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“There is no doubt in my mind. There is more to this case than we initially thought. Court is now adjourned so the defence can start their investigation. We will meet back tomorrow morning.”

When the gavel slams, the chatter is loud, speaking in shock about today’s events. With a sigh, Lord van Zieks leaves the courtroom without waiting for his apprentice to follow. Ryunosuke thanks the judge again, watching the jurors and judge depart the courtroom. His eyes gaze over to the strange man. The apprentice stays in place, and Ryunosuke stares at him before his own assistant’s voice interrupts his thoughts.

His assistant smiles at him, clasping her hands. “We got more time! Wonderful work, Naruhodo-san.”

“You know I couldn’t have done it without you, Susato-san. Let me get the paperwork and make sure we didn’t miss anything else. I’ll meet you at the Sholmes Suite.”

They both bow to each other in respect before Susato-san leaves the courtroom without another word.

He gets to work by grabbing his papers, trying to organise them enough to regain his thoughts. Even though he’s trying to connect the dots, he’s stumped. There has to be a missing piece. They must investigate the murder scene again…they possibly overlooked some crucial evidence.

He decides to continue investigating until he has an idea of where he has to look for. Besides, something is still in here with him, watching silently. No, someone.

He’s beginning to get nervous as the disciple keeps eyeing him like prey, causing Ryunosuke to lose focus. He stops rummaging through his paperwork, about ready to greet the disciple and remind him that it’s okay to leave. The echoing of approaching makes him realize he may not need to. The disciple is coming to him. Ryunosuke freezes in place when the disciple draws his sword.

He drops his papers, and when he’s about to run, he’s pinned against the wall. Ryunosuke swallows, feeling the sword next to his neck. His hand is pinned barely above his shoulder. He watches the disciple’s next move, his eyes gradually glancing down at the familiar frame. The disciple’s lip twitches just a bit, and his firm hand pinning him against the wall relaxes. The disciple means no harm. He’s not quite sure why the disciple decided to just not speak to him like a normal person, but he just blinks. Perhaps, this is the only way to communicate with him…

He leans closer, investigating Ryunosuke, pressing his own body closer. His toned arms are apparent, and his handsome features are so much enhanced up close. Ryunosuke sweats, trying to keep a composed face. Oh, this better not awaken something in him…

So, he just nods in understanding.

The sword swings away, drawn back to the disciple's side. He looks up, his face relaxing to something neutral. The gloved hand that is pinning Ryunosuke against the wall loosens his grip, moving up to cup his face. Before Ryunosuke can lean into it like a yearning fool, the hand pulls away. His sword is placed back in his sheath. Ryunosuke wonders that, if he was so willing to cup his face, almost as if he were looking for something once lost to him, then perhaps…

“I have to know…”His hand reaches out, barely grazing the cool mask. “Is it you, Partner?”

Before he can grip it enough to remove the mask, the disciple’s lips barely part, his eyes widening before grabbing Ryunsouke’s wrist. The glare in his eyes is clear. That gesture is not to be reciprocated.

Before Ryunosuke can apologise, his hand is slowly guided down, away from his frame. The disciple’s hand pulls away as soon as he’s lowered Ryunosuke’s arm, immediately turning on his heel and walking away as fast as he can out of the courtroom. Ryunosuke follows for a few steps, his hand raising, hoping to reach out to the disciple, but the minute he’s about to start running, the courtroom’s doors slam shut, echoing in the quiet room.

Ryunosuke’s raised hand lowers.

Is it in shame or defeat? He doesn’t truly know, but he needs to focus on the present. Instead of reaching out for a miracle, he grips the sword he’s carried on him since that fateful day on that boat. The sword Susato-san gave to him to remember his old love, the sword that’s guided him throughout his journey. Kazuma’s memory by his side, constantly reminding him of his goal and what he promised to do.

To carry out his mission…

With a sigh, he lowers his head, reminding himself to let it go. He wishes it were not so, but Kazuma’s gone.

He’s gone…and it’s not fair to project his delusions of Kazuma being alive on the disciple. Taking another breath, he walks back to his paperwork, back to work. He must focus on Kazuma’s vision to complete his studies as a lawyer. He has to. It’s the least he could do to honour his memory.