Been thinking about Phoenix's early attachment and friendship with Maya lately and why he's so inclined to keep her safe and happy and I'm attributing it to four things in particular
>Phoenix and Maya met under horrible circumstances. They just lost Mia- a beloved mentor and big sister- and when you look at the way Phoenix acts throughout the whole thing he didn't even look like he had time to properly grieve her because Maya is immediately accused of Mia's murder. They're finding solidarity in each other's loss.
>Between the both of them, Phoenix is the adult- and as far as he's concerned Maya is a helpless kid who's put into a dangerous situation that wasn't her fault. Moreover Maya is his mentor's younger sibling, there's always going to be a sense of obligation that arises from that I think. Phoenix has to pull through for both of them in this trial and the next ones.
>Might be a stretch but maybe there's some dependency leftover on Phoenix's side from the whole Dahlia disaster. I get that it's been four years but from how lethargic Phoenix got in the two months that Maya was gone from the office after Turnabout Goodbyes it really feels like there's some traces leftover from that period in his life. It's not in the romantic sense I think so much as it's from the aftermath of Turnabout Goodbyes- now that Maya's gone and he's alone in the office it gives him more time to think like 'I've saved Edgeworth. It's been a long road getting here. Where do I go next...?' because Mia is gone and this whole time he's had to put up a face for Maya (and I'm pretty positive that Maya's been doing the same for him) and suddenly he's just alone without Maya's cheeriness to distract him.
>Phoenix and Maya eventually just growing to care for one another without the additional strings attached is I think what the friendship naturally evolved into after time like there's only so many things that they won't do for each other after the first game ended and Maya literally getting herself in jail on purpose for contempt of court and outright tased in order to retrieve crucial evidence. They've become each other's family at this point.
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