Rise from the Ashes – Chapter 2


Title: Rise from the Ashes

Chapter title: The Fallen Dragon

Genre: General/Drama

Fandom: Gyakuten Saiban

Rating: G

Summary: Post GS4. After the conclusion of the Ese Makoto’s case as well as the success of the first trial case for the Jurist System, young Odoroki was left to wonder what was to become of one former Ace Attorney.

—————–

Oh dear. This had always been his main weakness. She just had to come in when that topic was touched.

Naruhodou Minuki placed the tray on top of the coffee table before turning towards him, shoving her puppy dog eyes at him.

“You’re not… serious, are you? Papa won’t… die and leave Minuki by myself, would you?”

Naruhodou sighed before softly patting on the head.

“N-no dear… I didn’t mean it like that—“, said Naruhodou before straightening himself up, having seen the snicker coming from Mitsurugi. He looked up to see Odoroki’s face, equally waiting on him for an answer.

Wait a pain in the neck this is…

He cleared his throat aloud before giving Minuki a reassuring smile.

“It’s not like that. Minuki… did you remember a story I told long ago about a certain friend of mine?”

Minuki’s eyes lighted up suddenly.

“Ah! Did you mean about that friend who always gets into trouble and you had to always pull him out of the pinch? Or the other friend who once had gone missing for a year before finally returning to give you a hand on a case time and time again?

Relief. Perhaps it was not going to be hard to explain this…

“Yes… I meant that other friend. The second one you’ve mentioned…’

“Oh… the overdramatic one!”

“Hey!”

Naruhodou sneaked a glance towards Mitsurugi before smiling. “But it’s true, isn’t it? I mean… who else would write ‘Prosecutor Mitsurugi Reiji chooses death’ just so to go into hiding? Overly dramatic person, I’d say! Normal people would take that note as a suicide note. Really annoying… that.” he said before turning towards Minuki. “So there you go… when I said about choosing death, I meant in that way. Metaphorically, as Mitsurugi here had used in order to go into seclusion and find… whatever answer he wanted to find.”

Mitsurugi cast him a look of annoyance as Minuki heaved a sigh of relief.

“Oh! I’m glad… Minuki wouldn’t want to lose another papa—“, said Minuki softly as she leaned on his shoulder while sitting on the edge of the sofa.

Odoroki scratched his head in confusion as he exchanged glances towards the other occupants in the office.

“Huh? What? I don’t understand… what this got to do with your decision to retake the Bar Exam, Naruhodou-san?”

Naruhodou looked up towards him.

“My old case files… did you read ALL of them? Odoroki-kun?”

Odoroki scratched his head.

“Not quite. Why?”

Naruhodou sighed.

“Had you read the case that involved the Houdzuki sisters and a murder?”

Odoroki blinked.

“E-eh? There was? W-wait… I think I remembered Detective Houdzuki mentioning about it before. About having involved in an incident… nine, ten years before—I guess I’ve forgotten about it. I did thought of wanting to check it out… but I guess I completely forgot about it, because of Takita Kitaki’s case that time. Is there any relation about it to what we’re talking about though?”

Naruhodou smiled as he turned his attention elsewhere.

“Yeah. That case was indirectly related… but the one I was referring in this case was the old case that was brought back out in the open because of the incident involving the Houdzuki sisters. That case… in a sense; had a certain relevance to the topic that we’re discussing. Since that case as well… had falsified evidence used during the trials.”

“Eh?”

Mitsurugi nodded to himself.

“Oh yes, that case. The SL-9 case. That was one of my first big case that I have handled… yet the aftermath of that was nothing short of a discomfort.”

“I don’t understand.”

Naruhodou shrugged.

“Weren’t you paying any attention to what was just said? In that SL-9 case, falsified evidence was presented to convict the defendant to a crime. And Mitsurugi here was the prosecutor during the case trial who presented that evidence. Now you see how that case was similar to what happened to me seven years ago?”

“Ah! But you don’t tell me—that evidence? The verdict? Then, did Prosecutor Mitsurugi—!“

“I did not forge any evidence!” Mitsurugi cut in as he took a sip from his cup of tea. “But that did not mean that I was free from the fault. I’ve still presented that thing in court despite not knowing the truth. Even if the defendant was still guilty of other crime, it doesn’t make me feel any better at having solved that case. And then after learning of the real truth about the case; two years later, it did make me question the purpose of me for being a prosecutor.”

“Enough to convince yourself that you needed to run away from everything, while initially making people think that you’ve committed suicide—“, said Naruhodou suddenly before turning his attention towards Odoroki. “—haven’t you also felt the same, Odoroki-kun? During your first case, that faked third Ace—weren’t you so furious about it that you landed a punch on my face out of anger? That kind of surprise and anger and I don’t know what other feelings that you’ve felt, having presented false evidence in court without knowing.”

“Yeah… but to the extent of wanting to die? I—“

“Odoroki-kun, there’s something that you need to pay attention to. One, unlike in your situation…

when the situation involving the false evidence being presented to the court, both of us—were already well known for our position as a defense attorney and a prosecutor. Two, both of us had prided ourselves for being able to do our job by interpreting and using the evidence to the best of our ability. We… had placed faith in our justice system and our job to ensure that justice is served. When you were faced with a situation where seeking justice was less important that achieving victory by getting the verdict that you want; eventually you yourself would start to question your own beliefs about everything.”

“You mean… the case affected you more—how? What do you mean… questioning your beliefs?

Naruhodou shrugged. “I meant the very purpose of you wanting to become a lawyer. Was it to seek out the truth… or was it for your own self-profit? When the very thing that you believed betrayed yourself, could you still continue to hold on to it?”

“But then again, in Mitsurugi’s case… there was another factor that prompted him to take that drastic measure. We’ll leave it to just that. But back to the matters at hand, Odoroki-kun… during the trial three weeks ago, hadn’t you uncover an important fact on the case?”

Odoroki blinked in confusion. Naruhodou just sighed.

“You’ve managed to uncover Garyuu Kirihito’s ploy with regards to that falsified diary note. The old system needed decisive evidence in order to achieve a guilty or not guilty verdict. Because of that he had plotted to create a forged piece of evidence just so he could use it to attain the acquittal he needed, since the case had no decisive evidence at the beginning anyway. If Nanafushi-san had not refused him and picked me as his attorney, that plan of his would have succeeded and no one would know about it as long as nobody tried reinvestigating it. Or worse, Varan may end up taking the blame instead and the real truth of Arumajiki Tensai’s suicide will be buried forever.”

“Yet… that did not happen and that very forged evidence was used by Kirihito to bring damage to Nanafushi-san; and indirectly, towards me as well. Now tell me Odoroki-kun… if you’re in my position, how would your feelings be after learning about all of the truth? Remember what I’ve just said earlier.”

“But the truth had been brought to open already and you’ve been proven to be not guilty of that forgery! And the courts had been changed for the better with the implementation of the Jurist System. Everything had been change for the better… so I don’t understand why—“

“Must it be me? There should be many other good attorneys that can make up for the lack of my person in the courts. And we already have you. Isn’t that enough? You should be able to continue doing the things you do as an attorney in my place. You’ve proven yourself to be able to do so, even more than me. And the Jurist System is still in its infancy stage, there’s still a lot more to do in order to perfect the system. With my involvement as the head of the community, I’ll still be able to contribute my skill to the courts without having to be an attorney myself. Not enough for you?”

Odoroki shook his head vigorously.

“No, it’s not, Naruhodou-san—“

He sighed.

“Must I spell it out to you clearly? Yes… the truth had been unearthed and my name, as well as Arumajiki Zakku’s name had been cleared. The court system had been changed for the better out of my own effort. As much as I used to love my job as an attorney, that case… had left me with a deep wound in my heart. That wound would take time to heal.”

Their eyes met again as Odoroki held his breath, waiting for the answer to come out from his mouth.

“I’ve forgotten what it meant to truly believe in another person with my whole heart. Wait… that’s not correct—“, he mused again as he gathered his thoughts for a while, “—it’s more to the fact that, I’ve lost sight of what I should be fighting for. I know… and still remembered, what had it meant for me to be a defense attorney and reasons for me to fight to seek out the truth of the matter. Even if that was the only thing that I’m very much an expert on—being a good lawyer, in the end the whole ordeal had been tiring for me. Most of the cases I took in the past would involve homicide and most of the time, I’ve always received the short end of the bargain. I admit that it was just one case and it had taken seven long years of my time in order to seek my own justice. That took a whole lot of perseverance on my part; do you think that it’s high time for me to take things easy for a while?”

That statement left him speechless. Naruhodou had not added anything more but Odoroki could sense it. The deep sorrow that he had in his heart, Odoroki could see it through his eyes. Naruhodou-san had always been able to hide his true emotions from him all this time; but today… he could feel the full force of his emotions. This unspoken sadness, this deep burden that Naruhodou-san seemed to carry… he wonder if he could ever be able to describe such sadness in words?

“Ah! We took so long a delay. Isn’t it high time for our trip to the funfair?” said Naruhodou suddenly as he turned towards Minuki. Minuki, as if on cue immediately stopped feeling remorse and smiled as cheerfully as she could.

“Yes! We only dropped by here because Papa have left your cell phone, isn’t it?” cried the girl again as she jumped off to get to the work desk. “Here it is, Papa—!“ she chirped again as Naruhodou rose from the sofa.

“Good girl—“, he said as he patted Minuki’s head fondly. “I guess this is it. See ya tomorrow then, Odoroki-kun… and you too, Mitsurugi. Sorry if I’ve been such a bad host. It’s a weekend after all… and it’s been a while since I’ve spent time with Minuki here. So… Odoroki-kun, lock the office on your way out and remember to close that window tightly. Last two days, it had been drizzling and some of the papers on the desk had been soaked. Lucky it’s not anything important. So anyway… see you later.” said Naruhodou as he and Minuki walked out of the office.

Odoroki heaved a long sigh as he watched them leave. When Mitsurugi placed a hand on his shoulders, he almost jumped high like a coiled spring. The older man smiled at him.

“Don’t let that dampen you mood. Naruhodou never said that he did not want to become an attorney any more. He just said… he needed a time off.”

Mitsurugi flashed a knowing smile at him as Odoroki felt his heart becoming lighter…

xxx

Naruhodou perked up as he turned around to find Mitsurugi and Odoroki catching up to them.

“Hmm? Is there anything more you need of me?”

Mitsurugi smirked.

“Why… do you think after so long a time I’d just be contented for a short visit? Surely you wouldn’t mind hitching a ride with us; it’s still a long walk to the place. And it’s such a long time ago since I went to any funfairs, why not tagging along with you two?”

Naruhodou grinned.

“Are you sure? I don’t guarantee if there’s no random earthquake happening any time later… don’t come crying to me when it happens.” teased Naruhodou. Mitsurugi grinned.

“You as well. Don’t come running to me just because you couldn’t stand some increase in elevation. No use crying to me as well when that happens, I don’t want to have to a handle a panic-stricken you.”

Naruhodou laughed as the four of them hopped into Mitsurugi’s red sports car…

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~ by Izumi Ishtar on September 29, 2008.

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