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It had been nearly a year since Simon Blackquill's name had been cleared and his life spared, thanks to the Wright Anything Agency's efforts. He had been falsely, yet intentionally on his part, convicted of murdering his mentor, Metis Cykes. Metis's daughter, Athena Cykes, had spent every moment she could studying to become a lawyer in order to prove Simon's innocence. With the help of Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, she had been able to show Simon didn't kill her mother. More importantly, to Simon anyway, Athena's name had been cleared during that trial as well. A man known only as the Phantom had been found and prosecuted for the murder, which is ironically who the darkly-clad prosecutor had been searching for when he first mentored under Metis. Simon was eternally grateful to the Wright Anything Agency, though he would never let them know that.

The prosecutor had been able to keep his job thanks to the efforts of his boss, Miles Edgeworth, a man he deeply respected. Since then, Simon had been able to prove himself as an intimidating lawyer capable of psychological manipulation. He worked with Edgeworth to partner with defense lawyers in order to search for the truth, rather than simply win the case. Simon's false conviction, as well as someone planting falsified evidence on Wright, had led to a dark age of the law, which they worked fervently to end. The two groups--the prosecutors under Miles Edgeworth and the defense lawyers under Phoenix Wright--had made excellent progress toward this goal, but there was still plenty of work to be done.

Today, Simon had been called to collect some evidence for a case Edgeworth was prosecuting. Unfortunately, Edgeworth had been called away at the last minute and thus could not retrieve it himself, which is what he preferred to do. Simon offered to get it for him. Making his way through the crowded courthouse lobby, Simon moved deftly between groups of people (those that didn't move out of the intimidating prosecutor's way, that is) and headed straight toward the office the courthouse had provided for Detective Gumshoe. He had no intention of staying very long, as he would rather not to be around many people when possible. He much preferred the company of Taka, his hawk, who usually sat on his shoulder and attacked people when they were lying or being foolish, and Athena, who he had grown closer to since his release.

"Blaaaaaaaaaaacckquiiiiiiiiiiillllllllll!" a voice rang out in the courthouse.

Simon sighed and turned around as a blur of yellow approached him. "Cykes-dono, yell any louder and they'll hold you in contempt of court... And it's not even in session."

Not paying any attention to Simon's snide remark, Athena ran up to him and pulled his arm so his head was near hers. Taka screeched and flew off to rest on a flag hanging in the lobby. "You cut your hair!" she squealed, and started running her fingers through it. Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice followed behind her sheepishly.

"Ngh, Cykes-dono..." Simon turned a little red. "It's just hair..."

"Wow! You look so much younger this way! This reminds me of when you worked with my mom!" She turned to her fellow defense attorneys. "Doesn't it look great?"

Phoenix laughed nervously and scratched the back of his head. "Well, hair can make or break the man, Blackquill. Looks good!" Apollo simply nodded, trying not to laugh at the image of Athena preening the prosecutor.

"I take it you're here for a case?" Simon asked, somehow managing to break free and stand up straight, shaking his hair out. Taka returned to his shoulder and glared at Athena. She backed away, slowly.

Phoenix shook his head. "Actually, we called your office and learned you were here. We were wonde--"

"We should have a party!" Athena interrupted, clapping her hands together.

Simon smiled and shook his head. Knowing the answer, he asked, "And just what would the occasion be?"

Athena held her left elbow in her right hand and looked away. "Well, you know..." When Simon didn't answer, she responded by holding her fists out in front of her, a determined look on her face. "It's been a year since you were proven innocent! We're happy you're still here and we should celebrate that!"

Simon shook his head again. "Cykes-dono, I am not inclined toward holding any festivities for that. Besides, too much noise upsets Taka, and you make too much noise." He laughed at his own joke.

"That evil bird..." Athena mumbled. "Well it was just an idea! It's just, it's almost been a year, you know? Like an anniversary of sorts."

"I hadn't been paying attention," Simon lied. "I've been more focused on doing my duties as a lawyer, unlike a certain baby chick I know." He smirked. Athena tried to glare menacingly at Simon, but he laughed the look off. "If you are ever to intimidate another lawyer, Cykes-dono, you will need to work a bit harder." Simon bowed and added, "If you'll excuse me." He waved disinterestedly as he walked away, feather in his mouth.

After he was out of earshot, Athena asked her fellow defense attorneys, "Did he seem happy to you?"

Apollo made a face. "Does Blackquill know what that emotion is?" Phoenix laughed, but Athena scowled.

"I dunno, he just seems more happy around us than usual."

"I think he just gets enjoyment out of teasing you, Athena," Phoenix said. Apollo nodded in agreement.

Athena flushed. "Wh-why would it have anything to do with me?"

"Oh?" Phoenix smirked. "Would that bother you?"

"Well, no..." Athena responded thoughtfully. She had spent time with him over the past few months, mostly at her request. They'd occasionally gone to Eldoon's noodle stand, but Simon preferred to eat sushi or tempura, which Eldoon's did not have. Other times they would go to museums and Simon would rattle off information about any exhibits that featured Japanese culture. They usually had a good time, Simon teasing Athena and Athena getting worked up over his jokes, or the two of them reminiscing about the past, when Athena's mother was still alive. Once, much to Athena's embarrassment, Simon even brought her some drawings she'd made for him when she was a child. He claimed his sister, Aura, had them stashed away somewhere, but she thought that surely Aura would have burned anything Athena had ever made. She was sure Simon had actually kept them, which embarrassed her even more for some reason.

Athena sighed. "I think he does remember that the anniversary is coming up, and that's why he's so happy."

Apollo made a face again. "Using 'Blackquill' and 'happy' without the 'not' just seems wrong." Athena punched his shoulder. "Ow! But in all seriousness, are you picking that up with your hearing or what? He looks... normal... to me."

Athena's power--to hear others' emotions, even if they say they're feeling a different way--often came in handy, especially during cases, when witnesses weren't always honest.

"Yeah, I can definitely tell that he's happier lately!"

Phoenix held his hand up to his chin, thinking. "Well, I hate to harp on it, but you have been spending more time than usual with him lately. Maybe seeing you just cheers him up, especially considering a year ago both of you were in danger."

Athena sighed. "I guess that's it," she agreed, "but it just seems like it's something else I can't quite put my finger on."

Phoenix laughed. "Well, I guess you'll just have to get Gumshoe to help you investigate the case." Apollo held his face in his palm.

It was Athena's turn to make a face. "That guy couldn't find the gum on his shoe if it came up and kicked him in the head..."

Apollo grimaced. "That was painful, Athena..."

Ignoring Apollo, Athena threw a finger up in the air. "Aha! I have an idea. Let's throw him a surprise party!" Apollo groaned. "Oh come on, it'll be fun! Phoenix, you could get Miles to help, I'm sure." She smiled as sweetly as she could.

"Uh," Phoenix responded, rubbing the back of his head, "I can try. Miles isn't exactly the festive type either."

"Maybe that's a prosecutor thing," Apollo offered.

"Phoenix, promise you'll try!"

Phoenix laughed. "Okay, okay, I'll try." He sighed. "But that means I need to go to Miles's office again..." He shook his head. "I always end up spending too much time in there. The man always wants a cup of tea." Apollo gave a look that suggested he didn't believe the defense attorney, and Phoenix responded with a confused look of his own.

"Great! We'll get supplies. See you later!" Athena pulled Apollo's arm and dragged him out the door.

Phoenix watched the pair leave and crossed his arms, shaking his head. "Those two..."

"Are they going to throw me a party anyway?" he heard behind him, and jumped. Simon laughed. "Wright-dono, you must never be off your guard. I once shared a cell with a man who had learned that lesson the hard way after he tried to steal from an off-duty officer and didn't notice the officer's on-duty partner getting a cup of coffee nearby."

"You... shared a cell with a lot of weird people," Phoenix responded. "But uh, yes, Athena wants to surprise you. Please don't tell her I told you that."

"Not a problem," Simon responded. "You won't need to go to Edgeworth-dono, either. He's out of town. But I'll make sure he comes to the party as well."

"How did you...?"

Simon walked toward the courthouse doors and smirked, looking behind him. "Taka has excellent hearing," he responded.

Phoenix stared at the duo in disbelief. A bird overhearing their conversation? "This day just keeps getting weirder..."

February 2017

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Athena Blackquill
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