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The source of my strength

Chapter Text

The source of my strength


Robin Newman and Juniper Woods, the unexpected power couple of Themis Academy. Everyone had been shocked when Robin spontaneously asked Juniper to be her girlfriend after the latter had been involved in the Courtroom bombing. The shock proved to be greater still when Juniper actually accepted, as prior to this it had been known that she had been developing a crush on a young defense attorney named Apollo Justice. And of course, this made people wonder whether Myriam Scuttlebutt's earlier allegations actually had a grain of truth to them.

Sort of. Robin had not had considered whether she had romantic feelings for Juniper during her time as a male. But at the sight of Juniper on stage, of the sight of her beautiful friend singing in such a lovely tone, had awakened something inside of her. Robin wrestled with herself a long time before she realized that she had been falling for Juniper for a while. But with Juniper infatuated with Apollo, Robin decided to simply keep her feelings to herself.

It wasn't until after Juniper had almost been lost in the Courtroom bombing did Robin realize that doing nothing would accomplish exactly that- nothing. And so she staked everything she had into courting her friend, culminating in her declaration of love.

Juniper herself had been on a parallel path. At first, Robin had simply been one of her friends. But she couldn't help but admire the energy and passion "he" felt towards his art. Even as "he" frightened her a bit, Juniper wanted just a fraction of Robin's strength for herself. And so a crush formed inside her, one she was too meek to act on.

Then came Professor Courte's murder, and the exposure of everyone's secret, including that of Robin's gender. Juniper decided to try and forget her old crush, and with the return of her friend Athena came a knight in red, Apollo Justice. Without a doubt he was a kind and brave man, and Juniper let herself be swept off her feet. Apollo's selfless act of saving her during the courtroom bombing seemed to reinforce the image she had built in her mind. But when Robin confessed her feelings, her regrets for not being the one to protect her, Juniper realized her crush on Robin had never really gone away. She recognized that Robin was brave and wonderful in her own way, willing to defy her parents to be herself and risk it all to let her feelings be known. And so without a single stutter in her voice, Juniper reciprocated Robin's feelings.

Eternally grateful to Apollo for what he had done, Juniper made a proof of friendship bracelet for him and Athena with Robin's help. But for her girlfriend Robin, the first thing she did was begin to make a new smock for her.

The awkward start of the relationship, filled with massive amounts of stuttering on Juniper's part and a bit of fainting on Robin's, didn't take long to blossom. On late nights when Robin found herself eternally dissatisfied with her current project, Juniper was always there to reassure her. On days when not even her sunflower was enough to calm her, Juniper knew that Robin would be there, ready to pump her up with a hotblooded speech, or cheer her up with some playful teasing.

Robin Newman and Juniper Woods. As graduation day approached at Themis Academy they knew that there would be a lot of challenges to face out in the wider world. Even at Themis not everyone had been been thrilled with them being a couple. But they had friends, Myriam, Hugh, Athena, and Apollo, that supported them through thick and thin. And they had each other.

Chapter Text

Part 1: Themis Days

Arc 1: Every Awkward Step

Chapter 1: The start of it all-Juniper's side.

December 22 2030, 6:00 a.m.

Lordy Tailor department store.

This early in the morning, not many people were up and about, much less searching for jewelry. But standing outside the store was a brown-haired woman in a long, yellow dress who kept fidgeting as of she hadn't yet decided whether she was going inside or not.

Is she going to say yes? We've been going out for three years but our lives are so busy right now…

At twenty-one years old, Juniper Woods had grown into her serene beauty. She still wore sunflowers in her hair despite the fact that she didn't use them as often as she did when she was younger, as she was in much better health.

For the past two years since graduating from Themis Academy, Juniper had been living with her girlfriend Robin Newman while the two pursed their goals. While Robin searched for the truth as a prosecutor, Juniper continued her studies at home so she could become a Judge, and when not studying she was working part time for the Wright Anything Agency to gain experience in law.

Juniper became aware that the few people in the store were beginning to stare and she moved towards her goal: the jewelry section of the store. Today was the three year anniversary of their relationship, and Juniper was going to make sure it was a day to remember.

Even so, she couldn't shake the pit of nervousness deep in her gut. This was a big decision she was about to make, and it actually reminded her when she first discovered her feelings for Robin. She could still remember that day, and all of a sudden the memories came rushing back...

December 21 2027, 2:35 p.m.

The courtroom bombing had been but a prelude to the storm of chaos that followed. First was the murder of Clay Terran, then the hostage situation at the space center, finishing up with the UR-1 retrial. In the midst of all this, Juniper didn't have too much time to think about Robin's confession, or her own feelings too deeply.

But after all of that had blown over, the full implications of her actions sank in.

"R-robin...told me that she wanted to be my g-girlfriend. And I said yes! Oh w-what do I do what do I do what do I-"

"Calm down, Junie. You're starting to hyperventilate."

Athena Cykes waited as her friend calmed herself with her sunflower, then said, "I'm going to guide you through this, okay mon amie?" She booted up the Mood Matrix and directed it towards Juniper.

Juniper nodded, already feeling more relaxed.

"Tell me about Robin," Athena said, closing her eyes so she could better hear Juniper's tone.

"W-well, she's my friend. I like to spend time with her, but…" Juniper trailed off, trying to untangle her deeply confused feelings.

"You didn't expect her to like you, right? I'm sensing shock in your voice, but also joy. What about you, Junie? You said yes, didn't you? Could you tell me why?" Athena asked.

Juniper immediately flinched. She hadn't expected to reach this point so fast, and she began to tremble in anxiousness. In response Athena wrapped her friend in a hug.

"C'mon, Junie. You can tell me anything." Athena reassured. 

"Thanks, Thena."

After Juniper calmed herself again, Athena returned to the Mood Matrix and Juniper considered the best way to answer the question. Why had she said yes?

She tried to recall exactly how she felt when Robin confessed to liking her. Slowly, the words started to come out.

"I've l-liked her for while," she answered, blushing slightly. "Except she was still pretending to be a guy when I first started liking when it turned out that she was a girl, I didn't know what to think."

"And that's when you started liking Apollo," Athena said, filtering through the confusion in her voice. "I'm sensing sadness in your voice now. Could you tell me what that's about?"

Did you not think girls could like girls that way? Widget added.

"I didn't think R-robin could like th-that," Juniper answered. "And then I met Apollo. He's such a wonderful person, its true. But…"

In her mind's eye, she could see Robin's face in the moment of confession. So full of nervousness and sadness, but so sure of herself.

"I really like you, Juniper. And I want to be your girlfriend."

"When she said those words to me, it reminded me of when she stood up to Aristotle Means. And I just started to think of all the times that Robin has been brave, and kind, and so full of passion," Juniper said, her blush from earlier increasing. "I knew that I never stopped liking Robin. So I said yes."

Athena turned off her Mood Matrix. Almost all conflicting emotions had disappeared from Juniper's voice. There was only one last thing to ask, and something this deeply personal she wanted to ask face to face.

" you really want to be Robin's girlfriend?"

"I do," Juniper said without a trace of anxiety or hesitation. "I know that this won't be easy...but I really like her. I want to be strong for her."

Athena gave her best friend her biggest encouraging grin. "Then I'll support you."

"Thank you, Thena." With that, the girls shared one last hug, and Juniper left Athena's apartment to head to back home.

December 21 2027, 3:15 p.m.

On the way back home, however, Juniper decided to take the first step in her new relationship. She took her phone out of her pocket and dialed Robin's number.


"H-hello, Robin. Do you want to go out somewhere?"

It was her turn to be brave.

December 22 2030, 6:15 a.m.

Lordy Tailor department store.

Juniper walked out of the jewelry store with her purchase in a small bag, feeling determined to get through the day. The two of them were going to meet for a dinner date later, and Juniper had something very important to ask her.

I've come so far since then...and it's thanks to all my dear friends. But most of all, it's been thanks to Robin. Today, I'm going to let her know how much I love her.


Chapter Text

Chapter 2: The start of it all: Robin's side.

December 22 2030, 6:30 a.m.

Unknown Location

Out in the rural areas of Los Angeles was a small house, a cheerful single-story brick house painted sky blue with decorative vines growing on the walls. A sign on the front door read "Ms Juniper Woods & Prosecutor Robin Newman", with the former name written in delicate cursive and the latter in a flowery, energetic scrawl. In front of the house was a fruit and vegetable garden, healthy and robust, while in the back there was a smaller building painted in bright primary colors, all surrounded by a wooden fence.

Inside the smaller building was quite a sight to behold: It was covered from wall to wall in art supplies of different kinds, such as paints in one corner and sculpting tools in another corner, with a multi-purpose oven in the center of the whole room. Squeezed up against the farthest wall from the door was a wooden table with metal working tools scattered here and there, with a single chair in front of it. Sitting in the chair while sleeping on the table was a young brunette woman. The building was an art studio, and the woman in question was none other than Prosecutor Robin Newman.

In the years since her true gender was exposed, Robin Newman seeked both the truth as a prosecutor and her true self as a person. With the help of her friends and her girlfriend Juniper, she was able reconcile with her repressed femininity, and it showed: her hair was shoulder-length, and despite wearing her art outfit of cargo pants, blouse and a smock, the blouse and cargo pants were noticeably really pretty. The smock itself was lovingly hand-knitted by Juniper, with a bright heart still visible on it despite a couple years wear and tear.

As sunlight filtered through one of the windows and onto Robin's face, she slowly woke up, her mind fuzzy from having only gotten a few hours of sleep.

Is it already morning? What time is it?

She checked her wristwatch, only to bolt awake when she realized that she had only an hour to get ready for work.

This is bad! If I'm late Edgeworth is going to be soooooo mad at me!

Robin quickly put away all the tools she had been using and tidied up her workbench. But just as she was heading out the door she remembered why she had stayed overnight at her art studio in the first place and went back inside, towards the oven in the center.

In celebration of the three happiest years of her life, Robin had started work on what in her mind was the greatest work of art she had ever created. She had spent all of yesterday working on it, going over every little detail so that the end result would be perfect. She had meant to take it out of the oven but she had been so tired that she fell asleep not long after she turned the oven off.

Robin opened the oven door and peeked inside. Deep within the massive oven was a single mold, one that was no bigger than the palm of her hand. She grabbed the mold and opened it, revealing what was inside: a singular ring, made of high-quality silver and decorated with a vines and flowers pattern etched into it. The only thing the ring was missing was a jewel, and Robin was planning to get a one later.

Robin stared at her handiwork in awe. She had succeeded in creating the ultimate symbol of love, a representation of her all the feelings in her heart she felt for her girlfriend. Her Juniper deserved nothing less.

In the three years that they had been together, Juniper kept finding new ways of making Robin the happiest woman alive. And it all started on their first date, all those years ago…

December 22 2027, 12:45 p.m.

Newman's Residence, Robin's room.

"What am I supposed to wear? I don't have any cute clothes because my parents only buy me guy clothes, but I can't show up like that in front of Juniper! I WOULD ABSOLUTELY DIE, MAAANNNN!"

"...Why am I here?"

Robin snapped out of her panic to stare at Hugh in disbelief. The two of them were in Robin's room, as Robin had called Hugh over for some very important business.

The room itself could be summed up in one word: struggle. At first glance it seemed like the room belonged to a guy, with the walls painted blue and all kinds of items laying around the room that one would expect would belong to a guy, like sports equipment. But a closer look revealed places where Robin tried to assert her own desires, such as the bright flowers painted on the blue walls or the occasional girl's toy that she managed to hide from her parents.

Unfortunately, one place where Robin had no hold was the kind of clothes she could buy.

For the past couple of days since the UR-1 retrial, Robin had spent all her time locked up in her room, wondering if she had ruined everything with her confession. Sure, Juniper had said yes...but Robin had no idea why, and after everything blew over she couldn't help but feel that any day now, Juniper would call her, and tell her that the two would never speak again.

When Juniper did call yesterday, Robin could only choke out a greeting, fearing the worst. So when Juniper asked her on a date instead, Robin had just enough strength to accept and hang up the phone before passing out. When she woke up, she realized that since she had never been in a relationship before, she had no idea what to do on a date.

And so she called up aid in the form of her best friend Hugh O' Conner.

Hugh thought over Robin's explanation and with his usual equanimity, answered, "I see. While I don't understand why this extends to your choice of clothing, I think I can lend a hand. You're worried about making a good first impression, correct?"

"Uh-huh. I mean, what kind of message would I be sending to Juniper if I didn't look my best?" Robin said. She looked over herself and her closet full of male clothing and suddenly felt very forlorn. She didn't deserve Juniper. She wasn't someone like Apollo Justice, who had literally risked his life for someone he barely knew.

"Stop that right now."

When Hugh was sure that Robin was paying attention, he continued, "You didn't know that the courtroom was going to be bombed. You can't keep punishing yourself for that. I may not be a genius, but I know my friends." He pointed to the proof of friendship around his neck. "If Juniper asked you on a date, it's because she wants you, Robin Newman. No one else."

It was exactly what Robin needed to hear. Feeling like a massive weight had been removed from her shoulders, she said, "Thank you so much for being such a great friend. YOU'RE THE BEST, MAAANNNN!"

"...Maybe instead of worrying about your clothes, you should work on your volume."

December 22 2027, 1:15 p.m.

Eldoon's Stand.

In the end, Robin decided to go in her usual outfit, and went to where the two had decided to meet up. Upon seeing Juniper waiting for her, Robin felt her heart begin to thump painfully in her chest.

"Hi there."

"*cough*H-hello, Robin."

Juniper had a rather distinct blush on her face, which caused Robin's own face to to heat up as she began to fidget.

The rather awkward atmosphere hung around as the two girls ordered noodle bowls, and through much of the meal itself.

Unable to tolerate the stiff air, Robin cast around for a topic, any topic that could break the ice. It was then that she noticed that Juniper had put on some makeup and she said the first thing that popped into her mind.

"You look really pretty."

Surprised by the abruptness of the comment, Juniper choked on her food and started coughing, much to Robin's dismay.

Even so, she managed to keep a hold on herself long enough to grab her drink and give it Juniper while gently patting her back.

After Juniper recovered she smiled at Robin, who was apologizing profusely.

"No, i-it's okay. *cough* I was just surprised," Juniper said. "You know, if you hadn't confessed to me I would have never been brave enough to ask you out. I still don't know why you w-would like someone like me...l-like that."

"It's because you're the first person to ever accept me for who I am."

Juniper's eyes widened at these words and Robin, emboldened, continued.

"All my life I've been forced to be a guy, and that meant lying to myself, and everyone I met. I couldn't stand it, but I had no choice but to obey my parents!"

Robin's hands unconsciously began to ball into fists, clenching in response to the painful memories. Upon seeing this Juniper grabbed her hands and brought them forward. "Those days are over now. You don't have to pretend someone else anymore."

Juniper squeezed Robin's hands in emphasis, and Robin found the courage to look her straight in the eyes as she finished her story.

"When my true gender was exposed, it was like I was finally free to breathe for the first time in my life. But I didn't know how you would react to the fact that I'd been lying to you for as long as we've known each other. But you accepted me. You forgave me. I was happier than you could ever imagine, and after that, I started to fall for you. And...I guess you know what happened after that."

Juniper nodded. Bringing things full circle, after that was the fateful day when she had gone to cheer Apollo on during a trial, and she had nearly lost her life.

"I guess it's my turn to return the question. Why me, Juniper? Why not Apollo?"

Juniper smiled as she gave Robin another reassuring squeeze. "Because you t-trusted me enough to give me your heart."

December 22 2027, 3:30 p.m.

Newman's Residence.

With the air clear between the two girls, they were able to relax around each other and the rest of date went much smoother. The two of them talked about nothing, and they enjoyed themselves so much that they completely lost track of time. It wasn't until Robin's parents called to summon her back home that they'd realize they'd been talking for more than two hours.

Juniper being who she was, she decided to accompany Robin to her front door.

"Today was the b-e-s-t," Robin said, her finger bouncing with each letter of the last word.

Juniper giggled. "T-today was nice." Then, she planted a quick kiss to Robin's cheek. "I'd like to d-do that again sometime."

A gobsmacked Robin could only nod vaguely as she watched Juniper leave. It was another half-hour until she was even aware of her surroundings.

December 22 2030, 7:00 a.m.

Robin placed some finishing touches on the ring before she slipped it into her pocket. All of the sudden, it no longer mattered that she was going to be late for work.

You know, I haven't visited Hugh in a while. Maybe I'll swing by after work.

Just that everything was perfect for her dinner date with her girlfriend.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Every awkward step

December 22 2030, 6:30 a.m.

After leaving the jewelry store, Juniper caught a train headed back home.

As she watched the landscapes rush by, her mind began to fog with memories of those first heady months of her relationship with Robin. She would be lying if she didn't admit to being rather scared. But in the end, it was all part of growing up…

December 2027.

After that first date, Juniper and Robin continued to see each other throughout the rest of winter break, finding and defining just what exactly they were to each other, and with this new relationship came a whole host of questions that needed to be answered.

The first thing they had decided on was to not to tell their respective parents (or rather, Robin's parents and Juniper's Grandma), at least until they could figure out just what they were going to say to them. Athena and Hugh already knew that they were dating, which just left telling their mutual friend Myriam Scuttlebutt and deciding how open they wanted to be at Themis Academy. But in true adolescent fashion, they put it off, and kept putting it off until it was time to go back to Themis Academy...

January 3rd 2028, 6:00 a.m.

Woods Residence, Juniper's room.

If one could describe Juniper's room in only word, it would be harmony. Everything was neat and tidy, and on top of places like Juniper's dresser sat the occasional potted plant. One one end of the room sat a small bookshelf, filled mostly with complicated legal text, but interspersed with a few romance novels. A study desk sat next to the bookshelf. On the other end of the room was the bed, with Juniper herself sleeping in it. Next to the bed was a nightstand, which contained items inside like her medicinal inhaler and school supplies. On top of the nightstand were three items: a gorgeous handmade pot with a winter rose growing from it, a picture of her and Athena as small children, and an alarm clock. As the time rolled over to six, the alarm began to ring.

The blaring drone of the alarm clock slowly roused Juniper from her sleep. After turning off the alarm, she sat up in her bed and rubbed the sleepiness from her eyes.

Today's the first day of my final semester at Themis. I hope everything goes well...

She turned to look at the potted plant on her desk and smiled. It had been a Christmas present from Robin, who had gone out of her way to craft the pot herself. In return, Juniper had made a new smock for her artistically inclined girlfriend.

Her girlfriend. Truth be told that was still quite the concept she was adjusting to, but she and Robin were taking things one day at a time.

We haven't even told anyone besides Hugh and Thena that we're dating. Juniper nervously played with a half-completed braid of hair. One of us was supposed to tell Myriam but we never got around to it. Oh, I hope this doesn't end up causing any problems.

These exact worries were why she had been so adverse to listening to Hugh's confession last October. The very thought that her relationship could cause trouble amongst her friends caused her chest to tighten painfully.

This train of thought caused Juniper to remember Myriam's article about her being in a love triangle with Hugh and Robin, and the irony of the whole situation was not lost on her.

At that moment her cell phone chimed with an incoming message, and Juniper checked it to find it was from Robin.

Good morning, Juniper! -Robin ^▽^

Juniper giggled at her girlfriend's text before looking at the emoticon attached at the end of it. Robin had slowly started adding emoticons like that to her texts, one of the many small details that came with their new relationship and warmed her heart.

Good morning, Juniper answered. How are you? I heard its going to be cold out. Do you have a sweater? Should I bring you one? -Juniper

The response from Robin came promptly.

The way you worry about me is so c-u-t-e! But I'm fine. Although...I'm having a bit of trouble putting on the uniform.

The lack of signature told Juniper that this bothered Robin, but that was to be expected. Robin was determined to exercise her new found freedom to be whoever she wanted to be, and one of the few concessions she gained from her parents was permission to go in the female Prosecutors uniform. If this was what her girlfriend wanted, the Juniper was more than happy to guide her every step of the way.

7:30 a.m.

After Juniper was done helping Robin with her uniform over the phone, the two fell into talk about their final semester at Themis while Juniper prepared for the day ahead. The last they heard, Hugh had managed his perfect score at the entrance exam, and was expected to graduate with everyone else as long as he earned the rest of his grades honestly and took a lot of remedial courses. Robin was already looking into taking the bar exam (I'M GOING TO GIVE IT MY ALL, MANNN!), while Juniper was looking into where she could get law experience before she attempted to ascend to the bench as a Judge.

This caused the conversation to fall to Myriam Scuttlebut, and so the inevitable question came up.

Hey Juniper. Are we, like, going to tell Myriam that we're going out?

Juniper considered this, and realized that there was only one course of action. Keeping secrets had almost tore them all apart once, and she was not about to make the same mistake twice. Putting aside the two weeks they had whiled away.

We're going to tell her, she texted. I mean, we have to tell your parents and Granny eventually. I just thought, we'll start by telling our friend. And...we'll work our way up.

The Granny in question was sitting across from her serenely eating breakfast. Juniper didn't like keeping secrets from her, but until Robin was ready to tell her parents she would have to hold off. They had promised to tell their loved ones together, and telling Myriam was the first step.

January 3rd 2028, 8:00 a.m.

Themis Legal Academy, front of campus.

After bidding her Grandma goodbye, Juniper took a train into the city, and from there made her way to school as she did every day. Waiting at the front gate was quite a welcome sight: Hugh and Myriam, with the former leaning against wall while reading a book and the latter pretending to be an inanimate cardboard box. The tight feeling in her chest clenched tighter.

"*cough* Good morning, everyone," Juniper said, smiling.

"Good morning, Juniper," Hugh answered.

"Sss, sss, sss," Myriam answered. "It is a good morning! To seek out the first big scoop of the year."

The judge student stood up and began to dance happily.

"I can see it now! An entire ocean's worth of stories! 'Who's made a last second career change? What bitter rivalries exist amongst the defense and prosecutor courses? What forbidden confessions lay in the hearts of students?'"

The last statement caused Juniper to jump slightly, which Myriam didn't notice in her throes of reporter's joy. Hugh, however, did notice and shot Juniper a meaningful look over his book.

Juniper nodded to show that she received the silent message. It was at this point that an absence she'd noticed became particularly felt.

"Where's Robin?" she asked, looking around for her girlfriend.

"Here I am! Sorry I'm late, everyone! How do I look?"

Juniper turned towards the entrance gate- and was greeted by a breathtaking sight.

It was indeed Robin, dressed up in the female's prosecutor uniform and her usual red jacket to ward off the cold. She beamed at everyone and gave a quick twirl to show off her new outfit.

The only thing that was different was the uniform, essentially just a red sailor fuku. Yet looking at Robin, a strange, warm feeling began to permeate throughout Juniper's body and she felt herself go red in the face.

"You l-look...really great," Juniper said, her blush becoming heavier with every passing second.

Robin twirled again, this time out of sheer joy. "Its totes adorbs, isn't it? Thank you for helping me with this, Juniper."

Juniper felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Hugh, who pointed at Myriam.

Myriam was looking between Juniper and Robin, completely silent. With her face completely obscured by her box it was impossible to tell what was on her mind.

Robin caught onto the silent thread and looked at her girlfriend. For a split second they were on the same wavelength: it would be impossible to keep their relationship secret from Myriam any longer.

Hugh abruptly closed his book. "I need to get going. I have a class to get to, and a genius like me always keeps good attendance."

He hurried off inside the school, but not before subtly tapping his neck and giving a quick glance at Myriam.

Juniper and Robin tapped their own proof of friendship bracelets to indicate that they had received Hugh's message before turning towards their mutual friend Myriam Scuttlebutt.

Physically, only two things were different about the judge course student: she replaced her box with a new one that had contained books analyzing the dark age of law, and she now wore a proof of friendship band around her left ankle. The band was one of a new batch Juniper and Robin had made together recently in celebration of the friends they had gained in the wake of Professor Courte's murder, and in tribute to her memory they were engraved with a pair of scales. The other two had gone to Athena Cykes and Apollo Justice, growing the group to double its original size.

The bands were a physical manifestation of the hope that nothing would ever destroy the bonds between everyone, and with this in mind, Juniper and Robin led Myriam to a secluded area.

"We *cough* have something to tell *cough* you, Myriam *cough* *cough*."

Juniper reflexively grabbed her inhaler and breathed into it, trying to fight back the suffocating feeling in her chest.

Why is this so hard? Am I really such a weak person?

She felt Robin squeeze her arm reassuringly, and for the first time that day she felt lighter. This was what they had decided, and she was going to see it through.

Myriam began to tap her foot impatiently but remained silent. To see the gossip-loving girl so quiet was jarring, to say the least.

It was now or never. Before she lost her nerve Juniper decided to just get it out there.

"Robin and I h-have been going out for the past two weeks."

Myriam froze up completely. A small flood of items came out of her box, followed by her laptop, but the girl didn't seem to notice this.

"I think we broke her," Juniper muttered, feeling rather alarmed.

"Don't be too angry at Juniper," Robin said, nervously picking up Myriam's possessions. "I was the one who insisted we keep things secret. Be angry at me, man!"

Juniper shook her head. "I'm the one t-that was too scared to say anything. If a-anyone's to blame, it's me."

"That's not it at all! Someone as kind and wonderful as you-"

"Kahk-Kahk...ha ha."

Juniper and Robin turned back towards Myriam, who was now trembling. Suddenly she burst out laughing, frightening her friends quite badly.

"...What's so funny?" Robin asked.

"Ha ha ha-vying for the black heart of the she-devil-ha ha ha ha-if I'd known just how right I was-ha ha ha ha!"

Juniper realized that Myriam had caught onto the irony she herself had contemplated earlier and started giggling. Robin caught on last, and her particularly loud laughter echoed through the air. All of Juniper's fears and insecurities finally vanished completely.

After the three girls had calmed down, Robin returned Myriam's belongings, which she stuffed somewhere in her cardboard box.

"I suspected something had changed between you two, sss sss sss," Myriam said. "But after Athena threatened to shove my camera up somewhere unpleasant if I ever 'meddled', I decided to fall back and get more resources. Hmph! Who does she think she is, telling a reporter such as myself not to do her job!"

"Now now. I'm s-sure Thena was just looking out for me, that's all," Juniper said, hoping to head off Myriam before she could get going.

This proved to be a futile effort, as the self-styled reporter stared intensely at her friends. "Since you two are already talking, would you mind giving me an exclusive interview?"

"Juniper and I haven't decided if we're going to be open about our relationship at school," Robin said. "But if we want to spread the news, we'll let you have the s-c-o-o-p."

This was enough to placate Myriam, and Juniper couldn't help but feel proud of how well her girlfriend had handled the situation.

"Right now w-we're just telling our closest friends," she added. As she thought, the statement caught Myriam off guard, to the point where she almost dropped her stuff again.

"Kahk-kahk. Thanks."

A bell started to ring, and everyone realized they were now late for class.


December 22 2030

Aside from the detention the three of them had to serve that day, Juniper was surprised by how well everything had gone. In hindsight, that had lulled her into a false sense of security.

One that left her unprepared for the harrowing emotional roller coaster that was her final semester at Themis Legal Academy.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Out and About

December 22 2030, 7:15 a.m.

Newman-Woods Residence, Backyard.

If the art studio was Robin's special place, the front and backyard was Juniper's. In the front was her fruit and vegetable garden, and in the back was her flower garden and a single pine tree, both lovingly attended by Juniper's caring hands. Surrounded by the calming influence of the flowers in the backyard, Robin called the Prosecutor's office in order to inform them of the bad news.

"I'm going to be late for work. I'm so sorry, Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth!"

"Actually, I'm going over the court docket for today and all cases can be handled by other prosecutors," The Chief Prosecutor said. "You may have the day off if you wish. I remember you asked yesterday if you could have today off?"

"Really? You mean it?! That would be the best!" Robin shouted in relief. "But, I thought you told me yesterday that it wouldn't happen?"

"What I said, Prosecutor Newman, was that I needed to check the schedule but I could make no promises. Do you want the day off or not?" Edgeworth said, an edge creeping into his voice.

"I do I do I do! THANK YOU SO MUCH!" Robin said quickly. 

"Just make sure to report to work on time tomorrow." *click*

Robin hung up her cell phone, overflowing with gratitude at her incredible luck. She had called the Prosecutor's office expecting to be yelled at, only for the Chief Prosecutor to show mercy on her instead. Although, it probably helped that Robin went out of her way to be punctual normally. It was part of her drive to be the best prosecutor possible, and to make up for-

Robin felt unpleasant memories bubble in her mind and she shoved them in a corner, deciding instead to relax now that she didn't have to go to work. She walked up to the back yard's sole tree and rested up against it.

Her mind lazily wandered through a haze of days gone by. Having a job as time consuming as Prosecutor meant she couldn't spend as much time as she wanted to with Juniper. Sometimes, she missed those days when life was so much simpler...

January 10th, 2028. 10:15 a.m.

Themis Legal Academy, 2nd floor Room 235

History of Prosecution 6, one of the many courses offered at the prestigious high school. This particular class covered the history of notable cases to come before the state's Prosecutor Offices.

Like most history classes, it didn't have have the most attentive students, and today was no different. Most of the students sported bored, uninterested looks on their faces. Only a small handful were paying the slightest bit of attention.

Robin was one of those few. When she first entered Themis, she figured that if she had to be a prosecutor as well as a guy, she may as well give it her all. Over the years, she made her way to the top of her class, and as a result was picked for the mock trial when it was held last October.

After the mock trial and all that resulted from it, Robin found a genuine desire to be a Prosecutor, and threw herself into her school work harder than ever before. She was one of the candidates for Valedictorian, as well as receiving the notebook rewarded to the top students.

That wasn't to say she didn't have any competition.

"In the case against Quercus Alba, a piece of evidence was a hot dog box with a splotch of blood on it. What was the importance of the blood?" The professor asked. "Yes, Ms. Newman?"

"The blood on the box belonged to the culprit himself," she answered. "Shattering his earlier claim that he was wounded by Mask de Masque II!"

"Very good. Does anyone have anything to add to that? You, Mr. Sullivan?"

The class's attention turned the the person in question: A young man with slick, dark hair, piercing black eyes obscured by thick glasses, and a distant demeanor. He stood ramrod straight as he delivered his answer.

"What Newman forgot to mention was the location of the culprit and said box. The box was proven to be somewhere where no person should have been at the time beside the victim. As the culprit's blood was on the box, it stood to reason that the culprit himself was there as well."

The professor complimented Mr. Sullivan and continued his lecture. Robin gave a sidelong glance to him. Logan Sullivan. From what Robin remembered, he was the son of one the janitorial staff, and earned a scholarship to attend Themis with permission to work as a janitor himself. From the very first day, Logan studied like a man possessed, eschewing anything he considered unnecessary. Other students knew very little about him, just that he aimed to be the top student in the entire school. His reasons for aiming so high were likewise unknown.

After Robin was chosen for the mock trial, the principal had taken her to his office to congratulate her. While there, she happened to catch sight of the class grades and saw that she only beat Logan by a very small margin. She had considered getting to know him better after that, but the events that had followed had driven her fellow prosecutor student completely from her mind.

The rest of the period passed without incident, and when the bell rang Robin grabbed her stuff and headed straight for the door; she had a nighttime date planned with Juniper today, and the sooner class was over with the faster she could get there.

"Mr. Newman? May I speak with you for a moment?"

Robin turned around to see Logan seated at his desk, staring at a space three feet away from her face.

"Its Ms. Newman," she said. "But if you want to you can just call me Robin!"

She smiled at him in order to come off as friendlier, but Logan still refused to meet her eyes.

"Well, I wanted to ask someone else but…"

Logan fidgeted and moved, giving off a rather restless vibe. This caused Robin herself to become uncomfortable and for good while the two just wallowed in the awkward silence.

"If you want to ask someone out, how would you go about doing so?" He finally asked. "You seem like someone...that just goes up to a person and says what they're thinking, so I got over myself and now we're talking."

While Robin was a bit put off put by Logan's behavior, he did also seem sincere. She herself had been in a similar situation not too long ago.

Well, since he asked it is only fair I answer him.

"The first thing you have to k-n-o-w," she said, channeling all her perkiness into her answer. "Is that it's not actually that simple. You're going to have your doubts, and you're going to be scared. There'll be times where you'll convince yourself that it's better not to say anything."

Robin recalled the memory of her own confession to Juniper. All the fears, all the doubts were certainly there. But all that had meant nothing in the face of her resolve.

"But if you don't say anything you'll never know if they feel the same w-a-y," she continued. "So the best thing you do is to be honest. Let them know that its fine if they want to remain friends, but only after you've let them know exactly how you feel."

"I see. I'll take that into consideration. Farewell, Mr. Newman."

With that, Logan stood up and ran out of the classroom, leaving Robin deeply confused.

That was so strange. Well, if it helped him get over his doubts I'm happy!

Robin left the classroom herself, her mind drifting away from the conversation with Logan and towards her date with Juniper.

It never occurred her to think about what wasn't said during the conversation with Logan.

January 10th 2028, 8:00 p.m.

People Park, picnic areas.

After school was finished, Robin went home to prepare for her date. While there, she exchanged some terse words with her parents. They hadn't exactly been happy when they discovered she had blown the male persona they had crafted for her, and while she told them was staying as a prosecutor, her home atmosphere was still rather heavy. Even this morning, for example; she had eaten breakfast with her parents, but not a single word had been spoken between the three of them. She still had yet to tell them she was going out with Juniper, as she had no idea how they were going to react.

The whole thing left her feeling sad more than anything else. She had no idea where to even begin when it came to the relationship with her parents.

With these thoughts in her head, she met Juniper at one of the park's picnic areas. Juniper had requested the date be at night, and observing the canvas of stars above them, Robin understood why.

Robin had held hands with Juniper on the way to the picnic area. After a little over two weeks since they started dating, just the act of holding hands still made Robin feel so happy.

Robin set a blanket on the ground, after which the two reclined against some trees as they ate some small pies. The pies were handmade by Juniper, and filled with fruit from her garden.

"Did you really make these by hand?" Robin asked. "These are so g-o-o-d, I feel like I've died and gone to heaven!"

"Do you really think so?" Juniper said, blushing. "I'm… so glad. I thought you might need them."

For a few minutes both girls simply enjoyed each other's company while snacking on the pies, as well as the stunning night sky and the crisp, cool winter air. Robin noticed that Juniper occasionally stole a glance at Robin. She seemed concerned, but Robin sensed something else in her gaze as well.

"It's really beautiful out," Juniper said, starting at the sky after Robin caught her staring.

"It really is," Robin said, feeling better for the first time that day. "The sky is so big, and you can get lost just staring at it."

"D-do you want to get lost?" Juniper asked. "You've been really serious today."

"It's not a big deal," Robin said, not really wanting to talk about her parents.

"Please be honest," Juniper said, briefly fixing Robin with her student council president glare. She softened up and wrapped Robin in an embrace. "I don't know w-what I can do, but I'll listen."

"You're so sweet, Juniper," Robin said, feeling on the verge of tears. "I'M SO THANKFUL, MAAANNNN!"

Robin aired her worries about her parents, of how suffocating it felt to be at her home. She talked openly, honestly, about the tense atmosphere she tried to escape from every morning, that she had to return to every evening. Every word she spoke, she felt lighter and lighter.

"...And I just don't know what to say to them anymore!" she finished. "Even after everything that's happened they're….they're….THEY'RE STILL MY PARENTS, MAAANNNN!"

Juniper looked back up at the starry sky for while, deep in thought, and Robin felt her girlfriend's grip tighten slightly.

"I...really don't know what to say," she finally said. "I don't know w-what your home life was like before we met. seems like you want to make up with your parents."

Juniper's usual soft demeanor vanished, to be replaced with indignation.

"But it goes both ways, doesn't it? They have to reach out to you...make up for putting you through so much pain and suffering. T-that's what I think, at least. I'm not overstepping my bounds, am I?"

Robin gave her girlfriend a tight squeeze in response.

"Thank you so much! You planned this super romantic date for us under the stars, and all I brought was my home problems."

Juniper smiled softly. "It's no trouble. I'm just glad I could help you out, even if just a little. Actually, the reason I wanted the date to be at night is because I've always loved the night sky. It's so vast and beautiful, and like you said problems just melt away. I wanted the stars to take some of your burden, like they've done for me so many times."

Robin wanted to respond, but she suddenly realized that they had yet to let each other go, and were currently very close to each other. Her face started to redden like a tomato, which only caused Juniper to notice their proximity as well and blush deeply.

"The stars are beautiful," Robin said, drawing closer. "But not as beautiful as y-o-u."

"Thank you. Actually, I had another reason that I wanted this date to be at night," Juniper answered. "Because under the stars I feel like anything is possible. And it seems like you want this too."

In turn, Juniper drew closer as well. There was only an inch separating their faces, and then the distance closed and their lips met in the center.

For a moment there was nothing, nothing but the feel of Juniper's lips under hers and a warm feeling blooming from her heart and consuming her entire being.

When they separated Robin felt like her body had become a live wire. She felt flooded with sensations she'd never felt before, and with her mind a jumbled mess of bliss only one sentence left her still tingling lips.

"That was my first kiss."

January 10th 2028, 9:15 p.m.

Newman's Residence.


Her mom's voice floated in from the living room, flat and perfunctory. "That's nice, Robin. Did you have fun with your friend?"

With a flash of guilt Robin remembered the excuse she had given before she had left. But then she recalled Juniper's words.

"It was like, a total blast!" She said. "I need to study but if you want to talk just call me!"

With that, Robin went into her room. Maybe she wouldn't be able to settle with her parents today. That day, however, would eventually come.

When it did, Robin was determined to be ready for it.

December 22 2030, 8:15 a.m.

Huh. I guess even back then things weren't ever simple.

Robin wondered briefly why her memory had picked that day of all days to recall.

Looking back however, that day had actually been been a pivotal event.

One that would trigger a series of events neither of them could have ever foreseen.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: When I see you.

December 22, 2030.

During the bus ride back home, Juniper received a text message from Robin.

The Chief Prosecutor gave me the day off! And since I now have the rest of the day to dedicate to you you'd better believe I'm going to spoil you rotten!

Juniper smiled and typed out a quick response.

Sounds great. I'm on my way home so wait for me. Okay?

After she sent the message she put away her phone and reclined in her seat. It said something about their lives that even today of all days, they only had so much time to spare. But as adults seeking to reform the justice system, it was just a part of their daily reality.

That wasn't to say their relationship had ever been "perfect". To be sure those first few weeks had been idyllic, but what relationship wasn't?

Today, and back then. Just how far have they come along on this path?

January 28th 2028, 5:15 A.M.

Woods Residence, Front Yard.

Juniper would admit any day of the week that she didn't do that well in the city. Her naturally reticent nature clashed against the smothering crowds of people, the sterile buildings, and the dirty air.

But place her in a natural environment like a field or a forest, and she flourished. Growing up in the mountains with her Grandma after her parents passed away, she fell deeply in love with the natural world, and it was out here where she was at her strongest, where she felt she could do anything.

Today was no different, as Juniper had decided to start her day by tending to her garden, dressed in a pair of worn overalls.

This early in the morning, even the sun was still sleeping under the horizon, and this high in the mountains everything was swaddled in a cozy fog.

The cool, clean air, the feel of the soil underneath her gloves, the birdsong echoing in her ears, the sight of all the mighty trees around her: it was an experience Juniper loved more than anything.

As she continued to take care of her plants, Juniper chatted to them about her life as she always did.

"...And Thena's been doing really well for herself ever since her mother's killer was caught. She's become such an amazing person. Just the other day she challenged everyone to a running contest! I haven't seen her much lately, since she's been busy with her cases."

In fact, the last time she had seen Athena, her friend had been hanging around the Criminal Affairs department. They had only a short time to talk before Athena suddenly had to leave to visit someone working there.

As Juniper went down the row of plants she let her mind just sift through her thoughts of the precious people in her life.

"Apollo's been doing great, too. The other day I decided to tell him that I was going out with Robin, and he actually congratulated me! He's such a kind, understanding person. Oh, but then Robin challenged him to a court showdown!"

Even though her feelings for Apollo had cooled, her initial impressions of him were accurate: he was as great a friend as any she ever had, and she would be forever grateful that she'd met him. Even so...

The mere mention of her girlfriend, even from herself, caused Juniper's lips to tingle slightly and for a pleasant shiver to run up Juniper's spine. A couple weeks had passed since they had their first real kiss as a couple. Truth be told, Juniper hadn't been sure of what to expect. But as cliche as it sounded, it was unlike anything she ever felt before.

Maybe it was the fact that it had been Robin's first kiss. Or maybe it had been the taste of fruit pie on Robin's lips. Or maybe it was the look in Robin's warm brown eyes at after the kiss, clear and full of affection.

Whatever the case, their relationship had shifted slightly after that, though how was rather hard to explain.

She had always been close to Robin, as a friend. But now that they were a couple, everything was-different.

Finished with tending the garden, Juniper cleaned the dirt off herself and headed back in her home. She had a Student Council meeting to attend today and as President she needed to present the best Juniper she could to everyone.

January 28th 2028, 1:00 p.m.

Themis Legal Academy, Art Club room.

All the attempts to psych herself up only did so much while she was still in the comfort of the forest. As soon as she arrived at school, Juniper felt short of breath and her head began to feel light shortly afterwards. It was all she could do to use her sunflower to calm herself. As soon as she got a hold of herself, Juniper slipped into her President persona.

I can do this. I can be strong.

Like this, Juniper managed to make it through her morning classes and the meeting with the Student Council. Even so, it was a huge relief when the bell rang for lunch period, and she headed straight to where she knew she would meet Robin and her friends: the Art Club room.

The meeting had at least gone well. As could be expected, everyone was busy with the end of the semester approaching with the usual school dances and other events planned out. With Juniper being the part of the graduating class, the rest of the council had surprised her with a lot of gifts at the start of the meeting. When she asked if there were any problems, however, her vice president had quickly cut in to say that everything was fine.

She had been asked by her friends at various points why she decided to become the Student Council President, given her shy nature. That she was so reticent was precisely why; if she could handle a position like this, it was one step closer to being able to ascend to the bench, mentally.

But times like these, when she was talked over, showed her that she still had a long way to go.

Approaching the door Juniper didn't hear very much going on, and she took a peek inside to see what was happening. As it turned out, Myriam was typing away at her laptop, while Hugh was holding his bow as if he were going to shoot it, just without an arrow. Robin was seated on a stool in front of an easel and a paper, painting Hugh as he held his pose. What appeared to be an already completed painting was propped against a nearby wall.

With everyone focused on what they were doing Juniper took this chance to absorb the scene before her. It wasn't all that different from any number of days where everyone hung out together, and it was exactly this that made Juniper feel happy. The simplicity that belied the true strength of everyone's bonds with each other.

She turned her attention towards Robin and found herself becoming entranced. Something about watching Robin paint just felt so-right.

The way the hand holding the brush was able to coax out such smooth strokes. Her causal, cross-legged position she was sitting in that belied the intense concentration on her face. The joy that was clear in her bright, brown eyes. Robin was truly one with her craft during times like these, and while she was now pursuing Prosecutor as a career, it was clear that art still held held a special place in her heart.

As much as she didn't want to interrupt everyone, Juniper was starting to feel uncomfortable just standing outside, so she politely knocked on the door before entering the room.


Shortly after Juniper found herself with her arms full of Robin. She felt herself flush at the feeling of her girlfriend's warm body. Once again, a pleasant shiver ran through her body. Spontaneous hugs like this one had started occurring since their nighttime date, and somehow Juniper didn't mind them, even at school.

"It's g-great to see you too," Juniper said, giving Robin a quick kiss on the cheek. "What's going on here?"

"Robin offered to paint Myriam and I portraits of us," Hugh explained, still holding his pose. "Now if the artist can get back to her craft..."

"Oh! I'm sorry, Hugh."

Robin rushed back to the easel and turned her attention to the painting. While she worked, Juniper went over to the corner of the art room where Myriam was still absorbed in her laptop.

"What are you working on, Myriam?" She asked.

Myriam moved her box above her get a better look at her friend; a seemingly small act that spoke volumes of the secretive girl.

"I have a really big scoop," Myriam declared cheerfully. "And I can say no more, Kahk-Kahk, since I'm still getting my resources together."

Juniper frowned. It was nice that Myriam was actually showing restraint, but whenever she spoke the words, "big scoop" someone was in her line of sight.

"Could you at least give me a teaser?" Juniper asked.

Myriam fiddled around with her laptop, clearly conflicted with leaking even a morsel of information.

"Right now all I have are rumors," she said, still fidgeting. "But I've heard that a lot of students have been getting harassing notes."

"Harassing notes?" Juniper's voice took on a dangerous edge. "What kind of notes?"

"None of the students rumored to have received the notes have come forward, sss sss sss," Myriam explained. "Even stranger, no one seems to know where these notes even come from. They just seem to materialize in students' lockers. Or so I've heard, Kahk-Kahk."

If Myriam was right, then it was possible that students were being bullied. As Student Council, just as a person, I won't stand for this!

"I'm done!"

Juniper and Myriam turned to see Robin triumphantly holding a painting above her. Everyone in the room crowded around her to see what the artist had produced.

As with every art piece Robin did, the painting was incredibly well done. It depicted Hugh in the pose he had been holding, bow and all. But instead of the art room, the background was of a coastal cliff-side. Hugh was standing near the edge of the cliff, facing towards an unknown target. Robin had even taken the time to draw an arrow nocked in the bow. All in all, it gave Hugh a rather fierce look.

"Thank you, Robin. I'll be sure to frame this in my house, so that people can look at the work of of a true genius," Hugh said, completely sincere.

"Do you really think so?" Robin asked, looking at her painting critically.

"I don't think so, I know so." Hugh answered, gently prying the painting before Robin could do anything with it.

"I think it's great too," Juniper added. "In fact, I'd like a portrait of myself."

"Oh, okay."

Robin dug into her art supplies before coming up empty. Since they were in the art club unofficially, she couldn't just use the supplies already here. "I need to go to my locker for more stuff. Be right b-a-c-k!"

Robin dashed out of the room, and the three friends chatted while they waited. But during the conversation, Juniper noticed that Hugh had rather heavy bags under his eyes.

"Hugh, are you okay?"

"Hm? Oh, don't worry about me. I've simply run a few late study sessions lately."

"Hugh, don't push yourself so hard." Juniper scolded lightly. "I know you've had to do a lot of work, but-"


That's Robin's voice!

The three of them exchanged a brief look before running towards the direction of the voice.

January 28th 2028, 1:30 p.m.

Themis Legal Academy, Robin's locker.

When everyone arrived at where Robin was, they found her glaring at her open locker.

Juniper looked inside, and met with a sight that burned itself into her memory.

The locker itself was perfectly fine at first glance, filled with school supplies, art supplies, and lots of pictures of Robin with her friends or on a date with Juniper.

But laying in the middle of the locker was as single sheet of paper.

Typed on the paper was note, which read as follows.

To the dyke known as Robin Newman.

You pretend to be a good person, but you're not.

You have the audacity to reveal your true colors only when forced.

Worst of all, you took an innocent, Juniper Woods, and tainted her with your corruption.

End your farce of a relationship with her, or I swear to personally deliver justice onto you.

Attached to the note was a picture of Robin and Juniper during the nighttime date a few weeks ago, with Robin crossed off with a black marker.

The note was unsigned, and yet, Juniper suddenly felt as if the entire school body had turned on her, on Robin. She began to cough, and found she couldn't stop. Soon, her vision began to dim.

A single thought rebounded in her head, over and over, as she sank to the floor.

Who would do this?

December 22nd, 2030.

Juniper abruptly sat up, startling the other bus passengers.

It was no coincidence she choose to recall that particular day.

For while her feelings for Robin had begun to evolve, at the same time a shadow had fallen over the innocent little world they had created. One that would force them all to face some cold, harsh realities.

End of Arc 1.

Chapter Text

Arc 2: Turnabout Shadow

Chapter 6: Remorseless Shadows

December 22, 2030, 8:30 a.m.

Newman-Woods Residence, Backyard

After a quick breakfast inside inside the house, Robin returned to the backyard to ensure good reception as she made another phone call.

It was no coincidence that her mind kept going over past events. Each and every memory, no matter how insignificant, was a part of her relationship with Juniper. But not all of those memories were good. In order to get the complete picture of the past three years, one had to acknowledge the bad as well as the good.


"Hello, Hugh. Mind lending me an ear?"

February 5th, 2028.

A week had passed since Robin had found the mysterious note inside the locker. After Juniper had hyperventilated and passed out Robin had immediately rushed to her side, but Hugh had reached her first and told Robin and Myriam to stay by the locker to make sure any evidence left inside wouldn't wander off. Well, that was how Hugh had worded it, but everyone knew what he actually meant.

While Myriam had gone to report what happened with Robin's blessing, Robin waited by her locker. For what felt like hours but was only thirty minutes, all Robin could do was glare at the hateful note in her locker and wait for news on Juniper's condition. For someone to so effectively strike at her, leaving her feeling deeply shaken using only a note and a picture slipped into her locker-Robin couldn't even begin to imagine who was responsible for this, or why.

The worst part of the note, and the reason Robin decided to report what happened, was the implied threat in regards to her relationship with Juniper when paired with the picture that had Robin crossed out: "...I swear to personally deliver justice onto you."

Whoever had sent the note had meant it as a warning. Robin had no intention of listening to a word her anonymous foe "said" of course, but the fact still remained that somewhere out there was someone who was hanging this threat over her head. A faceless opponent she didn't know, but who knew about her and Juniper.

In the end, Hugh reported that Juniper was fine, and Myriam showed up with the campus authorities. A preliminary investigation had been launched, but it quickly ground to a halt when they couldn't turn up a shred of evidence to show who was the culprit behind the note. No fingerprints, no footprints, no traces of any kind.

It was as if the note had simply materialized out of the ether and into Robin's locker. The only thing that could be discerned was that as the locker's lock wasn't broken, the note had likely been slipped in through the slats. But that meant that the culprit could be anyone at the school.

Unsatisfied with this result, Robin took Myriam and arranged something with the Principal. But afterwards, all there was to do was to wait.

So Robin attempted to continue to live her life, but now there was a shadow cast over each day….

February 5th, 2028. 7:27 a.m. 

Newman's residence, Robin's room.

"...And always remember that the best way to point at someone is to put all your energy into it. Make sure to really emphasize your hips in the motion!"

"Mr. Wright already taught me about pointing, and I don't think I need to emphasize my hips in anything, Robin."

"Well then, don't call on my help if you don't actually want it!"

Hugh O'Conner waited for Robin to finish with her crocodile tears and skimmed through the textbook in front of him. After a few minutes, Robin dropped the act and smiled at her close friend.

Near the start of the school semester, Hugh approached Robin with a simple request: to tutor him so that Hugh could pass all the remedial classes that was required of him so that he could graduate. He had accomplished his earlier goal of acing the entrance exam with a perfect score, but one look at his class schedule and Hugh immediately swallowed any semblance of pride he once had.

While it was true that the two were in different courses, Robin got around this by helping Hugh with topics that overlapped between defense and prosecution. The tutoring sessions themselves were never boring, as Robin's vivacious nature wouldn't allow for something like that to happen, and when the two weren't studying they chatted about life at large. The most prevalent topic, of course, was the note that had been left in Robin's locker.

"Have there been any new leads on our cowardly Shadow?" Hugh asked.

Robin shook her head, frustration clear on her face. "Nothing. I even got a second opinion from Athena and Apollo, but they came up blank as well."

It wasn't just that they failed to find evidence. They had asked Robin if she could think of anyone who would want demand that she and Juniper break up, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't come up with anyone. Without a suspect, everyone had started to refer to the culprit as the Shadow. Surprisingly enough, it had been Athena who had coined the term, saying that if the culprit didn't have the spine to show themselves, they may as well refer to them as was appropriate.

Well, Athena had actually been a lot louder...and her language a lot more colorful.

Hugh contemplated over Robin's words and smirked bitterly. "Heh. It seems like they already have an inkling as to who the Shadow might be, or at least what their motive might be."

"What do you mean, Hugh?" Robin asked.

"Think about it. Whoever did this must truly bear ill will towards you and your relationship with Juniper. Otherwise, our Shadow wouldn't risk so much just to leave a note and picture that could be seen as a threat."

A bulb went off in Robin's head as a memory from October resurfaced. "Oh! you mean that rule?"

Hugh nodded and extracted a small leaflet from his pocket. The leaflet was passed to every student attending Themis Legal Academy, and on it was a single, simple, rule.

If you are convicted of a crime, regardless of how minor the offense, you will face immediate expulsion from Themis Legal Academy.

Robin and her group had actually almost run afoul of this rule during Juniper's trial last October. Myriam especially had scraped by the skin of her teeth over her booby-trapped envelope, and the only reason any of them had been spared was that they had each contributed in taking down Professor Means.

The Shadow, on the other hand, had no such protection. What they did was clear example of harassment.

Themis leaflet info jotted down in Organizer.

Shadow's note info jotted down in Organizer.

Unfortunately, this brought them no closer to identifying the culprit, and Robin realized that using this info incorrectly would just cause the culprit to become alert, killing any chance at bringing them to justice.

Robin mentioned this to Hugh, who once again smirked.

"Chances are, our Shadow is already aware of this rule," he said. "As a student of Themis, they would have to be. But I do agree that we shouldn't be rash about this."

This brought everything full circle, leaving no course of action to take that Robin could see.

"Then don't think about it," Hugh advised, reading the expression on his best friend's face. "Just wait until the right path opens up."

But what would the right path even be? Robin wondered.

The puzzle itched in the back of her head for for the rest of the study session, leading her around in endless circles.

February 5th, 2028. 10:15 a.m.

After Hugh went back home at the end of the study session, Robin decided that if she couldn't do anything about the Shadow, she wouldn't waste any more time thinking about them.

My day's just begun, so there's no w-a-y I'm going to let anything or anyone spoil it!

She called up Juniper to ask if she was free, but surprisingly Juniper said she was taking care of something with Myriam but might be available later. Next, she called up Apollo, but he turned out to be busy with a case. Hugh, of course, had already gone back home and he had told Robin before he left that he needed to talk to his parents about his remedial classes.

This left Athena, so Robin called her.

The phone rang only once before Athena picked up the phone.

"Hello, Robin. What's up?"

"Hey Athena! I wanted to spend some time with my favorite defense attorney," Robin said. "So how would you like to spend the day with m-e me?"

"Actually, I'm glad you called." Athena's voice took on a heated tone. "I have a lot of irritation work off and I imagine you do too! Meet me at the Agency in half an hour!"

"I'd be glad to go, but why-?"

"Schnell, Schnell!"

Without another word Robin hung up the phone and went right out the door.

February 5th, 2028. 10:45 a.m.Wright Anything Agency.

When Robin arrived in front of the agency Athena was already there, dressed in sweatpants and a sweater. She was jogging in place, and appeared to be muttering under her breath.

"The next time they insult her I'm going to drive drive my foot- oh Robin. You're here. Why aren't you dressed out to work out?"

"I didn't have enough time to change clothes," Robin said nervously. "What were you talking about?"

"You heard that? Don't worry about it, I'll tell you later." Athena grinned. "For now, we have some running to do!"

And with that, Athena took off, leaving Robin to chase after her. This wasn't the first time this had happened. In the months since Robin had gotten to know Athena, she quickly learned how much the defense lawyer cum therapist loved to exercise. At first, Robin tried to back out, but Athena quickly learned to appeal to Robin's competitive side.

This occasionally ended badly. For example, after the two had faced off in a painting contest they were banned from painting in the same room without supervision ever again. Robin still found traces of paint in her room on occasion.

Today, however, they simply ran. Athena seemed to have no real destination in mind, she just kept running without saying a word beside the occasional pep phrase whenever Robin slowed down.

Finally, they stopped in front of the Criminal Affairs department, and Athena stared up at the building with an odd look on her face.

"Oh, I'm all sweaty and gross," Robin grumbled. "What's been going on with you today, Athena?"

"Nothing at all, mon amie," Athena said, with clearly forced smile plastered on her face.

"I just want to tear someone's head off!" Widget declared cheerfully.

There was a pause as Robin slowly backed away from Athena. "Okay, I'll be quiet. Just please, don't tear anything off."

"I don't mean you! I just don't want to bother you with my problems when you have your own!" 

"C'mon, Athena." Robin nailed the defense lawyer with her best pleading eyes. "Tell me? Pretty please?"

"Alright alright, I'll talk." Athena shot Robin an exasperated look. "Just promise not to tell anyone for now."

"Yay! I promise."

"I'm kinda sorta maybe going out with someone. A detective that works here." She pointed at the Criminal Affairs building.

Robin gasped, then felt herself swoon. She managed to catch herself before asking, "Really? Who? When? And what you mean by kinda sorta maybe?"

"Whoa hey slow down!" Athena said, looking distinctly panicked. "Um, let's see...she's a detective that I met during during a poisoning case I worked on about a few weeks ago. We've really only gone on a couple dates so I'm not sure how 'official' we are yet."

"Oh. Congratulations, Athena! Wait...she?!" Robin felt herself swoon again, and this time she crumpled on the ground.

A splash of ice water brought Robin back to her senses, and the first thing she saw was a concerned Athena.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for you!" Robin said quickly as Athena helped her back up. "But that was such a shock. I didn't know you liked girls."

"Well no, it's not so much that I like girls," Athena clarified. "It's more that"

"Oh. Wait, but then why have you been so irritable all day?" Robin asked. "Does it have something to do with why you brought me along on your run?"

Athena sighed, and sat down on a bench in front on the C.A. building while motioning Robin to join here. Once Robin was seated Athena began to talk.

"The point of this run was actually so that we could forget about our problems. But I guess that didn't work, eh heh."

"So what's going on?"

"Well, its just, first there was the note you got from the Shadow." Athena started to grow angry again. "And my girl is dealing with her own Shadow in at the precinct where she works. The evidence she handles just so happens to be misplaced and her office just happens to get ransacked-"

Athena shot up, red in the face and shouting.

"And what is wrong with this world?! What did you and Junie ever do to have some creep stalk you two? Why is Ema being harassed? Why can't I do anything for the people I care about except-just-SIT-HERE?!"

Now finished with her brief rant, Athena hunched her shoulders and stared at the ground, her body shuddering with rage.

A note. Robin was so wound up over a simple note, even when that note had a picture that promised a vague threat. And yet here a close friend of hers was dealing with a worse problem while still worrying over her and Juniper.

Robin carefully approached Athena and lay a hand on her shoulder. When Athena simply turned to look at her, Robin decided to answer Athena's rant with her own speech.

"Don't be so hard on yourself. Maybe we can't catch the Shadow right now, but if anyone can do it its y-o-u! In fact," A glint shone in Robin's eyes as an idea occurred to her. "I'll work on catching my Shadow, and you help your girlfriend Ema catch her Shadow. Let's see who exposes their prey first!"

Athena's anger quickly turned into determination, just as Robin thought it would. "Oh, it's on now, Robin! I'll catch both of these cowards and still have enough time to defend a trial!"

Then, Athena remembered something that had slipped out earlier.

"Oh, I said Ema's name out loud earlier. Oops," Athena said, flustered. "Remember, don't say a word! I wanted to tell Junie first when Ema and I are ready."

"I promise!" Robin said. "After all, I still need to pay you back for everything you've done for me."

February 5th, 2028. 3:55 p.m.

Newman's residence, Robin's room.

Robin spent the rest of the day hanging out with Athena until Athena had to go back to the Wright Anything Agency. After that, Robin headed back to her own home. Her parents weren't there, but not long after she arrived she got a phone call from her dad.

"Hello, Robin. How have you been doing in school lately? " Her father's voice came across as a bit stilted, but that might have just been the reception.

"I've been doing really well. Why did you ask?"

"You haven't talked to us about school for the past couple of months."

"Well, there just hasn't been much to talk about, that's all."

"I see. Well, if you need to talk just say so."

The two exchanged goodbyes and hung up. Most conversations with her parents went like that these days. Walking on eggshells. But conversations like these were an improvement after the atmosphere that resulted from last October.

Her phone rang again, and Robin checked to find that it was from Juniper.

"Hello, Robin. I'm sorry I haven't been able around today. How has your day been?"

"Its been great! Athena and I went running today so that we could pump ourselves up, then we ran some court simulations!" Robin said, remembering her promise to Athena.

"That's good to hear. I'm glad that you and Thena are getting along so well." Juniper said warmly.

"So, what was it that you did today, Juniper?" Robin asked.

"I was arranging something with Myriam….actually I wanted to talk to you about that. Myriam and I have been talking about the note that it was left in your locker, and I think its time."

"Time for what?"

"I think its time to be honest about our relationship with everyone," Juniper said, sounding completely serious. "You aren't the only one that got a note like that. I was already planning to do something about it as the Student Council President. But as your girlfriend, I won't allow someone to threaten you just because you're dating me. If you agree, we'll start with having an interview with Myriam."

After an entire day of being away from Juniper, she still found a way to say the exact perfect thing. The Shadow's demand was for them to end their relationship, and Juniper's answer to this was to help Robin throw light on their crime.

Eh heh heh heh. Watch out, Shadow! You thought that you were intimidating a harmless little girl. You have another thing coming!

"Okay, Juniper. Let's give Myriam her scoop." Robin almost stopped there, but then she remembered the conversation with her father. "After that, do you want to tell your Grandma and my parents?"

And since Juniper was willing to do something so grand, it was only fair that Robin do the same.

December 22, 2030. 8:35 a.m.Newman-Woods residence, backyard.

"Ah, you wanted to talk about the Shadow incident. Any particular reason why?"

Robin felt the bad memories surface and let them this time. She had to go over all her memories. If she was going to propose to Juniper, she needed to have the complete picture of all the years they spent together.

"Do you remember what happened at the end of that incident, Hugh?"

Even if it meant staring a really painful mistake in the face.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Meet the parents: Juniper's side.

December 22 2030. 7:30 a.m.

Train station, city outskirts.

Juniper disembarked the train once it reached her stop. After that she hailed a cab to take her back home.

On the way there, however, she realized that she was close to the place where her Grandma was currently living and decided go visit her first.

She was going to meet up with Robin soon to celebrate their third year anniversary. But that was in the afternoon, so in the meantime she wanted to visit everyone that had done something for the two of them at some point in their lives.

My Grandma has done more for me than anyone else. I want her to be a part of this really important day of my life.

Fittingly enough, the last time she had a discussion like this with her Grandma was when she first had to break the news that she was dating Robin. Of course, that particular memory was plagued by the Shadow that haunted the time period surrounding that day….

February 2028.

The February of that year was really, really, chaotic for her starting with the first note from the Shadow. As she had told Robin over the phone, she had no intention of letting their anonymous enemy do as they pleased, and as Student Council President she had to set the example for everyone else to lead.

Her first course of action was to meet with Robin and Myriam so that Myriam could interview the two of them over their relationship and the Shadow's actions. Juniper took this chance to give an encouraging speech to the student body.

"I know how scary it can be when someone tries to intimidate you. When someone tries to hurt you. But I've face these kinds of people before, and I can tell you they can't have any kind of power over you if you don't let them. Just remember to have faith in yourself, and in the people that love you."

All throughout that interview she had been holding hands with Robin, and after speaking that final line Robin gave it a gentle squeeze.

Myriam herself was on Cloud Nine, feverishly taking notes on every word her two friends spoke. After the interview ended she bustled off towards the Newspaper club, but not before reassuring her friends that she would make sure the story got printed exactly as it should, without any of the extra "additions" Myriam was infamous for adding.

The following Monday Juniper, Robin, and Hugh picked up the Special Edition of the Themis Herald. As it turned out, Myriam saw fit to devote the entire issue to the interview, with the interview itself on the front page and the rest of the paper devoted to giving the backstory on how Juniper and Robin had gotten together, including a small individual piece on each girl and their time attending Themis Legal Academy.

Curiously enough, there didn't seem to be a mention of the Shadow beyond the part of the interview where Robin talked about the note that had been left in her locker, and even then Robin hadn't called the Shadow by name. But on the very last page there was short blurb from Myriam.

Kahk-Kahk. It was a pleasure interviewing these two, and as always I'm following the latest scoop. Unfortunately, this also means I can't waste time on things like whoever it was that tried to bait the fine Ms. Newman. But I'm sure the Junior Members can take care of that!

Special Edition Themis Herald data jotted down in Organizer.

Needless to say, the school was in a complete uproar. But after a couple days it didn't seem like the Shadow was going to respond, so Juniper moved on to the next step: telling her Grandma the news. But that particular day began and ended rather poorly….

February 9th, 2028. 9:45 a.m.

Themis Legal Academy, Robin's locker.

"There's another note in my locker!"

"What? Another one?"

Everyone met up at Robin's locker and sure enough, sitting smack dab in the middle of the locker was a second note.

The note read as follows:

Are. You. Serious? I give you a fair warning, I tell you that where you're wrong. And your answer is to broadcast your invalid relationship to the entire school?

I warned you, Newman. Never before have I faced someone so needlessly stubborn. I'm not going to lie, it pains me that I will have to deliver retribution onto you.

But it seems as though our paths are irreconcilable. Mark my words, Newman: Within three days you will leave Themis Legal Academy, and never return.

"It seems as though Myriam's shock tactics were only able to do so much." Hugh said. "Has the article at least given us any new leads to the Shadow's identity?"

Myriam shook her box-clad head. "No good, sss sss sss. There have been people who've tried to turn themselves in for the attention, but a quick session with Apollo and Athena weeds them out."

"What about the Newspaper Club?" Robin asked. "Have they been of much help? Or..." Robin grew nervous. "Could any of them have been the culprit?"

"Not on your life!" Myriam immediately snapped. "I had each new member questioned extensively by Athena after we found the first note. I will personally vouch for them."

"Let's not get so angry at each other," Juniper calmly suggested. "We're all on the same side, so if we just take a step back and look at over what's happened we might be able to get some new information."

"G-o-o-d call right there, Juniper!" Robin said. "I'm sorry I suspected your club, Myriam." She added.

"You just asked questions," Myriam said. She tapped the foot on which she wore her friendship band. "As a journalist I think I can forgive this."

With everyone calm again the group studied the locker. It was exactly the same as last time: Nothing in the locker itself had been touched, but in the middle the note was sitting face up. Once again the lock was undamaged.

"It looks like our culprit at least appears to have fallen into our trap." Myriam said, looking rather pleased with herself.

What trap?" Juniper asked. Looking around revealed Hugh was just as confused but Robin seemed to know what Myriam was talking about.

"Right, you passed out and then you had to go home with Hugh. Before we explain what we did, do you remember how our school lockers work?"

How they work? Juniper looked at the row of lockers before her. They were the standard square lockers with three vertical slats. Color-wise, they were a pale lime-green. Befitting a school as prestigious and rich as Themis, the lockers still looked brand new, and each locker was fitted with an electronic lock that responded to the assigned student's ID card. In the event that the electronic lock broke or at the end of at the semester when they were emptied and cleaned, the lockers could be opened with a simple key that went into a lock that was fitted below the electronic lock. Juniper had no idea who held those particular keys, though.

Locker Mechanisms data jotted down in Organizer.

Juniper voiced all these thoughts out loud, and everyone else nodded.

"When they were investigating the first note, things ground to a halt because anyone could have just slipped the note in the slats," Robin explained. "So I made a l-i-t-t-l-e alteration after that."

She pointed at the inside of her locker door. Juniper and Hugh looked to see what she was pointing at and saw what appeared to be a small piece of paper taped over the slats. The paper was the same shade of green as the locker and blended in rather well.

Immediately, Juniper could see the brilliance of what Robin did. "When did you do this?" She asked.

Myriam proudly handed Juniper a photo. The photo showed a picture of the inside of the locker door with Robin's alteration. On the bottom of the photo was a time-stamp: 01-29-28, 1:30 p.m.

"I already cleared it the principal," Robin said proudly. "He said as long as I didn't damage the locker I could do what I wanted. With this we might finally have a lead!"

The paper over the inside of the slats did a simple thing: make it impossible for someone to slip a note through them from the outside. But that a note had found a way inside anyway immediately narrowed the culprit down to two possibilities: either they had access to Robin's ID card, or they had access to the keys to the lock that overrode the electronic lock. Either way...

Robin's Locker info jotted down in the organizer.

Shadow's notes updated.

"Okay, now that that's taken care of, now what?" Robin asked cheerfully.

"Well, Myriam will take photos of everything like last time," Hugh said. "And of course we need to report the second note. Should we report on the results of Robin's trap as well?"

"I think we should," Juniper said. "We don't know who might have access to the keys, and maybe with a little extra help we'll be able to catch the Shadow."

Everyone seemed to be in agreement, so Hugh stayed behind with Myriam to take pictures of the locker while Robin and Juniper went off to report the second note.

While they were at the principal's office Robin reported on what she had done to her locker and the results they had garnered while Juniper asked who might have access to the locker keys.

The principal answered that access to those keys were highly restricted, and he couldn't imagine how a student could get their hands on them. However, he would get someone to look up on who did have access to the keys in case that was how the culprit was able to access the locker.

The evidence didn't lie. Robin had made it impossible to slip anything through the slats of her locker, and yet a note had found a way inside her locker anyway. It seemed the Shadow was potentially a lot more powerful than they had initially thought.

February 9th, 2028.

1st floor hallway.

The rest of that the school day passed in a blur as Juniper wracked her head for anything else she could do to aid the search for the Shadow. Nothing occurred to her however, so she left her last class of the day feeling frustrated.

As a result she didn't see the man standing outside the door and collided with him.

"I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!" Juniper apologized profusely as she helped the man back up. He had jet-black hair that was slicked back, dark eyes that shone behind thick round glasses, and an open and friendly aura around him.

"No, that's okay. I should be so lucky to run into a pretty lady like you every day," the man said. He held out a hand. "Name's Logan Sullivan."

"Nice to meet you, Logan." Juniper said, smiling gently at him as she shook his hand.

Logan abruptly began staring at the floor. "You looked quite troubled. Mind if I lend you an ear?"

Juniper shook her head. "Thank you for offering, but I need to meet up with-"

"Your girlfriend?" Logan said in a quiet tone. "I guess that means it's this Shadow business that's got you all wound up? "

"It is," Juniper said, surprised that Logan was able to glean so much from so little. "Well, that's not all but it's kind of personal."

Logan looked back up, grinning. "Fair enough. You may not know it, but I'm the top student of the Prosecutor course. So at least let me offer you a piece of advice on catching your prey."

"If the culprit can be anyone, then don't cross the people you know off the suspect list," Logan said. "This Shadow clearly knows a lot about the you, so they might be a lot closer than you think."

Juniper's stomach went cold. "Are you saying one of my friends might be the Shadow?"

Logan shook his head, a serious expression on his face. "Not necessarily. But as a Prosecutor, I can't deny the possibility and neither should you."

It was at this point that Juniper remembered what had occurred this morning and felt immensely relieved, and a bit guilty she had even entertained the scenario.

"I don't think it's them."

"Oh? Why not?"

"Robin set a trap for the Shadow in her locker," Juniper said, deciding to leave a few details vague as a security measure. "It's already worked once, and I think we might get a new lead out of it. But I want to think of a way to add to the trap in order to bust the Shadow for good."

"Impressive," Logan said, his grin from earlier returning. "Well, if anyone can catch this culprit it's you. I guess I'll head home, then."

With that, Logan strode towards the school exit. After making sure she hadn't dropped anything, Juniper herself left.

February 9th, 2028. 7:30 p.m.

After Juniper met up with Robin the two took a bus to Juniper's house. Robin had earlier told her parents that she would be going to Juniper's house, and that she (Robin) had something important to tell them the next day.

There was no denying it. Juniper was scared, more scared than she ever remembered being. But the feeling of Robin's hand in her own helped keep her tethered. She knew her Grandma. She knew that there was no reason to worry, even as her gut said otherwise.

Like this, Juniper managed to make it through the bus trip, and in no time at all she was at the front door of her house.

February 9th, 2028. 8:00 p.m.

Wood's Residence, living room.

Juniper sipped the herbal tea her Grandma had served her as she and Robin sat on a couch while waiting for her Grandma to return.

After answering the door her Grandma had bustled them inside and served them both tea. Then, she went into the kitchen to retrieve food for them.

Juniper noticed Robin fidgeting out of the corner of her eye. It made sense that her girlfriend would be as nervous as she was. But when Robin caught her looking she immediately gave Juniper a huge reassuring smile.

"It's so nice to see your girls getting along so well."

The two turned towards the to see her in the kitchen doorway: Virginia Woods, the mother of Juniper's father and the woman who raised Juniper most of the young girl's life.

Despite her advanced age Mrs. Woods still stood tall, carrying a plate of bread that she had gone to fetch. Her wrinkled face belied the bright spark in her deep brown eyes. She wore her white hair in a bun, and much like Juniper wore a light dress with a shawl.

Mrs. Woods set the plate down on a table and sat down in a sofa, facing both girls.

"You wanted to tell me something, Juniper?" Her Grandma asked.

This was it. After almost two months of going out with Robin she was finally going to tell her Grandma about it.

"I didn't want to keep this from you," Juniper began. "I h-hated every second of it. *cough* cough* But I just didn't know w-here to begin with this. *cough* *cough* cough*"

Robin and Mrs. Woods immediately went to help Juniper, but she used her medicinal inhaler and gave a sign that she was fine.

"I'm fine. *cough*" Juniper said. "I can do this." Her two loved ones, while hesitant, decided to trust in her strength.

Juniper slowly got a handle on herself. As she did so she saw her Grandma looking over the two of them: sitting only a few feet from each other, holding hands, and really nervous.

Grandmother and granddaughter locked eyes, and at that moment Juniper realized exactly what to say.

"Robin and I have been going out for the past two months. I'm sorry I haven't told you in all this time."

Mrs. Woods gently set down her teacup and smiled sadly at her granddaughter.

"My sweet Juniper. I knew this day would come," she said. "All these years watching you grow up, I knew that one day you would fall in love with someone and bring them home. I just wish my son was here to see this."

Juniper looked at the various pictures hanging on the wall. One particular picture was of her parents and her back when she was a child. They had died when she was five, so this picture was the only thing she had to remember them by.

Next to her, Robin had become somber. "I wish I could have met them too." she muttered.

Mrs. Woods turned her attention to Robin. "You know, my granddaughter was quite taken with a young man for quite a while. But then she slowly she stopped talking about him and started talking about you."

Juniper twiddled her fingers together. Well, it wasn't so much that she stopped talking about Apollo as she started to refer him as just a good friend. Around that same time, she began to think of Robin as more than just a friend.

"Yes, she started to talk about how kind you are, how happy and full of life. About how your smile would always be what got her through the day."

The two girls felt themselves grow hot, and they knew they had started blushing.

"Well, Juniper's my girlfriend." Robin said, going on a charm offensive. "Of course I want her days to be filled with c-h-e-e-r!"

"Did I really say all that?" Juniper wondered aloud.

"Maybe not with words," Mrs. Woods said knowingly. "But I could see it regardless."

"So, it doesn't bother you that I'm a girl?" Robin asked tentatively.

Mrs. Woods shook her head. "I'm not as old-fashioned as I look. And my granddaughter has as always been a romantic person. Always searching for someone kind and wonderful to be by her side."

This statement resonated deep in Juniper's being. It was true. Growing up, she had been one of those girls that dreamed of a Prince Charming to love and care for her.

Her entire life, she had people she could lean on, people she could trust. Her Grandma made sure she never wanted for anything, and as she became less shy she made friends like Thena, or her group from Themis.

As she grew older, she outgrew this fantasy, focusing instead on making friends and pursuing her dream of being a Judge. Being a Judge to her meant becoming someone strong, someone that could resolve conflict.

Then she met Apollo, who seemed to be everything she ever dreamed. A wonderful knight with a heart filled bravery.

She had truly loved him, once. There was no denying it. But after months of never being able to catch his attention in that way, the feelings simply cooled into friendship.

Even as this happened she began to get to know the real Robin Newman. And in her, Juniper found warmth. She found kindness. She saw a bravery not unlike Apollo's, but unique to Robin, such as when she defended Thena from Aristotle Means.

But that wasn't all. She saw Robin at her worst, saw her sadness over her fractured bonds with her parents. She learned about her attempt to cheat at the mock trial, which Juniper did give her a lecture about later.

With each passing day that Juniper spent with Robin, she found herself falling for her more and more.

"Because I don't want a Prince Charming," Juniper finished aloud. "I want someone I can love completely, guy or girl."

"Is that me, then?" Robin asked.

Juniper pecked her on the lips in response.

"My only question is why it took so long to tell me," Mrs. Woods added to remind the girls she was still there.

Juniper and Robin took turns explaining the past two months, from the initial awkwardness to the current crisis with the Shadow. As this happened Mrs. Woods closed her eyes, deep in thought.

"To think that someone would do such things," she said when the explanation finished. "Ms. Newman, I trust you have done well in protecting Juniper?"

Robin snapped to attention. "I've been pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into bringing this person to justice!" She shouted. "In fact, I plan to go to school early tomorrow so I can continue investigating!"

"Very well." Mrs. Woods opened her eyes and pinned them both with a stern glare. "Since you two are finally coming clean about this, I expect more honesty about what you two are doing from now on. And be mindful while under this roof, especially if you're both in Juniper's room."

Robin swooned into a limp state while Juniper made a scandalized noise, feeling herself grow incredibly hot.

February 9th, 2028. 8:30 p.m.

On that note, Mrs. Woods continued to give the expected lecture to Robin on treating Juniper properly despite Juniper's occasional protests. But the protests themselves were more out of embarrassment than anything. Beyond that, Juniper felt incredibly grateful to her Grandmother. The food and drinks, the questions, the lectures: in years past when Juniper had a crush on a guy, Apollo included, her Grandma would prepare much this same procedure.

That Robin received this same treatment meant that in her Grandma's eyes, Robin was as valid a romantic partner as anyone else. Before she went to help her Grandma with cleaning the mess left from the food and tea Juniper told Robin this, and her girlfriend had a definite spring in her step afterwards.

Inevitably, Robin's phone rang, signifying that her parents were here to pick her up. Juniper saw her off with a kiss on the cheek before Robin left. But halfway out the door Robin stopped and turned with a mile-wide grin.

"I'm going to catch the Shadow, maaaaannnnn!" She declared at the top of her lungs.

With that, she dashed off to where her parents were waiting at the bottom of the driveway.

Looks like Robin's time with Thena's really paying off. Juniper mused.

After a dinner where she and her Grandma continued to talk about past two months, Juniper retired to her bed. As she drifted off, she considered everything she'd done today.

In years past she would have been too shy to even think about doing a school interview about her relationship. Too meek to try and defy someone like the Shadow.

Her Grandma, her friends, her girlfriend Robin-it was because of their support that she could stand tall today.

February 10th, 2028. 7:00 a.m.

During breakfast that morning Juniper's own cell phone rang, and she picked it up to find Hugh on the other side of the line.

"When was the last time you saw Robin?" he asked.

"Um...l-last night," she answered. "Her parents picked her up to take her home. Why do you ask?"

"And she told you that she would continue investigating the Shadow, correct?"

Juniper started feeling scared. "She did. Why? What happened?"

"Robin's been arrested."

December 22 2030.

Even to this day, Juniper could still remember the raw, unfiltered panic she felt upon hearing those words. They had underestimated their enemy.

That call had been but a prelude to what would be the second-most harrowing, emotionally draining day of her life.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Meet the parents: Robin's side

December 22, 2030. 8:40 a.m.

Robin went back into the house to prepare for Juniper's arrival. She had received a call earlier that Juniper was going get home soon, and since Robin now had the whole day off she wanted to take Juniper out on the town.

As Robin changed into a new outfit she looked around at their shared bedroom. A king-sized bed with pink, frilly sheets and pillows that they had picked together. Light blue walls decorated with pictures. A shared dresser where they kept their clothing, with a mirror above that they would often use. Different beauty accessories scattered on top of the dresser such makeup and hair brushes.

If the events of that day hadn't transpired, would she still know to appreciate everything around her, everything that she and Juniper had built together?

Robin liked to think she would, but they often said that you didn't know what you had until it was gone. And nothing made you appreciate your freedom more than the chance that you might lose it...

February 10th, 2028. 8:00 a.m.

Detention center, holding cell 3.

Robin stared at the ceiling of her holding cell, wondering how everything had gone so wrong. What mistake had she made? What clue had they missed?

She had entered the school campus around six this morning in order to see if she could find a new lead as to the Shadow's identity. But first, she had made a stop off at her locker in order to organize her stuff.

Inside had been a third note:

You've been an obstacle in my path for so long.

You've sat on the throne you didn't even want.  You double down on what you do wrong.

It's too late for redemption. This is the end of the line for you.

Farewell, Robin Newman.

Robin quickly took out her cell phone and snapped a picture of the note.

Farewell? What exactly did the Shadow mean by that? Robin wondered. She began to scan the inside of her locker to see if she could glean any more clues.

Immediately, she noticed that one of her paintbrushes was missing. A small hammer she used for statue work had also vanished, and the bottom of the looker was stained with streaks of white. At this point, she noticed a rather odd smell inside her locker.

Is that bleach? Or some kind of cleaner at least.

Robin's Locker info updated.

Shadow's Notes updated.

Before Robin could contemplate the new information, she heard footsteps from down the hall. She turned around to find a pair of police officers approaching her.

"Are you Robin Newman?" One of the officers asked.

"I am." Robin said. "Are you here about the person that's been harassing me and Juniper?"

The officers shook their heads, and one of them took out their handcuffs.

"You're under arrest." The officer said as he placed the handcuffs around Robin's wrists. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."

By the time Robin could could process what was going on she was being led out of the building.

"Woah, Woah, Woah!" Robin exclaimed, deeply panicked. "Why am being I arrested? What did I do? What's going on, maaaaannnn!"

"Vandalism." One of the officers said as Robin was placed in the back of a police car and the two cops got into the front seats. "This morning we received a call from the school that some of the school lockers had been vandalized, and it turned out that they were correct."

"As for why you were arrested," the other officer added, "The lead detective on the scene discovered decisive evidence linking you to the crime."

Robin sank into her seat, her heart sinking in her chest right along with her. Could this have been the Shadow's doing?

Robin, of course, had drilled the officers on what exactly they had found, but they had clammed up and refused to say anything else. Thus, they had taken her to the Criminal Affairs department and placed her in the holding cell she was in now.

Robin reviewed her activities for the past twelve hours to see when the crime could have been committed that would make the police suspect her.

After the last bell yesterday I went over to Juniper's house so I could talk to her Grandma. After that, I went home with my parents and had dinner. Then I went to sleep, and this morning I went to school early to see what else I could learn. I was going to talk to the principal about who had access to the locker keys, but I stopped by my locker first. After that I was arrested! So it had to have been yesterday evening or this morning!

Robin sat up in her seat, her anger rising. It couldn't be a coincidence. An earlier note had said that within three days, she would leave Themis Legal Academy and never return. A day later, she was arrested for a crime she didn't commit that had decisive evidence against her.

This was the Shadow's plan. At some point, they had set a trap for her and she had fallen right into it.

If this spineless villain thinks they can defeat me like this, I'm going to personally hunt them down and show them how wrong they are!

"I'm going to TAKE YOU OUT, MAAANNNNN!" Robin screamed at the top of her lungs, venting all her frustrations.

A door opened, and one of the detention center's guards came inside. It occurred to Robin that yelling wasn't the best thing to do in her current situation.

"I'm sorry for all my yelling," Robin said nervously.

"You have visitors," the guard said, disregarding Robin's apology as he unlocked the door to her holding cell.

"Really? Who is it?" Robin asked.

"Its your parents."

February 10th, 2028. 8:15 a.m.

Detention center, visitor's room.

Indeed, seated in chairs across the glass divide were her parents, and Robin felt her foul mood grow worse. Her parents didn't look as if they were much happier, a mixture of anger and worry on their faces. The fact that they were in a private room specifically for family to meet did not help the foreboding.

When Robin took her seat across from her parents, the three of them only stared at each other, unable to say anything. A fragile, high energy tension surrounded everyone and Robin took this chance to really look at the people that had raised her.

Her mother, Diana Newman, had been the person she had inherited her looks from. Her light brown hair was styled into straight waves that fell down her shoulders, and her eyes were the same shade of brown as Robin's. Her face was likewise similar to Robin's, with the main difference being the signs of age like the crows feet around her eyes. She was in a blouse and skirt combo, and wearing high heels: her mother worked part time as an accountant at a local tax office, and it seemed she had been working when she had been informed of Robin's arrest.

Sitting next to her mother was her father, Richard Newman. As a prosecutor, he was the man whose path Robin was supposed to follow. Everything about him demanded the respect that came with his position: His cropped dark brown hair, his steely gray eyes, his rough face, his imposing stature. He was dressed in a pressed gray suit, his prosecutor's badge pinned proudly on his lapel.

Her father, fittingly, was the first one to break the silence.

"Robin, your mother and I received a phone call saying that you had just been arrested for vandalism at your school, and your friend Juniper is crying her eyes out wanting to know what's going on." He narrowed his eyes, glaring furiously at his daughter. "Explain yourself at once!"

Robin felt herself becoming smaller and smaller. The only time she had seen her father become this angry had been after Juniper's trial last October, when she told her parents that she had revealed her gender to everyone.

Then her mind had latched onto a particular detail of what her father said.

"Juniper? Where is she? How's she holding up? Are Hugh and Myriam with her?" Robin asked in quick succession. 

"Answer your father." Her mother said, her soft tone underlaid with the same anger.

"Not until I know Juniper's okay," Robin said, sitting up straight and crossing her arms, glaring right back at her parents.

"She showed up not long after us," Mrs Newman said. "But we left her outside because we wanted to talk to you first."

"Mom, Dad." When Robin had her parents' attention she continued, 'I'm going to explain everything. But first I need Juniper to be in here with us. She has a lot to do with what's been happening, and I've been meaning to tell you guys something for a while anyway."

Her parents saw that Robin wasn't going to budge on this point, so Mrs. Newman stood up and left the room.

It didn't take long for her to return with Juniper in tow, after which they both took a seat next to Mr. Newman. Juniper looked disheveled despite being in her school uniform, and her face was red and swollen from crying.

Nevertheless, the first thing she did upon spotting Robin was to smile encouragingly at her, a smile that Robin reciprocated.

"I wanted to bring you something," Juniper said sheepishly. "But the guards wouldn't let me give you anything."

"Eh heh heh. Well, you can give it to me when I get out of here," Robin said cheerfully. "And I'm really happy just having you here."

Juniper beamed even wider before her face clouded with concern. "I heard you shouting earlier. Are you okay? Does it have to do with the Shadow?"

"The Shadow? This is the first we've heard of this."

Robin jumped in her seat at the sound of her mother's voice. She had been so happy to see Juniper that for a split second she had forgotten her parents were there.

"I did say I would explain everything. But before I can tell you about the Shadow, I need you guys to understand something first." Robin looked at Juniper, who nodded, then turned to her parents.

Robin knew that she would have to answer for keeping so many secrets from her parents. But at this point, there was no reason to keep quiet any longer.

"Juniper and I are girlfriends. We've been going out for two months."

Immediately, her parents' facial expressions became unreadable, but they didn't say anything. Juniper and Robin took this chance to explain their relationship for the third time that week, including the relevance of the Shadow's actions in regards to Robin's arrest.

The entire time, Robin's parents didn't speak, simply listened with neutral expressions on their faces.

"So you suspect that this 'Shadow' is framing you for the vandalism?" Mr. Newman asked after Robin finished her explanation.

"Uh huh. B-u-t, don't think I'm don't have any evidence to back my claim up. If you talk to the principal he should still have all the notes that were found in my locker." Robin said.

She hadn't known what reaction to expect. But the last thing she expected was for her parents to bow their heads.

"I ask again," Mrs. Newman said, an undercurrent of hurt cracking her voice. "Why are we only hearing about all of this now? Aren't we your parents?"

"You are! But after what happened last October, I wasn't sure if I was still your daughter!" Robin cried out. She felt tears begin to run down her face. "I wanted to tell you guys about my relationship with Juniper. I just didn't know if you guys would actually listen to me."

"Last October? What happened last October?" Juniper asked. She presumed it was related to Robin's gender, but Robin didn't talk about her home life after that until just recently.

When the Newmans turned their attention towards her, she flinched but recovered quickly enough.

"It's private family business, dear." Mrs. Newman said gently, not wanting to upset their guest.

"Maybe it is. But Robin is my girlfriend," Juniper said firmly. "And I don't want to see her crying."

"If we're going to talk this out, I want Juniper here," Robin added. "She's strong enough for this."

"So? Are we going to go on ahead, Ricky?" Mrs. Newman asked her husband.

Mr. Newman smiled wryly at his wife. "Our child is in a detention cell, Diana. If we don't do this now, we may not get another chance. And I want to see if Juniper can back up her words."

Mr. Newman brought out a bag he had been keeping on the floor up until that point and rummaged around for a bit before removing a very familiar item. "I presume you remember this, Robin?"

Robin almost flew from her seat in her attempt to get away, staring at the item with a mixture of loathing and fear on her face.

It was the brace that had restrained her chest. The ultimate symbol of her miserable time as a boy.

"Why? Why do you have that?"

"Because like I told you before," Mr. Newman said. "You don't understand what your mother and I were trying to do for you."

Juniper slowly approached the brace, and picked it up. "And what was that?" Juniper asked, her voice trembling with anger. "What were you trying to a-accomplish by making Robin so unhappy?"

Robin's parents were looking distinctly uncomfortable at this point. Mrs. Newman took out a photo from her pocket and laid it on the steel table separated by the glass barrier. "Do you remember this, Robin?"

Robin and Juniper returned to their seats to get a better look at the picture. It depicted Robin as a small child, no older than five, standing in a mud puddle. She wore a frilly green dress, but it was smeared with mud. The mud itself had small lumps that Robin had attempted the mold into something. Her child self wore a messier version of the pixie cut she had today, and the biggest smile on her face, clearly proud of her efforts.

The photo sparked a memory deep inside of her, which in turn became a blaze of recollections. "I remember..."

Mrs. Newman turned towards Juniper. "Our little Robin was always rambunctious. She always wanted to prettiest clothes, but they would be ruined in a day because she would be off on some adventure."

This had been right around the time where her parents had started to slowly raise her as a guy instead of a girl, or at least as far back as she could remember. But with her memory of that time so fuzzy, it brought up a bit of a chicken or the egg issue: had she always had a streak of tomboy inside her, or had that been artificially created by her parents' efforts to raise her as a boy?

In those days, she fully believed her parents when they had told her that she was a boy. Oddly enough, her memories of her elementary school had been mostly happy. She had gotten along well with everyone, and no one questioned Robin when she did things like make things out of mud. After all, it was normal for boys to do that.

Except even back then, a voice in her head told her that something was not quite right. That her intentions were being misunderstood, but at only five-years old she couldn't grasp what she felt well enough to verbalize it. Every time she did something girly, like wear a dress or play with dolls, everyone at school began to pick on her.

Mr. Newman covered his face with his hands, deeply troubled. "Diana and I...we wanted a son. So when Robin seemed to take to being a boy really well, we didn't do anything to correct her-"

"Robin was only a child."

Everyone turned to to Juniper, whose calm tone belied the outraged look on her face.

"She was only a child," she continued. "She was too young to understand about how guys and girls act, and as parents you should have reassured her. Should have let her be herself instead of molding her just for your own sakes!"

No one had any rebuttal to Juniper's words. In fact, Robin found herself shaking.

"This entire time, that was the reason I was raised as a boy?" Robin said, each word being forced out to keep from shouting. "Because it was just easier and you guys wanted a son? Did my feelings mean nothing?!"

Regardless of who Robin had been back then, who she might have become, it didn't excuse what her parents had done.

Her parents still couldn't counter the argument, but continued to explain: Robin continued to grow up half-believing she was a boy. But inevitably, nature had taken its course and Robin began to develop in ways that boys didn't develop. With her parents unwilling to answer her questions, she looked for her own answers and discovered her true gender.

Like this, Robin entered middle school. However, an unexpected development threw everything into confusion: her very first crush.

"One day, Robin came back home with some questions," Mrs. Newman said. "About why she felt so funny around one of her friends."

"Was that friend a girl?" Juniper asked, having a pretty good idea of what the answer was.

"It was," Robin confirmed. "But it never went anywhere since my parents wanted me to focus more on my school work."

"That was what we told her at the time," Mr. Newman said. "But truth be told we had no idea how to handle our Robin liking girls. The one thing that would make her living as a boy easier, and Diana and I were at a complete loss."

Except, it had nothing to do with her upbringing as a boy. For while that first crush hadn't been her last, she found herself consistently attracted to only girls. At the time, she thought it had been connected to her upbringing.

"Last October, I told Mom and Dad I wanted to live as a girl," Robin said. "After Athena blew the lid on the whole thing during the trial. But they weren't in the best mood over some of the things I did during the trial and we started fighting."

She had been so happy to finally live as herself. Then she fell in love with Juniper, and she wondered why she would still have this remnant of her time as a guy.

"You guys told me that life would be so much easier for me as a male prosecutor since I would never have worry about money."

The answer, of course, was that her feelings for Juniper weren't a shadow of anything.

"And you could support yourself and anyone you wished to be with," Mrs. Newman finished.

Juniper made the connections in her mind. "So you already knew that-"

"I'm a lesbian? I think they suspected," Robin said. "But I didn't really know myself until I took a hard look at myself."

That was right. Sleepless nights going over her feelings. Roping Hugh into her confused ramblings. Reflecting on what her parents had told her during that fight. All helped her awaken to her true sexuality.

She had come out to her friends not long after that, but held back her crush on Juniper. They had all accepted her, but Juniper had done more than that. She had revealed her own bisexuality as a show of support, and as part of the resolution they had all taken to not keep secrets from each other.

That had been near the middle of November last year. Her feelings for Juniper had already started to change after the Gavinner's concert, but having Juniper accept her for who she was caused her to see Juniper in a new light. A little over a month later, she confessed her love to Juniper.

"That's why we brought this." Mr. Newman pointed to the brace. "We won't pretend to understand your relationship with your friend Juniper, but we've always wanted what's best for you, Robin. We were so scared when we heard you got arrested. We didn't know what to think."

"But now that we've talked to you we can see that you've grown into a great woman all on your own,"Mrs. Newman said sadly. "So if you want to start making your own decisions, we'll support you. And we'll start by destroying the brace."

This was what it all came down to in the end. She had what she always wanted: the right to live as herself. But what did that mean for her relationship with her parents? Even after hearing about why they raised her as a boy, she couldn't be too mad at them. In their own warped way, they really did want to see her happy.

Seeing her parents so humbled by remorse did make one thing clear: No matter how angry she felt right now, no matter what happened in the past, she didn't have it in her to cut her parents completely from her life.

"I know I'll probably face more people like the Shadow," Robin said. "But I won't let my life be run by them. Like it or not, this Robin Newman is here to s-t-a-y! But, now that everything's out in the open could we maybe start over? Get get know each other as adults?"

Her parents sat up, surprised by her words. "Do you mean it?" Mr. Newman asked.

Robin shook her head. "Don't get me wrong. I don't know if I can ever forgive you guys. But maybe we can meet halfway."

"We'd like that."

February 10th, 2028.

Detention center, holding cell 3.

After that, Robin and her parents talked a bit about her current predicament, but Robin reassured them that she was innocent, and that she had a defense attorney ready. She did ask her father who was prosecuting her case, but he told her that as her father he hadn't been told in order to keep him from influencing the prosecutor's opinion.

Eventually her parents had to return to work, but not before telling Robin that they would be watching her trial tomorrow and wishing her well.

Juniper left as well, saying she needed to return to school. She in turn had said that when she returned later for the lunch hour she would bring company.

Robin was returned to her holding cell, where she was once again left alone with her thoughts. She lay down for a nap, but all she could do was dream of braces and hollow fiends made of paper.

February 10th, 2028. 1:15 p.m.

Detention Center, Visitor's room.

Needless to say, it was a relief when another guard showed up saying that her defense attorney had arrived with company. When Robin was escorted to the visitor's room, she found Athena Cykes waiting for her, flanked by Hugh, Juniper, and Myriam.

"You don't look so good. Are you holding up okay, Robin?" Athena asked right off the bat.

"Eh heh heh heh. This hasn't been the best day," Robin admitted. "But I had a good talk with my parents, and now you're all here. So today hasn't been all bad."

She noticed that one member of their group was missing.

"Where's Apollo?"

"He's busy working on a case with the Boss so he couldn't make it," Athena explained. She grinned and hit her palm with a fist. "But I'm more than capable of helping you out of this mess!"

"So who's the prosecutor for the case? Are there any witnesses?" Robin asked, her mind and demeanor slipping into an intense focus that she used when approaching studying her Prosecution course work.

"Simon's going to prosecute the case," Athena said. "Since I'll be the one defending you. As for witnesses, there is one. A student from the Prosecutor's course who reported the crime."

Hugh stepped forward with some papers in his hands. "But before we tell you who the witness is, we need to make you aware of some new information we discovered. Juniper here managed to go to the Principal and learn who has the keys to the lockers."

"From what I heard, usually the administration has access to the keys, for safe keeping," Juniper continued. "But the custodial staff also has access, in case of an emergency such as a student being unable to open their locker because the electronic lock broke."

"So are you saying the Shadow might be a janitor?"

"We are." Hugh said. "Here is the work schedule for the custodial staff these past couple weeks. Pay attention to who was working on the days you found those notes, and the day before the crime."

Hugh set the papers down in front of Robin, and she read through them as best as she could from the other side of the glass barrier. As she read, she noticed a name repeat itself the day before she found one of the Shadow's notes in her locker, every time. The same name appeared yesterday night: Logan Sullivan.

" waaaAAYYYY!" Robin shouted at the top of her lungs.

Janitorial staff schedule added to Organizer.

"Do you know this person?" Myriam asked, trying to read the papers upside down.

"Not really," Robin said. "We've only talked to each other once, and it wasn't a very long conversation. He seemed like a shy person. But the Shadow has it in for me, right? Why would it be him if we don't know each other?"

"That's the million dollar question," Athena said, playing with her earring while deep in thought. "But he's also the one who reported the crime, and is the witness for the prosecution."

"Something just occured to me, sss sss sss. We've been investigating the Shadow for a while, and thanks to a few traps we've managed to narrow it down from when it could have been anyone at school."

"That's correct." Hugh said. "Are you going somewhere with this?"

"Hey, no snide remarks!" Myriam snapped. "As a matter of fact, I am going somewhere. What if the reason the Shadow is doing this isn't just about getting rid of Robin? Her arrest has already thrown our investigation for a loop. If she were to be convicted, I'd imagine it would give our foe a chance to try and destroy the evidence of his crimes since the police efforts would be focused on her for a while."

"Impressive thinking," Athena said. "I think all that time sneaking around has served you well."

"In other words, the Shadow's become desperate." Hugh concluded. "A cornered person is dangerous. But at the same time, their judgement might become clouded enough to make a mistake. Well done, Myriam."

"Hold on, everyone!" Robin interrupted. "If all of this is true, we're still missing something. The Shadow would have to know we were on their trail. But the only time I talked to Logan, it was before I found the first note. How would he know?"

An alarmed look crossed Juniper's face, which then shifted into shame. "I think it might be my fault. Yesterday, Logan approached me after class, and we talked about the Shadow. He told me not discount people I know as the culprit."

"You leaked information?" Myriam asked, sounding distinctly horrified.

"Not that much!" Juniper quickly said. "I told him we set a trap for the Shadow, but I didn't give him any details. And he was a real gentleman. He even said that if anyone could catch the Shadow, it would be me."

Athena slammed down her hands against the steel table. "So that's how this vilaine bête wants to play it. I'll make him regret ever poking into Junie's business!"

"I don't know," Robin said. "There doesn't seem to be any real motive for him to do these things, and without a motive we can't build a case. There's still so much we don't know about him."

An idea occurred to Robin. A risky, crazy idea, but an idea nonetheless.

"Hey Athena. I can participate in my own defense, right?"

"Everyone has the right to self-representation, but then I wouldn't be able to help you as a defense attorney." Athena answered.

"But what if you helped me as a therapist instead of a defense attorney?"

"I suppose it would be legal, why do you not want my help all of a sudden?"

"Its not that I don't want your help," Robin explained. "But its me the Shadow's after, right? So if Logan's the Shadow I'll be able to personally cross-examine him. Then you could use your Mood Matrix to see how he feels talking to me."

"I get it, kahk kahk." Myriam said. "In facing him, you're trying to draw out any bad feelings he might have towards you so scary lawyer lady can catch them."

"Are you sure, Robin?' Athena asked. "Logan's our only suspect, but if its not him we won't look good if we just accuse him."

"I agree with Thena," Juniper said. "I know how badly you want to catch the Shadow. We all do. But it still seems like a really big risk to take."

"I'm not saying we should go for blood right away. If its not him, then we focus on getting me off the charges and we look for a new suspect. If I need to I'll hire Athena to represent me later."

"You really smart, Robin. I know you are." Juniper said, clutching her hands tightly. "But you're not a trained defense attorney like Thena or Apollo. I don't want you to be found guilty!"

Robin was already starting to feel distinctly guilty from the torn look on her girlfriend's face.

"And that's another reason why I need Athena with me," Robin reassured Juniper. "So she can keep me from falling in any holes. But facing Logan myself might be our best chance to finally find the truth."

"As much as I hate to admit it, Robin might be right." Athena said. "And its not like she hasn't thought this through."

"I understand. I trust in you, Robin." Juniper said, resigned. "And I'm going to trust in Thena to keep you safe."

"Leave everything to me!"

February 10th, 2028. 8:00 p.m.

Detention Center, holding cell 3

After Athena coordinated their plan of attack and arranged the paperwork to get the ball rolling, everyone left to separate destinations. Robin spent the rest of the day inside her cell, with meals to look forward to for the rest of the day.

As she lay down to sleep, her mind went over all that happened today, and all the information needed for tomorrow.

Today's been really crazy. But I need to be ready for my trial.

Just you and me, Logan. I'll get the truth out of you one way or another!

December 22, 2030. 9:00 a.m.

Robin clipped some red earring studs in her ears as she finished dressing for Juniper's arrival. It wouldn't be that much longer, but a question stuck in her mind.

The vandalism trial. I wonder...if I had done something differently that day, would everything that happened after have happened the way they did?

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: The Shadow's Game

December 22 2030. Time: ?

Location: ?

All actions have consequences. Even if the payoff isn't until a long way down the road, what you've done will catch up to you.

If you aren't prepared, your life will be swallowed by the abyss.

Date: Feb. 09th, 2028

Time: ?

Location: ?

"In this world, there are certain kinds of people. People so inherently selfish and rotten that they will destroy everything around them just to get what they want. Watch out for these people, and stay away from them if you can."

"I think I understand now. I've met one of those people, and she's already stolen quite a lot from me. But I can't just stay away. If I'm ever going to reach my dream, I need to take things into my own hands. And with this, I will finally be rid of her!"

February 11, 9:00 a.m.

District Court - Defendant lobby No. 3

Athena Cykes strode down the halls of the courtroom, headed towards the lobby where Robin and the rest of their friends would be waiting.

Unfortunately, not much progress was made since yesterday. All attempts to track down Logan Sullivan proved to be futile, only for it to turn out that he was holed up in the Prosecutor's office and wasn't accepting visitors. Likewise, she had investigated the crime scene briefly but couldn't turn up any clues. It didn't help that Apollo and Mr. Wright were still busy with cases of their own.

Things looked pretty bad. But as the Boss always said, the worst of times were when a lawyer had to force their biggest smile. So when Athena reached the door to the defendant lobby, she stopped briefly and drew in her breath.

Athena burst dramatically into the lobby, a mile-wide grin on her face and and spring in her step. She faced everyone inside and declared at the top of her lungs,

"Alright, everyone! Who's ready to bust the Shadow and put a stop to him once and for all?"

She was promptly ignored by everyone inside. Robin was sitting in a chair muttering something under her breath, sweating profusely. Juniper sat in a chair next to her and comforted her girlfriend, holding her hand and whispering encouraging things in her ear.

Myriam and Hugh were huddled in a corner going over something in their hands, frustration clear on their features. It said something about their situation that Myriam wasn't even wearing her box.

"Hey now, don't everyone answer all at once," Athena said, almost feeling hurt.

This caught everyone's attention. "Oh, good morning Thena." Juniper said. "We're not exactly ready yet. But now that you're here we might have some new info to work with."

"Yeah...I really don't have anything."

Athena then explained her investigation and the results she got, or lack thereof.

Hugh and Myriam stood up and joined the rest of the group.

"At least that matches up with what we got," Hugh quipped as he handed Athena all the papers they had. It turned out to be all the evidence they had collected so far on the Shadow. "We asked around Themis yesterday about Logan, but no one would tell us anything."

"Logan has never talked with anyone in the three years he's attended Themis Academy," Myriam continued. "However, I dug around some old back issues of the Themis Herald and did find something new, sss sss sss."

"Please and thank you, Myriam," Athena said, desperate for any new information at this point.

"I interviewed him once when he was a freshman. As a scholarship student I thought he was hiding a good story, so I started by asking him why he was attending Themis."

Robin looked up for the first since the conversation started. "What did he say?" She asked.

Myriam smirked. "You'll find this really interesting, Kahk-Kahk. He told me he wanted to become the top student in all of Themis Academy, because he had to become Chief Prosecutor. It was all he would tell me."

"That reminds me," Juniper mused aloud. "When Logan and I talked the other day, he introduced himself as the top student of the Prosecutor course. I didn't really notice it because I was thinking about my Grandma at the time."

"I'm still the top student," Robin corrected. "But why would he introduce himself like that?"

A silence hung over everyone as they contemplated the new information. Many questions remained, but Logan looked more suspicious with every passing minute.

"Well enough of that!" Athena said. "There's nothing left but to take the evidence we do have and go charging forward. And we'll start with a jog around the courtroom!"

"Before we do that, anything else we need to know?" Robin asked.

"Nothing much. The Prosecutor is still Simon Blackquill. We do have judge I haven't see before, but I have heard of her. Her name is Justine Courtney, I think."

Both Juniper and Robin instantly sat ramrod straight, with Robin paling noticeably.

"Are you telling me that the Chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee is presiding over my trial?"

When Athena nodded in response, Robin swooned then passed out in her chair.

"So she's the judge," Hugh said. "This might be a problem."

"If this lady is so important why is she here?" Myriam asked.

"Ms. Courtney serves as both Chair of the P.I.C. and a Judge," Juniper said. "Robin and I study her a lot because of it. She has a reputation of being stern and unyielding during trials."

A sensation of despair began to overtake Athena. So the judge is someone very strict who's probably going to be very hard to sway. That's just great.

"Someone wake up Robin," Athena said. "We need to go over our strategy one last time before the trial starts."

Feb 11, 9:30 a.m.

District Court - Courtroom No. 2

Day 1

Court is now in session

All rise

The familiar buzzing of people in the stands filled Athena's ears, with the prevailing emotion being one of curiousity. Athena looked around her, taking stock of her surroundings. Her old phobia of courtrooms made the atmosphere disquieting to her, but Athena did her best to manage it.

Right next to her was Robin, in her usual red jacket and sweatpants combo. She appeared to have control of her nerves and now had a look of determination on her face. Robin had opened her jacket, revealing a white t-shirt with a cute teddy bear head on it, presumably as a charm offensive.

Across from her was Simon Blackquill, rigid and impassive. Taka sat on his shoulder and he wore his usual Prosecutor's outfit. A careful observer would notice that he had less bags under his eyes, and his skin wasn't as pale as before.

At the judge's bench was Justine Courtney in all her glory. While her outfit was unchanged aside from some gold trim, she exuded authority. Judge Courtney proudly displayed her thirty-three years, her brow furrowed as one would expect someone who served as both a judge and in recent years as the Chairwoman of the P.I.C.

In the stands was the moral support. Hugh, Myriam and Juniper all sat in the same row, with Hugh and Myriam tapping their friendship bracelets when they saw Athena. Athena tapped tapped her own bracelet on her right forearm in response. Juniper smiled at Athena and Robin, clutching a bouquet of flowers she had picked from her garden to celebrate a not guilty verdict. But one look in Junie's eyes told Athena that Junie was fretting internally about her girlfriend's fate.

This reminded Athena that her own girlfriend, Ema Skye, was the detective in charge of the trial Apollo was the defense for in another courtroom. Dealing with their separate cases, the two had only had a chance for a quick greeting earlier this morning.

Ema...I know I can't be there in person. But if someone dares to give you trouble, leave enough for me for when I get to them!

Judge Courtney slammed down her custom gavel, and Athena realized that only a couple minutes had passed since they had all entered the courtroom.

"Court is now in session for the trial of Robin Newman," Judge Courtney said. Her voice was surprisingly soft for a woman of her reputation. "The defense is ready, I presume?"

Robin effortlessly switched from serious to perky. "Ready and raring to go! And may I just say what an honor it is to have you presiding over my trial, Your Honor."

"I go where the Goddess of Law needs me," Judge Courtney responded simply. "Is the prosecution ready?"

"I am ready for battle, Your Honor," Prosecutor Blackquill answered. "Though I don't imagine this battle will take very long."

Athena slammed her hands down on the bench without thinking. "Oh, this battle won't be long alright. But only because Robin will get herself off the hook in no time at all!"

"Cykes-dono. Its always good to face off against you. As for you…" Blackquill looked straight at Robin. "I believe this is the second time we meet in a duel of wits."

"Heh heh heh. Nice to see you too, birdman." Robin said, instantly throwing Blackquill off his game. Athena couldn't help but giggle at the sight of Simon doubled over.

The sound of the gavel striking the bench called everyone's attention. "The defendant will refer to the Prosecutor by his proper title."

"Awwww mannn. Yes, Your Honor." Robin said, thoroughly chastised.

This is going so well already.

Athena had been afraid something like this would happen. She had agreed to let Robin lead her own defense because they didn't have much to lose at this point. But if Athena didn't guide her well enough things could fall apart really quickly.

"Prosecutor Blackquill, your opening statement."

A smirk formed on Simon's lips, and Athena knew what would happen next. "Actually, being someone of such prestige as yourself, it would be fitting if you were to do the opening statement."

"Thank you for offering, but the Goddess of Law has assigned the task unto you."

"No, I insist that-"

Judge Courtney's expression hardened, and her voice became harsh. "Perhaps you didn't understand me the first time. Your opening statement, Prosecutor."

Simon appeared to have no rebuttal, and so instead he had Taka hold some papers in front of him.

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen someone reign in Simon so well. This judge is something else.

"On the morning of February 10th, the police received a call from a student of Themis Legal Academy telling them that some of the school lockers had been vandalized." Simon said. "The constabulary that arrived at the scene of the crime confirmed the student's account. Here is are pictures of the crime scene."

Taka delivered a photo first to Judge Courtney, then to Robin and Athena. Both girls looked down at the photo in front of them and studied it.

Crime scene photo added to the Court Record.

Athena had seen the crime scene yesterday, and it hadn't changed since then: someone had painted the words, "Face me, you coward!" Rather violently across several lockers in bright red paint. Furthermore, that person had painted several arrows all pointed towards a specific locker, the door of that locker having having a large dent in it. On the floor in front of the lockers was a stained paintbrush and a small hammer.

On the other side of the courtroom, Prosecutor Blackquill continued his opening statement.

"When we saw the paint brush and hammer on the floor, we immediately sent them off for analysis. Not only were these items used in the crime, but they also had the defendant's fingerprints on it. Even the paint used in the crime was found to be from a bottle found in the defendant's locker."

Once again the evidence was passed around. Judging by the Robin's reaction the hammer and paintbrush did indeed belong to her. She turned to Athena and whispered, "I was wondering where these had gone. When I checked my locker yesterday I noticed these were all missing except for the paint bottle."

Athena took this new information with what she already had and the Shadow's plan slowly began to take shape in her mind. It seemed that they had gone out of their way to forge as much evidence as possible that pointed to Robin in order to get her convicted.

The sheer nerve of this man! To go so far to just to get rid of Robin!

"Slimy coward!" Widget declared.

"The court accepts these into evidence." Judge Courtney, who seemed to not hear what Widget had said much to Athena's relief.

Robin's paintbrush added to the Court Record.

Robin's hammer added to the Court Record.

Robin's paint added to the Court Record.

The two girls once again took the time to study the evidence in front of them before the bailiff took it away. Clearly marked was where forensics had found fingerprints: on the grip of both the paintbrush and the hammer.

"So what how do you think your fingerprints got on these?" Athena asked Robin.

"I think the Shadow took them out of my locker knowing full well my fingerprints would already be on these," she answered, echoing Athena's own thoughts on the matter. "Since I brought these from home, its makes sense that-huh? What's that?"

Athena looked at where Robin was pointing. On the area just below the paintbrush's head were very faint smears. On the head and lower part of the handle of the hammer were some similar smears.

"Good eye, Robin. Let's keep these in mind for later."

Odd markings added to the Court Record.

"Given the evidence, it is the Prosecution's opinion that no one else besides the defendant could have committed the crime," Prosecutor Blackquill finished, smirking once again.

"This case does seem to be clear cut," Judge Courtney said. She gestured to the defense with a graceful flourish. "Unless the defendant has something to say for herself."

"I have just one l-i-t-t-l-e question." Robin said. "Why would I do any of this? The Prosecution seems to believe that I committed the crime, then did absolutely nothing to hide it."

"Who knows what thoughts dwell in the minds of men?" Simon said, tapping his forehead. Given the wording of the message on the lockers, you were calling out to a specific person."

"And who does the Prosecution believe this person is?" Judge Courtney asked.

" It seems that our fair lady wanted to challenge someone to a duel, though who that person is I don't know."

Judge Courtney slammed down her gavel. "The defendant fought with a fellow student, and it escalated to this. Such a shame that one so young would throw away their future, but as the case stands now there is no room for argument."

It took about a moment for the judge's statement to sink in, after which Robin and Athena began to panic. "Wait. You're already going to pass a verdict?" Athena said.

"There is no evidence to point to a different conclusion," Judge Courtney said. "Unless you have a piece of evidence you'd like to share with the court?"

Robin grabbed the Shadow's notes from where they were laying on their bench, and before Athena could stop her she held them above her head. "I do have evidence to show to the court. TAKE THAT, MAAAANNN!"

An awkward silence followed.

"And what am I supposed to make of this?" Judge Courtney asked.

"Well, if you'll let me explain-"

"SILENCE!" Prosecutor Blackquill shouted. "Its clear that the defendant wants to delay her fate by waving around meaningless trinkets."

"Is that so? Then the defendant can have a penalty."

"Maybe you shouldn't have been so hasty, Robin." Athena said, starting to feel a headache coming on.

"Ah ha ha ha," Robin said sheepishly. "Sorry, Athena."

"The Goddess of Law is patient, so I will give you another chance to change my mind. Do you have a piece of evidence to share with the court?"

"What do am I supposed to present, Athena?" Robin asked.

Athena wracked her mind until she hit upon an idea. "Remember what you noticed on your paintbrush and hammer?"


Robin turned to face the courtroom at large and projected her voice. "If I may direct the court's attention the my paintbrush and my hammer. I was looking over them earlier when I noticed something else was on them besides my fingerprints."

"What?" Simon looked over the evidence in question and his eyes widened. "What is the meaning of this?"

Athena crossed her arms and smiled over at Simon. "The court will notice on both pieces of evidence blurry markings that someone clearly tried to erase. I'm guessing no one noticed them because they were focused on Robin's clear prints. Perhaps these are fingerprints as well?"

Judge Courtney slammed down her gavel. "I demand that a test be run on these markings at once!"

After a brief wait the results were delivered to Simon. "A fingerprint test reveals that-"

He doubled over abruptly, clearly shocked. "The markings on the paintbrush and the hammer! They're glove markings!"

Odd markings updated to Glove Markings in the Court Record.

The people in the stands erupted into chatter, with Blackquill trying to recover and Judge Courtney narrowing her eyes.

"I think this evidence makes it perfectly c-l-e-a-r-" Robin slammed her hands down on the bench. "That I'm being framed!"


Prosecutor Blackquill put one of Taka's feathers in his mouth, then took a strange stance. He spat the feather out, and just as it floated in front of Robin he swung his arm.

Robin felt something pass within inches of her face and the feather split in two. "Eeeeekkk!" she exclaimed as she dropped to the floor.

"Prosecutor Blackquill!" Judge Courtney glared down at the unfazed Prosecutor. "I don't know what you did, but I don't approve of violence in my courtroom."

"Hmph. I was merely putting the defendant on notice." He turned his back to the proceedings. "Framed? A likely story. For all we know one of the forensics could have mishandled the evidence and wanted to cover up their mistake."

Simon reclined on the bench and looked over his shoulder with a smug smile. "And besides that, there is a witness. A colleague that observed the defendant the day before the crime, and came upon the crime scene the morning after."

Judge Courtney became pensive. "What the prosecution has suggested is a distinct possibility. Let us hear from this witness, then."

"The Prosecution calls Logan Sullivan to the stand."

So that's Logan Sullivan.

Athena gave a once over to the dark-haired teen that had taken the stand, who seemed to be more focused on the worn textbook he had open in front of him than his surroundings. He was in the Prosecutor's course uniform, which had been pressed clean at some point previously. Another detail that Athena picked up was the slight bags under his eyes, barely noticeable behind his thick, round glasses.

"Name and occupation, witness."

Logan looked up from his textbook and smiled gently. "My name is Logan Sullivan, a senior and the top student of the Prosecutor's course at Themis Legal Academy. I also work as a janitor at Themis, and I hope I can become a practicing prosecutor."

"Actually, I'm the top student of the Prosecutor's course," Robin said.

Logan turned to face her, and his expression became a lot more neutral. "Oh, Mr. Newman. I guess you're technically right. I'm the second top student."

Athena covered her ears as Logan's tone stabbed into them. Underneath a lot of discord was an undercurrent of contempt and anger.

Where is all this negativity coming from? I could use the Mood Matrix now...but it would be better to wait until his testimony to see what we can be pick apart.

"Oh! Did I call you Mr. Newman again?" Logan's expression became rather embarrassed despite the insincere tone. "Sorry. Its a bit jarring to think of you as a girl after almost three years of hearing the exact opposite."

I don't buy that for a second.

Prosecutor Blackquill slammed his hands down on the bench. "Cease this inane chatter, and get to your testimony."

"I'd be honored to, Prosecutor."

Testimony: An Odd Sight

I am a classmate of Newman's, so we share a lot of the same classes.

This includes the last class of the day.

On the day before the crime, the last class had just ended so I was going home.

But then I noticed Newman, who seemed really wound up about something.

She just kept looking around her, like she was being watched.

Then instead of heading towards the school exit, she went towards the school lockers.

I didn't think much about it until the next morning, when I came upon vandalized lockers.

As I was calling the police, I guess my mind made a connection between the two events.

Then I heard I she got arrested because of decisive evidence against her.

Given this, there was no other reason why she would heading towards the lockers the other day.

End Testimony

"I see. I suppose it would be natural to suspect the defendant after comparing her actions with the evidence we have." Judge Courtney said.

Athena reviewed the testimony in her head and found that all the discord from earlier had vanished.

Darn. Did I miss my chance?

Meanwhile, Robin was starting to look rather nervous.

"I did go to my locker the day before the crime," Robin said to Athena in whisper. "But it was to collect my school stuff and check to see if the Shadow had left another note. There wasn't one, until the next day at least."

"But the way his testimony fits with the prosecution's case, that's when you went to go 'commit' the crime, and you have no way so far of proving otherwise."

"I guess we just plow on anyway," Robin said, her posture and tone becoming determined.

"Judge Courtney looked over to Robin. "You may now cross examine the witness."

Both girls went over Logan's statements. The main problem was that Logan himself, by his own admission, did nothing expect see Robin for a few minutes and then come upon the crime scene the next day.

"HOLD IT! So what you're saying is that you just happened to come upon the crime scene? What were you doing that morning?"

Logan shrugged. "I was going to class. Like I was supposed to know you would paint the lockers."

"OBJECTION!" Athena shouted. "The witness is leading the courtroom!"

"OVERRULED! There is evidence pointing to the defendant's guilt, so I don't believe his statement is leading."

Woah, I didn't know Judge Courtney could be that loud. Where did that come from?

"Please continue your testimony, Mr. Sullivan."

Robin contemplated which statement to dissect next, then hit upon one that sounded weird on closer inspection.

"HOLD IT! You say I acted like I was being watched. But why were you watching me to begin with?"

"Ah! Well, you see-"

"SILENCE!" Prosecutor Blackquill looked rather unamused. "It matters not why the witness was observing you, just that he happened to catch you as you headed towards the crime scene. Regardless, he already said it was because your behavior had caught his attention."

"That's it. Thank you for catching that, Prosecutor. I'll keep going with my testimony then."

"We're going nowhere fast with this," a frustrated Athena grumbled.

"No, I think I see what their strategy is," Robin said perkily. "Which is why I think I can say with full confidence-OBJECTION!"

All attention immediately focused on Robin, who seemed unfazed by this. "Logan, you said that the only reason I went to the lockers was to commit the crime. But I actually went to my locker to try to catch someone else in the act of a separate crime, then I went home."

"Oh? Pray tell, what figment were you chasing?" Prosecutor Blackquill asked sardonically.

Robin lay the Shadow's notes in front of her. "For the past couple of weeks I've been harassed by someone who hides behind these notes. If the court will let me I'd like to submit them."

The notes were handed over to Judge Courtney, who perused them. As she read each note her eyes grew wider with horror, finally resting on the photo that had come with the first note. "These notes-they are a clear threat against the defendant!"

The courtroom erupted into chatter again as the notes were next passed to Prosecutor Blackquill.

"What? Why is this the first I've heard of this?"

As Judge Courtney quieted the courtroom Athena observed Logan, whose face had become impassive again.

Robin, meanwhile, was the picture of innocence with her hitching shoulders and the way she was rubbing her eyes. "We haven't had a real lead until recently so the police couldn't do anything. But on the day of the crime, all I did was check my locker briefly for a note. I then went-"


When Blackquill had everyone's attention he smirked. "Ah. So this is the foe the defendant had in mind when she committed the crime," He said.

Robin went into a panic when when she saw where this was going.

"Wait, that's not what I meant-"

"By that logic," Logan interrupted, "The person whose locker was vandalized might be the person behind the notes. Who owns the locker that got hit with the hammer?"

"The owner of that particular one Hugh O'Conner."

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10, part one: The depths of true desperation.

December 22, 2030

Location: Newman-Woods Residence

Time: 9:15 a.m.

The Shadow incident. All I wanted was to just reach graduation with Juniper and our mutual friends, and suddenly I'm fighting an anonymous enemy that's bent on destroying me.

The vandalism trial was when I finally got a chance to face off against the culprit behind everything. But that trial really didn't start all that well. Heh heh heh. So after Hugh came under suspicion as the Shadow, Judge Courtney ended up having to call for a 15-minute recess after the crowd became too rowdy to manage.

So I met up with everyone else in the defendant lobby so that we could plan out our next move….

February 11, 10:10 a.m.

District Court - Defendant lobby No. 3

The air was tense as Robin and Hugh stared at each other, with everyone else crowding around them.

"Just what is going on here, Hugh?" Robin asked, wanting to hear from her friend how much he knew of the situation personally.

"How should I know? This is the first I've heard of my locker being the one that was vandalized." Hugh said, looking as unhappy as Robin felt.

The two were unhappy at the situation at large rather than with each other. After the events of last October they all learned that their was a time and place for doubt, but it was never a good time whenever it happened.

"The more important question here is why Hugh's locker was the one that got a hammer taken to it?" Athena asked.

"Well, I think we can all agree that there's no chance that Hugh is actually the Shadow," Juniper said, always the first to give the benefit of the doubt. "So in that case, why would the real culprit make it look like it was Hugh?"

It didn't take too long for everyone to reach a conclusion, and Robin found herself breaking out into a cold sweat.

"This is just like before," she said slowly. "We finally get a solid lead on the Shadow's identity and I'm arrested before we can do anything with it. Now we have Logan at the stand, and it turns out the crime scene is arranged so that I go down and it takes Hugh down with me."

"Yet we have evidence that says that only a janitor should have had the kind of access needed to pull off this crime," Juniper said. "And Logan's a janitor. Does that mean….?"

"That Logan set up the whole thing?" was the unspoken part of the question. But it seemed like Juniper wasn't ready to make the accusation.

Hugh turned to Athena, who was deep in thought. "Did our gamble of having Robin lead her own defense pay off? Did you learn anything new about Logan?"

"Actually, I did." Athena answered in a notably hesitant manner. "Whenever Logan talked directly to Robin, I noticed a lot of anger in his tone that he tried to hide."

"So are you and Robin going in go for the kill after the recess ends?" Myriam asked.

Athena shook her head before Robin could say anything. "I need a testimony I can run through the Mood Matrix before I can decide something like that. If at all, I'd like to get these charges off of Robin and Hugh first so we can investigate Logan at our leisure."

Juniper perked up as if remembering something.

"The Prosecution's case is that you committed the crime after class, right?" She said. "Well, you were with me the entire time. That was the day we went to go visit my Grandma, so you should have a perfect alibi….I think."

"As a future defense attorney, I'd suggest making sure the Prosecution can't change their mind on details like this," Hugh said. "and have physical proof of this when possible."

"As the actual defense attorney here I'll say that a lot of what Hugh said is correct," Athena said. "But leave the timing of the evidence to the actual professionals."

"No butting in!" Widget added.

"Feh. I'm glad that my studies from my first year are at least paying off," Hugh countered.

"Sound like a plan to me!" Robin declared before the two could needle each other any further. "Let's get in there and rock the courtroom!"

February 11, 10:25 a.m.

District Court - Courtroom No. 2

"Court is now back in session for the trial of Robin Newman." Judge Courtney announced after making sure everyone was settled in. "Are the defense and prosecution ready?"

"I'm more than ready to put an end to this!" Robin said.

"As am I," Prosecutor Blackquill said, his trademark smirk gracing his face.

"Will the defendant continue to represent herself?" Judge Courtney asked Robin. "You have a licensed attorney by your side."

"Heh heh heh. Athena and I perfectly happy with our current arrangement," Robin said.

"That is your right as given by the Goddess of Law." Judge Courtney turned to Blackquill. "Will you be calling back your witness?"

"I have no more questions for him," Prosecutor Blackquill answered. "The crime is clear cut: the defendant had a falling out with her close friend, and they chose to settle it at school. We've all seen this drama before."


"The prosecution will refrain from making assumptions about my personal life!" Robin shouted. She was not letting anyone else get dragged into this if she could help it.

"Objection sustained. We have no evidence that directly states the defendant was fighting with one of her friends," Judge Courtney said. "Does the defense have any further questions for the witness then?"

"Well, Mr. Sullivan never got to finish his testimony," Athena said. "We'd like to hear in more detail what he saw when he came upon the crime scene."

"I see no need," Prosecutor Blackquill said. "The police report matches up with what the witness said when he called in the crime."

"You mean the report that's already missed at least one piece of evidence?" Robin cheekily reminded Blackquill. "I think we need to make sure we aren't overlooking something important."

Judge Courtney nodded in approval. "The defense's point is acknowledged. Logan Sullivan will take the stand once more."

Robin observed her fellow student as he once again took the stand. Much like earlier today and during their first conversation over a month ago, Logan seemed determined to look in every direction but hers.

"Was the testimony I gave last time lacking in some way?" he asked Judge Courtney.

"Not at all. But the defendant has some questions she wants you to answer."

"Does she now," Logan said neutrally. "I'm not sure what I can contribute, but I invite Newman to ask away."

"We need to get a good picture of the crime scene," Robin said. "And since you were the first one to find it I thought we should hear what you saw."

"I suppose that makes sense."

Logan absentmindedly played with the pages of the textbook he had once again brought with him.

"Now, where to start?"

Testimony: The crime scene

As I was on my way to class something caught my eye.

I turned to see the lockers covered in a message.

I looked around and saw the hammer and the paintbrush on the floor.

I examined the scene a bit more but didn't actually touch anything.

After that I called the police, then waited for them to arrive.

After they got to the crime scene I left for class.

End Testimony

"That's all that happened when I found the crime scene." Logan concluded.

"So just to confirm, if the crime was committed after school why were you the first one to discover it the next morning?" Robin asked. "Surely someone else would have found it first."


"Do not waste our time chasing hypothetical situations," Prosecutor Blackquill answered quickly. "If someone else had discovered the scene first, they would have been the one to report it. And as the paint was mostly dry when it was discovered it could not have been committed in the morning."

Then let's see what you say when I bring up what I was actually doing the day of the crime. Robin thought as she prepared to launch into an attack.

"Not yet,"Athena whispered to Robin, having read her intentions off her face. "Let's poke a few holes into the Prosecution's case first."

"You may now cross examine the witness."

Robin mentally dissected Logan's statements. It was much the same problem as last time: Logan presented himself as an unrelated third party, and his statements were flawless on first inspection.

I guess that means I gotta wear him d-o-w-n.

With that in mind, Robin pressed each of Logan's individual statements. The first few had Logan repeating what he had already said, much to everyone's irritation.

It was when she pressed the last statement that something happened.

"I told you already, after the police arrived on the crime scene I left." Logan said through gritted teeth, clearly reaching the end of his patience.

"Are you sure? Didn't the police take you in for questioning since you were at the crime scene?" Robin asked.

For the first time Logan flinched as his expression became nervous for a split second.

"I don't see why my talks with the police are relevant to - what are you doing?"

Simon had kept to himself for most of the exchange. But after Logan's last statement Simon had whistled softly, after which Taka had flown from his master's side onto confused student's head.

"Now now, no need to be so humble," Prosecutor Blackquill said. "After all, it is thanks to you that the investigation wrapped up as fast as it did, Fledgling."

"What do you mean by that?" Robin asked, apprehensive of what the answer might be.

"If you must know, when the constabulary arrived at the scene the witness was still there as he said," Blackquill explained. "But when questioned, he mentioned you as a suspect. When the evidence confirmed his theory, I asked whether he would stand in court as a witness, which he accepted."

Robin and Athena looked at Logan, only to find the student steadfastly staring at the ground.

"So you suspected I was the culprit just by looking at the crime scene?" Robin asked her colleague.

"Well, the evidence says that you're the culprit so I'm not sure what the point of the question is," Logan answered.

And that wasn't what I asked.

"I'd like the statement about Logan suspecting me to be added to the testimony," Robin said.

"I hope the defendant is going somewhere with this line of questioning," Judge Courtney said. "The witness will amend his testimony."

"If you wish. Taking in the crime scene as a whole, I suspected my fellow student Newman, and shared these concerns with the police."

So I changed his testimony. What did I accomplish?

Throughout all this Athena was reviewing available evidence. Suddenly she grabbed a photo and shoved it under Robin's nose.

"I think we've finally found our first contradiction. Look at the crime scene!" She said urgently.

Robin obliged. There was nothing at all noteworthy about the crime scene, or anything on it for that matter. Even the hammer and the paintbrush were indistinguishable from any other of their kind.

Hey, wait a second. The hammer and the paintbrush! That's what Athena meant!

"So that's why I was arrested. Well, to that I say, OBJECTION!"

When Robin had everyone's attention she continued, "Logan claims he suspected me the moment he saw the crime scene. Well I'd just like to know: Just what part of the crime scene points to me?!"

"Ah. AHHHHH!" Logan screamed, recoiling in shock and accidentally tearing a page out of his textbook in the process.

"What are you babbling about?" Prosecutor Blackquill asked irritably.

"Logan testified yesterday that he was watching me headed towards the lockers," Robin explained. "But I think its q-u-i-t-e a leap of logic to connect that to this crime, since he should have no way of knowing that the unlabeled items used in the crime belonged to me!"

"Pre-preposterous!" Prosecutor Blackquill exclaimed.

"Okay, so maybe you're right," Logan said, having recovered from his shock. "But that doesn't erase the fact that your items, with your fingerprints on them, were used in the crime. That I guessed correctly is irrelevant."

"The witness has a point." Judge Courtney frowned as she looked at Robin and Athena. "Just what are you hoping to prove with this line of questioning?"

"Well, its simple," Athena said. "We have a crime scene that went undiscovered for almost twelve hours. We have glove markings on the items used in the crime. We have a witness that immediately thought of Robin when he saw the crime scene."

Athena slammed a hand on the bench.

"Someone is clearly trying to frame her!"

A wave of murmurs arose from the gallery as both Logan and Prosecutor Blackquill glared at the defense. Judge Courtney slammed her gavel down several times to settle the crowd.

"Do you honestly think such a feeble practice blade will nick me?" Prosecutor Blackquill growled. "We have already discussed this. Without further proof the glove markings are meaningless."

"Indeed, it is up to the defense to substantiate their claim. Show me evidence that another person might have committed the crime to support the glove markings." Judge Courtney demanded.

"So what are we looking for?" Robin asked Athena, who was using Widget's holographic interface to look at the evidence more closely.

"We have the Judge's attention. All we need to do is widen this hole, then use your alibi to blow Simon's case wide open!" Athena said, her grin confident and relaxed.

The two studied the evidence closely and compared it to the crime scene. But they quickly came upon a problem: the paintbrush and the hammer lined up perfectly with the relevant parts of the vandalized lockers, and they couldn't bring up the glove markings.

If I have to give the Shadow anything, he really set up this crime well, Robin mentally admitted grudgingly. He even went so far as to grab items with perfectly arranged fingerprints.

As Robin kept examining the fingerprints however, she began to get the feeling that something was distinctly off.

I left my fingerprints on my paintbrush when I used it to paint. Likewise, I left my fingerprints on my hammer because I was using it to sculpt before I put in my locker. And that directly contradicts the crime scene!

Before she could have second thoughts Robin raised an objection.

"I presume you are ready to present your evidence?" Judge Courtney asked.

"Heh heh heh. I'm totally ready to present my evidence," Robin answered, even as Athena tried to rein her in. "I'd like for the court to look at the way my fingerprints are arranged on my hammer."

"Hm? So now the defendant thinks she can find something that no one else can?" Blackquill said, deeply amused. "Then I will humour you. How will your fingerprints prove that you are not the culprit?"

"By looking at the fingerprints themselves," Robin said. "The court will notice how they're wrapped near the head of the hammer, with a thumbprint on the head itself. Now, compare that to the dent on the my friend Hugh's locker."

"I don't see what the defense's point-" Judge Courtney stopped herself as the penny dropped. "Wait. Could it be?"

"Exactly. To hit the locker door in a way that would replicate the dent, I would have to twist my arm in a really uncomfortable way. And that makes absolutely no sense!"

"BALDERASH!" Prosecutor Blackquill screamed as he staggered from Robin's strike.

"That does make sense," Judge Courtney said. "But how is this relevant to the glove markings?"

Athena, having realized what Robin was doing, took up the explanation.

"Robin was arrested because of these fingerprints, which is the reason no one noticed the glove markings," She said. "But let's look at the hammer. The court will notice the some of the markings are lower on the handle, where one would grip the hammer naturally if they wanted to hit the locker. I think this is sufficient proof of another culprit!"

"In your face!" Widget said.

"Disregarding that last rude comment, this is indeed a grave oversight on the Prosecution's part." Judge Courtney glared at the still reeling Blackquill. "I hope I don't have to see you before the P.I.C."

"Stay your hand, Your Honor," Prosecutor Blackquill said, trying his hardest to regain him calm. "I have not yet lost the will to fight."

He turned to the defense's bench.

"Cykes-dono, impressive sword work as always. Newman-dono, you are much more skilled with the blade than you appear."

Robin was so surprised to hear Prosecutor Blackquill address her the same way as he did Athena she almost missed the stealth insult.

"But do not think you can claim victory," He continued. "You have yet to explain how this observation of yours fits in with the paintbrush found at the scene. Furthermore, your explanation of your movements the day of the crime remain unsatisfactory."

Is that all I have to do? This almost seems too easy.

"Well, the glove markings on my paintbrush are where they are because the real culprit didn't want to smudge my fingerprints, like with the hammer," Robin said. "As for my movements, I didn't get a chance to fully explain last time."

Robin gave a sidelong glance to Athena, who nodded to signal that it was finally time to bring up the alibi.

"On the day of the crime, I went to the lockers as Logan testified," Robin began. " But as I testified, it was only for a little bit before I went home."

"And you can have this account corroborated, correct?" Judge Courtney asked.

This was where things got tricky. To board the bus that day Juniper and Robin had used their student ID cards, and as a result they had no physical proof that the trip happened. As such, Robin would have to rely on testimony. If her suspicions were correct, then a certain someone would attack the testimony she was about to give.

"I can. Because my girlfriend and And I made a stop at her house first. My girlfriend should be in the gallery if you want to ask her. She can also call her Grandma if you need further supporting statements."

"And you did not mention this earlier?"

"When I was arrested, all I was told is what I was being arrested for," Robin said. "Its why I asked Prosecutor Blackquill when the crime was committed. I didn't want to mention something irrelevant to the case at hand."

"That does fit into the facts as they have been presented," Judge Courtney said. "You presented a theory that someone is trying to frame you. Is this related to the notes left in your locker by your friend Hugh?"

"I refuse to believe that my friend was the one behind the notes," Robin interjected. "But since you brought it up, I'd like to talk about those notes. Since they were all sent by the same person, I believe that-,"


Everyone in the courtroom searched for the source of the interruption, only to find Logan standing ramrod straight as he pointed at Robin.

"What is the meaning of this, witness?"

Logan didn't answer Judge Courtney's question. Instead, his entire posture and facial expression shifted to become much more severe and serious. For the first time, he looked Robin in the eyes, and his eyes radiated anger and disgust.

"Newman, Newman, Newman," he said, his tone not much friendlier. "Don't make me lose what little respect I have left for you."

"What do you mean by that, Logan?" Robin asked. It seemed like her classmate was finally going to show his true colors.

Logan ignored her, and instead turned to face the courtroom at large. "Ladies and gentlemen of the court," He said. "I have just stopped a miscarriage of justice from happening. Because the defendant is trying to mislead you all with underhanded smoke and mirrors."

"And what gives you the right to say that?!" Athena snapped.

"Its simple. The defense has yet to present anything truly substantive to the court. Everything you've seen so far has been either circumstantial or unreliable testimony."

Logan got a hawk attack in his face for his troubles, as Prosecutor Blackquill was clearly not amused with his witness's attempt to hijack the case.

"Prosecutor Blackquill! What have I said about violence in the courtroom?"

"Fine. I will allow our fledgling prosecutor here to speak his piece." Blackquill said after he recalled Taka.

"I don't understand Prosecutor Blackquill's reaction," Logan said. "After all, we discussed this. The other reason why I suspected Newman as the culprit."

Robin felt her heart began to sink as Blackquill's expression went from angry to relaxed.

"I remember now. Go on, then."

"The main defense's case relies on one thing to support the evidence: testimony," Logan explained. "But the testimony is from the defendant herself, and the person she choose to back her up is her girlfriend. This ignores the possibility that the two are lying to protect Newman."

"OBJECTION! That accusation is out of line!" Athena yelled.

"Dirty, rotten, little weasel!" Widget said.

"The defense has a point. This is quite the serious charge you're raising against the defendant," Judge Courtney said.

"That as it maybe, its happened before. This isn't the first time the defendant has stood in court. With permission from Your Honor, I'd like to testify exactly why Newman's testimony can't be trusted," Logan said.

Immediately Robin knew what he was talking about. N-no way! He's not going to bring that up, is he?

Judge Courtney contemplated on the situation, then came to a decision. "As the defense's case does rely on her own testimony, I will allow it."

"Thank you, Your Honor."

Testimony: Robin Newman can't be trusted

The dates: October 25th and 26th of last year.

The case: the murder of a Themis Professor, Constance Courte.

The defendant: Juniper Woods. The Prosecutor: Simon Blackquill.

Witnesses: Several, including Robin Newman. Keep all these facts in mind.

I bore witness to the following events,

as I had attended both days of the trial.

Every initial testimony Newman gave turned out to be filled with lies,

up to and including the gender she introduced herself with!

The person that was murdered was her mentor,

and the defendant was her best friend and future girlfriend.

Yet if Ms. Cykes hadn't dragged the truth out of her,

Newman's testimonies might have gotten Juniper convicted and let the true culprit escape.

Furthermore, both Newman and Juniper lied to protect each other during that trial,

So it's not such a stretch to think that they would do it again during this trail.

End testimony

White-hot rage coursed through Robin's blood as Logan finished his testimony. To think that he would sink so low as to bring up the death of Professor Courte against her was something she couldn't have imagined.


"Does that mean you deny my testimony," Logan said, unfazed by Robin's outburst. "Despite the fact that its a matter of public record and Prosecutor Blackquill can back it up?"

"And you're going along with this?" Athena asked Prosecutor Blackquill.

"It is as the Fledgling says," Blackquill confirmed. "I was the Prosecutor of the case he is referring to, and I find no problems with his statements."

"Well it's true that I didn't give honest testimony during that trial," Robin admitted. "But you have to understand-"

"You've lied before the Goddess of Law?" An outraged Judge Courtney said. "I have half a mind to pass my verdict right now, if only for such a brazen display of insolence!"

"She admits it!" Logan declared triumphantly. "She admits that she's a liar and a cheat! So let me ask you this, Newman: why should we believe anything you say?"

"I-I-I-I- EEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!" Robin exclaimed as she collapsed to the ground.

The world started going fuzzy as Robin sank into despair.

I was doing so well. I was so close to solving the case. But now Logan's turned everyone against me. Is there nothing I can do?

Logan is telling the truth, after all. Professor Courte always talked to me about the value of honesty in court, but I didn't abide by that at all. Now our case is a flaming wreck because of what I did.

I've-I've let everyone down.


Athena's voice brought Robin back to her senses as she felt herself get picked up from the ground.

"No te rindas, Robin! What would Junie and everyone else think if you let yourself get defeated by this jerk now?"

As Robin looked to the gallery she saw what Athena meant. She saw her parents in an isolated corner of the gallery, but present like they promised they would be. She saw Hugh, Myriam, and Juniper, all of whom decided to stand up and glare down at Logan at the witness stand.

All of them gave Robin an encouraging smile when they spotted her looking at them. Juniper's smile was the biggest, despite the worry clear in her eyes.

Re-energized, Robin stood up straight and faced everyone in the courtroom.

"Sorry about that, everyone! The witness's testimony caught me off guard. But I'm back in action, maaannn!" She declared. "And I'd like to say this: I may not have been all that honest at first, but I did give testimony that helped bring down the real culprit. And I'm going to that again in this courtroom!"

"It would have been better for you to stay down," Prosecutor Blackquill said mockingly. "For you have no recourse left to save yourself."

"That's what you think!" Athena countered. She turned to Judge Courtney. "I'd like to have a quick therapy session with the witness. If he's going to accuse bias, then we need to make sure he doesn't have any bias himself. After all, he claims to be unrelated but some of his actions say otherwise."

"Ms. Cykes's therapy sessions….I've heard of these before," Judge Courtney said. "From what I remember, a previous Judge explicitly approved their use during a trial. And if the Goddess of Law has no objections, then I don't either."

"...If the defense discovers no new facts, then they shall meet their end regardless. I will allow it," Prosecutor Blackquill said.

Logan began to sweat, his facade cracking slightly in nervousness. "And what if I refuse this therapy? I have a right to emotional privacy!"

"Nuh uh uh," Robin said, wagging her finger at Logan. "You've already given your testimony and I have a right to cross examine it, even on an emotional level. Your words are now part of the official record. Unless you want to recant your testimony?"

And thank you, Hugh and Athena, for telling me these facts about cross-examination. She added mentally.

"Newman! I suppose I shouldn't have expected you to go quietly. If I have no choice, then I will go along with it." Logan said.

"If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about," Athena said with a smug grin on her face. "Logan Sullivan, prepare your heart for the power of analytic psychology!"

Athena tapped Widget's screen and another holographic interface appeared, one that Robin was very familiar with from Juniper's trial. She booted up the Mood Matrix program, which then ran through Logan's testimony as it had picked it up earlier.

All of of sudden, a shrill alarm went off three times in rapid succession before being replaced by a constant, high-pitched drone.

"Ah ha! As I thought, we've got an anger-overload on our hands."

Those words triggered another memory from last October. "Wait, you mean like what I had?"

Athena nodded. "Exactly. In other words, something in Logan's testimony is filling him with rage, rage that even now he's trying to keep bottled up. And since he's the Shadow I think we both know why he's like this."

So its really come to this, huh? Just why are you doing this, Logan?

"Remember, just pinpoint the source of Logan's uncontrollable anger and show it to the court!" Athena said as she showed Robin the relevant actions to take with Widget's interface.

Robin didn't take action right away despite knowing full well what to do. Instead, she cycled through the testimony as she absorbed the images being produced by Widget on the screen. Finally, she stopped on the statement concerning her lying in her initial testimonies last October. On the screen was a image of her at the witness stand. The Robin Newman on the screen had bangs that overshadowed her eyes and a generally sneaky demeanor.

So that's how Logan really sees me. Well, I'm not going to let him hide the truth from the court any longer!


"Logan, you're really angry with me, aren't you?"

The student's eyes narrowed behind his glasses. "Angry about what, exactly? We've only had one conversation before today and it was rather short."

"About the fact that I gave false testimony in a court of law. The more I talk to you, the more I'm starting to notice things. Like the fact that you only ever call me by my last name without any kind of title. Or that even during that one conversation you told me that talking to me was a last resort. Even now, you've been nothing but condescending to me."

Logan shook his head. "If you really must know, then I will tell you."

"Newman, you were supposed to be the top student of the Prosecutor Course. The best and the brightest Themis Legal Academy has to offer. Yet when brought under oath and asked to do your duty as a witness, you choose to make a mockery of everything instead. 'I want to be an artist?' Just what goes on in that head of yours, I wonder? So to answer your question, I suppose I'm upset with you. But that's largely irrelevant to the proceedings at hand."

In the silence that followed Athena continued to work away at Widget.

"The overflow's settling down. Now doesn't it feel better to get all that off your chest?" She said to Logan, only to have him steadfastly ignore her.

Noise level: 100% - 64%

I think that means we've made progress?

"We're doing great," Athena confirmed. "Now that the real battle begins."

Athena updated the testimony then ran Robin through another brief tutorial on the Mood Matrix, ending off with: "When looking for a contradiction in emotions, just keep in mind the person you're questioning. In Logan's case, he claims that he's just an impartial observer to all of this."

So what I'm looking for is contradictions that reveal that claim to be a lie.

Robin flipped through the testimony to see if she could anything that stuck out. The one constant was anger, with the other three emotions popping in at sporadic intervals.

On a third sweep Robin found something that bugged her when compared to another piece of testimony.

"Yet if Ms. Cykes hadn't dragged the truth out of her, Newman's testimonies might have gotten Juniper convicted."

"GOT IT! Logan, when you talk about Juniper being at risk of being convicted because of me last October, I notice that you seem really sad about it. Mind telling me about it?"

"Of course I felt sad about seeing a fellow student in the hands of someone as careless as you, Newman. Why would that be strange?" Logan asked.

"All this chatter is quickly revealing itself to be meaningless," Prosecutor Blackquill growled. "May I ask why we're wasting our time on this?"

"Its just that, when you described Juniper at the start of your testimony you seemed really happy. Its the only bit of happiness in your testimony." Robin looked at Logan straight in the eyes. "You really care about Juniper, don't you?"

Logan flinched in shock and actually began to blush, unaware that he had accidentally torn more pages out of his textbook. "I-I-I-Well, I fail to see once again how this is relevant to the trial at hand."

Noise level: 64% - 45%

We both know how this is relevant. You're just not going to say it.

Yesterday in the detention Robin herself had pointed out that they couldn't accuse Logan without sufficient motive. Now one was bubbling to the surface, one that connected the events of last October to the Shadow's actions.

End your farce of a relationship with Juniper, The first note had demanded. Now Robin knew why that specific request had been made of her.

"Um….may I ask the witness something?"

Robin turned to the source of the sudden voice, only to see Juniper standing across from Logan while facing Judge Courtney.

"If it will help along the witness's therapy, then you may," Judge Courtney answered. "As long as we can ensure a fair testimony as the end of this."

Juniper faced Logan, who was still looking distinctly pink.

"Why?" She asked, looking incredibly hurt. "Why are you doing this? Why would you throw such ugly accusations at Robin? At me?"

"What you have to understand," An embarrassed Logan said. "Is that the last thing I want to do is hurt you more than you already are from all of this. But I can't play nice. I have to give a testimony that brings about justice. Even if it means dredging up painful memories, and yes, even if it means Robin ends up going to jail. I can't obscure the truth. In fact, add that to my official testimony."

Juniper shot Athena and Robin a meaningful look as she headed back to the gallery.

Please put an end to this, it said.

Athena fed the new testimony into the Mood Matrix. Her eyes widened at the image in front her and she gestured at Robin to look at it as well.

The image that had formed on Widget's interface was of Robin being led away by the police as Juniper and their friends looked on mournfully.

I have to give honest testimony, even if it means Robin goes to jail. The text on the screen said.

Yet the words were belied by the joy indicator flashing vividly and brightly across half the screen.

"So Logan," Robin said, feeling strangely numb. "The reason we did this is to see if you're as unbiased as say you are. So then answer me this: why does the thought of your testimony sending me to jail make you happier than I've seen you this entire trial?"

At first, Logan didn't say anything. Then he began to chuckle. "Once again, I wouldn't call it happy so much as I would relieved. Just that after you got away with all your crimes last time, it would be a relief to make sure you don't escape this time."

"And it seems you're being honest with the court at last, Logan," Athena said. "That clears up the last of the noise."

The image on the screen changed, and a distance behind Juniper and her group was an image of Logan waving at Robin as she was being arrested with a big grin on his face.

Noise level: 45% - 0%

Bye bye!

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10, part 2: The final gamble

As Athena shut down the Mood Matrix, her body trembled as she tried to restrain herself from attacking right then and there. "Now, is the testimony Logan just gave the testimony of someone that's impartial?" she asked Judge Courtney.

"It is clear that witness harbors some degree of ill will towards the defendant," She said after much thought. "However, it does not change that his accusations are supported by facts that the defendant herself has admitted to being true. Likewise, the defense has yet to truly overturn the decisive evidence provided by the Prosecution. I'm afraid that I cannot accept the defendant's alibi as long as she cannot provide an impartial corroborator."

There goes one of our only advantages. Are we going to be okay?

"HOLD IT! Would I count as impartial?"


Indeed, her father was standing up from his place in the gallery.

"Prosecutor Newman. As the defendant's father I'm afraid I couldn't accept your word either," Judge Courtney said.

"And if I spoke as a Prosecutor?" He asked. "I will state under oath that I picked up my daughter from her girlfriend's house at 8:30 p.m., and I have a gas receipt from that day. She was there since at least 7:45 p.m., and it takes an hour to reach the Woods residence. Penalize my record as a Prosecutor if you don't think this is good enough."

"I hope you realize you're already skating on very thin ice, Prosecutor Newman."

Much to Robin's relief Judge Courtney accepted her Dad's testimony regardless.

"However, the next person to move from their seat in the gallery shall be held in contempt of court," She added.

"This changes nothing," Prosecutor Blackquill said as Mr. Newman sat back down. "So the defendant did leave the school campus. That still leaves the time before 7:45 p.m. unaccounted for, and an artist of her caliber wouldn't need much time to commit the crime, given the fury evident in her strokes. "

"Of course Simon would find some way plug that hole in his case," Athena grumbled under her breath.

"No, it changes something."

With her dad establishing a timeline, he had allowed Robin a way to start the final showdown. It was now or never if she wanted to expose the Shadow.

"We haven't explored the possibility of the crime being committed after I left school. I stand by my claim that someone framed me," She said. "It was just a question of who, and why. Now I know. The sender of the notes is also the person that is framing me for this crime. And that person-"

Robin pointed at her prey in full force.

"Is none other than you, Logan Sullivan!"

"You're….You're accusing the witness?" Judge Courtney asked in disbelief.

*fwish* Robin felt something pass within inches of her face.

"Heed my warning, Newman-dono," Prosecutor Blackquill said. "If you began to bluff like a defense attorney I will strike you down."

"Aim that blade of yours at Logan," Athena suggested. "After all, if you look at Logan as a culprit some of the case's constant mysteries began to make sense."

"Like the mysterious glove markings," Robin explained. "Or the unnatural fingerprints on my hammer, which can be explained by the real culprit grabbing a hammer not knowing I used it for sculpting. Most of all, the fact that Logan just so happened to witness me heading towards the crime scene and just so happened to find it the next morning. If he's the culprit, then it all becomes part of his plan!"

Logan shook his head, a pitying smile on his face. "So I express a desire to see a proper verdict be passed down and you choose to accuse me? I'm actually impressed by your desperation, Newman. Except you don't have a shred of evidence I wanted to do anything of the kind."

"Eh heh heh heh, about that. Let's recall the testimony the witness just gave. Focus on his bitter feelings towards me, and that desire to see justice. Here's a piece of evidence that lines up with that testimony."

Robin presented the Shadow's notes to the court with a flourish. "The person who gave me these notes also expressed a desire to see justice done on me. In their last note, they also bid me farewell, and that was promptly before I was arrested."

Judge Courtney read through the notes. "Similarities do exist between the notes and the testimony, but as evidence it is rather thin. What are you saying the witness was trying to accomplish?"

Okay, far so good. I just need one more piece of evidence to help establish Logan's motive.

"At Themis Legal Academy one rule is drilled into our heads above all others," Robin said as she presented the Themis leaflet. "'If you commit any crime, no matter how small, you will be expelled. Taking the third note I found the morning of the crime into consideration, it all becomes clear: this crime was committed for the sole purpose of framing me with it!"

"ARRGGHHH!" Prosecutor Blackquill screamed.

"So that's the game you want to play, Newman." Logan said, contempt clear on his expression. "Then I will have no choice but to defend myself. Judge Courtney, may I give one last testimony?"

Judge Courtney was looking distinctly unimpressed with Logan. "You may. You have a lot of explaining to do."

"Thank you. Newman, as the future Chief Prosecutor I will prove your logic for the underhanded sham it is!"

Testimony: Newman's nonsense logic

I committed the crime based on events almost four months ago?

That doesn't make a shred of sense.

The first of those notes demand a breakup of a relationship unrelated to me.

But someone in Newman's circle of friends would have a stronger motive.

Then there's Newman's evidence. Wait, she still hasn't presented anything meaningful.

Just circumstantial evidence that she invents scenarios of whole cloth with.

Newman can't connect me to those notes because anyone could have sent them.

As such, her motive for me evaporates like the fantasy it really is.

Leaving only the truth in its wake: Newman is desperate to save her own skin, as always.

These are the immutable facts of this case, as supported by the true evidence.

End Testimony

"I will make this perfectly clear right now: if you do not prove Logan's involvement in the crime during the next cross-examination, this line of questioning will be dismissed." Judge Courtney said firmly.

"I don't think they can prove something with non-existent evidence." Logan said, having regained his cool demeanor from the start of the trial.

"We'll just see about that." Athena turned to Robin. "This is it. They don't know that we still have all our evidence from our Shadow investigations. Wear Logan down then smack him in the face with our secret weapon!"

The janitorial staff schedule that Juniper got for us. Even when she's not by my side she still helps me. So I can't let all her hard work go to waste! I have to bust Logan here and now!

"You may now begin the final cross-examination."

Okay, If I have this right after Juniper's trial last October Logan began to dislike me, and something that happened recently caused him to snap and commit all these crimes. If the notes are anything to go by its the fact that I started dating Juniper, but I don't think I can prove that. So I have to prove that he was at the crime scene instead.

Robin found herself in the mindset not of a defense attorney, but of a Prosecutor on the prowl of her prey. She needed to ensnare her suspect, and what better than to get him to talk until he provided enough rope to hang himself?

"HOLD IT! If just anyone could have dropped those notes off in my locker, then I wouldn't have accused you!"

"And if that was the case, then why wasn't I a suspect until now?" Logan said as he sneered at Robin.

The sound of the Judge's gavel got them both to stop talking. "Before we go any further in this line of questioning, can someone clarify how the lockers at Themis Academy function?"

Athena seized the chance that presented itself and presented the Locker Mechanisms data, taking the time to explain the lock and its two opening methods.

"Before the defense gets carried away," Logan appended, "May I remind them that the lockers have several vertical slits perfect for slipping in a note?"

"If that is the case, I shall add that to the official testimony," Judge Courtney said.

The statement went uncontested and was integrated into the testimony.

So far so good. Time for the first strike!

"Funny you should mention those slats...OBJECTION!"

"I do hope the evidence you present will actually hold up." Prosecutor Blackquill said dryly.

"Eh heh heh heh, I have you covered fine," Robin said. "Now, after the first note there wasn't much of a police investigation since they couldn't find evidence. So with the Principal's approval, I set a trap. I taped a piece of paper inside my locker over those slats, one that as of two days ago when I found the last note does not have any tears."

"Oh, is that the trap Juniper told me about," Logan said, his voice cracking up.

Looks like having the paper blend in with the locker door paid off.

Prosecutor Blackquill immediately caught onto the implications. "And you can support this allegation?"

"S-u-r-e. Have some pictures!"

The relevant pictures were passed around to Judge Courtney and Blackquill.

"The paper made it impossible to slip anything in my locker through my slats," Robin said, "And yet notes found their way inside anyway. This isn't something just anyone could accomplish!"

The crowd in the gallery went into a loud chatter, forcing Judge Courtney to have to manage them once again.

Robin continued to ride the momentum. "Not only is this a blatant contradiction of the witness's testimony, but it begs the question: just how did the notes get inside?"

"Don't think you can push your insane theory that easy!" Logan interrupted. "All someone would have to do is have access to your I.D. card. Then they could access your locker easily, like you're friend Hugh."

"You mean this I.D. card?" Robin said as she produced it from her pocket. "The one I've had since I was arrested yesterday? If someone else like Hugh had it, then I wouldn't have it right now. At least, that's what the detention center footage says if you want to see it."

"Thats-well-AGGGHHHH!" Logan screamed.

"So if the my I.D. card is out, who else could have gotten inside? Only someone with access to the keys to the manual lock like a janitor," Robin said. "And that's something our witness here just happens to be!"


Prosecutor Blackquill began to scratch Taka's neck, seemingly unconcerned with with the trial. Finally, he spoke.

"It seems the defendant overestimated the ground she had to stand on, and found herself over the edge instead. Who knows? Maybe she will use her lofty fancies to achieve flight."

As Blackquill laughed at his own joke Robin prepared herself for the next assault.

"Just what do you mean by that?" Athena asked.

"Newman-dono's strategy is a good one. Play the part of the fragile maiden, then slay your foe with a concealed blade. But her sword is still so untempered. For she has yet to substantiate her claims, or even connect this to the crime at hand."

"What about my claim isn't sound?"

"You claim that only a janitor could have accessed the locker," Prosecutor Blackquill said, "But that does not point to our witness specifically. Nor does it necessarily mean that the notes and the vandalism crime are one and the same."

"Thank you for clearing that up," Logan said, having recovered slightly, "So just because a janitor might have committed the crime doesn't mean it was me. I can state that in full confidence."

"So does the defense have any evidence to overturn this statement?" Judge Courtney asked.

This is it. Its time to play our ace in the hole.

"As it happens, we do have evidence," Robin said, matching the confidence Logan was giving off. "Logan claims we have nothing pointing to him, specifically. Well, we have here the janitorial staff schedule."

Robin felt an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction as she watched the confidence vanish from Logan's face. "...Come again? Just how did you get your hands on that?"

"Juniper was nice enough to get it from the school principal yesterday," Robin explained cheerily, "As part of our investigation. I'd like the court to look at who was working on the school campus the day of the crime."

Words failed both Judge Courtney and Simon Blackquill as they read through the schedule.

Robin took the chance to fill the silence with her take on the evidence. "That's right! None other than Logan himself was working alone at the school the night the crime was committed!"

"GAHHHHH! You….you really want to pin this on me!" Logan exclaimed.

"Say what you want, but if this was irrelevant then I'm guessing you wouldn't have kept this from the judge and the prosecution." Athena pointed out.

Judge Courtney was the first to recover. "Witness! explain yourself at once!"

"I don't have to explain what I do during my job," Logan said simply. "And wasn't the defendant talking about pinning the notes on me?"

"I was, which is why that schedule also covers the last couple of weeks," Robin explained. "Every time I got a note, Logan just so happened to be working. The last note was even the day before the crime. Once is one thing, twice might be a coincidence. But t-h-r-e-e times is a clear pattern!"

"And if we look at the day of the crime, the court will notice that Logan had a shift starting at nine that night and ending at two the next morning," Athena continued. "Which clears up how the crime scene could have gone undiscovered for several hours. Logan committed the crime, then 'discovered' it at his own leisure!"

Logan's hand were almost mechanically tearing pages from his textbook at this point.

"Do you really think that thin explanation is going to be enough? What about evidence? How is there no sign of me at the crime scene?"

"This is where we get into the meat of it," Robin said. "And it answers why Logan choose to commit this crime as a janitor. First, it gave him access no regular student would have with the keys to the lockers, so he could take my items and drop a note inside while he was at it. As Athena said, it also gave him all the time he would need to do what he needed to do. And finally, there's the matter of evidence, the one sticking point throughout this trial. Why could we never find a trace of him? Well, as a janitor all he had to was destroy any evidence connected to him while on the job! Which also clears up why we found glove markings on the items used in the crime! Logan himself left them there then tried to erase them!"

"SILENCE! Then answer me this." Prosecutor Blackquill slammed his fists down on the bench. "Why is this witness standing here before us? Would he not draw unneeded attention to himself?"

"That risk certainly exists, true," Robin conceded. "But let's review all his actions. He suspected me as the culprit the moment he saw on the crime scene. He reported this to the police and the investigation panned out his suspicions. Then he agreed to be a witness. Since he's the one who planted the evidence, he knew full well what the police would find! He was manipulating things from the very start!"

"And that's not all," Athena added. "Prosecutor Blackquill being in charge of the case was a happy accident. But every time we've alluded to another person committing the crime, Logan interrupts us and pushes Robin as the culprit with a new angle. He even went so far as to bring up her involvement in a completely unrelated case that Blackquill happened to have also been involved in! We also know from that testimony that Logan bears a lot of anger towards Robin. There's only one scenario where all this makes sense: if Logan were the true culprit this entire time!"

The courtroom fell completely silent.

"Are you done?" Logan asked, shaking slightly but otherwise calm.

"Huh? How can still deny your guilt when we've just outlined your crime to everyone in court?" Robin asked.

"Because as I've said earlier," Prosecutor Blackquill answered, looking just as unruffled. "No evidence at the crime scene points solely to this witness."

"That was going to be our next line of attack," Robin said despite the sinking feeling in the stomach. "We could dust the key ring to the lockers for his fingerprints."

"OBJECTION! That's not going to work," Logan said. "After all, as the defendant herself pointed out I wear gloves while I work. But that doesn't mean I handled anything at the crime scene either."

"Well, what about the cleaning supplies you had with you? The inside of my locker smelled of cleaner fluid so you must of been inside it at some point."

"Once again, that's only a possibility," Logan countered. "Moreover, good luck finding the exact supplies I used that night. The school cleans supplies like mops and such very thoroughly."

The sinking feeling in Robin's stomach steadily got worse. "Then maybe a supervisor can give testimony on your actions that night."

"Now you're just grasping at straws," Logan sneered. "I do report to a supervisor, but that's the only time he sees me the entire shift before I get off it. The schedule you already presented says as much. You truly have nothing to pin this crime on me."

No-NO WAAAAAYYYYY!" Athena and Robin screamed simultaneously.

"So then, does the defense truly have no evidence to present?" Judge Courtney asked, getting ready to put an end to the cross examination.

"Give us a minute, Your Honor!" Athena said quickly. "Just one more chance!"

"I'm not sure there's sufficient reason to allow any more chances," Judge Courtney said softly.

"You should have listened to me earlier, Newman," Logan said. "There's no decisive evidence against me at the crime scene because none exists."

Robin steamed in frustration. There has to be something. Anything!

She looked over the photo of the crime scene. As she glared at the message painted on the lockers Logan's words echoed in her head.

No evidence at the crime scene….but does it have to be at the crime scene to be decisive?

The painted words mocked her, challenged her to solve the underlying riddle.

But if it's not at the crime scene, then where is it?

Her eyes were drawn to the streams of dried paint that trailed from the words.

The words were painted on the lockers. Quite savagely at that. And whenever you paint something-

All at once, Robin realized exactly what they hadn't mentioned yet.

That's it! The answer's been in front of us this whole time!

Robin retreated into her mind and mentally observed all the information she had.

Let's go over everything we've learned. Logan is the Shadow, and the culprit of these crimes. But we need to prove this with decisive evidence.

First things first. When did he commit the crime?

Right after class

During his work shift

The next morning

It had to be during his work shift. The paint was dry in the morning, and he didn't stick around after class according to his testimony. All the evidence and testimony points to this, and I don't think I want to fight it.

What's important about this? What's would be different about the fact that Logan was at work when he committed the crime?

What he had with him

What he was wearing

The time of the crime

Both the time and his possessions I've already suggested as possibilities. Nothing less than hard evidence will be accepted at this point. But we've never discussed what he was wearing.

If he was working, that means he had a custodial uniform on. Which means he had it on when he committed the crime. So what does that mean? What evidence can I connect to the uniform?

The notes

The paint

The hammer

The paint. If Logan committed the crime, that means that he had to have gotten paint on himself and by extension, the uniform.

But given how Logan's been able to deflect every accusation so far, he might have expected this. If he didn't have the uniform washed, then he probably has a story ready.

Washed or not, let's say we find traces of paint on his work uniform. What's special about the paint that Logan can't just explain away?

What it's made of

The brand

The fact that it's mine

The first two points are circumstantial as long as there's nothing to connect them to regarding this crime. And the one fact that connects the first two and everything else about this crime is that:

The paint used in the crime belongs to me.

The paint used in the crime came from my locker, which only the true culprit should be able to access. Logan had both the means and the time to commit the crime. So if it's on Logan's uniform - then we've got him right where we want him!

The sound of Judge Courtney's gavel brought Robin back to her senses.

"The defendant will kindly pay attention to the proceedings!" Judge Courtney snapped.

"So sorry, Your Honor! I just remembered something very important I wanted to ask the witness and I wanted to make sure I knew what I wanted to ask."

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Logan immediately raise his guard.

"If the defendant believes she has something new to add, I can allow it," Judge Courtney said.

"Where's the work uniform you wore on the day of the crime, Logan?" Robin asked, deciding not to waste time now that she had the go ahead.

The worried look on Logan's face relaxed slightly. "Its at home, in the dirty laundry hamper. Chances are my mom has washed it by now, and whether she has or hasn't doesn't matter in the end. I know what you're trying to do, Newman, and it won't work."

"Oh? What do you think I'm trying to do?"

"You're about to say that my uniform might have some paint on it, and therefore I was at the crime scene. But that's just simply not true," Logan explained in an incredibly condescending tone. "As I've already explained, I'm a janitor. I get covered in all kinds of filth on a fairly regular basis, and paint is one of them. So even if the uniform I wore that day happened to have paint on it, its no more proof than anything else you've tried to present up until this point."

Ah hah! So Logan really does believe he can just explain everything away. If all goes well I have a nasty surprise waiting for him.

Judge Courtney banged her gavel impatiently. "If I find you're wasting the court's time again, I will have no choice but to end the cross-examination and dismiss the witness."

Athena picked up Robin's train of thought and followed up on it.

"Okay then, let's call Logan's mom on his cell phone and ask her to explain to the court what he looked like the night of the crime and if the uniform he wore has been washed or not. Just so we can see where we can go from there." She said. "I presume the Prosecution has no problem with this?"

The Prosecutor in question looked almost bored at this point.

"Do as you wish. I shall wait for the defendant to wear herself out so I can finally cut her down."

Robin decided to ignore the birdman's threat and asked Logan to give his phone to the Judge.

Logan handed his cell phone over without protest to Judge Courtney, who dialed a number before putting the phone on speaker. Everyone in the courtroom fell into a hush as the dial tone rang.

"Hello, Logan. I'm in the middle of work right now but I'll try and give as much time as I can."

"Mrs. Sullivan, this is Judge Courtney. Your son is an important witness in the current case, and a question just came up concerning his whereabouts. What did your son look like when you picked him up from work two days ago?"

"Two days ago? Oh! He had splattered some red paint on his uniform. He told me he had to clean the art room that night and had an accident."

"Is that so? Have you washed the uniform yet?" Judge Courtney asked without changing her tone or expression.

" Logan asked me to but I haven't. I take Logan's work uniforms to the dry cleaning on Saturdays along with my own, since I work as a janitor at Themis as well. But I did have one of his school uniforms pressed clean because I heard he was going to appear in court today. Why do you ask?" Mrs. Sullivan said.

"Huh. So that's why she had this uniform cleaned instead of the work one." Logan noted casually despite the sweat that started dripping down his brow.

"I'd like to ask you to bring the work uniform from two days ago to the Criminal Affairs department. That uniform is a very important piece of evidence in the case." Judge Courtney ordered.

"There, are you satisfied?" Logan asked after he got his phone back. "I was cleaning the art room, and I got a bit clumsy. That's all that happened."

"The witness brings up an excellent point," Judge Courtney said as she glared down at Robin and Athena. "Or do you have a piece of evidence that contradicts this? I warn you now that you've reached the end of my patience. If your evidence does not decisively overturn the Prosecution's case, I won't hear anymore arguments on the matter. Do you have evidence that proves the importance of the paint on Logan's uniform?"

Athena turned to face Robin, seemingly unconcerned with the ultimatum. "Well Robin, looks like we've been cornered by Simon and Logan's logic," she declared cheerfully. "But I think we might have something to show them."

Robin was feeling very bubbly herself. They had reached the end of the road, and all that was left was to take all testimony and evidence that had been presented up until now and center it all around a single focal point.

"My final piece of evidence is something we've all overlooked because we've spent so much time focusing on other details." Robin explained. "But without those other details this evidence wouldn't be as powerful. And that's because my final piece of evidence is...this!"

She presented the bottle of her paint that had been shown at the very beginning of the trial.

"The reason I'm the primary suspect of this crime is because everything that was used in the crime belongs to me, and has my fingerprints on it. That includes the paint used in the crime. The bottle of paint came from my locker, and my paint is nothing like the paint that's provided by the school. Am I right?"

Prosecutor Blackquill smirked. "Indeed. Are you finally ready to surrender and admit defeat?"

"You've completely lost your mind, Newman." Logan sneered. "What does your paint have to do…"

Logan's entire posture collapsed as his expression filled with panic, his mind catching up with the implications of his statement.

"GAAAAAAGGHHHH! This-this can't be!"

"I think Logan already knows where we're going with this," Athena said. "Maybe he'd like to share with us what's he's just learned?"


"The burden of proof is on the defense," Prosecutor Blackquill reminded them. "Or do you believe your opponents will execute themselves?"

"Have it your w-a-y," Robin said, unwilling to let Blackquill derail her momentum. "Its simple. If Logan isn't the culprit, then he shouldn't have my paint on his uniform."

"That's n-not necessarily true!" Logan stammered, slowly becoming more unwound. "After all, there is no way to prove when the paint got on the uniform, or if it's even yours!"

"But there is!" Robin said perkily. "For the first point, all we need to do is recall earlier testimony."

"Two pieces of testimony, to be precise." Athena continued. "Logan earlier said that he left school right after classes ended. A few minutes ago, his mom said he came back from work splattered in paint. These testimonies indicate that the only time Logan could have gotten paint on his uniform was while he was at work, long after Robin had left school. Because if his mom is to be believed, he left for school completely spotless!"

"AAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!" Prosecutor Blackquill screamed as he felt the case slipping out of his hands.

"And I just said, that doesn't matter!" Logan countered. "Because there is no way to prove where the paint on my uniform came from!"

"T-h-a-t is where the second point comes in," Robin said. "You claim that the paint is from the Art Room. Tell me, Logan. How much do you know about paint?"

"Not that much," he admitted. "Since I find art irrelevant to becoming a prosecutor. But paints of the same color would be made the same, right?"

"Wrong!" Robin declared cheerfully. "The paint from my locker is a brand I personally use so I can paint wherever I go. But its not as high quality as the kind the Themis Art Club provides. So it stands to reason that the two paints are made differently."

Robin slammed her hands down on the bench and glared right into Logan's panicked eyes.

"And since we've just established that you could have only gotten the uniform dirty while at work, the paint can only be either my paint, which was used in the crime, or the paint from the Art Room as you claim. How about we have the paint analyzed so we can so see which it is?"

"Hold on! Who's to say I didn't smear some of your paint on my uniform after I came upon the crime scene? After all, I was pretty close to it and the paint hadn't been completely dry. That much I do know."

"It seems the time has come for the final strike," Simon noted, having recovered from the earlier shock. "How do you respond to this final question, Newman-dono?"

Robin shook her head, a confident grin still on her face. Next to her, Athena saw what she was about to do and nodded in approval. As a both struggling artist and a budding prosecutor, it was finally time for Robin to strike down Logan, the enemy they had spent all this time chasing, and put an end to his scheme once and for all.

"Ah ha ha ha! I'll responded with an art lesson!" She exclaimed. "Now, Logan claims that he could have smeared my paint on himself from the crime scene, presuming the paint hadn't been totally dry when he got to it. Buuuut, that contradicts the testimony his mom gave. She said the paint had been splattered on the uniform. There's an important difference between a smear and a splatter, and it will crack this case wide open!"

"Oh? Educate us on this difference then." Judge Courtney said.

"A smear is just a single stain," Robin explained. "While a splatter is a bunch of random splotches. A splatter isn't something you can just get by rubbing yourself on paint, more so if the splatter covers a wide area. If the paint on Logan's uniform is in a splatter pattern like I just described, then that means he was near the lockers as they were being painted. But given all the testimony and evidence we've reviewed this trial, there's only one way that's possible: if he was the one who vandalized the lockers!"

The crowd in the gallery went wild as Simon was once against lost composure and Logan frantically flipped through his textbook for an answer to save himself.

After Judge Courtney calmed down the gallery Logan looked up at Robin, a wild and desperate look on his face.

"What about the notes!" He screamed. "Your case rests on them being connected to the vandalism, but surely even you can't prove that!"

"Funny you should fall back on those notes. The work schedule says that you were the only person with a shift at the school that night," Robin said. "Which means you're the only one that could have vandalized the lockers as proved by the paint on your uniform. But consider the fact that the third and final note from the person that's been harassing me was found the next morning, before it was even possible for me to be on campus. Since all three notes are from the same person, that means only one person could be behind them, and therefore the vandalism: you, Logan Sullivan!"

Logan cradled his head in his arms, staring into the witness stand in despair.

"I-no, this isn't happening. I can't….I can't….I can't explain this!"


"Then allow me. There's no more evidence you can manipulate. No testimony you can invent out of thin air. No one else to hide behind. Logan Sullivan-"

Robin drew her arm back and pointed at Logan with everything she had, then shouted at the top of her lungs:

"This is the end of the line for you!"

Logan's entire body began trembling violently.

"It just-it just had to be you. The one that's been in my way for all this time. The one who stole her heart-and now the one that's destroyed my dream. It just had to be you, New-New-New-"

Logan gripped the witness stand, threw his head back and screamed,


Logan abruptly began slamming his face into the textbook in front of him, a dull noise echoing across the silent courtroom with each impact.

"You-*THUD*You've stolen everything from me!*THUD* All the work I've spent trying to reach the top of the class*THUD*, of reaching my dream of becoming Chief Prosecutor*THUD*-its all gone! Its all gone*THUD* *THUD*-all because of you, Newman! *THUD* *THUD* *THUD*"

Logan stopped slamming his head and glared hatefully at Robin, his eyes wide behind his now broken glasses.

"It doesn't matter what you prove! I'm going to take you down….if its the last thing I do! Its the only way-the only way I can fulfill my promise…."

Logan's self abuse took its toll, as he swayed slightly before collapsing backwards onto the courtroom floor.

October 27, 2027.

You need to take your mind off of it, Logan. You've been pissed off since the trial ended.

You saw it too, Lisette! I've been studying to become a Prosecutor for as long as I can remember. Ever since we made that promise to each other. But that girl-the top student. She doesn't care at all! She's exactly the kind of person we're trying to stop!

You mean Robin Newman? Not going to lie, I've never seen someone admit to lying so shamelessly and care so little about school. But is that really all there is to it? Is that why we're at this concert instead of at home studying?"

The sound of a young woman's voice, dulcet and clear, filled the air.

"Pleasure, Pleasure~. But a fleeting memory~."

"Ah! You got me. I wanted to make sure that Juniper was okay…."

"Why don't you just ask her out?"

"Its-! You know what? You're right. I need to at least try. But I've never asked anyone out before. I don't think I even know where to start…."

"Well, does she have a gal pal you can get in the good graces of so you can get closer to Ms Woods?"

"Only Newman. I really don't want to talk to her if I don't have to do so."

"Well you can try. Look on the bright side. If you can talk to someone like her you'll be that much closer to talking to Ms. Woods."

"Okay….I'll try."

Feb 11

District Court - Courtroom No. 2

A report was handed to Prosecutor Blackquill, who looked over it.

"The analysis on the work uniform is complete. Not only was the red paint in a splatter pattern as the defendant described, but it perfectly matched the paint used in the crime."

"And how is the witness fairing?"

"According to the medics, the witness is awake and mentally sound. He has confessed to everything. Three counts of harassment, two counts of vandalism, creating false evidence, and perjury: for all these crimes Logan Sullivan has been arrested."

"Did Logan say why he did all this?" Athena asked.

Simon smirked. "There's no need to ask. Everything he told me you already know, through the notes and testimony: he was driven by a bottomless well of resentment, rage, and envy towards the defendant, for reaching the top when he couldn't. However, he did tell me something interesting. He told me he should never gone to the defendant for dating advice. He would tell me no more after that."

So that really is what started all this. Robin thought to herself. What Logan was referring to was their very first conversation over a month ago.

"If you want to ask someone out, how would you go about doing so?" he had asked her at the time.

Not too long after that, Robin had received the very first note from the Shadow. Given this and everything else that happened after, Robin had a pretty good idea of who Logan had wanted to ask out: Juniper Woods.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Juniper shrink into herself as she arrived at the same conclusion.

"During the trial of Ms. Woods, I could have pressed perjury charges, but I didn't," Prosecutor Blackquill said. "Would you like to know why?"

When Robin nodded her head he continued. "I felt it would be an injustice to cut down ones as young and full of potential as yourselves. Today I see I was wise to do so. Continue on the path of the Prosecutor, Newman-dono. Perhaps we shall meet again."

"It is a shame to see one so young, but so filled with resentment and anger like Mr. Sullivan," Judge Courtney said. She shook her head ruefully. "Some unanswered questions remain, but one matter has been made very clear: the defendant's role in the vandalism crime. Will the defendant Robin Newman please take the stand?"

Robin did so, facing Judge Courtney with a growing feeling of apprehension in her chest.

"We almost committed an unforgivable wrong today because of someone else's abuse of the Law. Regardless of past mistakes, it is clear that you are truly passionate about becoming a Prosecutor, and you have surrounded yourself with people that love you very much."

Her parents, Professor Courte, Hugh, Myriam, Athena, Apollo, and of course her girlfriend Juniper. She had all of them to thank for helping her become the person she was today.

"I know! Isn't it the greatest?" she said, the biggest grin stretching across her face.

Judge Courtney smiled gently and nodded. "May the Goddess of Law bless you all on your path into the courts, whatever they may be. I will now pass my verdict. This court finds the defendant, Robin Newman,"


Cheering and confetti poured from the gallery as Juniper, their friends, and even Robin's parents stood up and applauded fiercely. A feeling of relief permeated Robin's entire being.

It's over. It's finally over.

"Court is adjourned." Judge Courtney slammed her gavel down, the sound of the strike resounding with finality.

February 11, 12:15 p.m.

District Court - Defendant Lobby No. 3

"We did it! We won! So why do you guys look so exhausted?"

Robin certainly felt exhausted as she clutched her celebratory flower bouquet, and Juniper didn't look much better. It was all they could do to remain standing.

"I'm sorry, Athena! Today's just been an emotionally draining day," Robin explained as Juniper made a noise that vaguely sounded like an agreement.

"That's to be expected," Hugh said. "To think that Logan would stoop to the depths he did today. His was a truly twisted plan."

Myriam scribbled practically in the her notebook. "We may have taken him down, but my work hasn't ended, sss sss sss. I need still need to find the connection all this has to the rash of harassing notes Themis has suffered lately aside from the ones Robin got that started all this."

Athena made a V-sign with one of her hands. "Well, if there's a connection you can bet Simon will find it! So no more wallowing in this. Especially you, Junie."

Juniper, looking incredibly down, had drifted into a corner of the room.

"Is this….is this all my fault? If I'd only known how Logan felt….If I h-hadn't talked to him about our investigation-could I have prevented all of this?"

"THAT'S TOTAL NONSENSE, MAANNN!" Robin shouted before she could help herself. "I mean, of course none of this was your fault. Logan made it clear he had a plan that he wasn't going to let anyone stop. Don't beat yourself up about it."

"But still, I should have talked to him sooner. Explained things to him. Then maybe he wouldn't have done all this."

Robin knew that Juniper was trapped in a cycle of self-criticizing, and she knew just the evidence to dispel those doubts. Without further ado she handed the evidence to her girlfriend.

"This is….the interview we did?"

"You've already made things perfectly clear," Robin said, setting aside the flower bouquet and wrapping her arms around her girlfriend. "You were the one who came up with the idea of the interview with Myriam. You let the whole school know we were a couple and if Logan couldn't accept that, that was his problem. What's more, you visited me in my cell. You helped me mend my relationship with my parents. You got the staff schedule from the principal. This whole time, you've been by my side, and I couldn't have caught Logan without you."

"Oh, Robin." Juniper smiled softly as she hugged Robin back. "I'm just glad everything worked out in the end."

The two continued to nuzzle with each other, overjoyed to be together after the events of the past couple of days.

"Ahem. If the two lovebirds don't mind, we have a celebration to get started!" Athena gently reminded them. Juniper and Robin separated from their hug and looked at all their friends.

"You're right, Thena. Oh, and thank you all for helping us!"


"No problem. That's what best friends are all about." Hugh said. "Although, there is one question that still bothers me. The very last thing that Logan said in court was that he had some kind of promise to fulfill that had to do with why he did all this. I wonder what he meant?"

Robin had wondered about that as well. But everything had already drawn to a close.

"Logan's already been arrested. He'll probably go to jail for everything he's done," Robin mused out loud. "And chances are he won't talk to any of us, especially me. So whatever promise he meant is going to jail with him."

"In that case, there's only one thing left to do: find Apollo and get him to treat us all to Eldoon's Noodles! Its the least he can do for missing out on all the action!" Athena said.

"May we come?"

Robin turned towards her mother's voice to see her parents in the doorway of the lounge.

Well, if I'm ever going to forgive my parents, I may as well start now.

"Sure thing! The more the merrier!"

And so, the Shadow incident came to an end. At the time, it seemed like everything had wrapped itself up in a cute little bow.

But there was still a darkness that lay in wait for us. One that would cause an event that made Logan's crimes look petty in comparison.

I'll tell that story later. But if there's one thing I've learned, its to never leave a question unanswered if I can help it.

Arc 2, Turnabout Shadow: End.

Chapter Text

Arc 3: The world shifts under our feet.

Chapter 11: On secrets, between friends and girlfriends.

December 22, 2030
Location: Enroute to the Newman-Woods Residence
Time: 8:30 a.m.

The Shadow incident was mainly remembered by Juniper as the first time she saw cruelty against someone just because they were different. She tried her hardest to forget what happened at first.

But as the bus Juniper was on approached the stop on the street she lived, she realized burying the past accomplished nothing. After all, these events didn't happen in a vacuum. Rather, they sent ripples not only through her relationship with Robin, but through her life in general...

February 2028 to March 2028

Juniper had hoped that she could put the events of Robin's trial behind her, but of course life was never that easy. For in taking down Logan Sullivan a small chain of events had been set in motion.

First Myriam had turned her findings on the other mysterious notes over to the Prosecutor's office, which promptly investigated each one tirelessly. As it turned out, Logan had discovered one of many loopholes that student and faculty alike abused as they pleased, and the culprits behind each and every one of those notes was exposed and dealt with on a case to case basis. Motives ranged from blackmail to friends falling out much like Blackquill had suggested during Robin's trial.

The horrid influence that had been revealed thanks to Professor Means's incarceration still had a stranglehold on Themis, but even as Student Council President there was only so much Juniper could do about it. Juniper couldn't help but wonder what would become of the school after she graduated.

Then came Logan's own trial, where thanks to the events of Robin's trial he was found guilty of his crimes. As it happened, the Prosecutor in charge was the Themis alum Klavier Gavin, though Juniper didn't get a chance to catch up with him. As a first time offender Logan's crimes did not weigh as heavily as they could have, and so he was sentenced to two years of jail time with six months probation, along with the possibility of parole.

As Logan was led away he seemed much smaller than the arrogant "top student" he was before. It seemed that all his anger had burned out now that he had no way of reaching his goals. Would they have been friends under different circumstances? There was no way of knowing. Robin had confided in Juniper that she had tried to befriend Logan during their first conversation, which just made the whole thing sadder.

On the bright side, her relationship with Robin remained strong. She and Robin celebrated their first Valentine's day together, exchanging handmade chocolates. Understandably Robin didn't have the best cooking skills, but Juniper was more than happy to teach her. Now that they didn't have to hide their relationship, the two were able to integrate it much easier into their daily lives, such as freely discussing it with and around their parents(or her Grandma in Juniper's case) and walking hand in hand down Themis halls without anyone batting an eyelash.

Likewise, the group was able to hang out with each other at lot easier, including being able to see Apollo again for the first time in a while. As it turned out, he was defending a coworker of a detective he knew when Robin's trial went down. Athena continued to defend clients while dropping by on occasion, Hugh slowly was requiring less and less tutoring(but still fumbled on the occasional test) and Myriam rode a wave of publicity and new club members from her special article on recent events.

As the semester wore on and Themis settled back down Juniper was happy to be able to just focus on her life again. She studied her hardest to be able to graduate with top honors, directed the Student Council as best she could, and began to plan dates with Robin again. Then one day Athena asked Juniper and Robin to meet her at a local cafe….

March 23, 2028.
Location: Themis Student Council meeting hall
Time: 3:45 p.m.

"….In other news, despite everything that's happened recently the school administration has seen no reason to cancel any of the extracurricular activities planned for the rest of the school year. Does anyone have an issue they want to bring to the table?"

One of the council members raised their hands.

"You may speak," Juniper said, deep in her role as president.

"Are you sure we've seen the end of the school's troubles?" the student asked. "Everyone's worried that they could be next to be targeted."

Another council member slammed their fist onto the table they all sat around. "I watched my best friend-or at least I thought they were my best friend-get carried away by the police just a few days ago. It makes sense to feel paranoid."

Juniper had to suppress a coughing fit as she processed these words. They were right, of course: Themis Legal Academy was in a bad place. But….

"We *cough* can't let this get to us," she declared firmly. "We are the future of the legal system, and if we really want to make a difference we have to first make sure this school is still a place that nurtures the students that will be here after we graduate. Even if the truth is *cough cough* potentially unpleasant, we must still pursue it."

Hopefully that got through to everyone, Juniper thought to herself.

Despite the slight shakiness in her words she saw the rest of the council nod in agreement, and the previous student that spoke up followed suit.

"If there are no other questions, I'd like to bring this meeting to a close," Juniper said.

There were none, and Juniper ended the meeting without any more interruptions.

March 23, 2028.
Location: Themis Academy hallway

In between classes, however, a single thought stuck in her mind: what she would do after graduation. Only three more months remained in the school semester, and as time went on everyone began to pick the exact paths they would pursue.

"Sss sss sss, hello Juniper!"

Juniper looked around to see Myriam had begun walking beside her, box and all.

"H-hello, Myriam. How's class been so far?"

"One of the teachers got mad at me," Myriam grumbled. "They told me that I shouldn't actively seek loopholes not in the textbook, kahk kahk."

"I'm sure they just want you to think of every possibility," Juniper said reassuringly.

"If they wanted that they wouldn't be teaching us out of textbooks," Myriam countered. "But nevermind that. I smell a story on your mind."

Anyone who didn't know Myriam wouldn't know that this was her way of asking people how they were doing, but Juniper had learned how to read her friend's quirks by now.

"Its nothing much," Juniper answered. "Just t-thinking about what I'm going to do after I graduate."

She had always taken for granted that she would just become a judge. But with her meeting with the student council fresh in her mind, she began to ask herself if she wanted to be a judge right away.

"You're going to become a judge, aren't you?" Myriam said. "At least that's what you're always saying. That you're going to be a judge that passes a fair verdict in every trial."

Myriam was right: Juniper did say that a lot. The real question was what kind of Judge she wanted to be, and that was a conclusion she felt she needed to arrive at on her own.

"You're right. Thanks for that, Myriam," Juniper said. "What about you? Didn't you say you didn't want to be a judge?"

"Correct, kahk kahk," Myriam said. "I'm going to become an investigative reporter! I've even got an internship for the summer."

"Really? With who?"

"Norma dePlume!" Myriam declared proudly. "She told me she could spare some time for her most ardent fan, sss sss sss."

Given dePlume's reputation of never giving up a lead regardless of how unwelcome she was, Juniper should have see this coming. On the other hand, the same woman was fighting to save the same aquarium she once opposed, so maybe she would be a good influence on Myriam.

"I'm happy for you, Myriam." Juniper said as the two arrived at their next class.

March 23, 2028.

Once classes ended Juniper went back home to prepare for her meeting with Athena.

Juniper was of course happy to just be able to just hang out with her best friend, but as of late Athena had been acting really jumpy, especially when it came to the Criminal Affairs department. Then of course there was today's meeting, Athena had requested that both Juniper and Robin be in attendance and stressing that she had something very important to say.

Whatever it was Athena needed to say, Juniper was going to listen with an open ear.

Juniper swung by Robin's place to pick her up on the way to the cafe where the meeting would be taking . The moment she opened the front door Robin greeted her with a big bear hug and a quick peck on the lips.

"Hiya Juniper!" She greeted joyfully. "How was school today?"

Juniper talked about her school day and listened to Robin's own as the two of them walked hand in hand to the cafe, which was thankfully near Robin's house. Her parents were both working as they did most days, and as Robin explained they did so in order to pay for Robin's tuition at Themis Academy.

As they continued to talk Juniper was still curious as to why Athena wanted to meet with them, and asked Robin to hear her thoughts.

"Ah!" Robin exclaimed, suddenly very nervous. "Well, whatever it is I think it would be better to hear it straight from Athena, don't you think?"

Dismayed by Robin's change in behavior Juniper was about ask what was going on, but the two arrived at the front door of the cafe, and Juniper decided to wait for Athena to explain first.

Date: March 23, 2028
Location: Cafe Lux
Time: 7:00 p.m.

When Juniper entered Cafe Lux she was greeted by an interesting sight. The cafe was fairly large, with a standard mahogany brown(as Robin would call it) counter, tables, and booths, with the booths having light-green padding. There were various windows, all of which were closed and covered with thick curtains.

Juniper guessed it was so people would pay attention to the large glass chandeliers that hung from the ceiling, which shimmered with a beautiful, incandescent light.

"Bienvenue, Junie! Bienvenue, Robin!" Athena greeted from a booth near a window, drinks already in front of her. "Sorry for making you come out here so late!"

As Juniper and Robin made their way to the booth they noticed that sitting next to Athena was a woman that they had never seen before. The woman in question had dark-brown hair with long bangs that was tied up in a ponytail. She wore a pair of pink glasses on her forehead, and her face was smooth and pale. Her expression and demeanor were noticeably distant, as if her mind were a million miles away. The woman wore khaki pants, a white lab coat over green button-up vest and a pink undershirt, with a red necktie completing the ensemble.

"That's okay, Thena," Juniper reassured quickly. "I don't mind too much." She turned to the unknown woman next to Athena. "H-hello there. I'm Juniper Woods. Nice to meet you."

"And I'm Robin Newman," Robin added as she and Juniper seated themselves across Athena and the woman.

"So you're the friends Athena was helping out a month ago," the woman said, her mood lifting slightly. "I'm Ema Skye, a detective down at the local precinct and-"

Ema cut herself off and looked at Athena uncertainly.

"Go ahead and say it," Athena said softly, a tender look on her face.

Having heard this, Ema turned back to Juniper and Robin and said firmly-

"I'm Athena's girlfriend."

Juniper gasped, unable to help herself. It wasn't the thought of Athena dating girls: her best friend had dated a couple during her stay in Europe. But as she looked next to her she noticed that Robin didn't seem surprised, which was telling in itself. And of course, having a woman Juniper never met before introduce herself as her best friend's girlfriend caught Juniper completely off guard.

"I'm happy for you, Thena," Juniper said after she recovered. "How long have you two been dating? And how long have you known this?" she added to Robin, who jumped in her seat with a noticeably guilty look on her face.

"Wait, this girl already knew?" Ema asked, looking just as confused as Juniper felt.

"Eh heh heh. About that. It's a long story." Robin said.

Athena and Robin took turns explaining how Robin accidently found out during a morning jog while the two talked about the Shadow case, and how Athena swore Robin to secrecy so that Athena and Ema could reveal their relationship to Juniper and other people in their life on their own terms.

As an aside, Ema mentioned that the culprit that had harassing her had been a male coworker that was unrelated to Robin and Juniper's Shadow.

"There was someone named Lisette Sullivan that visited the station once," Ema said. "She's your Shadow's twin sister and she's studying to become a cop. But investigations revealed she had nothing to do with what happened to me."

This detail floated in Juniper's mind for a bit. A twin sister. A sense of relief filled Juniper knowing that at least Lisette sounded like a more sincere person than her brother.

After this, Athena and Ema explained how their relationship started: they had met during a poisoning case they both happened to be working on.

"At first I didn't know what to make of Athena," Ema admitted. "She seemed rather loud."

"And Ema seemed like a real sour downer," Athena teased lightly, which caused Ema to pout.

"But when I heard she was a friend of Mr. Wright's I decided to get to know her better." Ema continued.

"And as we worked on the case I listened to Ema's heart as we analyzed some poisons," Athena said. "And it was so full of joy and passion for what she was doing my opinion of her changed and I wound up falling for her."

Ema was practically glowing with each passing word. "Well that's just the power of forensic science," She said proudly. "But Athena really knows how to handle a scientific investigation...even if she keeps eating my Snackoos."

"That was only one time!" Athena declared indignantly.

"Well that one time you ate the entire bag." Ema groused.

The two fell into what sounded like a familiar conversation as Juniper and Robin looked at each other, baffled. They had a feeling that they were missing out on context that would help them understand what the two of them were talking about.

"I'm sorry I kept this a secret from you, Juniper," Robin said finally. "But I promised Athena that I wouldn't say anything. She's your best friend and she wanted to tell you about her relationship herself, so I didn't want to tell you something I didn't have the right to say."

Juniper contemplated this. Just what kind of secrets should girlfriends keep from each other? Should there be any secrets to begin with? The answer, Juniper felt, was far from black and white. Robin had technically lied to her, even by omission. But-

"I'm not happy about it," Juniper said slowly. "But you were keeping a promise with Thena, and I trust you Robin. Just-let's try to keep the secrets to a minimum."

Robin promptly began smothering her girlfriend with kisses all over her face. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou THANK YOU SO MUCH!" she shouted at the top of her lungs.

"Ahem. Please cease from disrupting the other patrons."

All four girls turned to find rather displeased management surrounding their table.

Date: March 23, 2028
Location: Outside of Cafe Lux
Time: 7:45 p.m.

"When I *MUNCH* woke up this morning I *MUNCH* wasn't expecting *MUNCH* to be kicked out of a cafe," Ema said as she chewed vehemently on some chocolate snacks from a bag (which turned out to be the previously mentioned Snackoos) she had produced from a carrier bag she had with her.

"Well aside from that I think everything went great!" Athena said, still grinning. "Maybe we can set up a more proper double date in the future."

"You're lucky I can't stay mad at you," Ema said as she kissed Athena on the cheek. "Your friends on the other hand…"

Ema threw one of her chocolate snacks, which nailed Robin right on the forehead with a *ka-tonk*.

Robin immediately fired back with her puppy dog eyes. "I know I got us all kicked out of the cafe, but there's no reason to hit a frail little girl like me like that!"

Juniper likewise rounded on Ema. "I know Robin messed up, and I'll talk to her later." She berated. "But that doesn't give you any reason to throw fried snacks at her!"

"Okay okay I forgive you!" Ema said quickly. "Geez, kid. That's some girlfriend you've found."

"But you like me more than Junie, right?" Athena chimed in to an increasingly exasperated Ema.

Juniper giggled as everyone continued to talk. She joined the conversation on occasion, but her mind wasn't entirely focused on it.

What it meant to be a judge. What it meant to keep secrets in a relationship. Those questions were questions that had been posed to Juniper, and she was planning to face them head on, with Robin at her side.

December 22, 2030
Location: Enroute to the Newman-Woods Residence
Time: 8:45 a.m.

"You and Robin have been through a lot together. But I'm sure you two can surpass any challenge together."

That had been what Juniper's Grandma had told her when the two had talked earlier today, and remembering the cafe double date, Juniper saw what she meant.

It was because Juniper and Robin were willing to face questions like the ones that had been posed that day that their relationship was still so strong after three years.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Obscured history.

December 22, 2030
Location: Newman-Woods residence
Time: 9:20 a.m.

There was the sound of a key going in the front door, and Robin knew that Juniper had finally arrived home. After Robin put some finishing touches on her appearance she went to the front door to greet her girlfriend.

For now Robin had a simple light orange blouse and skirt combo on. But Robin had a special outfit ready for later today.

"Good morning, sweetie," Juniper said as she set down her purse on a nearby table.

"Good morning, my darling Juniper," Robin said in response, feeling warm all over from the compliment. "The reservation for our dinner date is at eight-thirty tonight, and since I got the day off I'm going to let you decide what we do until then."

"I have some ideas," Juniper said. "But first I'm going to go take a shower and get ready."

"That's fine, I'll wait for you," Robin said. "But I'd like to hear about how everyone is after you finish!"

"Umm, about all the people I visited while I was out. It's a surprise," Juniper said as she walked towards their bedroom. "I'll talk to you about it at dinner, so please be patient until then."

With that Juniper entered the bedroom and shut the door, leaving Robin to wait outside.

Robin went into the living room and sat down in a sofa.. It seemed that Juniper was getting something ready as well for their third anniversary, and Robin was filled to the brim with anticipation. She didn't even mind how long Juniper had been gone. It wasn't as if this was the first time the two had been separated from each other for long periods of time. It was just a part of life….

April 15, 2028
Location: Newman Residence, Robin's room.
Time: 6:45 a.m.

The sound of knocking filled the room, rousing Robin from her sleep. She blearily sat up in her bed, wondering who was waking her up so early in the morning on a Saturday. As perky and energetic as Robin was most of the time, even she needed a rest once in awhile and usually did so on the weekends. This particular weekend Juniper was off with her Grandma on a hiking trip, which meant Robin had even less incentive to get up early.

"Are you awake, Robin?" her father asked from outside the door. "I have a trial later today and I could take you along for a practical lesson in prosecuting, if you want."

Robin seriously considered the offer. Her school finals were in only a couple months, and it would also be a good excuse to drop by the Prosecutor's office to look up the dates of the bar exam.

She'd never sat in on one of her father's trials before. In the past she'd always refused these invitations because she just didn't care about becoming a Prosecutor and prefered to focus on her art.

Lately her parents had been making a conscious effort to repair bridges with her, and it would be horrible for Robin to reject this opportunity. With this in mind Robin got out of bed and said in her brightest voice,

"Sure! I'll get ready right away!"

April 15, 2028
Location: Newman Residence, Dining room.
Time: 7:00 a.m.

As Robin chowed down on her breakfast she noticed her parents pouring over some papers, whispering intensely with each other. Every so often they consulted a calculator and frowned at the figures displayed on the screen.

"You would think the man was a magician with how much money he made vanish into thin air," Richard muttered under his breath.

"That's what it seems like right now but his type always turn out to be two-bit con artists," Diana reassured him, laying a hand on his shoulder. "His tax returns are about as impressive."

"You're probably right, Diana. It's amazing how many people we've run into that have believed themselves invincible just because of the size of their bank accounts." Richard said tiredly.

"And yet those bank accounts never seem to save them from you in the long run, Ricky," Diana teased gently.

Robin couldn't help but become fascinated as she continued to listen in on her parents' banter. There was a definite undercurrent of familiarity and affection in their voices, as well as other emotions like exasperation whenever they hit a snag.

It spoke of a bond developed and tempered over the years, one that Robin hadn't actually paid much attention to normally. But with the flow of communication restored between the three of them, Robin had a feeling that she would be learning a lot more about her parents.

April 15, 2028
Prosecutor's Office, Richard's office.
11:15 a.m.

As it turned out, her dad had been more or less wrapping up his current trial, so it only lasted a couple hours. A good thing, too, as a trial about money laundering was very effective at putting Robin to sleep, which resulted in her Mom having to gently shake her awake every so often. At the very least, Robin saw the kind of Prosecutor her dad was: presenting witnesses with seemingly irrelevant testimonies only to have a plan in mind, which usually meant having evidence ready that revealed the unrelated tangents very important. Weaving these disparate points into a cohesive whole that threw light on the defendant's shady dealings. A booming voice that seemed to cause most objections by the defense to wilt away. It was all Robin could do to keep up.

All that being said, Robin noticed that her Mom seemed to be following the events of the trial perfectly well, to the point that she even arrived at some conclusions at the same time as Richard did. It was an extension of the events from this morning, and one that once again made Robin wonder how much she'd missed.

After the trial ended with a guilty verdict, Robin's father took her to his office and dropped her off there while he went to go take care of some paperwork. This was the first time Robin had ever been inside her father's office, and so sat in the room's only chair and took a good look around.

At a first glance it wasn't as exciting as Robin had hoped it would be. The office was more or less a cubicle, and had a single desk where it seemed her father kept everything such as a the docket where cases were kept and a small computer in the center of it. As she looked closer, however, she noticed a lot of small details that really spoke about her father.

His court docket was oddly bare, with only a couple cases that were being prepared for in the future. Everything on the desk was neat and tidy, with several pictures in frames. Several of them were of her parents from before they had gotten married, and judging by the Prosecutor's badge pinned on her father's collar, it seemed as her parents had worked on several cases together during that time.

There were also a lot of family pictures, chronicling Robin's life. She found it painful to look at most of them, as they reminded her of what she still was trying to forgive her parents for. But quite a few of them were more recent, including a clipping from the special edition Themis Herald about her relationship with Juniper.

Robin continued to poke around her father's workspace, eventually becoming completely absorbed in the task. One of the items she discovered seemed to be an old case file her father had left behind, regarding a murder case that had occurred at a batting range.

"The State versus Gianna…."

Robin didn't notice it when someone else entered the room, and was taken completely by surprised when she heard behind her, "Achtung, baby! So you're the pretty Fräulein that Prosecutor Newman told me about."

"WOOOOOAAHHHH!" Robin screamed in shock, the case file fleeing her mind as she turned around to see who was behind her.

"I know you! You're that rockstar prosecutor Klavier Gavin! You helped save Juniper during her trial."

"I haven't been a rockstar in quite a while," Klavier corrected gently. "But as for the rest, you are correct. And if I'm not mistaken you're Robin, the fiery little prosecutor student that also moonlights as an artist, ja?"

"Eh heh heh heh, that me!" Robin said cheerfully now that the shock had receded and she recognized Klavier. "Its great to see you again."

"Not as glad as I am to see you, Fräulein," Klavier said. "Especially since we'll be spending a lot more time together in the near future."

"Really? Why is that?" Robin asked.

"Your father has asked me to guide you through the wild world of prosecuting," Klavier explained, "since you will be graduating from my Alma Mater soon and I want to help you breathe fresh air into our legal system."

"Well it won't just be me! Juniper and Hugh are going to help as well."

It was then that Robin hit upon the first thing Klavier had said.

"Wait, you're the one that's going to give me the practical lesson? What about my dad?"

"Herr Newman is occupied with the Chief Prosecutor and so he will not be able to take you home either," Klavier said. "It seems to two have been having many conversations like this over the past few months, but as for why I couldn't tell you."

Robin had been building up irritated steam but now she was just confused. What kind of business could her dad have with the Chief Prosecutor that would last for several months? Even more importantly, why the invitation for the practical lesson if he wasn't going to give it himself?

"Don't twist yourself up into too many knots about it," Klavier advised, having read the expression on Robin's face. "Even if today wasn't quite what you were expecting, we can make it much better. And I'm sure you father will explain himself in due time."

Robin decided to go with the situation that had presented itself. Ever since she had met Klavier he had shown himself to be a great person, from his efforts in rescuing Juniper last October to being the one to prosecute the Shadow recently. On top of that, the three of them, Robin, Klavier, and Juniper, shared a connection: all three of them had studied under Professor Courte.

April 15, 2028
Location: Newman Residence.
Time: 6:45 p.m.

As it turned out, the practical lesson had been watching the money-laundering trial, with Klavier's introduction being a prelude to future lessons. At least, that's how her dad had explained it when he finally showed up several hours later after Robin had been dropped off home by Klavier. Of course, she had immediately grilled him on what he had been doing all day, but he had simply said it was something he couldn't disclose.

After Richard had gone off for a shower Robin decided to ask her mom about it instead.

"It's something work-related," Diana answered. "And like he said before he can't tell you quite yet. But I can tell you that it will be ready before you graduate this year."

Diana smiled proudly at her daughter.

"Despite everything we've done you're going to graduate at the top of your class," she said. "And with so many friends and a darling girlfriend. I am so happy for you."

"Well, if you two hadn't made sure I stayed focused I would have just quit," Robin said, determined to bury the hatchet as best she could. "and if I did that I might not have everything I have today. So thank you, Mom!"

Diana stared off into the distance. "But still…."

Diana dropped whatever thought she had been on and turned back to her daughter. "Tell you what, Robin. I won some free spa passes at my workplace recently, sp how about the two of us have a girl's day out when I can get a day off?"

April 15, 2028
Location: Newman Residence, Robin's room
8:45 p.m.

"It sounds like you had a wonderful day, Robin! It nice that you're getting along so well with your parents, and that Mr. Gavin's been doing well."

Robin considered what Juniper was saying as she lay back in her bed. Just this morning Robin hadn't been sure just what kind of day it was going to be, since Juniper had been away. But thinking on it, today had indeed been fantastic. She had bonded with her parents some more and made a new friend. Except that….

"Robin? Are you still there?"

"I'm still here," Robin said quickly. "It's just that my parents are hiding something from me, and I'm wondering if I should dig into what it is or if I should trust them and wait until graduation."

"Well, it seems like whatever they have planned has something to do with the Prosecutor's office," Juniper said. "Since your dad is talking with the Chief Prosecutor. My best guess is that it might be in preparation for when you take the bar exam."

Robin mulled this over in her head. This scenario made sense given the scant amount of information available. What was the right thing to do?

"I think I'll trust my parents," Robin said. "I have to start doing it eventually, right?"

'No one is expecting you to do it right away," Juniper reassured her. "You have all the time in the world to decide how you want your relationship with your parents to be like."

"O-k-a-y then!" Robin said. "Thanks for listening to me, Juniper."

"Anytime, Robin." Juniper said fondly.

December 22, 2030
Location: Newman-Woods residence
Time: 9:50 a.m.

The path into the courts had been an arduous one, with both Robin and Juniper in kind needing to take small steps over the years. They couldn't always be by each other's side either, but physical distance meant nothing. What mattered was that they could trust each other to remain firm while on the search for the truth. It was much like Robin had to trust in her parents again, and she was glad she did so considering what her parents' secret turned out to be.

At one point that trust that had been built between her and Juniper had been put to the ultimate test. It was during three of the darkest days of their lives, and a memory that Robin didn't feel like revisiting. Yet the path her memories were taking seem to be headed straight for that direction, in the direction of those days just last year.

Chapter Text

One year anniversary piece found here

Chapter 13: Three little words

December 22, 2030
Location: Newman-Woods residence
Time: 10:05 a.m.

When Juniper had finished her shower and changed into new clothes (A light-blue sundress) she went back into the hall where she had left Robin only to find her asleep. Juniper gently lifted Robin and carried her to their bedroom, then left her on their bed. Juniper was going to let Robin nap, as she had something to arrange regardless.

The engagement ring wasn't the only reason that Juniper had been gone for several hours this morning. She had also visited several of their mutual friends as well as scooped out several locations she and Robin could visit together, all a part of making sure today was the best day possible.

That being said, there had certainly been something nostalgic about seeing all her friends again, especially on the same day. It reminded her once again of her long-gone school days….

April 17, 2028
Location: Themis Legal Academy, Archery Range
Time: 3:55 p.m.


"Bullseye! Contestant Hugh O'Conner has taken the lead."

Juniper and Robin applauded as they watched their close friend continue to dominate the archery competition he was participating in. Hugh graced the audience around him with a smirk, soaking in the spotlight.

The smirk was replaced by a more sincere smile when Hugh met up with his best friends during a break in the competition.

"Nice job out there, Hugh," Robin said. "You're completely destroying the competition!"

"Sorry we can't stick around to watch the rest," Juniper added. "But Robin and I still have classes to attend today."

Hugh himself, being one of the best archers on the school's team, had special permission to skip over a couple of today's classes to compete in the contest, albeit he wasn't exactly looking forward to having to catch up later on.

"Just knowing that my friends are cheering for me will carry me through this," Hugh said, his attempt at being cool belied by how gooey his voice sounded with joy.

"Make sure you don't overexert yourself out there," Juniper continued.

"And if you need help with your schoolwork just ring us up anytime!" Robin added.

"I'll keep that in mind," Hugh said. "But I think I'll try to manage this on my own first. After all, I'll be on my own the day I finally face the bar exam."

"Oh no you won't," Robin said. "We're going to take the bar exam together, remember? Even if we're applying for different jobs we can still accompany each other to the testing site. And once we both pass we can watch Juniper take her oath for her Judgeship together."

"I understand. Thank you, my friends."

After seeing Hugh off at the next portion of his competition Juniper and Robin walked together for a short while, then gave each other a kiss goodbye before heading off to their respective classes.

Not that they weren't going to see each other again. In fact, tonight Robin was going to come over to Juniper's house for a study session that doubled as a sleepover. As a point of fact, it was the first time they were going to have a sleepover since their relationship had started, and it was going to serve as some much needed alone time between the two of them.

Well, that wasn't entirely accurate. Her Grandma was going to be there as well as was in fact insisting on serving food and drinks for the occasion. But Juniper wanted her to rest; when they had returned home from hiking over the weekend Juniper could tell that her Grandma had been sore all over, and was still aching today. This had been happening more often, lately, another indication of how time marched ever onward. But just as her Grandma had taken care of her, Juniper was more than happy to take care of her Grandma.

April 17, 2028
Location: Themis Legal Academy, Principal's office
Time: 5:45 p.m.

Halfway through one of her classes, though, she was called up to the Principal's office for reasons unknown. Given Juniper's position as the Student Council President chances are that was why she was being called, but even so she prepared herself for anything.

Entering the office, she noticed that the principal, being a short, paunchy man with gray, thinning hair, didn't seem to look stressed or upset- a good sign.

"Ms. Woods," the principal said, "Thank you for joining me. Forgive me for taking you out of class but I have something I wish to discuss with you as student council president."

"It's no problem," Juniper reassured the man. "I'm glad to be of service of to the school in anyway I can."

"That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about," The Principal said. "Of all the students that have passed through this fine Academy, you have done so much without asking for anything in return. You bore the role of informant without complaint, and as such helped stem the flow of corruption from our fine academy. Furthermore, you shone a spotlight on yourself by revealing your relationship with Ms. Newman in order to correct a grave wrong. Rarely have I ever seen someone so bravely risk themselves as you for the sake of the truth. Professor Courte would've been proud of you."

The glowing praise actually made Juniper feel very uncomfortable. The day her beloved mentor had died had been one of the most horrid of her life. Yet, Juniper's first response had been to do nothing but lie and keep secrets, the exact opposite of what Professor Courte had taught her. One of their final conversations had been Courte reprimanding Juniper for changing her mock trial script. In fact, if Thena hadn't set her straight Juniper would have willingly walked right into Professor Means' clutches, and Juniper didn't even want to think of what would have happened then.

The Principal ran a hand through his hair as he said, "At the end of this year you will be graduating from this Academy. But before then, I would like for you to recommend someone to succeed you."

Succeed me? "What do you mean by that, sir?"

"Someone reliable to take up the mantle of the informant, of course," The Principal said, unaware of how his words made Juniper feel cold all over. "You strike me as an excellent judge of character, and as student council president you have a special connection with the student body. As such, I would give your opinion serious weight."

Juniper opened and closed her mouth, but the only thing that came out was an abrupt coughing fit. To be thrust such a decision so suddenly, especially one that could detrimentally affect someone else's life, was almost more than she could handle.

Juniper had hated her time as an informant, but at the same time could see the necessity of her role. If there was only one thing she would have done differently, it would have been to go back and convince Professor Courte to go to the police instead of confronting Professor Means on her own. But Juniper hadn't known that fateful day what Courte's plan was, so to wish for a different conclusion was pointless. Even so….

"I can't in good conscience recommend someone else to be an informant," Juniper said firmly. "If my experience in this role has taught me anything, is that this isn't something that can be handled alone."

"I suppose, then, that you have some alternative solution ready?" The Principal asked.

"I don't have one," Juniper admitted. "But I think this issue should at least be brought before the student council for deliberation. Is that an agreeable compromise?"

"I find that to be acceptable." The Principal said. "I'd like for you to bring forth a proposal as decided by the student council before graduation, so that the administration can take it into consideration among other proposals that are submitted when we decide on the future of Themis Legal Academy. That is all. You may now return to class."

As Juniper walked out of The Principal's office her mind couldn't help but wonder,

Now what do I do?

April 17, 2028
Location: Woods Residence, kitchen
Time: 7:53 p.m.

"Watch your fingers, dear."

"Hmm? Oh, thanks for the warning, Granny. Is the peach smoothie ready?"

"Almost there. How much sugar did you want added to it?"

"No sugar at all, I think. Peaches are already really sweet on their own."

Juniper and her Grandma continued to prepare a light dinner that would be served once Robin arrived to kick off the sleepover, because from the moment Juniper had asked her about it Granny had made sure to do everything possible to make their guest feel welcome when she arrived. The dinner consisted of a chicken salad with peach smoothie as a drink.

Every so often Juniper could see her Grandma wince slightly with pain, but any time Juniper asked about it her Grandma said she was fine.

"I'm going to rest up with a nice heating pad and a good book in bed," Virginia Woods said. "and just let you have fun on your date with Ms. Newman."

Juniper blushed but didn't bother trying to rebut her Grandma's entirely correct point, reassured that Granny was still fine despite her advanced age. The two of them went back to their cooking and chatting, and inevitably her Grandma asked her about her school day.

Juniper first started with some minor details, such as how the coursework had increased with the finals approaching or how she answered a particular question. Eventually, Juniper mentioned the visit to the Principal's office, as well as her current dilemma.

It was a while before her Grandma answered, and when she did it was with much thought.

"Unfortunately as a former forest ranger I do not know much of the legal world, nor do I have knowledge on how Themis Academy functions," she said slowly. "However, I do understand the core issue- you are uncertain of what proposal to come up with, for fear that it will have negative repercussions on the students that come after you."

"That's right," Juniper said. "After seeing the likes of Professor Means and The Shadow, I realize that Themis Academy needs a way to keep corruption like this to a minimum."

"But you feel the weight of the fact that the Principal first chose to delegate this task to you," Her Grandma finished. "I can tell you this much- you did well in deciding to confer with the Student Council."

"Really? Why do you say that?"

"Because you acknowledge that this is an issue that is impossible to tackle on your own. This is also likely the reason why your proposal is going before the administration with many others."

Because some things you just can't handle on your own, Juniper realized. She had actually said much the same thing to Hugh earlier today. As she had done almost the entirety of her Juniper's life, her Grandma had cut straight to the heart of the matter.

"In that case, my proposal should reflect this; one that won't just dump everything onto a single person's shoulders." Juniper mused.

"Precisely. I'm sorry I can't offer you much aid beyond this."

"No, you've helped so much already," Juniper said. "Thank you, Granny."

Thanks to this conversation, she already had a rough idea of what her proposal would be.

Robin showed up not long after that, with Juniper greeting her at the door with a quick peck on the lips. Robin being Robin, she responded to this by going in for a deeper kiss, and the two wound up losing track of time. Luckily chicken salad wasn't a food that got cold.

Dinner was a lighthearted affair, with Robin talking with about her own school day before the three of them just shot the breeze about life in general. Juniper was glad to finally be able to relax and just soak in the domestic atmosphere.

"I'm curious of your plans after graduation, Ms. Newman," her Grandma asked at one point. "How do you plan to support yourself?"

"ANYWAY I CAN, MAANNNN!" Robin shouted. "Oh, sorry about that. I think I'm going to live with my parents for a while longer until I can save up enough to rent a small apartment for myself. I'm applying for jobs for the summer, and I'm also looking into taking to bar exam, so the legal world better be r-e-a-d-y for me!"

Juniper smiled warmly at the determination in her girlfriend's words. Her own plans weren't all that much different, just that her path would take a bit longer since being a judge had quite a number of requirements. Even graduating Themis Academy only did so much to alleviate the requirements by cutting the time needed to practice law and being a member of the State Bar by half, as well as a letter of recommendation to make joining the State Bar easier.

She wasn't sure if she wanted a place of her own, though. Being alone in the city was a thought that intimidated her even today, and she didn't want to leave Granny on her own either.

"Maybe Granny and I can move in with Robin."

It took a while for Juniper to realize she had actually said that out loud, after which she promptly covered her face with her hands out of embarrassment.

"Oh...well if that's the case I gotta make sure there's enough room for both of you!"

"Ah, the heady rush of young love. But I'd rather you two don't move things along too quickly, got it?"

Juniper sank in her chair, hoping to go invisible with enough effort.

April 17, 2028
Location: Woods Residence, Juniper's bedroom
Time: 9:07 p.m.

With that, Mrs. Woods retired to her room to enjoy her long awaited heating pad and book, leaving Juniper and Robin with pretty much the rest of the house to themselves. The rest of the house wasn't really too big, however, given that it was structured for just two people. It didn't have amenities like t.v.s either, as Mrs. Woods and Juniper much prefered to go outside to pass the time or curl up with a good book. As a point of fact, the most they had technology-wise was the landline in the house and Juniper's cell phone.

It was inevitable, then, that Juniper and Robin wound up in Juniper's room, just as Juniper knew they would.

"Um, if you want I'll go into the bathroom so you can change in privacy." Juniper said nervously. She knew from the moment she started planning this sleepover that they would run into this, and she wasn't entirely sure if she wanted Robin to accept or turn down the offer.

"I think we can change in the same room," Robin responded even as her face went red. "I mean, we're going to live together one day so I think it's better to get used to it. Just SMASH THROUGH ALL THE NERVES!"

Juniper appreciated Robin's encouraging attitude about the matter even with the shouting, so Juniper decided to return the favor by being the first to start to remove her clothes.

Both girls managed to change into their nightwear, both of them trying to not let what was going on get to them. The sight of her girlfriend's body in nothing but underwear made Juniper feel so hot all over she actually became briefly dizzy, and a quick look at the mirror revealed that her face was a shade of pink she didn't even know existed, although Robin could probably name it. Robin herself looked about almost ready to swoon the entire time.

"I'm so lucky to have such a beautiful girlfriend," Robin sighed dreamily once the two of them were finally finished changing. "I mean, it's not like I was staring or anything like that! I'm not like that! And there are plenty of super awesome things about you-"

Juniper kissed Robin on the forehead to calm her down, then said, "You're really pretty and cute yourself. We're girlfriends, right? We can compliment each other."

The rest of the night went much more smoothly, with the first activity being reading stories to each other out loud from Juniper's book collection, with Juniper being left in stitches from hearing Robin say things like, "He whispered softly in her ear," in all seriousness and with her usual enthusiasm. After that they relaxed by playing with each other's hair for a while before Juniper showed Robin some of the new clothes she was making, such as a pair of sweatpants requested by Thena, although Juniper omitted the outfit she was making as a birthday present for Robin later this year.

Finally, they lay down in their separate beds, with Robin taking a mattress on the floor along with some bedsheets and covers she had brought from home.

"Thank you for having me over today, Juniper," Robin said cheerily. "Today was wonderful."

"You're welcome," Juniper said softly. "I really needed this."

"Is this about your meeting with the principal from earlier today?" Robin asked, having been caught up during the dinner earlier.

"It is," Juniper confirmed. "But I do have an idea of what I want to present."

Some things you just can't do on your own. Juniper still planned to run her proposal before the student council, but not before talking about it with Robin. It simply felt like the right thing to do to share this with her girlfriend.

"If our law system is going to move forward we need to start working together more," Juniper explained. "And I think that Themis is the ideal place to start building this kind of mentality up. So I was thinking, what if we had a panel of students that are picked by a collaboration of the administration and the student body to handle student issues that come before it? I admit that it doesn't account for the teachers, and I'm not sure of the details yet."

"But we have to start somewhere, and what better way than to involve all the branches of the legal system," Juniper continued, actually starting to become passionate. "I think the panel should have six members, two from each course. That way we don't run the risk of things becoming too lopsided on one side. That's what I've thought up so far, at least. What do you think, Robin?"

Robin spent a notably long time going over what she had been told, with Juniper on edge the whole time. Finally, Robin turned towards Juniper with a brilliant smile on her face.

"You've really put a lot of thought into this," Robin said sweetly. "You're going to be a great judge one day."

"What makes you say that?" Juniper asked, wanting a straight answer.

"It's not like your proposal is immune to corruption," Robin said. "But then, nothing is, and I'll bet that no one else worries about individual students like y-o-u, my darling. Furthermore you may sure to include everyone you think can help in your proposal. So I think with some adjustment that idea can be something that can help Themis Academy for a long time to come."

Th-thank you, Robin," Juniper said, tearing up slightly from joy. "Just like the songbirds of the forests, your words always uplift my spirits. Just like your pretty smile, or the heart that beats with such joy and passion to everything you approach. Robin, you are the source of my strength, and I love you."

I love you. The moment Juniper said those three little words she realized that it was the first time she had said them to Robin. Yet at the same time, she didn't mind this because she had meant those words with every fiber of her being.

"I love you too, Juniper," Robin responded in kind. "The kind, beautiful, selfless person that that makes me smile and love each day even more, and that I can rely on to make sure I don't lose myself."

After the heartfelt exchange of this magnitude there really wasn't much more to be said. So the after Juniper turned off the lights the two of them bid each other goodnight and went to sleep.

If they had simply liked each other as more than just friends, from this day that was no longer true. Somewhere along the line they had really, truly fallen in love with each other.

December 22, 2030
Location: Newman-Woods residence
Time: 10:10 a.m.

"...So there are still tickets available? Can I have two? …...Thank you very much!"

Juniper hung up her phone, relieved that had gone as well as it did. Robin abruptly getting the day off had been both a boon and a curse, given that last second plans didn't usually get off the ground.

But everything had in fact gone smoothly. Now their third year anniversary was going to truly begin.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: The art of self-reflection

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods residence, bedroom

10:30 a.m.

Robin slowly roused herself to find out she had been moved to the bedroom at one point. She smiled to herself, knowing that it had been Juniper that had done it.

Still in a tired haze, she couldn't help but think on how truly selfless Juniper was, and what a radiant person that made her. There was a time in their relationship, though, when even that wasn't enough to rescue Robin from herself….

May 3, 2028

Location: Themis Legal Academy, Room 176

Time: 11:15 a.m.

"Ms. Newman, please cease humming. You are disturbing your classmates."

Robin stopped focusing from her notes to find that indeed she had been humming softly to herself, and looking around revealed that some of her classmates had become rather irritated with her.

"Eh heh heh heh. Sorry everyone," Robin said sheepishly. "I'll be more mindful of everyone around me, I promise!"

The teacher glared repremindily at Robin for a few more seconds before letting up and turning his attention back the class at large.

Robin herself went back to taking notes on the lecture, only this time while trying to consciously make sure she didn't start humming again.

Near the end of the class the teacher had an announcement to make.

"In only a few weeks Themis Legal Academy will be having it's final exams. I imagine this is a stressful time for most students, most especially the third years, as these tests will be the final obstacle between them and the wider legal world. But do not fear, for as long as you maintain the teachings we professors have imparted, then the exams should not pose any problems."

Most of the class looked deeply apprehensive at this news, but Robin was already packing her stuff and had subconsciously started humming under her breath again.

May 3, 2028

Location: Themis Legal Academy, Justitia's Cafe

Time: 1:32 p.m.

This hadn't actually been the first time something like this had happened, although it was the first time it had happened at school. As of late Robin had been given to just bursting into bubbly waves of cheeriness. Everything around her made her happy, and things that normally

brought her down like the reprimand she had just received slid right off of her.

At the moment Robin was munching on some homemade lunch from Juniper, with Juniper herself snuggled up comfortably against Robin, napping. Ever since the two had exchanged love confessions during the sleepover a couple of weeks ago. their relationship had been reenergized, with plenty of spontaneous kisses or the two of just cuddling up against each other like right now. Needless to say, it was the primary reason why Robin was in a near perpetual good mood recently.

"You two are starting to make my skin crawl," Myriam muttered under her breath.

Robin completely ignored Myriam's complaint, off into her own little world.

"I'd think you of all people would be happier about this," Hugh said, grinning a bit smugly. "Since you got to have the exclusive on us you've always wanted, and the newspaper club has definitely seen a lot of new members because of it."

Myriam shifted uncomfortably in her box. "That's true, sss sss sss. I'm just starting to wonder if it's worth being around this. It's so schmaltzy I think I might go into shock."

"Oh, sorry about that then…." Juniper said sleepily as she roused herself. She kissed Robin softly on the lips before she turned to Hugh and Myriam.

"You don't have to apologize, Juniper," Robin said hurriedly.

"No, we were being rude to her," Juniper said. "We want Myriam to feel welcome being around us."

Hugh and Robin shared a glance that said the same thing; Juniper, and only Juniper, would worry about making someone feel welcome when that someone tried to get her sent to jail.

But then, her thoughtfulness is just one of the many reasons I love her, Robin thought to herself.

Out loud she said, "So did you have something you wanted to say, Myriam?"

"I was wondering why Juniper's so tired," Myriam admitted. "The bags around her eyes are less than flattering, sss sss sss."

"Oh that," Juniper said, rubbing said eyes. "A couple weeks ago I was given a very important task, and on top of my regular coursework I've don't have as much time to rest as I would like."

Robin, of course, knew exactly what Juniper was talking about and so hugged her close. "Well, feel free to nap on me again if you really need to, o-k-a-y?"

"And be more mindful of your health," Hugh added. "I understand that sometimes one must manage with a less than ideal schedule, but don't let it overwhelm you."

"I'll keep that in mind," Juniper said. "Thank you for worrying about me, Hugh."

"That reminds me," Robin spoke up abruptly. "Do you have to work today, Hugh? Like say, after school?"

"Unfortunately I do have a shift that will keep me busy for the rest of the day. Why do you ask?"

"Oh, that's too bad," Robin said, disappointed. "Klavier wanted me to find someone to debate against for an exercise he's going to run me through today. Although, he did say he would find someone if I couldn't. Juniper, do you know if Athena or Apollo are free?"

"Um...Thena is going to be on a date with Ema today, and I think Apollo said he was going to be busy with something."

The disappointed feeling grew. Robin supposed that whoever Klavier managed to find would be good company, but she much prefered to be around her friends.

"I could be your debate partner," Juniper said, seeing the expression on Robin's face.

"Klavier already thought of that," Robin said. "What was it he said? 'Feel free to bring Ms. Woods as moral support, but not as your opponent. We wouldn't want you two to forget to actually debate with each other, ja?'"

"Then I'll be your moral support," Juniper said. "You'll be facing against someone you don't know, right? So I want to be there."

"Sure, I'll be happy to have you there!" Robin responded, overjoyed that Juniper would at least be with her.

All of a sudden her stomach lurched horribly.

The feeling didn't last for more than a few seconds, but Robin couldn't explain where it had suddenly come from or why she felt this way.

The rest of the day was less cheerful.

May 3, 2028

Location: Newman Residence, garage

Time: 6:41 p.m.

"Robin, where are you? Robin- oh, there you are."

Diana Newman poked her head into the garage to see her daughter working on a giant statue, which appeared to be of the Lady Justice. Yet there were a few details that seemed off, such as the fact that the statue had long hair.

"This statue….you're modeling it after the late Art Club Advisor, right? Professor Courte?"

Robin started at the sound of her mother's voice, almost toppling off the stool she had been sitting on.

"Oh hey Mom," Robin said. "No, this is a statue that the school is having me make for the graduation. Its of the Lady-"

Then she looked over her handiwork and realized she had indeed begun the shape it in Courte's image at some point.

"I guess you must be troubled if you're thinking about your teacher," Diana said. "Mind telling me what it is?"

"It's nothing!" Robin shouted as she smashed the statue into pieces. "I mean- I have been thinking about her more with graduation approaching, but I don't think it's anything beyond that. Did you want something, Mom?"

Diana narrowed her eyes at her daughter but decided not to say anything else, at least for now.

"Prosecutor Gavin's here to pick you up," she said. "So clean up your mess before you leave."

Robin swept up all the statue shards then cleaned herself up. On her way out of the garage, however, her Mom spoke up one more time.

"Whatever this nothing is that's on your mind," she said. "I'm guessing has to do with what Ms. Courte might have thought of you. Am I right?"

"What makes you think that?" Robin asked, genuinely confused on this point.

"I'm your mom," Diana said. "I can see it on your face. You know, I was the one that convinced Ricky to let you stay at the Art Club. We both initially thought it would be nothing but a waste of time. But then I met Professor Courte, and I knew that this woman would be someone I could trust to watch over you."

Robin was rendered completely speechless by her Mom's insight.

"Looks like you'll be needing more statue clay," she continued. "I'll pick some up at the store. But this month's budget is tight so I'm not sure how much I can get….."

Diana Newman left the garage as she continued to mull over her shopping list, leaving her daughter alone with nothing but her thoughts.

Just what was it that was eating away at her so badly, and why?

May 3, 2028

Location: Prosecutor's building, Klavier Gavin's office

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Robin's good mood from the beginning of the day had taken quite a beating, but was still going strong. After all, all setbacks had been minor ones, and she was ending off the day spending it with Juniper and Klavier Gavin.

With this mental track Robin was smiling once again when she entered Klavier's office.

"Ah, hello there Frauleins," Klavier said. "Welcome to my office. But for you, Robin, it's going to be a battlefield very soon. So before our special guest gets here I'll warm things up for him."

With that Klavier picked up one of his guitars and began to shred away at it, much to Juniper and Robin's amusement. Still, Robin couldn't help but wonder who was going to show up to debate with her.

"I'm here, Prosecutor Gavin. So what was- what are you two doing here?"

Wait- that voice!

Apollo Justice entered the room, looking as confused as Robin felt. He was dressed in his casual outfit of a brown jacket, white shirt, and jeans. On his left wrist was his ever-present bracelet, while on his right wrist was one of Robin's friendship bands.

"Hello Apollo," Juniper said cheerfully. "Is this that important task you told me you were going to be on?"

"It was," Apollo confirmed, now looking exasperated. "At least Gavin played it up like something important. I probably should have seen this coming considering it's him."

Klavier chuckled lightly. "You wound me, Herr Forehead. For your information, I called you here to put Fraulein Newman here through her paces. Tell me what could be more important than training a bright young mind?"

Apollo didn't say anything but was still clearly irritated at having been played by Klavier. Juniper and Robin were left baffled by the exchange.

"Are those two always like this?" Juniper asked, concerned.

Robin opened her mouth to answer the question, only to quickly realize she didn't have an answer ready. Of all the people in her life she called her friend she knew Apollo the least. The main source of this was this was that she didn't hang around with him that often; he was either on a case or running some errand. The last time she had even seen Apollo in person was at the celebration meal after her trial several months ago.

Robin knew next to nothing about Apollo. This fact caused her gut to churn horribly much like earlier today, and likewise she couldn't figure out why.

"Wait, but if Apollo was the guy you had in mind why didn't you tell me?" she asked Klavier. "I wouldn't have gone looking for someone if I knew it was him."

"I was wondering how you would react if given the choice," he explained. "Between falling back on the familiar ground or diving into the unknown. Not that there is anything wrong with the desire for familiarity."

"So now what happens?" Juniper asked.

"Mr. Justice and Ms. Newman will have the debate as planned," Klavier said. "I will give Robin a question, and she will have a minute to come up with her best performance, after which Mr. Justice will give a rebuttal. And while I will give my thoughts on both answers, victory isn't the point of this exercise. And you, Fraulein Woods, have a front row seat to this show. Although I distinctly remember saying you couldn't participate in the debate."

"Well I wanted to cheer Robin on," Juniper said as she took a seat and got started on some school work she had brought with her. "So I came along. I didn't have anything to do that I couldn't set aside for her."

Normally this would make Robin happy, but this time the horrible feeling inside Robin flared up, and out of the corner of her eye she saw Apollo suddenly grip his bracelet as he looked in Robin's direction.

Having Juniper here isn't a bad thing, Robin thought to herself. She looked over to Juniper, and the sight of her did indeed lift her spirits a bit. But it didn't make the feeling entirely go away, either.

"Achtung, baby!" Klavier declared. "I hope you're both prepared, because here comes the question: Imagine, if you will, that on the course of your job a young fraulein comes up to you and begs you for help; someone close to her has just been arrested. But a cursory glance of the situation tells you that the accused is truly guilty of the crime in question. So how do you move forward from here? Frauleins first, so you have one minute to come up with an answer, Robin."

Only one minute to come up with an answer? That's not very fair! Robin thought to herself. Klavier's scenario is very vague, but I think he did that intentionally because the point isn't about winning- it's about what I would do.

"Time's up. Hit us with your best shot!"

"Well something about this stinks," Robin said quickly, speaking the first thing that came to mind. "If this lady really wanted save someone, why talk to a Prosecutor? Why not go to a defense attorney? Coupled with the fact that this hypothetical investigation is already looking bad for the defendant, and I'd wonder if they were aiming more for a reduced sentence than a full acquittal."

"I see…..excellent answer, Fraulein Robin. Mr. Justice, do you have your rebuttal ready?" Klavier said.

"Hope you're ready, Robin, because here comes Justice!" Apollo said, evidently now in the spirit of debate.

Apollo put his index finger to his forehead. "You wouldn't be wrong to think that the situation is indicative of the defendant's guilt. But why wouldn't either the defendant or their lady have a defense attorney? If it were me I would look to see if someone is trying their hardest to make the false charges stick!"

"Well that might make sense to y-o-u," Robin said, her posture relaxed and her tone playful and teasing. "But cases like that always end up at your agency, right? Since everyone there has a reputation of turning around impossible cases. So if a defendant, or someone representing them, came to me before going to you I'd be really suspicious."

"Not necessarily," Apollo said as he crossed his arms, his own tone confident, in fact almost smug. "If say for example, the lady in Klavier's scenario was only pretending to care about the defendant while actually trying to get the defendant found guilty, that would be a different story!"

"Ahhh!" Robin shouted in surprise. "Well if that's the case, what's to stop me from talking to the defendant themselves? A little questioning could make that story fall apart pretty quickly."

"That's only if the defendant's story isn't exactly the same," Apollo countered. "That's one of the first things they teach you in law school- only have one tale to tell!"

"Eh heh heh heh. But that explanation doesn't explain why," Robin said. "It could be like you've suggested. But it could also be because they know that the defendant committed the crime for the a reason, so the confession could be an attempt atone."

"Grrr. Well, what if the defendant-"


Klavier walked in between Apollo and Robin, looking really pleased.

"Ack, the temperature in this room is something else," Klavier commented. "As much as I'd love to let you two continue, if I did I fear something's going to combust."

"I don't think you have to go that far," Apollo quipped. "But that was pretty fun."

"It was a BLLAAAAAASST!" Robin shouted, feeling very cathartic. "But I'm sure I would have had you if we'd just gone a little longer."

"Um, did you miss the part where winning wasn't the point of this?" Apollo asked.

Klavier and Juniper began laughing.

"As I thought, you two just can't help but clash," Klavier teased lightly. "Herr Forehead, are you sure you and Fraulein Newman aren't related?"

"This year I've already discovered that Trucy is the half-sister I never knew about and found my birth mom," Apollo said, suddenly serious again. "I don't think I could take another revelation."

When did all this happen? Robin wondered, unexpectedly confronted once again with how little she knew about him.

"Oh right," Juniper said quietly. "I do remember you being gone a lot this year over what you called personal issues."

Even Klavier seemed to realize that this was a sore subject, as he dropped it and instead turned his attention back to Robin.

"Hopefully this was a learning experience for you," he said. "There is no one "right" perspective to a problem. So don't be afraid of seeing a different view of things."

May 3, 2028

Location: Newman Residence, front door

Time: 8:15 p.m.

When Robin had woken up this morning she had been happy and optimistic about the day ahead. Now at the end of the day, that feeling had been replaced by a pit in her stomach, one she still couldn't explain.

The only reason she wasn't feeling thoroughly miserable was because of Juniper, who was seeing her off at Robin's house.

"I think you did really well today," she said. "Watching you and Apollo felt like watching a real trial."

When Robin didn't respond right away Juniper made sure she had her girlfriend's attention before saying,

"And don't think I didn't notice how torn up you were. I wanted to be there, so you don't need to worry about me falling behind my work."

"Well it wasn't so much that," Robin explained, feeling relieved to finally have some kind of reason to attach to her funk today. "I remembered how you weren't getting enough sleep, and yet here I am keeping you up."

"I appreciate your concern, but I'll be fine," Juniper said. She kissed Robin on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow. I love you."

"I love you too!"

The warm feeling from this exchange chased away the blues long enough for Robin to go back inside, reassured.

Surely there's nothing wrong that we can't fix together, she thought to herself.

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods residence, bedroom

10:53 a.m.

That train of thought hadn't exactly been wrong. But back then Robin had danced around the true source of her insecurities, and how it was connected to such questions as how Apollo was related to it, why it made her think of Professor Courte, or even why even Juniper couldn't completely help her.

They often said ignorance was bliss. But if Robin had been willing to probe into herself sooner a lot of heartache would have been saved in the long run.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: An uncertain future

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods residence, bedroom

11:34 a.m.

No sooner did Juniper finish the last of her preparations did Robin come out of their bedroom, looking like her usual energetic self.

"So what are we going to do first, Juniper?" she asked brightly.

"I got a pair of tickets to a movie for we can watch together," Juniper answered. "It starts in about an hour so we should leave right now."

The moment Juniper had read the synopsis of the movie- about a pair of high school girls that fell in love- she knew it was the perfect movie for them to kick off the day's celebrations.

12: 56 p.m.

Movie theater

"After we graduate….do you still think we'll be together?"

The audience in the seats had a mix of reactions, from groans at the cliche dialogue to some quiet cheering.

Then there was Robin.

"Of course you'll be together! You'll both always have each other! ALWAAAAAAYYYYS!"

The patrons around Robin shushed her for the third time since the movie started, while the management looked about ready to intervene.

Robin opened her mouth to speak again, but then Juniper lay her head on Robin's shoulder, which calmed her down quite effectively.

"Are you remembering the same things I am, dear?" Juniper murmured.

"You mean our own graduation?" Robin said, looking at the movie screen with a melancholic expression. "I think I am."

Robin put an arm around Juniper and pulled her close as the two continued to watch the movie. But they watched it with a filter made up of their own experiences….

May 2028

The end of the school year snuck up on everyone. As a side effect of the large workload Juniper had to deal with, the days passed by in a tired haze. Before long, she found herself holding the envelope that had the results of her final exams.

She opened the envelope with trembling hands. Did she really manage to best all the tribulations that had been tossed her way? Or had she been too weak to manage after all?

Upon laying out the results out in front of her, Juniper read them over. Then she read them over again, unsure of what she saw was actually possible. But it was true: she had managed to ace the exam with a perfect score.

Juniper's phone began ringing in her pocket, and she picked it up in a dazed manner.


"We r-really d-did, Robin. *cough cough*" Juniper found herself seized by a coughing fit.

"What's wrong, Juniper?" Robin asked, naturally worried.

"No, nothing's wrong," Juniper said. "It's just th-that- I'm so relieved. Our dreams are finally another step closer to coming true."

Indeed, it felt like a massive weight had lifted off of Juniper. Next, Juniper called up Hugh for a three-way conversation about the final exam and future plans. As it turned out, Robin had scored near-perfect, as did Hugh. With graduation assured, they next talked about what was next. Mainly, the defeat of the Themis Final exam meant that they were finally ready to prepare for a more intimidating obstacle: the bar exam.

Near the end of May Juniper and the Student Council hammered out the final details of Juniper's proposal. The final form it ended up taking was a help line students could use, anonymously or otherwise, with more serious problems run by Juniper's suggested panel of students with representatives from each course.

"So do we agree that a licensed counselor be on hand at all times?" One of the council members asked.

No one had any objections to the proposal, so Juniper approved its integration into the proposal.

Another council member suggested, "We should set up some requirements to join the panel. A 3.5 G.P.A. would be a good place to start."

Juniper shook her head. "No. I understand where you're coming from, but making it a competition like that will probably foster the very corruption we're trying to fight in the first place."

An brief argument broke out over whether it was right to put in place a grade requirement for a panel like this.

"Consider the most important rule of this school," One of the council members said. "'If you are convicted of any crime, you will be expelled.' The rule isn't inherently wrong, but it can't be denied that it's responsible for a lot of the school's recent suffering. Our president knows this better than anyone."

"What does the President's experiences have to do with the panel?" Another council member asked.

"Since the rule is probably not going to change anytime soon," the first council member answered. "We need something to counterbalance it."

"And this help line is meant to be a safe place for our students," Juniper said, continuing the council member's reasoning. "I'm not arguing we shouldn't vet the panel meant to tackle complex issues. But we need to make it clear that what we're doing here is going to better our academy, and like I said earlier placing strict requirements on entering the panel will damage that image."

While the combined effort from Juniper and the Student Council member, the grade requirement was at least knocked down to a more reasonable 2.5 G.P.A.. The discussion of the help-line was passed around the different members representing distinct departments of the school. Budgeting, operating hours, other possible requirements- it went on for a few hours.

Once this was done Juniper put the proposal to a vote, which was passed with a unanimous vote. After that, Juniper went to the Principal's office to have it officially submitted.

The Principal looked over the paperwork and made no comment on it one way or another, while Juniper stood by trying her hardest not to hyperventilate.

"I will have this sent in," the Principal finally said. "I will say that the administration will likely accept this and have it implemented in this academy within the next five years. I thank you for taking the time to do this for the future of Themis. You are dismissed."

With that, it was over. What Juniper had spent the last few weeks working on, what had caused her to suffer so much stress and sleepless nights, had now been wrapped up.

The end results wouldn't even be seen for a long time. Juniper Woods had been faced by a single question at the start of this: what was the right thing to do? At the end she had no real resolution, only the knowledge that it would come one day. All she could do was trust in her own judgement, that she didn't just make a horrible mistake.

June 15th, 2028

Woods residence, living room

6:14 a.m

"Grandma, how do I look?" Juniper asked after she finished putting on her gray graduation robes.

"Like a proud woman about the take on the world," her Grandma said as she combed Juniper's hair. Tears of pride filled the old woman's eyes, and Juniper could feel herself getting a bit watery herself.

Graduation. As the valedictorian Juniper was going to give a speech in front of the entire school. This would normally make her incredibly nervous, but Juniper wouldn't be alone. Robin had managed to snag the second-highest grades in the entire school, and so was going to give a speech right alongside her. Hugh hadn't quite managed perfect scores himself, but was at least satisfied with making it in the top ten scores.

"Are you going to meet up with all your friends after the ceremony?" Mrs. Woods asked her granddaughter.

"That's the plan," Juniper said. "We're going to come back here afterwards so we can all have a picnic in the forest."

"Then I'll prepare food for everyone," Mrs. Woods said.

Before long there was the sound of a car horn outside- Robin's parents were here to pick up Juniper to take her to Themis Academy. Juniper kissed her Grandma goodbye and left the door, filled with anticipation for the day ahead.

The atmosphere in the car was rather oppressive, something that caught her off guard. While Robin greeted Juniper with a smile and a kiss as always, the moment everyone took their seats Juniper noticed that the entire Newman family was stone-faced, not talking with each other in the slightest.

Juniper, unsure of whether she had a right to meddle, didn't speak for a good duration of the car ride. However, it got to be too much for her and Juniper started coughing.

"Looks like we've upset Juniper," Mrs. Newman said to her husband. "Should we….?"

"Given what day today is, we probably should," Mr. Newman answered. "The last thing we want is for Robin to still be upset with us."

Richard turned to face Juniper, a serious expression on his face. "Our daughter was telling us that there is a promise you two made. What is this about?"

"Th-that? *cough cough* Robin, Hugh, and I made that promise not too long ago," Juniper said. "*cough* we're going to redeem the law system together."

Mrs. Newman, who was driving, pursed her lips in a displeased manner but otherwise didn't comment. Mr. Newman, meanwhile, looked deeply disappointed.

"As I thought," He said as he shook his head. "You are being far too naive about how our law system works."

"And just what gives you the right to say that?!" Robin shouted. "Just what have you done to fix the Dark Age of Law?"

Juniper flinched at the venom in Robin's tone, but Mr. Newman didn't seem to be affected.

"You are being far too presumptuous, Robin," He shot back. "I've spent half my life in the Prosecutor's Office and could do nothing as the Dark Age of Law began. Do you really think just three people could make a difference?"

Robin grimaced but couldn't seem to find a rebuttal, and Juniper found herself coming to the rescue.

"So your objection to our promise," Juniper said. "Is that the legal system is just too much for us to handle? Is that what you're saying?"

Richard suddenly looked very tired, every one of his forty-five years showing on his face.

"We didn't want this to become an argument," he explained. "But there are far too many circumstances where this promise can go wrong, and we don't want our daughter to suffer because of it."

"I- I'm glad that you worry about me," Robin said, having calmed down. "But I think the three of us can handle whatever happens. I mean, there's also Athena, Apollo, Klavier, and Simon to help us."

"And what if you're on a case without any of them?" Richard asked. "Or what if you meet them not as allies, but as antagonists? That goes for both of you."

The first question was easy enough to answer, given that they had every intention of doing their job regardless of circumstance. But neither girl found they could answer the second question. Juniper wanted to say they would always help each other even if they were on opposite sides, but she couldn't get the words out for some reason.

"I understand what it's like to think you can change the world," Richard said to Robin. "But the last thing I want is for disillusionment to set in because you couldn't do something you had no chance of accomplishing. I've been able to avoid that, but some of my coworkers haven't been as lucky."

"I think I understand," Robin said after a long silence. "I'll keep that in mind, but as long as Juniper is with me I don't think that will ever happen. But t-h-a-n-k you for the advice!"

"You should learn to work on your own, but I'm glad you're listening," Richard said in relief.

"Says the man incapable of being at a crime scene without me," Diana added teasingly.

Richard actually got flustered at this, which finally lightened the mood in the car. The rest of the trip passed smoothly.

June 15th, 2028

Themis Legal Academy, Outdoor Auditorium

12:00 p.m

Juniper and Robin stood on stage together, looking out at the sea of people that was in attendance. They were holding hands with each other, a sight that was concealed by the podium they were sharing for the speech they were about to give. Behind them was a large statue of Lady Justice watching over everyone, which Robin managed to finish in time.

The crowd of people could be considered intimidating. But all the two girls had to do was look in the right place to be reassured, for everyone they knew was here to watch them graduate.

Myriam's family was currently attending to Myriam, who was sobbing in a rather undignified manner. Because of dress code she was not able to hide inside her box. Hugh was seated by himself, as he explained earlier his parents had declined to attend. Juniper made a note to keep him company after the ceremony.

Juniper's Grandma was sitting next to Judge Courtney, and the two of them were deep in discussion. Robin's parents were sitting next to Simon Blackquill, which was also quite the surprise. Apollo, Athena, Ema, and Klavier were also in attendance, chatting casually with each other.

Then it was time for the ceremony to start, and Myriam and Hugh got in line to receive their diplomas while the Principal strode on the stage.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said grandly. "Welcome to the graduation ceremony of Themis Legal Academy."

The Principal gave his prepared speech about the prestigious history of Themis Legal Academy, as well as how he predicted that the institution would remain standing for a long time to come. Once he was finished he ceded the stage to Juniper and Robin.

The two girlfriends faced the crowd head-on, no longer holding hands but no longer needing the contact. They had a joint speech ready, one they hoped would communicate what they wanted to get across to everyone.

"To my fellow students of Themis Legal Academy," they began at the same time.

"When I first started going to this school I barely had the courage to step in the doors," Juniper said.

"And when I first started going to this school the only thing I was thinking about was when I could leave this place," Robin continued. "But the I met people that would change my life forever: Juniper Woods and Hugh O'Conner. And I had the guidance of someone truly wonderful, the late Professor Courte."

"She illuminated the way for me when it felt like the darkness would be too much for me," Juniper said. "Constance helped me find the strength in myself I never knew I had. I will always cherish the time we spent together."

"We aren't perfect. We stumbled, and lost our way for a bit," Robin said, shaking a bit from the bad memories. "But we're going to carry on her life work outside these walls, and show them to the world!"

"At the same time, I can see that every student in Themis Legal Academy has inherited her will," Juniper said, winding down to the conclusion of their speech. "Robin and I have only been able to make it as far as we have because someone showed us the way, and we were willing to accept the help. So to all the students here right now, and to those yet to come, I ask only one thing. Don't see your fellow student as the enemy. Instead, always make an effort to work with them, because true change starts small."

Robin and Juniper both leaned near the microphone as they spoke the final lines, "We can't wait to work with you all in building a bright future for the law system!"

Everyone in the crowd applauded fiercely, and all around them the administration nodded in approval. Juniper and Robin soaked in all the praise, pride filling their chests.

Juniper and Robin's speech set the tone for the rest of graduation; as the students marched in line to receive their diplomas, most of them looked quite optimistic, even students that Juniper had noticed were very down earlier. As the line was in alphabetical order Hugh, Robin, and Myriam all got their diplomas first, but Juniper was overjoyed to be able to see all the people precious to her ascend the stage.

Finally, Juniper herself walked onto the stage and she was given her diploma. As she looked down at it she found she didn't just see a piece of paper. She saw an undeniable sign that she could reach her dreams with everyone.

I'm one step closer to reaching the bench.

June 15th, 2028

Themis Legal Academy, Outdoor Auditorium

5:20 p.m

After the graduation ceremony ended everyone went their separate ways. Most students went to the after-graduation dance, but Juniper prefered to spend a quiet night at home.

But while Juniper searched for her friends to begin the plans for the evening, she ran into Justine Courtney instead.

"Hello there, Ms. Woods," She said, briefly holding her gavel in front of her face as if in prayer, "May the Goddess of Law watch over us."

"He-hello, Judge Courtney," Juniper said uncertainly. "What are you doing here?"

"I always watch the graduation ceremony of this school," Judge Courtney answered. "I went to this very academy, before I was blessed with my current career."

"Oh, really?!" Juniper asked, surprised.

"Indeed I did," Judge Courtney said. "My teacher was someone just at the start of their own career. And they, as you said, 'illuminated the way for me.'"

Juniper's head started to feel light at the revelation. The scope of how many lives Professor Courte touched was staggering, but an example of this was right in front of her.

"When I laid eyes on you during your girlfriend's trial," Judge Courtney continued. "I knew it was no coincidence. The Goddess of Law arranged for our paths to cross on that day. So I am here to ask you something. Would you consider coming under my tutelage?"

"Of c-course I will!" Juniper exclaimed. "I….I would be very honored to learn from you, Judge Courtney."

"That settles it," Judge Courtney said. "I will be in touch with you shortly. Farewell for now, Ms. Woods."

Justine curtsied and left the auditorium, gliding her way gracefully through the crowds.

After an event like that Juniper was unsure of what else could possibly happen, but regardless, she managed to find Athena, who was by herself.

"Thena!" Juniper called. Athena turned around and smiled at the sight of her best friend before going in her direction.

"Hello, Junie," Athena said after successfully reaching her. "Congratulations on the big day! I'm so proud of you."

"Th-thanks," Juniper said, feeling like she would overflow from all the praise she was receiving. "Where's everyone else?"

"They're waiting for us near the exit," Athena said. "Except for Robin. I'm not entirely sure where she is."

What could Robin be doing?

"You go back to everyone else," Juniper said. "I'll go find Robin and then we'll all meet up at the exit."

"Sounds like a plan!" Athena said cheerfully.

Juniper looked around some more before spotting Robin with her parents. They appeared to be leading her somewhere, so Juniper followed them.

June 15th, 2028

Themis Legal Academy, Garden

5:31 p.m

In the end Juniper wound up following the Newman family to a secluded corner of the Academy's garden. Being surrounded by many beautiful, flowers of several colors helped Juniper relax. She remembered spending many afternoons here tending to them.

"I thought you'd follow us here."

Juniper jumped at the sound of Mrs. Newman's voice, but the woman gestured the graduate to join them.

"Juniper!" Robin exclaimed. "I was going to join in with everyone but my parents said they wanted to talk to me."

"What did they want to talk about?" Juniper asked, genuinely curious. She found she couldn't quite figure out the expression on their faces, but she could have sworn she saw shame in there. But why would that be?

"There is something we have to tell you, Robin," Diana Newman started. "and Ms. Woods as well."

"Is it about that trip to Gatewater land?" Robin asked, practically bouncing on her toes in excitement.

"No, it seems like that will have to be cancelled." Mrs. Newman said, her face now twisting in visible pain. Juniper and Robin could feel the joy that had previously dominated the day be slowly replaced foreboding. Just what was going on here?

"That's o-k-a-y," Robin said, still trying to lift the mood. "C'mon, if we need to talk we can just go home. Everyone's waiting for us!"

"We won't be going home with you," Mr. Newman said, unable to look either girl in the eye.

Juniper was about to ask what what was wrong when unexpectedly, Simon Blackquill showed up.

"Newman-dono," He told Mr. Newman impatiently. "Cease delaying the inevitable. You are disrespecting both yourself and your child."

"Prosecutor Blackquill? Why are you here?" Robin asked.

"I am here at the behest of the Chief Prosecutor," Simon stated simply. "To guide your parents on their way across the River Styx."

"Because your dramatics are so much better at getting the point across," Richard Newman said bluntly. "What he means to say….. is that he's here to arrest us."

Richard's words seem to suck all the air from the garden. Though it was only Juniper's perception, even the flowers started to wilt much like Robin herself.

"You aren't serious. This is a joke, right?" When Robin didn't receive an answer her face became dominated by disbelief and despair. "No…. why are you being arrested? Why is this happening?! Please ANSWER ME!"

"It is a lengthy tragedy," Simon said. "One could almost say it's as long as your own life."

"We knew this day would come," Mrs. Newman said sorrowfully. "From the very moment we bribed a doctor to forge your birth certificate, we knew we had crossed a line we could never come back from. But your father and I pressed on, driven by our own selfish desire."

"It all came crashing down last October," Mr. Newman continued. "When with Ms. Cykes help you decided to reveal your true gender, Robin. But the Chief Prosecutor had already begun to cast his watchful eye on us. You simply sped up the process, so do not blame yourself for our mistakes catching up to us."

"Why is this only happening now, then?" Juniper asked, unable to help herself.

"What you must understand about the Chief Prosecutor," Mr. Newman explained. "is that once he suspects you've broken the law there is nothing that can save you. And so it was once he started to dig into my affairs. But with over eighteen years of fabricated medical records and false paperwork to sift through, I knew time was on my side. So I managed to strike a deal with him. I would cooperate fully in the investigation against me, and in return I would be given time to settle my affairs."

"Just because Richard and I were condemned," Mrs. Newman said. "Didn't mean we were completely helpless. Even after everything we've done to you, Richard and I were determined to be good parents to you, if only once. So we've spent every waking moment preparing for this day."

"Convincing the Chief Prosecutor to let me work a few final cases. Taking any and all extra money and transferring it into a bank account that couldn't be touched. Negotiating with with a very obnoxious realtor," Richard said slowly. "We did all to insure you a good future without us, Robin. But there was one last thing we wanted to use our borrowed time for."

At this point Robin was shaking, her face devoid of all emotion besides sadness. Yet she managed to muster enough strength to ask, "What did you want?"

"We wanted to watch you graduate," Mrs. Newman said, smiling for the first time since the conversation started. "The sight of seeing you triumph makes us happier than you can imagine, and it will make the days in prison that much more bearable."

"Don't worry about us," Mr. Newman added. "With Ms. Woods by your side, you won't ever feel alone."

Juniper gasped in surprise at these words. Was that why she had been allowed in on this intimate family conversation? It felt like it was an eternity ago when she had instead been told not to meddle.

"Where are you going? How long will you two be gone?" Robin asked, still not comprehending.

Simon listed the name a penitentiary where the Newmans would likely end up that was roughly four hours away, much to Robin's horror.

"The sheer scale of almost two decades worth of crimes," Simon added. "Is one that is impossible to carry. Your parents' ticket into the clink will be one way."

"NOOOOOOOO!" Robin howled as she threw herself at her parents. They managed to catch the frenzied girl. "Please don't leave me, Mom and Dad! We've only just started talking to each other again. There are so many things I still want to experience with you two. So many places we can go together."

"We know, Robin," Mrs. Newman said as she started patting her daughter on the back. "But this is why we never said anything before. There's nothing that can be done about this, so we wanted to make as many good memories that we could."

"We still can!" Robin said desperately. I- I forgive you guys! So please don't go…."

Her parents didn't say anything at first, simply wrapped their only child in a hug.

"Robin, there is one last thing we have to tell you. Something we should have said over eighteen years ago," Mr. Newman said.

It was a something that Juniper continued to remember many years later, seeing mother and father with tears streaming down their faces as they managed to choke out one final message as free people-

"We're so proud to call you our daughter, Robin Newman."

With that, Simon took Richard and Diana Newman away, leaving Robin to fall on her hands and knees. Juniper knew that Robin would probably be unable to move on her own given her emotional state, so she picked her girlfriend up and carried her away.

Once the two girls reunited with the rest of the group, their friends immediately went to Robin to ask her what was wrong. Juniper quietly gave an abridged version of what had gone done to everyone.

Athena, Myriam, and Hugh all showered Robin with as much comforting as they could, until Klavier took her aside.

"Fraulein Newman," Klavier said gently. "I understand that you are in fathomless pain right now. So I will not pretend to be able lift even a drop of that pain from your heart. But instead, I shall take you with me. Let us spend some time out in the wide world, and wash ourselves with a tapestry of stars. Just the two of us."

Robin mutely followed Klavier out of the auditorium, and before long the two of them disappeared.

"What was Mr. Gavin talking about?" Juniper wondered out loud. His words had been oddly specific.

"It's simple," Apollo Justice said right next to her. "Klavier knows more or less what it's like. After all, he had to watch his only family be convicted of murder twice. And by his own hand the second time, at that."

"How do you know that, Apollo?" Juniper asked.

"I was the defense attorney for both those cases," Apollo explained, the memory clearly a troubling one. "Back when I was first getting to know him."

Juniper thought to how Apollo and Klavier interacted, how they bickered and teased each other like close friends. This was how they met?

"Weird that Apollo and the Fop can get along so well, huh?" Ema said, seeing the expression on Juniper's face. "But someone once told me, 'The world is so much more than what you can see. So always be willing to accept a new premise in your mind.' Something like that, anyway."

Juniper recognized that phrase. It was something Metis Cykes often said, the few times Juniper had ever seen her. But the way Ema phrased that, it seemed like the detective had heard it from Metis herself, which was impossible.

Ema probably just misspoke.

Juniper didn't know what she else could do, so she went home.

June 15th, 2028

Woods Residence, living room

6:43 p.m

Juniper's Grandma had left the graduation long before Juniper, as Juniper had planned to get a ride back home from the start. She was dropped off at her home by Athena, then went inside. But the night's surprises weren't over yet.

In the living room Mrs. Woods was surrounded by several suitcases, and was packing another it. A look inside revealed that the suitcase was filled with Juniper's clothes.

"Grandma, what are you doing?"

"A month ago I heard from the Newmans," Virginia Woods explained. "So I know what happened today."

"But then, why are you packing my things?" But even as Juniper asked she had a feeling she knew what the answer was.

"Right now Robin is off with Prosecutor Gavin," Mrs. Woods explained. "But soon she's going to be returning to an empty home. The only person that can help her in this moment of need is you, my dear."

"I know that, Grandma," Juniper said, trembling. So the day was finally here. The day she had to leave from home. And yet…. "But I can visit her anytime I like. I can still-"

"I know I should have told you this," Mrs. Woods interrupted. "Consider this the last time I get to make a decision for you, as your grandmother."

"It doesn't have to be like this," Juniper pleaded. "I don't want to leave you here alone."

"I'll join you girls in the city shortly," Virginia reassured her granddaughter. "But right now you're needed over there."

Those words were just what Juniper needed to find her courage. She knew that one day she and her Grandma would have to part ways. The day had just come a lot sooner than she had expected. The prospect was made much easier by the fact that her Grandma was going to be with her, as she always was.

"Thank you, Grandma," Juniper said. "Let me make you dinner."

The two women of the Woods family carried on with their work, chatting about times gone by. After they were done, the two of them sat down at the kitchen table for the final meal they would share in that house.

June 15th, 2028

Newman residence

8:00 p.m.

Juniper stood at the front door of Robin's house, holding the suitcases her Grandma had packed. Inside the window she could see that a light was on, which indicated that Robin was home. Juniper raised a fist and gently knocked on the door.

The Robin that answered had disheveled hair and a tired face, but the moment she laid eyes on Juniper she managed a weak smile.

"Hello, Juniper," Robin said after giving her a quick peck on the cheek. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm here to stay with you," Juniper answered truthfully.

"I don't have much, but come right in."

Juniper entered the house, putting her suitcases off to one side as she then followed Robin to the kitchen. On the dining table was a single plate with some half-eaten eggs and ham on it.

"I still can't make much food," Robin said sheepishly. "But I'll see if I can't whip up something quickly."

"Oh, I already had dinner," Juniper said. "But I'll go put away my things while you eat."

After she left the kitchen Juniper peeked inside the bedroom of Robin's parents, which turned out to be untouched and empty.

Well, that makes sense. I guess Robin's still staying in her own room.

Juniper took all her belongings to Robin's room, then went about unpacking.

Halfway through the process Robin came inside her room, with a forced smile now plastered on her face.

"So you're going to sleep over," she said loudly. "We're going to have so much fun together!"


"Ohhhh, maybe you can show me that braid you were telling me about before," Robin continued as if she hadn't heard anything. "and then we can watch a movie together. But we can't be too much of a disturbance!"


"What are we going to do tomorrow? I still have a lot of job applications to fill out, and since you're here I guess that means I need to make a shopping list. But at least we can enjoy the summer without needing to think about school anymore. We're-"


Robin froze at the sound of Juniper raising her voice, even if only a little.

"Y-you…. you don't have to pretend," Juniper said gently. "Not for me."

Robin's shoulders began shaking, and Juniper could see tears falling down her face. Then Robin burst out sobbing, finally releasing all the pent up sorrow she had been holding in. Juniper drew her girlfriend in a tight embrace.

"Juuuunnniiiipppeeerrrr!" Robin cried out.

"There, there, Robin," Juniper whispered softly. "Just let it all out."

"First th-there was your trial last October. Then there was everything that hap-happened with Logan," Robin said, hiccuping every so often. "And now my parents are GOOOOONNNNEE! It's- it's just too much."

"I-I know it is," Juniper said, realizing that she was crying too. "I wa-was with you. I'm he-here for you now, and I'm al-always going to be by your side."

The two girls continued to find comfort in each other's arms, sharing their grief with each other as time passed around them. It was a small gesture, but it was a needed one.

June 15th, 2028

Newman residence, Robin's room

8:42 p.m.

After the crying was done, the two girls tucked in for the night, squeezing themselves inside Robin's bed. Of course, neither girl could fall asleep after the day's events.

"Hey Juniper," Robin said. "I'm so glad that you're here with me, and I l-o-v-e you so much."

"I love you too, Robin," Juniper said in turn. "and I would never leave you. Not at a time like this."

"I've been thinking. I don't want to take the bar exam right away," Robin continued. "I don't feel ready to be a Prosecutor yet. But some day I will!"

"I understand," Juniper said, sensing that anything that reminded Robin of her parents was too painful right now. "When you're ready I'll take my own exam with you."

For a while there was silence. Then, Robin nervously asked a question that poked in her mind.

"What's going to happen now?"

"I can't answer that," Juniper confessed. "But as long as we take care of each other we'll find a way."

Just what were they going to do now? Just this morning Juniper thought she knew exactly what the future held, but now she was facing something completely unknown. Nothing was set in stone, and all she could do was cope as best as she could.

Before either girl could talk anymore exhaustion claimed them. This morning Juniper and Robin had been convinced that today their lives would change as they graduated into true adults. Great change had indeed come to pass, hurling them both headfirst into an uncertain future.

The source of my strength part one, Themis days: End.

Chapter Text

The source of my strength, Part 2: Living in the world at large

Arc 4: Of Reality and Harmony
Chapter 16: Our home together

December 22, 2030
Outside the movie theater
2:10 p.m.

"Ahhhhh, that movie was so adorable!" Robin gushed as she and Juniper left the theater. She felt warm and fuzzy all over, and there was still so much of the day left for things to get even better.

"I'm glad I picked that movie then," Juniper said as she walked next to Robin. "Watching it with you reminded me of all the time I spent with you back when we were going to Themis Legal Academy. All the happy memories we've shared together, and- and ev-even some of the less than happy times."

The same memories had been rushing through Robin's mind as well. The movie especially reminded her of the sacrifices that had to be made in order to reach where she was today. The arrest of her parents had been an earth-shattering event in Robin's life, but time waited for no one- she quickly found herself having to cope with the repercussions of that day.

"W-e-l-l, since you paid for our movie tickets let me pay for lunch," Robin said as she led the way to their car, a small, bright-red two seater. Both women had free use of the car, and if one of them was using it the other usually used public transportation. "I already have an idea of where to go next!"

Even as Robin got in the driver's seat and focused her eyes on the road in front of her, her heart and mind continued the walk down memory lane. Of those days when they first were cast into the adult world…..

July 2028 to December 2028

Robin didn't stay long in the house of her childhood. Every time she passed her parents' bedroom her heart screamed in pain. She did arrange visits to the prison where her parents were serving their sentence, but the prison was so far away it wasn't something she could do very often.

So it was that not long after she got access to the funds that her father had set aside for her that she looked up the numbers of realtors. The sheer amount of money inside the account was clearly meant to support Robin comfortably for many years. Robin, however, had not exactly been thinking in the long term in those days.

September 2028

"We're looking for a house where we can live comfortably. Preferably one with a guest bedroom."

"We do have a few single-story houses that might fit your needs," the realtor told Juniper. "If you'll just follow me."

Juniper and Robin followed the realtor around the neighborhood, soaking in the quiet atmosphere of the peaceful block, the most ideal of the places they'd visited that day.

"Has your Grandma settled in at the home yet?" Robin asked Juniper as the two of them walked together. She had told Robin that her Grandma had planned to join them in the city shortly after graduation, but that turned out to mean moving into an old folks home that was nearby.

"She does seem to be happy there," Juniper answered, a bittersweet smile on her face. "She told me we should visit her anytime we want."

Of course, the two girls had asked Mrs. Woods why she didn't just live with them, and Virginia had simply answered that the time had come for them to part ways.

"Here we are. I think this house suits your needs."

Robin turned to see what the realtor was talking about- and instantly fell in love. The house in question was a small single-story brick house with a large fence surrounding it. A quick tour revealed that it had a master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and of course the expected amenities like a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The front yard had a couple of dirt patches, and Robin could tell by the look in Juniper's eyes that she was already thinking about what to plant in them. The backyard likewise was suitable for planting things in, and there was a large tool shed that had been emptied by the people that had previously lived there. Robin's own artistic urges itched to do something about the drab exterior of the tool shed, as well as the house itself.

The house was more than just suitable. It was perfect. Now, however would come the sticking point of this entire trip- the price of the residence. Back in the realtor's office the realtor asked if they were interested in any of the houses.

"A l-lot of them were very nice…" Juniper said quietly, unsure how to go about getting the house they wanted.

"B-u-t, we'd like to compare them one last time," Robin added.

The realtor obliged and put several glossy sheets in front of them with the listings they had explored. Robin pretended to look over them while studying the house she was truly interested in. The price was quite reasonable for the residence in question but it would be a sizeable blow to their fund.

In the succeeding months since graduating Themis the two girls had taken steps to stabilize their lifestyle. They had both gotten a driver's license, as they had traded in the Newman family car for a red two-seater in August. That same month Robin had managed to get herself hired at as a cashier for a fast food restaurant, while Juniper convinced Phoenix Wright to give her a job as an intern at the Wright Anything Agency. It helped that Mr. Wright planned to leave the country soon for reasons he refused to divulge.

Even with all that, however, it wasn't a guarantee that they could support themselves. So with that in mind Robin looked over the listing for the brick house.

"Maybe this one," Robin said nonchalantly, picking up an entirely different listing. "Oh, but maybe it's not quite what we're looking for."

Robin repeated the process several times, discreetly peeking at the realtor for a reaction. With each rejected listing his face became more desperate, yet it was clear that he wanted to make a sale. Next to her Juniper kept a straight face, but Robin could tell she was unhappy with the strategy they were having to employ.

"I don't want to have to pull a dirty trick like that," she had told Robin earlier today.

"I don't either," Robin had answered. "But sometimes it just comes down to having to do something like that."

Neither of them mentioned the option of just staying in the house they already had, but in Robin's mind that wasn't an option at all. She couldn't remain at that house any longer, and in fact it had been Juniper who had suggested moving after the third night Robin woke up with tears in her eyes.

Finally, Robin picked up the listing of the brick house and declared, "I really like this one!"

"I don't know," Juniper said as she looked over the listing. "The price might be a bit too steep. I think the down payment would be just out of our budget."

"There's no problem knocking down the price a bit," The realtor said quickly, grabbing the listing and scribbling on it with a pen. "Just as long as I can get you two into the perfect starter home."

Juniper and Robin looked at the new price and smiled at each other.

"You've got yourself a d-e-a-l."

Novemeber 2028

"Hand me that ladder, Juniper."

"Don't you mean stepladder, Robin?"

"Does it really make a difference? They both help you reach the sky!"

"Oh, okay. I guess you're right."

Robin climbed onto the ladder now resting against the side of their new house, holding onto a paintbrush covered blue paint. Juniper, having given Robin the ladder, went back to planting some vines near the walls.

In the three months since moving into the house, the two girls went about making it feel more homely. They had recently finished stocking up on food, and plates and silverware to eat it which, as well as arranging things such as the lights, water, and heating/AC.

Today Juniper and Robin were focusing on the exterior of the house, as well as on the front and backyards. Hugh and Athena were helping out by bringing in furniture that was also purchased recently.

Finances were thankfully still stable, helped along with the income from their jobs. But Robin felt relieved that soon there wasn't anymore pending business requiring money in the future.

Once the work outside was wrapped up everyone converged inside, where Juniper served everyone green tea.

"Aahhh. Thanks for the drinks, Junie!" Athena exclaimed.

"Thank you, Thena and Hugh, for helping us," Juniper answered, joining everyone with her own cup of tea.

"I have worked in lifting heavy objects for years," Hugh said. "Helping you two into your new home posed no problem for me."

"So how have you two b-e-e-n?" Robin asked. " We haven't seen you in a while."

Well, Juniper saw Athena while working as an intern, but even then that was only a couple times a week.

"Je suis bonne!" Athena answered, grinning. "Business has never been better, and I've been knocking out cases left and right. The other day, I even managed to get Simon to come outside for more than a few hours than a time."

"I've also been doing well," Hugh said. "I have slowly been preparing myself for the bar exam, so that I can pass it with flying colors. Myriam and I have also spent some time in each other's company, which isn't completely unpleasant."

Robin couldn't help but smile at hearing this, at how her circle of intimate friends continued to thrive.

"Although I am curious as to how Apollo is doing," Hugh continued. "I have not seen him in many months."

"I haven't seen much of him either," Juniper said. "But he does seem to be holding up well. I see him and Trucy talking with each other when I work at the Wright Anything Agency."

"Oh, he's just the same grumpy Apollo he's always been," Athena said teasingly. "But I do know a certain girl here that can wind him up pretty good!"

Robin choked on her tea in surprise. Of course, in her training under Klavier Gavin the prosecutor occasionally brought someone to debate against, who was sometimes Apollo. She still didn't feel like she had sorted out what she felt about him, but he was most certainly a friend. Even so….

"Well I don't always win against him," She said. "He can be a really tricky opponent."

"Apollo actually said the same thing about you," Athena said. "He feels like he has to bring his A-game with you."

Does he really? That's not what it seems like when we finish our debates.

"Well Robin did graduate top of the prosecution class," Hugh said in a proud tone. "I would hope she's not underestimated."

"Really, its nothing guys," Robin said, now starting to feel flustered at all the praise she was receiving.

Any further conversation was interrupted by Juniper calling that dinner had been finished. Everyone jumped in surprise, as they hadn't even noticed that Juniper had gone into the kitchen. Nevertheless, they all looked forward to enjoying some very tasty food.

January 1st, 2029
Newman-Woods Residence, bedroom
10:32 a.m.

"Wake up! Robin, Wake up!"

Robin opened her eyes to the sight of Juniper looking over her, with worry clear in her eyes.

"What happened?"

"I think you were having a nightmare," Juniper said. "You were tossing and turning, and muttering something under your breath. I couldn't make out what it was, though."

"Did I really do all that?" Thinking on it, it did seem like she had some kind of dream last night. But the details were fast dissolving into nothingness.

Juniper gently lay her hands on Robin's shoulders and looked her in the eyes.

"Are you really okay?" She asked. "About everything that's happened last year?"

"I'm not sure," Robin admitted. "But since you're with me I feel like I've been getting much better about it!"

Juniper smiled, reassured that at least Robin was doing a lot better at the moment.

Not too long ago, they had celebrated their respective 19th birthdays, their first anniversary as a couple, and Christmas not long after that. In her heart, Robin felt that the only place they could go was up.

"So let's tackle this year head on! GIVE IT OUR ALL, MAAANNNN!"

Juniper giggled at Robin's theatrics, and the two of them got out of bed and got ready for the day ahead.

December 22, 2030
Eldoon's stand
2:48 p.m.

"I thought I would see you girls today. Third year since you two started dating, right?"

"So you remember," Juniper said, surprised.

"You both came here last year, and the year before that as well," Guy Eldoon said. "I'll get the usual ready."

As they waited for the food Robin thought about the events of just last year. It was a time she would never forget, for good or for ill. The process of recovering had been a very long, sometimes painful one. One that Robin had almost lost completely.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: Minor Frictions

December 22, 2030
Eldoon's stand
3:12 p.m.

The two women finished their noodles and paid Eldoon, thanking him for the meal.

Eldoon responded by playing a short tune on his harmonica.

"It does this weary old soul good to see something as precious as the love you two share," Eldoon said after he finished. "I'll see you both again next year."

"So where to next, Juniper?" Robin asked, giving Juniper her usual bright grin as the two of them got back inside the car.

"I'd like to drive now," Juniper answered as she got into the driver's seat. "Where we're going next is a surprise, so close your eyes."

"Awww, do I really have to," Robin said, pouting. "Can I at least have a hint?"

"No hints," Juniper said firmly. "But I think you're really going to enjoy this."

Robin closed her eyes, humming excitedly to herself in anticipation. Juniper smiled to herself as she started the car, keeping in her mind their next destination.

Juniper thought about Eldoon's statement of seeing them next year and her mind went to the ring that she had in a small pocket on her dress. The plan was to present it to Robin at the dinner they were going to have at the end of the day. There were roughly five hours for them to spend together until then, and since the dinner had been arranged by Robin, Juniper was determined to use those five hours to spoil Robin rotten.

The first stop was something she had spent the past few months setting up with the help of her friends and Themis Legal Academy. It was something very near and dear to both of them.

"Are you sure that you can't tell me where we're going? Pretty please?" Robin asked with her eyes still closed.

"Just wait for a little while longer," Juniper said. Chances were Robin would be unable to help herself and would keep asking about the surprise.

Just how would their interactions look like to the world around them? As Juniper herself learned once, nothing was quite what it seemed at first glance….

February 14th, 2029
Shipshape Aquarium
2:41 p.m.

"C'mere, Orla and Ora!"

The massive orca twins both swerved through the water towards Athena's call, soaking everyone in near the edge of the pool in the process. The people with Athena, as it happened, were Ema, Juniper, and Robin.

"Aren't they just the cutest?" Athena cooed, petting the two orcas affectionately.

"Ohmygosh they are!" Robin exclaimed. "I wish I could do tricks like that."

"The Orcinus orca is certainly a talented creature, and aesthetically pleasing," Ema said, trying to wring out her soaked lab coat. "But I don't think they're going to pay for the dry cleaning."

"How often do you get to say that you got to touch a pair of orcas, Ema?" Athena said, seemingly oblivious to her girlfriend's grousing.

"Well, not that often I suppose," Ema admitted, her mood without the bitter edge it usually had. "But you're still going to be paying to clean my clothes."

Juniper raised an eyebrow as Athena continued to plead with Ema for leniency on the subject. For this Valentine's day this year, some free days happened to align. So Juniper had coordinated with Thena for their first double date. Since Athena had helped Mr. Wright rescue Shipshape Aquarium, it had of course welcomed the party of four with open arms.

The first event had been a free, exclusive show presented by the main stars Sasha Buckler and Marlon Rimes, both friends of Athena. After that they had been allowed to briefly go backstage to the orca pool to interact with Orla and Ora. Athena, who had previously been given a whistle and some training, showed off some ocra tricks of her own, which culminated everyone getting soaked.

"Okay, fine. I'll take care of the dry cleaning this week," Athena said. "But today we're going to enjoy ourselves!"

Juniper breathed a sigh of relief she hadn't even realized she'd been holding. It wasn't that she doubted that Athena and Ema were happy together. But the amount of times they seem to have small arguments with each other like this was perhaps concerning.

The group next made its way to the gift shop, where everyone gravitated towards whatever caught their interests.

"Ahhh, this calendar!" Robin squealed as she spotted the penguin shaped object. "I feel like I've waited my whole life to find it!"

Juniper in turn found herself gravitating towards some very large Orca plushies in the corner of the gift store, and Ema and Athena were browsing the rest of the store together. Juniper grabbed one of the penguin calendars while Robin snagged one of the Orca plushies, and both women headed towards the cash register. Manning the register was Myriam, who was dressed in a Shipshape Aquarium and looking quite unhappy to be there.

"Hey there, Myriam!" Robin greeted. "How ya doing?"

"Norma stuck me back here, sss sss sss," Myriam answered. "As part of my training of becoming the best investigative reporter. Something about learning to talk with the 'common riff raff'."

"Um, I d-don't know about riff raff," Juniper said. "But it's nice that you're g-getting to talk with more people. Anyone you've m-managed to get along with since you started working here?"

"A few people have been tolerable, kahk kahk," Myriam said, scratching her cheek and looking rather flushed. "But my mind wanders to when I can quit this shift so I can hang out with you guys."

It was nice to hear how much Myriam had come to care about them as friends, even if they didn't see her very often. Juniper explained that for today at least she was on a date, but promised to hang out with Myriam another time.

"Watcha going to do with the money you get from this job, Myriam?" Robin asked curiously.

"Open up my own news agency, of course!" Myriam exclaimed proudly. "I can't work under Ms. dePlume forever. I'm going to spread the news people need to hear my own way, sss sss sss. Now just hand me your stuff before other people come in wanting to buy things."

"I wish you all the best then, Myriam," Juniper said sincerely. Juniper and Robin had Myriam ring up their purchases, then promptly handed the gifts to each other.

"Thank you, Juniper!" Robin said as she held the penguin calendar like one would a piece of fine art. "I can't wait to use this to count every day I spend with y-o-u!"

"And thank you for your gift, Robin," Juniper said in turn as she squeezed the Orca plushie. "Holding it reminds me of whenever we rest with each other after a long day at work…"

"I don't think that's how gifts work," Ema quipped from the other side of the store. At the cash register Myriam slunk away from the sugary-sweet scene occurring in front of her.

"Oh shush you," Athena said playfully to Ema, Widget glowing a joyful green around her neck. "Okay everyone, it's time to go!"

"Aren't you two going to buy anything?" Juniper asked.

"We already traded gifts earlier today," Ema answered. "and we have plans for the evening. Plans that someone hopefully won't spill. Again."

"Widget promises to be quiet this time," A now embarrassed Athena said.

"I'll behave!" Widget cried out.

On the way out of the Aquarium Juniper decided to take Athena off to one side for a private conversation.

"What did you want to talk about, Junie?" Athena asked.

"So about you and Ema," Juniper began, finding herself having to suppress a cough. "How often do you two argue?"

"Argue?" Athena echoed in surprise. "Oh! You mean the whole dry cleaning talk we had earlier? We weren't arguing. That was just Ema being Ema."

"O-oh, really?" Juniper said, now feeling really foolish. "S-sorry I asked, Thena."

"I understand that you worry about me," Athena said quickly. "And that's not to say Ema and I don't argue at all. But usually one of us will apologize after we figure out what happened. Nothing can hide from science gals like us!"

Juniper considered this, and quickly realized how little context she had to go on. Her best friend's relationship, after all, had private moments that only she and Ema would know about, just the same as her own relationship with Robin. If nothing else, Juniper felt reassured that her worries were unfounded.

With that, she followed Athena back to where Robin and Ema were waiting for them, looking forward to whatever the rest of the day would bring.

February 14th, 2029
Newman-Woods Residence
10:50 p.m.

The sensation of something making contact with her face roused Juniper from her sleep, which turned out to be Robin's arm.

Juniper sighed. As much as she loved her girlfriend's boundless energy during the day, it was less appreciated at moments like this.

"Robin, you're tossing and turning again," Juniper whispered softly. The day's events were still fresh in her mind, and she could hear Athena taking about how she avoided arguments with Ema.

"Am I really?" Robin responded sleepily. "Hang on…."

Robin proceeded to cuddle up to Juniper, encasing her into a tight hug.

"M-u-c-h better," Robin said as she drifted off to sleep again.

Juniper smiled to herself as she let Robin's warmth carry her off as well.

December 22, 2030
Unknown Location
3:32 p.m.

As Juniper approached her intended destination, she considered Athena's words again.

Thanks to the events of that day, all future disagreements between them were resolved with great ease.

Of course, there was a very important difference between a disagreement and an argument. One that the two of them wound up having to learn in very bad circumstances.

But that was an incident that was still a long way down the line in her memories.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18: Tenderness

December 22, 2030

Unknown Location

3:40 p.m.

"We're here, Robin. Open your eyes."

Robin did so, taking in the location that was Juniper's destination. It was an unassuming gray building that was sandwiched between an italian bistro and a laundromat. It would be all too easy to pass it over if it weren't for the small sign in covered in splotches of paint in different colors. The sign read, "Gallery Nucleus", and below the name of the place were listed various upcoming exhibitions, although none seemed to be going on right now.

"Why did you bring me here, Juniper?" Robin asked curiously.

"In the next couple months a new exhibition will premiere here," Juniper began. "But they already have most of the artwork in storage. With some help from our friends, I convinced the manager of this place to put on a special exhibition today."

"Really? But until I called in this morning I was going to go to work," Robin said. "Did you call them to move this special exhibition to an earlier hour?"

"I did," Juniper confirmed, now looking sheepish. "The manager wasn't all that happy, but I convinced him. I had to make a lot of calls while you were taking a nap."

"Ahhhhh, you're so wonderful to me, Juniper!" Robin gushed. "C'mon, then! Let's go inside!"

The two women entered the establishment, with Robin dashing ahead. But as soon as she looked at what was on display inside the gallery she skidded to a halt, mouth agape as she scanned her surroundings. The avant-garde style of the different types of art could only belong to one person- Professor Constance Courte.

A closer looked even revealed some of Courte's art from her Themis days had made their way into the gallery, such as her Prosecutor's Badge statue. An entire wall of the gallery was dedicated to paintings, with two of them displayed prominently. The first one turned out to be Courte's painting of Juniper, and next to it was Robin's own painting of her girlfriend. Robin had not bothered to keep track of where that painting had disappeared to as she had been dissatisfied with it, which seemed to explain how it had wound up here.

Under the two paintings was a plaque which read, "The Flower Girl in two paintings. Left: An abstract representation by Constance Courte. Right: A more realistic approach by Courte's most talented student Robin Newman".

"Oh, you found that."

Robin turned around to see Juniper walking towards her. She stopped next to Robin and looked at the two paintings briefly before turning to face Robin, blushing and smiling.

"I wondered if you would mind if I submitted your painting of me," Juniper explained. "But Courte is such an important figure in both our lives, and that painting is part of our history together. So I decided that-"

Juniper didn't get the chance to finish her sentence, as she was interrupted by Robin throwing herself onto Juniper, smothering her with kisses. It wasn't long until Juniper started kissing back, and the two of them got lost into their own little world.

Robin found herself getting caught up in a swirl of events just like this one sprinkled through their relationship, even down to the smallest….

March 23, 2029

Newman-Woods residence, living room

1:12 p.m.

"Does the defendant understand the charges that she stands accused of?"

"I understand them, but I don't understand why this is happening! Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"Make all the excuses you want. But the fact that you don't deny what you've done further serves to show your guilt."

"M-my guilt?"

"Precisely. You can't run anymore…"

Robin slowly opened her eyes to find herself resting on the couch in the living room, a blanket draped over her. This morning she had made her usual preparations to go to work, but then she had been stricken by a terrible headache, followed by intense bloating that was all too familiar.

It had taken Juniper only a few seconds to figure out what was happening, and after shooting a girlfriend a sympathetic look went to go find where their supply of tampons were.

After all the necessary precautions had been taken Robin went into the living room, intending to curl up with some textbooks in order to study for the bar exam. But she had only made it as far as the couch before her body completely gave out on her.

Sometime during her impromptu nap Robin had dreamt of being inside of a courtroom. It was a dream that felt familiar, but any further details were impossible to make out with her head currently throbbing.

"WWWHHHHYYYY?!" Robin groaned as she retreated into blanket.

"Oh, you're awake."

Robin turned her head to see Juniper bustling towards her, carrying a tray with bowl of soup and a spoon. She set the tray down on a table that had been placed within Robin's reach.

"I made some light vegetable soup for you," Juniper said, laying a hand on Robin's forehead to check for a fever. "So eat it if you feel up to it. And don't be afraid to call if you need anything, okay? I'll be tending to the garden."

Wait, didn't you have to work today too? Robin wanted to ask, but she was seized by her gut suddenly clenching. Juniper made her exit to the front yard, leaving Robin on her own.

Chances were, Juniper had rung up the Agency to explain the situation, much like Robin had called her own workplace earlier. Essentially, the rest of the day would be spent indoors.

Robin managed to gather enough willpower to sit up and reach for the tray, resting it on her knees so she could start eating the soup. She could only take small sips, for fear of further upsetting her already bloated stomach.

When Juniper returned from her gardening, Robin's monthly symptoms had died down enough so that movement wasn't a complete chore. Even so, Juniper decided that the best way to spend the rest of the evening was for the two of them to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie together.

Robin felt very content with the domestic feel of having Juniper's arm around her, the two of them under a blanket. But her mind whirled with ways to thank her girlfriend for everything she had done today….

March 30, 2029

Los Angeles Shopping Mall

9:17 a.m.

"A-are you sure about this, Robin?"

"Sure I'm sure! You deserve to be spoiled for at least one day."

"Well, it seems like you're all better now, so I guess I'll browse for a bit."

Well, okay. Perhaps shopping was just a bit cliched, but Robin decided that her sweet love needed to indulge herself in whatever it was her heart desired. Hence, a trip to a large mall where there was a likely a store for whatever one wanted to buy. It helped that Robin was more or less back to her usual self, and as such she could accompany Juniper.

The two girls flitted from store to store, and Juniper managed to convince herself to pick up a few purchases for herself, such as some new pruning shears. Just as they were about to go find a place at the food court to eat, Robin's phone rang, and she excused herself to go answer it.

Looking at the screen revealed that the caller was none other than Klavier Gavin, so Robin accepted the call.

"Acthung, baby!" Klavier said by way of greeting. "How are you, Fraulein Robin? I heard you were feeling blue for a bit."

Robin felt it wasn't worth the effort to explain what had actually happened, as chances were Klavier wouldn't understand it anyways. Instead she said, "Well, I'm all better now. NOTHING CAN KEEP ME DOWN, MMMAAANNN!"

"Well that's good to hear," Klavier said, sounding less amused. "Because that leaves the question of where you are right now when you should be in my office."

Robin quickly checked her schedule on her phone, and found that indeed she was supposed to be doing her Prosecutor training with Klavier. Earlier in the week she had cleared everything from her timetable in preparation for today's date. It seemed that act had come back to bite her.

"Eh heh heh, sorry about that," Robin said. "I'll be sure to make it next time, I promise!"

"Whisper all the sweet nothings you want," Klavier responded. "In my experience, what truly matters is how you do when you're actually on stage."

With that he hung up, leaving a confused Robin to just stare at her cell phone. It seemed that she had genuinely angered the normally level-headed prosecutor. She would have to make it up to him, somehow.

"Robin, are you done with your phone call?" Juniper called out, looking very cheerful and laden with more bags.

But for now, at least, nothing would keep her from spending the day showering her girlfriend with endless amounts of love.

December 22, 2030

Gallery Nucleus

3:50 p.m.

After Robin and Juniper were parted from their kissing, they strolled around, admiring the artwork of their mutual mentor. Robin found she couldn't stop smiling at just how happy Juniper always made her, which in turn made Robin herself strive to do the same.

"I need to thank everyone else for helping you do this," Robin mentioned.

"No need to thank us. We we're happy to do our part."

Robin turned to the source of the unexpected voice- and met with a very unexpected but very happy sight.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19: To err is human

December 22, 2030

Gallery Nucleus

4:00 p.m.

The gallery was now host to the group of mutual friends that were such a large part of their lives: Athena Cykes, Apollo Justice, Ema Skye, Hugh O' Conner, and Myriam Scuttlebutt. Juniper had coordinated with all of them to arrange this exhibit, from having Ema and Myriam track down Courte's art pieces and ensuring their veracity to begging the manager of the place along with Athena, Apollo, and Hugh to first snag the private exhibit, then bumping it up to an earlier time.

"Hello, everyone," Juniper greeted. "Thank you all for working with me to give this gift to Robin. Since you're all here, please enjoy yourselves."

"Don't mention it," Apollo said casually. "There wasn't any case to work on at the agency anyways."

"It was nothing, Junie! Courte's art is really fascinating to look at," Athena added, glancing around. "so I think we'll stay for a while."

"GGGGGUUUUUYYYYYYSSS!" Robin cried out, on the verge of tears. "THANK YOU ALL!"

After calming herself down, Robin went around, personally thanking each and everyone there. When she reached Hugh, she said, "Oh hey there, Hugh! I'm surprised to see you here. Didn't you have something to do today?"

"As a matter of fact, I was supposed to meet with you," Hugh said. "But it didn't seem like you were going to show up."

"Aaaahhh! That's right, I was supposed to meet with you after work," Robin exclaimed. "But since I got the day off, I guess that slipped my mind. Eh heh heh, sorry."

"There's no problem with that," Hugh responded. "Since I got to be a part of this effort as a result. We can catch up later."

The conversation sparked a particular memory deep inside Juniper. How many people go through the same exact thing as Robin just now, on a daily basis? Juniper knew for a fact that it was something that could happen all too easily….

April 19th, 2029

Newman-Woods residence, kitchen

7:32 a.m.

The sound and smell of cooking eggs filled the air, as Juniper went about making that morning's breakfast, with a small fruit salad already prepared along with fresh apple juice made from apples from her garden. The two women took turns doing various household tasks, so the fact that Juniper was making the meals today meant that Robin would be in charge of cleaning and other upkeep on the house, and vice versa.

After Juniper finished cooking, she went to go fetch Robin at her small art studio, i.e. the shed in the backyard. She had started working on a new project a few days ago, and if Juniper wasn't mistaken Robin was going to finish it today.

Entering the art studio, Juniper found her girlfriend putting some finishing touches on the art: A small but intricately detailed reproduction of the local courthouse made of clay, complete with miniature versions of various people they knew, such as Thena and Prosecutor Gavin.

Oh! This is really cute, Juniper thought to herself, not wanting to interrupt the artist at work.

Robin frowned as she gave her art piece a once over. As usual, it seemed like she wasn't very happy with the end result. She bent down and picked up a hammer.

"No good," She muttered to herself. "I need to start over."

"No!" Juniper exclaimed, unable to help herself. When Robin turned to face her, Juniper continued, "I really like what you've done here. The courthouse is very well done, and I love that you decided to make tiny versions of all our friends to go along with it."

Robin contemplated her girlfriend's words for a few minutes, then thankfully set down the hammer.

"In that case, I think I'll let this dry and paint it another day. Anything e-l-s-e?"

"Breakfast is ready, darling."

The two women ate their breakfast as they happily discussed their plans for the day.

"So Klavier isn't angry with you anymore about missing a training day?" Juniper asked curiously.

"Nah, Klavier really isn't the kinda guy to hold onto his anger," Robin answered. "So I'm looking forward to training with him again soon! You're going over to Judge Courtney's today, right? Say hi to John for me!"

"John" was John Marsh, someone that Juniper had met while training under Judge Courtney. He was also her adopted son, so Juniper and Robin talked to him whenever they happened to encounter each other.

"Okay, I will," Juniper said. "And I'll be sure to say hi to Thena and Apollo when I stop by the agency later. You have a long work shift today, don't you?"

Robin's cheerful expression fell, and she grumbled, "About six hours. It's not fair that I have to be away for so long serving people food!" Her mood bounced back pretty quickly. "On the other hand, I have our date later today to look forward to…."

Robin stroked Juniper's face with her hands, planting light kisses on her forehead.

"Robin, don't lean over the table," Juniper protested, even as she started smiling.

The rest of the morning proceeded more or less how mornings in the household did: after a kiss goodbye at the door, after which Juniper left to make her way to Judge Courtney's office, cordially greeting her neighbors on the way. As soon as she arrived at her destination, the judge-to-be knew she would be put under trial….

April 19th, 2029

District Courthouse, Judge Courtney's office.

9:00 a.m.

"So given the situation that has been outlined before you, Miss Woods, how would hypothetically you respond? What would your verdict be in this case?"

Juniper opened her mouth to answer, but all that came out was a coughing fit instead. Since John was in fact not here today, they were running a simulation. The simulation Judge Courtney had presented her was supposedly based on an actual trial that had once occurred. But at around the time that the assassin had been introduced Juniper couldn't help but wonder if something that insane had actually happened.

"Well…. I s-suppose most of the evidence would still p-point to the defendant," Juniper said slowly. "And his attitude…. s-seems very indicative of their guilt. I w-w- *cough* *cough* *cough*"

Juniper grabbed her one of her sunflowers, breathing into it. She didn't need her medicine as much as she used to- even with the dirty city air she didn't have too much trouble. But at times like this, when Judge Courtney placed a tough challenge before her and Juniper faltered, she felt like her weakness was back in full force.

Judge Courtney's harsh expression softened, and she pulled up a chair for her student to sit in so she could catch her breath, which Juniper accepted. After a few minutes of silence Justine started talking.

"Perhaps the trial I picked was too difficult," Judge Courtney said, dropping her usual stoic persona. "But there's a reason the Goddess of Law allows us to experience certain events."

A melancholy look fell over a the judge's expression. "I'm not saying you should completely harden your heart. Perhaps a few years ago that's what I would have told you."

"What ch-changed you, Justine? Was it John's kidnapping?" Juniper asked, referring to a rather famous incident from some years ago. Interestingly, the current Chief Prosecutor had been at the center of that event.

Judge Courtney nodded. "They were some of the darkest times of my life. The only ray of light I had during those times was something my mentor once told me: Weather the worst tribulations as best as you can…."

"Because the proper verdict is always a worthwhile result," Juniper finished, having heard the same thing herself from Courte.

"Even then I came close to guiding the case to an erroneous conclusion," Judge Courtney said. "Without the assistance of a group of special individuals all would have been lost. Even if we are meant to maintain neutrality on the bench, our hearts still beat under our robes."

Justine pointed to Juniper with her gavel, much to the young woman's surprise. "I imagine you've already made peace with the Goddess over your broken promise."

Broken promise? What on….?

Then Juniper abruptly grabbed her Proof of Friendship as the other shoe dropped. The only promise that was relevant was The Promise, to work alongside Hugh, Myriam, and Robin to fix the legal system.

Ethics demanded that she and Robin never work the same case together. As a judge especially, she was morally obligated to keep as impartial as possible, which meant-

"Never seeing the one you love work just as hard as you do," Judge Courtney said knowingly. "Most people will sooner see the Judge that passes down verdicts than the person beneath. It's why I choose the simulation that I did- most people see the Judge of that case as hopelessly fickle, but he confided in me when I asked about this case that both the prosecution and the defense were sending mixed messages the entire time, and he could only rule according to the circumstances."

"Was it really like that?" Juniper wondered, "I mean, Judges can involve themselves in a case, right? Didn't you investigate a few yourself?"

"Those were special circumstances. I was aiding the prosecutor assigned those cases," Judge Courtney stated. "And it's something I'm still earning forgiveness from the Goddess of Law for. But let me tell you something about being a Judge, Miss Woods."

"The role of the Judge as assigned by the Goddess is a unique one. By our very nature, all the information we receive about a case is given to us by the defense and prosecution. Ours is a stationary position- and yet our words decide the very fate of the defendant, they can scatter an investigation to the farthest reaches. So it is the same with your dilemma: You have been faced with an immovable wall. What happens next is ultimately up to you."

April 19th, 2029

Wright Anything Agency

12:12 p.m.

The training session continued on for several more hours after that. As such, it was a mentally tired Juniper that stumbled into the agency to report for a shift as an intern. Athena and Apollo bustling about working were very much a sight for sore eyes.

It didn't help that Juniper's mind was whirling from all the heavy concepts that had been dumped on her earlier. Concepts that raised questions she had no answers to, and as such stuck inside her like thorns.

"Hello, Junie!" Athena greeted as she looked up from some paperwork she was going over. "How are you?"

"I'm doing okay, I guess, Thena."Juniper said, not bothering to hide her weariness. The moment Athena and Apollo heard her response they focused on her, concern clear on their features.

"Did Judge Courtney wear you out?" Apollo asked sympathetically.

"Uh huh," Juniper answered. "She really wants me to give it my all every time we meet up."

"Well that may be so, but that's no reason to work you that hard!" Athena declared indignantly.

"I'm fine, Thena," Juniper reassured. "Every time I finish training with Justine, I feel a little stronger. I think like this I'll be ready to ascend the bench someday soon."

"Well, you can start by helping us cut down on some paperwork for our current case," Apollo said, putting said papers on Juniper's desk. "So you can get a good feel for different kinds of cases."

"Or you could just be trying to duck out on it like you were last week," Athena quipped from her workspace.

"If I remember correctly, I was cleaning the toilets last week," Apollo said. "And you were the one that was trying to sweet talk Juniper into doing all your work."

"That was different! Junie's my best friend, so we were sharing work," Athena answered.

"If you say so."

Juniper giggled as she settled in her desk, listening to the two close friends continue to playfully tease each other.

Time passed as the three of them continued to work while occasionally talking with each other. Every so often, either Athena or Apollo would leave the Agency to investigate some aspect of the case they were working on. Currently, Athena was telling Juniper a story of something that happened to her recently.

"...So I was going to have a regular jogging run like I do every morning, but then a guy asked to join me," Athena said, gesturing wildly. "He seemed harmless enough so I said yes."

"What happened after that, Thena?" Juniper asked, on the edge of her seat.

"Well then a girl popped up out of nowhere and started jogging alongside us," Athena continued. "Followed by a few more people. Then some more people joined us, and they brought along even more people! By the time I made it back to the Agency there was an entire crowd with me!"

Juniper laughed helplessly at the mental image of Athena leading a pack of total strangers, with Athena and Widget joining in as well. Only Apollo didn't seem to be listening, who instead was distractedly looking around the Agency.


"Hm? Oh, sorry Juniper. I am listening to the conversation," Apollo said. "But I'm getting this feeling that we're forgetting something."

He cracked a smile. "Although speaking of what happened to Athena, I do remember her and those runners cleaning out the agency's fridge. It was worth seeing the look on Mr. Wright's face when he returned to find that mess."

Athena opened her mouth to say something, but then she abruptly stopped then turned her head.

"I hear someone's phone vibrating," She said, looking in the direction of the noise that only she could hear. It turned out to be coming from Juniper's purse, which caused the girl to wonder who could be on the other end. Juniper reached into her purse and took out her phone, glancing at the display- and her blood went cold.

The first thing she noticed was the time, roughly six in the evening. Her phone had vibrated because it had received a text message from Robin.

Juniper, where are you?! ANSWER MEEEEEEEE!

Today, she and Robin had planned to go on a date to a bowling alley, trying out something new for the first time. As such, they had made a reservation ahead of time, a reservation that she was now almost two whole hours late for.

Apollo dug up a paper that had been stuffed deep into his desk. "Now I remember what we were forgetting! We should have clocked out Juniper a while ago. Looks like we were so busy talking we lost track of time."

"Oh no…..what have I done? I need to go now," Juniper said, desperately collecting her belongings.

"Go right ahead, Junie! We'll take care of things for you!" Athena declared.

Juniper burst out of the Wright Anything Agency, texting Robin back and hoping that she hadn't just messed up too badly.

April 19th, 2029

Outside bowling alley

6:35 p.m.

Juniper found Robin waiting outside the bowling alley, fidgeting anxiously and looking about ready to completely flip out. Juniper nervously approached her girlfriend, hoping not to startle her. When Robin saw Juniper she froze, an uncertain look on her face. The normally loud girl had no words, and instead she slowly lifted her hand, as if wanting to touch Juniper.

The silence broke when Robin wailed loudly then threw herself onto Juniper, squeezing for dear life. Juniper hugged back, all her anxiousness gone and replaced by confusion at her girlfriend's reaction.

"Juniper, where have you been?!" Robin asked in between sobs.

This sparked a very old memory inside Juniper, of what happened when she met up with her friends the day after the Courtroom Bombing.


Robin's confession had actually followed that outburst, propelled by a surge of honesty and emotional vulnerability. Having this event in the forefront of her mind but Robin's current state in sharp relief. Juniper started stroking her girlfriend's back, finally answering her question.

"I'm sorry I missed our date, Robin. My phone was on vibrate and I lost track of time while talking with Thena and Apollo. I'm not going to excuse what happened."

Juniper waited for Robin to calm down, feeling relieved that Robin didn't seem to be angry. The people that were coming in and out of the bowling alley gave the two women a wide berth, clearly baffled by the scene that Robin was making. But then, none of them knew Robin like she did.

"Oh, is that what happened?" Robin said after she finally calmed down. "I understand! I wish you had texted me sooner, but if you were just talking with our friends that's okay!"

"Well, I certainly shouldn't have been late to our date to begin with," Juniper said. "Especially when I worry you like this."

"Ah! Eh heh heh, I wasn't that worried," Robin said, fidgeting again and clearly embarrassed with herself. "Just a little anxious when I didn't hear from you after long while."

Two hours certainly qualified as a long while, considering that Juniper hadn't even remembered of today's date. With the date essentially over before it even began, Juniper grabbed Robin's hand and started heading back home.

"No, let's not head home just yet," Robin said, smiling her bright, bubbly smile that always made Juniper flutter. "I think there's a carnival nearby that's in town. Let's go!"

In the space of a few minutes Robin's voice had regained the uplifting, energetic tone it always had. As she led Juniper in the direction of the carnival, chatting animately, Juniper let the love in her girlfriend's tone take her away.

December 22, 2030

Gallery Nucleus

4:15 p.m.

A loud slamming sound shocked Juniper out of her reverie, which was revealed to be from Myriam accidently dropping a box full of whatever it was she always carrying. Robin and Athena also jumped, frantically looking around.

Ema lay a hand on Athena's shoulder. "Calm down, Athena. Nothing happened, and nothing's going to happen."

Juniper knew that her best friend was in good hands with Ema, so she went to Robin.

"If you're ready to leave, then we can say goodbye to our friends," She said.

"Hmmm…. Maybe we can stick around a bit longer, while I come up with what we're going to do next," Robin answered, the look in her eyes indicating that she already had ideas cooking in her mind.

Reassured by this, Juniper went back to admiring the artwork on display. Missteps and stumbling points were a lot more common in relationships than Juniper suspected they might have been. But then, it also meant that reaching a point of reconciliation was that much sweeter. A lesson that one never really stopped learning. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 20: Precarious balancing act

December 22, 2030

Gallery Nucleus

4:15 p.m.

"...and that is everything that happened during the Vitaman Park case. But you already knew that, of course."

"Well sure," Robin said as she faced Hugh and Apollo. "But I don't think I ever heard about what happened from you guys. So thanks!"

Both men nodded, but Apollo stared intensely at her for a few moments before saying, "That trial still weighs on you even today, doesn't it?"

"Not that anyone can blame you," Hugh added. "It's only been a little over a year since then, after all. Just thinking about those days sends chills down my spine."

"Maybe I shouldn't be thinking about it," Robin said, gripping her proof of friendship. "But when I think about how we almost lost everything because of that culprit, it reminds of just how precious everyone is to me. Especially Juniper."

"I know what you mean," Apollo said as he glanced over at Athena. "Well, I'm glad that you've taken a positive outlook on what happened."

Apollo and Hugh, done with viewing the artwork, went their separate ways. Robin finished collecting her thoughts and went to go find Juniper. It was getting late and their dinner date was in a mere two hours. It looked like there wasn't going to be enough time to do something else today, besides maybe stop off by a jewelry store.

But really, a tight schedule really wasn't a bad problem once you knew how to handle it. It when you tried to figure out just what you could accomplish within your abilities that things could get ugly…..

June 15, 2029

Prosecutor's building, Klavier Gavin's office.

7:30 a.m.

"Are you sure you're ready, Fraulein Robin? No one would look down on you if you decided to wait another year."

"I've had enough of sitting around feeling sorry for myself," Robin answered heatedly. "SO INSTEAD I"M CHARGING HEADFIRST, MAAANNNNN!"

"Very well then," Klavier said, accustomed by his young student's shouting by now. "At the very least, before you undergo your final test we can warm ourselves up with a good natured debate, ja?"

"I'm all for that!" Robin exclaimed excitedly. "So who's going to be my opponent this time?"

"I shall deign to be your opponent," A voice behind her said.

None other than Simon Blackquill entered the room, an intimidating smirk already playing across his face. Robin raised her own guard, not from fear, but from anticipation. Debating against Simon was always a thrilling uphill battle.

Klavier chuckled as he watched the sparks between the two of them. This was going to be quite a show to watch.

"Here's the scenario you two shall be confronting…."


"SILENCE! Say that as much as you like, it's meaningless as long as you can't explain why the defendant would stuff the corpse of the victim into a large safe."

"Because it wouldn't fit in a drawer- woah!"

Robin quickly dodged Simon's invisible blade before continuing,

"Well, given how timid the defendant has been outlined to be I can't imagine he'd want to look at a dead body for very long. Besides, it successfully threw the police off the scent, didn't it?"

"Perhaps it did. But even a mewling man like the defendant can have a stroke of genius. It's more than likely an action committed out of sheer panic, but does not necessarily indicate guilt," Simon said, tapping his forehead in emphasis.

"Which still leaves the matter of the alarm," Robin countered. "Wasn't there a report received that someone managed to press the button despite there being no fingerprints?"

"Heh. Such a vague piece of evidence isn't even worth cutting down." Simon answered.

"Oh yeah!? Well then-"

"I thought I heard a lot of noise coming from Gavin's office. Should have known you were making all that racket."

The fierce debate was interrupted by someone inside the room, and Robin and Simon looked around to see that Ema had slipped in without them noticing.

"Hiya, Ema!" Robin said, effortlessly going from debate mode to her friendlier self. "What brings you here?"

"I have some paperwork I need the fop to look over."

"Ach, I thought you weren't calling me that anymore, Fraulein Skye." Klavier said.

"No, what I said is that I would consider using it less often," Ema said as she handed the aforementioned papers to the prosecutor. "But it might still slip out depending on my mood."

Wait, Fraulein Skye instead of Fraulein Detective? Speaking of her mood, Ema's was surprisingly cheery given that she was talking to Klavier Gavin. Furthermore, she had a band around her right arm that read-

"Ema! When did you become part of the forensics department?"

"Well, I only passed my exam about a week ago," Ema explained. "I still need to wrap up some last cases I'm working on with Prosecutor Gavin before I can officially transfer."

"I'm so happy for you!" Robin squealed in excitement. "We'll be working together that much sooner!"

"I suppose so," Ema said, mildly irritated at Robin's high-pitched voice but glad for the congratulations nonetheless. "You sound like Athena. All morning she's been gushing about all the science she wants to do with me while solving cases. She's actually throwing a celebration party for me later. Are you going to come?"

"Depends on when it is," Robin answered. "I'm taking the bar exam today with Hugh."

"Depending on how Newman-dono fares against this final opponent, there may be even more cause for celebration," Simon added. "Hence Gavin-dono and I making sure she goes into battle with a sharp blade."

"Ah. Well, you do have some semblance of sense knocking around in that head of yours," Ema said. "I think you'll do okay."

Coming from Ema, that was pretty high praise. Robin could feel the pool of burning determination deep inside her flare that much hotter, to the point that she felt herself start trembling.

"Woah there, Fraulein. Let's not go off before it's showtime," Klavier said. "Just keep in mind why you strive to walk the path of the Prosecutor and you'll do fine."

It was funny to Robin that Klavier said what he did. Her motivation for being a Prosecutor was something that couldn't be defined very easily. Of course, at first Robin wasn't interested in being a Prosecutor, until that fateful October trial had shaken her out of that mindset. After that Robin simply wanted to face Athena in court, as well fulfill her promise to her friends to help redeem the law system. Recently, a whole new reason surfaced that compelled her to take the bar exam this year….

May 7th, 2029

Newman-Woods residence

7:00 a.m.


"Juniper, are you okay?" Robin asked, almost smacking her face against a doorframe as she rushed into the laundry room.

"I'm okay," Juniper said, despite the fact that her clothes were completely soaked. "But I think our washing machine is broken now."

"Ohhhh….that is a problem," Robin said, a feeling of dread and worry settling over her. At the sound of her girlfriend's tone Juniper looked at Robin, who was holding a some envelopes in her hands.

"I guess those are this month's bills," Juniper said dejectedly. "Are we in trouble?"

"No, we're not in trouble!" Robin exclaimed in her best reassuring voice. "It's just a little wrinkle, but we can get a new machine easily enough."

"Well, I think we can ask our next door neighbors if we can use their machine in the meantime. Hang on…."

Juniper bustled out of the laundry room, a determined look on her face. Once she was gone Robin took another look at the bills in her hand. She hadn't lied to Juniper when she said they weren't in trouble right now. Her Mom, being a very talented accountant, had passed her knowledge down to Robin. That knowledge was currently letting her know that the two paychecks going into the household wouldn't be enough to sustain them indefinitely. By this time next year they would certainly be out of money.

June 15, 2029

Testing site

9:45 a.m.

The bar exam was held every year in June, with the results being mailed out in August and swearing in September. So Robin had to take the bar exam this year, and she had it to pass it in one try. The main reason for the lack of money was because Robin couldn't stay in her parents' house and so had bought a new one, and so failure was simply not an option.

Those were the thoughts in Robin's head as she made her way to the testing site of the bar exam with Hugh, where Juniper was already waiting for them. Despite not having an exam to take herself, Juniper was of course there to see them off and wish them luck. To Robin at least, it was already a balm on her nerves.

"Are you both well hydrated? Have you two eaten well today?" Juniper asked as soon as she spotted Hugh and Robin.


"I'm just as prepared as Robin," Hugh said. "How could I not be? I'm not going to let you two down now."

"Well, don't pressure yourself too much," Juniper said, smiling gently. "I brought celery sticks in case either of you two still needed a snack. I'm not worried, though. I'm sure the exam won't be a problem."

It was the Juniper Woods Robin knew and loved so very much. Yet at the same time, there was a melancholy note in her voice, as if something in her mind was niggling at her. Robin didn't need Athena's ears to know that something was bothering Juniper, which naturally raised the question of why she wasn't saying anything.

That's rather rich coming from the liar.

Robin found herself suddenly badly off-balance as the horrible words echoed in her mind in a familiar voice she couldn't quite place. Why would she be having these kind of thoughts now?

A sudden image flashed in her mind of what she had told Juniper a month ago about their financial situation. Except that hadn't been a lie, right? Juniper didn't need to know about that, since Robin would crush the problem before it had a chance to arise.

That's a very convenient way of looking at things. Remember how Juniper said she felt about secrets? Are you just going to ignore that?

With all her mental might Robin shoved the thoughts from her head. Regardless of whether there was a point there, she couldn't let herself be distracted now. The bar exam was a much more pressing matter right now- she needed to destroy that obstacle first before she could think about anything else.

"Hugh! It's time for us to GET GOING!" Robin shouted, grabbing her friend and dragging him into the testing building. "The law system won't wait around, so I won't either!"

"Hugh, Robin. I believe in you both," Juniper called out. "I'll be waiting here so that we can celebrate together once the exam is over. So do your best!"

The words settled themselves into Robin's heart, chasing away the shadows hanging over it. But she could still feel them there, waiting….

Robin could barely hear the exam administrator's instructions over the sound of her blood pumping in her head. She knew that the exam would be today, but sitting in a room filled other nervous applicants made all the worries surrounding this undertaking feel very real. Hugh, of course, wasn't in this room, having been taken to a separate area along with other potential defense attorneys. Robin did manage to recognize a few of her fellow classmates scattered among the different seats.

Seeing these familiar faces in turn reminded Robin of her time in Themis Legal Academy, and she could feel herself begin to relax. If her classmates in the Prosecutor Course felt confident enough to be here, there was no reason why she shouldn't feel the same. After all, she had graduated at the top of the entire course. Willingly or otherwise, her attendance at Themis had been to prepare her for this very day.

In front of the room, the test administrator signaled for everyone to turn over their exams. Robin did so and immediately began going over the questions, zeroing in on those she knew she could answer. As her pencil frantically scratched out the answers flowing out Robin could feel the entirety of her being dedicating itself to the sheet of papers before her.

June 15, 2029

Wright Anything Agency

3:12 a.m.

After the end of the exam, Juniper, Robin, and Hugh were about to go home before Athena called everyone up for a matter of utmost importance: the celebration party for Ema's official transfer into the forensics department. The party itself was actually a pretty effective mood lifter, if for no other reason than the fact that Ema couldn't seem to decide if she was happy or really, really embarrassed. The agency's resident magician, Trucy Wright, was currently doing a magic show near the back, but Robin and Hugh decided not to watch it.

"Oh hey, Robin! Hey, Hugh! How was the exam?" Athena asked, spotting them and going up to them.

"It was an adequate workout to a mind such as mine," Hugh said in his usual magnanimous fashion. "I think I will continue to sharpen my skills while awaiting my badge."

"I didn't see it as a problem either," Robin said, wagging her finger in the way only she could. "After all, I made a promise with you Hugh and Juniper!"

Hugh nodded at Robin's words. "Ah, yes. Surely the greatest benefit that will arise from this bar exam. The fact that we will now become part of the legal system."

"Um….about that promise. *cough cough*"

Everyone started as Juniper approached the group, looking even more troubled than she did that morning.

"There's- there's something I need to say about that."

December 22, 2030

Gallery Nucleus

4:20 p.m.

Ironically enough, Robin had planned to talk to Juniper about their financial situation that after the party. But the words that came from Juniper had blown her into complete internal chaos.

"We can't ever work together. We can't actually fulfill our promise."

Once upon a time, Robin had been told by her dad to be wary of falling into a situation with Hugh and Juniper that would place them at odds with each other, and to never hang onto a promise if it was clear that it would do more harm than good.

The broken promise become yet another large weight resting over the household of Juniper and Robin, making what was already a precarious balancing act all that much more uncertain. 

Chapter Text

A/N: Well everyone, the end of Arc 4 is already here. The domestic life of our young couple has had many twists and turns. But now they will finally return to the world of law. Its time for femslash! 

Chapter 21: On the cusp of our dream

December 22, 2030

Location Unknown

4:40 p.m.

Juniper reclined in the seat of the car, waiting for Robin to return. She thought that they had been heading back home, until Robin abruptly parked in front of a mall, then told Juniper to wait there. It was clear that the Robin had something in mind related to their anniversary.

Juniper checked car's clock, finding much to her surprise that it was already almost five. The sun was already starting to set, bathing everything in a serene orange light. Today had been very wonderful so far, but any coherent sense of time had essentially evaporated. It felt like everything was just flying by and floating aimlessly, at the same time.

It was often said that time was relative, and Juniper found that for her at least, the days just flew by when there was a much anticipated day on the horizon. Such was the case when she, Robin, and Hugh could only wait on the results of the bar exam.

August 15, 2029

Newman-Woods residence, living room

11:14 a.m.

"No, Robin, we aren't playing Pictionary."

"Awwww, why not Apollo?" Robin asked, shooting the defense attorney her best pleading eyes.

"Because going up against the artist in a drawing game is such a good idea," Apollo deadpanned.

"W-e-l-l, when it comes to sketching in pencil I'm not that good," Robin said. "So you might actually do a lot better than I can."

"Well, we still need four players to start the game, and Athena isn't here yet," Apollo said. "Where did you say she was, Juniper?"

"She's with Hugh and Myriam at Hugh's place, I believe," Juniper answered.

There was no need to say why. For the past two months, Hugh and Robin lived with the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not they had passed the bar. Even having a definitive date they could look forward to didn't help much.

Hugh responded to the pressure by becoming reticent and sullen, while Robin shouted a lot more frequently. Today, the day that the results would be mailed out to all the applicants, everyone in their group of friends had pulled together to greet whatever results would arrive to the two of them.

"When did you both get a new washing machine?" Apollo asked, poking his head out from the laundry room.

"About a week ago," Robin said. "What are you even doing in there?"

"I was looking for your bathroom," Apollo said, flustered. "But I'm almost never invited over so I don't know where everything is in this house."

He isn't? Juniper thought to herself. I mean, I'm sure we've invited him over before. I swear we have.

The washing machine that Apollo mentioned, as it happened, turned out to be the source of a lot of trouble. Their old one had broken down awhile back, and Juniper had been reassured that getting a new one wouldn't be an issue. But shortly after they had replaced it with a new one, Robin went over their finances and found that they were losing more money every month than they were taking in. It was a very concerning situation, to say the least.

"You know, Robin, since the bar exam I don't think I've really seen you," Apollo said as he exited the bathroom. "Have you been busy?"

"Eh heh heh heh, you know it!" Robin exclaimed. "Just because the bar exam is behind me doesn't mean I'm going to let up anytime soon."

Of course, no matter the circumstance Robin was still very much her usual, lively self. There was no sorrowful mood that couldn't be banished by the peals of her delightful giggling, or by the sensation of her arms wrapping around Juniper's waist. The walls of the house were adorned by some of Robin's wonderful paintings, showcasing the artist's uncanny ability to capture the pure, beautiful essence of the world and encapsulate it. The burning passion deep inside Robin's heart took so many forms. In fact, just recently....

Juniper could feel herself going red as she remembered the night she had spent with Robin near the beginning of this month. That night had most certainly been the first for such an intimate act, but it most certainly hadn't been the last. Almost as if on cue, Robin spotted Juniper and scooped her up in a hug.

"Well, if you really don't want to play something right now Juniper and I will play something while you wait for everyone else," Robin said as she squeezed her girlfriend.

"Actually, I'm starting to get the feeling now would be a good time to go take a walk...."

Before Apollo could do or say anything else, there was a knock at the door. Juniper answered to find Athena, Hugh, and Myriam on the other side, with Hugh holding a thick envelope in one hand. The mood in the room became significantly more serious.

"Come right on in, guys," Robin said cheerfully. "And join the party! The mail's not arriving for this house until another half hour anyways."


"I'm pretty sure that's an oak tree," Apollo said.

"You are correct! That's another point for us!" Athena declared jubilantly.

"We're winning!" Widget added.

"Actually, Robin and Juniper are ahead by three points, sss sss sss,"Myriam noted as she looked down at her makeshift scoreboard.

"Who asked you?"

"I think you're doing really well, Thena," Juniper said calmly so that a fight wouldn't break out. "I know I've had a lot of fun playing."

With enough people in the room a round of Pictionary had started up after all, with three teams of two. Hugh and Myriam were trailing behind in last place, as neither of them were artistically inclined. In second was Apollo and Athena, with Athena shaking the rust off her drawing skills. In the lead were Juniper and Robin, but as it turned out Robin had been serious when she had said earlier that her drawing skills weren't up to snuff, guessing incorrectly still happened.

As the next round started Robin grabbed the notepad she was using, a glare of concentration already settling on her face. The pencil in her hand scrawled furiously across the paper, shapes slowly taking form on it. Out of the corner of her eye Juniper could see the other two teams in the midst of their own task. After half a minute Juniper thought she could recognize what Robin was trying to draw.

"Um...that's a moonlit canyon, isn't it?" Juniper guessed.

"It is!" Robin exclaimed cheerfully, putting the finishing touches on her rough sketch. "That was a wonderful guess, Juniper!"

Everyone crowded around to see the drawing. "Huh, that is what you drew," Apollo said. "Any reason you had that on the mind?"

"Actually, I was thinking about where I wanted to go on vacation with Juniper this year," Robin answered. "And this seemed like somewhere super romantic!"

"That is a pretty good idea," Athena said, grinning. "Not that it's going to be better than what I come up with for Ema."

"Why does everything always have to devolve into a competition around here?" Apollo asked the room at large.

"It keeps everyone at their best, of course," Hugh said. "Or maybe you've just grown too complacent."

"That was a rhetorical- nevermind." Apollo said, exasperated but still happy.

There was the sound of a car stopping outside the house, followed by the sound of the mailbox opening and closing. Robin set down her notepad and strode out the door, as everyone else settled down. She returned with a thick envelope just like Hugh's in her hands. Hugh approached Robin with his own envelope, and both of them opened them at the same time.

Hugh's expression was impassive as he scanned the results, while Robin couldn't seem to settle on an emotion. They even read over each other's papers. Finally, the two friends turned to face everyone else.

"W-we....we passed." Hugh whispered.

"WE PASSED!" Robin shouted at the top of her lungs. "WE'RE FINALLY ATTORNEYS!"

"Congratulations!" Athena said proudly.

"Hooray!" Widget chirped.

"Well, I hope you're both ready to take cases soon," Apollo said. "I'll be waiting to see you in court."

"Looks like I'll have plenty to be writing about soon," Myriam said gleefully. "I need to prepare myself, Kahk-kahk."

In the midst of all the celebration Juniper remained silent. Her heart was overjoyed at seeing the two people that were so precious to her reach new heights. But she couldn't help but wonder what her place was in this picture. Judgeship was still so far away, and even then-

Hugh and Robin spotted Juniper and grabbed her by the arms, pulling her into the rest of the group. Juniper soon found herself squished in between Hugh and Robin.

"I don't know where to begin," Hugh said, on the verge of tears, "with how thankful I am. This isn't something I thought I could ever accomplish, but here I am thanks to you both."

"I for one know what I want to do," Robin said. "And that's head right on down to the Prosecutor's office so I can get my badge! I'm itching to get started."

"I know you are," Juniper said. She knew what they were trying to do, but it wasn't quite hitting the mark. She couldn't think of a solution to this thorny conundrum, either.

"All that's left is for Junie here to ascend the bench," Athena said. "I'm confident than mon amie can do it!"

Athena was probably right- Juniper could probably navigate the road to becoming a judge easily. But what then?

September 15, 2029

Distract Courthouse

2:00 p.m.

Even with the worry for the future a thorn inside her, the swearing in the following month was one of Juniper's proudest memories. She could still remember the way Hugh and Robin looked, dressed in their best clothing and with their hands over a bound version of the constitution. They had somehow managed to convince the officials in charge to not only let them take the oath at the same time, but even on the same book.

"I, Hugh O'Conner, do hereby solemnly swear that I will support the legal system of the state of California, and that I will fulfill the duties of an attorney and a counselor of law to the best of my knowledge and ability."

"I, Robin Newman, do hereby solemnly swear that I will support the legal system of the state of California, and that I will fulfill the duties of a prosecutor and a counselor of law to the best of my knowledge and ability."

The first thing the newly minted attorneys did was show off their new badges to Juniper. Hugh left to go to the Wright Anything Agency to apply for a position there, while Robin escorted Juniper back home. But as soon as the couple stepped outside they were approached by a trio of people: a man in a fancy dress suit, a woman holding a camera, and Myriam tailing them holding a notebook.

"And right here we have one such Prosecutor that has just been sworn in," The man said to the camera. "None other than the second top student of her graduating class, Robin Newman."

The last everyone had heard from Myriam, she claimed she was going to going to try to intern at the local news station, and by the looks of it she seems to have succeeded.

"So now that you're an official Prosecutor, what do you plan to do?" The reporter asked Robin, putting the mic right in her face.

"Prosecute cases, of course!" Robin said, winking into the camera. "I hope certain defense attorneys are ready for me, because I don't plan to go e-a-s-y on them!"

"You heard it here first," The reporter said, as Myriam furiously took notes. "Prosecutor Newman is issuing out a challenge! I can only imagine the heated battles that will result from this, and this news channel will follow this budding career with great interest."

Juniper had stayed silent throughout the interview, and made to leave. But before she could Myriam suddenly turned her attention to Juniper.

"I have a question for her, sss sss sss" Myriam said. When the reporter gave permission Myriam stared intensely at Juniper.

"As our viewers know, there are many more people making their way into the courts, and Ms. Woods here is one of them," Myriam said. "So would you like to tell the viewers what your plans are?"

Myriam, like the rest of their friends, knew about what vexed Juniper. To face her like this was just like her, and Juniper knew that she needed to answer.

"I plan to rule over cases," Juniper answered, saying the first thing that came to mind. "While supporting Robin in her own endeavors."

She could feel the familiar flame of love in her chest and a smile spread on her face as she said those words. They were the truth, after all. To bring out the best of the law system alongside everyone was what drove Juniper. Surely there was some way she could still work with Robin within the bounds of the law.

"Ahhhhh! Isn't she the b-e-s-t?" Robin said, planting a kiss on Juniper's cheek. "This is why I love her!"

In that moment, Juniper made a private wish. That even if it was just once, she would be able to stand in a court of law with her wonderful girlfriend.

December 22, 2030

Location Unknown

5:00 p.m.

"What did you buy, Robin?" Juniper asked Robin when she returned to the car.

"It's a surprise!" Robin said as she started the car. "I'll give it to you at dinner."

At this point Juniper had a pretty good idea of what Robin was planning, and she had to resist from touching the ring she still had in her purse. The feeling of being on the same wavelength as Robin was indescribable.

As they made their way back home Juniper lay back in her seat, thinking about that fateful September. As it happened, within a couple weeks of Hugh and Robin earning their badges Juniper would get her wish.

Just not in a way she could have ever imagined.

Arc 4, Of Reality and Harmony: End.

Chapter Text

The source of my strength presents...

As I've said before, I always try to answer every question I can in a case. Why? Because each case has a heartbeat. Every person involved in a crime has a personal reason for doing what they do.

I failed to do this for the Shadow incident, and because of that I was blinded when I got involved in that incident. When I presided over my first case as a Prosecutor….

Arc 5: The Promised Turnabout

September 23, 2029

Location: Near Vitamin Square

Time: 1:06 p.m.

Juniper and Robin walked through the empty park, chatting casually for the first time in a long while. Lately life had become very stressful for the both of them. When they found themselves beginning to be snappish with each other they decided to do something about it.

This date they were on was so that they could spend time alone together, to get away from it all. They had even chosen a specific date when they knew that Vitaman Park would be empty roughly a week in advance. Now they wandered around with each other, and the topic at hand was of a recent milestone one of them had reached.

"Has the Prosecutor's office given you your first case yet?" Juniper asked curiously.

"Not yet," Robin said. "But it's only been a week since I got my badge. I still haven't settled in at my office!"

Juniper smiled and giggled at this, but there was also a look of melancholy in her eyes.

"What's on your m-i-n-d?"

Juniper sighed. "Hugh's become a defense attorney, you've become a prosecutor-even Myriam's settled in at the news agency that hired her. But I still have a long way to go until I can be a judge. And even then, I can't ever work with you."

For once, Robin had nothing she could say even if she wanted to say something. In particular the fact that conflict of interest kept the two of them from ever being on the same case had been a sore spot for quite a while.

Robin wracked her mind for any kind of reassurance, but couldn't think of anything that didn't sound like an empty platitude.



Both women's blood went cold as the sudden sound faded.

"Was that-was that a gunshot?" Juniper asked in a quivering voice.

"I think it came from that way," Robin replied, pointing in the direction of the path to a playground. "C'mon!"

As the two of them reached the park they were met with a horrifying sight:

There were two other people in the park, standing a few feet apart from each other.

Pitch-black sweater. Yellow mask. Gun smoking at their feet. A mysterious person stared straight at Juniper and Robin.

The other person was Athena Cykes, and the first thing Juniper's eyes were drawn to was the hole in her torso that was leaking blood. Athena herself turned towards Juniper and Robin, but before she could say anything Athena collapsed face first onto the ground.

"YYYYOOOOUUUUUU!" Robin howled as she dashed at the hooded person. The hooded person was visibly startled by this, as they bolted from the scene with Robin in hot pursuit.

"Juniper!" Robin shouted behind her. "Call an ambulance! I'll call the police!"

Trembling fiercely and feeling just about ready to pass out, Juniper managed to take out her cell phone and call for an ambulance. After that she kneeled by Athena.

"*cough* Please, Athena," Juniper sobbed. "Please be okay…..*cough* *cough*"

Chapter 22: Waking Nightmare

There are many s-i-d-e-s to every case, of course. There are Prosecutors like me, and then there are the defense attorneys. Always fighting to the bitter end for their clients.

This is what Apollo told me about this case that we were all plunged into.

September 24, 2029

Wright Anything Agency

3:42 p.m.

Apollo Justice felt his mind slowly turning into mush. There had been no cases for the past month, which was par for the course for this Agency. It didn't make it any less soul-crushingly dull.

"Guess what I've got," Trucy said in a sing-song voice as she approached him.

"Is it actual lawyer work?" Apollo asked, deadpan.

"No, silly!" Trucy answered. "I've got a special guest with me."

Mr. Hat sprung up from behind her, it's wooden mouth clacking away.

"I've had tough crowds before, but you two take the cake!" It said.

"Of course you do," Apollo said, laying his head on his desk. He loved his little sister, he did. But this was only marginally helping.

Across from him, Hugh O'Conner stared sullen at Apollo.

"You know, when I started working at this agency," He said. "I was under the impression I would actually be trying cases in court."

Join the club, Hugh.

Apollo picked up the tv remote and switched on the t.v., flipping through the channels.

"What are you doing?" Hugh asked.

"Looking for a case to work on," Apollo answered. "Mr. Wright told me he often found clients through the news."

Hugh's disbelieving expression told Apollo he wasn't very impressed with this, and Apollo couldn't really blame him. Hopefully this wasn't going to be a wasted effort. When the sound of the local news came through the speakers, the two defense attorneys focused their attention on what the reporter was saying.

"...there has been an update regarding the shooting at Vitamin Square," The reporter said. "A suspect has now been arrested, and is to stand trial tomorrow. The name of the suspect is currently being withheld from the public."

"Seems like your Agency's methodology for finding clients has some merit," Hugh said. "So our we going to defend this suspect?"

"Let's see what else we can learn about this incident." Apollo said.

"For the viewers now just joining us, here's a recap of the story so far," The reporter continued. "Yesterday the police received a tip off that a shooting had occurred at Vitaman Park. The shooter managed to initially allude authorities. The victim of the shooting is renowned defense attorney Athena Cykes."

There was a clattering sound as Apollo dropped the remote control in shock. Athena had been shot yesterday?

"So this is why neither of us have seen or heard from her since yesterday." Hugh whispered in horror.

"The victim is currently in hospitalization….." The reporter said, but before she could say anything else Apollo was sprinting towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Hugh asked.

"To the hospital to see Athena, where else?" Apollo shouted.

September 24, 2029.

Hotti Clinic

4:10 p.m.

The nearest clinic to where the shooting had taken place was a place known as the Hotti Clinic, which is where Athena had been taken. Apollo and Hugh had been allowed to visit Athena, mainly because there was already a visitor in there that could watch over them.

As they approached Athena's room the two men heard the sound of someone softly sobbing. Apollo immediately recognized the voice and wasn't quite sure what to do next.

"Hello? May we come in?" Hugh called into the room.

"C-come in."

Inside the hospital room lay Athena, sleeping peacefully and hooked up to medical equipment. Her hair was out of its usual ponytail, fanning out behind her. To Apollo, seeing Athena so still was jarring.

Sitting in a chair besides Athena's bed was Ema Skye, who was holding Athena's hand and still crying a little. At the sound of the defense attorneys entering the room she tried to pull herself together, but Apollo could tell she was a mess.

"Took you two long enough to get here," She spat out.

"Hello, Miss Skye," Hugh said. "Forgive us for arriving so late. We only received news of this shooting earlier today."

"Just what exactly happened to Athena yesterday?" Apollo asked. "We're considering taking on this case, but we're lacking information."

"I don't actually know that much," Ema said, wiping her eyes. "But I'll tell you whatever I can."

Ema took out her notebook, flipping through it until she found the relevant entry.

"Yesterday Athena told me she was going to meet with someone," Ema said. "And while she was at the meeting place someone shot her."

"Does you know who the shooter is?"

"I'm not entirely sure," Ema answered. "Investigation is still underway, and a lot is still being kept under wraps."

"Fortunately, someone called an ambulance," She continued. "So Athena's life was saved. According to the EMTs, she kept thrashing around shouting about how she needed to stop someone, so she's been sedated. The doctor assigned to Athena told me that no one is allowed to talk to her until her wounds heal completely."

"There goes any chance of getting an early lead," Apollo groaned. "Thank you for your time, Ema."

Ema abruptly slammed her fist into her leg, her devastated mindset coming through loud and clear.

"When Athena wakes up, I'm going to let her have it for worrying me like this," She said, her voice thick with emotions. "And the shooter better hope they don't find themselves alone with me. I don't know what I would do to them."

"We understand, Ema," Hugh said sympathetically. "We're going to do what we can to solve the case from our end."

As defense attorneys, there's only so much we can do, Apollo thought to himself. We should probably return to the agency for now.

September 24, 2029

Wright Anything Agency

4:22 p.m.

There was already someone at the agency, facing away from Apollo and Hugh when they entered. At the sound of footsteps behind them the mystery person whirled around- and Apollo's face suddenly started burning in pain.

"My eyes!" Hugh screamed right next to him. Apollo made the mistake of rubbing his eyes, which just made everything worse. When the two men could see again, they lay eyes on their unexpected visitor.

The visitor turned out to be a young woman wearing a police uniform. Her black hair was done up in a pair of pigtails, her black eyes peered out from behind square glasses, and in her hands was a bottle of pepper spray.

She actually looked vaguely familiar to Apollo, and Hugh seemed to recognize her as well. But neither of them could remember what the woman's name might be.

"I'm sorry!" The woman exclaimed, bowing down. "I'm rather nervous around strangers, and I kinda reacted on instinct."

"Well, this is our law office," Apollo explained, his face and eyes still burning. "I'm Apollo Justice, senior partner."

"And I'm Hugh O'Conner," Hugh said, attempting to pull off is usual cool demeanor. "I was hired recently to this firm, but I assure you I am very well qualified."

"Greetings, civilians!" The woman said, saluting. "I am Lisette Sullivan, and I'm a police officer charged with keeping the peace around here."

The name was enough for Apollo to remember where he'd seen Lisette before. During the incident where someone had ransacked Ema's office, she had been a cadet training to join the force. She had been briefly investigated but found to have an alibi, and the true culprit turned out to be someone else.

Hugh also seemed to recognize Lisette, but Apollo couldn't remember if they had ever met. Making a mental note to ask Hugh about it later, Apollo turned to the officer.

"So could you tell us more about yourself, and why you're here?" Apollo asked.

"As I've told you before, I'm a cop," Lisette said, proudly pointing to the badge on her hat. "Every morning I keep my body in shape, and every evening I unwind with some shows. Otherwise, you can see me as I patrol my beat."

"Do you have anything else to add?" Hugh asked.

"Nope. I'm a pretty simple girl," Lisette answered.

That was certainly a straightforward answer. Apollo thought, amused. "So why are you here? Do you need a defense attorney?" He said out loud.

Indeed I do," Lisette said, her expression a lot more grave. "I'm sure by now you've heard of the shooting at Vitamin Square. Well, my brother's been arrested as the primary suspect. His trial starts tomorrow."

The information matched up with the earlier news report about the shooting, which meant that Athena's shooting was something that he could very much investigate. Provided the client was actually innocent.

"Your brother. Would his name happen to be-"

Before Hugh could finish speaking something rang on Lisette's person, which turned out to be a pager. She glanced at it before facing the two attorneys.

"Go to the detention center, and tell them that I sent you," Lisette said. "I'd join you myself, but duty calls."

She dashed out the door without a word, leaving Apollo and Hugh with many questions, and profusely watering eyes. Nonetheless, they decided to listen to the cop's words and head out as well.

September 24, 2029

Detention center, visitor's room

4:39 p.m.

The moment Apollo mentioned Lisette's name the officers seem to know exactly who the suspect was, and they were escorted to the visitor's room in short order. The suspect turned out to be a young man, with unkempt black hair and dull black eyes behind a pair of round glasses. His face was noticeably covered in uneven stubble, and he wore stained a gray stained hoodie and sweatpants.

"I knew it. You're Logan Sullivan!" To Apollo, Hugh added quietly. "His sister looks just like him, so when I saw her at the agency I was reminded of him."

"So where did you meet Logan?" Apollo whispered back.

"Where else? He was the Shadow." Hugh said, contempt clear in his tone. "What I'm wondering is what he's doing out of jail."

Hugh's story cleared up the last of Apollo's questions. He had heard about this "Shadow" that had harassed Robin before trying to get her sent to jail, albeit only after the fact. He had been working the trial where he'd met Lisette on the same day.

"Are you two supposed to be the attorneys Lisette said she would send me?" Logan asked from the other side of the room. "Why are you just whispering to yourselves?"

So Lisette wants us to defend him? I suppose the least we can do is hear him out.

After Apollo and Hugh seated themselves, Apollo decided to open up with the usual introductory questions.

"So Logan, could you tell us more about yourself?"

"Why bother? I'm betting Mr. O'Conner told you all about me already," Logan answered tersely.

"Don't worry about Hugh, he's new. Just speak openly with us." Apollo said, glaring at Hugh and hoping that not too much damage had been done.

"I haven't actually hired you as my defense attorney," Logan spat out. "Nor do I plan to get one."

"Really? Don't you wish to get a not guilty verdict?" Hugh asked.

"What I want….doesn't really matter," Logan said moresly. "It's more to the point that my case can't actually be won."

Apollo narrowed his eyes so he could see if he could trust Logan's words- only for his eyes to start stinging fiercely. The faceful of pepper spray from earlier had effectively robbed him of his talent.

Looks like I can't rely on that, at least for now.

"Believe me, Logan, I've heard that one before," Apollo said in his best reassuring voice. "But before I can do anything I need you to talk to us."

Logan shifted uncomfortably in his chair but didn't say anything further. Hugh, feeling humiliated at being chastised, decided to try again.

"Forgive me for being so hasty," He said graciously. "Let's start over. When were you released from jail, and what have you done since then?"

Logan stared pensively at the ground. "I was released a few months ago, on good behavior. I returned home and tried to get back on track to becoming a Prosecutor, but no law program would accept me with my criminal record. I….haven't really done much else since then."

Hugh almost made a comment about how Logan should have thought twice before committing his crime, but the look on the man's face stopped him. The blue-suited defense attorney certainly didn't want to step anymore on someone that was already down.

The door behind Apollo and Hugh opened, and someone entered the room.

"Oh, hello there Logan. I didn't think I'd ever see you again. *cough cough*"

Juniper Woods seated herself in a chair between Apollo and Hugh, facing Logan directly. The two attorneys were caught completely off guard at their friend's sudden appearance.

"Juniper! Why are you here?" Hugh exclaimed.

"I…. needed to see the suspect of this crime face to face," Juniper said, her expression filled with resolve. "*cough cough* *cough cough* So I could ask them something."

Logan squirmed as he was pinned under Juniper's intense gaze, yet he seemed to be unable to avert himself away from his erstwhile crush.

"Logan, I'm only going to ask this once," Juniper said. "Did you shoot Athena?"

A tense silence filled the air, and after a long while Logan answered, "No, I didn't shoot Athena."

Juniper reared back in shock. "He's telling the truth! Logan's innocent of this crime."

Hugh and Apollo shared a concerned glance. Apollo certainly wasn't used to just taking his clients at their word, but right now there was no other choice. If Logan really was innocent….

"I have to go now," Juniper said suddenly. "Now that I've spoken with Logan, there's something I absolutely have to do."

Juniper rushed out the door before anyone could stop her. Apollo dug around in his pocket for the client agreement form and a pen and slid both in front of Logan.

"Please, consider letting us represent you. We'll fight for you as hard as we can."

Even as he began scowling again, Logan picked up the pen and signed the form. After that he stood up and left the room, presumably back to his holding cell.

"I guess that's that. Let's go, Hugh. We have to get started on our investigation."

As Hugh followed Apollo back outside he couldn't help but say, "Thinking of Logan as our client is going to take some getting used to."

"Better get used to it. We're the only thing standing between him and the false charges hanging over his head."

Though that did raise the question- who was the prosecutor that was building the case against Logan?

September 24, 2029

Prosecutor's office, Robin Newman's office

4:50 p.m.

Juniper quietly entered her girlfriend's small cubicle office. As expected from Robin, her personal belongings were scattered all around, such as her art supplies or several kinds of files. Robin herself was seated at her desk, filling out paperwork. As Juniper approached the desk she noticed that right in front of Robin was a picture of Juniper herself. It made the task ahead infinitely harder.

The moment Robin noticed Juniper she busted out one of her wide, cheeky grins, albeit one belied by the stress evident in her eyes.

"Juniper! I'm so happy you stopped by to see me. I didn't think I would get this case, but the Chief Prosecutor personally assigned it to me. Something about being useful overseeing the case since I witnessed the crime."

"Oh, that's interesting to hear," Juniper said, suppressing a cough. She'd been plagued with them all day, and she really didn't want to worry Robin anymore. "What are you working on?"

I'm preparing my witnesses for tomorrow's trial," Robin answered. "Which reminds me- here you g-o go!"

She handed Juniper a piece of paper, which turned out to be a procedure of some kind.

"You're going to be one of my witnesses. You're going to be an invaluable part of my case!" Robin's expression grew incredibly somber. "I know how hard it must be to remember seeing Athena get shot, so if you don't think you can testify just tell me. I'll figure something out."

Placing the paper down, Juniper grabbed Robin by the hands to make sure she was paying attention. She had to put a stop to this before it went any further.

"Robin, I don't think you should be prosecuting this case. *cough cough*"

When Robin fell silent Juniper took this as her cue to continue. "I visited Logan in the detention center. I asked him if he shot Athena and he said he didn't. The thing is, I actually believe him. Logan didn't commit this crime."

Robin's expression quickly became incredibly confused. "Are you okay, Juniper? Did you just say that the Shadow is innocent? That guy?"

Juniper staggered back, unable to believe the words coming out of Robin's mouth.

"Well, if you believe that then I guess you must have some evidence to prove it," Robin said, her tone almost demanding for said evidence to appear.

No, I don't have any evidence," Juniper said shakily. "But the look in Logan's eyes wasn't of someone that could do something as horrible as this."

"Huh? But this is Logan we're talking about!" Robin said, her voice raising. "You probably only saw what he wanted you to see."

"It wasn't like that! Please believe me," Juniper said, her own voice becoming ragged with hurt.

"I've spent the past two days investigating this crime with the detective before I made my arrest," Robin said. "Are you telling me all of that was wrong? Are you?!"

No! But maybe it's too soon to decide something like that," Juniper said. "Evidence has been wrong before. You know this, Robin."

"But this time's different!" Robin shouted, becoming increasingly unwound. "This my first trial, and you're telling to just abandon it for no good reason!"

"Are my words not reason enough?" Juniper shouted back. "Do you honestly not believe in me? After all we've been through together?"


Robin slammed her fist into her desk, cutting off any further conversation. The silence that followed felt jagged, as if something had just broken between them.

"I want to believe you," Robin finally said, her voice filled with pain. "But even if I wanted to ditch this trial, the Chief Prosecutor wouldn't let me. Not without any real evidence."

Most of the pain in Juniper fled, replaced with determination. If that's what it would take to get through to her girlfriend, there was only one thing to do.

"Where are you going?" Robin asked as Juniper started leaving.

"To find some evidence to convince you," Juniper said softly, before closing the door behind her.

"What- what have I just done?" Robin asked herself, left alone in a cold office.

Now you've done it, said the familiar sinister voice. You've finally driven her away, just like I always thought you would.


You know what you must do, as a Prosecutor. Get that scumbag Logan the verdict he deserves. You know he did it. He's guilty guilty guilty guilty guilty guilty-

As her eyesight began dimming and Robin felt her head collide with the desk, the same word echoed over and over again in her head, like some kind sick chant.

September 24, 2029

Vitamin Square

4:50 p.m.

The next destination was the crime scene, a playground known as Vitamin Square, where forensics were already hard at work. Among them was Ema Skye, who briefly acknowledged Apollo and Hugh before continuing her work examining a large plastic strawberry.

In the middle of all the chaos was what appeared to be an older teen. The teen had black hair that was parted down the middle, a serious, studious expression, and narrow, dark-colored eyes. He wore a grey overcoat over a black-spotted red hoodie and dark slacks. Oddly enough, he carried around a notepad emblazoned with "The Mighty Moozilla", and the footprints he was leaving in the sand were shaped like cow hooves.

"Hello? May we speak with the detective in charge of this crime scene?" Hugh called out.

The teen heard this and approached the attorneys. " That would be me. Detective John Marsh. Now did you call me over for a reason or are you just wasting my time?"

"Wait, you're the detective in charge?" Apollo asked, shocked. "Aren't you an actor?"

"He was. The Mighty Moozilla series were a favorite at my household, at least before I left," Hugh said. "Although, I did hear that you abruptly dropped off the face of the earth a few years after being involved in some incidents."

Apollo had remember hearing much about the young child actor as well. He had found the reboot of Mighty Moozilla to be okay enough, if a bit heavy handed with its message about the environment. John had gone on to act in a few more movies before stopping for unexplained reasons.

"Hmph. Shows how much you know," John answered. "A few years ago into a fell into a rut in my acting career. Didn't feel like I was going anywhere in life. So while filming in Europe I decided to explore new career options. Decided to go into law enforcement. Felt like it's where I would start making a difference, among other reasons."

Europe. Well, that does explain how he's already a detective.

"At least you didn't spout some nonsense about how I'm too young to be at a crime scene," John Marsh added. "Though I suspect you two already know all about that."

The three men shared a moment of intense kinship over the fact that they all looked much younger than they truly were. Apollo decided it was time to get down to business.

"Detective Marsh, we're defense attorneys," Apollo explained. "I'm Apollo Justice and this is Hugh O'Conner. And we'd like to ask permission to investigate the crime."

"So you're the ones defending Mr. Sullivan," Detective Marsh said. "As long as you don't get in the way, knock yourselves out. I doubt you'll find anything helpful, though."

"One more thing," Hugh said. "Would you happen to know who is prosecuting this case?"

John smirked. "I don't need to tell you that."

That's a really odd answer. Is Blackquill or Klavier prosecuting then? No matter. We need to start investigating. Crime scene, here comes Justice!

Vitamin Square was a well-known locale, although that was mainly due to the infamous places in it's vicinity. If Apollo remembered correctly, one of Mr. Wright's cases even took place at a dining place near here. The first place Apollo's eyes were drawn towards were the splotches of blood in the middle of the playground.

"That's where the victim landed after she fell over," Detective Marsh explained.

"So what exactly happened to her? All we know so far is that she got shot."

"That's about it, Mr. Justice. This copy of the report from the Hotti Clinic should explain it better."

Hospital report added to the Court Record

"'Shot once in the gut, from the front from a distance of at least 10 feet.'" Hugh read the report from behind Apollo. "By the looks of it, Athena got lucky that the bullet didn't end up somewhere more damaging."

Apollo felt his mind shudder violently at the thought. "Let's not think about that. Though speaking of bullets….Detective Marsh, can you tell us what kind of gun was used?"

Jon shook his head. "You'll know soon enough, at the trial tomorrow. Or did you expect me to give away everything? I'm not that generous."

"Gah!" His mood took a dive pretty fast.

Hugh studied the ground around the crime scene. "I see that four sets of footprints have been marked by the police. Two of them would belong to Athena and the shooter, but what about the latter two?"

Detective Marsh grabbed a file from his overcoat and opened it. "Those footprints belong the two witnesses. Before you ask, neither of them could possibly be the culprit, so don't get any funny ideas."

"Of course not. Because that would be far too easy." Apollo muttered under his breath.

Detective Marsh grabbed a paper from his file. "Here, come look at this map of the crime scene."

The map in question depicted the playground and all it's equipment, with relevant markings made by the police.

"The defendant and Miss Cykes faced off against each other here, near this large plastic strawberry," Detective Marsh said, pointing to the indicated place. "Shortly after Mr. Sullivan fired the shot, the witnesses came upon the scene. At that point he fled the scene with one witness in hot pursuit. All four people that were on the scene that day entered from the large gate."

If even half of what Jon is saying is true we're already in trouble. But then again, what else is new.

Vitamin Square Map added to the Court Record.

Asking for the name of the witnesses seemed like the next logical step, but Apollo had a feeling Detective Marsh would just clam up again. Instead, he looked towards the aforementioned plastic strawberry, where Ema was currently working. Apollo and Hugh walked towards her.

"What happened to your faces? It looks like a swarm of bees got to them," Ema said by way of greeting.

"We we're pepper sprayed by our client's sister," Apollo said tiredly. "That's not even the worst thing to happen today."

"Investigation not going so hot, huh?"

"Is this supposed to feel like we're tripping around in the dark?" Hugh asked, grasping the proof of friendship around his neck.

"Pretty much. And every few minutes we hit ourselves against endless walls," Apollo said, looking at the two bracelets around his wrists: The golden bracelet from his mother and the red clay band from Robin. Both were comforting to look at.

"Well, as it happens I might have just the thing for you!" Ema exclaimed, her passion for science glimmering in her eyes. "See this strawberry?"

"I suppose so," Hugh answered. "The culprit was standing near it, judging by the footprints near the base."

"So you would think. But with a little help from forensics, the inside of this plastic fruit tells a very different story."

Apollo and Hugh obligingly looked inside the strawberry. The bottom was covered in sand from the playground. Ema, entering from another hole, proceeded to spray liquid at the bottom. In a matter of seconds, a pair of footprints began to shine in the dim light.

"Ah ha! And just like that, the culprit goes from being outside the strawberry to being inside of it!" Ema said, almost glowing with satisfaction.

This certainly is new information. I wonder how it ties into this case? "So about what you just discovered…"

"It certainly won't be finding it's way into my report, if that's what you're asking."

"You certainly are a great ally, and a commendable researcher," Hugh said, impressed.

Hollow Strawberry added to the Court Record

Apollo peered at Ema. "How have you been holding up?"

Ema looked down, pained. "I've been managing. As much as it hurts thinking about Athena in the hospital, it also reminds me of why I follow the path of forensics. Because a long time ago, I swore to myself to use science to help out my sister."

Right. The incident that she was tied up in where Mr. Wright defended Lana Skye, the Chief Prosecutor at the time.

"You know, it was science that brought us together," Ema continued, a small smile now on her face. "Athena always told me how much she admired my passion towards forensics. Then she started teaching me about her ears and how they connect to Widget and we fell for each other from there."

Ema's eyes lit up with determination. "So I'm going to solve this case, for her and for myself. Which means I can't waste anymore here." With that, she bustled off to a different area of the crime scene.

"I think it's time we pay Logan another visit. There's a lot of question surrounding this case," Hugh said. "Maybe he can answer some."

Now that we have a general picture of the crime, that does seem like a good idea.

September 24, 2029

Detention Center

5:19 p.m.

On the way to the detention center they ran into Lisette going the same way as them.

"So how's the investigation going?" Lisette asked.

"Well, we've managed to get a general idea of what happened, so we're going to see Logan to clear up some details," Apollo said.

"That's not good enough!" Lisette shouted, pouting. "I thought the lawyers of the Wright Anything Agency would be better than this?"

"We're doing all we can, but even a natural genius would have some trouble here," Hugh said, distressed.

"Well work faster, or I'll place you both under arrest!" Lisette declared, waving her nightstick in front of their faces.

And just what exactly have you been doing?

As Logan was brought into the visiting room he had the same troubled expression as before. As he took notice of his visitors, however, his mood immediately shifted.

"Lissy!" He said, brightening up for the first time. "You're here to visit me! How have been?"

"Of course I'm here! I visited you in jail, didn't I?" Lisette chided gently. "As for how I'm doing, I've been on the clock non-stop. I've hardly had time to breathe! What about you, Logan?"

"There hasn't been much to do, really," Logan said, his cheer deflating. "Just lay on my cot all day. Of course, I'm pretty used to it."

Hugh looked in between the two siblings. "You two really look alike."

"Of course we do! We're fraternal twins," Lisette said.

Apollo felt the need to mention that fraternal twins didn't work like that, but decided it wasn't worth the headache. All things considered, it was plausible and he'd seen stranger.

"Lissy and I have shared almost everything our whole lives," Logan explained. "We've shared beds, toys, even clothes. Not a day goes by where we don't do something together."

"I remember when I told Dad I wanted to marry you," Lisette said teasingly to her brother. "I think I was about six at the time."

Logan chuckled at the memory. "He actually thought you were serious and panicked for a good two days until you had to tell him you were joking."

"That's just great," Apollo said, a bit miffed at how this had nothing to do with the case. "I'll bet you two even weigh the same."

Lisette and Logan seriously contemplated the thought.

"You know what, I think we did weigh the same at one point," Logan said thoughtfully.

"I was kidding!" Apollo shouted, horrified.

"But you've slimmed quite a bit, so probably not," Lisette said, ignoring Apollo completely. "I've been meaning to diet, so maybe we can embark on one together-"

"Stop. Talking!"

"So why are you two here?" Logan asked, addressing his attorneys.

"We were hoping to ask you about the day of the crime," Hugh said. "So we can prepare the best defense for you at tomorrow's trial."

"Oh. About that." Logan scowled at the ground. "I'm not sure you want to hear this."

"Just tell them," Logan," Lisette said. "They'll get you off the hook no matter what you say."

"If you say so. On the day of the crime, I was supposed to meet with Cykes at Vitamin Square."

"Wait. WHHHHAAATTT?!" Hugh and Apollo shouted.

"You heard me the first time," Logan said irritably. "I called her a few days ago because I wanted to talk to her. So she set up a meeting at that playground. But when I went there on the day of the crime, no one was there. I returned home wondering why Cykes didn't show up, but then the police showed up to arrest me."

"Did you know that Athena was going to meet up with Logan?" Hugh whispered to Apollo.

He shook his head. This was very bad for their case. Logan's hesitance certainly made a lot of sense given the bad light this painted him in.

"Are you sure this is the truth?"

"It is," Logan said. "I don't know what other evidence the prosecution has planned, but the detective seemed very confident in his arrest of me."

"Apollo, do you know where the shooter fled after they left the crime scene?"

The attorney leafed through the papers that Detective Marsh gave to them. "According to this report, the shooter was chased for about five miles before slipping into an alleyway."

"Then that should be the last stop in our investigation," Hugh said, adjusting his glasses. "We need more clues if we hope to stand a chance tomorrow."

The day is already almost over. We should wrap things up soon.

September 24, 2029

5:31 p.m.

On the way to the alley they ran into Juniper again. Hugh immediately tensed upon seeing his close friend; she was noticeably looking exhausted, physically and emotionally.

"Juniper, where have you been all day?" Hugh asked.

"Actually, I've been looking for you two," Juniper answered. "I wanted to ask if I could join the defense team."

"Hugh turned to Apollo. "I think Juniper could be a wonderful asset. What do you think?"

The offer was a welcome one, and yet there was something about this that was far too simple. A question nagged in the back of Apollo's mind, and as much as a part of him didn't want to he had to ask it.

"Juniper, are you involved in this case?"

Juniper flinched at the question. "I….*cough cough* I witnessed the crime. *cough cough cough*"

"I was afraid of that," Apollo sighed. "That probably means you'll take the stand tomorrow. Which means we can't let you accompany us. If we did the police could accuse us of tampering with you."

"….No! *cough cough* I c-can't- I can't do anything right!"

Before Apollo could stop her Juniper ran from them. Hugh glared at Apollo in disgust.

"I didn't know that's how you treated witnesses. Feh, but I'm sure you've got it all figured out."

Great. Now I'm the bad guy here. Then again, maybe I could have been less blunt about it.

Juniper ran without any destination in mind. She just wanted to get far away from everything. From how her life seemed to be falling apart before her very eyes. Eventually, she ran out of breath and she stood in the middle of nowhere, trying to catch her breath.

"Now what am I supposed to do?" Juniper asked into the world, looking at the setting sun while a feeling of complete helplessness began to overwhelm her. "I can't go back to Robin, not after what I said to her. *cough cough* But I'm not allowed to be on the defense, either. I can't do anything…"

She sank to her knees, clutching onto her proof of friendship. Right here, right now, Juniper was completely alone in the world. No matter to whom she called out, there wouldn't be an answer.

That doesn't mean there's nothing left.

Juniper started at the words in her head. They sounded a lot like Judge Courtney. But what was she saying?

Turn your thinking around. Remember what a Judge is, and you will find your answer.

As Juniper stood up, the memories came flooding back. A judge was someone that was neither prosecutor or defense attorney. Despite that, they could still sway a case, in their own unique way.

"I guess in a way, a witness is a lot like a judge," Juniper said aloud, processing the ideas. "Neither of them have the same authority as an attorney or a prosecutor."

The idea hit Juniper like a bolt of lightning. Maybe she couldn't do anything right now, but she was still a witness. There was still something she alone could do.

Juniper rushed in the direction of her home. She needed to take down as many details of the crime that she could. Somewhere in there, there was a truth that no one else knew, and she was going to find it.

September 24, 2029

Outside the alleyway

5:54 p.m.

Waiting outside the alleyway was the last surprise of the evening- Robin Newman, looking into the alley as sounds of police issued from the corridors.

"Hello, Robin!" Hugh called out joyfully. "So you're the one assigned to this case? I feel better already."

Unfortunately the relief didn't last long; much like with Juniper, the moment Robin turned to face them Hugh could tell something was horribly wrong. Robin's eyes gazed at them, dull and lifeless.

"Oh, it's you. Of course it's you," She said, monotone.

"Hello to you too, Robin?" Apollo said uncertainly. "I guess the case hit you pretty hard as well."

"Right, the case. Of course that's all you're thinking of," Robin said, her expression filled with contempt.

Hugh made to ask Robin what was wrong, but Apollo stopped him. They needed to ask about the alley first.

"Robin, we need to investigate-"

"That's not going to happen, I'm afraid," Robin said, gesturing to the setting sun. "We're not finished here, and there's not going to be light soon."

Apollo gnashed his teeth in frustration. She was right- they could barely see as it was. If only we had started this investigation sooner.

Unexpectedly, Robin pointed her finger at Apollo. "Let me make one thing clear, right now," She said angrily. "This is one case you're not going to win."

Before anyone could respond to this she marched into the alleyway. Leaving her friends with nothing but an endless pool of questions, with no answers in sight.

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23: Put it all on the line

September 25, 2029

District Courthouse

The judge, face obscured by shadow, nevertheless glared down at Robin. "Do you understand the charges being raised against you?"

"I understand them!" Robin shouted from the defendant's chair. "But I don't understand why they're being brought up now!"

"But you don't deny that you committed these crimes," Logan said smugly from the prosector's bench. "Face it. You can't run from your guilt anymore."

"My guilt?" Robin turned to the defense's bench, only to find no one there. Next she desperately looked the the Judge. "Just what do you want from me?"

The judge leaned forward, and Robin found herself staring right into her own face.

"You know exactly what I mean, don't y-o-u?"

Robin jerked herself awake from her napping spot, a couch in the Prosecutor's lobby. That nightmare was a recurring one, but it was a first time it had been so clear. Robin could only begin to guess what had caused it. It might have been returning to an empty home yesterday. Just as likely it was the anticipation of today's trial.

When she first looked over the paperwork for today's trial it made the prosecutor want to laugh. Not only did the defense consist of her best friend Hugh and Apollo, but it was to be held in courtroom number four.

Courtroom number four, where her friendship with Hugh and Juniper had been placed to the ultimate test. Where Robin's life had been changed forever, and also where an explosion had almost taken Juniper away forever….

It was almost as if her entire life up until now had been preparing her for this case, for this trial today.

Robin fiercely gripped her proof of friendship. Once again, her bonds were being hacked away, and she could actually lose a lot of precious people this time. But she was far too committed to this trial to just stop. She would just have to take this head on, as she always did.

Juniper Woods sat in a chair in the witness waiting lobby, accompanied by Detective Marsh but effectively alone with her thoughts. She had spent the night at Athena and Ema's place- returning home was too painful a prospect right now. Thankfully Ema and her sister Lana had been very accommodating. Even more painful was the fact that she had yet to see Robin again. The last time had been after Juniper had left Robin's office after their fight, and it was Detective Marsh had showed up to escort her to the courthouse this morning.

Two things kept Juniper going right now- the first being the hope that as desolate as everything was things could only get better, and the second her resolve to guide this case to the best of her ability. All her memories, her feelings, would be laid bare on the witness stand today. Juniper was determined to do this, even if it was on her own.

September 25, 2029

District Courthouse, Defendant Lobby #5

9:30 a.m.

In the lobby three men stood in a circle in the middle of the room: Hugh, Apollo, and Logan.

"Well Hugh, today's going to be the first time you officially stand in court as a defense attorney. How do you feel?"

"A lot like I'm about to be sick, actually." Indeed, Hugh was looking rather green.

"Don't worry, that's normal," Apollo said, while hoping Hugh wasn't about to throw up.

"This isn't exactly instilling a lot of confidence in me," Logan muttered.

"I'm not sure it's the right time for confidence," Apollo stated bluntly. "Something about this case just doesn't feel right."

At this point he would have asked Mr. Wright for advice, but he was currently on one of his mysterious missions. Likely ironing out the details of the Jurist System, which was still being integrated. This trial wouldn't be making use of it, unfortunately.

Across from him Hugh grew thoughtful. "I think I know what you mean. It's like there's something hiding just out of view."

"You both….are going to be able to do this, right?" Logan asked nervously.

Apollo pumped his fists. "Don't worry, we will win this trial. But I think some Chords of Steel are in order. I'M APOLLO JUSTICE AND I'M FINE!"

Hugh reluctantly followed this up with, "I'm Hugh O'Conner, and I'm fine."

"Oh, am I next? I'm not sure what this point of this is, but here goes- I'm Logan Sullivan, and I'm fine!"

September 25, 2029

District Courthouse, Courtroom #4

10:00 a.m.

Day 1

Court is now in Session


The familiar sound of the gavel striking the podium rang through the courtroom, followed by the Judge's voice.

"Court is now in session for the trial of Logan Sullivan."

"The defense is ready, Your Honor!" Apollo announced. If there was one constant in life, it was the sight of the familiar grey-bearded judge that had presided over all of Apollo's trials. After hearing of Athena's experience with Judge Courtney, Apollo was privately glad deal with someone he knew well.

"The prosecution is ready," Robin stated simply from the other side of the courtroom.

Hugh immediately frowned at this. "Whatever kind of mood got ahold of Robin yesterday is still here today. This isn't good."

"I understand that this is your debut trial, Prosecutor Newman," The Judge said.

"Oh, I k-n-o-w," Robin said. "But I fully intend to see the defendant pay for his crimes."

"Well, at least some things are the same?" Apollo said uncertainly. "Hopefully we aren't too badly off."

"The Prosecution can now give it's opening statement."

Robin's expression grew angry. "Two days ago, someone went to Vitamin Square to commit cold-blooded murder. AND ATHENA WAS THE TARGET! So I'm here to prove that the shooter was the defendant, Logan Sullivan."

The crowd in the gallery chattered amongst themselves, already forming their own opinion on what happened.

"Should we do something?" Hugh asked.

"With how little we know about this case, maybe we should get more information first," Apollo answered.

The Judge mulled over the opening statement.

"The prosecution's passion aside, this is a very serious charge."

"Which is why I have two witnesses lined up to prove my case, Your Honor," Robin said, an uncanny grin on her face.

"Very well. You may call your witnesses." The Judge said.

"The prosecution calls to the stand the detective assigned to this case!"

When Detective Marsh took the stand, the defense noticed he had what looked like a sandwich in his right hand.

What, did he miss breakfast or something? Apollo thought to himself.

"Name and occupation?" Robin asked.

"John Marsh. I'm the lead detective on this case," John answered.

"I see you have a sandwich with you," The Judge noted. "Food isn't allowed in the courtroom."

"I know, but I pulled an all-nighter preparing for today's trial and I haven't eaten yet," John said irritably. "So you'll excuse me if I eat here just this once."

"I'd hope you get to enjoy that grilled-cheese sandwich," Robin said playfully. "Justine woke up early to make it just for you."

"H-hey, don't go spouting off stuff like that!" Detective Marsh exclaimed, turning bright red.

"Justine Courtney is his adoptive mother," Hugh told Apollo in clarification.

"Wait, so his mom still makes him breakfast?" Apollo said incredulously.

"Just this once, okay!" John shouted. "I'll have you know that-"

Robin struck her hand against the bench. "Let's drop it so we can get to the testimony, kay? Tell us about what happened at Vitamin Square."

"Got it, Boss."

Witness Testimony

Outline of the crime

A week ago the defendant arranged a meeting with the victim.

On the day of the crime, the victim met with the defendant, only to be shot.

At this point a pair of witnesses came upon the scene,

Which caused the defendant to drop the gun at the scene.

One of the witnesses chased after the defendant,

While the second called for an ambulance.

The nature of the crime is a clear indication of intent.

In other words, this shooting was meant to be a premeditated murder.

End Testimony

"OBJECTION!" Apollo slammed his fists onto his bench. "While my client admits to arranging a meeting with Athena, he states that she didn't show up!"

"And yet Athena wound up taking a bullet anyway," Robin countered. "So excuse me if I don't believe Logan."

"Looks like we have to dig around for a contradiction," Hugh said. "It shouldn't be too much trouble."

Apollo examined the statements to see which one would require a closer look first, and decided on the first.

"HOLD IT! You're being a little too vague here," Apollo said. "Why would Athena meet with Logan in the first place?"

"I would think you'd know the answer to that," Detective Marsh said. "He is your client, after all."

"He, um, hasn't made that entirely clear," Apollo said, aware that he had a point.

"To answer your question, we investigated the defendant," John continued. "And found that his phone records show he did indeed call Miss Cykes a week ago. But since conversations aren't normally recorded, we can't know how the conversation went, and the defendant is being oddly tight-lipped about it."

"Oh. That's good to know," Apollo said, already feeling himself deflating. He had allowed Logan his silence since Logan supposedly had nothing to do with the crime, but that was looking more and more to be a bad move.

Back at the cross-examination, Apollo looked for somewhere safer to attack next. He zeroed in on the last statement, and knew he couldn't let it stand.

"HOLD IT! Premeditated murder? So you honestly believe Logan called up Athena just to kill her?"

Robin put on a thoughtful look as she twirled her hair with her left hand. "Hmmm, maybe you're right. Maybe he didn't mean to kill her at first. But the meeting certainly turned violent quickly."

"What do you mean?" Hugh asked.

"If you w-i-l-l, Detective Marsh."

John pulled out what appeared to be large photos from a file. "If you'll look at this picture taken by the paramedics that arrived at the scene."

The picture was of Athena laying on face-down on the ground, a visible bullet wound on her back around the torso area. In one hand she was holding her cell phone.

The paramedics were focused on saving Miss Cykes' life, so they left the phone alone," Detective Marsh said. "When I saw the phone, I noticed it had a nine on the screen."

"In other words, the victim feared for her life enough to start calling for the police," The Judge said.

"Eh heh heh. But she was cut off by Mr. Sullivan here deciding to shoot her," Robin added.

"Was that supposed to happen?" Hugh asked nervously. "Because I think we made everything worse."

"How I wish I could tell you this was unusual," Apollo said, now getting a dreadful feeling in his stomach.

Cell Phone added to the Court Record.

One look at the Judge told Apollo that he needed to act fast, of the trial would end really fast. Looking over the testimony, he realized that Ema's findings would come in handy.

"OBJECTION! So Detective Marsh. You think Athena confronted the my client? Well have I got evidence for you," Apollo said smugly. "At Vitamin Square there's a giant plastic strawberry."

"What of it, Mr. Justice?" Detective Marsh asked.

"Well, we found trace evidence inside there. Evidence that says that the shooter was inside the strawberry at the moment of the crime!"

John, who had been in the middle of eating, started choking on his sandwich. "Wh-what? Why is this the first I'm hearing of this?"

"This is even supported by the earlier evidence," Apollo continued. "The report on Athena's wound states that the shot was from at least ten feet. Which is well within the range of the giant strawberry."

Robin started giggling. "Oh, so what you're saying is that Logan was inside the strawberry. In other words, he was waiting for Athena at their meeting place so he could shoot her. Sounds like premeditated murder to me."

"No, that's not what I meant!" Apollo said hurriedly. I meant, while Athena was waiting for Logan to show up, the shooter was already there and intercepted her."

"Weren't you listening to me yesterday? Clean out your ears," Detective Marsh said. "They only two people at the park besides the shooter and the victim were two witnesses, and neither of them could possibly be the culprit."

With Juniper being one of the witnesses, Apollo was inclined to agree, but admitting that would likely cost him the case. As it was, he would have to play risky and try for the mystery second witness.

"Well, we already know one of those witnesses is going to testifying," Apollo said. "What about the second one? Why haven't they been called to the stand?"

On the other side of the courtroom, Robin's expression took on a lifeless gaze again. "Simple. That's because I'm the second witness."

In the stands an uproar arose, with the main question being how the prosecution could have witnessed the crime.

"I was on a date with my girlfriend," Robin explained. "And we came upon the crime by chance."

"This certainly explains a lot," Hugh said sympathetically. "Including why Juniper and Robin have been acting so strangely. I can't imagine how they feel right now."

"As bad as that is, this isn't doing our case any favors either," Apollo said. "I wonder just what exactly they saw?"

The Judge slammed down his gavel.

"Enough. I believe we have a clear picture of the crime," He said.

"Glad you see things our way," Detective Marsh said. "Because we aren't done presenting our case yet."

"N-e-x-t, we answer the question of why the defendant committed the crime," Robin said.

Hugh turned to Apollo. "Did you get the sense that Logan would have a reason to want to hurt Athena?"

Apollo caught onto Hugh's train of thought. "No, I didn't. Which means that this next testimony will likely have the contradiction we need!"

Witness Testimony

Logan's motive

The defendant was the one to reach out the Miss Cykes first,

So Logan likely already had a topic in mind to speak with her about.

And there is only one connection between these two:
The fact that Miss Cykes contributed to Logan's imprisonment.

So when they met in Vitamin Square this was likely what they discussed,

And thus the reason why Logan shot Athena.

End Testimony

The two defense attorneys processed the testimony. Hugh decided to speak up first.

"So Robin believes that the Shadow incident is connected to this."

"Unfortunately, I'm not sure we have what we need to break this testimony head on," Apollo said. "Let's hammer away at it until we find a crack."

The game plan was the same as it was whenever Apollo found himself in situation like this: Press everything.

"HOLD IT! So are you honestly suggesting my client called up Athena to arrange a murder?"

"That is what I'm saying," Detective Marsh said. "After all, it can't be a coincidence that this crime occurred during this meeting."

"And with how Mr. Sullivan's life has been recently, it would make sense if he felt a lot of resentment." Robin added.

No evidence seems to help here, and pressing doesn't seem to do much good. So then the best thing to do is….

"The let's ask Logan ourselves," Apollo said, exuding confidence. "Logan, you don't hold what happened to you against Athena, do you?"

Logan stayed silent for an uncomfortably long time, then finally said. "Newman, let me ask you something. Did you actually see me at Vitamin Square?"

"Apollo, why didn't he answer the question?" Hugh asked worriedly.

"Because he knew we wouldn't like the answer, Hugh," Apollo said, starting to feeling angry at their client.

Robin shook her head. "Ah ah ah. You know full well that we didn't see you."

"...! You didn't actually see Logan? How is that possible? And how did you come to the conclusion that he was the shooter?"

"If that's all you want to know, we can answer that just fine," Robin said. "If you will, Detective Marsh."

Witness Testimony

Truth behind the mystery

The defendant arrived the park prepared:

He dressed himself in concealing clothing,

With the intention of making sure no one could recognize him.

Which would have worked, if he hadn't made a fatal mistake.

He dropped his gun at the scene of the crime.
A gun that is registered to the Sullivan home.

It was through analyzing the gun that he was revealed as the culprit.

Because it is decisive from several different aspects.

End Testimony

"OBJECTION! If this gun was truly decisive, then why wasn't it presented at that start of this trial?"

Robin twirled delightly. "Ah ha ha ha ha! I was always planning to present this evidence," She said. "But not before making sure there's no hole in my case."

"Hmph. It seems like we've reached the crux of the matter," Hugh said lightly. "But I know Robin. For her to save something like this for last means she's not sure of it."

"Then I won't hold back. Look out testimony, here comes Justice!"

Even a cursory glance at this testimony proved Hugh's point: for example, "concealing clothing" was overly vague.

"HOLD IT! Just what do are you claiming my client was wearing?"

Detective Marsh flipped through his notepad. "A black hoodie, a pair of slacks, running shoes, and a pair of gloves."

"Something interesting about those clothes," Robin continued. "As far as we can tell, all of them were the wrong size."

"The wrong size? Isn't that proof against your case?" Hugh said.

"You would think so, but in fact it's intentionally misleading," Detective Marsh explained. For example, the pants were a size too small. It would be uncomfortable, but not impossible to move in. The jacket we estimate to be a size too large, which was likely picked to better hide his body type and head. It's when we get to the shoes that the trick is revealed."

Detective Marsh produced a pair of grey running shoes, as well as the pants. "These shoes are a size and a half too big. But inside the shoes are balled up pieces of paper. Clear proof that the culprit was trying to throw us off his scent with the mismatched clothing."

Culprit's outfit added to the Court Record.

"This all makes a lot of sense," The Judge said. "Does the defense have anything to add."

Apollo slammed his fists onto the bench. "I do, Your Honor! Why hasn't the hoodie been presented?"

"Unfortunately, we have yet to find it," Robin said. "Logan must have stuffed it somewhere more inaccessible, or gotten rid of it. After all, his head would leave traces of him in the hood, like a hair."

The prosecutor dug around in her pocket. "Thankfully, we can still see what it looks like!"

She presented a photo to the court. "While I was chasing the defendant, I managed to snap a pic of him with my cell phone."

Depicted in the photo was the back of someone indeed wearing a black hoodie. The front of the person couldn't been seen, which was good news to the defense. A timestamp in the corner of the photo read, "1:15 p.m."

Photo of culprit added to the Court Record.

"I don't see Logan in this picture. However, Robin did chase someone," Apollo observed.

"That's Robin for you," Hugh said affectionately. "There's still the gun to take care of."

The gun being where Detective Marsh had suddenly stopped cooperating. Was it because it was good evidence, or was it just the opposite?

"HOLD IT! I'd like to ask the Prosecution something. Why did the shooter drop the gun?" Apollo asked.

"Why e-l-s-e? Because of Juniper and me," Robin said. "After the culprit saw us they clearly became panicked, considering the next thing they did was run."

"Seems like a reasonable enough conclusion," Hugh said. "Unless there's something strange about this testimony?"

Apollo shook his head. It seemed like this line of questioning was a bust, so the only thing left to do was try again.

"HOLD IT! Besides being owned by the defendant's family, what is decisive about this gun?"

Detective Marsh produced the gun in question. "There were six bullets inside this gun before it was fired," He explained. "A bullet was found buried in a tree behind the victim, and rifling marks prove it came from the gun."

"Six bullets? That seems a little excessive!" Apollo exclaimed.

"Or, it could be a mark of a determined murderer." Robin said.

On the stand Detective Marsh kept explaining. "If you couldn't already tell, this is a six-shot revolver. .35 caliber, so it does a lot of damage to a target while still being relatively safe to use for the shooter."

Revolver added to the Court Record

"I still don't see how this points to our client," Apollo said, emphasizing the point.

"Well once again, Mr. Sullivan tried to pull the wool over our eyes," Detective Marsh said. "This gun's grip is covered in glove marks. However, we can tell it was wiped clean at some point previously."

In the defendant's chair Logan began to squirm, much to Apollo's alarm. Just what was going on here?

Glove Marking data added to the Court Record.

Hugh looked over to Apollo. "Looks like there's a lot Logan failed to tell us, though I'm not to surprised. What's your take on things?"

"Our client aside, there's still something wrong with this testimony. Let's see what happens when bring it up," Apollo said.

At this point in the trial aggressive action had to be taken, so Apollo drew in his breath and yelled,

"OBJECTION! When we compare the gun used in the crime to Detective Marsh's testimony, there's a clear contradiction."

"Oh? And just what might that be?" Robin asked.

"This weapon, in no shape or form, indicts Logan of the crime!" Apollo declared. "Anyone could have used the gun as long as they had it with them."

"Oh! The defense is absolutely correct," The Judge said. "Does the prosecution have anything to say to this?"

Robin started giggling at this, while at the witness stand Detective Marsh gave the defense a pitying look. "You both must think we're pretty stupid, huh?" John snarled.

"Well, if the prosecution would be more willing to share information we wouldn't have this problem," Hugh fired back.

Robin set up a miniature easel on her bench and placed a paper on it. "Oh, is that all you wanted? Our bad. It's true that the gun's outside has no real evidence. Which is why I had John look inside the gun. At the bullets in the barrel."

"And of the six bullets, one was fired, while five remained inside, with four covered in glove marks," Detective Marsh said. "Then there's the fifth bullet. Dusting it revealed a damning piece of evidence: Logan Sullivan's fingerprints."

"Wh-WHHHHHAAAAAATTTTTT!"Apollo screamed, rearing back so far he managed to smack himself against the gallery behind him.

Bullet added to the Court Record.

A panicked Hugh looked at Logan. "What is the meaning of this, Logan?"

"I don't know why that's in there!" He shouted desperately.

"But it's perfectly clear," Robin said, wagging her finger at Logan. "All it takes is a single moment of carelessness. Forgetting to wear the gloves just once. This bullet reveals that you loaded the gun. There's only one reason anyone would load a gun: to shoot someone with it."

Logan turned towards Apollo again. "Please tell her, Mr. Justice. Tell Newman that I didn't shoot Cykes!"

Before Logan could say another word bailiffs restrained him, and the Judge slammed his gavel down to settle the court.

"Is there anything left we can do?" Hugh asked.

Apollo looked over the evidence, eyes darting back and forth. "I honestly don't know, Hugh. I'm supposed to believe in Logan's innocence. But right now I don't know what to think!"

The Judge shook his head. "It seems…. There will not be a need to listen to the second witness."

"Your Honor, if you'll just let us-"

"Unfortunately, I see no room for doubt in the case as it stands, so I'm prepared to hand down a verdict."

Apollo and Hugh could do nothing but stand there, words failing them.

"This court finds the defendant, Logan Sullivan-"


As soon as the objection rang out, everyone tried to see who had called it out, only to see no one. Then the doors to the courtroom burst open, and Juniper Woods strode inside and walked to the witness stand.

"Was that shout from you, young lady?" The Judge asked.

"It was," Juniper answered, her eyes blazing with resolve.

"Now why on earth would you do that?"

"To tell the prosecutor-" She pointed straight at Robin. "That this trial can't end just yet!"

Already bailiffs were starting to approach Juniper, while Hugh and Apollo still couldn't find anything to say. While the interruption of the verdict was a relief, neither of them knew just what was going on in this trial anymore.

"Prosecutor Newman, should this woman be escorted from this courtroom?" The Judge asked.

When Juniper first burst into the courtroom Robin had of course been surprised. But at her girlfriend's words, the prosecutor actually started grinning.

"Ah, you believe in your conclusion this much," She said. "I see now. No, she can stay. As it happens, this is my second witness."

"I'd like to testify for the court, if you'd let me," Juniper said, her expression now a lot harder to read.

Detective Marsh, still at the witness stand, shoot a concerned look at Robin. "We could wrap things up right now."

"If Juniper wants to give her testimony so badly, let her." Robin answered. "I call her to the stand!"

Detective Marsh left the witness stand, to be replaced by Juniper. Whatever had propelled her to interrupt the verdict seemed to leave her, as she grew meeker and more nervous with each passing minute.

"State your name and occupation."

"I-I'm Juniper Woods," Juniper said. "My occupation? Um, I'm an intern at the Wright Anything Agency."

"Tell the court exactly what you saw at Vitamin Square on the day of the crime."

Witness Testimony

What I saw

On the day of the crime I was on a date,

On the way to an eating place with my girlfriend.

But when I arrived at Vitamin I saw Thena *cough cough* get shot.

And when the shooter saw us they ran away.

After that Robin *cough cough* ran after the shooter.

And I called an ambulance.

I waited by Athena until the ambulance arrived.

No one else arrived at the playground while I was there.

End Testimony

"*cough cough* *cough cough cough*"

Juniper grabbed at her chest as coughs wracked her body. The testimony clearly put great mental strain on her.

"Junie!" Robin exclaimed as she started leaving her bench.

"Juniper!" Apollo called out as he did much the same.

Juniper held out a hand to stop the two of them, before breathing from her inhaler. "I'm okay," She said, her determination returning to her. "I'm not leaving until we resolve this case."

"Your resolve is admirable, Miss Woods," The Judge said. "But this trial has already burned a lot of time, and it is clear that this testimony is stressful for you. So I have will place a condition on this cross-examination: The defense is allowed only one question. If they fail to discover any new information, I will pass my verdict."

"The defense sees no problem with this condition," Hugh said confidently, before turning to Apollo and dropping his facade. "Do you see any openings in Juniper's testimony?"

"I'm not sure," Apollo admitted. "This is almost identical to Detective Marsh's testimony from earlier. But if we don't find anything, we're finished."

"Why do trials always seem to come to this?" Apollo couldn't but mutter to himself. Cases always seemed to come down to the wire, and this case was no different. He had only one chance to press one of the four statements before him, and pray it amounted to something.

But the more he looked over the testimony, the more ironclad it seemed to be. For the life of him Apollo could see nothing they hadn't already covered. Next to him, he could see Hugh chewing his lip, lost in his own thoughts.

"Maybe we don't need anything decisive, just yet," Hugh said slowly. "We just need to unearth something the court hasn't heard to continue this trial."

With this in mind, Apollo studied the testimony one last time, and found a statement he wanted to hear more about, and hopefully the Judge felt the same way.

"HOLD IT! If I understand you correctly, you saw the culprit with your own eyes, correct?"

"I-I did," Juniper said.

"Which means you may have seen something that no one else in this court could possibly know." Apollo said.

"That's what I believe," Juniper said, actually smiling weakly.

"Then testify in exact detail what the shooter looked like, and what they did!" Apollo demanded.

"I'm not sure I understand the defense," The Judge said. "Didn't that kid from earlier already cover that?"

"He was the detective, Your Honor. And a grown man," Apollo corrected. "Well, Prosecutor Newman?"

Across the courtroom, Robin remained unfazed. "Sure thing. After all, I saw the culprit too."

"Then I'll go ahead and testify."

Witness Testimony

Profile of the culprit

The culprit and Athena were facing each other

And when they saw me and Robin they ran away.

The culprit wore a black hoodie, plastic gloves,

Tight jeans, and running shoes.

And the gun was at the crime scene

It was still smoking.

Because of that, I can only think

That the shooter was there to kill Thena….

End Testimony

Right off the bat, Apollo could see something bothering him. This was supposed to be a direct witness account, right? So then why….

"OBJECTION! We've heard several times already that the shooter was wearing a hoodie. But Juniper saw the culprit head on. So then why didn't she describe the culprit's face? Even with the hood up, she should have seen something!"

"HOLD IT!" Robin slammed her hand to the bench. "I'll handle this. It's because the culprit wore a mask."

"This is the first we've heard of this," Hugh said. "I can't help but wonder why."

Robin giggled as she shook her head. "T-w-o reasons. One, because the mask, like the jacket, has yet to be found. Which leads into my second reason: I've placed a gag order on information regarding the mask. Right now, only four people in the world know what it looks like: Detective Marsh, Juniper, me, and the culprit."

Missing Mask added to the Court Record

Gag Order added to the Court Record

"The more we dig into this, the more we find out," Hugh noted. "Which should mean that a major contradiction could still be hiding away somewhere."

The Judge looked sternly down at the defense. "Even so, the defendant remains on thin ice. Please commence the final cross-examination of this trial!"

Apollo approached the testimony with caution. They had certainly found out something new with the mask. But that didn't seem to be applicable right now. The evidence of Logan's fingerprints on the bullet still hung over them.

"Any suggestions, Hugh?"

Hugh thumbed his way through the Court Record. "Every direct approach we've taken so far has failed, so let's not be direct. Hmmm...Juniper doesn't seem sure about herself when she talks about the gun."

Apollo rubbed his golden bracelet. Normally his senses would have told him that, but his eyes had yet to fully flush out the pepper spray.

"Here goes nothing…..HOLD IT! So where exactly was the gun, Juniper? Was it in the shooter's hands?"

Juniper considered this carefully. "Let me think….Ah! No, it wasn't. When I arrived at the crime scene, the gun was already in the sand."

"Could you show us on the map where it was?" Robin asked.

Juniper pointed to a spot right behind the shooter's feet. "It was right here. If I remember correctly, about a minute passed between the when I heard the gunshot and when I arrived at the park with you."

Vitamin Square map updated.

"Well, at least I know I remember things right," Robin said cheerily. "The facts haven't changed."

To Apollo, however, the crime suddenly took on a whole new significance. Both of them remembered the crime the same way. Which meant the crime itself….

"OBJECTION! So you're absolutely sure of this account, Juniper?"

"I am. I carefully wrote down every detail."

Apollo crossed his arms smugly. "Thank you very much for your testimony."

"OBJECTION! Now what are you talking about," Robin said. "As far as I can see we've just gone around in a big circle, right back to what Detective Marsh said earlier."

"That's we're you're wrong," Apollo said. "Detective Marsh didn't specify when the gun was dropped. But Juniper has very clearly. The culprit dropped the gun before you and her arrived at the scene. The gun wound up behind them, at that. And if that remains true-"

Apollo slammed his fists down. "Then the sequence of the crime as suggested by the prosecution no longer makes sense!"

For the first time Robin broke out into a profuse sweat. If she genuinely hadn't seen the problem earlier, then she certainly seemed to realize it now.

"Just what difference does it make when the gun was dropped?!" She shouted.

"Simple. The crux of the case against Logan is two-fold: that the entire crime is premeditated, and that the arrival of witnesses on the scene caused him to drop the gun," Hugh explained.

"But Juniper's testimony fatally contradicts both points," Apollo continued. "The gun was dropped when it was just the shooter and Athena at Vitamin Square. If the crime was truly premeditated, then this action is completely unnatural. Furthermore, while having Juniper and Robin at the scene caused the shooter to flee, they certainly didn't cause them to drop the gun!"

"OBJECTION! No… I refuse to let this stand! All of the talking you've done doesn't disprove one thing: That it was Logan at the park! The evidence is clear on this!" Robin shouted.

"OBJECTION! But is it really that clear cut?" Apollo said. "If you work backwards from the what the culprit did at the scene, then the evidence presented so far takes on a whole new light."

"Hmmm. I can't deny the possibility," The Judge said. "Very well. Present your case."

"Gladly, Your Honor," Apollo said. "A meeting was arranged at Vitamin Square, and a shooter hides themselves at the scene. A culprit dressed in an outfit that doesn't fit the client, with the most identifying aspects currently missing. The weapon used was carefully cleaned, yet conveniently has the single bullet with my client's fingerprints. Most of all, this was all planned to kill the victim- and yet the shooter seemed to stop the act halfway through. This has all the markings of a frame up!"

"This does leave one question- why did the shooter, regardless of who they are, drop the gun?" The Judge asked.

"I can't answer that right now," Apollo said. "My best guess is that something else happened at the scene. Something that surprised the shooter badly enough to stop their crime."

"Ahhh. AHHHH!" Across the courtroom, Robin's expression was filled with anger and fear. "No! I can't accept this! The defense has done nothing but raise questions that can't be answered!"

Apollo shook his head. "But we're not the ones that need to answer those questions. After all, as long as the mysteries remain-" He slammed his fists onto the bench. "Then this case can't be considered solved!"

Robin took a few steps back, hugging herself while breathing raggedly.

Hugh turned to Apollo, looking panicked. "Apollo, cover your ears!"


"Just do it!"

Apolllo and Hugh plugged their ears as Robin became more unwound.

"Ah...ahhhhh…...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" She screamed at the top of her lungs, the noise filling the entire courtroom-

Before she toppled backwards onto the ground.

As Apollo uncovered his ears, he could swear they were still ringing. Looking around the courtroom revealed that he wasn't alone, as Hugh, the Judge, and even people in the gallery were rubbing their ears.

The sole exception was Juniper, who was still standing at the witness stand. She seemed completely unaffected and was instead looking at where Robin used to be standing with a worried expression on her face.

"With the prosecution currently passed out, we can no longer continue the trial," The Judge said. "And the defense has demonstrated that this case is still far from solved. So I will grant them the rest of the day to investigate."

"Thank you, Your Honor," Hugh said, looking about ready to pass out himself.

"Be warned. If you fail to produce results at tomorrow's trial, it will be very bad for your client. Court is adjourned!"

Apollo found he couldn't say anything. They had successfully made it through the day, it was true. But there was so much of the case they knew nothing about. Such as the most important question that hung over them:

Just what exactly happened at Vitamin Square?

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24: Lost in a fog of lies

September 25, 2029

Wright Anything Agency

1:00 p.m.

The scene at the Wright Anything Agency was rather similar to the from the previous day: Apollo and Hugh lay resting their heads on their respective desks, while Trucy tried her hardest to motivate them. Except instead of boredom, the two defense attorneys were swamped with exhaustion.

"For her next trick, the lovely magician will need a volunteer," Trucy said, brandishing her Magic Panties. "Will one of you step up?"

Apollo and Hugh remained unresponsive, a distinctly glazed look settling over their faces.

"Okay, now you're both starting to scare me…"

At this, Apollo lifted his head. "Sorry, Trucy. But after the trial we've just had, I'm not sure I can muster up the energy to do much."

"I almost feel like curling up and sleeping for the rest of the week," Hugh added from his side of the office.

"C'mon, guys! Is that really all you can say?" Trucy chastised. "Where are the defense attorneys that tore through the prosecution's arguments just a couple hours ago?"

"Well for one, that's not what actually happened." Apollo said pessimistically.

Hugh looked curiously at Apollo. "What do you mean? We did manage to secure another day, even if we cut it really close."

"Think about it, Hugh. Right up until Juniper interrupted the trial, Robin was leading us by the nose," Apollo answered. "She lead us straight into that trap with the bullet, and if it weren't for Juniper we would have been dead in the water."

Hugh grimaced at this. Normally he would be proud of his best friend for such a masterful play, but it was different when it was directed at him. There was also the question of where the dark mindset she was currently operating under had come from.

Trucy lightly smacked Apollo on the forehead with her wand. "Well as the manager of this agency I'm ordering you to keep investigating this case! For the Athena's sake, if nothing else."

"You're right. I could never face Athena if I couldn't get to the bottom of this. It's time to hit the pavement, starting with having a talk with Logan." Apollo stood up, pumping his fists to get himself motivated again. "Thanks, Trucy. I needed that."

"Someone has to keep you in line with Daddy gone," Trucy teased.

September 25, 2029

Detention Center, Visitor's Room

1:10 p.m.

Thankfully, Logan agreed to meet with his defense team. Less so was his demeanor, hunched shoulders and a grim scowl, which indicated that he was more closed off and angry than he was yesterday.

"We may need to take a slow approach here," Hugh whispered to Apollo. "I have the feeling that one wrong move will set our investigation back."

"Mr. Justice? About the trial today, I'd like to say something."

"Sure, go right ahead." Apollo said, surprised that Logan decided to speak up first.

Logan looked away. "I understand that you both tried your best. You even managed to knock Newman off her game briefly. But I believe that this might be an impossible case to solve."

Apollo shook his head angrily. "If you think that's going to make us stop, you're sorely mistaken. So now I'd like to say a few things to you."

Hugh decided now was the time to intervene, and stepped in front of Apollo. He could feel him simmer, but right now all attention was focused on Logan.

"Tell us more about yourself, Logan. You said that you shared almost everything together with your twin sister. What don't you share with her?"

On the other side of the glass Logan contemplated this. "Hmm...Lissy never watched the Nickel Samurai with me when we were little."

"The Nickel Samurai?" Apollo and Hugh asked at the same time.

Logan nodded. "Her favorite show was always the Mysterious Global Hero Onyankopon, though I never understood why. The Nickel Samurai was so much better."

"What was it about the Nickel Samurai that you liked so much?" Hugh asked, feeling encouraged that Logan was at least talking.

"When it came to heros, the Nickel Samurai was never afraid of doing what needed to be done," Logan said, his eyes sparkling. "Whether it be dispensing justice or getting the girl, he always finds a way."

"That...explains so, so much about you, actually." Apollo said, unable to help himself. Hugh couldn't help but agree- having watched the Nickel Samurai when he was younger, he knew what Logan was talking about.

Logan became somber and reflective. "When the actor that played him got arrested, I didn't want to believe he was guilty.

"The Matt Engarde case!" Apollo exclaimed. That was a case he would never forget reading about, if for no other reason than it being the sole case Mr. Wright had ever lost.

"Exactly. My childhood idol was a murderer," Logan spat out. "It was one of the main reasons I decided to become a prosecutor. To put away false heros like him."

"One of? So there are more reasons." Hugh said. Logan's motives for becoming a prosecutor was always something he had been curious about.

"Does it matter anymore? I'm never going to get a chance to stand in court."

The conversation started falling into a lull, much to the desperation of the defense attorneys. They needed more clarification on their client to help solve the case.

"Earlier in court, when Robin asked you if you held resentment towards Athena you didn't answer," Apollo said. "Why?"

Logan looked away again. "Because in all honesty, just a couple of years ago I wouldn't have cared what happened to Cykes. In fact, her being shot would have made me happy."

"Happy? YOU!"

Apollo almost lunged at Logan, only to be held back by Hugh. As Apollo thrashed about, Hugh decided to keep up the questioning.

"The past tense makes it seem like this would no longer be the case. Do you feel differently about Athena now?"

Logan glared at his defense attorneys. "Why are you asking me all these questions?"

"Well how do expect us to defend you if you don't tell us anything?" Apollo shouted. "We still don't know exactly why you were in the park, or why your fingerprints were on a bullet, or-!"

Logan stood up, his fists shaking. "And what good would any of that do?! It won't give me my life back! Neither of you… could ever hope to understand me, or why I've done everything I've had to do up until now!"

With that he stormed out of the visitor's room. With Logan out of the room Apollo was able to calm down again, which was lucky because both guards in the room were gripping their nightsticks.

"So do all discussions with a client end like that?"

Apollo shook his head. "I could tell you stories about the clients I've had before," He said, thinking about his first two cases. "Though admittedly I think Logan may be the worst I've had yet."

Hugh looked at Apollo curiously. "I don't imagine defense attorneys try to assault their clients often."

"I really lost control there, didn't I?" Apollo said ruefully. "But Athena's my best friend. I can't stand for anyone to talk about her the way Logan did."

He decided not to mention to Hugh he had literally punched his first client, or that the client had been none other than Mr. Wright.

"Let's go, Hugh."

September 25, 2029

Hotti Clinic, Athena's room

1:40 p.m.

Next they decided to stop by the hospital to see if Athena had recovered. Unfortunately, she was still sleeping when they entered the room, so the defense attorneys just observed her. On a nightstand next to Athena's bed, there was a potted sunflower plant.

"Looks like Juniper stopped by before we did," Hugh noted. "I wonder where she is right now?"

"It would be a good idea to track her down as soon as we can." Apollo said. "Giving everything that's been going on she could probably use a friend."

Someone knocked at the door, causing the defense attorneys to turn around. The door opened to reveal Lisette Sullivan at the door.

"Am I glad to see the you two," Lisette said, her words belied by the unimpressed expression on her face. "Just what do you call today's defense? All my coworkers have been mocking how me about how my brother can't even hold a gun straight!"

"You saw all that?" Hugh said nervously.

"Actually, I couldn't catch it," Lisette said sheepishly. "The chief assigned me a shift for this morning, and he didn't care what I told him. I had my fellow officers tell me about it later."

Sorry about that, then," Apollo said. "We're doing our hardest to exonerate Logan, but our investigation is badly lacking information, and he isn't exactly helping."

"I'd better not hear that you've been pressuring Logan too hard!" Lisette pulled the bill of her police cap over her eyes. "Though I admit, my personal investigation hasn't been going much better. Even as a cop there's only so much people will tell you, and I'm still being forced to work. Just when I thought I could finally get a lead…"

"Well, what can you tell us?" Apollo asked. "We could check it out for you."

Lisette saluted the attorneys. "You do a great service! Okay, by the alleyway where the culprit fled a bunch of homeless people like to gather. My co workers told me that a particular man skulks about the very alleyway the culprit fled down."

"Thanks, Lisette! We'll be sure to go question this man right away!"

Lisette's pager vibrated, and she glared at it in frustration. "And that would be my boss again. See you both around!"

Lisette dashed out of the hospital room, with Apollo and Hugh doing the same a minute later.

September 25, 2029


2:00 p.m.

The police were still going through the inside of the alleyway proper, and they didn't allow Apollo and Hugh to investigate. So instead, they waited outside the entry to the alley, and just like Lisette said a man soon came stumbling into the general area.

The man was wearing a burlap sack, dirty shorts, and tattered socks. He was almost bald except for strands of hair that had been dyed green and styled into spikes. His eyes were an angry amber color, and his face narrow and scrunched, as if he held contempt for everything around him.

The moment Apollo lay eyes on the man he instantly recognized him. "Michael Brash!" He blurted out in surprise.

"That's my name, don't wear it out," the man answered, a noticeable slur in his voice. "Hey, wait a second! You're that defense attorney that put me away!"

"You know this man?" Hugh asked Apollo.

"As much as I wish I didn't," Apollo answered. "Remember when Ema was being harassed at work? Michael here was the true culprit."

"Come to think of it, I think that was around the time Logan was active as the Shadow," Hugh said. "I think Robin's trial was the same day that you were defending in a trial."

"The traitor! The traitor that cavorts with the defense!" Michael shouted.

"One of Ema's coworkers was accused of being the one harassing her," Apollo explained. "Athena and I defended him the first day of his trial, and during the second day Athena had to go help you guys take down Logan, so I finished the job."

At Apollo's words Michael started glaring fiercely. "Oh, is that what that lady defense attorney was called? The one that babbled on and on about the voice of my heart? I remember her. She was the one, yes. The one the chief told me Miss Skye was colluding with."

Apollo started rubbing his fingers to his temples, trying to ward off a headache. "Michael claimed that the chief of police ordered him to do all this through notes. But Michael couldn't produce the notes when asked, so chances are he made it all up."

"I put it all on the line to purge the police department," Michael ranted on. "Only to be tossed in the slammer. Now all my worldly possessions are on my back, and the only place I can call home is this alley."

Michael wandered away unsteadily, still shouting into the sky. Hugh watched him leave pensively. "He certainly didn't seem to be happy to see you, or be reminded of Athena. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

The possibility was certainly a tempting one. "Let's keep him in mind. Maybe later we'll have more serious questions to ask him. Though speaking of that incident, we should probably talk to Ema next."

September 25, 2029

Prosecutor's building, Robin's office.

2:10 p.m.

"AHHH! No matter how hard I try, I just can't get this right!"

"Are you sure? This sculpture seems to capture the essence of that tree well to me."

"But Professor Courte, it's absolutely nothing like your sculpture."

"How many times have I told you, Robin? If you spend your entire life chasing after people you'll never be happy, and that includes me. Find what drives you to move forward."

These memories ran through Robin's head as she furiously tore through the different reports that had landed on her desk. Most of them were of subordinates deeply confused about the contradiction that had been opened in the case. One was from Detective Marsh, which simply said, "Sorry about that. I'll make sure to try harder."

Everyone was looking to her to resolve this mess, but Robin was at a total loss. The same thought continued circle in her mind: Losing this case was not an option. Winning this case would mean pulling ahead of Apollo Justice, and once she did that- that would accomplish-

Courte's voice began ringing in her head again, and Robin threw herself into the task before her. It was the only thing that gave her peace right now.

September 25, 2029

Criminal Affairs department

2:20 p.m.

The inside of the building was best described as scarcely organized chaos. Despite this the defense attorneys managed to find Ema Skye and pull her aside.

"I heard you both managed to pull through in today's trial," Ema said by way of greeting. "Not bad considering Robin had you both on her leash."

"Not really a mental image I wanted right now, Ema," Apollo said in exasperation. "We were hoping you could lend us a hand again."

"Sure thing. Visiting Athena in the hospital again has me itching to do something." Ema answered.

There was one piece of evidence that currently formed the noose around Logan's neck. If a new clue were to come from anywhere….

"If you can, I want you to take the gun used in the crime and analyze it," Apollo said. "Use every possible test you can think of."

"As soon as I can find the spare time, I'll do it!" Ema exclaimed. "I will throw everything forensic science has to offer at that gun."

Hugh approached Ema. "How has Robin been doing?"

"She and Detective Marsh have doubled down on their investigation, as you can probably tell," Ema answered as she gestured to the rushing people around her. "From what I've heard, Robin is so badly on edge that no one wants to get near her. I wouldn't recommend approaching her myself."

At this Hugh started to grip at his proof of friendship so tightly it almost looked like he was choking himself. Apollo pulled his hand away but didn't say anything beyond that. A conversation with Robin was inevitable. It was just a matter of preparing for the worst.

"Do you have anything new to tell us about this case? Robin testified to calling the police. What was their involvement?" Apollo asked.

Ema pursed her lips in thought. "According to some reports, about ten beat cops showed up to chase the culprit. But by the time they got there, the shooter had already gone into the alleyway. The cops searched, but the shooter managed to vanish into thin air."

"So do you know when we can search that alley?" Hugh asked.

Ema shook her head. "No, but I'll give Apollo a call when a chance opens up. I'll be sure to be there if forensics are needed."

"Thanks again, Ema. Well, now's as good as time as any to go back to the crime scene."

September 25, 2029

Vitamin Square

2:40 p.m.

While there weren't any police at the crime scene, Apollo did spot Juniper and Detective Marsh discussing with each other. Once they finished their discussion, Detective Marsh spotted Apollo and Hugh and approached them, with Juniper following behind him.

"Hmph. If it isn't the ones with all the answers," John said sardonically. "Hey, why don't you tell us tomorrow's weather, or the lotto numbers."

"No need to be envious at how we managed to investigate better than you," Hugh said coolly.

"Please don't start fighting!" Juniper pleaded. "I've...I've had enough of fighting. *cough cough*"

Right now Juniper was one of the most important people in this case, being a direct eyewitness and already having contributed new information to the case. As such, Apollo decided to address all inquiries to her, even if some only indirectly.

"You both seemed to be talking about really important."

"I was comparing Miss Woods' testimony to the crime scene," Detective Marsh said. "It all lines up."

"And you're sure of what you saw that day, Juniper?" Hugh asked.

"I'm sure. I couldn't forget it even if I wanted to," Juniper answered.

"Then I'd like to ask Detective Marsh permission to do something," Hugh said. "I'd like to reenact the crime here at the crime scene. Detective Marsh can play the shooter, Apollo can play Athena, and Juniper and I can be the witnesses."

Apollo immediately caught onto what Hugh was doing. "That's not a half bad idea. Any objections?"

He carefully observed Juniper as she said this. Even as her breathing grew shallower, she said, "If it gets us to the bottom of this case."

"If Juniper wants to do it, I won't stop her," Detective Marsh said. "I'm not sure what the point of this is, though."

Detective Marsh and Apollo took their places a few feet away from the actual crime scene. John made a finger gun and mimed firing Apollo, while Apollo mimicked Athena's actions sans falling to the ground. Detective Marsh ran outside of the park gate and after a minute Hugh and Juniper walked onto the scene.

"So what we proved today in court was correct," Apollo said. "Even if you copy it physically, the culprit's actions don't make any sense. There's something else going on here."

"But remember, only four people were at Vitamin Square that day," Detective Marsh added. "As far as I can tell there's no evidence to support someone else being here."

"Which just means we'll search that much harder," Hugh said. "New evidence has to be somewhere."

"Um, I know I asked this yesterday," Juniper said suddenly. "But can I investigate with you guys?"

"We'd be more than happy to have you, but why?" Hugh asked.

"When I visited Athena in the hospital, I talked to her," Juniper said. "And even if she couldn't talk balk, I could hear what she would probably say to me. I know that this is the right thing to do."

"If Detective Marsh has nothing to say about it," Apollo said, looking at the man in question.

"I don't need anything else from Juniper," Detective Marsh said. "As far as I'm concerned, she can do whatever she want. I'm not the type to meddle in personal affairs anyways."

He left before anyone could ask him what he meant. Focusing back on the case, Apollo tried to think of where to go next and asked Hugh and Juniper.

"I think we should go to Logan's house," Juniper answered, looking melancholy. "I visited him immediately after the trial and he told me where he lived. I want to learn more about him."

"He is the biggest mystery in this case so far." Hugh said.

"Then watch out mystery, here comes Justice!" Apollo declared.

September 25, 2029

Sullivan household

3:04 p.m.

As soon as the three of them reached the neighborhood where Logan's house was located everyone tensed up. The sidewalks were cracked, the lawns in front of the house were dead, and garbage littered the streets. Logan's house was revealed to be an ramshackle, unpainted wooden house that was one story tall. Testing the doorknob revealed it had no lock, so everyone was able to enter it easily. The house itself wasn't very big, having only four rooms: Two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a small table squeezed in.

The thing that immediately caught everyone's eyes was a large portrait on one of the walls: Logan and Lisette as small babies, being held by their smiling parents. Their mother was a pretty woman with blonde hair, and their father was in a police uniform and looked like a dead ringer for his two children with his dark hair, eyes, and glasses.

"I wonder what happened to this family?" Juniper asked quietly.

"From what I remember their mom is a janitor at Themis," Hugh said. "But this house is empty. Where is their father?"

"Maybe we'll find the answers to those questions in here," Apollo said.

Poking around a room that seemed to belong to their parents, Apollo found a small unsecured cabinet. Inside was an empty case for a gun assigned to an Officer Liam Sullivan, along with box of recently opened bullets.

"So this is the gun that was used to shoot Athena,"Apollo said. "Sitting in a cabinet anyone could enter inside a house with no lock. I think I'm starting to see a picture forming."

"So do I," Hugh said, thinking about Michael in his alley. "When we meet up with Ema again, we should tell her to examine this house. We need to bring Juniper up to speed."

As if on cue Apollo's phone rang, with Ema's name on the caller I.D.

"I need you both to come to the alley right now," Ema said. "The results for the gun have come back, and I've found something in this alley I need you both to see."

"Let's go!" Apollo called out to his friends. "We can return to investigate here later."

September 25, 2029


3:19 p.m.

Ema was waiting for everyone as she said. But her expression was one that Apollo was worried about. It was as if she was mulling over the best way to say something.

"Hello, everyone." Ema said distantly. "Hm? Hey Juniper. Haven't seen you all day."

"Hello, Ema," Juniper said. "You wanted to talk to show Hugh and Apollo something?"

Ema nodded. "I managed to put the gun used in the crime through some forensic tests, just like I said I would. I decided to look over the outside of the gun since all the previous tests had been focused on the grip and inside the chamber, and I found something. I'm just not sure what this means."

She rummaged around her bag and handed a report to Apollo. "Traces of saliva were found around the muzzle of the gun, and a D.N.A test revealed that they belonged to your client, Logan Sullivan."

"So Logan did plan to use the gun?" Apollo said, struck by this statement. In his mind, he remembered something that Robin had said earlier: That the only reason someone loaded a gun was to shoot it at someone else.

Hugh was deeply frightened by the implications as well. "He planned to use the gun, alright. If you take this bullet with his fingerprints with this new evidence, it all becomes clear. Logan planned to use the gun on himself."

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Chapter 25: The dark abyss

The silence that followed Hugh's statement was suffocating. To be sure, it finally explained Logan's mindset all throughout the case. But suicide even as a concept was one that was so difficult to grasp. It also raised the question of just how this was related to the case at hand.

Ring of saliva added to the Court Record

Ema could tell that everyone had been badly surprised by this result. Still, she couldn't afford for the case to grind to a halt here. So she decided to be the first to keep the conversation going.

"While you're all here, I need everyone to follow me."

Ema lead the group into the alley, before stopping right in front of a side alley with an open gate.

"This is where the culprit is thought to have lost the police," Ema explained. "The gate you see on this opening was closed on the day of the crime, but glove markings were found on top of this gate. This likely means Athena's shooter climbed over this gate to get away. The new evidence I found confirms this."

This caught Apollo's attention. "So that's what you called us here for. Where did the culprit go after entering this side alley?"

Ema dug around in her bag, taking out a map and handing it to Apollo. "Beats me. This alleyway has so many side paths, as you can see on this map. All the shooter had to do was enter a few of them then choose an exit."

Observing the map, Apollo noticed that there were several openings into the alley along the same street.

Alley map added to the Court Record.

Next Ema gestured to a trashcan beyond the gate. "Previous investigation searched through this alley but couldn't find anything. On a hunch I searched through that trashcan and found something at the bottom."

She pointed to a large blue bag next to the trashcan. The bag was open, revealing a black hoodie inside.

"That jacket. Does it belong to the shooter?" Hugh asked.

"More than likely. The head area is soaked with sweat, and while I couldn't get any D.N.A from the sweat it does indicate the person wearing it was running a fair distance. More importantly, look inside the hood."

The defense team did as Ema said, finding a single blond hair with a green tip inside.

"Is that hair dyed?" Juniper asked.

"It is. It belongs to a man named Michael Brash," Apollo said.

Ema shuddered. "I recognized it as well. I ran a test on it and it is in fact Michael's. I thought I'd seen the last of the creep when he was arrested."

Large bag added to the Court Record

Blond hair added to the Court Record

"Ema, I think you can start to connect the dots here," Apollo said.

Ema nodded. "It's starting to look like Michael is the true culprit of this case, just like he was back then. Let's go find him. I'd really like to give him a piece of my mind."

Apollo grinned at his good friend. "Thanks for all your help. We couldn't have gotten this far without you."

"Is that so? You've been a b-a-d girl, Ema."

Robin and Detective Marsh stepped out from around corners on the other side of the alley, both glaring furiously at Ema.

"I was wondering how Detective Marsh could miss something like the footprints in the plastic strawberry," Robin said. "So I asked him if he could think of how that was possible."

"Then I remembered that Miss Skye was investigating the strawberry," Detective Marsh continued. "But her report never mentioned the evidence the defense found. So I decided to follow her a bit, and here I find her working with the defense."

"So what?!" Ema shouted. "Like you have any clue, so why should I listen to you?"

Detective Marsh stomped his foot at Ema. "Let's see if you keep that attitude when I get you to the precinct and have you reported." He snarled.

He snapped his fingers, and beat cops entered the alley, approaching Ema. On impulse, Apollo placed himself between the cops and Ema, then pointed at Robin and shouted, "HOLD IT!"

Everyone did indeed stop, with Robin looking right at Apollo. Slowly, Apollo raised his right wrist, upon which was his proof of friendship.

He could still remember the day that Robin gave him the clay bracelet. She had the widest grin on her face, one that made Apollo smile as well.

"Here ya go!" She had said that day. "This is proof that I consider you a really close friend. So make sure to always keep it with you!"

Indeed, much like the bracelet from his mother, Apollo wore the red band every day. But after the Shadow incident, Robin seemed to start drifting away emotionally. It was partially his own fault: for an entire year Apollo had been more focused on his family issues, and he just got used to not seeing Robin that often. Even so, every time he had seen Robin recently he could almost feel a wall between them.

Now he was going to get to the bottom of this. "I admit I don't know what's going on with you, Robin, but even I can tell that you're tearing yourself up inside. Say something! I'm your friend, aren't I?"

The prosecutor didn't say anything but was clearly listening. Next Hugh stepped up, showing his own band on his neck.

"Talk to us, Robin," Hugh pleaded. "Let us help you."

Robin's composure started to crack, her arms trembling.

Finally, Juniper looked Robin right in the eyes, her hands over her heart, her proof of friendship prominently displayed. "These past few days have been so painful," Juniper said softly. "Because you haven't been around. Even so...I still want to work beside you. I still want to stay by your side, Robin."

At this, Robin threw her head back and screamed in pure anguish. Breathing deeply, Robin lowered her head and faced everyone, tears streaming down her face.

"I thought…. I thought I finally got it right this time," She finally said.

Apollo couldn't help but sigh in relief. Now that his friend was ready to listen to reason, they could get somewhere. First order of business, untangling Robin from her deep rooted despair.

"Do you know why you've been feeling the way you have, Robin?" Apollo asked.

Out of the corner of his eye he could see Detective Marsh dismiss the other officers and then make himself scarce in turn.

"Remember all the accusations Logan made against me during my trial?" Robin began. "At the time, I thought I deflected them just fine. Yet after the trial was when it started. When I started hearing a voice in my head, calling me all kinds of horrible things. When I started to feel...THAT I COULD DO NOTHING RIGHT!"

"Why did you never say anything?" Juniper asked, naturally sounding confused.

"Because every time that happened, I would banish all those feelings. I didn't want to worry you," Robin explained. "They never went away for good. I always felt like I was a slip up away from becoming the person I was before. The awful cheater that Logan witnessed during Juniper's trial."

"So you're saying that because Logan was technically right in some of his accusations, they took root in you," Hugh said. "Poisoning you from the inside."

"Then this case happened," Robin continued. "My first ever case as a prosecutor! If I could solve the case and bring Athena's shooter to justice, it would give meaning to all the work I've done these past few years. But- But-!"

"We had our fight," Juniper finished, her lip trembling.

Robin gripped her proof of friendship. "Getting a guilty verdict became not just important- it became my entire world! Losing the case felt like it would cost me everything!"

Juniper knew what Robin meant with her words. Even now, she could feel their uncertain financial situation hanging them. Juniper had always felt that if the worst came to pass, they would fall back on their friends. Her heart ached at the fact that Robin felt she needed to carry the burden herself.

"And worst of all is how I feel about you, Apollo."

Apollo started in surprise at this but didn't say anything. He had a feeling that keeping his silence here would let him get to the bottom of his friend's emotions.

"I just don't know how to feel about you, Apollo," Robin said. "You're such an amazing defense attorney! I used to always look forward to seeing you because you provide such an exciting challenge! But now, whenever I look at you I see all my past failures. I wanted to beat you in this trial so badly, because you always seem to do better than me. I can't help but feel so small whenever I see you."

The last sentence had been spoken so softly Apollo had almost missed it. Now more than ever, he missed having Athena around. Athena, even if she somehow couldn't use her special hearing or the Mood Matrix, would likely know what to say to Robin. Apollo was still floundering mentally at being seen by Robin as some kind of insurmountable obstacle.

Even so, he had to say something here. "I think I understand, Robin. But there's something you have to know. As your friend, I want to help you. But as a defense attorney, I still believe in Logan! At tomorrow's trial I'm going to win him a not guilty verdict. So I want to ask you: what are you going to do after this trial, Robin?"

Slowly, Apollo could see a spark in Robin's eyes faintly start to glimmer as she mulled over the question.

"I don't plan to stop prosecuting," Robin said slowly. "I've come too far! Even if we start running out of money, I'll keep fighting."

"That's our Robin," Hugh said, smiling. "We'll fight right alongside you, even if you try to push us away."

No, know I remember that I know better. I'm so lucky to have you guys in my life!"

Robin met Juniper's unrelenting gaze with a regretful expression.

"I still want to walk by your side too, Juniper," She said, an undercurrent of affection in her tone. "In law and in life. So if you could find it in you to come back…."

The words hung in the air. These past few days, Juniper had missed Robin so badly. She could feel words of forgiveness bubbling on her lips-

"Can we save the personal drama?!" Ema interrupted. "We still have to find Athena's shooter, and until we do let's shelve everything else. Are we in agreement?"

Juniper opened her mouth to object, only for Ema to put a finger to her lips and shake her head. Upon seeing this, Juniper realized what Ema was trying to communicate. One thing was clear: Now really wasn't the time for this.

Robin, meanwhile, was at least slowly returning to her usual self. "Detective Marsh, you can come back n-o-w! And I don't think there's any need to take Ema down to the precinct. We can overlook what she did."

When Detective Marsh returned, it was with a noticeable smirk on his face. "Okay, then what will you have me do, Boss?"

"Answer any questions these defense attorneys might have, for a start." Robin said cheerfully.

Apollo immediately jumped onto a question that had been bugging him for quite a while. "So about that gag order on the mask the culprit used. Is there anything you can tell us about it?"

"Eh heh heh, nope!" Robin said. "I have a feeling that the mask is a crucial clue in this case, so my lips are staying sealed. Sorry!"

"I thought as much as well," Juniper added. "Which is why I decided to place my trust in Robin and abide by the gag order too."

"You still trust me?" Robin said in amazement.

"I never stopped," Juniper answered simply.

Hugh decided to ask the next question. "So Detective Marsh. I presume you will take the new evidence in for testing. Will you share the results with us?"

"I don't see why not," Detective Marsh said casually. "I can appreciate an even playing field. Just know that we will be using the results first. Come along, Miss Skye."

"So I'm not off the case after all," Ema said, deeply relieved.

"But another stunt like that and you're in a world of trouble," Detective Marsh said. "So don't push your luck, got it?"

"We'll be sure to let you know when the results come in!" Robin exclaimed.

With that, she, Detective Marsh, and Ema left the alleyway, the bag from the alleyway in tow.

Apollo, Hugh, and Juniper left the alleyway as well. All of them had significantly more relaxed looks on their faces: with Robin seemingly shaken out of her emotional turmoil, their chances of solving the case were looking a lot better.

Apollo scanned his surroundings, hoping to find a certain someone. Indeed, he spotted Michael Brash sitting by a nearby trash can. The defense team approached him carefully.

"Why are there so many of you?" Michael asked, his voice slurred. In his hands he held a bottle in a brown bag.

"Don't worry about that," Apollo said. "We just need you to tell us something. Where were you on the day of the crime?"

"This alley. What's it to you?" Michael answered. "I'm pretty sure I was other places. But my head's not cooperating with me. So all of you scram!"

"You heard the man," Hugh said, somewhat amused. "I doubt we'll get anything out of him right now. Besides, we still have to talk to our client about what we found."

Apollo snapped to attention. There were still many hurdles left to overcome in this case. Now that they had the needed evidence, they could at long last rip apart the shroud of mystery surrounding Logan.

September 25 2029

Detention Center, Visitor's Room

3:40 p.m.

"Why on earth have you been bugging me so much?!" Logan shouted as soon as he was brought into the room.

"Because unless you've fired us, we're still your defense attorneys," Apollo answered. "Why do you keep showing up when you can just refuse?"

Logan flinched at this, which confirmed to Apollo that a part of Logan did genuinely want to be saved. Now it was just a matter of getting there.

"So just to confirm, you arrived at Vitamin Square and no one was there?" Apollo asked.

"That's correct," Logan answered. "Before I even stepped on the playground I saw that the park was empty. I simply thought that Cykes was a no show, given that I arrived on time."

"What time was the meeting?" Hugh asked.

"It was about one thirty," Logan said. "Cykes was very insistent about the time."

The statement immediately struck a chord in Apollo. According to the hospital, Athena had been shot a few minutes after one. Which seemed to imply she deliberately showed up early to her own meeting. Apollo made a mental note to ask Juniper and Ema for details on Athena's actions on the day of the crime. Absolutely nothing about this case was straightforward, and Athena was at the center of it.

At least, one person at the center. Juniper, who had been hanging in the back, stepped forward to face Logan.

"We just learned something new about the weapon used to shoot Thena," She said. "Your traces were found on the muzzle, Logan."

At first Logan was shocked, but his expression soon shifted to resignation.

"I won't make you say it, Ms Woods. It's true. A little under a week ago, I tried to kill myself." He said, his tone lifeless.

"Please, tell us why," Apollo said firmly. "Even if it has nothing to do with the case, I don't think I can bear to leave you this!"

Logan sighed. "If you want to know that badly. I don't have anything to lose at this point."

Apollo, Hugh, and Juniper all sat in chairs close to Logan, to make sure they wouldn't miss a word of his story.

"In a sense, my life ended a long time ago," Logan began. "The moment that guilty verdict was passed."

"You mean your guilty verdict?"

Logan shook his head. "No. I meant my mother's."

She could still feel it, deep in her heart. The dark shadows that wanted to drag her under. But Robin was determined to last long enough to finish this case, for good or for ill.

In the meantime, there was some research she needed to undertake. In her father's old case files, she happened across a case that immediately caught her eye.

It read, "The State vs. Gianna Sullivan".

Robin opened up the case file and began to read through the details of when her father convicted Logan and Lisette's mother…

"Some of my earliest memories are also my happiest ones," Logan began. "Back when my family was whole. I teased my sister, cuddled with my father, and played with my mother."

"So what happened?" Juniper asked.

Logan bit his lip, emotionally anguished. "My mom used to be a professional baseball player. She was the primary breadwinner of our home. Then one day she met up with an estranged friend of her's from high school. When they talked, things got out of hand- and she murdered him."

Everyone in the room gasped. They had no idea Logan had a past like this. But then, he had spent so long deliberately hiding it. Juniper and Hugh remembered how reclusive Logan had been back when he attended Themis.

"I always knew my mom was guilty," Logan continued. "The prosecutor's case proved it beyond doubt."

"So then why did your mom commit the crime?" Hugh asked.

"Mom said that the man wanted to hurt me and my sister," Logan said. "Take us away forever, so she had to kill him."

Robin read through the victim data. A young man that had once known Mrs. Sullivan, only to be killed by her when she beat him with a baseball bat.

His file was of a man like most others, a construction worker that was well liked. All details were mundane- a job, some hobbies, a family.

Then her eyes lay on next of kin. Along with the victim's parents, one of the people listed was the victim's boyfriend. Further reading revealed that Mrs. Sullivan had attempted to pin the murder on him, until one Richard Newman foiled that plot.

"My mom was found guilty of second degree murder," Logan continued. "She actually finished her sentence recently and came back home. She took a job at Themis to watch over me."

"But back then, my mom's arrest changed everything. I was only seven and our family fell into poverty. We lost our home, and moved into that hovel that I told Juniper about. Each day we all struggled to scrape by."

The three of them all thought back to the house they had visited. That was where Logan had grown up. The image of the circumstances that shaped him were slowly coming into focus.

Logan became contemplative. "My family kept me on my feet in those days. I was already close with Lissy, and we only became closer. My dad made sure that we didn't go completely under. Even Mom wanted to stay in our lives despite being in prison, so we visited her every weekend."

"And you didn't care that your mom had killed someone?" Hugh said.

Logan shook his head. "I told you, she did that to protect us. Mom gave us all kinds of advice, like how to behave at school or good cleaning habits. One thing she told us over and over again was that in this world, there are some people that are inherently bad. Selfish, amoral creatures that grab you and destroy you. The man my mom killed was one of those."

"And let me guess. Robin is another?" Apollo finished. It all finally made sense. If Logan grew up listening to that, then it was no wonder that he had seemed so self-righteous in his crusade against Robin.

Logan looked down. "Newman….she more than anyone embodied the kind of person Mom always talked about. It cannot be denied she sunk low, once."

"Yet it never occurred to you that she might have changed," Juniper said. "Or that maybe she wasn't as bad as you thought she was?"

Logan scowled. "Given her presence in my life, that's a little hard. Hugh, you asked earlier why I wanted to become a prosecutor?"

Hugh nodded. Logan had mentioned the Nickel Samurai case as part of his motivation, but now he was going to hear the rest of it.

"I knew I wanted to dispense justice," Logan explained. "But my mom's arrest locked my path. I chose to become a prosecutor because I wanted to purge the streets of the scum that prowled them. So that what happened to my family could never happen to anyone else ever again."

Hugh decided to clear something up that had nagged at him for a long time. "Is this related to the promise you mentioned before?"

"So you still remember that. Yes, it's the reason behind the promise." Logan said. "After Mom was arrested, Lissy and I made a promise. I would become Chief Prosecutor, Lissy would become Chief of Police, and together we would work to change the world."

No one said anything, but many different thoughts ran in their minds. Apollo decided to reserve judgement until Logan finished his story.

"Lissy and I dedicated our lives to that promise," Logan said. "I threw away everything to make sure I would stay focused. I never made any friends, I dropped all my hobbies, I clawed my way into Themis Academy. If it meant fulfilling that promise, I would do it."

"Including destroying Robin," Hugh said, restraining his anger at the memory.

"I admit, that was my fatal mistake," Logan said. "My first illegal act. I was desperate to knock Newman off her pedestal, show everyone the threat she posed. But she dismantled my scheme, and just like that it was all over. An entire lifetime's work, dashed in an instant."

Juniper decided to speak up here. "You had to be stopped, Logan. Before you did something that could never be taken back."

"As much as it hurts to hear that, I can't really say anything in my defense either," Logan said, looking away. "While I was in jail, all I could do was think. Think about how I could no longer be a prosecutor like I'd always dreamed of. Those thoughts became a dark abyss that started consuming me from the inside. After all, without my goal, I was nothing. Completely empty inside."

"Bringing us to what you told us when we first met," Apollo said, making the connections in his head. "That after you were released from jail, you haven't done anything besides try to become a prosecutor."

"Because without my aim, I was completely lost," Logan said. "Then one day, my family and I were watching the news and a report came on."

Juniper's eyes widened. She knew what Logan was about to say. She could have never imagined something like this would happen.

"Right there on the screen was Newman and Juniper," Logan said. "Looking so happy about Newman becoming a prosecutor. It was everything I've ever wanted in life, and someone I hate so much had it all instead. At that, I felt the will to live leave me."

Logan took a deep breath as he started the end of his story. "That night, I took my dad's gun from it's case and loaded a bullet in it. I had it in my mouth and was about to pull the trigger when Lissy came home."

Once again, Lisette's name popping up in something she never mentioned. It could just be a coincidence; one wouldn't blame her for not talking about something so personal. Yet at the same time this would have gone a long way to exonerating Logan, so why keep quiet?

"Lissy didn't ask, or even say anything. She just held me in her arms for the rest of the night," Logan said. "I did tell her everything the next morning. She was so clearly worried about me that I decided to get some help. So I called Cykes and asked her to help me."

"So you wanted to talk to Thena for the Mood Matrix?" Juniper asked.

"It felt like hitting rock bottom, having to got to her after she helped put me away in the first place," Logan said, scowling. "Though I will admit that Cykes was very understanding about the whole thing. She said she would do what she could for me, and as I said before she even arranged all the details of the meeting. That's everything that's happened to me."

"Thank you, Logan." Apollo said, already processing the details. "I can't imagine how hard that was to talk about."

"It does feel easier to breathe now that it's all out," Logan said. "I'll- I'll only say this one more time. I didn't shoot Cykes. So please find out what really happened!"

Robin closed the case file. It was a lot to take in all at once, but it did give her a new direction to take the investigation in. It involved finding new witnesses and waiting on the results from the new evidence. In the meantime, it might do her some good to talk with Logan.

"Detective Marsh! I'm going to the detention center. Keep the investigation going while I'm out, kay?"

Leaving the detention center, Hugh immediately asked Apollo, "So do you see Lisette as a potential suspect?"

"So you noticed, Hugh," Apollo said. "She could have an alibi for the crime. On the other hand, I'm starting to doubt her."

"I don't know. I haven't really seen Lisette," Juniper said softly. "But from what I've heard she really loves her brother. She has no reason to frame him."

That was the same feeling that Apollo got. As fishy as some of Lisette's actions were, her bond with Logan was without dispute. They needed to step up the investigation.

September 25 2029

Wright Anything Agency

4:00 p.m.

The defense team regrouped at the agency at Apollo's request. With three of them currently working the case, they needed to hit as many points as they could. First of all, clearing up more questions.

"Juniper, do you remember talking with Athena at any point this past week?" Apollo asked.

Juniper thought this over carefully. "We talked over the agency phone a few days ago," She said, pointing to the old fashioned phone on Mr. Wright's desk. "Because Thena's cell phone had run out of battery. But she never mentioned meeting with Logan. We just talked about whatever came to mind, like the date I had planned with Robin at Tres Bien."

Ema had only been told by Athena that the defense attorney planned to meet with someone, and Juniper hadn't been told anything at all. "She really didn't say anything? Why was Athena being so secretive about her meeting with Logan?"

"I-I don't know…"

Apollo pumped his fists. "Okay, we need to cover as much ground as possible. Hugh, you go to the police department and talk to Lisette if you can find her. Juniper, follow Hugh and see if you can't get an escort to the Sullivan house. I'll stay behind here and keep Trucy company when she comes back. I want to look through the agency anyways."

September 25 2029

Detention Center, Interrogation Room

4:00 p.m.

"So you know about my mom now," Logan said, determined to not look at Robin seated across from him. "So then why are you here? Doesn't it just add to my motive?"

"It does. But I'd like to hear what you have to say about all this," Robin said, keeping a cheery demeanor.

Logan sighed. "I've been doing a lot of thinking. I talked with my defense team, and I figured something out. So Newman. When you were planning your schemes that fateful October, what was going through your head? That victory was worth a few unscrupulous acts?"

"...! M-maybe I did think that," Robin said. "But why are you bringing this up now?"

"Just as I thought," Logan said bitterly. "I always wondered why I hated you above anyone else I've ever met. It's because I understand you."

Hearing those words coming from Logan was beyond terrible, but Robin decided to let him keep talking. There was a reason she was questioning him.

"It's so easy, isn't it Newman?" Logan continued. "To justify anything we do in the name of doing the right thing. Just like when I plotted to bring you down. I didn't care that I was breaking the law, if it meant bringing you to justice. But we're both just a pair of truly wretched people, aren't we?"

Robin started chuckling. "You know, lately I've been feeling so awful. I kept hearing your voice reminding me of my crimes."

Logan looked interested at this. "You don't say? So are you saying I'm your conscience?"

"More like my guilt kept coming back to me with the voice of someone that would say these things to me," Robin answered. "So I ignored it every time. Yet I didn't realize I became so desperate to prove myself that I started sliding back to the me you saw that October. The underhanded liar you hate so much."

"So what are saying this for, Newman?" Logan asked.

"Just wanted us to understand each other better," Robin said. "You said it yourself, didn't you?"

Logan glared at Robin. "I'm not exactly happy about understanding you, Newman. After all, you still insist on prosecuting me for something I didn't do."

"But it didn't have to be this way," Robin said. "Detective Marsh and I questioned you about your actions and all you did was yell insults at us. What else were we supposed to think about you?"

"Well, Newman. You might be right about that," Logan admitted. "But are you ready to confront even the worst at tomorrow's trial?"

"You know what? I think I might be. So I'll see you then, Logan!"

She sent Logan back to his holding cell and exited the detention center. In interviewing Logan, learning that he saw a bit of himself her put in sharp relief Robin's warped view of herself. In pushing away her guilt but never actually confronting it, it indeed festered inside her just as Hugh said.

Robin didn't quite know what to do about herself. Yet she knew the first step was to learn how to like herself again. Despite everything she wasn't the same person she was all that time ago. Now she just needed to prove it to herself.

September 25 2029

Wright Anything Agency

4:15 p.m.

"Why are you looking through the Agency, Polly? Did you forget something?"

"You could say that," Apollo said as he checked through the bookshelves. He had sweeped most of the agency and found nothing suspicious so far. A few days ago, the agency's lock had been broken, but nothing had been stolen and there were no fingerprints on anything. Now Apollo felt it might be related to this case.

Checking the agency's phone, he found a note from Athena. "There's an odd buzzing in the phone. Check it out for me, Apollo," It read. It was dated the day of the crime, and Apollo knew he missed it because he hadn't stopped by the agency very often these past few days.

He grabbed a screwdriver and opened the phone, revealing a wiretap sitting inside the phone's wiring. "Trucy, get a camera and come look at this."

Wiretap added to the Court Record.

September 25 2029

Criminal Affairs Department

4:30 p.m.

Hugh handed Juniper to a police escort arranged by Ema, then went looking for Lisette. He managed to locate her talking to the chief of police.

"Hello, Lisette? I'd like to talk to you." Hugh said.

Lisette swung around, her hand already on her nightstick. She relaxed once she saw it was Hugh, saluting him.

"Hello, Mr. O' Conner! How's the investigation going?" Lisette asked.

"It's taken an interesting turn," Hugh said carefully. "So now I have some questions. Where were you on the day of the crime?"

Lisette scratched her head. "I was patrolling my assigned beat. If I remember correctly, it was a stretch near a place called Tender Lender."

Hugh measured the distance of the crime scene and Tender Lender. If Lisette was being truthful it would give her an unshakeable alibi. He moved on to his next question, this time to the chief.

"So why have you been working Lisette so hard these past couple of days?"

"Because she's too close to the shooting, so we can't let her work the case," The chief answered. "What's more, she's still being punished for slipping up that day."

"Oh? What do you mean?" Hugh asked curiously.

"Officer Sullivan here didn't answer her pager right away," The chief said gruffly. "It's an unusual breach from what's otherwise been a stellar work record."

"But I did answer my pager in the end," Lisette said sheepishly. "I just...lost track of it."

"So why were you paged the day of the crime?" Hugh asked next.

Lisette snapped to attention. "To chase after Miss Cykes' shooter! My fellow officers will vouch that I gave chase with the rest of them."

Pager added to the Court Record.

Hugh considered the information. It all certainly suggested that Lisette was innocent. Yet something just didn't sit right about the explanation. He filed the information away in his head for later.

September 25 2029

Sullivan Household

4:45 p.m.

At the Sullivan house Juniper looked around with her police escort in tow. When the officer started inspecting the parents' bedroom, Juniper quickly went into Logan and Lisette's room.

It didn't take long for Juniper to find what she was looking for. Or rather, she saw that something wasn't there that was a critical clue to the whole case. Her initial suspicions were quickly being shown to be valid, but she decided not to voice them for the time being.

"Hello? I'm done looking around. Could you please take me back to the precinct?" Juniper called out to her police escort.

September 25 2029


5:00 p.m.

Ema called the entire defense team at around this time, and they all met her in the alleyway. On the other side of the alley were Detective Marsh and Robin.

"I managed to convince them for a short chat as long as I don't spill anything," Ema explained. "But let's talk quietly all the same. That means you, Apollo."


The defense team decided to report on their findings. Starting off, Apollo explained about the wiretap at the agency's phone, much to Juniper's horror. Hugh reassured her that if the culprit did put it there, it was only by pure chance that they caught anything.

Next, Hugh reported on what Lisette told him. Ema agreed that she was now a lot more likely to be innocent, but would double check just to be sure. Neither Apollo or Juniper had anything to add, so now it was Juniper's turn.

"Um, I checked through Logan and Lisette's room," Juniper said nervously. "And I did find something. But I'm pretty sure it falls under Robin's gag order, so I'm not going to say what I saw."

"Is that so? Fair enough," Ema said. "After all, just that little bit is telling all on it own."

Apollo quickly caught on. It meant that Juniper saw something regarding the culprit's mask. There was just enough wiggle room for it to not be an actual breach, while narrowing down what the mask could be to just two options. Whichever one it was would have be dug up later.

With that, Ema called over Detective Marsh and Robin. They both walked down the alley with rather happy looks on their faces.

"I hope you weren't counting on getting an easy trial tomorrow," Detective Marsh said. "Because you're going to be sorely disappointed if you were."

"John and I have been hard at w-o-r-k," Robin added cheerfully. "Our case for tomorrow is almost ready. Just waiting on some important paperwork to go through, and to find a certain someone. But I'm not telling who!"

Detective Marsh pointed to the trash bin where the bag had been found. "Contrary to what you might have thought, Miss Skye, we did search that trash bin. We didn't find anything inside, which raises the question of who put the bag in there and why they waited until after the initial investigation."

Everyone started at this. Given how cases usually went they had assumed the police had simply missed it. Ema considered the question carefully. "Well, obviously the shooter put the bag back inside. As for why...maybe they didn't think anyone would look there after the initial investigation."

"Unfortunately, that's likely not the answer," Detective Marsh said. "At least, not when you consider the results of the analysis of the evidence. The jacket and the bag are genuine evidence. But the hair found in the hood is dry, and at least a week old. In other words, this is forged evidence."

"The hair is fake?!" Apollo screamed in surprise.

"The hair is real enough," Detective Marsh explained. "As evidence, however, it's clearly engineered to frame its owner for this shooting."

Blond Hair updated in the Court Record

"In this case, the reason someone would do that is to get suspicion off Logan," Robin said. "Since Logan is in detention it's not him. So there's only one other person that would benefit from doing this."

If Lisette had merely been suspicious before, she was now the primary suspect. Apollo started feeling angry at himself that it was possible that she had been manipulating them this entire time.

"Well, we're going to go finish our preparations. B-y-e!" Robin said, waving at the defense team as she and Detective Marsh left the alleyway.

Ema turned to leave as well. "I need to process all the evidence we've found for court tomorrow," She explained.

"Wait!" Apollo called out. "Before you go, tell me something. When Athena told you she was meeting with someone, what did she say?"

Ema paused. "I tried to stop her, but she said she wasn't expecting the person she was meeting to be a danger. She did say that if something did happen, she would call the police right away." With that, she left the alleyway.

The defense team let all the new information sink in. The more they learned, the more it seemed that Athena had her own agenda that she was working on up to the day of her shooting. What that agenda was, and how Lisette's own actions lined up with it was still unknown.

Then Apollo's cell phone started ringing, and he promptly answered it.

"Hello, Lisette here!" Lisette said on the other end. "I got your cell number from your records. Hope you don't mind!"

"What do you want, Lisette?" Apollo asked.

"Come meet me at Tres Bien. I think I've finally made a breakthrough. Make sure to bring Hugh and Juniper with you!"

Apollo agreed to the meeting, then hung up. "Juniper, go back to the agency. I need you to prepare our case for tomorrow. Hugh and I will keep investigating."

"Got it. I'll go right away."

After Juniper left the alley, Apollo explained to Hugh about the phone call. "Chances are, Tres Bien is going to be full of people so Lisette won't try anything. It would be good to interview her for information."

Hugh closed his eyes, deep in thought. "I see. So then why did you send Juniper away?"

"Because if something does happen, one of us has to be able to go to court tomorrow."

September 25 2029

Tres Bien

5:25 p.m.

Entering Tres Bien, Apollo and Hugh immediately noticed Lisette sitting alone. No other customers were anywhere to be seen, which made Apollo nervous. On the other hand, there absolutely had to be staff somewhere. Although the only thing Apollo could remember regarding the case file on this place was to avoid the chef at all costs.

The defense attorneys seated themselves across from Lisette. The police officer smiled at them, almost dancing in her seat. This did not make either defense attorney feel any better.

"I heard around the precinct that Logan's defense is going well!" She said cheerfully. "In fact, I heard you both might have a new suspect?"

"We do have a new suspect," Apollo said, deciding some misdirection was in order. "We checked the alley just as you said, and found very strong evidence."

"It's Michael Brash, isn't it," Lisette said immediately. "From the moment I saw him, I knew he was up to no good. That's why I asked you to look into him."

"Is that really the only reason?" Apollo glared at Lisette. "I wasn't finished. The evidence we found is a forgery created to pin the crime on him."

Lisette immediately lowered her head in such a way that obscured her eyes with the bill of her police cap, but otherwise didn't respond.

"And it doesn't take a genius to realize the meaning of this," Hugh continued. "After all, there's only one benefit from an act like this. So we ask you, Lisette. Did you forge this evidence? If so, why do so if you truly believe in your brother's innocence?"

Lisette slowly lifted her head, revealing that her eyes had gone cold. "I am under no obligation to answer that question," She said, her tone just a frosty. "Neither should you be prodding into this line of questioning. You're defense attorneys. Focus on exonerating my brother."

Apollo slammed his fists onto the table. "I'm not about to send an innocent man to jail! That is not how I defend my clients!" He yelled.

"Innocent? Logan's innocent of this shooting," Lisette said, giggling in an unbalanced manner. "That's all you need to know. And even if you found fake evidence, why does that say Michael is innocent? Maybe a concerned party wanted to make sure justice is served."

"And what kind of justice is that?" Hugh asked.

Unexpectedly, Lisette looked Apollo in the eyes. "Mr. Justice. You have a sister, don't you? Miss Trucy Wright. I'm sure you must care deeply for her."

"If that's supposed to be a threat, it's not going to work!" Apollo exclaimed.

"It's not a threat. Just that you of all people understand my position," Lisette said, smiling. "Logan means the world to me. Which means I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe."

Lisette stood up and started walking towards the exit. "I will not be making it to court tomorrow either. However, if I hear that my brother has been found guilty, rest assured that your law firm will be torn down by my fury, down to the last brick."

Immediately Apollo and Hugh dashed to stop her, but Lisette moved towards them abruptly, ducking under their guard and punching them both in the gut. The defense attorneys sank to the ground, badly winded.

"Oh, by the way? This place is empty," Lisette said, giggling at the sight of the men on the ground. "Even the chef is gone. It's why I choose this as the meeting place. Goodbye!"

With that Lisette strode right out the doors, and all Apollo could do was berate himself for his stupidity. He had walked right into a trap, and now the truth of the case was going to be lost forever….


"Hold it right there, Lisette!"

At the sound of voices outside Hugh and Apollo managed to gather outside to hobble out the doors. And right outside-

Robin Newman stood, with a virtual wall of police officers behind her blocking Lisette's path. Robin immediately pointed at Lisette, and officers detained her. Lisette stared at the prosecutor in utter horror.

"Just where do you think you're going, Officer Sullivan?" Robin asked, grinning triumphantly.

"Well, I don't believe I have anything to do with this case, so I'm going home," Lisette answered nervously.

"That's not very nice of you," Robin said, wagging her finger in Lisette's face. "You're my s-t-a-r witness in tomorrow's trial. I can't have you leave on me!"

Lisette tried squirming away from the cops who held her, to no avail. "I don't want to testify in court tomorrow. What would I even talk about?"

"Ah ha ha ha! You really don't have a choice," Robin said, thoroughly enjoying herself. "Just a few minutes ago I finished processing the subpoena to summon you to court. So you're going to shine a light on your brother's actions whether you want to or not. If you will, officers."

The police officers dragged Lisette off, with Lisette devolving into frothing anger.

"You vile slime! I expect nothing less from a scum sucker like you!" She screamed before disappearing into the distance.

Unphased by the cursing, Robin turned to Hugh and Apollo, who had witnessed all this with mouths agape.

"I got the impression that you wanted to question Lisette too," Robin said. "But I had a feeling she'd tried to slip away. So I made sure she'd have no escape from either of our questions!"

"Thank you very much, Robin," Hugh said. "We really owe you one."

"Don't thank me quite yet, Hugh. I still plan to press my case against Logan," Robin said seriously. "So you and Apollo better have a case ready as well."

"Then we'll be waiting for you in court, Robin." Apollo said.

Robin grinned, then walked off towards the directions the cops had left. Apollo turned to Hugh.

"Let's go back to the agency. We need to be ready to confront Lisette tomorrow. And she's not going to get away!"

To be continued.

Chapter Text

A/N: The final trial of this story begins now! Apollo, Hugh, and Robin clash with each other to finally get to the bottom of this case. It's time for mystery!

Chapter 26: Fight for the truth

September 26 2029

District Courthouse, Defendant Lobby #5

9:30 a.m.

"Are you saying that Lissy forged evidence?"

"That seems to be the case, unfortunately," Apollo answered.

Logan looked away. "To be sure I can't deny that she would do that for me. But surely she must have a good reason!"

"We're just letting you know because the prosecution plans to call Lisette to the stand," Hugh said.

Logan scowled. "But of course. Question Lissy if you must, but if you get out of line I won't be happy."

Apollo almost wanted to ask what Logan's definition of out of line was, but decided now wasn't the time. There were more important matters at hand.

"Logan, there's a crucial piece of testimony we'd like to bring up to the court, with your permission…"

September 26 2029

District Courthouse, Prosecutor's lobby

9:45 a.m.

"You seem to be in a much better mood," Detective Marsh noted once he lay eyes on Robin.

"Amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you!" Robin answered back. Indeed, she had slept snugly last night, as opposed to the sleepless night before the first trial day. Spilling forth all her turmoil yesterday had given her some peace of mind, but Robin wasn't feeling entirely better yet.

Before that, there was this trial to take care of. The outlook for their case wasn't looking good, yet this thought didn't affect Robin. She was ready to face the consequences.

"Chances are things are going south pretty soon," Robin said to Detective Marsh. "I don't think I'm going to be calling you, so you're f-r-e-e to go!"

Detective Marsh shook his head. "I was personally assigned as the lead investigator to this case, so this case is just as much my responsibility. If nothing else, I should have brought you to your senses first. So if you get punished after this trial, I'll join you."

Robin was touched by this gesture. "Aww, you're actually a real sweetheart, aren't ya?"

"Tch. Don't mention it."

September 26, 2029

District Courthouse, Courtroom #4

10:00 a.m.

Day 2

Court is now in session


"Court is now in session for the trial of Logan Sullivan."

These words filled Juniper's ears as she took her seat in the stands. The police had taken all her statements, and with their permission she was now watching the trial. Already she could see Apollo and Hugh on one end and Robin at the other psyching themselves up.

Throughout this case, Juniper had remained firm in her beliefs. Even after it put her relationship with Robin on the rocks, even when it brushed the line between what was and wasn't allowed, she stuck to her convictions. Now she would observe whether her judgement was correct in the end.

She focused her attentions on the proceedings going on in front of her….

"The defense is ready, Your Honor," Apollo announced, looking determined.

On the other side of the courtroom, Robin twirled around and winked at the audience at large. "The prosecution is ready!" She said cheerfully.

"My goodness, the prosecution seems to be in much higher spirits than yesterday," The Judge noted.

"W-e-l-l, I know exactly how I'm going to present my case today," Robin answered, smiling.

"Speaking of which," The Judge turned towards Apollo and Hugh. "Yesterday, I asked the defense to come up with a new possibility. Do you have anything to present?"

Apollo nodded, before going through the court record to find the relevant evidence. "TAKE THAT! On a hunch, I had the weapon used in the shooting undergo some extra testing."

In the defendant's chair, Logan was resolutely staring at the floor. He had given Apollo permission to bring this up, but he was far from happy about it.

"On the muzzle of the gun we found traces of the our client's saliva," Apollo explained. "When we asked Logan about it, he confirmed that he attempted to take his own life a few days before the shooting."

"That's- that's terrible!" The Judge exclaimed, his eyes widening.

"In other words, the fingerprints on the bullet in the gun are from this event," Apollo said. "As such, we can no longer call this conclusive evidence against my client!"

"OBJECTION! I wouldn't be so sure about t-h-a-t," Robin said. "While you have explained why else Logan's fingerprints are on the bullet, it does not disprove that he loaded the other five."

Hugh flinched like he had just taken a blow. "Unfortunately, she's right," He whispered to Apollo.

Robin struck the bench with her right hand. "What's more, Logan still has both the means and the motive to be the culprit. Or to put it another way, it is the prosecution's belief that Logan is the shooter under the mask, and the defense hasn't proven otherwise!"

Sitting in the gallery, Juniper could hear the people around her start to talk amongst themselves.

"But the defendant is suicidal, isn't he?"

"The prosecution is putting this boy through needless trauma!"

"Given the hysterics she displayed yesterday, I'm questioning this prosecutor's capacity…"

Juniper desperately wanted to jump to her girlfriend's defense, but kept quiet to not draw bad attention. It was enough that she understood what Robin was doing- there were indeed far too many questions left in this case, along with the matter of Lisette's involvement. As such, Robin was drawing out the trial, and if Juniper knew Robin, the prosecutor was about to make her first move…

The Judge slammed his gavel several times to calm the crowd, then turned towards Robin. "What does the prosecution plan to do?" He asked.

"Just like yesterday, I have a pair of witnesses lined up," Robin answered, unaffected by the gallery's opinion of her. "And I'd like to call my first one n-o-w!"

Apollo and Hugh had already been surprised to hear that Robin had two witnesses, not one. They were even more surprised to see that the first witnesses was none other than Michael Brash.

Michael was still dressed in nothing but shorts and a burlap sack, but he looked a lot more aware of his surroundings than he did yesterday. Judging by the way he shifted about, Michael was incredibly surly and uncomfortable standing in the courtroom.

"Name and occupation?"

"Name's Michael Brash," Michael said, styling his spikes of green hair. "And I don't have a job, thanks for asking! Why'd you drag me up here anyway?"

"Oh, we just need you to tell us what you saw the day of the crime," Robin said pleasantly.

"Sure, whatever."

Witness Testimony

Michael's account

I was sleeping in my alleyway like I always do

When I heard the sound of stampeding footsteps

I was just gettin' my bearings when I see two people rushing in

And they ran right past me without a word.

I didn't see them after that, and I

Have no other involvement in whatever crime happened.

End testimony

The testimony raised far more questions than it answered. Primarily, Apollo wasn't sure what the point of this was, but he decided to keep pressing on.

"When we questioned you yesterday, you didn't mention any of this. Why not?" Apollo asked.

Interestingly enough, this caused Michael to began scuffing his feet against the floor, at a loss for words. Across the courtroom, Robin shook her head amusedly.

"This witness has been very drunk these past couple of days," Robin said. "So I had Detective Marsh find him and toss him in a drunk tank until he was fit to testify."

"Even so, this does raise the question of this witness's credibility." The Judge contemplated the situation. "Well, I'll leave it to the defense to discern the truth from this."

And what am I supposed to do with this testimony? Apollo thought, exasperated.

Hugh decided to take the initiative and press a statement that bothered him.

"HOLD IT! Could you tell who the people that came in the alley were?"

Michael glared at Hugh. "I just saw their legs. One of them wore black sweatpants, and the other this really tacky red skirt."

Robin seized up at this, and through gritted teeth she said, "What Michael refers to is me and the shooter coming through."

"After that a lot of cops came thundering through," Michael continued. "They didn't even seem to notice me there. And I worked with most of those jerks!"

This caused a bulb to go off in Apollo's head. Indeed, Michael had been mostly ignored throughout the investigation. In fact, the only reason he had come under Apollo's radar-

"OBJECTION! So you claim to be unrelated to this crime," Apollo said. "Well, someone certainly wanted to make people believe you shot Athena."

"Huh? Now what kind of sense does that make?" Michael asked.

"In the alleyway, we discovered a large bag with the shooter's hoodie inside," Apollo said. "And in the hood was your hair, Michael!"

"Gwah?!" Michael uttered in shock, his spikes drooping.

"Are you saying that Mr. Brash is the shooter?" The Judge asked.

Apollo shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. With cooperation from the prosecution, we had the hair analyzed. This hair could not have possibly fallen on the day of the crime, and as such it's forged evidence. Someone tried to frame Michael!"

Michael tugged at his spikes nervously. "Mr. Justice, I take back everything I ever said about you. Just let me explain myself."

"The prosecution doesn't mind anymore testimony," Robin said, looking pleased with herself.

Witness Testimony

I'm not the shooter

Now I don't know who would dare try to frame me,

But I wasn't at that park that day!

I was- just give me a minute to think

I'm pretty sure I was at an AA meeting

After the meeting I went back to my alley

Where I witnessed the prosecutor chase the real shooter.

I really didn't do anything beyond that!

End testimony

"I notice Michael didn't mention whether or not he had the weapon," Hugh said.

"If this testimony holds up, there's no need to prove anything else," Apollo said. "Because proving he wasn't at the park would completely clear him."

Logan's testimony that he had arrived at Vitamin Square after the shooting ideally demonstrated the same thing. Unfortunately, there was no evidence that could prove exactly when Logan stepped onto the park. Which wasn't to say the information was completely useless, just not needed right now.

"Let's see just how much we can believe in this testimony."

This time there was no point in beating around the bush. Apollo went after the most important statement in the testimony.

"HOLD IT! Just claiming you were somewhere else isn't enough," Apollo shouted. "We need hard evidence of this!"

Unexpectedly, this caused Michael to start digging around his burlap sack and shorts. Eventually he dug out a tattered brown notebook.

"Here's your stupid proof," Michael yelled as he waved the notebook. "I write what I do every day in this thing! Look inside if you don't believe me."

The notebook was passed around, and when Apollo looked inside there was indeed an entry for the day of the crime. As Michael said, the entry depicted a visit an A.A. meeting, complete with location and phone number.

The Judge ordered a bailiff to follow up on the claim, and calling the number confirmed Michael's account to be the truth- the person on the other end remembered seeing Michael at the meeting during the time the shooting happened.

Notebook added to the Court Record

Robin struck the bench with her right hand. "Your Honor, as you can see someone clearly tried to convince us that Logan isn't the culprit. Given that they decided to use fake evidence to do this, it casts doubt on Logan's innocence!"

"HOLD IT! It's too early to draw any conclusions from this," Apollo said quickly. "Let's look at this from a different angle."

"So I'm guessing you have a plan?" Hugh whispered to Apollo.

"Not really, but maybe we can find one," Apollo whispered back, then said to Michael, "Mr. Brash. This mystery person is trying to pin this crime on you. Could you think of anyone that would want to do this to you?"

At this point Michael was looking incredibly frightened, squatting low to the ground like he was about to bolt. "Only one. The same person that gave me the orders against Ema Skye," Michael answered, his eyes narrowed.

"Then please testify to the court," The Judge ordered.

Witness Testimony

The Ema Skye incident

If I remember correctly the police station was in total chaos,

All administrative matters ground to a halt.

And there were rumors of a traitor in our midst.

I received missives identifying Detective Ema Skye as the traitor.

So I schemed to drive her out of our department through vandalizing her office,

And tried to pin the crime on another officer.

But Mr. Justice and Miss Ckyes busted me, and the

True source of the turmoil was never found.

Whoever gave me those orders is also likely the person

That's trying to pin this shooting on me now!

End Testimony

"Hmm. Does the defense have any thoughts on this matter?" The Judge asked.

"Just that I've heard this before," Apollo answered. "So Mr. Brash better have something new to add to this."

"Very well. You may now cross examine this witness."

"HOLD IT! This court wouldn't be familiar with this incident, explain to us what happened," Apollo said.

"That's easy. All the records of what tasks the different departments did got mixed up," Michael said. "From the computer records to paperwork. It was the weirdest thing. There didn't seem to be any pattern to it, like if some bright spark decided to break everything just because."

"And no culprit was ever found for this," Hugh noted. "That's very interesting."

"Yeah, well, anyone could have done it," Michael explained. "Since all you needed was access to department facilities long enough."

It's just that easy to cripple to police? Apollo wondered incredulously.

"Believe me, the first thing that happened after I was tossed in the slammer was the department beefing up security," Michael said, reading the expression on Apollo's face. "I heard as much from my inmates."

This was all information Apollo already knew, so he moved on to press the next statement.

"HOLD IT! You've already claimed before that you got these missives from the chief of police," Apollo said. "But not only did the chief not actually make these notes, but you never produced them!"

Michael scowled. "Well I'd like to know what happened too! I've thought of nothing else since."

"This M.O. is starting to become uncomfortably familiar," Hugh muttered under his breath.

"I lost myself in drink as soon as I was released," Michael said shamefully. "So it wasn't until just recently that I remembered what happened to those notes. They vanished from my desk, and then they hopped between different departments, such as finance, internal affairs, the cadets-"

"HOLD IT! What did you just say?" Apollo asked, feeling his blood go cold.

"Huh? Someone told me the missives I got could have wound up with the cadets," Michael answered. "And that the cadets accidently destroyed them with other trash. But that couldn't have happened, so I never mentioned it. I mean, what idiot cadet would lose papers from the chief?"

In his mind's eye, Apollo could see a certain cadet he had met briefly while investigating the case.

"Name's Lisette Sullivan, and I'm a cadet at this police precinct!"

Lisette had been investigated, then dismissed as a suspect because she had an ironclad alibi for the day of the crime; at a training camp with other cadets when the vandalism happened. But by the sound of it, Michael didn't mention critical information to the case because it seemed unlikely, until today. Putting together the different threads- the unsolved chaos, the notes so similar to Logan's M.O., the disappearing evidence- painted a frightening picture.

It painted a scenario where Lisette had in fact been the true mastermind in the scheme against Ema, one that succeeded in destroying the evidence pointing to her. Michael had been but a convenient tool for Lisette to throw away. Worst of all, Apollo had fallen for it completely.

The Judge slammed his gavel down. "It does seem like there's a connection between this previous case and the current case, yet it seems our current witness is the sole point of relation."

"I wouldn't be so sure, Your Honor," Apollo said quickly. "After all, as Michael said the person that was ordering him in that incident could be trying to frame him for this shooting!"

"What are the prosecution's thoughts on the matter?" The Judge asked.

Robin smiled. "I'd like to call my second witness. A person that was not only involved in the previous case Michael was part of, but is also part of our current case."

Apollo braced himself. It was finally time to face off against Lisette.

When Lisette was brought to the stand, she smiled and waved at the audience, seemingly no different from the quirky girl Apollo and Hugh had met a few days ago. The main difference was the manic, desperate look in her eyes.

"Name and occupation, please!" Robin said.

"Officer Lisette Sullivan, defender of the peace!" Lisette exclaimed. She proceeded to remove her gun from her holster and twirl it with her hands, pointing it in different directions.

"Is it safe for the witness to do that?" The Judge asked worriedly.

"She refused to testify without her gun," Robin explained. "So we let her keep it- after we took all her bullets away from her."

"So why have I been called to this court?" Lisette asked.

Apollo immediately went on the attack. "If you remember the incident surrounding Ema Skye being harassed at the police department, Michael Brash has just told the court something new. Mainly, that the missives he received were given to cadets, then destroyed. Weren't you a cadet back then?"

"I certainly was, but I don't know what Mr. Brash is talking about," Lisette said. "After all, I don't remember laying eyes on anything by the Chief."


Apollo rubbed his golden bracelet, which had just reacted to Lisette's statement. Having his ability to perceive back was great, but unfortunately…

"You're rubbing your bracelet. So Lisette is lying," Hugh said excitedly. "Are you going to expose her?"

"No, I won't. Or to be more accurate, I can't," Apollo said back. "If we're to take Lisette being the real mastermind as fact, that means she deliberately destroyed evidence. Without that evidence, we can't make any claim of her being responsible."

"As a cadet, I didn't know much of what happened back then," Lisette said, a small but smug smile spreading on her face. "But I will say that perhaps Miss Skye should have been more careful picking relationships."

This was as good a confirmation as any that Lisette was in fact the real mastermind behind that incident. Apollo was overcome with the urge to scream, hit something, or both. His failure had allowed Lisette to slip away, which meant it was now impossible to catch her for tormenting Ema. In turn, it allowed Lisette to cause the current incident on trial, and Apollo was determined to nail her to the wall.

"So it seems that the prior incident is still a mystery," The Judge said.

"Now that Apollo's had his t-u-r-n," Robin said. "I'd like her to testify about her actions on the day of the crime."

Lisette saluted, even as her face started twitching.

"Will do, Prosecutor Newman!"

Witness Testimony

Lisette's account

When the crime occurred I was patrolling my beat,

A strip near a place called Tender Lender.

Then my pager suddenly went off with an All Points Bulletin,

To apprehend the shooter that fled from Vitamin Square.

The APB was sent to any cop in the general area,

So I imagine a lot of my coworkers got the same message.

I converged to the alleyway where the culprit fled, but by

The time we got there the shooter had escaped.

We searched around for them but couldn't find anyone,

So after I reported back I was dismissed.

End Testimony

"Hmm. You certainly did a fine job, Officer Sullivan!" The Judge said.

"Thank you, Your Honor!" Lisette said. "But I don't deserve that praise. I allowed the shooter to get away!"

"I wonder why," Robin said coyly.

"The prosecution's insinuations aside," Apollo said quickly. "I'd like to cross examine this witness now."

With Apollo's permission, Hugh decided to press Lisette on a weak point in her testimony.

"HOLD IT! Officer Sullivan, yesterday the police chief told me that you didn't answer your pager," Hugh said. "Would you care to explain to the court?"

"Like I said yesterday, I did answer my pager eventually after I found it," Lisette answered. "And I joined my fellow officers in chasing after the shooter."

Unfortunately, as much as the defense tried they couldn't find anything wrong with the statement. Lisette's statements were just vague enough to be hard to prove false.

"If you're going to accuse Officer Sullivan of something," Robin said. "Then just go ahead and s-a-y it! A cop like Lisette is much easier to believe in."

Apollo and Hugh got the message instantly; a soft approach was no good. They needed to make their points clear, and fast.

"HOLD IT! With your brother as the defendant, I imagine you were motivated to take part in the case," Apollo said, staring down Lisette.

"Which is why I hired you, Mr. Justice," Lisette said, smiling. "And you've done a good job. I tried to help as well, but as a beat cop I wasn't allowed too close to the investigation."

"Your Honor! I'd like Lisette's remarks to be added to the testimony!" Apollo shouted.

This was met with no resistance, which worried Apollo. Nonetheless the testimony was amended, and Apollo made his first move.

"OBJECTION! Officer Sullivan, you claim you weren't involved in the investigation," Apollo said. "But as we covered in a previous testimony, someone tried to introduce forged evidence to this trial. And this someone was none other than you!

Lisette flinched, immediately drawing her gun in front of her.

"What makes you say that, Mr. Justice?" The Judge asked.

"This forged evidence serves two purposes," Apollo explained. "The first is to frame Michael Brash. The second is to take suspicion off of Logan. I think our witness has motivation to commit this act!"

Lisette shook her head. "Didn't I just tell you I'm just a beat cop? As much I want to save Logan from these false charges, I don't have the kind of access to pull that off. What you should be focused on is why someone would point the spotlight at Michael. Maybe he is involved-"

"HOLD IT! I'd like to ask something to the defense," Robin said. "As you said earlier, with our help the evidence against Michael was uncovered as a fake. So where did the fake evidence come from? If you can't answer that, you can't indict Lisette."

Hugh broke out in a sweat. "Can we actually prove where the evidence came from?" He asked Apollo.

Thinking on it, Apollo hit another wall. They could maybe prove where the hair came from, but the bag and the jacket inside were a complete mystery. More testimony from Lisette would help, if she would give it.

The Judge shook his head. "It seems the defense has nothing further to add."

"Then I think there's sufficient grounds to call for a verdict," Robin said, smirking.

Lisette whipped her head towards Robin. "And what grounds would those be?" She shouted.

"W-e-l-l, your testimony gave us another perspective of the crime, but wasn't really anything new," Robin said, wagging her finger. "And the next best suspect is indeed Michael Brash, but his testimony has completely cleared him. So Logan remains the prime suspect."

"Hngh….ahhhh…" Lisette groaned, twisting her pigtails.

It hit Apollo like a bolt of lightning- he knew what Robin was doing. He slammed his fists on the bench to catch Lisette's attention.

"You heard the prosecutor," Apollo said carefully. "If you have anything new to add, do it now. You want to prove her wrong, don't you?"

At the witness stand, Lisette snapped to attention. "Understood you loud and clear, Mr. Justice! If it's new testimony you want, it's new testimony you'll get!"

Witness testimony

Chasing the shooter

As I've testified before, I did chase the shooter.

I joined my fellow officers and went into the alley.

I managed to catch sight of them right before they leapt over a fence,

Unfortunately me and my fellow officers lost them from there.

We searched the alleyway for several hours,

But they vanished without a trace.

If I can add information to exonerate my brother,

Then just ask and I'll do my best!

End testimony

"If we blow this chance, it's all over." Hugh noted.

"All we need to do is draw out Lisette's true nature," Apollo said. "And with a new testimony, we have the perfect chance!"

Once again, Hugh had a question he wanted to ask first, to clear up some vague points.

"HOLD IT! So to get this straight, this shooter managed to outrun ten beat cops, including you. After that they managed to scale over a tall fence. This shooter is quite fit."

Lisette grinned sheepishly. "No offense meant to Logan. But I don't think he can walk a mile without getting winded."

"OBJECTION! Don't think I'll allow speculation like that," Robin said. "People can do the most amazing things when they're flush with adrenaline."

"Objection sustained. The defense will present something more concrete," The Judge said.

Apollo decided to make another move here. "Because you answered your pager late, you got to the alley after the rest of the cops. Am I right?"

"Not that late," Lisette said, twirling her gun with a confident grin on her face. "The rest of the cops got to the alley at about 1:35 that day. I was there a couple minutes later. Add that to my testimony."

When the cross examination resumed, Apollo zeroed on the last statement. Well, since she had offered, Apollo was more than happy to take her up on it.

"HOLD IT! All we need is some kind of distinguishing feature," Apollo said. "Something to separate Logan from the shooter."

"Hmmm….I got it!" Lisette said. "Add this to my testimony: I clearly remember the shooter wearing a mask of the 'Mysterious Global Hero Onyankopon', and Logan owns nothing like that. He prefers the Nickel Samurai."

There it was- the key to exposing the real truth behind this crime. After the testimony was amended, Apollo prepared the proper evidence from the Court Record. Then at the top of his lungs, he shouted,


"Mr. Justice! Please refrain from such loudness," The Judge said. "There's no need to be so excited."

Apollo crossed his arms, smiling confidently. "You'll understand soon, Your Honor. Lisette, you've just named the culprit's mask. However, the mask in question has yet to be found. Can you explain this?"

"I talked about it with my fellow officers. Sharing information is key to a good investigation," Lisette answered.

"Does this defense find this claim to hold true?" The Judge asked. "Or is there evidence that says otherwise?"

Apollo shook his head, then presented the contradicting evidence. "TAKE THAT! As the prosecution revealed yesterday, there is a gag order in place concerning the shooter's mask. Only Prosecutor Newman, Detective Marsh, and Miss Woods know what this mask looks like. Regular officers shouldn't know this!"

"There- there was a gag order?!" Lisette screamed, yanking down hard on her pigtails. At the same time, she started sweating heavily.

Lisette's eyes started darting back and forth. "Well, there could have been an information leak in the department-"

"OBJECTION! That didn't happen," Robin said, her eyes blazing with anger. "None of us under the gag order talked about it even once. After the shooting happened and I was assigned to the case, I interviewed every officer that chased the shooter, including you, Lisette. None of you mentioned the mask, and so I placed the gag order after that so that the information would remain contained to me, John, and Juniper."

"You did do that, didn't you," Lisette said nervously. "Oh, now I remember! I had it backwards. I saw the culprit's mask, but saved the information for when I needed it."

"It seems Officer Sullivan could have feasibly seen the mask, having chased the shooter," The Judge mused.

Hugh smirked smugly, adjusting his glasses. "Unfortunately for Officer Sullivan, that's impossible. She herself testified that she arrived at the alleyway last. If none of the officers saw the shooter's mask, then she couldn't have either!"

"Then why does Lisette know what the mask looks like?" Robin asked.

"That's simple," Apollo said. "According to the gag order, only four people should know what the mask looks like. Lisette is the fourth person: The shooter herself! In other words, she is none other than the true culprit!"

"GAAHHH!" Lisette screamed, before pointing her gun at Apollo.

"OBJECTION! Wait a minute," Logan said from the defendant's chair. " didn't actually do this, did you?"

"Of course not, Logan," Lisette answered. "I don't know why the defense has accused me but there's a reason it couldn't have been me, one I'd like to testify about."

"Then the witness had better explain herself," The Judge said sternly.

Witness testimony

No connection

There exists absolutely no connection between the victim and me,

And as such I have no motive to shoot her.

The only time I talked to her was over a year ago,

For an incident I had nothing to do with.

What's more, even if I had a reason to want to hurt her,

I had no way to find out her actions for the day of the crime.

As such, it is impossible for me to have been the shooter,

As I have neither the means or a reason.

End testimony

"Hmm. This is a remarkably solid testimony," The Judge said.

"But it's one that will fall apart under scrutiny," Apollo said. "Because it's a lie!"

"Mr. Justice, I'm warning you," Logan said from his defendant chair. "You'd better have a good reason for this."

Apollo knew exactly how to break this testimony. As such, he immediately attacked the contradiction in Lisette's statements. It called for a bit of bluffing, however.

"OBJECTION! Lisette, you claim there's no way you could have known where Athena was on the day of the crime," Apollo said. "Well, I say that's wrong."

"So what way could the witness have known?" The Judge asked.

"A few days ago my workplace was broken into," Apollo explained. "And yesterday, I opened up the agency's phone and found a wiretap. Lisette planted it in there, as part of her plan to commit this crime!"

Juniper had told him that Athena had never once mentioned going to Vitamin Square. Yet Apollo decided not to mention this fact, in case a certain someone brought it up first.

At the witness stand, Lisette shook her head. "That wiretap isn't mine. With how poor our family is, I would never buy something like that."

Or Lisette could say the one thing Apollo didn't want her to say.

"Well, I'm sure the defense can prove where the wiretap came from," Robin said. "Can't he?"

Apollo could feel himself deflating. In fact, he had no way to prove who owned the wiretap. Getting the court away from this issue in short order seemed like a good idea right now.

"What's more important is that the opportunity to learn of Athena's whereabouts certainly existed," Apollo said quickly. "After all, it's not a coincidence that Athena got shot a few days after the wiretap was planted. Furthermore, consider Lisette's knowledge of the shooter's mask. The more evidence we examine, the more it paints Lisette as the real shooter behind this!"

"That does indeed seem to the case," The Judge said. "I suppose…"

"Wait! Stop the trial!" Logan called out. "...I confess. I shot Miss Cykes."

"OBJECTION! Logan, what do you think you're doing?" Apollo shouted.

"I refuse to see my sister be arrested for this," Logan said quietly. "So I'll accept a guilty verdict."

Robin wagged her finger at Logan. "Then come down to the witness stand and spill it a-l-l."

"Don't throw your life away, Logan!" Lisette shouted desperately. "There's- there's no way you're guilty! There's no decisive evidence implicating either of us."

"This trial seems to have come to a standstill," The Judge said. "Do either the defense or the prosecution have anything to add?"

Robin gave Apollo a serious look. "As of now, the prosecution has presented the sequence of events that transpired the day of the crime. So does the defense have their own version to counter it?"

"Looks like it's do or die time," Hugh said nervously. "Can we really pull this off?"

"We have no choice but to try," Apollo said. He straightened his back and began speaking to the court.

"First let's look at the background of this case," Apollo began. "On the day of the crime, Athena and Logan had a meeting. Five people arrived at Vitamin Square, but there were only four set of footprints. Now, how is this possible?"

"The shooting happened a little after one," Hugh continued. "And our client claims to have arrived at one thirty, and didn't step onto the playground itself because he saw it was empty and went home. Normally, this would be impossible to prove."

"But if Lisette had arrived at Vitamin Square earlier in disguise, the contradiction disappears," Apollo said. "Because what Lisette did next was hide herself in the giant strawberry at the park. When Athena arrived, Lisette made her shot! As she's leaving the strawberry, she dropped her gun to the ground. Not long after, Juniper and Robin enter the scene, causing Lisette to flee the scene. This accounts not only for the four footprints, but also for Logan's later arrival."

Apollo raised his voice as he wrapped up his explanation. "Robin proceeds to chase Lisette all the way to the alley, calling the police along the way. Once Lisette reaches the alley, she leaps over the fence to lose her pursuers. All she had to do then was hide her disguise and join the rest of her fellow officers. That's everything that happened!"

There was a silence as the court processed the explanation, before it was broken by Robin giggling and twirling in a circle.

"Unfortunately for the defense, I see at least three major contradictions here," Robin said, reading from a paper she had placed on her mini easel. "First, Why did she drop the gun? That also cast doubt on Logan as the shooter, if I remember correctly. Second, how did she join her fellow officers without getting caught? Or to put it another way, where did the disguise go? Most importantly of all: What is her motive? Why did Officer Lisette Sullivan shoot Athena?"

These were all very valid points. What's more, Apollo didn't quite have an answer ready for all three. But he planned to press on. One by one the contradictions of the case were being peeled away. It wasn't long until they would reach the ugly center of it all…

To be continued.

A/N: This arc is finally ending next chapter. I'm not going to lie, even I think this case is starting to drag and I'll be glad to move on. See you next time! Please review.

Chapter Text

Chapter 27: Glimmer of hope

September 26 2029

District Courthouse, Courtroom #4

2:09 p.m.

The Judge closed his eyes, processing all the arguments that had been presented to him thus far. In the gallery, Juniper was also trying to to make use of all the pieces of the puzzle. From the very beginning of the case, she believed in Logan's innocence. Even so, watching the trial had allowed her to understand the arguments of both sides better.

Apollo was putting up a fierce fight, but Juniper found she couldn't deny that Robin's counterarguments rung true. Someone from the outside looking in would see Logan as very suspicious. To Robin, Logan as the culprit would make more sense, given his prior actions and the evidence.

Except what Juniper had wanted Robin to understand during their fight was that it was wrong to see Logan through a filter made up of his crimes, much the same mistake Logan himself had made so long ago. The fall of Logan and his family, Robin's own private struggles- these had intersected, and it was all coming full circle. Despite all this, Juniper still felt an unwavering faith in Robin. Faith that Robin would come into her own, as a person and as a prosecutor. She just needed someone to stand opposite to her, countering her every move.

If Juniper herself had to be that person on occasion, as she had done during the first trial day, then so be it.

"Mr. Justice, the prosecution has just asked you to substantiate your claim," The Judge said. "Are you prepared to do so?"

"I am, Your Honor!" Apollo declared confidently, despite having no idea of what he was doing.

"Then address the contradictions in your case that the prosecution has raised."

"So do we tackle Robin's points in order?" Hugh asked.

"I don't think so," Apollo answered. "We should probably tackle only what we can manage."

"Taking a more methodical approach, I see," Hugh said, smirking. "Then let's use our combined intellect to turn the tides."

Of the three points, the first seemed to be the most important, but Apollo had a feeling now wasn't the time to bring it up. Just as important was the third point, motive, but Apollo was still in the dark about that. That left the second point: how did Lisette pull off her escape? Looking over the court record, Apollo found a piece of evidence that answered it just fine.

"Detective Marsh did say that wasn't there when the investigation started," Hugh said after seeing the evidence. "So you're probably on the right track."

Then it was time to start the final attack against Lisette. Connecting her to the crime point by point until she could no longer escape.

"TAKE THAT! In the alley where the culprit escaped, we found a large sports bag," Apollo said to the court. "Investigation by Detective Marsh revealed that it was placed there a few days after the shooting, and inside the bag is the shooter's hoodie with Michael's hair planted inside."

"But all this only seems to be relevant to Michael, doesn't it?" The Judge asked.

Hugh shook his head. "With all due respect, that's a dull conclusion. This bag wasn't found the day of the crime, and yet it showed up days later. This is obviously the work of the shooter."

"Which brings us to Lisette," Apollo continued. "How can she be both the shooter and pursuing the shooter? If you look at the layout of the alley and where the bag was found it's perfectly clear."

At the witness stand, Lisette started twisting her pigtails again.

"That's right! If she was working, then she'd be in uniform. As the shooter, she was wearing the disguise we've covered before over the uniform," Apollo said. "So once she lept over the fence, all she had to do was get out of sight, take off the disguise, put it all in the sports bag, then hide the bag itself where no one would look. After that Officer Lisette Sullivan takes one of the alley's exits and joins the chase, her fellow officers none the wiser!"

"KYYYAAAA!" Lisette screamed, yanking on her pigtails hard.

"Which also plainly answers another aspect of this case," Hugh said. "Once she felt it was safe, all Lisette had to do was retrieve the bag, then dispose of the evidence that pointed to her. Then she would forge the evidence that points the Michael and place the bag back in the alley where she knew people would look."

"OBJECTION!" Robin shouted. "That's not quite a complete answer, don't you think?"

"What do you mean?" Apollo asked, preparing himself for Robin's counter.

"Why did Lisette need to go through all this effort to frame Michael if Logan wound up as the primary suspect?" Robin asked. "It's a fact that a bullet with Logan's fingerprints in it is inside the gun. Wouldn't that be the first thing she'd remove?"

The objection didn't phase Apollo. If anything, it told him that he remained on the right track. All he had to do was string together the logic of Lisette's actions.

"Essentially, the prosecution has asked two questions, both of which can be answered," Apollo said. "Why did Lisette frame Michael? Because the two of them had met previously, when Michael was a cop. What's more, Michael's residence in the alleyway is well known to the cops, including her! All Lisette had to do was go find where Michael slept to get a hair to frame him with. But she made a crucial mistake: she didn't realize that the hairs could be too old!"

In the defendant's chair, Logan's expression was becoming steadily more anguished. The facts of the case were slowly destroying any objections he might have had. Seeing this made Apollo start pitying him, but it wasn't over.

"Then there's the second question: why is Logan the defendant if Michael was being actively framed," Apollo said intensely. "And the answer to this one will turn the entire case on its head. Now, what is the most unnatural action the shooter has committed?"

"That would be dropping the gun," Robin said, who had started sweating. It seemed she had figured out where Apollo was going.

"Exactly. And one of the first things established in this trial-" Apollo slammed his fists onto the bench. "Is that the gun was dropped on accident!"

"Stop right there, citizen!" Lisette yelled. "That theory does not connect me to the crime. What's more, what's to say the gun wasn't dropped on purpose?"

"OBJECTION! That's not going to fly, Lisette," Apollo said. "As the shooter, you have absolutely no reason to drop the gun, and as we covered before it's clear that you were trying to frame Michael!"

"Which brings us to your brother," Hugh said, adjusting his glasses. "The court will remember that our client attempted to commit suicide a few days prior, which is why a single bullet inside had his fingerprints on it. But what happened to the gun after that?"

Lisette jerked back in surprise. "No way. Logan actually told you about that?!"

At the defendant chair's, Logan closed his eyes and looked away from the proceedings.

"What happened is that none other than Lisette showed up and stopped her brother," Hugh continued. "Which means there was a perfect chance for her to obtain the gun."

"OBJECTION! So what you're saying is that in that moment, Lisette began plotting this shooting?" Robin asked, horrified.

"Exactly! After what she just saw, I can't imagine Lisette was in the best state of mind," Apollo exclaimed. "All you need to do is look at the other aspects on the gun. When Lisette loaded the gun, the bullet Logan had loaded was still inside! What's more, the gun was wiped of fingerprints. Since Logan was the last one to use it, it makes sense for Lisette to clean the outside of the gun before using it herself."

"I imagine Officer Sullivan was in quite a panic when she was being chased away from the scene," Hugh said. "And she realized she no longer had the gun. There was a one in five chance that suspicion would fall on her brother, a chance that did come to pass. Which means Lisette has the motive to frame Michael."

The Judge glared down at Lisette. "Are you going to explain yourself, witness?"

Despite the desperate look in her eyes, Lisette began smiling. "I knew I picked correctly with you, Mr. Justice."

"What are you talking about?" Apollo asked.

"Your Honor, I'd like to be excused," Lisette said. "The defense has outlined a scenario where another person is the true shooter, with me as an example. As such, I believe there is enough reasonable doubt to pass a Not Guilty verdict."

"Lisette is trying to slip away again. The moment she does she'll just pin this crime on someone else." Hugh said angrily.

"HOLD IT! You're not finished yet!" Apollo shouted at Lisette.

"But Mr. Justice, despite accusing her of this crime this witness has been nothing but helpful to you," The Judge said. "I do have sufficient reason to pass my verdict in your favor."

"But this witness knows what mask the shooter used," Apollo said. "Because she is the shooter! She tried to evade the issue by distracting the courts with other points, and now she's trying to get away!"

"I' don't have to explain myself," Lisette said pleasantly. "My only interest is saving my brother."

"Hmm. What are your thoughts, Prosecutor Newman?" The Judge asked.

Robin giggled. "This trial isn't over quite y-e-t. The court will recall that the gun used in the shooting belongs to the Sullivan family. Only one of the twins could have wielded it."

Lisette made a sound akin to a cat being strangled.

"We can have Lisette arrested on the knowledge of the mask alone," Robin said. "But she maintains innocence in the crime. Does the defense have evidence that points to her and her alone?"

"That's a good question," Hugh said to Apollo. "Do we have evidence?"

"Our best bet might be her pager," Apollo answered. "But I researched pagers this morning and they can't be tracked. We may need to bluff it."

Apollo put on his fiercest glare and presented the pager. "TAKE THAT! We established earlier that on the day of the crime, Officer Sullivan didn't answer her pager. We'd like to take a look at it for a moment."

"And if I don't want to show my pager?" Lisette asked, forcefully gripping her pager.

"You are under serious suspicion, witness," The Judge said. "So this court orders you to show your pager!"

A bailiff pried the pager away from Lisette, then handed it over to the defense. Apollo and Hugh scrolled through the entries before arriving to the day of the crime.

"According to Lisette's pager, the first message about the crime was sent at 1:15 p.m." Apollo looked through the court record, and found a piece of evidence that matched. "Now look at this photo of the shooter that Prosecutor Newman took. The timestamp also says 1:15 p.m.!"

"That's just a coincidence!" Lisette yelled. "I already told the court I had lost it!"

"Then let's fast forward. The chase continued for twenty minutes before reaching the alley," Apollo explained. "Now, earlier this very trial Lisette testified that the other officers arrived at 1:35 p.m., and she arrived a few minutes after."

"Your point, Mr. Justice?" The Judge asked.

Apollo checked Lisette's pager and found exactly what he wanted to see. "Lisette claims she was patrolling near Tender Lender when she checked her pager," Apollo said. "Yet the first time she answered her pager was also at 1:35! The only way it's possible for her to answer at that time and only be a couple minutes late is if she was already in the alley. And the only reason Lisette would be in the alley is if she in fact got there first- as the shooter and true culprit of this crime!"

A sick grin slowly spread on Lisette's face. "You've done it!" She suddenly shouted. "You've figured out! Just as the defense says, I'm the one who shot Athena Cykes!"

The people in the gallery spiraled into chaos, forcing the Judge to slam his gavel repeatedly just to quell everyone. Apollo got a sinking feeling in his gut. Something about this didn't feel right.

"Well done, Mr. Justice, Mr. O'Conner," Lisette said. "You both figured out almost everything, except for my motive. But I'd be more than happy to spill."

Witness Testimony

Lisette's last stand

Logan told me that he was going to meet with Miss Cykes

But I didn't want that to happen, so I wanted to stop it.

I hid myself at Vitamin Square and waited for Athena to arrive,

And took my shot! As I fled I did drop the gun by mistake.

I fled to the alleyway with Miss Newman in pursuit,

And put my disguise in a bag I had prepared.

The bag I placed in my nearby police cruiser, where I knew it was safe

Then I set about to frame Michael just as the defense described.

I only wanted to keep my brother safe from Miss Cykes,

So I shot once to warn her off.

End Testimony


"My bracelet's reacting!" Apollo told Hugh.

"But why would Lisette be nervous about anything if she's confessing?" Hugh asked.

"Because she might be hiding something much worse," Apollo answered. "Though what that might be, I can't even begin to imagine."

"Will the defense be cross examining this final testimony?" The Judge asked.

"We will, Your Honor!"

Scanning Lisette's testimony at a first glance, most of it matched up to what Apollo had been trying to prove all along. Then he came upon a statement that just seemed fishy.

"Officer Sullivan, could you repeat the last statement in your testimony?"

Lisette looked unsure about this, but still obliged. "I only wanted to keep my brother safe Miss Cykes. So I shot once to warn her off."

Apollo focused very carefully as Lisette talked. Taking in every tiny movement that her body made. When she reached a certain point in her testimony…

"GOTCHA! Feeling trapped, Officer Sullivan?"

"I am confessing on the stand. Why do you ask?" Lisette said, managing to smile weakly.

"When you said, 'I only shot once', your fingers started playing with the trigger of your gun," Apollo explained. "You must be recalling something about the shooting that you're trying to hide."

"I'm not hiding anything!" Lisette claimed, even as she started playing with her ponytails.

Now that Apollo had seen her nervous twitch, he knew what was wrong with the testimony. "TAKE THAT! Then answer me this. If you only intended to shoot once, then why are there six bullets in the gun?"

"AAAAHHHHHH!" Lisette screamed, yanking on her pigtails.

"Why are there six bullets in the gun?" The Judge asked curiously.

"The prosecution remains firm in their opinion that this was part of a premeditated murder," Robin said. "I guess Lisette wanted to kill Athena that badly."

"I wasn't trying to kill Athena!" Lisette exclaimed.

"Y-yes! Lissy is telling the truth! So just end this already!" Logan shouted.

This caused a spark in Apollo's brain. Something about Lisette's words did ring true. This entire case had been built on the presumption that Athena had been the intended target. And yet...

"Logan! What time was the meeting supposed to be between you and Athena?"

"It was at one-thirty," Logan answered, confused. "Except wasn't Cykes a whole half hour early?"

In fact, she was, something that Apollo had mulled over just yesterday. They were trying to answer what Lisette was trying to accomplish. But what was Athena trying to accomplish? What if the two aims were related to each other?

"I think I need to go over this crime one last time. To expose the full truth of this incident once and for all!"

Apollo retreated into his mind, laying out all the facts before him.

The case right now is riding on a lot of assumptions. Let's go back and see if we can't clear up a few of them. First things first, what's one aspect of this crime we've yet to find an answer to?

Why the number of bullets

Why the specific gun

Why the alley

The number of bullets. All six chambers were loaded, and even if Logan loaded one Lisette did leave it inside, even if by accident. She meant to bring the gun fully loaded. Is there anything about this crime that's remained the same?

The fact that it's premeditated

The intended target

Lisette's motive

The other two points are still up in the air. But there's no mistaking it- from the very beginning this shooting was meant to be a premeditated murder! So what exactly be Lisette's motive to kill?

To silence Michael

Revenge for her brother's attempted suicide

She had no motive

Another constant in this case is Lisette's genuine love for her brother. Add in the way Logan and Lisette grew up, and it becomes clear that Logan's attempted suicide is what spurred Lisette into action.

Now, who was Lisette's intended target? Athena arrived early to her own meeting on purpose, so let's turn that around and pretend she didn't. Given this and everything we've learned up until now, who was Lisette trying to kill?

Athena Cykes

Robin Newman
Juniper Woods

None of these are correct.

Six bullets are in the gun. Lisette took that gun to Vitamin Square to kill. The reason Lisette wanted to kill is because Logan wanted to kill himself. And the reason Logan wanted to kill himself is because of the news report he watched. Which means-

Lisette wanted to kill both Juniper and Robin.

That's it! In Lisette's mind, both of them would be responsible. And Juniper did say she talked with Athena about her date at Vitamin Square, a conversation that Lisette was eavesdropping on with the wiretap. So the real truth is that Lisette wasn't waiting for one person- she was waiting for two of them!

Suddenly, all of Athena's actions over the past few days made total sense. The mysterious meeting with Logan, Athena becoming so secretive even to the people she cared about, the note to Apollo to check the phone that turned out to be bugged. Apollo felt a chill that shook him to the very core of his being.

Athena had intentionally arrived early to a meeting she herself had set up. If she even suspected for a second that Juniper and Robin were in danger- there was no doubt in Apollo's mind that Athena would do everything in her power to put a stop to it.

"Your Honor! We've all made a grave error in our assumptions of this crime!" Apollo shouted.

"I've just confessed! What more do you want from me?" Lisette asked disbelievingly.

"OBJECTION! If the defense wants to poke holes in their own scenario, I won't stop them," Robin said, winking at the defense to show she understood what they wanted.

"I've just come to realize why Lisette was at Vitaman Square," Apollo said. "She was there to kill, and not just one person. She aimed to kill two of them!"

"I assume you have a decisive piece of evidence to prove this?" The Judge asked.

Did he? Apollo skimmed the court record and didn't find anything that immediately caught his eye. He needed to completely substantiate Lisette's true plan if wanted the indictment to stick.

"So you truly believe Lisette had another plan going into Vitamin Square," Hugh said, thinking carefully. "In that case, I think you should keep in mind that most of this crime was planned far ahead of time. There must be evidence that alludes to this."

With this in mind, Apollo searched the court record again. This time, he came upon Michael's notebook. According to the cop himself, it was for recording his daily activities. Apollo turned to the entry for the day of the crime, then turned the page. It was then that he noticed a page had been torn out.

"Wait a second. It's clear that Lisette planned to frame Michael from there beginning," Apollo muttered to himself. "Which meant she wanted to frame him for Juniper and Robin's deaths. So how did Lisette plan to convince everyone Michael would want to kill two people he's never met?"

Without further thought he presented the evidence. "TAKE THAT! I present Michael Brash's notebook. The court will notice the torn page. Let's see what happens if we take a pencil to the page below the torn one."

Hugh lent Apollo a pencil (given to him by Myriam), which Apollo then used to lightly rub on the page below the torn page. Soon, a message began to surface, which read, "9/23/29. Vitamin Sqaure. Two in the back and one in the head, then they shall be dead."

"So my hunch was correct. This is the final evidence that show why Athena was shot, and will expose Lisette's true scheme once and for all!" Apollo declared.

"How does a handwritten message in Mr. Brash's notebook prove anything?" The Judge asked.

"Well, the gun had six bullets," Robin said, thinking out loud. "If we take the message at face value, it would indicate that someone wanted to kill two people by firing three bullets at each of them."

"Now remember that Michael is being framed, and has no reason to write this," Apollo said. "Which means logically, only the person framing him would write it, which in this case would be Lisette. A handwriting test is all we need to prove that Michael didn't write this!"

"Which raises the question of why this page is torn out," Hugh continued. "Unless it suddenly became damning to the culprit."

"But wait, Mr. Justice! What does Miss Cykes have to with any of this?" The Judge asked. "Isn't she just the victim?"

Apollo crossed his arms, smiling smugly at the silent, sweating Lisette. "Simple. Up until now, we haven't had a explanation for why the gun was dropped, other than an unexpected surprise. Well, what if Athena herself was that surprise?"

"OBJECTION! So you're saying that Athena was shot because Lisette wasn't expecting her there," Robin asked. "And that's also why the gun was dropped?"

"It's a fact that Athena purposely arrived early to her meeting with Logan at Vitamin Square," Apollo said. "We still don't know why. So let's turn it around. If Athena hadn't shown up, who would have been the next people to arrive there?"

"Well, that would have been me…. and…. Juniper…." Robin's voice trailed off as the implications hit her like a freight train.

"Exactly! Lisette's true scheme was to murder Miss Newman and Miss Woods in cold blood!" Apollo shouted. "That's why Lisette has been so desperate to avoid indictment for this crime. Why she tried to pass it off as an accident in her confession. Lisette did shoot Athena by complete accident."

"But somehow, Athena suspected that something was going to happen," Apollo continued. "So after she set up the meeting with Logan, she showed up early to Vitamin Square for one reason, and one reason only. Just admit it, Lisette. This is the real truth behind Athena's shooting. After all-"

Apollo slammed his fists, then pointed at Lisette before screaming,

"Athena made sure your plan was a failure from the very beginning!"

Lisette continued to tug at her pigtails, her face becoming increasingly stricken.

"I'm sorry, Logan. I'm so sorry this happened!" She cried out.

Abruptly, Lisette snapped to attention, her vision fixed at some point in front of her.

"Athena? What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in the hospital." Lisette raised her gun in front of her, her arms trembling. "I-I shot you! You can't be here!"

Lisette's eyes began moving around erratically, as did her arms. "Huh? Why are there three of you? Athena, don't get any closer!"

Lisette futily pulled the trigger of her empty gun over and over, the sound of clicking filling the air. "No! Please stop! Please put down the guns! I didn't mean to shoot you!"

Lisette's face was utterly crazed, her breathing rapid and shallow, as she yelled, "Don't fire those guns! Yes, I did want to kill them! I wanted to kill them because- because- BECAU-"

Suddenly Lisette's words cut off, and for a moment she stood completely still. Then she slumped forward onto the witness stand, her gun slipping from her grip and clattering onto the courtroom floor.

September 21, 2029

Sullivan Residence

11:15 p.m.

"Why, Logan? Why did you have Dad's gun in your mouth?"

"I'm sorry, Lissy. Our promise….I couldn't keep our promise."

"Don't worry about it, Logan! We can try again! There's nothing we can't do together."

"No, it's too late. There's nothing in this world for me. I'm so useless."

"No, you're not! You're my brother. You could never be useless. Please stay with me…"

September 26 2029

District Courthouse, Courtroom #4

"Something snapped in me, that day," Lisette explained, having collected herself. "I was so angry at myself. What kind of cop was I, if I couldn't even protect my brother?"

Everyone in the courtroom listened in silence. In all honesty, no one knew how to process what was being said.

"Then I laid eyes on the gun my brother had left. Just as the defense surmised, I loaded the other five bullets, in my feverish state of mind it didn't occur to me what the bullet Logan had loaded would end up doing. I confess. I was trying to kill Miss Woods and Miss Newman, for driving my brother into such despair."

"So the wiretap was also you?" Apollo asked. "That's what tipped Athena off. She left a note for me to check the phone before she went to Vitamin Square."

"Yes, I planted the wiretap," Lisette said. "After I broke into the agency to plant it, I convinced my chief to let me stake out across the street in case the mystery culprit of the break in came back. The chief didn't know it was me, of course. So I stayed in the hotel across the street and listened in on the phone. That's how I knew Miss Woods and Miss Newman were going to be passing through Vitamin Square. They were on their way to that eating place, Tres Bien."

Robin and Juniper both had completely blank expressions on their faces. Understandably, they didn't know how to react to being the targets of a murder plot. Logan was once again averting his eyes from the entire thing.

"I had it all planned out," Lisette said ruefully. "After killing those two, I would plant my family's gun on Michael, then report it stolen. Then I would arrange all the evidence that has already been seen: The jacket with Michael's hair, the note in his notebook. All to make sure he would take the fall. That way, I couldn't be pin either for this shooting or my previous scheme against Miss Skye."

"But that's when Athena arrived." Hugh said. "To put a stop to you."

"Yes, Miss Cykes arrived, looking around the park," Lisette said. "Then she looked inside the plastic strawberry and spotted me. She started backing away while reaching for her phone. When I saw her dial a nine, I knew what she was doing. I was filled with so much panic in that one moment that without thinking, I fired a shot."

"That's when it happened, didn't it?" Apollo asked.

Lisette nodded. "Yes. As I was getting out of the strawberry, I made a fatal mistake. I dropped the gun. That's when my true targets arrived on the scene. Miss Newman immediately charged at me, and I was already in a panic. So I ran towards the alley where I had my bag ready. In my mind, I knew Logan might end up falling under suspicion, and I didn't want to get caught either, so I modified my original plan. I managed to get my hands on Michael's notebook and destroy the note I left. Then I did one last thing to ensure Logan's safety."

"You asked me and Hugh to be Logan's defense attorneys," Apollo said, making sense of Lisette's actions early in the case.

"The lawyers of the Wright Anything Agency are renowned for defending even to most hopeless cases," Lisette said, actually smiling again. "I knew Logan would be in good hands. But as a precaution, I sprayed Mr. Justice with pepper spray so he couldn't use that talent of his on me, with Mr. O'Conner sprayed to look like an accident. I also made sure to point them in Michael's direction, so he would be framed instead."

"You should have known better, Lisette," Apollo said. "You should have known we'd find the truth."

"I suppose so. Once the defense and the prosecution started seeing eye to eye, I was done for."

Lisette sighed. "If only I had known how all of this would play out. Go back and make sure my plan succeeded."

"You mean, you wish to have committed a double murder? But why?" The Judge asked.

"None of you get it. I love Logan more than anything in the world. If it meant he would be happy, if it meant he would be safe, I would do anything. No one else matters to me but him. Because-"

Lisette smiled sincerely as she said one last thing to the court-

"I'm a simple girl, after all."

Lisette was lead away in chains, to be replaced at the stand by Logan. For his part, Logan was shaking fiercely, a devastated expression on his face. Apollo once again felt pity well up in him.

"Mr. Sullivan, are you going to be okay?" The Judge asked worriedly.

"I don't know. Right now I just feel numb," Logan answered. "Lissy really did all that… for me."

" It makes sense that you feel that way. I can never condone Lisette's actions," Apollo said firmly. "But I will say that to you, the doors of the agency are open if you ever need anything. We'll understand if you decide to see Athena despite all this."

Logan turned to his defense attorneys. "Mr. Justice, Mr. O'Conner. I will never forget what you've done for me today. You both defended me even when I gave no reason to believe in me. Thank you."

"Just doing our job," Apollo said, caught off guard by the thanks and now flustered as a result.

"A brilliant defense job, but our job nevertheless," Hugh added.

Unexpectedly, Logan next faced towards Robin. "...Prosecutor Robin. Perhaps it was a good thing I never became a prosecutor. Being in the same office as you would have driven me crazy."

"What do you mean?" Robin asked, gobsmacked at the sound of Logan saying her first name.

"Even now, I can't look at you without feeling revulsion," Logan said, each word clearly taking a great effort to say. "Yet, I also can't deny one thing I realized when I saw you ensnare Lisette in the trap regarding the mask. You...are a far better prosecutor...than I could ever hope to be."

Then Logan turned to face Juniper in the stands, and for the first time a small smile spread on his face. "Miss Woods, I don't know what would have happened to me without you. To believe in my innocence so strongly, even over your own girlfriend. To care about me so much after what I've done. You kept my spirits from sinking completely these past few days."

"I-I'm glad I could do that for you," Juniper said, stammering slightly.

"Lissy… after all she's done she'll likely be gone forever," Logan said, his voice shaking. "I can already feel the pain of it in my heart. Yet, I know she wouldn't want me to go off the deep end like she did. Like Mom did. I want to try to carry on. Maybe someday, I can begin to see the world like you do, Miss Woods."

"Lisette Sullivan held a lot of devotion inside her. But she let that devotion lead her astray, and she must pay for her crimes," The Judge said. He looked at Logan with a serious expression on his face. "On the other hand, you have been given a second chance, Mr. Sullivan. Throughout the cases I've presided over, I've found that second chances are a rare and precious thing. So I hope you make use of yours."

"I understand, Your Honor," Logan said. "I will strive to make the most of the life Lissy sacrificed everything to preserve."

"Very well. I truly believe you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Without further ado, I will pass my verdict. This court finds the defendant, Logan Sullivan,"


Cheers issued forth from the gallery as always, and likewise did confetti fall from the ceiling. Amidst all this, Apollo and Hugh observed Robin and Juniper. Both girls still seemed to be in shock.

"Court is adjourned!"

September 26 2029

District Courthouse, Defendant Lobby #5

3:15 p.m.

Even after all the grand declarations that had just been made, it had to be asked. For safety reasons, if nothing else. So once they were in the lobby Apollo took Logan aside.

"So what are you going to do now?"

" I'm not entirely sure," Logan answered. "I definitely want to process my release soon. After that, I think I will see Athena again. To apologize for what Lissy did, if nothing else."

"That depends on if Athena wants to see you," Apollo said, noting that Logan had just used Athena's first name. "But don't worry. She'll understand."

Apollo let Logan leave with an escort. Next, Hugh entered into the lobby guiding a dazed Juniper.

"So where are you going now, Juniper?" Apollo asked in a more concerned tone.

"Back to Thena's place. I need to lay down and think about everything that's happened." Juniper answered.

"So you're not going back to your house?" Hugh asked.

Juniper shook her head. "I'm not ready to return home just yet. But while I do want to go back home, I don't need to return right away. I think after Robin and I both have had a little more time to think about this, I'll be ready."

"Well, until you're ready I'll stick around," Hugh said. "So let's get you to Athena's house in the meantime."

The two of them left the lobby, but Apollo stayed. He was waiting for someone, and just as he thought Robin soon entered the lobby. She faced Apollo with a regretful expression.

"I really made a mess of this trial, didn't I?"

"I wouldn't call it a good debut," Apollo said bluntly. "But then, I don't think anyone's really proud of their first trial. I don't even want to think about my debut. And don't bother asking, I won't say a word."

Robin just stood there silently, and Apollo knew he needed evidence. Evidence to prove that this stinging defeat wouldn't hurt her permanently. Fortunately, he knew just what to present.

"TAKE THAT! Robin, you may have lost, but you did accomplish something a lot more valuable."

"That's the gag order I placed on Lisette's mask," Robin said slowly.

Apollo nodded. "Once again, you stopped the truth from becoming lost and helped catch the real culprit. Thanks to Lisette's schemes, I might have pinned this on Mr. Brash, who was completely innocent. But thanks to you, not only did you help expose Lisette's fake evidence, but you were a big part of why she could be cornered. Everytime she tried to slip away from me, you made sure to keep her pinned. It all started with how you got that slip of the tongue about the mask out of her."

"All I did was attack the holes in your case," Robin said. Even so, Apollo could see the fire in her start to flicker.

"Well, I'm grateful that you did," Apollo said. "In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing you in court again. Because I know I can count on you to bring a fiery end to any contradictions in any case with me. Which doesn't mean I will go easy on you."

That did it. Apollo could see Robin's drive roar to life inside her. Robin clenched her fists and pumped them excitedly.

"WELL SAME TO YOU!" Robin shouted. "If you're going to bring your all, then so am I! So be ready, Apollo. The next time we meet in court, I'm going to bring MY FULL MIGHT DOWN ON YOU!"

"I wouldn't expect anything less," Apollo said, trying to ignore the ringing in his ears.

"Thanks, Apollo. I need to go n-o-w," Robin said. "Before anything else, I need to make sure of something. I need to make sure I don't lose the most precious person in my life."

With that, Robin left. As Apollo also exited the lobby, he contemplated the events that had just transpired. Despite all odds, they had finally reached something of a happy ending. All that was left was for Athena to wake up. Then Apollo could tell her everything. Mainly, Apollo would tell her that the Robin and Juniper, whom Athena had protected even with her very life, were safe.

December 22 2030

That's the full account of how my first case went. It's true that I did lose, in the end. But that incident reminded me of what really mattered. Even to this day, all of us involved in that trial carry the scars from it. But back then, I understood that I couldn't allow it to cause anymore damage.

So I worked to find my own happy ending from the ashes of that case. Slowly but surely, Juniper and I took our relationship and reforged it. We managed to find good deep inside that awful tragedy.

The final set of memories that make up our three years together. I can see them filling up my mind even now…

Arc 5, The Promised Turnabout: End.

Chapter Text

Final arc: Always remain by my side

Chapter 28: To forgive is divine

December 22, 2030

Enroute to the Newman-Woods Household

5:12 p.m.

The sound of Robin humming along with the car radio lulled Juniper into a sleepy state, sitting as she was in the passenger seat. The car made its way through the streets of Los Angeles as it headed back home. Once they were there, the two women would spend some quiet time with each other before preparing for the dinner in about three hours.

Recalling Robin's first trial as a prosecutor had been naturally unpleasant, but it was something that had happened in their lives. Instead of denying it, Juniper let the memories continue wash over her. After the trial, the process of healing had to begin…

September 28, 2029

Quite understandably, the police department asked the prosecutor's office that a trial be held for Lisette Sullivan as soon as humanely and legally possible. Judge Courtney oversaw the trial, and Simon Blackquill prosecuted.

The public defender assigned to Lisette, to his credit, didn't try to erase her crimes, instead opting to paint her sympathetically. Depicting Lisette as a loyal, kind sister and daughter that was pushed too far. But as soon as the public defender finished his argument-

"SILENCE! Spin all the sob stories you want. This conniving snake of a defendant left an innocent in the hospital. Not only that, but she schemed to snuff the flames of two lives from this world. There is nothing that can change this fact."

Indeed, there was nothing more that could be said after that. The trial examined the events of the case, then Judge Courtney passed a verdict of guilty at the end of the trial, for a count of reckless endangerment and two counts of attempted premeditated murder. The sentence matched Lisette's crimes: life in prison with no chance of parole.

September 28, 2029

Palazzo Pelepepe, Cykes-Skye apartment

12:20 p.m.

Juniper sat at the kitchen table, playing with the bowl of porridge she had made for herself. Every so often she took a spoonful, but she wasn't that hungry. Not after what she had seen this morning.

"Watching Lisette's trial… it made this past week feel more real," Juniper said softly. "When before it was more like a really bad dream."

"You're telling me," Ema said, laying back on a couch in the living room. "But it's all over now. Lisette is behind bars, and she's never getting out. Good riddance, I say."

Juniper wasn't sure if she could share that sentiment. The night after Logan's trial Juniper found herself unable to sleep. She stayed another day with Ema and Lana, occasionally stepping outside to get some fresh air. But otherwise Juniper just let herself get lost in her own thoughts, processing the past week to the best of her ability.

At the very least, watching Lisette's trial had afforded her a sense of closure, as she hopefully imagined was the case for everyone else that had attended the trial. There was a notable absence at the trial, but maybe he had hidden himself from view.

Then, of course, there was the conversation she no longer had any reason to avoid. After looking over the events of the case in her mind, Juniper had finally arrived at a conclusion. Now there was just one last thing to do...

"Ema, Miss Woods," Lana Skye said as she entered the living room while holding a cell phone. "I just received word from the hospital. Miss Cykes is going to wake up soon, and the staff is allowing visits."

Ema instantly shot up from the couch, her expression a storm of emotions- before she disguised it with feigned indifference. "Oh. Thanks for letting me know, Lana."

If Lana noticed what her sister was doing, she didn't comment on it. Instead, Lana said, "Well, as good as it was seeing my baby sister again, I should probably leave back to my house."

"Do you really have to go, Lana?" Ema asked, getting off of the couch.

"I'll make sure to visit you and Miss Cykes again soon, Ema," Lana said, smiling. "But I imagine you'll want to be alone with Athena once she's released."

Ema proceeded to cover her eyes with her pink sunglasses, grumbling something under her breath. Lana started leaving the living room when Juniper called out to her.

"If you're going to leave, Ms Skye, could you help me with something?" Juniper asked.

"As long as it's not too out of the way, I suppose," Lana said. "Why do you ask, Miss Woods?"

"Because... I want to return home today."

September 28, 2029

Hotti Clinic, Athena's room

1:04 p.m.

The staff of the hospital couldn't help but frown at the large group of people currently crowding into Athena's hospital room. Juniper made sure to spread the news, which meant that just about everyone involved in the case was here: Juniper herself, Ema, Hugh, Apollo, Detective Marsh, and of course Robin.

"Hiya, Juniper!" Robin greeted cheerfully as soon as she saw Juniper. "Have you been doing well?"

"I've been managing." Juniper answered. "Later today… I'm going to go home. Then we can talk."

Despite looking apprehensive, Robin nodded and didn't say anymore. Meanwhile, a doctor was checking over Athena's vitals. Once the doctor was done she smiled, satisfied.

"The patient has made a full recovery. She should be waking up any minute now," The doctor said. "I'll give you all some privacy."

Ema slowly approached the bed, while everyone else backed away a few steps to give Ema some room. Once at the bed, Ema looked down at Athena, her expression completely unreadable. A complete hush fell over the room.

Athena's eyes fluttered open, and the redhead looked around. As Athena lay eyes on Ema the defense attorney started grinning.

"I always knew seeing your face was the best thing about waking up in the morning," Athena said.

Ema gripped the sheets of the bed. "You! Do you have any idea how worried I've been about you?" Ema shouted angrily

"Okay, ow. No need to shout, Ema," Athena answered, sitting up a little. "And as a matter of fact, I do know. While I was asleep, I could still hear everything that was going on around me. I can remember hearing every person that visited this room."

This caused the forensic scientist to freeze, but it was clear she was still angry. "Well then you must of heard me almost have a heart attack," Ema ranted. "After an officer showed up at our apartment to tell me you had gotten shot!"

Athena frowned but let Ema keep going. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room kept watching but didn't say or do anything. None of them wanted to be the one to try and interrupt Ema first.

"-And everyday this past week I've had to report to work to try to catch the scum responsible. All I could do was think about you lying helpless here, and the real culprit was even in the same room as you at one point and I… and I….!"

Ema's shoulders started shuddering and her voice cracked.

"Oh, Ema. Come here." Athena managed to wrap her arms around Ema's head and hugged her. "I'm sorry this all happened the way it did."

"I… I was scared, Athena. I was so scared when you left the apartment that day that I would never see you again," Ema said, her voice muffled.

"Believe me, I had every intention of coming back to you, Ema." Athena said gently. "I told you, didn't I? As soon as I spotted anything I would call the police. So when I saw Lisette in that strawberry I was going to make a run for it, but Lisette has a really fast trigger finger."

"Is that how that happened?" Apollo asked out loud, which effectively killed the tender atmosphere that had developed. It also resulted in Ema throwing her carrier bag right in his face.

Everyone else, including Apollo, greeted Athena and celebrated her on her full recovery. Juniper, admittedly, was about as dignified talking to Thena as Ema had been, only without the anger. Athena was also caught up on most of what happened while she was in the hospital.

"So Lisette was behind everything," Athena said, playing with her earring. "I started suspecting that she was up to something after Logan called me. I had every intention of keeping my appointment with Logan that day. But after that, I started getting chills sometimes. As if someone were hanging around just out of view. It was probably Lisette watching us."

"Definitely not a thought I'd like to keep," Apollo said, shuddering.

"Then after that agency was broken into and while we couldn't find anything, I did notice someone take up residence in a hotel room across the street while no one was watching. The dumb hotel staff wouldn't tell me who it was, and Ema warned me accusing an officer without proof wouldn't end well for me."

"I stand by that much," Ema said, a little defiantly. "If you alerted Lisette you were on to her she might have gone after you."

"Oh, I am grateful for that, at least!" Athena said in a reassuring tone. "Anyways, on the day I was shot, I was investigating the office again when I picked up the agency phone and put it to my ear. That's when I heard what turned out to be the wiretap buzzing. Suddenly, I thought of how I just blabbed with Junie about what she was doing with Robin that day earlier that week."

"That's when you decided to go to Vitamin Square before your meeting with Logan," Juniper said, her voice trembling.

"Well, first I stopped by my apartment to let Ema know what I was doing," Athena clarified. "Don't think I don't hear the voice of your heart, Junie. I choose to do this of my own free will."

"But if we hadn't decided to go out that day this wouldn't have happened to you!" Robin exclaimed, unable to help herself.

"Well, what if Lisette hadn't spotted Athena that day?" Hugh said suddenly. "What if Athena hadn't picked up the agency phone that day? What if the Sullivan family happened to miss the news broadcast the other night? A million things could have gone differently. But Prosecutor Blackquill was definitely right when he said during the trial earlier today that all that mattered was that Lisette choose to go through with her scheme. All blame goes to her."

Juniper could definitely see what Hugh was driving at, but she privately disagreed. Maybe no one else was to blame besides Officer Sullivan, but that didn't mean there wasn't a need for some self reflection.

"Though speaking of my special hearing, I can tell that everyone in this room has been badly hurt by this case," Athena said, now more seriously. "So I'm instituting mandatory therapy sessions for everyone!"

"You've only just woken up and you're already planning to give people therapy?" Ema asked disbelieving, unable to help herself.

"Of course I am! All I need is Widget back and I can get going!" Athena exclaimed excitedly. "I refuse to let this case drag any of us down. Especially you, Logan. Get in here!"

Everyone jumped, then turned around. As it turned out, Logan had been hiding right behind the door to the room. Now caught, the young man shuffled his way inside the room.

"Why are you here, Mr. Sullivan?" Detective Marsh asked.

"Just wanted to ask Miss Cykes something real quick.," Logan said, looking down at his feet.

"Well, go right ahead. I'm not going anywhere just yet," Athena said lightly.

"I- I watched the trial. I know almost everything behind this case now. Except for one thing," Logan said, now facing Athena. "When I called you and asked to meet you, why did you agree?"

"Isn't it obvious? Even over the phone I could tell," Athena answered. "You weren't the same person you were before, and I never turn my back on people that need me! So if you want to stop by the office to do a more proper meeting, we can arrange something."

"I see. That's all I wanted to know," Logan started shuffling towards the door. "If it means anything, I am sorry for everything that Lissy did. Goodbye, Athena Cykes."

He exited the room, then there was the sounds of him running away.

"Goodbye…? Somebody stop him!" Athena shouted.

Detective Marsh chased after Logan, and while everyone waited they considered what Logan had been hoping to accomplish by arriving here. Would he take up revenge just like his sister? It was a disheartening thought, that the cycle of violence would continue.

Ten minutes later Detective Marsh came back. Logan wasn't with him. "I lost him," John explained. "I had him in my sights for a good while but then he turns a corner and just disappears. Sullivans seem to be really good at doing that, I've noticed."

The joke fell flat amongst the group. It only made everyone more worried. Athena immediately spotted this and called everyone's attention.

"I don't believe Logan's going to do anything drastic," Athena said. "Even still, I'd like to keep an eye on him, if possible. Maybe I should try and go meet the Sullivan family-"

"Absolutely not!" Ema reprimanded. Her expression shifted into one of exasperation and affection. "Look, I know you want to help Logan. I wouldn't have you any other way. But you are not going anywhere near them without at least some back up. So I'm going with you, after you're back in shape."

"Sounds like a plan! Los Gehts!" Athena exclaimed.

The hospital visit continued on for just a little longer before everyone decided to leave Ema alone with Athena. Juniper went back to where Lana was waiting in her car, then explained that Ema would be staying in the hospital. Lana simply nodded in response then drove the two of them back to the apartment.

When Juniper had gone back to her house to write down her testimony during the case, she had also grabbed some stuff to take to Ema and Athena's apartment. Now she was packing it back up, and loaded her belongings into the trunk of Lana's car. Now the Lana was driving towards the house, with Juniper giving directions.

All the anger and hurt that had been in Juniper's heart after her fight with Robin was gone now. The feelings that remained, Juniper clutched onto them tight. Before she knew it, her home was coming into view.

September 28, 2029

Newman-Woods Residence, living room

3:22 p.m.

Before knocking on the door, Juniper deliberately hid the bag with her belongings behind some vines she was growing. The first thing that she noticed was that her plants had all been watered and fertilized, albeit haphazardly. As she waited at the door, Juniper found she felt no fear or nervousness, and she knew why.

She could still remember it, of course. The moment when it felt as if all hope was gone, and she was all alone in the world. But right when she reached the bottom of the all consuming darkness, she had found it. A small kernel of strength, deep inside herself. Just by touching it she heard Judge Courtney's voice, advising her. From there it illuminated her entire being.

That same strength had been what compelled her to go back to Robin and ask to remain a witness. It was also what propelled her to stop the verdict on the first day, and see this case through to the very end.

Now, that strength she had found inside herself kept her firmly rooted at the door, waiting for Robin to answer.

The moment Robin answered she immediately invited Juniper inside. After Juniper entered Robin immediately bustled off to make something but Juniper stopped her. Instead, Juniper asked that they both move to the living room.

The two of them stood facing each other, and Juniper could see that all the cheer inside Robin earlier had fled, replaced by apprehension. Robin was touching her proof of friendship, and Juniper unconsciously touched her own band on her wrist.

"Juniper! I really, really need to say something!" Robin exclaimed.

"I'm listening," Juniper said simply.

"Listening…. That's what I didn't do," Robin said, now deeply anguished. "When you came to my office. Juniper, you mean so much to me! You're my best friend, my girlfriend. And yet, I took your words and threw them back in your face. I- I shouted at you! I must have really hurt you that day, and just knowing that kills me inside!"

Just as Juniper thought, Robin was punishing herself in ways far worse than anything Juniper could likely come up with. But then, as Juniper had learned Robin's capacity to self-punish was an issue all on its own.

"I'm sorry, Juniper! I'm so, so SOOOORRRRYYY!" Robin yelled out, her heart bursting forth along with her words. Robin lowered her head, but Juniper reached out and brought it back up.

"You were so proud when you got your badge, Robin," Juniper began. "Prouder than I'd ever seen you before. So when you were asked to prosecute Athena's shooting, I imagine you were really motivated to solve the case. "

Robin nodded, which just served to confirm something else for Juniper. In the meantime, she kept speaking.

"As I told you, I didn't believe Logan had committed the shooting because he said he didn't do it. But when I asked you to drop the case, I wasn't thinking about him," Juniper explained. "I was thinking about you, Robin. I didn't want your first case as a prosecutor to be a loss."

Comprehension dawned in Robin's eyes, and she smiled tenderly. "That's just like you, Juniper. Always thinking of me. And yet I repaid that with such horrible words. What I did was unforgivable!"

Juniper shook her head. "That's not true. If it was, I wouldn't be here."

This genuinely caught Robin off guard. It all fed into the conclusion that Juniper had arrived at while staying at Thena's apartment. She didn't need to go back home, but after sifting through the feelings of her heart, she found she wanted to return. She still loved Robin, from the bottom of her heart. By the looks of it, Robin felt the same way.

"It's true. When we had our fight, it really hurt me," Juniper continued. "That you didn't get what I was trying to tell you. But now you do understand. That's why I stayed over at Thena's for several days, so we could get all our thoughts in order."

"I get what you're saying," Robin said, thinking aloud. "Because I knew you would have gone to Athena and Ema's place. But after what I said to you, I didn't feel like I had the right to see you."

"...And in the end, there were a few things I failed to understand about you as well," Juniper said.

Of course, Robin immediately objected to this with, "No, don't say that! I'm the one who that-"

Juniper lay a hand on Robin's shoulder, effectively calming the prosecutor down. Maintaining the flow of the conversation was critical. Juniper absolutely had to get her point across.

"Tell me something, Robin. When I first asked you to drop the case, how did you feel?" Juniper asked. She had a feeling she already knew the answer, but she wanted to hear it straight from Robin's mouth.

"Confused, at first," Robin said slowly. "And then I started feeling really angry. Because I swore to myself I would solve this case, for myself, for Athena, and for you. I really wanted to show you the fruits of my hard work, and suddenly you were telling me to abandon it."

"I knew it. I ended up hurting you, too." Juniper said sadly.

"But I'm the one that reacted poorly!" Robin said quickly. "You were only looking out for me, and I should have listened to you!"

"We both reacted poorly, and we both weren't listening to each other that day," Juniper said. "I'm training to be a judge, so I'm supposed to be impartial. Even if Logan did turn out to be innocent, you were right to ask me for evidence. I should have at least given it more thought before jumping to conclusions."

"Well like I said, I did want to believe you," Robin said. "It was the fact that it was Logan's word alone that made me so doubtful. Even so, I should have never taken it out on you. It will never happen again!"

"I believe you, Robin." Juniper said, now smiling gently. "Just like how you kept believing in me. That's why I'm here. Thinking about everything that happened these past few days, I realized we never stopped trusting each other."

In Robin's eyes, Juniper could see that very same trust, mingling about with a deep, sincere love. The same trust and love that Juniper had discovered in her own heart after banishing all the darkness.

"You were willing to let me take the stand, even after I told you I didn't believe Logan was the culprit," Juniper said to get the conversation started.

"W-e-l-l, that's how I'd always planned it," Robin said, her natural warmth and cheer slowly returning to her. "The way I saw it, if the bullet with Logan's fingerprints wasn't enough to seal a verdict, I would need your perspective on the crime to solve the riddle. When I saw you believed in your convictions so much that you were willing to stop the verdict, I knew the case needed you. Eh heh heh… even if I wound up reacting badly, again."

Juniper called up the next memory. "You were willing to let me wander about, even work with the defense. You had every right to keep me confined to the prosecutor's office as a witness, but you didn't."

"A part of me wants to say I just wanted to solve the case on my own," Robin said, thinking on it carefully. "But that would be a contradiction, I didn't want to keep you cooped up like that, Juniper. I really did want to see what you would learn and bring to the case. I think I knew, deep down, that you wanted to find Athena's shooter your own way."

Now that Juniper was saying all this, Robin found she could think of similar events that proved beyond a doubt that Juniper trusted in Robin.

"Juniper, you could have just refused to be a witness in court to protect Logan," Robin said, smiling. "But you didn't. In fact, in your testimony you didn't once say Logan was innocent."

"I don't really approve of how you acted during the first trial day," Juniper said, wanting to at least make that clear. "But when I took the stand, I knew it was because you would truly never corrupt your case. I knew that by giving my testimony, we could all find the truth hidden in there together."

"Ahhh! Even so, I acted pretty disgracefully," Robin said, now angry with herself.

"Yet you never called my testimony into doubt."

"I remember something else, actually. You told me that you never broke my gag order because you believed in me," Robin said.

"I did, and I still do. From the moment you placed the gag order, I knew why it was there," Juniper said. "I knew you weren't trying to suppress information, but instead making sure the truth wouldn't get lost. And watching you and Apollo trap Lisette by using the gag order, I knew I was right to trust you."

Tears started to well up in Robin's eyes, and she wrapped Juniper in a hug.

"Juniper! I love you so much!" Robin declared. "Thank you. For always believing in me."

"I love you too, Robin," Juniper said contently, returning the gesture. "And I forgive you. Because you've always believed in me too."

The two girlfriends separated briefly to look in each other's eyes, watching the mutual trust and love burn brightly. In her heart, Juniper could feel her strength grow greatly. She had her own strength inside, as did Robin. That's what allowed them to carry on through the horrid nightmare that was Athena's shooting on their own. Bringing the two strengths together, they melded to become something truly beautiful.

Slowly, the two of them drew into a kiss. Light at first, but soon heavy with want and affection, newly renewed. In that moment, the world was just the two of them.

After breaking apart from the kiss, Juniper first retrieved her belongings then joined up with Robin, who was sitting on the couch. The two girlfriends held hands, soaking in each other for the first time that entire week.

"So what happened after the verdict was passed?" Juniper asked Robin. "Was the Chief Prosecutor angry with you?"

"He wasn't too angry," Robin answered, looking a little embarrassed. "He wasn't happy with the stunts I pulled during the first trial day either, but after reviewing the case as a whole, he decided I still had the makings of a good prosecutor."

"That's a relief to hear," Juniper said, indeed deeply relieved. "Do you know how you want to approach the next trial."

"I do, actually!" Robin said, already excited. "I still owe Hugh a fair trial against him. And… I want to work with you, Juniper. Whatever way possible, I want us to find the truth together."

No too long ago, this issue had hung over their lives together. Then, they had been plunged into the nightmare that was Athena's shooting. Yet, from that incident, Juniper found they could finally face this issue together. And together they would always remain.

December 22, 2030

Outside the Newman-Woods Household

5:50 p.m.

As they drew near their house, Juniper considered the circumstances. Back then, she had Lana drop her off so she could save her relationship with Robin. Now here she was, coming back home with Robin as she did every day. Only this time, it was to celebrate their enduring love.

That day, they had begun to heal together. So it was that they continued on each day together, living and growing. It was something Juniper cherished, and something she wanted to remain the same for the rest of their lives.

Chapter Text

Chapter 29: Gazing towards tomorrow

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods Household, living room

6:00 p.m.

"Ahhh! It's good to be back home," Robin exclaimed, stretching her arms. "It was great to see everyone, but I think it's time for us to spend a little quality time together."

"We really haven't had much time to ourselves today, have we," Juniper said, thinking on the various events from earlier today. "I think the closest was when we went to the movies."

"Actually, I need to do something at my studio, and I can't show you what I'm working on quite yet," Robin said, now looking embarrassed. "Could you give me about half an hour?"

"Go ahead, Robin," Juniper said, thinking she had a pretty good idea of what her girlfriend was doing. "I'll do some work on my garden in the meantime."

"When I finish up I think I'd like to just to cuddle with you, Juniper," Robin said, winking. "Even if you end up covered in dirt!"

Juniper couldn't help but blush at Robin's light teasing. This wouldn't even be the first time they had shared physical affection while caked in dirt or paint, as the case may be. With that, the two women headed towards their destinations, Robin in the backyard and Juniper in the front yard. Each step towards the garden also felt like a step back in time….

September 2029 to January 2030

That fateful September was soon behind them, and in some ways no one was ever the same. Athena, for example, was prone to reacting badly to sudden loud noises, more so those that sounded like gunshots. Not that it stopped Athena from seizing life by the horns as always.

The defense attorney immediately gave therapy sessions to everyone involved in the case, and went to a therapist herself by the name of Sara Bellum at Ema's behest. Athena also paid the Sullivan home a visit as soon as she possibly could with Ema, only to find no one lived there anymore.

At the house, however, was a note from Logan. As it turned out, his father had to quit being a cop and take up fishing, sending money to support his family at around the time his wife's sentence had ended. In the note, Logan said that he could no longer be around the WAA, and had instead convinced his mom to join his dad out at sea. If he would ever return, or if he kept in touch with his sister Lisette the note didn't say.

Even with their relationship repaired, and with Athena giving them therapy, Juniper and Robin still felt the effects of the case on them. They coped with it all as best as they could…

January 12, 2030

Newman-Woods residence, front yard

5:04 a.m.

"The carnations are coming in beautifully," Juniper murmured to herself as she tended to her garden. "Oh, but the roses need a little more water. Where'd I put the watering pail?"

Juniper rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Normally she wouldn't be up this early, but she couldn't return to bed at the moment. She was actually very afraid of sleeping.

Juniper had just woken up from a nightmare. In that nightmare, she was trapped inside a large cage, surrounded by masked people. They all wielded guns, and she woke up right after they pulled the trigger.

In fact, the nightmare was a recurring one, and happened a lot more frequently before Athena's therapy sessions. Robin suffered the same nightmare, and confided in Juniper about the court nightmare she kept having leading up the her first case. Whenever either of them woke up in the middle of the night, the other would simply hold them until the terror subsided.

Today, after waking up Juniper found she didn't want to disturb Robin from her own slumber. Instead, she decided to quietly get out of bed then go outside for some fresh air. The cold air did help clear her head, and Juniper decided to check on her flowers while she was outside.

The sight of the beautiful flowers helped give Juniper peace. She and Robin had planted these together back when they first moved into this house. More than that, the flowers represented the kindness of the natural world. From a patch of dirt, anything could grow. All that was needed was enough time and care.

The idea, to continue the metaphor, took root in Juniper's mind. As long as she could remember, no situation had been impossible to surpass with enough effort. When Thena had moved away, Juniper reached out as soon as she could, and the two of them kept in touch.

When Professor Courte was killed and Juniper found herself suspecting Hugh, Athena and Apollo helped pull her through, and Robin and Hugh in turn stayed by her side even during the worst of it all. The Shadow incident loomed briefly over them, but with everyone's combined might it stood no chance.

Then, of course, there were the recent months, with their uncertain home situation leading into Athena's shooting, and her fight with Robin. Slowly but surely, every problem they faced was falling before them. Robin went back to the Prosecutor's office when she felt ready, and with her salary they didn't need for money anymore.

Athena recovered from her shooting, and immediately started purging the ill from the situation the way only she could. Juniper and Robin successfully reconciled, which in turn made their relationship stronger. Any case that came before her, Robin would ask Juniper for her counsel, as well as that of Detective Marsh and sometimes even the defense attorney on that particular case.

A smile grew on Juniper's face. Everything always worked out in the end, but not because of chance. Rather, because from the very beginning, she fought to gain a better future. Sometimes she couldn't do it alone, and that was okay.

"I know I can keep going forward," Juniper said aloud. "Whatever may come, I'll face it."

"That's the spirit, Juniper!"

Juniper whirled around in surprise- to find Robin standing behind her, still in her nightwear as well. Robin immediately winced, embarrassed.

"Ahh, did I surprise you? Sorry!"

"That's okay, Robin," Juniper said affectionately. She finished watering the rest of her plants, then faced her girlfriend.

"I guess you couldn't get to sleep either," Juniper said. "Did you come to check on me?"

"Eh heh heh. I did, but I guess I could have done it better," Robin answered. "I knew I'd find you out here, because whenever I can't sleep I work on my art."

"Oh, I understand!" Juniper exclaimed. It did make sense that they would cope by falling back on their hobbies. "Can you show me what you're working on right now?"

"Funny you should ask me t-h-a-t. If you'll just follow me…"

Juniper followed Robin out to the backyard, to the artist's studio. On the table farthest from the door, there was a bust in progress. Several paintings lay against one of the walls, covered in a tarp.

"The other day I decided to start work on a new art project," Robin began. "Maybe it won't be my best work. But I'm throwing my very best at it! It's a work that I'll probably never finish, because….well…"

Walking towards the stack of paintings, Robin took off the tarp with a flourish. Juniper bent down to get a good look at them, and she studied the painting at the top of the stack. It was of a little brown-haired girl in a green dress, standing in a mud puddle.

"Wait, isn't this you from when you were little?" Juniper asked. In fact, the painting looked almost exactly like the photo of a little Robin that her parents had once shown Juniper, a long time ago.

"Uh huh. I've come to realize I need a better way of seeing myself," Robin explained. "I want to always be improving myself! So first, I wanted to look over how I've lived up until now, to get a better picture of me."

Juniper took all the paintings, then set them next to each other. There were four in total, including the one of little Robin. The second painting was of Robin as Juniper had first met her, which was to say back when Robin was still forced to live as a boy. As expected, the Robin in this painting had an angry scowl, straining against the brace around her chest. It hurt to look at for Juniper.

The third painting was of Robin during her final semester at Themis Academy. This Robin was wearing the female uniform, and painted in mid-twirl. Of course, the painting was a significantly happier one, and Juniper couldn't help but smile. It reminded her of the early days of their relationship.

The final painting was clearly the most recent, with how fresh the paint looked. It was of Robin, dressed in a red suit and skirt, and with her prosecutor's badge pinned to her lapel. The expression on her face was serious, but also remorseful. Surprisingly, while looking at the painting called up bad memories, Juniper found that she could still look at it.

"Every one of these paintings represents me in some way," Robin said, looking over them as well. "I can't just ignore how these periods of my life have affected me."

"But you don't have to let yourself be defined by them either," Juniper said gently.

"I know that now," Robin said, putting the paintings back into the stack they had been in earlier. "Which is why I'm doing this."

The artist pointed at the incomplete bust. Looking at it carefully, it was in the general shape of Robin. Though any other detail of what it might be like was impossible to make out right now.

"I'm not the same person I was back when we went to Themis, or the same person as back when we first started living together," Robin continued, "So what I asked myself is 'what kind of person do I want to become?' And little by little, I'm shaping that image onto that bust."

"Well, I've always enjoyed your art, Robin," Juniper said, smiling. "So I'm looking forward to what you'll come up."

"Thanks! And I'm going to cheer you on too, Juniper," Robin said. "I know you'll be strong enough to handle anything!"

Juniper linked hands with Robin. "It means the world to me to hear you say that. Let's continue on forward together."

For now, the two of them returned to bed, though whether it was to go back to sleep or not they still hadn't decided.

January 12, 2030

Wright Anything Agency

2:30 p.m.

Later that day, Juniper and Robin reported to Athena for a therapy session. With her trusty Widget and the Mood Matrix program, Athena sifted through the hearts of her friends, the images of the morning's nightmare lit up on the screen.

"I'm getting a sad reaction from the both of you. It happens whenever you think about the shooter," Athena said carefully. "Do you both still feel responsible for what happened to the Sullivan twins?"

"I know we shouldn't, Thena," Juniper said quietly. "But sometimes I can't help myself. There's so much I wish I could have said to the both of them to keep them from hurting like they did."

"I'm the one that almost convicted an innocent Logan of the crime," Robin added. "With that in mind, I almost can't blame Lisette for how she felt."

Athena gave her two friends her most serious expression. "I do understand where you're both coming from. Apollo is still beating himself up a little for letting Lisette escape the first time, and even I felt bad for not acting soon enough. But there's something I need to make clear."

"Sometimes, there comes a point where there's nothing more you can do for a person," Athena said firmly. "And I believe we've reached that point with the Sullivan twins."

"So why can't we help but feel responsible for what happened to them?" Juniper asked.

"Because that's part of human nature, and even more so for someone as caring as you, Junie," Athena explained. "With how big of an effect those two have had on everyone, it makes them stick in our minds even more."

"So what do you suggest we do, Athena?" Robin asked.

"I wouldn't advise completely forgetting about them," Athena said, thinking carefully. "Just keep in mind that they've always been responsible for their own fates, not you two. Lisette will pay for her crimes for the rest of her life, and Logan choose to go away from everyone of his own free will. Now it's up to the both of you how much more of your lives you want to spend on those two."

Juniper and Robin looked at each other, processing Athena's advice. It wasn't reassuring, but then it wasn't meant to be. It was an earnest suggestion meant to help them move forward. To help dissuade the lingering guilt and uncertainty still inside them.

"Thanks, Athena! We'll be sure to keep that in mind," Robin said sincerely.

"And thank you too, Thena, for continuing to do this for us," Juniper added.

"Remember that you can call on me anytime either of you need me, mon cheries!" Athena exclaimed, grinning. "Oh, but before you two leave. There's someone that wants to see you two."

"Who is it, Thena?" Juniper asked curiously.

"Yeah, about that. I need to explain something first," Athena said as she shut down the Mood Matrix. "I meant to talk about this earlier, but with one thing after another happening there was never a good chance. Especially with how rarely Pearl visits."

"So you want us to talk to Pearl?" Robin asked. Pearl Fey was apparently someone that had been part of the WAA for a long time. Robin personally couldn't even remember if she had actually met Pearl.

"Sort of. Here's the thing," Athena began. "Remember the year you both graduated from Themis Legal Academy? Around that time Ema and I were learning more about each other. She shared some of her past with me, so I told her about my mom. One afternoon we were here in the office together, and I told Ema how I wish I could have introduced mom to her."

With Athena establishing the time period, Juniper suddenly recalled that time. The day of the graduation, Ema had quoted Metis Cykes very casually. But how was that possible?

"Ema being Ema, she immediately said that meeting mom again was sadly scientifically impossible," Athena continued. "As it so happens, Pearl was visiting that day and she told Ema it was very possible, and Ema asked her to prove it."

Before anyone could say anything, Athena stood up and started walking, motioning to her friends to follow her. They all walked to the very back of the agency, to a door that led to another part of the building.

"So Pearl took me and Ema to her hometown, and introduced us to her cousin," Athena said, wrapping up the explanation. "And her cousin did it. She let us see my mom again. And Pearl can do the same, but I'll let her explain it."

Athena opened the door and poked her head in, looking inside the room. When she drew her head back she was smiling.

"She's ready to see you both now," Athena said gently, holding the door open.

Juniper and Robin slowly walked in, not knowing what to expect. The room was a small office area with a desk, labeled as belonging to Phoenix Wright. The room also had a couple of sofas.

There was a person sitting on one of the sofas. Right now they could only see the back, but the two women could already tell it wasn't Pearl Fey. Then the person on the sofa stood up and turned around, revealing themselves to be-

"Professor Courte!" Juniper and Robin exclaimed simultaneously.

Their late mentor smiled at them, holding out her arms. Juniper and Robin rushed towards Professor Courte, letting themselves be enveloped by her embrace. For a moment, it was like they were Themis students all over again.

"PROFESSOR COURTE!" Robin practically wailed. "It's so good to see you again!"

"We've missed you so much since you passed away, Professor Courte," Juniper added as they all separated and stood around each other.

"Please, call me Constance," Professor Courte said, smiling warmly at the two women. "Even if I were still alive, you two would no longer be my students."

"What's do you mean, Pro- I mean Constance," Juniper said, looking at her late mentor in confusion.

"I mean while I do not know how long it's been," Constance said. "It is clear that you both have matured very much since then."

All of a sudden, Juniper felt fit to bursting with all kinds of words inside. While she still didn't quite understand how her teacher was here in the first place, there was so much to say now that they were all here.

"Let's all sit down," Juniper suggested. "There's a lot we need to tell you."

Once the three of them were seated, Juniper and Robin proceeded to tell Constance Courte practically everything- starting from after Courte's murder, going through the final semester at Themis Legal Academy, to when they moved in together, to of course the recent case that was just behind them. Stories of joy with each other and with friends, of anger and of sorrow. All the while, Constance listened patiently.

"Truthfully, I do wish I could have been around to see all of this happen myself," Constance said after they were finished. "Yet I am certain of one thing, and it fills me with joy. Juniper, Robin. There is nothing more either of you can learn from me."

"Of course we still have a lot to learn from you, Professor Courte!" Robin immediately exclaimed. "There are so many things I still want to ask you. About being a prosecutor, about being an artist."

"A day hasn't gone by where I haven't thought of you, even if just in the back of my head," Juniper said. "Constance, I already don't want you to leave."

"I don't wish to leave either, but that is how it must be," Constance said ruefully. "And yet, when I return to my eternal rest, it will be with much less regrets."

Constance turned to Juniper. "It pained me that I had no choice but to leave so much responsibility on your shoulders, Juniper. It clearly left you troubled and weary. And yet in the end, you rose to the challenge, and now I see a woman tempered by many trials. I am so proud of you."

"Thank you, Constance," Juniper starting to feel herself get teary-eyed.

Now Constance turned to Robin. "I worried about you as well, Robin. You stumbled, and sometimes even fell on the search for your proper path in life. But you always got back up, seeing you so full of passion and drive that is uniquely your own- I couldn't be happier for you."

"It- It means the world to me to hear that from you!" Robin shouted, definitely the more emotional one at the moment.

"To hear that you two have become so close was certainly a surprise as well," Constance added, looking at Juniper and Robin.

The two of them looked at each other only to see that they had started holding hands at some point during the conversation. This caused them to become flustered, with Juniper's cheeks turning pink and Robin's whole face going red. Constance laughed good naturedly at the sight.

"We actually celebrated our second anniversary last month," Juniper said, squeezing Robin's hand. "Robin took me out to the Grand Canyon and we camped out under the stars."

"Well, it's the least I can do for someone that makes me as happy as you do, Juniper," Robin said, kissing Juniper lightly on the cheek. "Things got really bumpy not too long ago. I wanted us to have a really happy memory for the end of the year."

"I can only hope I'm making you as happy as you make me happy, Robin," Juniper said, in turn now nuzzling her forehead against Robin's.

"So what does the future hold?" Constance asked, partially to remind them that she was still there.

"Well, I'm going to be interning at the Wright Anything Agency for a good while yet," Juniper said thoughtfully.

"And my career as a prosecutor has just gotten started!" Robin added. "Not to mention, I'm actually thinking about learning how to do metal work. An artist should always expand their horizons! Speaking of which, that robe is so you, Professor Courte."

Constance looked down at the form-fitting pink robes she was currently in. "It's not a style of clothing I've ever seen before," Constance said as she admired it. "I could get a good art piece or two out of this."

The conversation nearly ended there, but independently Juniper and Robin decided to finish answering their late mentor's last question. Robin smiled encouragingly at Juniper to go first.

"I've been a part of a lot of trials in my life," Juniper said. "And I will see many more. So I've been considering asking Judge Courtney if there's a way to become a judge that let's me get closer to the courts. I want to be as ready as I can when I finally ascend to the bench."

"There's a familiar name. Justine was one of my first students," Constance said nostalgically. "She was a real hothead back when she attended Themis. So Justine has been teaching you in my stead. I'm sure she'll be able to guide you now that I can no longer be around."

The idea that Justine Courtney was a hothead as a student was one Juniper that had a hard time wrapping her head around. It was definitely something to ask Justine about someday.

"Klavier Gavin has been teaching me everything he knows about prosecuting," Robin added. "He's a great teacher! But he did give me a good scolding after my first trial."

"Klavier always did have a strong sense of right and wrong," Constance said. "Though I do remember his own first trial was far from perfect. I'm glad to hear he's come into his own."

"Though speaking of my first trial…." Robin become serious. "The defendant of that trial was a Themis student that once aspired to become a prosecutor, then the Chief Prosecutor. But he would have twisted our legal system horribly. That's when I started considering a new goal for myself."

"Really? What goal would that be?" Juniper asked curiously.

"It came to me just this morning, actually," Robin said. "Hearing you talk about facing the future head on. I want to contribute to keeping our legal system one we can be proud of! So one day, I want to become the chair of the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee."

"That's a really high position to aim for," Constance said. "You've always been one to dream big, Robin."

"So why do you want to become the chair of the PIC?" Juniper asked.

"Because our legal system needs all of us: judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutor. With you in the judicial system and the WAA saving clients, I want to do my p-a-r-t," Robin explained. "And there will always be people entering the legal system with ill intentions. So as chair of the PIC, I want to make sure that bad prosecutors are brought to justice. That way, Chief Prosecutor's Edgeworth's job is easier, and good prosecutors like Klavier and Simon will become the new face of our profession. Instead of all the horrible criminals that have gone through the office over the years."

"I know you can do it, Robin!" Juniper said, grasping both her girlfriend's hands. "But Prosecutors haven't been the only time our legal system has been used. Defense attorneys, detectives, maybe even other judges. If any of them commit a crime, then as a judge I will make sure that they don't get away in my court! I'm sure we can rely on our friends in the WAA to help us."

Hugh, Athena, Apollo, even the famous Phoenix Wright. They would be in her court, defending their clients to the end. There were probably other defense attorneys that held that ideal in their hearts that she would one day meet.

Even if she and Robin could never stand in the same court together, Juniper finally knew that didn't matter. Just knowing that they would be fighting for the truth in their own ways was enough. Now Juniper knew in her heart that all of them would do what they could for the legal system.

"A legal system where judge, defense attorney, and prosecutor all aim to find the truth. To see that come to fruition was the reason I become a teacher," Constance said, looking incredibly happy. "Now that I've talked to you two, I know that my dream will one day come true."

Suddenly Constance grabbed at her chest. Juniper and Robin immediately rushed to her side. What was happening to Constance?

"It seems my time here is running out," Constance said, her breathing ragged and shallow. "This will have to be goodbye, Juniper, Robin. I will return to the afterlife at peace."

"Goodbye, Constance. I'm so proud to have been your student."

"Goodbye, Professor Courte! Thank you for everything!"

With a content smile on her face, Professor Constance Courte started fading away. Her features slowly became harder to see. Eventually, all that was left was Pearl Fey.

"So how'd the channeling go?" Pearl asked.

Athena Cykes checked her watch, then started heading towards the backroom. Chances were the channelling had ended by now. When she opened the door, however, she was met with an unexpected sight.

"So I guess the channelling was a success," Athena said amusedly, observing that Robin was currently squeezing Pearl Fey very hard.

"Um, a little help here!" Pearl called out. Those words were enough for Robin to come back to her senses. Robin let go, her face red with embarrassment.

"It went wonderfully, Thena," Juniper said, giggling a little from the spectacle. "So this was all your idea? This is how you and Ema met with your mother again?"

"Yep, that's what happened, Junie. Truthfully, Ema and I needed a while for the concept of channelling to sink in," Athena said. "Pearl explaining it helped out alot."

"My hometown, Kurain Village, helps people meet lost loved ones," Pearl said, bowing respectfully. "Through spirit mediums like me. I was glad to help out friends of Athena by making such a joyful reunion possible."

"I have a question, then," Juniper said nervously. "Is it possible to channel more than one person?"

Robin looked over at Juniper, concerned. She immediately knew why Juniper had asked the question.

"If you request more than one spirit medium, you can," Pearl answered, biting her thumb. "Though that's not a service most people request. I did this for free as a favor, but a premium would have to be charged for something like that."

"No, that's okay," Juniper said, feeling relieved. "I just wanted to know I had the option."

"Then let's go to Kurain Village one day!" Robin said excitedly. "I know that they would be more than happy to see you!"

"We could make a meetup up of it," Athena suggested. "Find a day that everyone can get together so we can make the most of it."

"That sounds like a good idea," Pearl said. "After all, meetings like this should be treated like a once in a lifetime opportunity."

That seemed fair enough to Juniper. While she truly appreciated being able to see her mentor again, Professor Courte deserved to enjoy her eternal rest. That being said, knowing she had the option to see her parents again was a warmth in her heart.

Juniper would hold off seeing her parents again, for now. There was a lot left she wanted to accomplish in the immediate future. But once she ascended the bench as a judge, she would tell her parents everything, and introduce them to all the precious people in her life.

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods Household, living room

6:32 p.m.

This past year had been when the two of them had started giving serious thought to their futures, individually, and together. Juniper, at least, had also begun thinking how she saw their future together. Extending onwards into forever...

As it turned out, Juniper did end up getting herself covered in dirt from her gardening. Even so, the first thing Robin did when the two met up again was briefly pull her in a hug and give her a kiss on the cheek.

"So how did your art project go, Robin?" Juniper asked, genuinely curious.

"It went off without a hitch!" Robin answered, practically glowing with contentment. "Not much longer until I can finally show it to you!"

Which meant Juniper would probably see it during their dinner at eight-thirty, a mere two hours from now. The same time Juniper had planned to present her own ring she had bought from the Lordly Tailor. The day was heading towards it conclusion, and Juniper was filled with exhilaration.

"I can't wait to see it," Juniper said sincerely. She began making her way to the bathroom. "As much as I'd like to cuddle with you like you said we would, I need to shower first."

Robin's footsteps followed right behind her.

"Oh? And who says we still c-a-n't?"

Chapter Text

Chapter 30: Sweet happiness

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods household, living room

7:00 p.m.

After a shower that ended up taking longer than either of them expected, Juniper and Robin returned to the living room. The two girlfriend's seated themselves on a couch, holding hands. Juniper and Robin rested their heads against each other, and for a good while there was silence.

There was silence, because no words were needed. It was enough that they could be near each other, enjoying each other's presence. The physical intimacy only matched by the emotional one. After a real whirlwind of a day, Juniper and Robin soaked in this calm moment together.

"I've really loved how today has gone!" Robin finally said, her usual excitable self. "This might be just my favorite anniversary so f-a-r."

"Are you sure about that? There are still so many years ahead of us, after all," Juniper said, softly but lovingingly.

"Oh, you're totally right! I need to make next year's anniversary even better. I already have so many ideas of how I could do that," Robin said intensely. "And more importantly, today still isn't over."

It really wasn't, and while Juniper was anxious for their dinner to finally begin, right now she didn't want to move from her spot cuddled up against Robin. Instead, she grabbed the T.V. remote and turned on their television, flipping through channels for something they could watch together to pass time.

"Wait, stop right there, Juniper!"

Juniper stopped, and through the T.V. speakers a cheerful theme song began playing.

"Macaroons and waffles~ Light and fluffy chiffon cake!"

"Happiness for one and all! The sweetest temptations…"

As the theme song continued the biggest grin started spreading on Robin's face. Juniper couldn't help but start smiling too, so sincerely overjoyed was her girlfriend. But what was this show to cause such a reaction?

On screen, a woman in a bright green dress started speaking, accompanied by a man with an afro of white hair.

"After a very long time, I am proud to announce the return of Piece of Cake!" The woman said, sounding just as happy as Robin. "As always, I am your host, Katherine Hall, and this is my wonderful co-host Jeff Masters."

"So join us today as we make delectable desserts together," Jeff Masters announced in a baritone, singsong voice. "Right here on stage!"

Seeing the show on screen, Juniper realized that Katherine Hall looked familiar. Following that train of thought, she understood why Robin was so happy to see this show.

"Katherine Hall...she's your favorite actress, isn't she?" Juniper asked Robin.

"Uh huh. I think I've told you about her before," Robin answered, her eyes glued to the monitor. "I watched her movies growing up and later found out she used to be on this."

Given the theatrical way that Jeff and Kate baked on stage, Juniper could definitely see why this show appealed to Robin. "So this is the show Katherine Hall used to be on before she was an actor," Juniper said thoughtfully. "It looks like such a wonderful time!"

"Eh heh heh. Then maybe we can learn to bake together from watching this~!" Robin exclaimed, trying to be in tune with the on screen singing and only partially succeeding.

"Making the sweetest desserts together, just you and me~!" Juniper sang, her voice high and clear.

The singing echoed through the house, mingling into harmony. It spoke of many, many days filled with just as much happiness...

May 12, 2030

Newman-Woods household, dining room

8:15 a.m.

Juniper walked into the dining room to the smell of freshly made oatmeal and toasted bread. In the kitchen, Robin bustled around, already in the red suit and skirt she wore whenever she had a case.

"Here's breakfast, my darling!" Robin said cheerfully as Juniper seated herself and Robin put food in front of her. "I'd eat with you, but I'm facing Hugh in court soon and I want to be as ready as I c-a-n! I'll grab something to eat on the way to the office."

"Oh, how far along are you in the case?" Juniper asked, thinking on the details she personally knew. It was about the body of a fisherman found drowned on a beach shore, if she remembered correctly.

"I'm pretty sure the defendant was the only person that was seen near the docks at around time of death," Robin explained, seating herself at the table as well. "So my current theory is the defendant used her boat to isolate the victim before killing him."

"So could only the defendant have used a boat in those waters?" Juniper asked, thinking carefully. "It could be that someone else killed the victim earlier and the defendant went to go looking for them."

"Good point, Juniper. I'll call Detective Marsh and have him look up how many people involved in this case have a boating license for the kind of boat the defendant uses," Robin answered, already reaching for her phone.

After Robin finished talking with John, she and Juniper continued talking with each other about the case. Eventually, Robin left to her office to prepare for her trial. Juniper cleaned up the dishes from the breakfast and made her own preparations- to meet with Judge Courtney to further her judge training.

May 12, 2030

District Courthouse, Judge Courtney's office

9:00 a.m

"...To think that there would be someone aiming for my position," Judge Courtney said, amused. "Who knows? Perhaps Miss Newman does have what it takes to receive the same blessing from the Goddess of Law that I have."

"I know that she does," Juniper said firmly. "Which is why I'm here to ask you, as your student. Is there a way I can ascend the bench sooner? Or at least, get more hands on experience before I do?"

"I see. By my estimate, in another four years you will become a judge," Judge Courtney stated. "To become a judge by twenty-four is no small feat. In fact, it's around the same age that I ascended the bench."

"You mean, you think I could be just as good as a judge as you, Judge Courtney?" Juniper asked, truly shocked at the thought.

"You certainly have the potential in you, Miss Woods," Judge Courtney answered. "Which is why I must insist you take the full four years before you take on the job. I will recommend you for the State Bar, but that's all I will do."

"I understand, Your Honor," Juniper said gratefully. "Thank you for at least doing that much for me."

"That being said, if you personally want more hands-on experience," Judge Courtney continued. "I think I can allow you to observe me as I go about my duties. I have a trial soon, in fact."

Four years from now, Juniper would finally become a Judge like she's always dreamed. That was what she was aiming for now, and in the meantime Juniper would amass as much experience as she could. With that in mind. She accepted Judge Courtney's offer.

May 12, 2030

District Courthouse, Courtroom #2

11:33 a.m

What Juniper didn't expect is that was that the trial Justine was presiding over was also the one that Robin and Hugh were participating in. The two attorneys acknowledged Juniper's presence, but pretty soon the both of them became focused entirely on the case.

While Juniper had no actual say in the proceedings of the trial, she appreciated the fact that she was in a court of law with Robin and Hugh, after thinking it was impossible for so long. This was as close as she would ever get, and she would live the experience while she had it.

The trial marched on, with Robin laying out her case for the defendant's guilt and Hugh fighting to strike down every one of her assertions. Juniper observed Justine in every decision she made, being sure to keep an open mind for any new possibility.

Pretty soon, the trial reached the point that Juniper and Robin had discussed together earlier this morning. Juniper paid full attention to the proceedings, wondering how things would go from here.

"The defendant was the only person seen near the docks near the time of the victim's death," Robin said, reading off of a paper on her mini easel. "So she's clearly the culprit."

"OBJECTION! Are you really going with such a simple assertion," Hugh said, smirking, "When the defendant is far from the only person to own a boat at that dock?"

"OBJECTION! Ah ha ha! But according to the records researched by the Detective Marsh, the defendant is the only person licensed to drive the boat where the victim was assaulted!" Robin countered.

"Gah! That can't be!" Hugh exclaimed, rearing back in shock.

Judge Courtney closed her eyes, contemplating her next move. Then she slammed her gavel to quiet the courtroom. Juniper watched the judge carefully, wondering what direction this trial would take.

"If the defendant is the only person capable of using the boat, then there is little reason to doubt her guilt," Judge Courtney said after a lot of thought. "So I am inclined to moving onto the verdict."

"Please and thank you, Your Honor!" Robin said cheerfully.

Juniper found she couldn't quite agree with that. To be sure the case that Robin presented so far was solid, Juniper personally would have asked if the defense had any final thoughts. But what was Hugh going to do now?

"Y-Your Honor! I have an objection!" Hugh suddenly shouted.

"Hmm? I suppose I can hear you out if you really have something to say," Judge Courtney said graciously. "Though I must warn you. If you what you say doesn't change the facts of this trial, then you will face the wrath of the Goddess of Law."

"Right! I understand," Hugh said, clearly nervous. "Now, we established earlier that the defendant was alone when she was found on her boat with her victim's body. Is this correct?"

"S-u-r-e thing! Which is why only the defendant-"

"OBJECTION! Not so fast there, Prosecutor Newman," Hugh said. "If only the defendant had a license, then we must consider the possibility that the real culprit simply didn't have a boating license. After all, why would a killer care about the law?"

"But by that logic, just about anyone could have used the defendant's boat," Robin pointed out. "And no proof exists that anyone else ever boarded the boat."

"But that's where you're wrong," Hugh said, now more confidently. "It's true that only the defendant boarded her own boat the last time she was seen. But what if the real culprit got on the boat at a different time?"

"Go on, Mr. O'Conner," Judge Courtney said.

"Wedged in the boat's engine is the remains of a bloodied shirt," Hugh explained, presenting some tattered pieces of a green shirt indeed with blots of blood on it. "It does not belong to the defendant. And as we just established, the defendant was alone when she was discovered with the victim's body. Which means this shirt was stuffed in the engine earlier!"

"Aaaahh!" Robin exclaimed, rearing back in shock.

"That does seem to establish the presence of a third person on the boat," Judge Courtney said thoughtfully.

"OBJECTION! Not so fast, Hugh," Robin said quickly. "Why would this true culprit put their shirt in the boat's engine? They could have just thrown it out somewhere."

"OBJECTION! The question you should be asking is when the shirt was put in there. That answers the question of why," Hugh countered. "To be more precise, the defendant told me that when she last used the boat, the engine had some difficulty working."

That would be the shirt, Juniper thought to herself, just as Judge Courtney said the same thing.

"The defense's current position is that the true culprit stuffed their shirt into the boat's engine after they docked the boat," Hugh said, flipping through a file in his right hand. "So that when the defendant went to go looking for the victim, the boat's engine would break and the boat itself would sink!"

As the crowd in the gallery began chattering amongst themselves, Juniper focused her attention again at Hugh and Robin below. She was excited to see what direction they would take the trial next.

Robin managed to successfully argue that the scheme was just a tad too convoluted for seemingly little benefit, and the shirt by itself wasn't proof enough to point to a specific culprit. In the end, Judge Courtney decided to end the court session for the day.

"I can't always guarantee the attorneys in future trials you observe with me will be the people you know," Judge Courtney said after she met back up with Juniper. "But then again, it would be in your best interests for you to challenge the unknown."

"Thank you very much, Judge Courtney," Juniper said, holding her notes she took of the trial close. "I learned quite a lot today."

Judge Courtney curtsied. "Thank the Goddess of Law, for allowing the trial to take place. Now I must excuse myself. I need to go to my chambers so I can review this case."

After parting ways with Justine, Juniper met up with Hugh and Robin outside of the courtroom. The two of them were chatting with each other, and they greeted Juniper as soon as they saw her.

"Good job in today's trial," Juniper said to the both of them.

"I expected nothing less of myself," Hugh said, adjusting his glasses. "For my defendant, nothing but the best will do."

"She's not completely off the hook y-e-t," Robin said, wagging her finger at Hugh. "Detective Marsh and I will be burning the pavement during our investigation. Our case will be much stronger tomorrow!"

"Then I will just have to bring a better case than yours to court," Hugh said, smiling at his best friend.

"Okay, settle down, you two," Juniper said, giggling. "Save it for the case."

"Right. Thanks for reminding me, Juniper," Hugh said, a little embarrassed.

"Well, I'm not slowing down anytime soon," Robin said, hopping on her feet. She kissed Juniper on the cheek. "I'll see you later, dear!"

With that, Robin rushed off. Juniper and Hugh shared a knowing look with each other. Some things never changed.

May 12, 2030

Wright Anything Agency

2:07 p.m.

Juniper and Hugh hung out with each other a little longer, eating a quick lunch at an outdoor cafe. As they ate, they talked casually with each other, enjoying the company. Hugh was just starting to make a name for himself as defense attorney, and he was even considering opening his own agency.

After lunch, Hugh left to go continue investigating the case. Juniper went to go report to a shift as intern of the WAA. Waiting there was Thena, along with Myriam surprisingly enough. Myriam was dressed in her new standard outfit of a large grey trenchcoat and ballcap.

"And so there I am, inside of a broom closet and completely surrounded," Myriam was saying. "And it seemed like everything was over for me, sss sss sss."

"How exciting! What happened next, Myriam?" Athena asked, completely enraptured.

"They're all staring at me like gaping fishes," Myriam said, grinning maliciously. "So I raise my trusty camera, tell them 'Say Cheese!" and blind them all with my camera's flash."

"Makes me wish I could have seen their faces when you did that," Athena commented.

"Actually, you can! Because I also took a picture at that moment. I still have it in my camera, Kahk Kahk!"

Even Juniper couldn't help but laugh a little along with Athena and Myriam. But after they stopped, Juniper said, "Oh, how I wish you wouldn't risk yourself like that, Myriam."

"You don't have to be so soft-hearted for me, Juniper," Myriam said, tipping her bill of her ballcap down. "I take these risks of my own free will, sss sss sss. It's how I operate as a journalist."

"I don't think you have to go quite that far, though," Athena said.

"Maybe I don't. But if the public is to ever trust the legal system again, they first have to trust the press again," Myriam said. "And I'm going to do that by always reporting the truth."

In fact, while Myriam was rarely seen physically, her presence was always felt. It was thanks to her reporting that the backlash from September's trial was kept to a minimum. Juniper always tried to encourage Myriam to be more sociable, but in the end there was only so much interaction that Myriam was willing to put up with.

"Okay, I think that's enough of that," Athena said, hitting her palm with a fist. "Time to get to work! Junie, you're with me. I have a case to crack and I'd like your input. Myriam, if you're going to stick around then start sweeping the agency."

"Hey, I'm not even employed here!" Myriam exclaimed. In response Athena started glaring at her, and Myriam gave up, going off to find a broom but grumbling every step of the way.

A good few hours went by like this, with the three girls tackling the needed tasks while occasionally talking with each other. As before, Athena sometimes left to go investigate, leaving Juniper and Myriam alone. Then while the three of them were taking a break, they suddenly heard a pair of voices getting closer.

"I am Apollo Justice, and I'm fine!"

"I'm Robin Newman, and I'm f-i-n-e!"

"...Did you really have to spell it out like that?"

"Eh heh heh, yup!"

Through the doors of the agency Apollo and Robin entered. They immediately greeted everyone inside the agency, and everyone greeted them back.

"So what have you two been doing?" Athena asked.

"Actually, I wasn't busy with anything, so I decided to head here to see if there were any new cases," Apollo said.

"And I was taking a break from my investigation, so I came here for a visit," Robin said. "And I happened to run into Apollo here!"

"I didn't think we'd be meeting so soon after you invited me over to your place last week," Apollo said. "But it was a pleasant surprise."

"Hey, anytime I can see a good friend is a good time to me!" Robin said cheerfully.

"When did those two get so buddy buddy?" Myriam whispered to Athena and Juniper.

"It just kind of happened," Athena answered. "They just started hanging out more often one day, and I guess they really hit it off."

Juniper didn't say anything, but she knew it there was a little more to it than that. Robin recently went out of her way to welcome Apollo back into her life, inviting him over as often as possible as an apology for the wedge she had driven between them. As a result of this, not only was their friendship rekindled, but as Athena said they got along very well.

Almost no work ended up getting done after that, but no one really seemed to mind. Eventually everyone left the agency again- Robin to get back to investigating her case, Apollo and Athena to tackle their case, Myriam to go search for a new scoop, and Juniper because her shift came to an end.

With a little bit of time left in the day, Juniper got some grocery shopping done. After that she walked through the neighborhood, greeting the neighbors, before finally heading back home. Not long after that, Robin came back from her investigation.

May 12, 2030

Newman-Woods household

8:15 p..m.

After they got some housecleaning done, Juniper and Robin discussed Robin's case over dinner, with Robin bouncing her ideas of off Juniper, with Juniper answering as best as she could. After that, they talked about more general events in their lives, such as Juniper's Grandma having her birthday the following week or the progress of Robin's art projects.

To end things off, they went to the living room and watched some t.v. One of the first things Juniper found was a movie starring an actress called Katherine Hall.

"Oh! I haven't seen one of her movies in a long time," Robin said, leaning towards the screen.

"So you know this actress?" Juniper asked curiously.

"Uh huh. I watched her movies growing up," Robin answered. "She's so pretty, but I've always thought she looked so sad. I've always wondered why."

Seeing Katherine on screen, Juniper found she had to agree with Robin. Deep inside Ms. Hall's eyes was a deep sorrow. While Juniper of course didn't know why it was there, she found herself wishing it away.

After the movie, Juniper and Robin retired to their bedroom. They dressed into their nightwear and got into bed, huddling close.

Tonight, Robin seemed unusually thoughtful, staring up at the ceiling. Juniper asked her what was on her mind.

"I kinda want every day to be like this," Robin said. "It's all so uncomplicated. You know?"

"I think I do get it," Juniper said. "But at the same time, we've finally found a goal to aspire for. We can't reach it by just standing still."

"Yeah, I guess that's pretty t-r-u-e!" Robin said. "Okay, then I'll ask for something else. I want us to not only reach our goals, but just keep right on going on and on…."

In that moment, Juniper saw the future stretching out before them. Ascending to the bench as a judge, overseeing trials like Judge Courtney. Supporting Robin on her path into the P.I.C. Working and spending time with their friends.

An endless expanse of days lay before Juniper. Once they reached their goals, there was an endless amount of work they could, both for the law system and each other. For the first time, Juniper found she wanted to keep doing this for the rest of her life. And judging by her words, Robin felt the same way.

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods household, living room

8:00 p.m.

The show drew to an end, as did the singing. Having remembered the first conversation about Katherine Hall, the rest of the details came back to Juniper- about the terrible incident that Katherine and Jeff had been involved in, and the eventual sweet reunion, culminating in the new Piece of Cake she had just watched with Robin.

Much like the show, the rest of this year had passed in a sweet dance. There was an occasional hiccup or two along the way, to be sure- Robin being stressed when a case became complicated, Juniper trying not to falter in her judge training- but most days passed smoothly.

But in her heart, the thought had grown. Of asking Robin to marry her, binding the two of them together forever. After a lot of thought Juniper decided that today would be the day to ask. Checking the time, all that was left was to get dressed and head to their reserved dinner.

It was time. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 31: I ask you…

December 22, 2030

Newman-Woods Household

8:00 p.m.

Now that Piece of Cake had ended, Robin couldn't help but feel nervous for no real reason. The dinner she had reserved had hung over the entire day, and now it was finally here. Sometimes, it was a little hard to believe that it three years had already passed. All it took was to recall a memory in her mind and it came back just as vivid as if it had happened yesterday.

Earlier this year, Robin had started the project of shaping her future self in the form of a large bust. On that very same day, she and Juniper briefly reunited with their late mentor Constance Courte. During that conversation, Robin shared with the two of them her new goal in life, and Juniper answered this with her own way of supporting Robin, even if they couldn't officially work with each other.

It really struck Robin just then: Juniper is such a smart, kind, wonderful person. Even after the case of Athena's shooting, when Robin was at her very worst- Juniper stuck with her. In the months that followed, Robin shaped all her experiences and wants onto the bust.

Through it all, Juniper would talk to her, give Robin suggestions how to craft the bust, or just let her presence be a balm whenever Robin was frazzled. Slowly, this came to encompass the entirety their shared lives together. Robin had yet to actually finish the bust- as she told Juniper, she might never finish it.

What did happen is that Robin arrived at a conclusion- that she loved Juniper so, so much, that she wanted to be with her forever. Robin began learning how to do metal work for one purpose, and one purpose only. While learning a whole new craft took a while, the fruits of her labor where most certainly worth it. The ring Robin had made was currently sitting in the pocket of the dress she was putting on just for this occasion.

Tonight, at the dinner Robin had reserved almost an entire month ago, she would finally give it to Juniper, and ask her the most important question she would ever ask.

Soon enough both women had finished changing into their special clothing, and met up at the front door. Both of them couldn't help but briefly stare at each other.

Juniper had decided to let her hair down from it's pigtails for the occasion, and while she wore a pair of sunflower earrings she wore no make up. The dress she had picked was almost floor-length, was a bright yellow, had a colorful flower pattern on it's top half.

Robin, meanwhile, didn't do anything too special with her hair, but put on mascara and just a bit of lipstick. Around her neck was a gold heart-shaped pendant, a birthday present from Juniper. Robin's dress came to just above her knees, had a slight dip in its neckline, and was a deep, gorgeous red.

The first one to snap out of it was Robin. She opened the front door, then grabbed Juniper's hand. After locking up, Robin and Juniper made their way to their car, where Robin opened the passenger door.

"After you, my l-o-v-e," Robin said graciously. Smiling warmly and giggling, Juniper got into the car, and Robin got into the driver's seat, starting it up and heading out. This time it was Robin who knew exactly where they were headed, while Juniper could only sit there and wonder.

So despite playfully chastising Robin for this earlier, Juniper couldn't help but ask, "So where exactly are we going, Robin?"

"Somewhere that should remind you of home," Robin said coyly. Then her mood became a little more serious. "I know that sometimes you miss living in the forest."

"I really do. But living here is what's best for us and our jobs," Juniper said reassuringly, having accepted this fact a long time ago. "I guess that has something to do with where we're going."

"Uh huh. While planning for this dinner, I found this place," Robin said, keeping her eyes focused on the road. "And I hope it will remind you of being out in nature, just a little."

So they were going to an restaurant with a nature theme. That was just like Robin, always demonstrating her love with grand gestures, such as the trip to the Grand Canyon the previous year, or taking Juniper and her grandma out hiking for Juniper's birthday this year.

In return, Juniper demonstrated her own love in her own way, such as with the pendant Robin was currently wearing, or the art gallery she helped arranged earlier today. As their car once again passed through the streets of the city, Juniper found herself wishing they were already at their destination, wherever it was that they were headed.

December 22, 2030

The Little Door

8:30 p.m.

The mystery restaurant turned out to be called "The Little Door", and as was to be expected the small front door concealed a large, extravagant interior. They had just barely managed to make the reservation, and that was with Robin getting a little closer to the speed limit than she usually did.

"Oh thank goodness we managed to make it here in time," Robin said, sighing in relief. "If we missed it I don't know what I would have done."

"Not much has really gone like we planned it, has it," Juniper said, thinking back on the various unexpected happenings over the course of today. "But today's still been one of the best days I can remember."

"W-e-l-l, it's about to get even better!" Robin said, grinning.

A waiter approached the two of them before asking, "Are you Miss Newman?"

"I sure am!"

The waiter bowed respectfully. "I have prepared the Garden Patio for you and the esteemed Miss Woods exactly as requested. So if you'll both follow me…"

As the waiter guided the two of them, Robin heard the sound of running water and her grin got bigger. From the very beginning, she did everything in her power to make sure this would be how today would end. The three of the stopped before a pair of wooden doors, which the water opened. Juniper and Robin stepped through the doors- and the sight took Juniper's breath away.

As the name implied, the Garden Patio was was an open air room, with the source of the running water being revealed to be a fountain in a corner of the room. In another corner sat a pond with koi peacefully swimming around inside of it. There were many tables in the large room, but only a single table with two chairs was set up. A vase with a bouquet of winter roses sat on the table.

As Juniper and Robin looked around, they soaked in more details of the room: The vividly green ferns lining the room, the iron candelabras on the walls exuding soft candlelight, the stars and moonlight just visible beyond the confines of the dining room.

"Oh my goodness! All of this… is really for me?" Juniper asked when she could talk again.

"You and only you, Juniper!" Robin exclaimed, leading her girlfriend to the table. Well, Robin mentally agreed with Juniper's opinion of the room. When she had first lay eyes on pictures of this place when looking up restaurants, she knew it would be perfect place for this special date.

The two of them sat down across from each other at the table, and the waiter set menus in front of them.

Today was the day they officially celebrated as their anniversary, because three years ago to this day they had their very first date at Eldoon's noodle stand. But the only reason that date happened was because of something that happened the day before.

That's what was running through Robin's mind as she and Juniper waited for the food they ordered to arrive. That specific week was another one burned into both their memories, for good and for ill: the week that courtroom number four was bombed.

The event had shaken Robin to her very core. Were it not for Apollo, there was a good chance that Juniper would have died that day. Because of that- Robin could no longer hold the burgeoning feelings that had been developing inside her for a while. So two days after Juniper got her not guilty verdict for the bombing trial, on December 19th…

"You called me every day of that trial," Juniper said, recalling those same exact days. "And a couple days after the trial, you came over the my house."

"I absolutely had to see you. I just had to know you were okay!" Robin said intensely.

That day, Robin had gone over to Juniper's house, and the moment she lay eyes on Juniper she just couldn't help herself- she burst into tears and cried out at the top of her lungs,


"Hearing you react like that did make me sad, but also happier than I'd ever felt before," Juniper said, smiling gently. "Because I could hear it it your heart loud and clear. How much you care about me."

"I've always cared so, so much about you, Juniper," Robin said, returning the smile. "But at the time, I realized it was a lot more than that. I was falling in l-o-v-e with you!"

The waiter that had been serving them up until now approached their table, this time with the food they had ordered. Juniper had ordered a seven vegetable couscous, while Robin settled on some baked eggplant. For drinks, they had settled on sharing a bottle of sparkling wine, non-alcoholic so they could still get back home after the meal.

The conversation was tabled briefly so the two of them get dig into their food. As expected for such a fancy restaurant the food was delectable beyond compare. Robin started humming out of joy with each bite, and she had to restrain herself from discarding her table manners. Across from her, Juniper was eating her food slowly, so she could savor it as long as she could.

"You know, even after that I'm still a little hungry," Juniper said after they finished their meals.

"Well, then I'll order us some dessert!"

When the waiter came back for their empty meals Robin whispered into his ear. The waiter listened to her request without once changing his expression, and when Robin finished he simply nodded and left.

"The more days I spent with you after that October, so long ago," Juniper said, starting the conversation back up now that they were finished eating. "The more I started feeling something towards you, Robin. I didn't know exactly what at the time, especially since it felt like we were just getting to know each other all over again."

Robin certainly couldn't fault Juniper for that. Even she felt like she was learning all about herself, without the chains that had bound her for so long. The bonds between Robin and Juniper and Hugh shifted and changed during those days.

"But you gave shape to those feelings deep inside me," Juniper continued, grasping Robin's hands from across the table. "When you cried for me. When you opened yourself so completely to me, as you always have."

Juniper had spent a lot of time reassuring Robin that she was okay, thanks to Apollo, but Robin just couldn't get a handle on herself. Eventually she said, "I know you're okay! But… if something had happened to you, I don't know what I would have done. You're so sweet, and understanding, and seeing you everyday makes me feel so happy! If you had died I could never tell you-!"

Robin cut herself off then, but Juniper caught it. She asked Robin to finish the sentence, and Robin wasn't about to say nothing, or give a lie. So she looked Juniper in the eyes and said,

"Tell you just how much you m-e-a-n to me. You're my best friend, but you're so much more than that! Even after what I've done, you're still besides me. You've helped me understand so much about myself. I want to make you smile...I want to help you reach your dreams. Juniper….I really like you, and I want to be your girlfriend!"

"When you confessed, I found I wasn't really surprised," Juniper said. "I think I knew you felt that way. Just like when I thought it was Hugh, I didn't say anything, because I didn't really know if I wanted that. But when you confessed, I started remembering all kinds of things. From as far back as the first time you visited my home in the forest."

Today marked the three-year anniversary of their romantic relationship. But making up the foundation of that was another three years: the three years they had spent together as best friends.

All three of them- Hugh, Juniper, and Robin, had met on the same day during their first week at Themis Academy. Robin had met up with Hugh by chance, then challenged him to a debate. Hugh had accepted the challenge, and the two of them had gone looking for a mediator.

By chance, Robin spotted Juniper by herself in an isolated corner of a room with other judge course students, poring over some notes. Robin and Hugh went up to her, introduced themselves, and they were inseparable.

"Your enthusiasm….your joy….even your anger and sorrow," Juniper continued. "I realized even when you were forced to lie about yourself, I've always been close to you. The real you. So I looked inside of myself."

After she had confessed, all Robin could do was wait for what Juniper could say in response. Juniper's expression was one of contemplation, and a dash of uncertainty.

"Lately, I've been wondering to myself just how I feel about you," Juniper finally said. "You're such a sweet, joyful, passionate person, Robin. It makes me feel warm and confident inside, being around you. Watching you shout down Professor Means...then being the first to defend Athena from him. The way I feel about you...I think I feel the same way as you. So if you really want to be my girlfriend...maybe we could go on a date?"

That's how their first date at Eldoon's noodle stand had come to be, and the start of these past three years. From best friends, they had become girlfriends. Now, their current place in the conversation was the perfect place for Robin to finally do the one thing she'd been wanting to do all day.

"If you had just told me you just wanted to be friends, I wouldn't have minded," Robin began, separating her right hand from Juniper's. "As long as I could still be with you! But I just had to tell you how I felt. These past three years I've spent with you, I've spent them as your girlfriend. Now I want to be even more than that."

With her right hand, Robin grabbed the ring she'd made from her dress pocket in a clenched fist, then brought it out. Robin guided Juniper's left hand over the fist, then unclenched the fist.

Juniper's eyes immediately widened as her hand made contact with the ring.

"I want to be your wife….I want to spend the rest of my life with y-o-u!" Robin exclaimed. She moved Juniper's hand aside, finally revealing the ring: bright silver with a vine and sunflower pattern, which clasped the diamond at the top. "Will you marry me, Juniper?"

Juniper's eyes grew watery, but her smile was sincere. "Yes...yes, I will marry you, Robin!"

Juniper took the ring and slipped it onto the ring finger of her left hand, then dug around her purse.

"Actually, I got you something too. I didn't make this with my own hands like you did, but…."

Out of her purse Juniper took out a small box, and Robin instantly knew what was inside. Juniper opened the box and presented it to Robin: inside was likewise an engagement ring, except this one had a ruby as a gem.

"I was going to ask you to marry me too," Juniper said, actually sounding a little embarrassed. "But I guess you beat me to it…."

Robin took the ring from the box and slipped it onto her own ring finger, admiring it from every angle. Then everything that had just happened finally sunk it.

"Ohmygod we're actually engaged!" Robin declared at the top of her lungs. "I'm- I"M SO HAPPY!"

"This...this almost feels like a wonderful dream," Juniper said, a lot quieter but no less overjoyed.

"I can assure you both this is not a dream," someone said dryly.

Both women jumped in surprise, looking around- to find that the waiter had shown up as some point, carrying a large, white cake with him. The waiter looked quite amused at the reaction he had gotten.

"I have brought the dessert as requested," The waiter said, setting it on the table. "And once you fine ladies are finished, feel free to to peruse our menus again, or ask for the check if you're done."

Before Juniper or Robin could say anything, the waiter left again. With him gone the two of them decided to focus on eating the cake instead. As they did they couldn't keep their eyes off of each other, or the rings on their fingers.

After finishing the cake Robin called for the check. As the dinner was her idea, she also payed for it. Juniper wanted to protest, but Robin said to think of the dinner as her way of paying Juniper back for the art gallery they had attended earlier today.

On the way out of the restaurant they ran into the waiter that had been serving them all this time. Robin and Juniper both thanked him for his service throughout the meal, Robin in particular leaving him a generous tip.

"I'm just doing my job," The waiter answered humbly. "Many couples have passed through these doors during my tenure, and I aid in creating unforgettable moments for them. The many smiles I've observed are almost as valuable to me as my actual pay."

Robin giggled at this. "Maybe we'll come here again sometime."

"I'd certainly wouldn't mind that, Miss Newman. Though, it won't be Miss for much longer, will it?"

Juniper looked at the engagement ring again. They truly were engaged, which made Robin her fiancee. She and Robin would one day meet at the altar, to bind themselves to each other forever.

Already, Juniper couldn't wait for that day to come.

Chapter Text

Chapter 32: Preparing for forever

March 10, 2031

Central prison, visitor's room

11:00 a.m.

"...And this is such a big event in my life, so I feel like I should do something that really shows just how much this all means to me. So that's why I've decided on this. But first I want to hear what you guys think, as my parents."

Richard and Diana Newman considered Robin's words from the other side of the glass pane, while Robin and Juniper waited in anticipation for their response. The two of them had spent a few months enjoying their engagement, then at around the beginning of this year they started planning the wedding.

Today was one of their routine visits to Robin's parents at the prison, where Robin broke the news of the engagement to them. To their credit, Richard and Diana immediately congratulated Robin and Juniper on their engagement. From there, the conversation went into the few specifics that had been laid out so far, including something Robin had planned.

"It's pretty appropriate, I suppose," Diana finally said. "I assume you already discussed this with Miss Woods?"

"Robin told me first," Juniper said. "It did surprise me when she asked me if she could do this. But she's so sincere about it I found I couldn't say no."

"If you told us this seeking our approval, you didn't need to," Richard said. "We told you we would let you live your life as you wanted, Robin. But if you really want it, you have our blessing."

"Thanks, Mom and Dad!" Robin exclaimed joyfully.

"Our daughter is really getting married," Diana said, looking melancholic. "Honestly, I never thought the day would ever come, because of what we did. Now it will happen, and we can't be there. It's what we deserve."

"Ah! Don't worry about it!" Robin said quickly. "I'm going to have Myriam set up a lot of cameras to film the whole thing. So if the prison lets me, I'll send a copy of the footage to you guys!"

Juniper couldn't help but smile at this. It said so much about Robin that one of the first things she suggested for the wedding was this set up, so that her parents wouldn't get left out. The painful wounds between the Newman family closed a little more with each visit, and Juniper believed that one day they would finally close completely.

"Our daughter's certainly special," Richard suddenly said, having been observing Juniper. "A bit of a handful and sometimes stubborn, though."

"Don't say that, Dad!" Robin exclaimed, embarrassed.

"Now considering what my daughter is going to do at the wedding, I think it's time for us to have a discussion," Diana said to Juniper completely seriously. "There are a few things you must know about married life."

"Don't you dare, Mom!" Robin cried out.

March 10, 2031

Prosecutor's Office, Robin Newman's office

1:21 p.m.

"Your Mutter sounds like an absolutely delightful woman, Fraulein Robin," Klavier said, chuckling.

"Hphm. I admit, I would have like to have observed that spectacle myself," Simon added, equally amused.

"Yeah, yeah, very funny," Robin said, still feeling rather flustered from the direction that prison visit had gone.

"I do feel like I learned quite a lot from your parents today," Juniper said good-naturedly.

"So why did you summon us here, Robin-dono?" Simon asked. "Entertaining anecdotes aside, I do not have all that much time to spare."

"To talk about the wedding, of course! You're both are going to be there, right?" Robin asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world. Of course, I don't think I'd be satisfied being just a member of the audience," Klavier said, snapping his fingers. "I may bring along one my guitars and add some accompaniment. That is, if you and Fraulein Woods accept this."

"We'd be more than happy with that! Thank you, Klavier." Juniper said.

"While I appreciate the invitation, I do not feel as if I would belong at this event. We are merely co-workers, nothing more." Simon said, not maliciously.

"Well, I have a feeling that Athena will drag you to the wedding whether you want to or n-o-t." Robin said cheerfully.

"I'm afraid you are right there, Robin-dono," Simon said, scowling. "Wouldn't just bringing Skye-dono with her be enough?"

"Of course not. You're really important to Thena," Juniper said. "She'd definitely want both you and Ema to be right there with her."

"True enough. Then I will attend this wedding. It's not very often one observes an event such as this, after all."

With how fast Simon changed his mind, Robin couldn't help but wonder if Simon had actually wanted to go and had just been too shy to say so directly.

"Has a date already been planned?" Klavier asked.

"Yup! Juniper and I are going to get married this May," Robin said, getting excited just thinking about it.

"Then you'd better clear it with Herr Edgeworth. Wouldn't want work to get in the way, ja?" Klavier said.

"Ah! Good point. Well, I'm already here, so I'd better stop by his office." Robin said. Before anyone else could say a word she was already out the door.

"You honestly wish to tie your life with hers, Miss Woods. One can only hope you know what you're getting yourself into, for once." Simon said, laughing and slapping his knee with a hand.

Juniper found she could actually ignore Simon's unique brand of humor for once. Once she was done talking to the Chief Prosecutor, Robin would come back. She would come back smiling, maybe laughing, and likely hug Juniper before telling her how the meeting had gone. So yes, Juniper did wish to tie her life with Robin's.

"This meeting has certainly been an inspirational one. I think I will return to my office," Klavier said. "Farewell, Fraulein Woods. May our paths cross again soon."

Klavier left the office, leaving Simon and Juniper alone in the office. An awkward silence settled over the room, and Juniper could only fidget anxiously.

"If you need some company still, Woods-dono, then I suppose I can wait here a little longer," Simon said suddenly. "At least until Robin-dono returns."

"Thank you, Simon," Juniper said, a small smile on her face. "I think I'd like to talk with you for a little bit."

With a loud screech Taka, who had left due to Robin's loudness, flew into the office, the hawk landing onto it's usual perch of Blackquill's shoulder.

"It seems that Taka wishes to join in our conversation," Simon said, looking content for the first time. "You'd better accommodate my bosom buddy."

"I'm sure Taka has a lot to say," Juniper said gently.

March 10, 2031

Judge Courtney's office

2:30 p.m.

Juniper managed to have a casual conversation with Simon Blackquill. They had some common ground with each other, with one of Simon's favorite hobbies being taking strolls out into the local parks, and Juniper telling him about the new flowers that were growing right now.

Even Taka participated in the conversation, at one point briefly resting on Juniper's outstretched arm when Simon asked her if she wanted to get a closer look at the hawk. It was like being in the same room as two friends, even if one was a bird.

Robin did indeed return in an incredibly cheerful mood; the Chief Prosecutor had allowed Robin to have the day off that they needed. After leaving the Prosecutor's Office they headed to the next stop on their list of places to go: Judge Courtney's office.

Luckily, John Marsh happened to be visiting the judge as well, so Robin asked him to stick around while they talked to Justine. With the date secured, Juniper asked Judge Courtney was free that day for a very specific reason.

"If I'm not mistaken, I should be available that day.'re truly asking this of me, Miss Woods?" Justine said, truly surprised.

"There's no one else we'd rather have it be than you, Judge Courtney," Juniper said sincerely.

"With how long you've been teaching Juniper, we'd want you at the wedding anyways!" Robin added. "Just think of this as having a special front row s-e-a-t!"

"The fact that I can attend this function in the first place means the Goddess of Law desires for me to play this role," Justine said reverently. "Very well. Expect me to be there."

"You'd better be there too, John," Robin said to the detective. "With how long we're around each other during our cases, I think it's only right."

"Okay, sure," John said nonchalantly. He leaned towards Robin and whispered. "If nothing else, I'll come along to make sure Mom doesn't ramble on about the Goddess of Law for too long."

"I heard that, John," Judge Courtney said softly but dangerously. "If that is what you wish, I could get it all out of my system… the next time I visit you."

"...Well, by the looks of it, I might not be able to make it after all," John said as Robin started laughing. "But I'll keep you posted, Boss."

March 10, 2031

Wright Anything Agency

4:00 p.m.

Of course, everyone at the WAA were the first to learn at the wedding. As such, they did their best to pitch in getting things in order. To certain people, making sure there were no hitches in the plans was very important.

"Non non non! If you can't make a delivery there there's no point in us having this conversation at all!" Athena shouted into her cell phone. "So either buck up, or you can say goodbye to our business!"

"Athena, at this rate we're going to end up eating on the ground," Apollo said in his usual deadpan as Athena ended the call. "I don't think you should be so wound up about this."

"This is my best friend's wedding, Apollo," Athena said intensely. "If that catering service isn't going to make the effort we are, then we're better off without them."

"I'm really glad you're trying so hard, Thena," Juniper said. "But I didn't realize there'd be so many problems with where we're holding the ceremony. Maybe we should move it somewhere else."

"Don't start thinking like that, Junie!" Athena urged. "We'll think of something. I'll do it all myself if I have to, so don't worry."

"You really don't have to go that far," Apollo said. "Though, thinking outside the box certainly wouldn't hurt."

Robin, who had been listening the entire time, did her best to think of a solution to the dilemma. Hugh, had been reading a book at his desk, adjusted his glasses in the way he did whenever he was deep in thought.

"I think Athena's suggestion has a lot of merit," Hugh suddenly said. "It's not like there's all that many people in attendance, and some other aspects are being handled by Juniper and Robin themselves. I don't think there's a reason why we can't pool our resources."

What Hugh was talking about were two specific parts: The dresses and the rings. Unsurprisingly, Robin was making the rings herself, and had scrapped her designs at least five times. The dresses fell to Juniper, who had personally drawn up the designs, and was going to start making them soon. As for the catering…

"Okay, so to put it another way all we need is a few tables, chairs, and someone to make some food!" Robin said enthusiastically. "Can you think of how we can do that, Hugh?"

"Well, chairs and tables are simple enough. We can just rent them from somewhere," Hugh answered. "As for food, I'm not about to burden my best friends by asking them to cook on their own special day."

"Come to think of it, how many of us can actually cook here?" Apollo asked.

"Oh, I can cook!" Trucy said, having listened in on the ongoing conversation. "It was one of the first things I learned living with Daddy."

"Then I'll pitch in to help Trucy! What? I know how to cook," Athena said defensively in response to the stares. "My Mom's relatives taught me back when I lived with them, and it was a useful skill to have when I studied law."

"Well, my Grandma could help out Thena and Trucy. I'll ask her about it when we go visit her," Juniper said. "Though, I'm hesitant to ask her for anything besides her presence."

"Knowing your Grandma, she'll probably have a list of things she wants to do ready," Robin said playfully.

For a moment, Juniper felt herself become overwhelmed by all the support she was receiving. As usual, things weren't proceeding exactly as planned, but with every wrinkle everyone contributed to smoothing it over. Already, Juniper wanted to do her own part, and her mind went to the designs she had waiting back home.

March 10, 2031

Twilight Horizons home

5:30 p.m.

The final stop of the day before going home was the old folks home where Virginia Woods was contentedly spending her days. The elder lady was very much an active part of the community, and in fact more or less took charge of the place not long after coming here.

Unsurprisingly, Virginia was leading her fellow residents of her home out on a stroll when Juniper and Robin found her. Her expression brightened as soon as she saw the two women, and she excused herself from the group.

Also as expected, Mrs. Woods immediately agreed to contribute and supervise making food for the wedding, and just as Robin said she had other suggestions. It took a while to convince her that her only other job was to enjoy herself.

"Miss Newman! How does your career fare?" Mrs. Woods abruptly asked Robin.

"It's going well! Mostly because I have Juniper here to help guide me!" Robin answered reflexively.

"That's good to hear. I'd be displeased if you lost your temper again," Mrs. Woods said softly.

Juniper couldn't help but sigh. What her Grandma was referring to, of course, was the Vitamin Square case. Virginia had given Robin a verbal reaming for that, and even after all this time she still hadn't quite let it go.

"Grandma, I understand why you feel the way you do, but I've forgiven Robin for what happened. Could you do it too?" Juniper asked.

"Well, she could convince me that it won't ever happen again," Mrs. Woods said reasonably.

"Oh! If it's proof you want, then I think I have something pretty decisive," Robin said. "I wanted to ask for your approval for something anyways."

With that, Robin told Juniper's Grandma the idea she discussed with her own parents this morning. Juniper voiced her own thoughts on the matter as well, mainly that she understood what this would mean and she was behind it a hundred percent.

In response, Virginia Woods repeated the idea out loud once, then again as if to make sure she had heard it correctly. Finally, she rewarded Robin with a soft, sincere smile.

"Yes, that's all the proof I need. As for what you're doing, I give my full approval," Mrs. Woods said proudly. "It's the most fitting way of welcoming you into the family, Robin."

Family. The word echoed around in Juniper's head, with all the significance that came with it. From the moment they met, she and Robin had been fast friends. From best friends, they evolved into lovers. In May, their relationship would evolve one last time: binding themselves to each other as family, now and forever.

Chapter Text

Final chapter: Proof of love

May 8, 2031

Dressing room 1

10:00 a.m.

"It might be good for you to keep your hair down. Oh, and if you want I'll put some foundation on your face. Just to really make Robin's jaw drop when she sees you!"

Juniper couldn't help but giggle warmly at Athena's words, then said, "Put on as much makeup as you think I need, Thena."

"You really don't need that much, Junie," Athena said, carefully applying the foundation to her best friend's face. "Just a little to bring out how pretty you are."

Athena continued to touch up her childhood friend's appearance: adding a little bit of pale lipstick, combing Juniper's long hair, then clipping on the pair of sunflower earrings that Juniper had worn during her third anniversary date with Robin.

As this happened, Juniper tried to remain still but found she couldn't keep from fidgeting. Her heart was fluttering rapidly in her chest, and she felt short of breath. Joy and anxiety swirled around in her head in a confusing mix.

"This is it. I'm really getting married today," Juniper whispered to herself. The words resonated deep into the core of her being, amplifying the emotions she was feeling. Unfortunately, Juniper's already shallow breathing grew more rapid, and she started feeling light-headed.

"Calm down, Junie. Here, breathe into these," Athena said, handing Juniper a bouquet of colorful roses. Juniper took a few minutes to inhale the scent of the flowers, calming down with each breath she took.

Just a couple of hours ago, she had woken up in her bed with Robin. Robin herself had already gotten up, pacing around their room while sweating profusely. Juniper managed to calm down her fiancee long enough for them to eat breakfast. But before long the two of them had to part ways, with Juniper being driven to where the wedding was being held by Athena and Robin by Hugh. After arriving the two brides were then led to separate dressing rooms, and hadn't seen each other since then. The next time they would lay eyes on each other would be during the wedding ceremony.

The moment Juniper stepped into her designated dressing room Athena sprung into action, getting Juniper into her wedding dress and then doing her makeup. The defense attorney took her role as a bridesmaid very seriously, and in fact took it upon herself arrive at the venue several hours ago to make sure the ceremony was on track before going to pick up Juniper.

Athena was dressed in a bright-yellow, sleeveless dress, allowing for Juniper to see the proof of friendship on Athena's right bicep. This in turn caused Juniper to look at her own proof of friendship, still on her right wrist after all this time. Being that it was made over six years ago, the color of the band had dulled, and the design of the two clasped hands was a little faded.

Looking at it, however, helped Juniper calm down completely. The anxiety melted away, to be replaced by the flame of deep, enduring love. Everything was going smoothly for once, and all that was left was for Juniper to step out of this dressing room. Outside of the room, the altar would be waiting. That's where she would meet Robin, at long last.

"Looks like you're feeling a lot better, Junie," Athena said gently. "This is such a big day, and I can't blame you for being nervous. I'm sure Robin's just as anxious as you, and probably already raring to go. You know how she gets."

Suddenly a high-pitched scream tore through the air, then tapered off. Athena sighed and shot Juniper a knowing look. Juniper, for her part, hoped that the people attending to Robin were going to be okay.

"As I said, Robin's just as anxious as you, Junie," Athena said, laughing a little.

"Robin is totally freaking out!" Widget chirped.

The reaction was so familiar Juniper couldn't help but see, just for a split second, the Athena Cykes she had first met: so shy, but at the same time so friendly. That friendliness remained, while Athena herself grew up so strong. Even during the seven years that they were apart, their bond always remained true.

"...Thank you, Thena," Juniper said softly. "For being here for me today."

"I'll always be there for you, Junie," Athena said, smiling at her childhood friend.

May 8, 2031

Dressing room 2

10:15 a.m.

"Okay. So it seems like your nerves are a little worse than we originally thought," Hugh said, doing his best to pretend that his ears weren't currently ringing. Hugh was dressed in a dark blue tuxedo, but no tie. Robin didn't say anything, but instead kept huffing and groaning.

"This isn't really a good look for your wedding day, sss sss sss," Myriam said, trying to be reassuring in the best way she knew how. Myriam was in a light purple dress, and not wearing anything to conceal herself for once. "And it wouldn't look good for the cameras either. So try to pull yourself together, Robin."

Robin appreciated her friends trying to get her to settle down, she really did. But ever since entering the dressing room her nerves kept her increasingly high-strung. Everything seemed to be going well, but in Robin's experience it was never that simple, and oh what could possibly happen-

Hugh started chuckling, which managed to shock Robin back to her senses. Myriam joined in, much to Robin's confusion. But the laughter was one of familiarity, and warmth.

"Sorry for suddenly laughing, Robin," Hugh exclaimed. "It's just that- I almost don't remember when was the last time you were so wound up. Seeing you like this feels like we're Themis students all over again."

It was true, wasn't it? The Robin Newman that first started going to Themis Legal Academy was one that didn't so much talk as shouted everything "he" ever said, and was basically a bundle of walking nerves always ready to go off.

"I was so bad back then. I've always wondered how you and Juniper could bear to be around me for more than a few minutes," An embarrassed Robin said to Hugh.

"Because even back then, you were our best friend, as you are now," Hugh said, smirking as if what it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"And don't think I don't have a lot of data on how you used to be, Robin," Myriam added. "You used blow out at least three of my hidden microphones every day, Kahk-khak. You've actually learned some restraint since then."

"I have, haven't I?" Robin said, squirming from how flustered the words from her friends left her.

"I'm not entirely sure why I've been allowed to be in this dressing room," Hugh said, clearly still flustered about this himself. "But I know you, Robin. You've come a really long way."

"You're in this dressing room because you're my b-e-s-t friend, Hugh! Why else would you be here?" Robin answered sincerely. Sure, Hugh had some trouble helping Myriam dress up Robin, but he had managed it in the end. "But seriously, thank you so much, both of you! I'm so glad you're here!"

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Hugh said simply.

"I'll say! Even with how sugary you two can be, you and Juniper have been one of the greatest stories I've ever followed," Myriam said, her eyes taking on the hungry shine they did whenever she went into journalist mode. "And I'm looking forward to seeing what develops after this."

Hugh and Myriam went back to work, making sure Robin was a presentable as possible: Hugh touching up the curls of Robin's hair, Myriam applying red lipstick, and so on. After the preparations were complete, Myriam handed Robin a bouquet of sunflowers. Perhaps not quite what one would usually expect at a wedding, but then this wasn't just any wedding.

Hugh held out his left hand. "I- I'm so honored you asked me to be here today, Robin. Especially given what I'm here for. Let's go. Juniper will be waiting for us."

Robin linked arms with Hugh, and as the three of them left the dressing room it occurred to Robin: she only met Hugh and Juniper by mere chance. Robin had picked Hugh to challenge on a whim, and they just happened to spot Juniper all on her lonesome. From that day onward, she spent many wonderful days with both of them. It was because of them that Robin strived as hard as she did.

In all honestly, never in her wildest dreams did Robin think that it would all lead to a day like this. Here, with her best friends on her wedding day, getting ready to marry her dearest friend of all- Juniper Woods. Her nerves started jumping again, but this time from the sheer excitement.

The last thoughts on Robin's mind were of her self portraits back home. Hugh and Myriam were right- she had come a long way over the course of her life. To describe her as a prosecutor, as an artist, as woman- none of these were really enough to describe who she was today, on their own or even together.

Every stage of her life contributed to Robin Newman as she was now. Which was why today was such a pivotal event- the day when one chapter would end, and a whole new one would begin.

May 8, 2031

Forest outside Woods household

10:40 a.m.

A few locations had been considered for the wedding ceremony: a church as was tradition, a simple trip down to the district courthouse, even holding it at Themis Legal Academy was considered at one point. In the end, it was Juniper musing how nice it would be to hold it outdoors that got the ball rolling.

The base of operations for the wedding was Juniper's childhood home- as it turned out, it was never bought after Juniper and her grandma vacated it because of it's remote location. The house had to be fixed up a week prior, but since the beginning of the day people were rushing in and out on various tasks.

The house was where Virginia Woods, Athena, and Trucy made all the food that was going to be served later. It was also where Juniper and Robin were being prepped, with Juniper being in her old room and Robin talking up Virginia's room. It wasn't, however, where the ceremony itself was being held. That honor went to a large clearing deep in the forest, where a makeshift aisle and altar were waiting for the brides. The clearing itself was ringed with lavender trees in full bloom, which meant that flower petals fluttered about on the occasional spring breeze.

Several video cameras were set up in the trees at different angles, filming the entire set up. The aisle and altar were simple enough, a length of white carpet leading to a wooden podium, where Judge Courtney was waiting. On both sides of the aisle plastic chairs were set up, where the various guests were currently seated, all dressed in their best clothing. Athena, now done helping Juniper get ready, arrived at the clearing to check in on everyone.

Virginia Woods was still back at the house, as was Hugh. They were currently escorting the brides to this clearing. Myriam rushed ahead to check on her video cameras, as well as set up some other cameras on timers to take plenty of pictures. Trucy Wright, now finished making food, was currently seated with Apollo and Ema on the left side of the aisle. On the right side of the aisle, Klavier, Simon, and John all sat together, with Klavier trying to make conversation with John and Simon.

The wedding was meant to be a small, intimate affair. Yet the various preparations had the unexpected side-effect of letting people know that the wedding was happening, and as such there were other guests mingling about. From the WAA, Pearl Fey was seated by Trucy, talking with her friend. Seated with the other prosecutors was none other than Chief Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth himself, who wasn't making an effort to socialize with anyone.

From Themis Legal Academy, there was a small group of people that showed up because they heard the wedding was happening: On the left side of the aisle sat members of Juniper's student council, and on the right side of the aisle sat members of the Fine Art Club.

"So remind me again what all these people are doing here?" Athena asked a nervous Myriam.

"It turns out that I forgot to retrieve all the microphones that I've planted during my time attending Themis," Myriam mumbled. "Other students found them and I think half the student body found out about this wedding because of it. They contacted our graduating class and told them, and that's how these guests wound up here."

"Merde. That's just great," Athena said, groaning. The last thing she wanted was for everything to derail now, of all times.

"Hey, we weren't expecting more people but I think we can still manage," Apollo called out from where he was seated. "We had enough chairs, and I'm pretty sure we have enough food."

"Can we really afford that kind of attitude? We've only barely managed to keep this area clean!" Athena shouted.

"If it really comes down to it John and I could just ask some people to leave," Ema said reassuringly. "So take a breath, and sit down with me. So at least you won't be scowling like that when the brides finally arrive."

"I'm not scowling!" Nonetheless, Athena seated herself by Ema, taking a few deep breaths until she had completely calmed herself down.

On the other side of the aisle, John Marsh noticed something odd about Klavier.

"Hey, I remember you going on and on about the performance you were going to give today," John said. "So why don't you have your guitar with you?"

"Because the frauleins decided to let Mother Nature herself serenade them on this day," Klavier said, gesturing to the trees around them. John listened closely, and he could hear that all around them was-

"The song of the local robins," Simon said, spotting small birds in the trees. "It is that time of year, if I'm not mistaken. At least that answers why this was the only date Woods-dono and Robin-dono would accept for this wedding."

On his shoulder, Taka fidgeted about, clearly wanting to go after the smaller birds, only to be stopped by Simon. After a while the hawk gave up, then started sulking on his master's shoulder.

"I know, I know. When we get back home, I shall make this up to you," Simon said to his companion.

"So you're not going to be channeling Professor Courte today?" Trucy asked Pearl.

"I did offer to do so for Juniper and Robin, but in the end they refused," Pearl answered. "I decided to respect their decision."

"I can understand that. But then why are you here?" Trucy asked, now really curious.

"Well….because I've always wanted to see two special somebodies get married," Pearl said, clapping her hands to her cheeks and blushing right up to her ears.

The casual conversation amongst the guests for a little while longer. Every so often Athena looked over her shoulder, only to not say anything. No one commented on this, because they knew what she was waiting for.

Suddenly, the robins seemed to spot something off in the distance, briefly going into a frenzy before starting up their singing again, expect louder. Just below the singing, everyone could faintly hear the sound of approaching footsteps.

Everyone fell into a hush, steadfastly facing forward. The temptation to look back was strong, but there'd be no point. After all, they were almost here.

May 8, 2031

Forest Altar

11:00 a.m.

Four people walked down a path together, one with a clear end destination. Slowly, the path transitioned from dirt to the carpet that was set up ahead of time. Which unfortunately meant that the carpet was now being tread on with dirt, but nothing could be done about that at this point.

From left to right, Virginia Woods managed to keep up with Juniper, guiding her granddaughter towards the clearing where the altar waited. Next to Juniper walked Robin, who was in turn being guided by Hugh. The eyes of all four were focused entirely on looking forward, and eventually they finally entered the clearing. To the continued singing of the robins in the trees, the brides and their guides made their way towards Judge Courtney, and the altar. As they walked, many of the guests got a look at the brides in their wedding dresses for the first time.

Both dresses were carefully designed, then sewn by Juniper. The idea behind them was "showcasing the beauty within", and with that in mind she made the dresses in a way that she felt suited them the best. Robin's dress glimmered brightly from the light red satin fabric it was made of, though the embedded sequins also helped. Observant eyes could see that the dress, in fact, was the exact same shade of red as the proof of friendship. The dress was also very big, with lace sticking out from all over, including the veil obscuring Robin's face. Overall it was like something one would expect a princess from a fairytale to wear.

Juniper's grass-green silk dress, on the other hand, shimmered softly in comparison. The much slimmer design accentuated Juniper, while the leaf pattern made her almost blend in with the trees around her. On the back of the dress Juniper traced a wing design. Along with her veil, it gave Juniper the image of being a fairy from these very woods.

The brides clasped bouquets of flowers in front of them. Juniper held a bouquet of roses, with red, yellow, and orange roses all together. It was as if she held a small flame in her hands. Robin, meanwhile, held a bouquet of sunflowers. The most notable thing was that one sunflower was missing, though one only had to look at Juniper's hair to see where it went.

When the two brides and their guides reached the altar, Virginia took Juniper's bouquet, while Hugh took Robin's, and the two of them sat down in chairs near the brides, Virginia seated on the left side of the aisle and Hugh on the right. Meanwhile, Juniper and Robin clasped their hands, standing in front of Judge Courtney.

"We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Juniper Woods and Robin Newman," Judge Courtney began, her voice carrying across the quiet forest clearing. "They are two bright hopes in our legal system, and they are also so much more than that. They are fine, upstanding young ladies that have built a truly wonderful life together. I have been privileged enough to catch a glimpse of this life in my encounters with them."

"I've often seen Miss Robin in court, burning with a heart of fire as she strikes down whatever lies she finds in a case. I've personally had Miss Juniper under my wing, and I find her to be a sharp, thoughtful individual. On their own, I am glad to know them."

"Yet seeing them here now, I can see the depth of the devotion, and the affection that they hold for each other. Their relationship has survived many harsh trials, some of which inflicted horrible anguish on them. Despite this, Miss Woods and Miss Newman have been able to surpass all of them, and the years they have spent by each other's sides has lead them here. On this day, I have been blessed with the role of binding their lives together forever."

"There is of course, a question I must ask the both of you," Judge Courtney said to Juniper and Robin. First Judge Courtney turned her head towards Juniper….

"Do you, Juniper Woods, take Robin Newman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, the be with her in sickness and in health, through the best of times and through the worst of times, until death do you part?"

Juniper could hear what Judge Courtney was saying, but all her attention was focused on the radiant woman before her: Robin, with her soft, chesnut-brown hair, her light-brown eyes bright with bottomless amounts of joy and affection, the wide, sincere grin- taking all of this before her, Juniper answered,

"Robin, how many days have I spent soaking the vivacious, wonderful light you emit from every fiber of your being? Even when you were forced to hide yourself from the world, I could see the sparkling heart that burned deep inside you. Every day I've spent with you, I've found myself drawn to you. Drawn in by your smile, your laughter, the way you only need words to make me feel like I can do anything. I've seen the very best of you, and the very worst of you. And I love every bit of it, from the bottom of my heart. So I do take you, Robin Newman, to be my lawfully wife, to have and to hold, to be with you in sickness and in health, through the best of times and through the worst of times, until death do us part."

Now that Juniper had recited her vows, Judge Courtney next turned to Robin and asked….

"Do you, Robin Newman, take Juniper Woods to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to be with her in sickness and in health, through the best of times and through the worst of times, until death do you part?"

How on earth Robin managed to keep as still as she did so far, she really didn't know. To be sure, it was most likely holding hands with Juniper. Everything about Juniper radiated a sense of calm: the sunflower perfectly perched on her long, ashen-brown hair, looking deep into her deep, dark-brown eyes filled with love and devotion, the small, gentle smile- with this pure beauty before her, Robin answered,

"Juniper, you've always been such an inspiration to me! I know sometimes you think there isn't a lot you're capable of, but I think- no, I know that you can do so much, just by being y-o-u! I've seen you do what's best for so many people as the student council president for our school, I've seen you take on so much suffering because of it. I've watched you work so hard to reach your dream of becoming a judge, so that you can help fix our legal system. I've always admired what a kind, gentle, understanding person you are, to me, and to everyone! And if you ever start to stumble, to doubt yourself, I want to help you pick yourself back up, just as you always have for me. So I do take you, Juniper Woods, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to be with you in sickness and in health, through the best of times and the worst of times, until death do us part."

"The brides will now receive their wedding bands."

Once Judge Courtney spoke those words, Myriam stood up from her seat. While she no longer wore boxes, she did still carry one with her, and so from a box in a chair next to her Myriam took out a small white pillow, atop of which sat a pair of rings. Myriam joined the two women at the altar in short order, presenting the pillow to them.

Both rings were handmade by Robin herself, and just like with Juniper designing the dresses, Robin made the rings to encapsulate them, down to the last detail. As such, Juniper took a wedding band studded with small sunflowers, and slipped it onto Robin's ring finger on her left hand. Next, Robin took a wedding band with colorful splatters etched into it and slipped it onto Juniper's ring finger on her left hand.

As Robin did this, Juniper suddenly saw something else- she saw Robin presenting to both Juniper and Hugh the proof of friendship band she made for them, so many years ago.. Six of the proof of friendship bands existed, all handmade by Robin.

Only two of these handmade wedding bands existed: one for Juniper, and one for Robin. On her right wrist still sat Juniper's proof of friendship- now on her ring finger sat the proof of love that Robin made, just for the two of them.

Will the brides please clasp their left hands together," Judge Courtney said.

Juniper and Robin did so, after which Judge Courtney took out a red sash, binding their hands together. Then Judge Courtney lay her own hands on the hands of the two women before declaring,

"And now, with the power invested in me by the Goddess of Law, I, Judge Justine Courtney, do hereby pronounce these two to be legally wed!"

There was a short silence in the clearing- before it filled with the sound of loud cheering from the guests. While Simon Blackquill and Miles Edgeworth didn't join in, they were seen smirking. Trucy Wright removed her top hat, and large amounts of confetti and streamers began bursting forth from within it. Athena grabbed Ema and Apollo, holding onto them tightly as she sobbed with happiness. Klavier could be seen furiously writing on what appeared to be a music sheet.

While all of this happened, the two brides at the altar seemed completely unaware of this, but instead still stared at each other. They drew in close to to each other slowly- until their lips met in the center, as Mrs. Juniper and Robin Woods shared their first kiss as wives.

May 8, 2031

Old Woods residence

1:00 p.m.

The post wedding reception thankfully went off without a hitch. Since the house itself wasn't big enough to fit all the guests, several table instead were set up outside the house. Seated at the table in the center was the newly married couple, both rather embarrassed from the sheer amount of attention they were getting.

Their former classmates from Themis Legal Academy were the first to swarm the table. Juniper's former student council congratulated her, then reported that the school board was impressed enough with the proposal that Juniper submitted during her last year that it was to be implemented the next school year. Meanwhile, the former members of the art club presented to Robin a collaborative painting of Robin herself, which caused Robin to blush bright pink.

After they were all shooed away by Athena, she and the rest of their friends grouped around Juniper and Robin. The first person to reach the table was a very satisfied looking Myriam.

"Wanna take a guess of just how much footage I got out of this wedding to use?" Myriam asked excitedly.

"Hmm, I don't know. I'm guessing quite a lot, but it that could change if you aren't careful," Robin answered playfully.

"I'll make sure not to get carried away, Kahk kahk," Myriam added hurriedly. "But I will make sure to make a lot of copies of the tape and the pictures for everyone. I'll distribute them once I'm done."

Next to approach the table was Apollo, Athena and Ema. Athena was holding onto Juniper's rose bouquet and looked quite pleased with herself, Ema had Robin's sunflower bouquet and looked rather embarrassed, while Apollo looked bemusedly at both of them.

"Congratulations to the both of you," Apollo said, grinning.

"Thank you very much, Apollo," Juniper said. "I'm glad to have you here today."

"I'm glad to be here too. Maybe now that you two are finally married you can convince Robin to cut me some slack whenever we're in court," Apollo said.

"Apollo!" Athena chided.

"I'm joking, I'm joking," Apollo said quickly. "If Robin ever did start taking it easy on me I'd wonder if she was feeling well."

"Well, I can't help but agree with you there," Athena said. "A Robin that doesn't prosecute with all guns blazing just isn't Robin."

"Aw, same to you guys," Robin said. She turned to Athena and Ema. "So when's the wedding for you two?"

Ema immediately began sputtering incoherently, before saying, "I'm not going to get married just because I happened to catch some flowers. That's a very unscientific way of doing things."

"But you've considered it. I can tell," Athena said teasingly.

"Look, whether I have or haven't doesn't really matter right now," Ema said, flustered. "I'm perfectly content with where we are, for right now."

"I am too, mi amore," Athena said, cuddling up to her girlfriend.

After a little more conversation the three of them left, and next to approach the table was Miles Edgeworth.

"Congratulations on your wedding, Prosecutor Newman," Miles Edgeworth said.

"It's not Newman anymore," Robin corrected. "As of today, I'm officially Robin W-o-o-d-s!"

It was true that Robin was constantly making an effort to repair bridges with her parents, and even forgave them for everything they ever did to her. But at around the time she began painting the self portraits, Robin came to realize that the she no longer felt a real connection to the name Newman. So after getting engaged to Juniper, Robin decided to abandon the Newman name once and for all, and take on the Woods name instead. The ultimate demonstration of her love, and her resolve to become a brand new Robin.

"Is that so? Well then, make sure to update your prosecutor credentials with this new information," Mr. Edgeworth stated. "I came here to tell you that now that the ceremony has ended, I must be getting back to work."

"We understand. We appreciate that you came at all," Juniper said gently.

More people approached the table as the reception wore on- Trucy and Pearl to give both their congratulations and some on behalf of Phoenix Wright, then Simon Blackquill and Klavier Gavin, both whom joked about the fact that there would now be a Prosecutor Woods in their unique ways, and some guests even visited more than once. The last two people to visit the newlywed table ended up being Virginia Woods and Hugh O' Conner.

"I never imagined that our house would end up being the site for your wedding, my granddaughter," Virginia said. "But now that I've seen the ceremony for myself I can't imagine it taking place anywhere else."

"I did have my doubts when the planning hit more than a few rough patches," Juniper admitted. "But it was all worth it in the end."

"When you believe that something's worth fighting for, that's when you must fight the hardest," Virginia said sagely. "At least, that what I've always felt. Its how I've managed to keep myself in shape even at my age."

"Oh! Could you teach me more?" Robin asked, reverence in her voice.

While Virginia and Robin talked at length about exercise, Hugh turned to Juniper.

"To think that over three years ago, none of us really knew what was going to happen to us," Hugh said, a tinge of bittersweet in his tone. "And now the three of us are closer than ever. Not only that, but we've achieved so much of what we set out to do."

Juniper thought about what her Grandma just said. It wasn't quite as pretty as all that: the path they'd all traveled was riddled with all kinds of ugly bumps and holes. But through it all, Juniper found inside herself, little by little, the strength to pick herself back up, to lend a helping hand to those that supported her all throughout her life.

"Well, knowing that you and Robin will continue to be my side helps me keep going," Juniper said, smiling. "I think I still have a lot to learn about standing on my own two feet. Now I finally understand why Judge Courtney wanted me to wait a little longer before becoming a judge myself."

Juniper looked at her wife, who continued to chatter excitedly with Virginia.

"I promise I will get there one day. But until then, I know that I'll always have the source of my strength with me, from today and until the very end."

The End

Chapter Text

Epilogue: and our lives continued on intertwined

The source of my strength

End credits

"Hello, Myriam Scuttlebutt reporting live from the Scuttlebutt news HQ!"

Myriam frowned at the video camera she had set up on a tripod.

"At least, that's what I'm going to be saying someday, sss sss sss. But for now let's see what everyone's been up to since a certain married couple jetted off to their honeymoon."

Head author, OC creator, ultimate NewWoods shipper

OrionFowl(Fanfiction, Wattpad)/HinataSnow(AO3)/Snowthefirst(tumblr)

"Oh, hello there….Miss Scuttlebutt, if I'm not mistaken?" Diana Newman asked. "...what's that? You've got the footage and photos from the wedding? Well thank you."

"Why Robin choose to hold it in the middle of a forest is hard to understand," Richard Newman commented as he looked over them. "But then, our daughter isn't even a Newman anymore. You know…. I truly feel very proud of her, for making such a wonderful life despite having us for parents."

"Well, even if our daughter never comes to see us again, we'll always have each other," Diana said. "Though when I told Richard I'd follow him anywhere, I didn't think that would include prison."

Turnabout Shadow beta

DonCalaca(Snow's older brother)

Akadriver, Cyberwulf (consulting capacity)

"Is that from the wedding? Much obliged, Myriam," Virginia Woods said. "You know, living here at this home is pretty relaxing. I've done my best in raising Juniper in her parents' stead, and I couldn't be happier for her."

Virginia sighed. "Before she left on her honeymoon, Juniper told me she wanted to see her parents again, and if spirit channeling is real she just might. Maybe she should know what happened to them."

The Promised Turnabout beta

Keto-Enol/Eggtoast (tumblr)

"I thought everyone just forget about me," Michael Brash said, sitting in his preferred alley. "What brings you here, Miss Scuttlebutt?"

"...Is that so? Well good for them! As for me, I think it's about time I stopped feeling sorry for myself. The police department may have kicked me out, but I won't give up. I'll earn my badge back if it takes me the rest of my life."

Lead artist

Keto-Enol/Eggtoast (tumblr)

"What am I doing here?" Logan Sullivan echoed back. "Well, once a month I come back to shore to visit Lisette. She did a lot of horrible things, but she's still my twin sister."

"...Oh. I guess I should have expected that. Will I ever see them again? I'm not to sure. I think, before I can ever show my face to Juniper and Robin again, there's a lot I need to do. First of all, I want to find myself. I want to know just who I am, now that I've lost so much. There just might be a person worth a damn in me if I look hard enough."

Other artists

Canancandy (deviantart)

Kmitting (tumblr)

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Destinygirlz (tumbr, wattpad)

"Your face is one I didn't think I'd ever see again, my little Boxtop," Simon said, smirking menacingly.

"Please don't scare the fraulein away. Feel free to ignore my coworker," Klavier said to Myriam. "...ah, those are the from the wedding, aren't they? Achtung! That dream-like day ignited in me a passion to make a brand new song. Perhaps one day I will debut it."

"Woods-dono and Robin-dono may enjoy their respite," Simon added. "But if they go soft, I will personally cut them back into shape. It's the least I can do to make sure they fulfill their aim to redeem our law system."

Lead sound design

Teii (tumblr)

"This is Trucy Wright, magician extraordinaire and heir to the Gramayre legacy! Be ready, because soon I'll be coming to a city near you!"

"But not without me and Thalassa there to watch over you," Apollo cut in. "Trucy's managed to secure a national tour sponsorship, so she needs someone to keep her safe."

Apollo pumped his fists, his two bracelets in full view. "But this will also be the perfect chance for me gain experience by defending in different kinds of courts. Now that I've got my family to protect, I can't afford to slow down now!"

Special thanks

Rosage (Fanfiction)

Rakiyamine (AO3)

Mikazukrovia (AO3)

Knightspark (Fanfiction)

A Joria (Fanfiction)

valorandgold (tumblr)

lovinglysapphic (tumblr)

"Can this wait, Myriam? I'm in the middle of investigating for a case," Athena said. "...from the wedding? Why didn't you just say so! Thank you very much. No, I still won't tell you where Junie and Robin went."

"As you can see, Athena's been keeping pretty busy. She's defended five cases just this month," Ema said. "Not that I've just been sitting on my rear or anything. I've actually been lobbying the police department to accept a new form of scientific investigation. It's been slow going so far."

"Don't worry! I'm sure the police department will see things your way, Ema!" Athena said proudly. She made a V-sign with her left hand, showcasing a diamond ring on her ring finger.

Other special thanks




And everyone else from a certain chatroom that's helped me.

"How am I doing? Feh. Work as a detective just hasn't been as exciting since Robin left," John Marsh said. "I hope she gets back soon."

"John! That isn't the kind of attitude you should take towards your job," Judge Courtney reprimanded. "Though it is sweet that you miss Robin. I myself wish to see Juniper soon as well. She's a enjoyable pupil to have."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right, Mom," John said. "You're not overexerting yourself, right?"

"I assure you, my workload is perfectly reasonable," Judge Courtney answered. "Do you need anything, John? I know you've been living on your own for a while, but I'm always willing to help."

"I'm fine, Mom. Thanks."

And of course, thank you to each and every single person that's ever read a word of "The source of my strength".

"The O'Conner law offices will be opening shortly," Hugh said, smirking. "I've decided that since my clients deserve the best, I want to give them my undivided attention."

"...What's that? Why am I the only other person besides Athena that knows where Juniper and Robin are?" Hugh scratched at a certain red band around his neck. "Who can say? I was personally told to contact them in an emergency, and that they would reach us if they needed anything. But personally, I hope they enjoy their full honeymoon together. My best friends deserve nothing less."