foxysquidalso: (edgeworth)
[personal profile] foxysquidalso
I realized that this was the only (finished) story I've written for the kink meme that I haven't posted here, so I thought I would put it up, just to have everything in one place. I wrote this one a while ago.

Ha ha, I always become briefly smitten with the kink meme, then ban myself from going there (for some unimportant reason, which I quickly forget), then return a couple months later. Ah, my internet caprices!

Title: Physicality
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Word count: 2750
Pairings, Characters: Gumshoe/Edgeworth, Missile, Pess.
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Summary: Miles has long been reluctant to enter into a relationship. Now that he finds himself unexpectedly in the middle of one, he finds it all too easy to remember why he didn't want one in the first place. But it could be that he's mistaken (just this once).
Notes: The request was for asexual Edgeworth in a relationship, explaining himself to his partner but afraid of ruining the relationship. Of the possible suggested partners, Gumshoe struck me as the most hilarious person to put in that particular situation. The OP liked it, so I was super happy about that. Also, I apparently love putting dogs in Ace Attorney stories. Puppies and hugs, that's what it's all about!


It had been a bad idea from the start. Miles had known that. All along, he'd kept telling himself that it was wrong, that he should stop, but it had been so easy to allow it to continue. The detective's flirtation, though clumsy, had been oddly charming and a little flattering, so he had not put a stop to it. Then there had been that needlessly elaborate series of blurted questions: "Hey, remember that one time we went out to a restaurant together, after Mr. Wright jumped off that bridge? That was pretty fun, wasn't? Don't you think it would be fun to do something like that again? Um, would you like to? Sir?"

Why had he said yes? He'd told himself to refuse, yet he'd found himself replying, "I suppose I could stand to undergo a similar ordeal in the future."

"Does that mean you'll go?" Detective Gumshoe had asked, eyes brightening hopefully.

"Yes, that's what it means."

He had never sought out a relationship. Yet he'd found himself, unexpectedly, in the middle of one. That, in and of itself, was odd, but it was not precisely a problem. The problem was more complicated than that.

For one thing, relating with the detective in this way was exceedingly pleasant. He couldn't have foreseen how much he would enjoy it. Having someone come over his house and sit beside him on the settee, someone who would put an arm around him and listen to him talk, was quite simply a very nice thing. Moreover, the detective would perform all sorts of little thoughtful tasks that Miles hadn't asked him to perform. Like watering the plants and walking the dog. And making him tea. The tea was usually far too bitter, but the making of it was a kind gesture all the same. Last weekend, the detective had turned the channel to one of Miles' favorite science fiction programs, yet he had acted as if it had been his own idea to watch it, so Miles hadn't had to admit to his fondness for the program. Even when Miles had mildly insulted the writing to distance himself from the series, the channel had not been changed, a sure sign that the detective somehow understood.

Miles liked this new relationship, as strange as that fact was, and yet maybe that was the problem. Liking something involved risk: the risk that one would lose the thing one enjoyed, and so all one's pleasure would be transformed into pain. Before Miles could allow himself to grow more attached to the situation--and the detective--he would have to make a certain thing clear. If he was going to ruin their relationship with this revelation, he should do so sooner rather than later. That way, the damage done to both of them would be minimal. It was the logical course of action. Why, then, as he prepared to make his announcement, did he feel so nervous?

They were in Miles' living room, the usual location of their personal time together, as Miles was not about to enter that pit the detective called an apartment. Richard's arm was around Miles' shoulder, and he was nuzzling Miles' neck.

"Richard," Miles began.

"Yeah?" the detective asked. In his mental confusion between whether to use "Mr. Edgeworth" or "Miles" to address him, Miles noticed that Richard was starting to avoid addressing him by any name or title. That was an issue he might have to deal with later, but this was not the time.

"I need to talk to you about something," said Miles.

"Oh sure, okay." Richard drew back, a half-puzzled, half-eager expression widening his eyes. "What is it?"

There was no sense in being anything less than direct. "If I understand the situation correctly, you wish to continue our personal association and sustain a romantic relationship of some kind. Is that right?"

Richard nodded earnestly. "Uh yeah. I think so. If what you said means what I think it means." He smiled. His smile was goofy, but sweet.

Unexpectedly, Miles experienced a slightly painful pang at the sight of that smile. "Good. In that case, I should tell you that I'm an asexual."

"Oh! Okay." Richard's smile was no longer as certain as it had been.

"Is that all you have to say? Is it really okay with you?"

"I--think so."

Miles had a suspicion. "Richard. Do you know what asexual means?"

The goofy smile faded entirely into the hangdog look, another of Richard's trademark expressions. "No, I don't," Richard admitted.

Miles sighed. He should have known. He did not want to serve as a primer on asexuality, but some explanation was clearly in order. "It means that I am not interested in the physical aspect of a romantic relationship. 'A' is a prefix meaning 'without' or 'lack of'. And sexuality, of course, means an interest in sex. So I am a person without an interest in sex."

"Yeah, I get it!" The smile made a reappearance, though it was not quite its fully goofy self. "That explains why you don't notice it when ladies think you're handsome. I always wondered about that."

"Ah," said Miles, frowning, as that wasn't exactly relevant. "Yes, I suppose."

Richard scratched the back of his head, looking a little sheepish. "And I wondered why you weren't interested in that kind of thing, er, lately. I thought maybe you were waiting till you got married or something!"

"No, what a ridiculous notion."

"So, now I know! Asexual. Huh! You learn something new every day, right?"

That was it? No disappointment, no discussion? Not that Miles was complaining, but it felt more than a little anticlimactic. His concerns and caution had turned out to be so much wasted energy. "And you're all right with this?"

"Yeah, it's fine." Richard nodded emphatically. "I wouldn't want to do something with you that you don't want to do. It's really different, but you've always been a different kind of guy, right?"

Miles wondered if that was supposed to be a compliment. "I certainly don't care about popular opinion, that's true."

And that appeared to be that. A satisfactory resolution--or so Miles thought. Yet as the days passed, he began to notice a worrisome change in the detective's behavior. Richard remained as effusive and happy on the job as ever, at times to a maddening degree, but when they were alone, his manner was decidedly altered. He seemed more withdrawn, almost nervous. His usual flow of chatter had abated, at times to such a degree that Miles might almost have described him as quiet. Unthinkable.

Miles was direct with Richard, as always. "Is anything wrong?" he asked him during one of their evenings together, when the silence had lasted long enough to be obvious. The television was on, but neither of them was paying a great deal of attention to it. Miles was distracted by the lack of Richard's constant commentary peppered with obvious questions.

Richard was sitting stiffly beside him on the settee, his hands in his lap. "Wrong? Nope! Not a thing wrong with me."

"Are you entirely sure about that?"

"Yeah. Uh--" Richard's eyes were wide and guilty. He was a horrendous liar. "Does it seem like something's wrong?"

"I wouldn't say it necessarily seems like something's wrong, but you're rather quiet tonight."

"Um, it's nothing."

"You do know that you can tell me if something is wrong, don't you, Richard?"

He nodded. "I know."

Miles wondered about that, but he didn't press him. Richard turned towards the TV and asked who the main character was, though as they had been watching the program for a good fifteen or twenty minutes, he should have known already. Miles was relieved to have the opportunity to present him with a thorough explanation, pushing his worries to the back of his mind. Maybe Richard was going through a period of adjustment. That was understandable, and Miles could wait. He was a patient man.

However, even his patience had its limits, and when weeks passed with no significant change, he had to admit that perhaps the situation was untenable. Since he had made his announcement, Richard had not so much as touched him on the shoulder. Miles did not like to admit it, even to himself, but that aloofness hurt, especially coming from such a source. It could be that Richard was uncomfortable with Miles now but too afraid to say anything about it. For some reason, people were often hesitant to tell Miles things. As if he would bite their heads off! He most certainly would not!

Miles realized he would have to act, or nothing would get done. He could not tolerate uncertain situations. "Richard, I'd like it if you would come by my house this evening," he informed the detective one morning, when he came in and found Richard already there, polishing the top of his desk with a chamois cloth. "I have something I'd like to discuss with you."

"With me?"

"I do believe that's what I said."

"Sure! Sure, Miles. I'll come by as soon as I can, after I get off from work." Richard tucked the chamois in his pocket. "I'll see you then. I just remembered I've got to go. Back to the department. Cases to solve and all that, you know!" He made a hasty exit.

Wonderful. The detective had started to actively avoid him. That wasn't like him at all. Before Miles had explained his sexuality, he would have had to do everything but kick the man in his posterior to get him to return to Criminal Affairs, where he belonged. He walked around to the back of his desk and seated himself in the chair. He ran his fingers over the desk's surface and found it preternaturally shining and smooth. He let out a deep, disappointed breath, and not because of the state of his desk. He was not looking forward to the evening's conversation.

He should have known better all along. Hadn't he told himself from the very beginning that there was nothing good about the idea? Still, he had allowed himself to entertain the slightest hope--very likely a fruitless hope, as it had turned out.

That evening, Miles found himself unable to sit still. He kept walking from room to room, distractedly, waiting for the knock on the door. The detective's schedule was irregular, and he frequently forgot to call or misplaced his phone, so Miles didn't expect any advance notice. When the banging on the door began, he was in the kitchen. He gave a start, almost dropping the kettle he'd been about to fill.

"I thought I'd bring Missile so he could play with Pess!" Richard announced as Miles opened the door and a loud, furry projectile raced past him.

Miles frowned. It wasn't that he objected to the idea in theory, but he liked to be consulted on these matters. He had thought he'd made it clear that he wanted to have a serious conversation. "Yes--that's fine." He could hear the dogs in the next room, barking joyfully to celebrate their reunion. Richard, in contrast, stood blinking at him, not offering any sign of affection.

"You look mad," Richard said. "Are you mad?"

Miles sighed, deeply. "No, I'm not mad. Could you please sit down so we can talk?" Missile and Pess could entertain themselves for the time being. The two dogs got along well. They would probably tussle until they got tired and fell asleep together. Miles would not allow himself to envy animals. That would be far too humiliating.

"Okay." Richard sat down on the settee, knees together and hands in his lap, which seemed to be his favorite place to keep them these days. He looked a bit like an overgrown schoolboy who'd been called in to visit the principal.

Don't find it endearing, Miles told himself sternly. He couldn't afford to soften now, but he did sit down beside Richard before he said what he had to say. "I'm afraid that this relationship of ours isn't working out. It might be better if we could go back to the way things were before, relating on a purely professional level."

Richard's already enlarged eyes widened further, and in a few moments' time, Miles felt a horrible, wrenching pain in his stomach as the detective began to cry.

"Please, don't--" said Edgeworth hastily, but it was too late. The tears were already rolling down Richard's face, as Miles looked on in horror, with absolutely no idea of what do about it.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Edgeworth," Richard blurted, forgetting their first-name basis in his distress. "I tried to do everything right to make you happy, but I guess I didn't do it right. It was real hard, but I thought I was doing okay so far."

"I--what are you talking about? Do what right?"

"The no sexual stuff--you know, whatever you called it." Fortunately, Richard blinked back his tears, distracted from crying by the conversation. He sniffled loudly, then wiped his nose on the back of his coat sleeve.

Miles felt he could ignore this breach in manners, considering the situation. "Asexual."

"Yeah, that. It's really hard."

There was something here that Miles was not understanding. Further inquiry was clearly in order. "Richard, I don't know what you're talking about. It's not as if we've ever had sex. You didn't have to change your behavior in any way."

"Yeah, I did. You said you didn't like to do anything physical, so I tried really hard to be good and not do anything you wouldn't like. Like--," he paused, frowning in the most pitiful way possible, "--like cuddles and stuff."

Miles stared. "Oh, Richard." What could he say to that? The truth, he supposed. "That isn't what I meant. I just don't want to have sex. Physical contact is fine."

"Really? Like hugs and cuddles and snuggles and everything?"

Miles tried to keep his brain from puzzling out what Richard thought the difference between cuddles and snuggles was. It was too embarrassing to contemplate. "Yes, I don't have a problem with any of that." No wonder Richard had found his mistaken idea of asexuality a great strain. Rarely had Miles encountered a man more overflowing with affection. He gave hugs to people he didn't even know well; to restrain himself from touching his significant other must have taken a Herculean effort. Miles would have been impressed if it hadn't been such a dubious accomplishment. "My initial explanation was insufficient, it seems." When he made a mistake, he could admit it. He could be a little too quick to judge. In the future, when explaining important matters to Richard, he would have to ask Richard to explain his understanding afterward, so that he could correct any misconceptions.

"You're not still breaking up with me, are you?"

Miles swallowed his distaste for the term breaking up. "No, that won't be necessary. I was too hasty. I should have questioned you first. I know you frequently leap to insupportable conclusions."

Richard laughed with relief, then ran a hand back through the mess of his hair. "Whoa, am I glad to hear that!"

Without warning, Miles found himself crushed by the detective's embrace. For all his apparent ungainliness, the man could move quickly when he wanted to. Richard's arms were very strong, and for once, Miles didn't mind being held so tightly. "Can I give you a kiss?" Richard asked.

"That would be acceptable."

Richard began to kiss him on his cheeks, his forehead, and his mouth, and he did not stop until the clock chimed softly, at which point he finally released his hold. "Hey, it's time for your show!" he exclaimed.

Miles reached up to smooth his hair down, as it had been badly ruffled. Glancing at the clock, he saw that it was indeed time for the program he liked to start. Somehow Richard had remembered. "It can in no way be considered mine," he said.

"Yeah, I know," Richard agreed hurriedly, "but can we watch it?"

"I don't mind, if you want to put it on."

Richard turned on the television and put an arm around him. Miles snuggled up to the detective, though he would never, under any circumstances, have spoken the word snuggle aloud.
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