When Apollo woke, it was dawning outside, but the archive was still completely devoid of people. Apparently, it was not opening time just yet. A gaze at his watch told him that it was 5:45 AM, still 75 minutes before early bird students would be able to gain access to the large basement room once again.

He traipsed into the bathroom to relieve himself and wash his face, combing through his hair with his fingers after propping the door open to bring it into a semblance of order. His usually gelled-up hair spikes were by now limply hanging into his face, and no amount of brushing them back would get them to stay on top of his head, so he had to admit defeat and tug them behind his ears for now.

Curiously, Blackquill was not in evidence by the time he had finished with his ablutions; during the preceding two mornings, the tall prosecutor had been standing in the door frame at about this point.

Huh…wonder what's up with that.

The answer was easy enough to discover – upon making a round, Apollo could hear a strange rasping noise before two long, black-clad legs came into view, sticking out of one of the reading alcoves near the opposite exit.

Blackquill appeared to still be asleep. His arms were crossed in front of his chest, and a tan file holder had been draped over his face, explaining the noise: Apparently, the man was prone to snoring slightly, and the cardboard magnified the sound.

Apollo cleared his throat.

No reaction.

Another attempt, louder this time.

Blackquill emitted a grunt and turned to his side, his arms unfolding for one of them to settle underneath his head for comfort. Now, the file holder slid off his head, exposing his face, and it was almost shocking to behold that the prosecutor looked completely relaxed and peaceful. Before the defense attorney knew it, a small smile at the unfamiliar sight found its way onto his lips. In a sense, Blackquill's current state, alongside his frankness in their conversations, was an implicit confirmation of emerging trust, and he could not entirely suppress a hint of satisfaction at the fact that the man would completely let down his guard like this while in his presence.

Let him sleep for now. We still have some time before we get out, after all.

He would try once more to awaken his companion about twenty minutes before the doors opened, so he would have a chance to freshen up with what little they had, always speaking Blackquill did not wake up by himself prior to that point.

Apollo walked to the table and once again reached for the cards. Solitaire was actually beginning to feel comforting.

Fifty minutes later, the defense attorney once more stood in front of a particular reading alcove, wondering how to go about waking the still-sleeping prosecutor.

Clearing his throat had once again failed. So had coughing. So had parading around in front of Blackquill with increasingly louder steps.

There were only two options left: The Chords of Steel, or attempting to shake him awake. At the moment, Apollo was attempting to decide which one was less likely to get him eviscerated.

He's definitely not gonna be happy if I start yelling out of the blue, but who knows what sort of reflexes I'm gonna be subjected to if I touch him without warning…

One unknown quantity versus a known irritant. The former had to win.

Apollo hesitantly reached out towards Blackquill's shoulder and pushed slightly. The next moment, a large hand closed around his wrist, albeit with nowhere near as much force as it had applied in keeping the defense attorney's mouth shut two days ago.

"Your lack of prudence is beginning to concern me, Justice-dono."

The prosecutor's eyes were open a sliver, and the familiar smirk had made an appearance on his face.

"I just thought you'd prefer to be awake when we're let out of here." Apollo shrugged, his expression nonchalant; he had never so much as flinched, considering that he had braced himself for a much more violent reaction. "It's bad enough that we're looking a bit like something the cat dragged in, and I figured I'd at least spare you the indignity of a bunch of law students posting pictures of the sleeping Twisted Samurai online from their cell phones in 25 minutes…"

"… Indeed. Much obliged."

Blackquill let go of his wrist and straightened in the armchair as soon as the defense attorney took a step back. At some point during the night, the prosecutor's hair tie had come undone and vanished somewhere, and his long black hair now fell wildly over his shoulders.

"If you will excuse me for a moment… I shall contemplate how to address the mishap we have fallen prey to with our witless captors while I attempt to make myself presentable – as much as is possible, that is."

Apollo found himself smirking back at his fellow captive. "I do hope you'll let me say my piece to them, as well."

The prosecutor nodded before turning away. "Be my guest."

When the bailiffs in charge unlocked the west door to let the first wave of law students into the archive, they were more than a little surprised to be confronted with two attorneys in rumpled clothes and with near-identical grim expressions on their faces, which sported a few days' worth of stubble. The smaller one was the first to speak up.

"Ah, gentlemen. Think you might've forgotten something on Friday? Like, maybe, just maybe, making sure that this place was empty before locking up?!"

The taller one (Someone in the back of the group whispered frantically, "That's the Twisted Samurai, isn't it? Oh shi-") added with an unpleasant smirk, "Fret not, Justice-dono. I shall personally see to it that the person or persons responsible will suffer the consequences for their oversight. Additionally, we could always contemplate pressing charges. Wrongful imprisonment, reckless endangerment…"

Now the other man began to grin in a not-very-nice manner, as well. "Sounds like a plan to me… you guys know that we could've died from dehydration, right?"

"Indeed," the taller one agreed. "What utter imbecile sees fit to barricade the sole means of access to the facilities for any reason? We were forced to let ourselves in by alternate means; should the door have been damaged in the process, those responsible for our imprisonment will be held accountable for it, as well."

The smaller attorney shook his head in only partly feigned exasperation.

"Unbelievable, isn't it? Oh, and of course, our superiors will hear about this. Phoenix Wright and Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth – do those names ring any bells?"

A large hawk chose this exact moment to swoop through the door and settle on the taller man's right shoulder, making him appear even more fearsome than he already had as he stated, "I will peruse last week's schedule to find the names of the bailiffs in charge by the end of today – and I would suggest a tactical retreat to these individuals before I decide to invite them to a private conversation. Until then…"

The black-clad attorney shared a look with the smaller man in the red vest and pants, and they both began walking towards the exit at the same time. The crowd parted for them.

"What d'you say to Denny's? I could eat a stack of pancakes my own height just about now…"

"I would ask that you spare me any unnecessarily grotesque displays – although… at this point, I would slice my way through an army for a few cups of coffee."

"Ohhh yes, coffee sounds great…"

And before anyone else had a chance to say a word, the two men had turned a corridor corner and were out of sight.


Author's note: If you liked this story, but were hoping for something that was more pairing-centric (particularly since Simon/Apollo is quite rare)... I have written a sequel to this story called "Conference Conundrum," which cannot be posted here due to adult content (only one chapter keeps it from being suitable for this venue, for what it's worth, it's mostly a friends-to-lovers thing, but it's not one I can easily take out because there's also plot in it). You will be able to find it on my AO3 account within a few days of this chapter going up on both sites (for the link, see my profile). However, this story also works as a gen standalone if you want to leave off here! I hope you enjoyed, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!