Disclaimer: I do not own Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies.

De novo


December 31, 2027 – 11:59 PM
Wright Anything Agency

"Ten! ... Nine! ... Eight!"

Though there was barely enough space to fit their bodies in the cluttered office space, a cluster of people was gathered around the television, a flute of champagne or sparkling water in their hands as they chanted the countdown.

"... Seven! ... Six! ... Five!"

The television screen was projecting the live coverage of a New Year's Eve event. It used to be located in the city centre, but has since become such a large affair that the organizers had had to move it outside the city limits in order to accommodate the numbers.

The camera was fixed on a large, outdoor stage, where live bands and performers had been entertaining the crowds since 8:00 PM. Now, the stage was occupied by a giant, electronic countdown made of neon and LED lights.

"... Four! ... Three! ... Two!"

Simon Blackquill's eyes moved away from the television screen and fixed itself on the profile of an orange-haired young woman. As if sensing his gaze, Athena Cykes turned her head and caught his eyes with a big smile as she joined the others in a loud and triumphant: "ONE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

Everyone around the television cheered and 'clinked' their glasses before downing the contents. Being several feet away from them, he didn't bother to raise his glass – after all, who was he supposed to direct a 'Cheers' at? Himself? Instead, he glanced down at his flute of champagne, and catching his reflection in the not-quite-clear liquid, suddenly realized how wondrous it was that he was even standing there at all.

"Cheers, Simon!"

Suddenly, Athena was standing in front of him, and her own glass had already 'clinked' against his. As her hand moved away, he noticed that her flute was still full… and the liquid inside was the same colour as his own. Then, the rim of the glass was against her lips and the contents disappeared.

"You're supposed to say 'Cheers' back, you know!" she teased lightly as she lowered her glass.

He moved his gaze away from her empty flute and caught her eyes in an intense stare.

"Athena… … … Should you really be consuming alcohol…." he replied instead, and smirked as her eyebrows shot up and her mouth fell open. Somehow, it always felt satisfying to surprise her. Raising his own glass, he drained the contents in one fluid movement.

"Hmph. Did you really think I would not notice?" he asked, as he placed the empty flute on a nearby table.

"Hahaha…. Well… kind of… It was only a little bit! It's not like it's illegal, technically! Mr. Wright bought it, after all!" she answered sheepishly. Her cheeks were already tinged slightly pink, though he couldn't be sure that it wasn't from her embarrassment at being caught red-handed.

Before either of them could say anything more, a young girl in a magician's hat bounced up to them. Trucy was her name, if he recalled correctly.

"Athena! We're going outside to set off some firecrackers!" she announced before following the others out of the door of the office.

For a moment, he had forgotten there were other people around… Which was odd, considering how noisy they were.

"C'mon, Simon, let's follow them! This should be fun!" Athena exclaimed, as she turned towards the door.

As she turned away from him, his hand unconsciously shot out and grabbed her forearm. The young woman turned around to look at him in surprise, and for a moment he was just as confused as she was. However, a split second later, he dropped her arm.

"… Happy New Year…" he murmured. For some reason, he felt odd. He could not put his finger on it, but it almost felt like his mind was not attached to his body. Like everything was barely real. And, for a moment, his heart jumped in his chest – was this a dream?

Suddenly, he felt a soft warmth engulf his torso and he looked down in shock.

"… It must have been so long since you've been able to say that…" said Athena, her voice slightly muffled, as her face was pressed against his coat. "Happy New Year, Simon…"

Then, she loosened her embrace and pulled away from him before he could react. He blinked several times before he was able to focus on her face again. Her eyes were slightly teary, but her lips were curled into a warm smile.

"This is your first New Year's out of prison… Though it's definitely the first of many! You should think of a good New Year's resolution! To start off your new… well, new year!" she said, all traces of tears gone now. "But, anyway, we'd better hurry up and catch up to everyone or all of the firecrackers will be gone! Knowing Trucy and Apollo, they'll light them all before I have a chance!"

"Hmph…. Lead the way," he replied with a small smile. With a big grin, Athena nodded and dashed out the doors, though she briefly glanced back to make sure he was following.

As he strode leisurely after her, it suddenly hit him. He had finally figured out what that feeling was… It was the same feeling he had felt nearly two weeks ago… when the shackles had come off his wrists.

Several feet ahead of him, Athena and the others were standing in a circle in the small, empty lot next to the Wright Anything Agency's office. Apollo was crouched on the ground, a lighter in hand. However, suddenly, Athena bumped him out of the way and accosted the lighter, yelling: "WAIT! LET ME TRY!"

The flame of the lighter illuminated the young woman's face briefly before it disappeared. The flame was quickly replaced by the sputtering fuse of the firecracker, and then it was spinning around on the pavement with a hissing sound, flashing multiple colours.

Gazing at Athena again, who was staring in delight at the spinning firecracker, he replayed her words again in his head. When he thought about it, she was right. For seven years, he had not said 'Happy New Year' to anyone, though the prison always held a small, unofficial celebration – not that he ever participated. And, for seven years, he had made the same New Year's resolution… What was it supposed to be, now that he was a free man?

Suddenly, Athena and Trucy shrieked as the firecracker started popping loudly in series of small explosions. The young woman turned to him and flashed him a sheepish smile before diverting her attention back to lighting more firecrackers.

Hmph… I suppose there really is no reason to change it.

Thank you for reading! This is my first time writing for the Ace Attorney fandom, though I've always wanted to write for it… However, inspiration was always flakey for me… That is, until I beat Dual Destinies the other day. It's definitely my new favourite instalment in the series, both story-wise and game mechanics-wise. However, what really sold it for me was Athena and Blackquill (he may have just stolen the spot as my favourite prosecutor).

I absolutely love both of their characters individually, and I adore them together as a couple. In my opinion, they have such a beautiful bond with each other which I strongly believe can (and will…!) become romantic. I was pretty disappointed that there have been no fanfiction of them so far (though I suppose it's only been a few weeks since the English release)… And I just ended up being so consumed by this pairing (to the absolute detriment of my school work, sigh), and there were so many ideas that kept spinning around, I had to get something down in writing. So, here it is.

Anyway, I'll stop babbling now. Basically, I intend for this to be a multi-chaptered story that follows Blackquill as he goes through his first year out of prison (with gratuitous amounts of Athena). I hope I'll be able to capture his character well, but either way, it'll be a good experience.

I'm not sure when the next chapter will be coming out (though all of the story has been plotted out), since I am extremely busy with school…. And even more so now thanks to Dual Destinies eating up my life the past few days (urgh). There should be an update by the end up the month, though!

Thanks so much for reading, and please drop a review if you want to encourage me, hinthint! I hope to see you next chapter (there will be much shorter author's notes, next time, I swear).


P.S. The 'book cover' image does not belong to me/I did not create it. It was from Pixiv and was posted (and I assume created) by the user 310.