Rise from the Ashes – Chapter 4


Title: Rise from the Ashes
Chapter title: Turnabout Reunion
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.

———————————————

Odoroki bit his lips nervously as he drew a very long breath.

“I-I… WANNALEARNEVRYTHINGFROMYOUFROMATOZLIKEHOWYOUSEDTO—“

Naruhodou laughed as he immediately waved his arm around to stop him.

“Whoa… hold your horses there! Take a deep breath, Odoroki-kun. Don’t worry, I won’t run before you’re done talking.”

Odoroki could barely restrain himself from wanting to run away right at this moment. Certainly it should not be hard for him to say it aloud. B-but… the more he thought about it, the more the idea sounded stupid inside his head. I mean… there were also a lot of other good lawyers in this country! There must be someone else that had more experience than Naruhodou-san in this field to whom I could learn from!

For a second there, Odoroki wondered if this stubborn wish that he had was a bit too selfish on his part. He had already seen a glimpse of how this last case had truly affected Naruhodou-san personally inside. He wondered if he had the right to force Naruhodou-san to make a definite decision… now.

“I’m waiting here… do you need a longer time to formulate your thoughts aloud?”

Odoroki looked up. Mitsurugi-san looked as if he had expected him to turn tongue-tied at this moment. Perhaps, he had planned this out? But it had been a while since Naruhodou-san and Mitsurugi-san had met—or so they said, the two of them could not possibly have instigated this just to test him… right? And there was also Minuki-chan… argh! Is this some kind of a test? Or… if it was not, did Mitsurugi-san plan to use him in order to change Naruhodou-san’s mind? Why can’t Mitsurugi-san be doing all this talk instead of him?

The sounds of festival-goers around him, chattering and everything seemed to fill the void of silence between them. Oh wait… was that just now a sound of whip lashing and a cry for help just now? And what was that ruckus that he heard somewhere behind him about some Tonosamanjuu?

Odoroki shook his head. This was not the time to be thinking about other unrelated stuffs!

“I—Naruhodou-san, is it really okay for me to ask this from you? I know I had been rather persistent earlier… but now that I started thinking about it, I realised that it was rather presumptuous for me to demand such things from you. I—“

The voice that spoke up later, sounded gentler than he could have expected coming at him.

“About becoming a lawyer again? Hmm… to tell you the truth, it’s not that I had really minded it. I actually did thought of returning into the field after I’ve finally resolved the case and cleared my name and such related stuffs. I just didn’t feel any urgency to do it so fast though. I mean… it’s not like I always get a lot of money coming in from this lawyer business, considering the crowd that I have and the circumstances that always made me end up spending more money than I could earn. So there goes the allure of actually wanting to get back to the business. But, I could always consider it… depending on what you have to say. So… would you say it out loud?”

Odoroki frowned. He turned to look as Minuki flashed him an encouraging smile. He closed his eyes as he drew a long breath.

Well, here goes nothing!

“Naruhodou-san… actually, the reason for me to want you to become a lawyer again… well, it’s because—I still wanted to learn a lot from you. On how—to become a good defense attorney like you used to be. I mean… I used to have Garyuu-sensei as my mentor, but considering the things that had happened lately… I wondered if anything that he had taught me in the past was correct or not. And even though I had been handling several cases already, I still felt it wasn’t enough. Half the time, I had received help from either you yourself or Minuki-chan. I guess—what I meant to say is; I wanted you to become a lawyer again… because… I wanted to truly become your apprentice. I mean… not just learning from reading your old cases but also to actually see you doing the job!”

There he said it. He really did it! And he had not being vague about it. He did say it in a very straight forward way!

Odoroki opened his eyes to look at Naruhodou-san as the older man flashed a gentle smile at him. Well, at least he’s not angry…

Naruhodou let out a soft sigh before turning towards Minuki.

“I guess having you tagging alongside him was not enough, is it?”

Minuki shrugged.

“Odoroki-san was quite hard to watch over, Papa. I guess having Minuki around is still not the same to him as having Papa around helping him.”

“Hmm… I guess so. A pity though, I thought by having you be by the kid’s side could make up for my presence. Considering you already knew most of my tricks… but I guess that wasn’t enough—“

“Odoroki-kun san not as daring as you, Papa. Last time Minuki had to coax him several times to get him to try butter up towards people in order to get information! It’s even harder to push him around to gather evidence…”

“Hmm… I had to agree on that. Not many lawyers would go barging into the crime scenes; where usually it was restricted to the likes of them, the way Naruhodou often did. To find another as daring and shameless as him would be almost rare—“

“Hey… could you not put the word ‘shameless’ in there—?“

“Not to mention sneaky…”

“Hey, hey!”

“… annoying…”

“That’s a bit too much, Mitsurugi—!”

“COULD YOU PLEASE NOT ACT AS IF I’M NOT AROUND? I’m still standing here, you know?”

Naruhodou and Minuki turned to face him as Mitsurugi started to laugh by himself. Naruhodou cast an amused glance towards him.

“I see that you at least enjoyed this. Didn’t you also drop by my place to try talking me back into law? I didn’t see you do anything just yet.”

Mitsurugi shrugged.

“I noticed that it was more convenient for me to let that boy try talking you out of it first. Face the fact; I’ve known you for a very long time. As much as I hated to admit it, your stubbornness and persistence on dealing with things can be hard to break, even for me. Granted… you might be even more stubborn than me. It’ll be hard to try to talk you out of anything if you’re like that.”

“And besides… I’ve been through almost about the same thing as what you’ve gone through, despite that we ended up with a different situation in the end. I guess… I can understand a bit.”

Naruhodou shrugged.

“True… I guess I could understand more of what happened ten years ago, when you had disappeared. I guess aside from doing your soul-searching, you also wanted to be alone… isn’t it? Your pride was like that… after all.”

He sighed.

“Still… I’m not you. Mind telling me your own motives… my dear friend, Mitsurugi-kenji? I’m curious.”

Mitsurugi shrugged.

“I had nothing… much. I’m often working abroad anyway so things happening here shouldn’t bother me much. But it’d sure be nice if I could have my old partner back working with me on a case. It would make coming back to the country to handle cases to be more bearable. And something more to look forward to—”

“Oh? I thought someone had stated earlier that you found said person to be shameless, sneaky and annoying—and I thought you already had a sidekick to help you… uh, Mikamo… Mikumu… Ichijo… something—“

A glare darted towards him.

“It’s Ichijou Mikumo! Pronounce people’s names properly! But I didn’t mean someone like her… I meant partner during the court sessions! Anyway, that’s beside the point. I just wanted to have back the defense attorney whom I used to work well with. It makes work seemed more… bearable. It sure beats having to handle some other rookie attorneys who more often than not tend to mess things up worse than you.”

“Hey!”

“And Mei tends to grumble about it too… about not being able to fight with you in the courts any more. What was that—about a selfish fool who foolishly letting go of his foolish future just because of his foolish pride—well, something like that. I remembered she kept repeating the word ‘fool’ one to many…

“Eh?”

Odoroki turned to look at Naruhodou-san’s face as the man appeared to be totally perplexed at this revelation.

“And also there’s Akane-san, badgering me about convincing you to get back to your attorney job—despite her only other motive of wanting you back aside from being able to work with you again; was to see Garyuu Kyouya got kicked out like a stray puppy in courts. And there were those Ayasato girls and even Ayame-san badgering me as well. Since they knew how you’ve been like these seven years; and thought by having you get back to your old job, you’d be back to your cheerful life. And don’t get me started on the rest of the people on the list!”

A hearty laugh greeted him. For some reason, Odoroki felt a different feeling from it. He could not detect any bitterness from his laugh this time, unlike usual. Naruhodou-san did sound very amused this time. Honestly, Naruhodou-san had a lot of people still caring for his well-being. At least this time, seeing this before his eyes could he really associate this Naruhodou-san to those stories about his legendary court trials. Before this, he could never have believed that the Naruhodou-san before him matched the legendary Naruhodou Ryuuichi persona. This Naruhodou Ryuuichi had been too bitter and spiteful, not to mention cunning. Totally did not match the stories that he had heard all this time. But now, his hopes rose again. That old Naruhodou Ryuuichi still lived inside of him!

“I’ve got you into such a big trouble now, I guess? Am I that bothersome to you as well, Minuki?” asked Naruhodou as he looked down towards the young magician. Minuki shook her head as she wrapped her arm around his waist.

“No, Papa. Minuki still love you no matter what!” said the young girl as Naruhodou smiled. And as if he had suddenly remembered from the back of his head, he turned around towards Odoroki.

“Well, you’ve convinced me. I give you that.”

Odoroki started to grin widely but Naruhodou-san was still talking—

“—though I won’t suddenly go up and retake the exam right away, but I’ll consider it. There are a lot of things needed to be sorted up before I made any drastic changes to my life now. I certainly hadn’t thought of taking you in as my apprentice for one thing. It never crossed my mind, really. I just wanted to get a lawyer that I could place my life on him, that’s all.” he added as he placed a hand on Odoroki’s head, ruffling his hair as he did.

His eyes flitted away for a second as he seemed to recall something.

“But thinking back… you already had been learning bits from me already! Just maybe… indirectly, I guess. Somewhat. These past three cases you’ve handled while working under me, from what Minuki’s been reporting back to me had told me much. For one thing, you’ve learnt to gather evidence and do your own investigations before hand. You’ve learnt how to get testimony from people… and even mastering using that Minuki ability of yours! Weighing that over your argument, it seemed a bit weak compared to Mitsurugi’s reasoning.”

Odoroki’s dumbfounded expression was too amusing to ignore as Mitsurugi laughed aloud.

“I think our young attorney was too shocked to reply. You’ve revealed all your cards too abruptly. I guess it was too much for him to handle all at once.”

Odoroki blinked.

“B-but, Naruhodou-san! You’ve said earlier—! You can’t possible take back all—“

“Well, that’s settled—Minuki.”

Minuki perked up.

“I don’t suppose you did bring your Magical Bloomers along, do you?”

“Hmm? Should I?”

The man laughed.

“Well, if you hadn’t… it’s alright. I just thought it would be amusing if you could pull out some of my old friends using that favourite trick of yours. Namely those people named Karuma Mei, Houdzuki Akane, Ayasato Mayoi and Ayasato Harumi, Ayame-chan, this one obnoxious trouble-maker, Itonoko-sa—“

IGIARI!!”

The four of them turned towards the voice as Naruhodo Ryuuichi grinned. Just as the voice rang out, several people stumbled out from the nearby foliage as Karuma Mei stood up to free herself from the tangle of limbs; barely able to contain her temper at bay.

“I for one did not approve of being pulled out from some magic panties!”

“Me either!” cried Akane as she managed to shrug Mayoi and Harumi off her. The two girls pouted at him as another batch of people started to come out in the open and showed themselves. Ayame shrugged at him as Naruhodou returned the smile.

“You’ve caught us good tharl! And here we thought we had you on.” slurred Itonoko-san as Mako gave him a salute.

“I couldn’t help noticing. And earlier, I did hear very familiar voices in a commotion behind us just a few minutes ago. It’s not that hard to guess.”

“Hey Naruhodou! Why are you ignoring me? And why I’m the only one not addressed by name—“

WHAAAP!!

A whip hit Yahari square on the face as Karuma Mei made her presence known.

“I said… what’s up with the magic panties!” she argued as Naruhodou started to laugh even harder. He chuckled as he brushed away the stray tear that suddenly materialized from the corner of his eyes.

“How heart-warming this is! If today had been my birthday or anything special I would have cried shamelessly over here. I hadn’t expected such a sudden reunion like this, it’s not good for my psyche—“, and he turned towards Mei to explain. “—the Magical Bloomers was one of Minuki’s favourite tricks. She was a gifted magician after all… performing at the local theatre every night.”

If that was meant to shut her mouth, it surely worked. Karuma Mei’s fury did appear to have calmed down.

Naruhodou sighed.

“Well… you guys heard me. So, it’s about time also for you guys to stop worrying about me, as well? We’ll talk about me retaking the exam for later day. You guys have my word. I won’t go back on my word on this.”

As if on cue, the rest of the group cheered as Itonoko-san and Mako started throwing confetti around them, Yahari bringing out some crackers. Mayoi and Harumi started to dance before dragging Minuki and Ayame around joyfully. It seemed that there’s no stopping this joyful celebration.

Mitsurugi laughed as he walked to Karuma Mei to wrap his arm around her. The young prosecutor appeared to be feverishly trying not to suddenly break into tears as both Mitsurugi and Naruhodou tried to calm her down. Everyone seemed to be in a joyous mood. Not a hint of the serious atmosphere earlier remaining in the air. Odoroki Housuke watched everyone around him in wonder as he noticed how the dark aura around Naruhodou-san seemed to dissipate. The man had looked younger now, more befitting his actual age. It seemed that whatever darker thoughts that still haunted him had disappeared finally.

“Hey!”

Naruhodou turned as Minuki sternly glared at him.

“So can we now properly enjoy the festival as we were supposed to?”

The man laughed.

“Sure! We had three times as much people now, so it should be three times the fun. Besides, it’s what people were supposed to do in festivals… having fun.”

Minuki clapped her hands aloud.

“So let’s all ride the Ferris Wheel!” exclaimed the girl as Mayoi and Harumi also squealed. The three of them started dragging everyone towards the direction of the giant Ferris wheel. Well, except a certain two people as Odoroki turned his glance towards them. Naruhodou-san and Mitsurugi-san had suddenly turned very pale.

“Uh, can we… possibly… escape this? Is that even possible? Mitsurugi!” cried one panic-stricken voice.

“Don’t ask me! It’s your daughter, Naruhodou!” cried the other.

And one other prosecutor smiled mischievously as she hooked both her arms around both men to drag them along while Mitsurugi and Naruhodou screamed in protest over their impending doom…

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~ by Izumi Ishtar on October 7, 2008.

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