Disclaimers: Rekka no Honou and its characters are copyrighted to their respective owners. No profit was gained from writing this, except for the amusement of the author and the people who would read this. Senada, however, is purely fictional and has nothing to do with the anime/manga series.
1: Headstart ---
Tokiya didn't like this. Not one bit.
He was sitting by his desk, sipping his cappuccino when his tyro-cum-assistant came rushing in, light brown hair was slightly mussed when it was supposed to be in a neat ponytail and her spectacles were hanging loosely by her blouse. It was palpable that she was rushing to beat the ticking arms of the clock hanging by the corner of the office while trying to look like it was an ordinary feat and failing miserably. He rolled his eyes at her nth tardiness.
Nope. No can do.
He checked his watch and arched an eyebrow.
"5 minutes earlier than your usual entrance, yet STILL late. What could be your reason this time?"
"I brought you doughnuts." She grinned lopsidedly, trying to avoid his wary stare. "Does that count?"
"No, it doesn't." he suppressed a slight simper. "Yuriko, you better watch it. I'm not going to save your ass if you lose a battle at court."
"I know, I know." She said, in a small huff, quickly setting down her bag and a mangled box of pastries by her desk just outside his workplace. "You'll thank me later, when you get the sudden crave for glucose, sucrose, fructose and maltose. Anyway," she hurried back to him, with a folder in hand, which she practically slammed into the glass surface, causing the stack of papers on it to shift.
"New case for you."
The remaining eyebrow joined his raised one. "What's this?"
Yuriko straightened her white polo and slacks before launching into what he foresaw to be a long speech. "Kirisawa Fuuko, 23 years old, graduate of a Biology course at the Tokyo University, currently taking up her masters at the said school, for a degree in the earth sciences. She's asking that you take over a family case of theirs. Her father is being charged with attempted murder and arson towards a 'Fujiwara' clan. Right now, they're scheduled for court meetings every other Tuesday of the month at 10 am in the morning. It's a long process because the alleged suspect claims that he is innocent and is ready to support his plea with substantial evidence. However," she finally closed the white folder and handed it to him. "The facts are a bit scattered and they need a lawyer that has more wit than the average Joe."
She said all of this very fast.
"How long has this case been here?" he asked, scanning the documents.
"About 3 weeks already."
"Today's Wednesday, and there's a court hearing next week?" Tokiya's face twisted into a frown. "Why are you only giving me this now?"
"It's not that simple. They've been searching for a good lawyer, however most of the ones they find are either too dumb, or too snobbish to pay attention to them. I know this case is simple, most probably one of your easier conquests, so I was hoping you'd take it. You did mention that you had nothing to do ever since you won that Tsukino indictment."
"So now you decided that I've been too bored and want me to help this little girl's father in court? And this is because..." he asked again, leaning forward and watching her with a slight scowl.
"Because you're one of the best lawyers here in Tokyo, and not to mention the most goddamned expensive," she muttered the last few words under her breath, " Listen, she needs our help. Her dad is facing serious trouble here. It's only right that we..."
"We? That's the first time I heard that pronoun. For the past 10 minutes, all you've been giving me is 'you'." Tokiya said, with evident sarcasm.
Yuriko sighed. "Look, she's helpless. She's a fresh graduate, with no sense of direction whatsoever. Her parent is faced with a lawsuit, which they assert to be a lie set up by one of her late grandfather's enemies. If no one helps her, her father could face serious penalties for a crime he didn't commit at all. In fact, he's at penitentiary status at the moment, so it's just Fuuko doing the research."
"And what makes you so sure that he isn't responsible for any crime?"
"Fine, argue with me. You're supposed to be on my side." She mocked a pout.
"If you're so passionate about this case, then why don't YOU handle it?" he countered.
She could detect a slight hint of irritation in his voice, which was a sign that usually told her to back off already. But her gut feeling had her this time. The young girl shook back her falling bangs and placed her hands on top of her superior's desk. "I think you should handle the job. You know more about these things. I'm only your apprentice after all, Mikagami-san."
He removed his glasses from his face and folded his arms. "In theory, you can already handle your own clients. I don't know why you bother to stick with me. And more so, I specialize in crime litigations, not charity cases."
"This isn't a charity case, and this has something to do with crime. A false crime." She stressed those three words, "She has money. And may I point out that with that comment you just made, you're starting to look like you value funds more than your clients."
"Am I supposed to value them?"
"Don't you?" she asked.
"Still cold-hearted, I see." Yuriko stiffened a smile. "No wonder Clarissa left you."
"Can we not go over my personal life?" Tokiya demanded, his blue eyes flashing coldly for a second. "What does Clarissa have to do with this? I thought we discussed that already, Yuriko. We deal with work, that's why you're here. I didn't train you to scrutinize every little detail of my relationships."
Short moments of awkward silence followed.
"Sorry." She bit her lip.
There was another a gap of silence.
Not wanting to issue another petty argument, he nodded, acknowledging her apology.
"So, how come you force 'platonic' relations upon yourself and your clients?"
He gave an inward sigh. Dealing with Yuriko was like handling an overexcited puppy. He didn't know how to react to her odd notions. Maybe he should hurry up with her papers and get her a job already with another law firm. Having her as an apprentice drains him from his much needed energy. Sometimes he felt like laughing, other times he felt like strangling her. But then again, she provided him with fresh amusement. But at questions like these...
Tokiya rolled his eyes. "Must we go over this again? It's against conduct to have any form of quixotic bond with any of your clients. I suppose you know that already, which would leave me to ask why you insist on probing me for answers..."
"I didn't mean THAT kind of answer. I mean, you treat your clients as...things. One you win the case, you shoo them off, then go back to your office to brood, like you always do."
"I don't see why it's necessary to form friendships with people who only seek for your skills at the courtroom. They hire me as their lawyer, I get the job done and that's it." He replied, flatly. "We're going off-topic again, Yuriko. Now, give me a few more reasons as to why I should pay attention to this..." he flipped through the folders his novice handed him. "Kirisawa."
Her face perked up. "You will help?"
"I didn't say that."
For the first time, he noticed that she was looking a little uncomfortable.
"Well, it's too late...you see..." she motioned to a figure standing outside the window.
His pale blue eyes narrowed. "What does that mean?"
Yuriko gave a nervous sort of laugh. "We...eell, I kinda brought her here."
"What?!" he stood up, abruptly, setting down his mug of coffee. "What gave you the idea--"
His words were cut short as Yuriko made a swift motion to pull a petite girl inside. Tokiya spotted a dash of purple for her hair and set his mouth in a firm line. She was looking just as surprised as he was, and was fidgeting a lot, not to mention on the verge of looking like she was about to cry or burst out laughing.
"Fuuko-san, meet Mikagami Tokiya. My boss and the one who's about to handle your case." Yuriko touched her arm gently and gave Tokiya a half-pleading look.
Tokiya would have thrown them both out of his office, had he not seen the groups of people staring at them from his glass window. He shot an 'I'm-going-to-kill-you' face at his assistant who managed to get him in a clump of future agitation, before tugging on the blinds to give them some privacy. By this time, Yuriko led the girl to a seat by his desk and managed to let out, quite hurriedly – she had probably sensed that she was about to get it – "Well, I'll be back later, after 10 minutes. Would you care for some doughnuts, Fuuko-san?"
The young girl shook her head politely while gazing at the tall man clad in a dark blue business suit in front of her.
Before Yuriko could close the door, Tokiya grabbed the handle. "You and I are going to have a serious talk later about a few policies, Ms. Senada." And he promptly shut it on her face. It took him another few seconds to compose himself. He drew a deep breath and ran his fingers through the silver strands that were loose from his ponytail. He was still mildly – no, greatly irked at the fact that his apprentice took the liberty of setting up a new case for him, without his consent. They really need to discuss the way things work around the real world of law. She can't go around, piling folders in front of every Tom, Dick and Harry she sees.
He glared at the curious ladies gathering by his doorway, before walking over to his desk and leaning against it.
"Nice office." The girl called Fuuko, remarked.
He studied her carefully before opening his mouth. Yuriko couldn't be more accurate than her description of 'fresh graduate'. It fitted this one perfectly. In fact, he would have just mistaken her for just a common teenager because of the denim jeans and simple, green shirt. There was a mop of deep plum on her head and deep cobalt orbs for her eyes.
"I mean, you really have a tidy desktop and the whole arrangement looks..."
"Bland." He smirked. "Please don't waste your time reminding me of my poor designing skills."
He was already used to Yuriko's constant nagging and complaining re his aesthetic expertise for he found little time to fix up the very room he'd been working in for 2 years already. There was a desk, his laptop, printer, 2 chairs for clients, a tall bookcase where he kept research materials and some plants, which his subordinate insisted on bringing in, to 'add color to the dull room'.
He really didn't care, anyway. Like most things, this was trivial.
"No, actually, I think that warm gray, red and dark blue complement each other. I like the way you set the wallpaper to match the carpet. And even though it's sparsely furnished, it looks quite tasteful." She replied, giving him a small smile of her own.
Tokiya reached for the folder Yuriko brought in and opened it. "Are you sure you're a biologist?"
"Yes." She answered, her blue eyes crinkling.
It was all very peachy, but he didn't want to waste any more time discussing the fine points of interior design with a natural scientist who had a flair for architectural matters. A headache, which began to form a few minutes ago, was now threatening to develop into a throbbing mess and all he wanted to do was recline and sip his coffee without having to worry about anything else.
He sat down in his chair and placed his two hands in front of him, eager to get everything over and done with. "I understand that you talked to my assistant regarding your father's plight. Now, I honestly have to tell you that she only gave me the details a few minutes ago so I'm still a bit unfamiliar with your case. Usually, I take clients at least 2 weeks before their court hearing to give them and myself ample time for preparations, extra research..."
"I understand." She responded, her tone suddenly somber, which was far from the amused one he was hearing earlier. "I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't just interrupt you in the middle of your busy schedule but Senada-san brushed it all away, reassuring me that it was quite alright and that you'll only be glad to help me. So I decided to give it a try."
"She said that?"
"If I remember correctly, she did."
He placed a hand on his forehead where the dull ache had already began to pinch his nerve endings.
Maybe a scolding would be more appropriate for that girl.
"Mikagami-san? If it's really too much trouble...I mean I'd understand perfectly if you have a pending case to take care of or if you think this won't work out because it doesn't meet your requirements. I don't want to force anything. It's just that I've been trying to look for someone who could help me, because apparently, I can't do all of the investigation alone. There are terms and procedures which I can't grasp since I never really delved into this genre. But I'm willing to step out already if I'm becoming a bother." Fuuko bit her lip and stared at her lap. "I know that you're the one of the top lawyers in Tokyo, and that you're probably needed in more important places. I won't take it against you."
What? Why does everything have to do with me being a top lawyer?
Tokiya made a quick and mental deliberation over it. He didn't have any pending cases for the moment. His weekend was essentially work-free already. Technically, he could already take her in as his newest client and begin working on the problem. That policy regarding the 3-week requirement was something he could disregard easily. From the corner of his eye, he caught a tear, which dared to roll down the girl's cheek. Yuriko was staring at him from the door, mouthing.
He ignored her first.
"I better get going then." Fuuko stood up, cheerfully. A big contrast to what he was seeing a few seconds ago. "I still have a few more places to go. Maybe I could take my chances there. Thank you, for at least listening to me. I'm sorry to have taken your time---"
"Come back tomorrow." He found himself saying.
What am I doing?
"Come back tomorrow." He repeated. "Give me some time to look up your father's case, and we'll talk about what to do."
"So...you're...agreeing?" her eyes widened in disbelief, but at the same time, her face brightened and showed the complete opposite of what it was mirroring when she first stepped into his office.
Tokiya, you are a first-class idiot. You're allowing yourself to take charge of something you've never done before. Congratulations and good luck.
"Yes." He held out his hand. "Kirisawa-san."
"What made you take it? Did you see the look on her face? She was glowing with joy, by the time she stepped out of your office." Yuriko pressed on excitedly, when her boss called in for her, despite the lingering scowl on his face. I mean, I thought there was a slight possibility of you accepting her but I also considered a lot of other things you would ordinarily think of when it comes to---"
"What are you up to?" he asked, sternly.
"What do you mean?" she asked, in her most innocent voice.
"You know what I mean." Tokiya shot her a piercing glare, refusing to be sidetracked.
"Listen, I just thought that it would be a good idea if..."
"You brought her into my office, without me even agreeing to help?" Tokiya finished for her, with a cocked eyebrow – his trademark expression. "Even if I do take the person in as my client, you can't keep on doing this. It reflects how you would act when faced with more serious situations. Sooner or later, you're going to work for another company who will have senior officers that don't take these little games as lightly as I am. You can get into trouble."
"Like getting fired, for instance."
It was only now that she noticed the gravity of her actions.
"I'm sorry okay? She really needed help. And I felt that you might have not agreed to do it if I didn't bring her in.."
The voice at the back of his head told him that she had a point.
Would he have accepted her request, if Yuriko didn't introduce them?
Come to think of it, what made him say yes so quickly?
Oh yeah. She does it again.
She writes another tofu fic before even finishing the others.
Gomeeeeeeeeeeeeen. Um, I'll prolly lose interest in this one too. Hee. Kidding. Let's hope that I don't, coz I really want to accomplish something before my summer ends. This fic idea was created when I had nothing to do except twirl my hair and think of Michael Rosenbaum in all of his delicious, appealing, Lex-icating (yeah, is there such a word?) glory. Oh come on, he IS hot, doncha all think so? (At this point, it is pretty obvious that the author is truly, madly, and deeply in love with the Smallville series. She worships it.
Jin: Whee! Smallville!
Michael Rosenbaum: ...
I made a Harry Potter reference up there. It's a single line and I do hope someone can spot it. It's quite easy actually. :D For questions, violent reactions, cabbages or tomatoes, please feel free to drop a review or email me.