

HE CAME ALL THE WAY FROM ZHENG FA TO TAKE EDGEWORTH TO LUNCH. I had to pause at that point to be incoherent for a while XD ...And at each of the avoiding-reading instances. And at calling Edgeworth "Shifu". And making him dinner. And THE LETTER! D'awwwww!! I just knew that was going to happen--because, I mean, how could it not? Officially the best love letter ever :3

I just adore all the small details, too. The Mercedes, Lang's mum, Pess being a greyhound (I love greyhounds :3).

I should be in bed now, but... maybe I'll read it one more time. c: Thankyou for such wonderful present! *clings*


Date: 2011-01-04 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, you're so very welcome! I'm really glad you liked it! Haha, I had a lot of fun with it, in spite of my slowness. I'm so happy you think it was worth the wait and that I could inspire a lot of awwws. :D

And I'm pleased you like my Edgeworth! I'm very fond of him. Ha ha, you're a very sneaky stalker; I didn't realize you were reading my stories.

I do love Lang's DRAMATIC GESTURES--they're one of my favorite things about him, so of course I had to have him be bold and romantic when pursuing his man.

I confess, once I thought to have Lang call Edgeworth Shifu, I had to have him do it a few more times, because I liked the idea. :3

I love greyhounds, too, and I always thought Edgeworth would have a rescued dog or one from a shelter. He and Lang are both such dog people; the thought of them bonding over dogs or getting a dog together is just adorable.

Again, I'm so happy you liked it!


Date: 2011-01-04 10:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It makes me even happier that you had fun with it ^^

You should post this story to that Langworth community, assuming you haven't already XD There needs to be more fiction for the pairing, especially something this gorgeous.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I also am in awe of your ability to make up Lang Zi proverbs XD (And I like the COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY statement that Lang likes dogs, heehee XD) Oh jeez. You made me imagine them adopting a dog together... nyawww ^^


Date: 2011-01-07 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww, I love your Gumshoe icon so much. <3

And yes, I have posted it in the comm now! ;D

Ha ha, I'm so glad you liked the proverbs--they were what most worried me about writing Lang, but then they actually turned out to be kind of fun, so my worries were in vain.

Also, writing this story for you made me begin to think about them adopting a dog together, so it's only fair that I share the idea! I bet they'd go to the shelter planning to get just one dog, then end up going home with a few, awwww.


Date: 2011-01-07 09:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love that icon too :3

You must be talented, because I still think coming up with those proverbs is hard! XD I do also like that you got a "not so fast" in there :3

That is so cute! It's just what they would do! XD They might have one dog that bears a striking resemblance to Lang, and is the alpha male, and then a whole horde of somewhat nondescript dogs that follow it around and do what it wants :P

Date: 2011-01-05 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thanks so much for the hearts! ♥

And I love your grumpy Santa Edgeworth icon. :D

Date: 2011-01-05 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In lieu of a more coherent comment... XD I think I was tired when I wrote that, I can't remember. ANYWAY I figure it got the point across that I liked it, yes? XD

Haha, I love that icon as well. :3 [ profile] naive_wanderer drew the hat once, can't remember why, and I said, "This needs to be an icon." And now, here we are. XD

Date: 2011-01-04 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you would like to be my mate, let me know at once. I will then be able to judge where to proceed from there.

Haha, there are so many, many lines I could reference as favorites from this gem of a story, but I'm sticking with my choice! Oh, the Romantic Comedy of it all!

Your characterization is dead-on, your dialogue is sparkling, your jokes are snapping, and the kissing part is hot as all hell!

Date: 2011-01-07 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, aw, I'm so glad you enjoy my Ace Attorney romantic comedy silliness. I can't resist--I am so seldom given the chance to indulge in the genre, haha.

I'm really happy that it made you laugh! I do love Lang and Edgeworth, and I also love your nice comment, so thanks! ♥

Date: 2011-01-04 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Laaaaaaaangworth! <3

This was so absolutely amazing! But not so much as surprise since Claire had mention it to me a while back, but it was definitely something I eagerly looked forward to since I love Lang/Edgeworth so much.

This was perfect in every sense. The abrupt nature of both of the characters was shown wonderfully and I really enjoyed there awkward conversations as well as how Edgeworth built up to realising that Lang couldn't read English.

The letter made be giggle a lot more than it should have done. Oh Lang, we love you because you are direct. 8D

Also, Pess being a greyhound made me happy. Homing charities for ex-racers are such a noble cause, and I can see Edgeworth approving on them. ^^

All in all, a really brilliant story. :D

Date: 2011-01-07 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! <3 I'm really glad you enjoyed this. It was great fun to write about Langworth at last, since I do really like the pairing.

I'm so pleased you think I did a good job with these two--I found their interaction really funny and entertaining in the game.

Lang is the most direct--it does make him more lovable, I think!

And yes, I so agree--greyhound rescues really seem like something Edgeworth would approve of, so I felt I'd make Pess an ex-racer in this story.

Date: 2011-01-04 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Why is everything you write so goddamn endearing? I am so attracted to your vocabulary.

best parts:
"You don't know anything about anything, and I find that humorous."

"My mother does not allow her children to cook for her. She guards her kitchen fiercely."

A charming read, as always.

Date: 2011-01-07 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thank you so much, again! I really appreciate that. I'm so glad you liked this. It was a ton of fun writing about these two. ♥

Date: 2011-01-05 08:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow, thank you so much for sharing this! There isn't nearly enough Langworth fic out there, and this was thoroughly delectable~

As Miles was fortunate enough to be one of the people she liked, Franziska brought him sushi instead of pain.

This was my favorite line, but there was so much that made me smile in this fic. I love how Edgeworth and Lang were both awkward in certain ways, which combined to make a lot more awkward due to their inability to communicate. And then Edgeworth finding he could communicate without words at the end... lakdsjflakdsjf.

Loved it -- please write more! :D

Date: 2011-01-07 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, thank you so much for the really nice comment! It's great to get some detailed feedback. I'm really glad you enjoyed this, and I'm so thrilled it could make you smile.

Date: 2011-02-08 04:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my God I love this. I love this I love this I love this.

I confess that I actually read this a while ago, but I reread it today because of some strange impulse. It was wonderful the first time, but after reading it again I picked up all the little details you threw in. I laughed at the restaurant's name because of the silly connotations, and I cried at the letter because it was sweet and touching but still very Lang. (Agh there are so many things I loved about this, but I just can't figure out what to say. I'd quote your fic and say "Words can be counterproductive at a time like this" but considering the context it came from, that's a little awkward haha!)

Anyway, I loved the entire story; the idea that Lang couldn't read in English (after I read this, I thought to myself "Maybe he really can't!"), the writing itself, your characterization, and the whole theme of communication.

Gah I'm not making sense anymore! I just want you to know that I'll remember this story for a very long time (can't promise you a forever, since there's no such thing) and I thank you for a lovely piece of entertainment and insight bundled into one package. Thanks! :)

Date: 2011-02-11 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow, thank you so much for the extremely nice comment. It made my day to read it. I'm really glad you liked the story so much! <3 Thanks for letting me know.

I can't take credit for the original idea, since I was going on my friend's prompt, but it was a lot of fun to build on the basic idea of "Lang teaching Edgeworth how to read" and figuring out how that might work, especially with some romance thrown in.

It makes me very happy that I was able to provide you with some enjoyable entertainment.

Date: 2011-03-02 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're welcome! I'm glad it made you happy!

Thank your friend for me too then! Er if you feel like it. Actually that's kind of awkward, so never mind, ehehe.

Thank you very much! :D


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