Title: The Justice
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Pairing(s): eventual Atobe/Tezuka, Sanada/Oshitari (with some past Atobe/Oshitari and Sanada/Tezuka, as well as a bit of OT4 in the future ;) ), some Akutsu/Sengoku, Yagyuu/Niou, Fuji/Kawamura and others on the side.
Genre: AU, romance, some drama and some humour
Rating: Mature (R-NC17)
Warnings: it's a lawyer AU, so it mentions crimes: murder, rape, drugs, others; also, some swearing; sexual content in later chapters (will be warned for accordingly)
Disclaimer: I don't own The Prince of Tennis manga, anime or any other media related to the original work. I am not associated with the authors. I make no profit writing this story; I'm doing it for fun.
Summary: Atobe Keigo. Oshitari Yuushi. Sanada Genichirou. Tezuka Kunimitsu. Four men, four points of view, two opposite sides of the coin called The Law. Yet, there is only one truth, one Justice. In the courtroom, battles will be fought in order to find that truth. Atobe/Tezuka, Sanada/Oshitari, lawyer AU.
A/N: I think I've never written anything like this before. This fic is going to be at least five chapters of around 8k-words length, plus three (or more) bonuses. I have it all planned out.
*Will be updated semi-regularly (every two-three weeks. Sorry, I'm a working adult and don't have nearly enough time on my hands to write as much as I'd want to.).
*I know very little about law, and even less about law in Japan; my knowledge of any procedures comes from reading a lot of John Grisham books. Also, whatever I know about law in Japan, I know from Wiki. If anything is incorrect (as it most likely is), please bear with me; the fic is AU, so I hope it's okay if not everything is accurate, even if I try to do my research :).
*Please enjoy the story and be kind enough to tell me what you think :) It won't make my writing faster, but it will make me a very happy writer indeed.
It's past ten and I'm still at work, mused Atobe Keigo, loosening his tie with a dramatic sigh, which didn't help much, since the room was hot and breathing was hard. The air conditioning was broken again and the young lawyer had positively no idea how that was possible. Last week, sick with the constant need to repair the mechanism, he'd had a completely new air conditioning installed in the whole building. Yet, it was broken again. Atobe suspected diversion.
He looked at the mass of documents he had yet to look through. This was about to turn into another long all-nighter – which he was, by the way, charging a hefty amount for; he pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to concentrate on the work ahead.
The case was complicated, to say the least. His client had been accused of rape and murder of a little girl, even though there was essentially no proof; Atobe supposed it was logical, since the man had spent twenty five years in prison for a similar offence (omitting the "little girl" part) and was let out early on probation, for good behaviour. According to the jail's psychologist, Atobe's client no longer posed a threat to society, because his rehabilitation was complete and successful.
Atobe just had to prove it in court, which was going to be difficult. Of course, he didn't doubt his prowess; he was one of the best lawyers in the country, even at the humble age of twenty six, and he belonged to the famous Atobe Corporation – the law firm founded by his Grandfather, the legendary defence attorney who had never lost a single case. Even now, the lawyers hired by Atobe Corporation carried on with that tradition of never losing, and not because they refused to take difficult tasks, oh no.
Spending each waking hour working on a case, giving up on sleep and living off of coffee and energy drinks, coming up with strategies that cover every possible outcome of the trial, every little aspect of the testimonies of witnesses and experts – that kind of dedication was the key to Atobe Corporation's success and its inviolable position.
So, Atobe Keigo, like every other lawyer in the firm, worked himself hard to achieve his goal, because he was a part of the big mechanism triggered by loyalty, ambition and insatiable greed.
... there were exceptions, though.
'Atobe, there ya are. Been looking for ya,' said one of The Exceptions, Oshitari Yuushi, privately Atobe's best friend (if Atobe even had time for something as trivial as friendships; he seriously doubted it these days), entering the conference room that Atobe was sure he'd locked from the inside. He didn't want to know. He definitely didn't.
Oshitari had been his friend since long before they started working in Atobe Corporation; to be honest, they'd known each other since junior high and had been kind of inseparable since then. This was actually hard to believe, because the two were total opposites – while Atobe was mostly serious and honestly hard-working, if not a bit over-dramatic, Oshitari was the laziest bum that walked the planet, and his ultimate goal seemed to be ditching as much work as possible and dumping it on others while still earning his fair share of money.
He was unusually good at that, too. His charm worked wonders on the female and male assistants alike and, for reasons only known to them, they took it upon themselves to "do everything for Oshitari-sama's smile".
'Lose the accent when you're talking to ore-sama,' said Atobe in a rather unfriendly tone, which was supposed to convey the message of "get lost before I make you". But Oshitari was never partial to subtleties. He was by far the most troublesome person Atobe's ever had a chance of meeting.
It must had been part of this whole "being from Osaka" business.
'Yeah, yeah, whatever,' Oshitari shrugged his shoulders, ignoring Atobe's glare like he almost always did (the almost referred to the rare times when he thought not ignoring Atobe's glare might be better for own his well-being; usually, he didn't have much of a self-preservation instinct, though). 'Jiroh doesn't wanna take that Akutsu guy's case. Says he's scared. Oh, and he has to prepare better for that case against Marui.' There was a definite note of amusement in Oshitari's tone as he said that, but he put on a poker face that annoyed the hell out of Atobe no matter what.
'Isn't that Akutsu the one I said we were to decline?' Asked Atobe, raising an elegant eyebrow in a "hollier-than-thou" fashion that served only to amuse Oshitari, instead of showing him his proper place. The heir to the Atobe Corporation could already feel a major headache coming.
'Yeah, well, Fuji made us take it,' Oshitari explained in his typical "I don't really care" manner. 'Something about that guy being his boyfriend's childhood pal or whatever,' he pushed some of the documents from the table Atobe was working on and actually sat there, making himself comfortable. He was about to take hold of Atobe's cup of coffee, too, but Atobe quickly removed it from his reach. 'Anyway, what do we do?'
'Give it to Sengoku,' decided Atobe, massaging his temples. He definitely had to get rid of this nuisance soon, or he might become homicidal. 'He's free now. Also, he's stupid, cheerful and extremely lucky. He'll work out a good deal for the Akutsu guy. Surely, Fuji doesn't hope for more, he's mostly sane after all.'
Oshitari hopped off the table with a smirk. 'Consider it done, boss,' he said, giving Atobe a crooked salute. The nerve of him. 'Don'cha overwork yourself, though. Ya still gonna win, as always. Even though the prosecuting attorney will be Tezuka Kunimitsu.'
Atobe frowned, this being the only sign of his surprise at the information. So that was it. He was finally going to face a real challenge in court – the only man he actually considered as a threat, as a worthy opponent, a true rival, even if he's only met him once, and not even in the courtroom.
They were still at their first year of university back then; one of their courses consisted solely of watching the trials (live or on video alike) and discussing them. One of the trials brought on a particularly heated discussion; the case was very complicated, the trail of evidence intricate and clearly pointing to the culprit. The line of defence was lacking, the defence attorneys didn't even try hard enough, and of course, the outcome was no surprise.
Their professor introduced to them a group of students from the Waseda University who had also come to watch the trial; they were supposed to discuss what they'd seen, analyse it and come to conclusions everyone in both groups could agree to.
That didn't happen.
'To be honest,' started Atobe, always the first to generously present the world with his magnificent opinions, even when he was twenty (because age didn't matter when one was as perfect as himself), 'the defence didn't even try to make a point. They missed a lot of holes in the prosecution, as well as ignored the fact that the eye-witness wasn't certain that the accused was actually the offender. Furthermore, an alibi was mentioned, but not used to the defender's advantage, on the account of it being confirmed by "several family members only" - which leads us to believe that family members do not count as believable witness'. That being the case, the defence attorney should have demanded to dismiss the main witness of prosecution, who was, as we learned during her testimony, the defender's ex-wife, as well as the victim's sister. It was possible that she acted out of spite for the husband who left her, and lied in court about hearing him threatening his sister,' Atobe paused to look around the room triumphantly. 'All in all, if I were in the defender's position, I would find myself a new defence attorney and bring on an appellation. Chance is, his innocence can be proven by an attorney who knows what he's doing.'
'These are little details in the sea of evidence against the defender,' somebody spoke up. Atobe looked over at the man who dared call his claims "little details". He was not surprised to see it was nobody from his group. Instead, his opponent was a Waseda student, slightly taller than him, but of lithe build. He was staring Atobe down intensely from behind his glasses and there was something in that gaze that made Atobe want to fight him until the end, until one or both of them could not fight anymore. 'The DNA samples extracted from the sperm found on the corpse, as well as the fingerprints in the immediate vicinity, show us without doubt that the defender was there on the night when the murder took place – which he denied – and that he had a, consensual or otherwise, encounter with the victim. Which, as we have all heard, he also denied until presented with the evidence. The murder weapon – a decorative wakizashi with a recently sharpened blade – has been proved to come from the murderer's personal collection. Of course, no fingerprints but his own have been discovered on the weapon. In this case, I am fairly positive that the real murderer has been convicted. The judge has dealt justice on the victim's behalf.'
'Well, while it is true that the weapon does come from the defender's collection, we cannot simply assume he is the murderer. Being an ancient history teacher and owning a collection of ancient swords is not very uncommon. Do we accuse anybody who collects potentially dangerous objects of murder? And what about murderers who take lives by means of strangulation? Does it mean owning a pair of hands automatically makes a person a future murderer? If that is the case, we should all go back to the courtroom and confess before the judge to our crimes. Oh, but wait – the judge, as I clearly saw with my own eyes, also has a pair of hands. Does that make also the judge a murderer?' Atobe drawled, purposefully making his tone more than slightly ironic. He heard chuckles from both his companions and the Waseda students.
However, his opponent wasn't to be deterred. He still wouldn't break eye contact, even when he knew he was being made fun of.
'You will make an excellent defence attorney,' he said finally. 'You serve us speeches with no meaning, caring nothing about the truth, about justice, but only about proving your point; it doesn't matter to you that the evidence points to one solution and one solution only. It doesn't matter to you that the defender finally admitted to being guilty. What does matter is that you could prove the innocence of a guilty man. Law is but a plaything for you, isn't it?'
Atobe chose not to dignify the question with a reply; however, he thought it very important to stress out his point. 'In Japan, ninety-nine per-cent of the suspects admit their guilt. Because the prosecution is given a lot of power, also in the matter of accepting and declining materials collected as evidence, the defence can not do much. This causes the suspects to confess, even if they are not guilty – they can not prove their innocence, especially in a society that hurries to judge a person even before a verdict is decided, but an admission of guilt can serve as both a way to receive a softer sentence, and as a gesture of taking responsibility for a crime, even if they did not commit it.'
'Then again,' said Atobe's opponent, a triumphant glint in his intense, cool gaze, 'isn't that what all the humans should do? Take responsibility for their actions. One does not end up a suspect for innocence. There is always a reason, a sin to atone for. A crime, be it heavy or light, that somebody has to pay for.'
With that, the bespectacled student finally looked away from Atobe and simply left, never waiting for a reply, which made Atobe furious.
His name was Tezuka Kunimitsu.
Later, Atobe learned that Tezuka chose the path of a prosecuting attorney. He'd never expected otherwise, of course, but for some reason, it made him excited, even if only slightly. The person that refused to back down from a challenge he presented, the man whose views on the same things varied so much, yet in the end, they both seemed to believe in Justice. Tezuka, as a prosecutor, would seek justice for the victims of crimes and their families, fighting and giving the fight his all to punish those who disobey the law and hurt others. Atobe, as a defence attorney, would seek justice for those wrongly charged, he would work day and night to find a way to prove their innocence.
They were natural enemies.
Atobe had had plenty of experience in court, acting as the defence attorney, pointing out the more and less obvious gaps in testimonies, abolishing poor evidence and eventually proving that his clients were not guilty of the crimes they were suspected of. He'd faced many prosecutors, but he'd mostly ignored them, because in the face of his magnificence and prowess, they cowered and couldn't put up serious fights.
This time, however, he knew was going to be different. He couldn't wait.
Tezuka Kunimitsu... I'm going to crush you.
Tezuka Kunimitsu had a headache.
It was very late, or early, however one wanted to look at it; some time past four in the morning. Tezuka still had not left his office for the day (night?) and he didn't think he would have a chance to go home for many nights to come. At least until the day of the first hearing. After that first encounter with the defender and his attorney, he would probably grow peaceful enough to sleep for a few hours.
For now, he had too many things to take care of. He was assigned head prosecutor for this case; that meant a lot of trust was placed on him. He did not want to betray that trust, so he had to give it his best. Which he always did, anyway.
In his opinion, the case was rather simple: upon his release from prison, the defender felt the rush of freedom and invincibility that led him to grab a twelve year old girl, have his way with her and silence her so that she wouldn't tell anyone. He left nothing on the site of the crime that could point to him, but there were a lot of promising testimonies from various witnesses.
Tezuka knew he would win the case, of course. He always did. Even criminals had some remains of a sense of justice and eventually, after some prodding in the right direction, they would confess, because they knew it was the right thing to do. Tezuka never refrained from demanding the harshest punishments, when the criminals themselves were ready to atone for their crimes.
... although, he had to admit to himself, it was only partially true. He had no time to ponder on it, though. Not now.
The reason of his headache – and his unusual pre-trial nervousness – was the fact that he'd learned the name of the defence attorney who was going to represent the defender. Atobe Keigo of Atobe Corporation, the high and mighty, stuck-up, foolish man who either was stupid enough to trust that his clients really were as spotless as he made them out to be in court, or enough of a hypocrite not to care if they were guilty, as long as they paid him. Having met that man once, Tezuka was actually inclined to believe the former option; he remembered how convinced Atobe was of his rightfulness when they discussed that trial years ago. Of course, back then, he suspected Atobe was just naïve.
None of it mattered; as long as he was prepared, as long as he made sure his line of prosecution wasn't lacking in any detail, he would win. Because that was what Atobe did: he latched onto small details that he noticed with some incredible insight that he seemed to possess, and he drew attention to them, making others believe the details were actually important matters. That's how he'd won all his cases. He spotted and exploited weaknesses.
Tezuka would make sure he had no weakness to exploit.
A sudden noise outside his office – something that sounded suspiciously like a yell, followed by a rather loud "thud" - brought him out of his reverie. He sighed, feeling this was going to be a very long day – night? - indeed. With another sigh (and a yawn that he refused to acknowledge), he exited his office to deal with the matters at hand.
'Momoshiro, Kaidoh, either the two of you will cease the noise, or I will make you run laps around the building,' said Tezuka when the two trainees assigned to him wouldn't stop their incessant arguing. It was downright annoying and if anything, it added to his already huge headache. Why, in the name of all that's holy, did he agree to take in trainees? And, while he was at that, why wasn't Sanada assigned any? They did work in the same building, in neighbouring rooms, and Sanada was as competent as Tezuka himself was; why, then, was he the only one forced to suffer?
'Eh... boss? You wouldn't actually make us run laps, right?' Asked Momoshiro, the louder and more cheerful trainee who, as of right that moment, was on his way to a quick death. Quick, but also extremely painful. 'That wouldn't be cool, not cool at all!'
'Shut up, idiot,' hissed Kaidoh, the quiet and gloomy trainee, who seemed to trigger Momoshiro's temperamental bursts. Which also made him a candidate for the death row.
'Actually,' Tezuka said, removing his glasses before massaging his temples. 'Momoshiro, Kaidoh, twenty laps around the building. I will inform the guard to make sure you run them properly. If I hear you're slacking, I won't sign your probation papers.'
The two looked at each other, at Tezuka, at each other again, at Tezuka again – and decided this was no joke. So they took off to fulfil their task, throwing insults at one another like some middle school kids.
This was too much at four in the morning, Tezuka decided and resolved to have at least a half an hour of peace. Returning to his office, he locked the door, shut the window-blinds and removed the tons of documents littering his comfortable, leather sofa, the only luxury he'd indulged in. He lied down, discarding his glasses on the floor where he wouldn't step on them upon getting up, and closed his eyes, intending to take a short nap.
When he woke up, it was five, at least that was what the clock on his desk told him. He wondered how it was possible that after less than an hour of sleep he was this well-rested; was it the magic of his leather sofa, or something else?... As he put on his glasses, he realised that his headache was gone. This was clearly a miracle, or...
With a sense of dread, he reached for his cell phone. He almost swore. He had twenty six unanswered calls (he didn't bother to check who they were from; most probably, it was Sanada panicking about his whereabouts, and Momoshiro or Kaidoh doing the same) and it was five o'clock alright. Five o'clock PM.
He was preparing for what could prove to be the hardest case in his life, against the most difficult opponent he'd ever encountered, and he'd just wasted almost thirteen hours, sleeping soundly and ignoring the whole world.
True, he was well-rested, with a fresh mind and ready to take on the world (as his senpai at the university used to say after having slept through the entire lecture), but the hours he'd lost, he could not retrieve. Which meant he had no more time to waste.
He turned on the lights and unlocked the door. Then, he collected some of the documents from the floor and concentrated on work; the general outline of the prosecution was almost complete, but he had to be sure he didn't leave out any details.
Usually, he accepted help from others as something useful. This time, though, he felt it wouldn't be appropriate. Because he was going to battle Atobe Keigo, he had to prepare himself for this fight alone. If he gave it his best, it was going to prove the most intoxicating experience of his life...
Intoxicating?... What am I even thinking...
He shook his head, willing the unwanted thoughts away. He was not going back to that. He had important matters to take care of here. He could allow himself the leisure of improper fantasies later, when the case was over, won and done with. Since when did he ever act this laid-back about important things, anyway? Something was wrong with him.
He suspected a diversion of some kind, really.
There was a knock on his door, a very characteristic one that Tezuka would have recognized without fail even if he'd lost his mind (which, by the way, he was sure was slowly happening to him). Then, without waiting for his answer, the visitor entered his office, actually strolling in like he owned the place – or like he was an oversized, bulky and grumpy bear. And he was one, too.
'Sanada,' Tezuka greeted, not even bothering to rise his head from the document he pretended to be completely immersed in. He knew how the other man hated when he did that – which was precisely why he kept doing it. He didn't care if it made him a petty bastard; he just didn't like Sanada. And Sanada felt the same about him. 'What brings you here?'
'Where were you?' Asked Sanada, with no sign of anything more than his normal irritation at life in his voice. 'The door was closed and you didn't answer your phone.'
'I was... working,' lied Tezuka, almost smoothly enough. He was aware Sanada wouldn't buy it. He didn't care much, though. 'I locked my door and put my phone on silent mode so that nobody would disturb me. I have an important case in a few days, after all, as opposing to a certain individual I know of.'
'Your brats, it seems, were worried about you. They toured the hospitals in the area and, when you weren't there, they tried to break down your door. I'm surprised you didn't notice, no matter how invested in work you were,' Sanada let his gaze rest on the empty sofa that still had a vaguely Tezuka-shaped dent in it's upholstery. Tezuka noticed, but didn't react in any way.
'If you have no business with me, would you care to leave? I happen to be busy,' he said softly. Remember, Tezuka: if you ignore it long enough, it will go away. Probably.
'I've brought you some more documents. It's a summary of the ways that Atobe guy works. If you learn his methods well enough, he will not be able to surprise you,' replied Sanada gruffly, handing him a thick folder. 'Everything is in there – the cases he took part in, the cases he led, everything listed, analysed and described.'
'... thank you,' Tezuka muttered, because such a big help from someone who hated him as much as Sanada did deserved at least a little gratitude.
'It's nothing,' said Sanada darkly. 'Just don't lose against him.'
Of course I won't lose, thought Tezuka after Sanada left him all alone with the tons of documents in his office again. I won't get careless again like I did today. I'm going to give it my all and win.
Oshitari Yuushi was hungry.
It was a rather common state for him to be in; he was actually really happy that his best friend happened to be someone as rich as Atobe Keigo, because otherwise, even his own, quite fitting and satisfying salary might not have been enough to sate his hunger. During high-school and then at the university, pals used to call him a "bottomless pit". He figured they were right.
His miraculous metabolism worked to his favour, though, and no matter how much he stuffed himself with various foods, he didn't gain a single pound. Which was very good, because otherwise Atobe might have fired him on the offence of "sullying the company's image". Or something ridiculous like that. To be completely honest, it never ceased to amaze Oshitari that Atobe hadn't fired him yet. He certainly was asking for it.
But now, he was hungry and something had to be done about it. Normally, he would bother Atobe until his friend ordered him some take-out from his favourite high-class restaurant, but he had a nagging suspicion that right now, it wouldn't work as effectively.
Atobe was too busy with his case against Tezuka Kunimitsu. Oshitari didn't get the obsession. Oh, he did remember the discussion the two had had years ago, at least he remembered there was one; but that was when they were just fresh fishes at the university. Who the hell cared for some student from another school who had a different opinion? Apparently, Atobe did. Maybe it had something to do with the heir's enormous ego that rarely allowed for him to occupy areas smaller than conference rooms. Yeah, probably.
Although, if Oshitari recalled correctly, that Tezuka guy was rather good looking. He didn't think looks alone could keep someone like Atobe interested for this long (after all, couldn't the heir have anybody he wanted at any given time, himself included?), but they certainly added to the general impression Tezuka had left on Atobe.
Really, now. He was hungry. His mood was going downhill, along with his will to do any work (which was already low to begin with). And he was actually somewhat free, with no important case to work on right now. Only some woman accused of beating up her husband half to death with a frying pan when she'd found traces of lipstick on his shirt's collar. Too bad for her, it was her own lipstick. And even worse, the husband had a terrifying mother that decided to go to court to seek justice. Whatever.
Oshitari didn't think it could be any trouble at all. Most of the Japanese society had one thought when it came to married couples: they should resolve everything by themselves. Mothers-in-law should keep out, most definitely. Of course, things could go wrong if a competent prosecutor was put on the case, but Oshitari considered himself too much of a natural genius of the lawyering world to be bothered by such details.
He called Atobe.
'Yo, sweetie-pie, I'm gonna go grab me some lunch. Want something?' He asked in the best imitation of a woman's voice he could muster. Which was quite poor. Exactly what he was aiming for.
'Oshitari. I would advise you to approach the nearest window, open it and jump, but then again, I would have to call the cleaning service and explain to the press what happened. You're not worthy of so much trouble,' replied Atobe in a tone only slightly colder than usual. He must have been very, very tired. And easily irritated.
Oshitari wasn't a cruel bastard, though, no matter how much he loved getting on Atobe's nerves. He decided to let this one opportunity slide. He was sure that before the big trial, he'd still have a lot of chances to make his best friend's life difficult.
'Chill, man. I'll bring you back a muffin,' he promised before hanging up; okay, he couldn't deny himself this one bit of pleasure. Atobe hated when anyone hanged up on him, depriving him of the last word in the conversation. Tough luck, Atobe.
It was not before he left the building that Oshitari decided to check his funds and discovered the rather disappointing fact – he only had some change, because his wallet was still on his desk twenty floors away from him. And his almost legendary laziness wouldn't let him go back and get it. Especially since Atobe was somewhere in there and could, out of sheer spite, force him to work some. That would be most unwelcome.
Where could he eat a lot for the ridiculously small amount that he was in possession of? He looked around and sighed in defeat. The area was littered with office buildings, belonging to great corporations, both in private hands (like Atobe Corporation) and belonging to the country. Of course there was no place there for a little back-alley shop that could serve him... kimchi?
Right between two of the most modern, tallest sky-scrapers in the area, there was a shabby little Korean restaurant. Normally, Oshitari wouldn't even look it's way, but this was not a normal situation; plus, the big menu on a yellow cardboard in one of the windows said he had enough money for a big helping of kimchi. And he kind of almost liked kimchi. So, of course he decided to try it out (and at this point, he could probably only be deterred if he'd found out they based their recipes on cockroach broth or something).
The restaurant looked much better inside than it did from the outside; instead of shabby, it was tidy and very cosy. There were four tables, each secluded in it's own way, so that the guests could have some privacy in the small space; and the man at the counter appeared downright great when he offered Oshitari a double helping for the same price, since he was a first-time customer.
The bespectacled genius paid for his meal at the counter and chose a table to sit at. Not that he had much to choose from; the other three were busy, all of them occupied by men in suits much like his own (although he liked to believe that his own looked much cooler simply because of his person inside it). He must have misjudged the place. With such customers, it probably wasn't as bad as he'd thought.
A man entered the shop, and Oshitari instantly thought he'd met him somewhere before. He had no idea why he'd thought that; his mind helpfully supplied that maybe it was because the man was handsome. And completely his type - tall, manly and serious, as opposing to a certain drama queen heir he was forced to deal with on daily basis.
The man ordered something and paid before looking around and noticing there was no free table. He didn't seem to be very bothered by the fact; quite the opposite, after a moment of weighing his options, the man probably reached a conclusion – and directed his steps to Oshitari's table.
'Mind if I join you?' He asked. Oshitari thought he recognized the timbre of his voice, but he still had no inkling as to where he could've heard it. 'This table is the only one with just one person occupying it.'
'Nah, I don't mind at all,' replied Oshitari, giving the man a bright smile. A bright smile that went unanswered – or, to put it bluntly, ignored, which made the bespectacled attorney completely revise his opinion of the somewhat-familiar stranger. He gave the man an offended look as he was sitting down, not intending to say one more word to him ever again.
His offended look got noticed and even warranted a reaction: a raised eyebrow. So Oshitari did the only thing that came to his mind – he stuck his tongue out like a pre-school kid (almost - he didn't stick it out all the way, because he had a tongue piercing he didn't want the outside world to see. Atobe would positively castrate him with a spoon for ruining the reputation of the company). Well, he didn't care what the other man thought of him. It's not like they'd meet again. And if they did, tough luck, whatever.
A cute and extremely shy waitress brought him his order; she smiled at him gently, but ran away when he smiled back. Oshitari couldn't really blame her. Not many girls were able to withstand his awesomeness. Still smiling, he looked at his food.
And then, he grinned like a maniac, before promptly digging in. Oh gods. This not only had to be the biggest helping of kimchi he'd ever seen... this was actually the most delicious food he could recall ever eating. How the hell could he had lived without knowing about this little restaurant which offered such godly kimchi? It was so going to become his regular eating place!
He hadn't even liked kimchi all that much. But this was too awesome. Something about the taste made him want to savour every bite, instead of wolfing down the meal like he usually did. It was as if he weren't actually a busy lawyer, but a person with all the time in the world to sit casually in the small shop and enjoy his food.
He almost didn't notice when the annoying guy sitting with him got his own food, but because the table wasn't very big, the other plate got into his line of vision. It looked the same as his own kimchi, but the helping, while still big enough, was considerably smaller than his own. Ah, yes, the double helping for first-time customers.
He wished he could always be a first-time customer.
Finding out that his food had not only deliciously cooked meat, but some well-spiced tuna as well, Oshitari decided he'd never been happier in his life. Oh, he was going to buy the restaurant and make them cook only for him. He didn't need any of Atobe's high-class, overpriced places for stuck-ups. This here was so much better. Maybe he hadn't exactly been a big fan of kimchi before, but now he was.
'You look genuinely happy,' his table companion said and only then did Oshitari notice that he was being watched. 'The food is to your liking? Make sure you tell Mr Kim on your way out. He'll be delighted and will always make your helpings extra-big if you compliment it enough.'
Oshitari swallowed what he had in his mouth before replying (because otherwise, he might get called a pig – something Atobe frequently called him with a disgusted expression on his face), 'Really? Woah, thanks for the advice. I'll be sure to do that,' he smiled brightly. Maybe not everything was lost. Maybe the other man wasn't that bad. Even if he was rather rude for completely not falling to his knees at Oshitari's feet when he smiled. Because he totally should. 'How can such an amazing place be so little known, anyway? I've worked here for over a year, but only just found it.' He asked, curious; he figured somebody who'd known the place before him could have an idea.
'In truth, I don't know. I've been referred by somebody from work, who seems to have found it by accident. I believe Mr Kim just really doesn't want to expand the shop. He enjoys getting to know his customers, which would be impossible in a big, famous restaurant,' explained the man. Oshitari really enjoyed his deep voice. Which he'd heard somewhere before. He was sure of it.
'Why would he enjoy getting to know the customers? Aren't they all a bunch of boring lawyers?' Asked Oshitari with a little smirk. By saying it like this, he indicated he didn't associate himself with the boring people; he considered himself as a highly fascinating individual.
'How are lawyers boring?' Countered the man with a question of his own. 'We live our days, fighting each other in court and beyond, battling for the sake of people who either can't do it by themselves, or pay us enough to make it worth our effort. Mr Kim likes to hear about it, because even though we aren't supposed to talk about our clients, we still do; this job would stifle us if we couldn't tell somebody from the outside what it's really about.'
Oshitari supposed that he didn't feel this way because he was much too laid back about his own work. He wondered if he'd ever had a case he'd really taken seriously; he doubted it. His talent and quick wit made it possible to win every court-case he'd had, even when he wasn't fully prepared. He rather liked it that way.
'I've got a friend who doesn't talk much about his cases even to me, and we work together,' he said, grinning at the thought of Atobe, who was most likely still compiling some boring stuff for the case against Tezuka. 'He's practically obsessed. He hasn't left the conference room for days, he inhales coffee and looks like a panda with those circles under his eyes,' he laughed softly and was pleased to learn that this warranted a smile. The other man was even more handsome when he smiled.
'I know a person like that, too. Since he's learned his next trial will be against someone he considers his rival – and they have only met once, years ago, mind you – he's been locked up in his office, making sure he has the most perfect indictment ever created for the purpose of one case,' said the man, shaking his head. 'My other co-workers seem to think it's not as much rivalry on his part as it is a rather giant crush, developed during university and never really gone. I think it's his business to worry, not anyone else's.'
Oshitari didn't think the man liked his co-workers – along with the obsessed one with a crush on his rival (which, to him, sounded kind of awfully familiar) – very much. Which was all for the best. He enjoyed himself a little challenge once in a while.
'So, you're a prosecutor?' He asked, totally carefree, as he searched his plate for another piece of meat. Or tuna. But it really seemed he only had cabbage and chilli left. Oh well. He liked chilli.
'Yes. I figured you would have realised that by now, Mr Oshitari, since we have already met once, two weeks ago on the conference with the judges,' said the man, making Oshitari blink in confusion. What? 'My name is Sanada Genichirou. And I will be your opponent during the trial that starts in less than a week. Be sure to come prepared.'
Oshitari choked on a chilli pepper.
Sanada Genichirou really liked his work. He didn't treat it as a mission against the evil and corrupted world – that was what Tezuka did – but he did know that by doing his best, he helped create something good – justice. Contrary to his co-worker, though, he didn't think justice always came in the form of punishing the defenders, regardless of their guilt; sometimes, he felt good when he lost a case, because during it's course he'd learned without doubt that the defender was innocent.
This, he thought, was justice – punishing the guilty and defending the innocent. This was what the prosecutors and the defence attorneys were for: to work their hardest in order to find out the truth.
Tezuka, he supposed, didn't care much about the truth, as long as he could execute his little vengeance against the world in his line of work. He'd never lost a case; Sanada saw with his own eyes what Tezuka's relentlessness could do to suspects, who usually broke down and confessed after only one trial against the vindictive prosecutor. They weren't always guilty. Tezuka didn't think it mattered.
That man was a crusader. Had always been.
He settled to work on his own case. The woman who beat up her husband with a frying pan served to amuse him, really; when he'd read about the incident in the newspapers, he thought this was completely ridiculous. And then, he learned that he was to lead the case and fight for the man's rights in court. That's when it stopped being very funny.
He had to admit, though, that Oshitari Yuushi gave him some hope for the whole ordeal to go back to it's highly amusing state; he couldn't help but chuckle at the memory of his lunch-time companion choking on a piece of kimchi at learning his identity. Not to mention, Sanada had in fact noticed how Oshitari checked him out; it was both interesting and slightly pleasant (after all, Oshitari was a rather attractive man himself), if not a bit disturbing. Actually, it might had been more disturbing, had Sanada not been used to receiving such stares (along with rather indecent proposals) from one of his co-workers.
Speaking of which, the problematic co-worker, Niou Masaharu, was supposed to bring him some pretty important papers from the court-house's library. The documents weren't on his desk as of yet, which meant one of the two things: either Niou ignored a direct order (and would have hell to pay), or he brought the documents and misplaced them somewhere, most probably on Yagyuu Hiroshi's desk. Since the documents really were important – they were police reports on the couple his case concerned, and even their existence was proof enough that they made a dysfunctional little family, clearly, he needed them.
Which is why he decided to go and get them from Yagyuu's desk himself, or, if they were not there, to ask him where Niou might have disappeared to. Seeing as those two seemed generally joined at the hip (or as close to it as possible), Sanada supposed he would find out the answer. Even if he had to disturb Yagyuu's own work for a few minutes.
When he arrived at the man's office and entered it without knocking (he always did that, with the exception of Tezuka's office, which he entered after knocking), he mechanically apologised for getting in the way of his work. He didn't imagine Yagyuu was getting much work done, though, not with Tezuka seated quite comfortably in his lap, shoving his tongue down Yagyuu's throat... wait, what?
'Are you two having fun?' Sanada asked in a threatening tone. Because while he was sure the whole world was actually gay for Tezuka (himself excluded), he was also quite aware that Tezuka was most definitely not gay for the whole world. Nor for any part of it. Frankly speaking, he supposed hell would rather freeze over than Tezuka would go around kissing his co-workers. Which left only one option. 'Niou!'
Ah, there. The person he'd thought was Tezuka finally stopped sucking on Yagyuu's face and Sanada could see the tell-tale mole on his chin.
'Ah, boss,' greeted Niou, known also as the Trickster, the most annoying person Sanada had ever worked with. He was kind of famous for impersonating others almost perfectly, and he used this skill of his whenever he thought it might be fun. Sometimes, he served as a spy to help the prosecution, although Sanada rarely used his information; it was something Tezuka did, most often, because Tezuka did everything to win. 'I didn't get the files. The Atobe Corporation has them borrowed until tomorrow,' he said with a lazy grin. His partner, Yagyuu – one of the most serious, hard-working lawyers Sanada had had the pleasure of meeting, too – seemed to roll his eyes.
'You'll go and get them tomorrow, then. And don't let Tezuka see you like this,' advised Sanada. 'He'd make you run laps around the building, stripped down to your underwear.'
'Kinky, I like it,' decided Niou and licked his lips.
'I'm sure you do.'
Sanada didn't have anything to do. He couldn't work on his case, because he missed the documents he needed. He couldn't go home, either, since it would make him feel very guilty about all the people still in their offices who could use some help – especially Tezuka. He had no intention of really helping Tezuka, though; first of all, the other man wouldn't want him to, and second – he absolutely hated Tezuka's guts. Always had, since the time they'd started attending the exact same courses on the university.
At the same time, for a reason he couldn't really comprehend, he was kind of Tezuka's best friend. Which sucked, because Tezuka wasn't exactly good friend material. The man was stern and cold, keeping to himself as much as he could, always posing as the strong, unwavering leader.
It was annoying even to Sanada, who might not had been a party person himself, but at least he knew when to take a break. And he actually did things like taking some time off. He usually didn't work overnight, too, being of the opinion that he deserved his rest as much as other humans did. Wasn't it essential that his mind was well-rested before he prepared for a battle against another excellent lawyer in order not to lose? It was.
Now, however, it would be really stupid to take a break. Oshitari Yuushi, the genius defence attorney from Atobe Corporation, could prove quite a threat in court. He was known as one of the most dangerous adversaries, the genius of defence, who could defeat even the best line of prosecution just because of his brilliance. And, admittedly, thanks to his good looks.
Sanada didn't like it one bit, of course.
He was all for working hard to get a job done well. People like Oshitari, who spent days doing nothing and won everything in life just by smiling... well, the concept didn't agree with him at all. Because of that, he needed to be a perfectionist during the trial against the man; Atobe Corporation aimed to win, and while Sanada didn't think this was exactly a bad thing, he didn't want to lose because of being unprepared.
He needed those documents, damn it. Why, exactly, couldn't Niou go to Atobe Corporation and copy them? Ah, yes, right - because Niou was a lazy ass who'd do anything to avoid work. He'd be an excellent prosecutor if he'd just devoted half of the energy he wasted on useless things, to doing his job. He didn't seem to care enough.
He was useful, though. He probably knew it, too.
Back to the matter at hand, though - Sanada had nothing to do, and because of that, he was rather annoyed. He never thought his job could prove boring, but well, it sometimes did. He had more cases he supposed he could try to work on...
Except that, well, this one case was in less than a week's time and he was not ready to take on the defence attorney who supposedly could work miracles in the courtroom. That's why he hated the policy of his superiors, who never let him use the Internet as a reliable source of information. He was sure he'd find enough old reports - maybe even newspaper articles - about the unlucky couple in the net, and yet he had to wait for Atobe Corporation to be kind enough to return the stupid files to the court library.
Actually, he wondered if Oshitari did it on purpose, out of spite. It seemed a likely revenge for the little incident at the kimchi bar; on the other hand, though, it was just a tad too petty a thing to associate with the rather laid-back man. So maybe it was all just a coincidence.
Which still left Sanada with nothing to do. Sometimes, he wished he were assigned trainees. At least then, he'd have somebody to yell at when he was frustrated.
After contemplating yelling at Tezuka (which would, by the way, be a very stupid thing to do, because Tezuka would just look at him as if he'd lost his mind, and say nothing), Sanada decided to give it a rest.
He still had a few days. Tomorrow, he was going to get those files and prepare the strongest line of prosecution available in such a case. Oshitari Yuushi was so NOT going to have a chance against him, no matter how much of a genius he was.
Sanada went home, making sure Tezuka knew about it. The satisfaction upon seeing the honest envy on the other man's face was enough to brighten his mood.