Rising With the Sun

1. lost and found

"I… I can't believe I just did that," Apollo whispered to himself as he left the courtroom, the crowd filing out behind him. "I just put away my boss. Oh, I am so fired…"

The young attorney stopped at a nearby vending machine to grab an ice water, convinced that the cold feeling of the bottle could perhaps shock him out of this bad dream he was clearly having. He was so busy sulking he didn't notice Phoenix move quietly behind him, until he turned around and came face-to-chest with the man. "GAH!"

Phoenix didn't say a word as the young attorney pressed a hand to his heart while he leaned against the vending machine, breathing hard. "D-don't sneak up on me like that, Mr. Wright! You nearly gave me a heart attack!"

"Sorry," the older man said, although the smirk he wore told Apollo the man wasn't feeling very sorry at all. "I wanted to thank you for your assistance today. If it weren't for you, Kristoph might have gotten away." Again.

"Y-yes, well, thanks to me and my big mouth and your interference, I'm out of a job. I doubt I'll ever be welcome back there again." He shuddered at the thought. Kristoph would doubtlessly put him on the 'enemies, must kill' list as soon as he got out of prison. The thought made him shudder again.

Phoenix's expression changed then, shifting slightly into something almost serious. Apollo had noticed the expression a couple of times during the court case, but had never commented on it. Somehow, he knew that when the older man held such an expression on his face, it meant questions were usually best saved for another time.

The man suddenly leaned forward, Apollo automatically trying to take a step back, only to realize that Phoenix's little scare trick had already pushed him as far back as he could. The only way out was to side-step the man, but something told Apollo Phoenix wouldn't allow him to do that just yet.

"…You could always come work for me, you know," His voice was quiet, almost as if he were afraid of someone overhearing them. But who would want to listen in to such a conversation? "It's not very big or anything, but it's a thriving business. You'd still be able to pursue a life as a defense lawyer, and it would bring a bit of extra money in as well."

"B-but don't you… I mean, you aren't…" Apollo tried to shape the words and failed. Fortunately, Phoenix seemed to see what he was driving at.

"But I'm not a defense attorney anymore, is what you were going to say? No, I don't play the game anymore, but I still have clients that show up from time to time. I normally recommend them to Gavin's place, but since he's not around anymore…" the former lawyer shrugged, "Like I said, it's just a thought."

Then the man was walking away, leaving Apollo leaning up against the vending machine. At the last minute, he called out, "Why are you helping me?"

Phoenix turned. "Because I'm the one responsible for your loss of a job. It's only fair I compensate for such a turn of events. You already have my card," he nodded towards Apollo's pocket. "You know where to find me, if you decide to stop by for a visit." Then he was gone.

Apollo dazedly recalled how close Phoenix had been, and yet he'd never noticed the hand slipping quietly into his pants pocket to place the card. Up close, Phoenix's presence had calmed whatever fearful terrors had been driving him at the moment, as well as swept aside all doubt concerning his fate. The card was a split in the road, and if Apollo chose to take that road, Phoenix would help guide him to wherever it was Apollo wanted to go.

I need a day or two to think about this. Really think about this. Biting his lip, the young man headed for the door, and made his way back home.