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Painful Sacrifice

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Time; it was something that Simon didn't seem to have. Everything was happening too fast for him to process. After stumbling upon the scene at the Space Center, after cleaning Athena up, disassembling the robot and disposing of it. He went for a walk, he had to. Anything that would get the image out of his head, but nothing seemed to work. He didn't cry; he couldn't. He had to be brave for Athena; he was all she had left right now. He didn't know how long he had been walking before the police pulled up beside him and asked him to come down to the station.

"Prosecutor Blackquill, were you at the Space Center this morning?"

Simon looked at him, his hands playing nervously under the desk. "Why do you ask?"

"There....was a murder there this morning and we have some evidence that suggests you might have been there."

He squeezed his wrist slightly and tried to swallow the lump in his throat at the word evidence. Trying to compose the sudden fear that grew inside of him. What did they have? He had made sure to get rid of everything, even wiping the katana clean.

The detective placed two pictures in front of him. One of him holding the bloody katana and one from a video showing him leaving the Psych lab. "Can you explain these to me Prosecutor...?”

As Simon looked over the pictures, there was a soft sigh of relief that Athena hadn't been caught in either. Safely tucked under his jacket. It was only after that initial fear subsided did he realize what this was. It was an interrogation; he had done plenty of this himself. How did he not notice it? The way he was being stared down, knowing there were probably others watching from behind the window.

"Y-Yes....I was there." He answered softly as the detective sighed.

"You're the only one that was seen coming out of that room at the time of the murder. According to the Director you had been frequenting the space center the last few months to see the woman and her daughter. With the space launch tomorrow, security was very tight and aside from reporters and authorized staff, you were the only other one allowed in.

Simon rubbed the back of his head. So this is what the people he indicted felt like, it was oddly ironic. Only difference was that those people were guilty and he wasn’t. "Yes, I knew Dr. Cykes. My sister is...was her research partner."

"Where were you 3pm? We've questioned everyone at the scene and all but two have alibis. You and the little girl. When we got there we found her in the apartment taking a nap. I've been informed that you sometimes like to play with her. So where were you?"

He closed his eyes, though it was difficult because whenever he did, all he saw were flashes of blood everywhere. He was searching his mind for something to say. An explanation.

"Blackquill!" The detective said, only this time it wasn't the same calm man that helped him investigate crime scenes. The voice was cold, uncaring and the glare that accompanied it wasn't any friendlier. "I asked you a question. Now let's see, we have a photo of you holding the murder weapon, we have video of you leaving the scene and there's blood all over that jacket you're wearing right now. So I'm gonna assume that you don't have an alibi do you?"

Simon's eyes travelled down to his coat. He had remembered to clean Athena up and dispose of her bloody clothes but must have been in such a daze that he didn't even check himself. His mind replayed over and over again.

You and the girl are the only one without alibis.........

The way they were treating him, looking at him. As if he weren't one of their own. As if these weren't the same people he had cheerfully greeted just a day ago when he came down to this same room to speak with a witness on one of his cases. If they could turn on him so quick, assuming they knew the story before they did what would they do to Athena? They wouldn't understand her sensitivity, they'd probably laugh and mock how sheltered she had been, thinking she could fix her mother like a robot.

His head slowly lifted as his eyes met the detective. "....Dr. Cykes was my mentor. She was teaching me Psychology and.....Japanese sword fighting." He paused and mentally calmed himself down. "I did it, I killed her. I didn't even see Athena the entire time I was there."

"You son of a bitch. How could you do that! WHY would you do it?"

Simon was biting the inside of his cheek. It was tearing him into pieces to lie, especially after he saw the disgust in the detective's eyes. "I owe you no explanations." He replied defiantly.

The detective immediately left the room and he heard numerous, angry voices when the door opened but they were silenced as soon as it slammed shut. Alone, he let out a loud gasp as his hands came up to his face to wipe the tears he could already feel forming. "I'm sorry....Aura and Athena."

His trial was the next day, his black coat and suit had been replaced with an orange jump suit. His arms shackled because of the circumstances. He kept his eyes closed and his head down. It had been a long night and he hadn't slept at all. Going over the situation in his head over and over again. He could recant his confession, tell them that the picture was after he sliced up the robot but then he'd have to admit he found Athena in the room. He didn't know if he trusted her care with the court. A defense attorney had been accused of forging evidence; there had been numerous arrests and a lot of corruption going on.

As soon as he walked into the courtroom, he heard gasps and a few spectators shouting murderer. He remained frozen in his current form, not wanting to seem shaken by their accusations. He had been given some state appointed public defender and even he couldn't hide his disgust. He zoned out as soon as the trial got underway, as the two photos and his signed confession were presented. He heard the judge ask for him to step forward and he did, listening to the sound of his shackles as he walked.

As he walked, his eyes caught a glimpse of Athena. He was angry that she was even brought to the courthouse. Her eyes looked at him in sadness and confusion. He knew this was just more devastation for her, after losing her mother she was losing his friend. But, it was a better situation than if he hadn't taken the blame. She'd be up there being scrutinized. Time to put on a show, he thought to himself.

Simon lifted his head and stared at the judge. He managed to force a strange, sick smirk onto his face. "No need to waste the court's time any longer. I killed my mentor."

The gallery was shocked by the smug and arrogant smirk on his face and the judge had to call an order. Even he himself was shocked by the statement. His eyes scanned the gallery and then stopped on Athena. She was shocked but there was obvious confusion on her face. It was then he realized she wasn't wearing her headphones. His eyes widened realizing that she could tell he was lying through his teeth. Her tiny tear filled eyes looked up at him, confirming what he knew.

"Please, don't say anything...." He silently pleaded at her.

He was led back to his seat, though he noticed it was rougher than before. He had pissed off the bailiffs of course. He was the most hated person in that room right now. Probably in the state. He was ready for this nightmare to end and to be taken to prison already but the prosecution stated they had one final witness.

Two bailiffs had lead Athena to the stand and now he was finding it difficult to keep his anger from boiling over. He had confessed; they didn't need anything further. He watched as he little hands shook as they held onto the stand she was behind. They had brought in a stool she could stand on so she would be tall enough. She glanced over at him sadly before she was directed to look in front of her.

She testified about his visits to the space center. How he was doing work with her mother but sometimes he made time to play with her or babysat her when her mother needed to work later. A small smile came to his face as she pointed out that they drew a lot of pictures but Simon wasn't very good at drawing.

Then, she stopped and for a few moments there was silence. Her eyes fell on him again, this time with tears forming.

"Don't....." He whispered.

She flinched and turned back to the judge frantically. "YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME, PLEASE. HE DIDN'T DO IT. HE DIDN'T KILL HER. I KNOW HE SAID HE DID BUT HE DIDN'T. HIS HEART IS SCREAMING HE DIDN'T."

The court was in an uproar from her outburst, the judge tried to regain order. Bailiffs quickly grabbed her off the stand.

"SIMON! Tell them the truth, don't lie. Please!"

Simon closed his eyes, not able to look at her any longer after she pleaded. He didn't want to say anything; she'd hear more than he wanted her to. He heard the prosecution completely brush off her outburst and explained that it was possible Athena had been manipulated by him and didn't know any better. He recounted the fact that he and Athena "played together" sometimes alone with an implied tone and emphasis that those sessions may not have been as innocent as she remembered and it made Simon sick to his stomach.

The trial came to the close shortly after that and Simon was brought back up to the bench.

"Simon Blackquill, the court finds you guilty of premeditated murder. And I have to say it's disturbing and disgusting how you have manipulated the public and the court's trust in you as Prosecutor. This court sentences you to death." And with the bang of his gavel, it was over.

His eyes widened and it suddenly felt like his chest was caving in on him. Though he didn't know why he was surprised. He knew given the circumstances this was a death penalty case. But hearing it out loud, made it real. He heard a loud shriek and felt a weight around his legs. Looking down, it was Athena.

"No, Simon! Tell the truth! You never lie."

He quickly brushed a hand over her head gently. "I-I'm sorry, everything will be okay."

She looked up at him and he knew she could hear the uncertainty in his voice. "I promise, I'm going to save you. I promise." She whispered.

Before he could respond, she was pulled away and he was yanked away by the hair, slammed onto the floor by a couple of guards. He let out a strained groan from the pain. He probably needed to get use to it.