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A Mentor and her Protégé

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Despite the fact Mia Fey was probably the first person to warn others of the consequences at staring at a bright screen in the darkest hours of the night, she was currently doing that going through the electronic version of her second case’s files. The satisfaction of bringing Dahlia Hawthorne to justice hadn’t worn off yet, even after a month since the Doug Swallow murder case however, something was still bothering her. That something was the defendant, Phoenix Wright. More specifically the last thing he had said to her, about wanting to be a defence attorney to save someone. When it came to justifications towards becoming an attorney, that was a rather strange and ambiguous one. Most people would pass the bar for justice and to defend the innocents, Mia herself was an exception due to her own personal motives but her ex-client's reason was plaguing her.

Who was he trying to save by becoming an attorney, and how would being an attorney allow him to save them?

Were they wrongly accused of a crime?

That was probably the most likely motivation, innocent people were often convicted of charges under the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality the court system currently held. It was that mentality that sent men like Terry Fawles to death - Mia hoped his spirit was now at peace due to her bringing the woman who drove him to suicide to justice.

Strangely enough, she wondered what her second client was doing now. Had he changed his degree from art to law mid-spring semester? A shudder rolled down her spine at the thought, law exams were horrific and demanded 100% attendance if you wanted to pass at the very least. Starting a course mid way through the academic year was a horrible idea, it was feasibly impossible to catch up to all the content in time for the end of year exams. Fail those and you were off the course, especially at such a prestigious university such as Ivy. And if he wanted to become an attorney - especially under a time limit as Mr. Wright seemed to be - he needed to have a law degree to be able to take the bar exam.

That or be an apprentice to a licensed attorney…

Mia shook her head, she couldn’t think like that! It was only two years ago she herself had passed the bar, she couldn’t mentor one person to a standard that would be acceptable to gain a high enough mark on the exam. However, what if she did both? Paralegals weren’t unheard of in the courts, people studying law who helped and learnt from fully fledged attorneys by being their co-counsels in cases. Mr. Grossberg wouldn’t always be around to be by her side in her cases and Diego…

She mentally slapped herself, why was she concerning herself so much in an old client?

Because Dahlia almost ruined him just like she ruined Diego, and you wanna help set him right because you feel guilty that you weren’t there to save your boyfriend’s life. ’ An impish little voice in the back of her head told her. Yet, she found herself agreeing with it. Not only had she avenged Terry Fawles that April day, but she had avenged Diego, but Mr. Wright… he still had to deal with the torment that the woman he thought loved him was plotting to kill him the entire time they were together. Unlike the others, he was still alive, she could actually do something to help. Just telling a love-struck kicked puppy to get over his killer girlfriend wasn’t enough. Her mind was made up, she knew what she had to do.

Then the lights to the office flicked on without warning. Mia squealed, slammed her laptop shut and swiftly swung her head in the direction of the door to find her boss staring worriedly at her.

“*AHEM* Mia, it’s nearly midnight, what are you doing here?” Mr. Grossberg asked, frowning when he noticed the two drained cups of coffee by her side. “Please don’t tell me you were planning an all night shift on old case files. I know you don’t have a case currently but…”

“I’m fine, Mr. Grossberg, honestly,” she hurriedly reassured him, grabbing her briefcase and shoving her laptop inside of it. “I was just about to go.”

“After reminiscing on you last case, my dear?” The twitch of her right eye told him everything you need to know. “Mia, I’m glad that we managed to get Diego’s killer to justice. However, I think you need to look ahead now.”

“Sure Mr. Grossberg, will do,” she got up from her desk and walked past him out of the office, only to stop just before she had disappeared out of view. “By the way, I have something I need to do tomorrow at lunchtime, I’ll be try not to be late back. See you tomorrow, sir!” With that, she turned the corner and all Marvin Grossberg could hear was the click-clack of her heels as she left.

 

May 24th. Ivy University, Law Department. 12:35PM

Mia stared at her wrist watch, waiting outside the entrance to Lecture Hall 4 of the department. From what the receptionist told her, the current class should have finished five minutes ago. Her nerves were starting to get the better of her, maybe this was the wrong class afterall. As she was about to head back to make sure she was definitely at the right place - she was prone to mishearing names and places, something Mr. Grossberg told her to get better at - a booming yell from inside froze her in place.

“Alright, listen up before you all skedaddle, I want an essay on the case study by MONDAY and NO later. Unless the department approve your request, there will be NO excuses, got it?! Get the essays in on time or I’ll have you kicked off the course, now scram!” With that, a raggard old lady stormed out the room, mumbling something about not respecting deadlines whilst pointing out a few names of - presumably - troublemakers, before heading for her office. From there groups of students filtered out, some laughing and joking whilst others were silent and focused. All of them, however, took notice of her and began muttering amongst themselves.

“She’s an attorney, right?”

“Yeah, she was the defence on Doug’s murder case.”

“Oh, I guess she’s here for HIM then.”

Mia twisted her head at the mass of law students, frowning. She could have sworn she had heard some horrible remarks about her ex-client. Maybe she should have found a better spot to wait for…

“Ms. Fey?” At the mention of her name, Mia turned back towards the lecture hall. The receptionist was right, this definitely was his class. Phoenix Wright was staring directly at her, clutching a mass of law textbooks to his chest. No longer was he sporting the pink sweater and red scarf but had a basic appearance with a plain black t-shirt with a navy jacket. A small smile formed on her lips, it seemed as if he had taken her words to heart.

“Hello there, Mr. Wright,” she said with a calming tone. “I’d like to talk to you about something, if that’s okay?”

“Is anything wrong? Is it to do with the trial?”

“No, no, no, nothing like that!” Mia quickly tried to reassure him, only failing as she saw his panicked expression. “It’s just a talk. Would you happen to know a good cafe in the area?”  

“There’s the one run by the catering students, they make really delicious pastries…” Phoenix stopped mid thought as he realised Mia was already heading off, and in the wrong direction at that. “Wait, you’re going the wrong way!”

“Oh, right…” She chuckled nervously. “Please, lead the way Mr. Wright.”

It wasn’t before long the two were sat at a table, enjoying a moment of quiet from the hustle and bustle of the university. Mia took a sip of her coffee and sighed in delight. It was delightful, possibly even better than Diego’s own blends, not that she’d ever wish to tell him that lest she wish to see another sunrise once he woke up.

“Ummm, Ms. Fey…” The attorney was startled out of her thoughts by the law student opposite her, who hadn’t brought anything from the cafe but had paid for her cup of coffee as a thank you for saving his life. “... You said you wanted to talk to me about something?”

“Yes, I do. But first,” she gently set her up down on its saucer and gave him her full attention. “I’d like to ask how you are doing. I see you’ve switched degrees and taken up law full time now.”

“I was luckily Professor Mountsburg was okay with accepting me, to be honest,” Phoenix diverted his attention to the collection of study books piled on the table beside him. “Switching degrees this late on and after a couple of years is unheard of, but I knew enough from studying outside of class to pass her entrance test so I joined the first years. I should be finished by 2017, if I keep my work up.”

“Study hard, huh?” Mia chuckled, reminiscing of her own days at law school with Lana. “I’m glad you were able to make the switch, however I was thinking about you last night, actually.”

“Thinking about me?” He asked, getting a non-verbal reply in the form of a nod.

“You want to help someone, that’s what you told me at the end of your trial,” Mia saw the hidden wince, but continued on regardless. “Sounds like to me you are on a time limit. If you’re going to be able to help them, then you have to become an attorney as soon as possible, and only recently have you realised the true severity of the situation, correct?”

“Yeah, sounds right.”

“I was looking into the university’s policies around allowing students to skip years if their knowledge proves up to standards. Almost all courses refuse this, except one,” she took another sip of her drink. “Ivy law has a very unusual method of allowing students to finish earlier than expected. A student can finish a three year course in two years… if they work as a paralegal or a co-counsel under a defence attorney.” Holding her hand up to stop Phoenix from interrupting her, she continued. “The practical skills learnt from this work experience will be judged in a separate way from a normal law exam. After two or so years as a paralegal, you will be allowed to be in charge of a case, either a mock trial or a smaller crime such as theft. If you pass that test, and your third year thesis on multiple case studies, you should be able to pass the bar exam in July 2016.”

“That sounds amazing and all, Ms. Fey,” he gave her another confused look, one which reminded her of a puppy tipping its head to one side. “But why are you telling this to me?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Mia smirked, before slamming her hands down on the table - nearly sending books and coffee flying everywhere - and pointing her finger at his face. “I am offering you the chance to be my paralegal. An assistant of sorts, which should get you to the bar exams in a shorter time period.”

“Ms. Fey! Are you sure?!”

“Well, not entirely, but on my part,” she sighed, flopping back down in her chair. “I’m not the most experience lawyer out there, in fact, I’m still practically a rookie. But a part of me feels as if it's right, as if mentoring you is the best thing to do. Not only that, it would be nice to have a co-counsel that doesn’t mention hemorrhoids once every five minutes, but don’t tell my boss what I just said.” Phoenix chuckled quietly at that. “And it’s not like you are completely blind to legal terms and the conditions of the courtroom. It would be beneficial for the both of us, that’s the way I see it. So, what do you say?” She held her hand out across the table. “Do you accept my offer?” After a moment of staring at her hand, Phoenix smiled and took it happily.

“Of course, thank you so much Ms. Fey!”

“You don’t have to call me Ms. Fey anymore, Mr. Wright.” Mia was tempted to laugh at the flustered expression that greeted her words.

“You can call me Phoenix, urr… Chief!” Chief, huh? Had a nice ring to it, imagine what Mr. Grossberg would think when she told him that her protege… Oh, oh no.

“I TOTALLY FORGOT!” She yelled, causing multiple curious heads to turn in their direction. “We both have to go, right now!” Phoenix stared at her as if she had suddenly grown a second head, or channeled a spirit right in front of him.

“Why, what’s wrong?”

“I never told my boss about this!” Mia pulled him up and dragged him towards the campus’ car park. “I’ve made sure that’s your only lecture of the day so you’ll be fine. We’re taking my car!”

“YOU WHAT?!”

 

May 24th. Grossberg Law Offices. 2:06 PM

All the way back to the law offices, Mia was internally cursing herself for being such a rookie. Of course she forgot to ask her boss if it was alright for her to even take a paralegal on, let alone the boy Grossberg considered a foolish child for trying to destroy their case in the name of love - one-sided unrequited love that is. By the time she had actually reached her workplace, it was getting too late to do any serious work, or possibly accept a case in such a short time span. Who knows how long her attempts to persuade Mr. Grossberg would take?

She burst into the office, with Phoenix right behind her, quite possibly almost scaring her boss into having a heart attack. “Sorry I’m so late boss, I was supposed to get back sooner but…”

“My dear, you startled me,” Mr. Grossberg breathed a deep sigh of relief. “It’s alright, I’m glad you arrived right now as…” He stopped mid sentence, eyes fixated on the person behind her. “Mia, is that...?”

“Yes, Mr. Wright, my last client…” she invited the student into the office and shut the door behind her. “Sir, I’d like to ask your permission for something, and I understand if you don’t approve of it since I’ve sprung this on you suddenly…”

“*AHEM*... Mia, calm down,” her boss gestured to the seats in front of his desk, motioning for the two of them to take a seat. After waiting a moment for Mia to simmer down, he continued. “So, what was it you wanted to ask of me?”

“Well, I was wondering,” Mia shook herself mentally, she needed to be more professional and confident. “No, I was hoping, if you’d agree for me to take Phoenix on as a paralegal, an assistant.”

Mr. Grossberg’s expression didn’t change, which made the other two feel nervous. “Mia…”

“... Yes, I know what happened in the trial, I was there, but he’s grown since then. He’s dedicated to law full time and I just want to help him achieve what he wants to in the time limit that he’s up against,” she continued, not allowing her boss to interrupt her at any point. “Plus, I think it would benefit me as well. I’m sorry I haven’t conferred with you about this until now, but could you please at least consider it?”

“My dear, I knew what you were planning.”

“I understand that you might not think I’m ready or… wait, what?” Her boss laughed heartily at her dumbfounded expression.

“You left behind some papers this morning in a hurry,” he placed research documents on paralegals, Ivy University’s Law degree and future bar exam dates on his desk in front of them. “Once I’d pieced everything together, it soon became clear what you wanted to do. I still have my doubts but it is a highly admirable plan, Mia. However, this means you have full responsibility over Mr. Wright when he’s with you under assistance. I’ve already made a call to the university’s law department telling them that Grossberg Law Offices will be taking Mr. Wright on as a paralegal for the foreseeable future, unless you decide to find your own law offices.”

“So that’s why Professor Mountsburg was giving me proud smiles in lecture today.” Phoenix muttered softly, just loud enough for Mia to hear him.

“You mean it, sir?” She asked.

“Of course, Mia,” Mr. Grossberg answered, before setting a stern gaze onto the two. “However, I expect you both to work extremely hard for the next couple of years. Any slacking off and I will be the first to end this agreement, got it? I will not tolerate any misconduct or misdemeanor during this internship. I would rather my doubts be lifted instead of confirmed.”

“Sir, yes sir!” The attorney and her paralegal answered in unison.

“Good, yes very good. Now then, Phoenix, my boy, did I ever mention my hemorrhoids during your trial?” Before Phoenix could answer, Mia cut in.

“Sir, I know that your hemorrhoids are a very important topic for you, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to let Phoenix know more about how the office works and how we take on cases?”

Her boss thought about it for a moment before nodding in agreement. “You are quite right, Mia. Which reminds me, this arrived today whilst you were out.” He reached into a draw behind his desk and pulled out a huge folder stuffed with papers. “A case was dropped into our office unexpectedly since the original attorney cannot make the case for some reason. I had a feeling it would be the perfect start for your mentorship, to show your protégé a case from the defence’s side of the courtroom.”

“Thank you, sir!” Mia took the folder and scanned through the contents quickly. From a glance, it was a poisoning case, murder, during a stage play production. Highly unusual, to say the least, but not impossible to defend. All she had to do was believe in her client and prove they were innocent. “So when is the trial?”

“Tomorrow, nine thirty sharp.” Both Mia and Phoenix stared at him as if he was crazy. “I’ve already accepted the case so unless you don’t want to take it, I’m perfectly happy to take the case myself…”

“No, it’s fine sir, thank you for the case,” she stood up and gave her boss a half bow, something Phoenix was quick to copy since he didn’t want to get on Mr. Grossberg’s bad side. “I guess paperwork and tours can wait.”

“What do you mean by that, Chief?” Phoenix asked as Mia led him over to her desk, pulling an extra chair over for him to sit on.

“Okay, Phoenix, listen up,” Mia sat down and spread all the documents out on the table in front of her. “First lesson you need to learn as an attorney, you have to be ready for anything, even if that means spending all night going through case files to make sure you have the best understanding of a case as humanly possible. And for this, we may need some coffee.”

“How much do you think we need?” He asked.

“Lots and lots of it,” she replied seriously. “It’s two fifteen now, we have, factoring in about seven hours of sleep, around 12 hours until the trial. Out of that, only 8 are going to be spent getting the facts of the case straight. Two heads are better than one but we have a lot to get through in the time we have. Are you up for it?”

“Of course, Chief!”

“Great, but first things first. I’m hungry from skipping lunch so let’s go grab something and once we’re full, get stuck right into it”

“Yes, ma’am!”

Marvin Grossberg listened to this conversation from his office, smiling at the fact this was the possibly the happiest he had heard Mia in a long time, although the arrest of Dahlia Hawthorne might just beat this moment. It was a snap decision on his worker’s part, but he was sure this mentorship would be the making of her as an attorney. He may have not been certain about Phoenix’s potential as a future attorney, but with Mia teaching him, he was pretty sure that the same belief in clients would be installed into his courtroom mindset.

And, after all, another attorney like Mia would be a saving grace in the court system.