Trowa, pleased beyond what he would have expected to feel, was still amazed by the child. Somehow she drew the best out of each
and every one of them when she could.
He wondered for a few moments what life would have been like if she hadn't been there the day Duo had collapsed and been rushed to
the hospital in the first place. Never an optimist, he couldn't help thinking that Heero would have been shot when he rushed out of the
hospital and Duo would have died. Granted, the tension between himself and Quatre that had occurred might have been avoided, but
that may have been necessary, too. Now that it was something he truly desired and understood, the relationship with the girl had actually
strengthened things for him and Quatre. The adoption struggle was going to be a long one, but he was as committed to it as his fiancÚ
now, and once Trowa Barton knew what he wanted he generally found a way to achieve it. Now he had something else to achieve.
Smiling, the young man stepped into the kitchen looking for a co-conspirator.
In the kitchen, Rasid was discussing an upcoming event with Sadeema, both of whom turned as Trowa entered the room.
"Rasid, do you have a moment?" He asked the commander of the Maganacs politely.
"Certainly, Master Trowa." The man rumbled, pleased to have been freed from what was turning into a debate with the cook.
"I have been thinking it would be nice to surprise Laurel with something special, but I don't know what to do. Since you have children,
perhaps you could give me some guidance?" Trowa accepted the cup of coffee Sadeema placed in his hands with a nod of thanks.
"Hmm, a gift for the Princess, eh?"
"'The Princess', Rasid?" Trowa looked askance wondering if this was a joke or perhaps even an insult.
"Yes, well, I am rather fond of the child, and it just seemed to fit her." Rasid smiled without apology as Trowa realized it was genuine
affection after all. "It's been my experience that children enjoy special activities, but I'm afraid she is in no condition for much of that.
Then again, she is a young lady and ladies always like sweet treats. Perhaps Sadeema could make her a nice dessert surprise?" Rasid's
eyes glittered at the idea of adding to Sadeema's afternoon work load.
"Well," Sadeema inserted bluntly, "I believe the young lady would like flowers better! Remember how much she liked the ones when
you brought her home from the hospital?"
Trowa was surprised, both ideas were so simple and yet so perfect. "Excellent ideas, thank you both. However, Sadeema, you needn't
make anything extra to go with the dinner. I need to go into town for a few things anyway, and I'll pick up some of those chocolate
covered macadamia nuts she likes. That should be sufficient."
Trowa smiled his thanks, returned the coffee mug and left the room.
"Hmph!" Sadeema grumbled. "As if it would be any trouble to fix her a little something special! Honestly!"
Rasid laughed at her making her scowl at him. "Sadeema, you heard him, if that's what he prefers then so be it. Besides," his eyes
twinkled a bit as he added before fleeing the room, "I liked your idea better myself. Flowers would be quite appropriate!"
Not terribly surprising, by the end of the day there were chocolate covered macadamia nuts, a large bouquet of fragrant flowers, and a
lemon meringue pie Sadeema just *happened* to make---all for Laurel. Another man may have taken offence at having his "daughter"
spoiled so thoroughly, but when Trowa saw how delighted it made Quatre to see Laurel's face light up in happiness, it no longer
Sadly, the child's happiness was to be short lived.
Finally, the day of Heero's bail hearing arrived. Duo and he had several pleasant visits and even discussed what to do to celebrate his
release on bail after the hearing. They were looking forward to this. Even Jack Ryuzouji had to agree Heero Yuy was a model prisoner,
never causing trouble or complaining, and fully expected to be finally able to stop being on-duty constantly. He missed watching the
sports too much. Of course he never would have admitted to developing a grudging respect much less a growing feeling of friendship for
Heero as well, but that was another matter.
The remaining four ex-Gundam pilots, however, all went to attend the hearing along with Quatre's two best attorneys, Ashe and Jojo.
The room was fairly empty when they arrived and after being checked for weapons they were seated by a bailiff. Wufei found it amusing
they had completely missed the fact that all four were trained assassins fully capable of killing any number of people regardless of
weaponry, but only Duo found it humorous as well. For his part, Duo had forced back on the jester's mask to conceal the growing fear
that this would not end well.
Finally, a door opened near the judge's podium and the prisoner was escorted in.
Duo's heart ached to see his fiancÚ shackled and manacled, being lead into the room by a heavily armed bailiff and Junpei "Jack"
Ryuzouji. It wasn't until those deep cobalt-blue eyes locked onto his own amethyst eyes and a small smile crept onto Heero's lips did
Duo relax at all. Duo looked quizzically at him and Heero responded with a splayed fingered gesture so subtle most people would have
missed it, but Duo didn't and his face lit up. "He's fine!" Duo hissed to the others who looked at him puzzled.
"What do you mean, Duo?" Quatre was confused. Heero looked far from "fine" trussed up like an animal and carrying more metal
chains than his own body mass.
"Don't worry, Quatre, he gave me a signal." Duo smiled happily and leaned back sending his own signal that everything was fine from his
As the attorneys approached Heero for the first time, Ashe threw a dirty look at Quatre for not giving them time to prepare with their
client. Quatre didn't care, though, he had made his decision and was pleased with the results. Some discussion followed between the
attorneys and the Wing pilot which resulted in something odd. Jojo, a medium built man with mahogany skin walked back over to his
employer with a sheet of paper in his hand. "He wants me to give this message to Mr. Maxwell, sir," Jojo looked dubiously at Duo who
seemed far too relaxed for someone whose lover was facing possible life imprisonment without release on bail prior to sentencing and
possibly no parole afterwards.
"Let me see," Quatre took it. After a quick look, he glared at Heero, who smirked back, then at Jojo. "Do you have any idea what this
means 'Jet'?" Quatre never used Jojo's nick-name to his face unless he was angry, so the black man prudently shook his head.
"Let me guess!" Duo piped up happily. "Bet it says he's going to kill me in Japanese, right?"
Quatre's jaw almost unhinged itself, as Heero's smirk turned into a smile and a wink and Duo seemed to melt into his seat even farther.
"How'd you know, Duo?"
"I just did." He responded blandly, then surprised even himself by saying quite loudly, "Love you, too, koibito!" Grinning ear to ear as
Heero blushed a bit. Then Heero shook his head; he knew keeping Duo quiet was out of the question, but at least it wasn't anything
overtly sexual; well, at least not to anyone but themselves, that is.
"All rise. The Honorable Judge Airi Komiyama presiding." Everyone stood as an elegant woman stepped into the judge's podium. She
looked more like an actress than a jurist, but appearances were deceiving; after all, who would've thought the 17 year-old boy in front
of her had killed over ten thousand people during the war, saved the planet, and now stood charged with such a wide range of crimes.
"Be seated." The bailiff ordered.
"Before any statements are made from the floor, I've got a few things to point out," the judge stated plainly. "First, these are very serious
charges which the defendant is facing. The charges include but are not limited to theft of a human organ intended for another, multiple
vehicular thefts, negligence, and reckless endangerment of various people's lives. Second, it is fully open knowledge that the defendant
has certain training and abilities that are far and away above those of average individuals." Duo tried hard not to laugh, but a small smirk
snuck out; oh yes, Heero Yuy was *not* an average guy!
"And third, regarding bail, this hearing is virtually meaningless in view of the first and second points."
Silence filled the chamber. Basically, she had just stated what they all feared most, bail was out of the question regardless. Panicked,
both attorneys looked to Quatre for instructions and Duo seemed to crumble in upon himself in pain. Heero remained stoic, yet his
shoulders slumped slightly causing Duo to practically fall out of his seat in agony.
If Heero was admitting defeat that easily, what hope did they have? None.
"Your honor," Ashe stood, adjusting his tie as if he couldn't keep his hands still. "May I ask if this means you have already made a
decision regarding bail and if so, what *is* the purpose of this hearing?"
"Yes, I have decided that there is no appropriate means of setting bail for someone with his skills and abilities especially with regards to
the seriousness of his offences." Duo sobbed openly upon hearing that and Heero's spine went straight once more. He cast a quick
glance to see if Duo was looking so he could reassure him, but the braided boy was not, his eyes covered by his hands as if to conceal
the pain that racked through him.
The judge continued apparently immune to the drama unfolding before her even though she was well aware of who all of the players
were. "The purpose of this hearing is to determine what, if any, changes are to be made in regards to the defendant's continued
confinement until his trial."
Surprisingly, it was Jack Ryuzouji who spoke up first. "Your honor," his deep voice rumbled through the room. "As you are aware, I
have been personally responsible for the prisoner from the moment he was arrested and wish to speak on his behalf." To say virtually
everyone in the room was shocked would have been an understatement. This took even Heero by surprise. "Mr. Yuy has been most
cooperative and has not resisted in any way shape or form, and, yes, I was fully briefed on his abilities and he has not made a single
effort to avoid or extricate himself from the current situation. Perhaps you should take that into consideration *before* you flat out deny
him bail. Thank you." Jack sat back down without even glancing at the shocked look on Heero's face.
"I see," the judge looked at him long and hard. "Captain, that is highly commendable, but it isn't enough to sway the position of this
"Why the Hell not?" Jack was on his feet and angry to be dismissed so easily; truly he had no patience whatsoever for this nonsense. He
knew full well the kid could have broken his neck a dozen different times or more and never made a single move, what was their
problem with seeing that?
"Sit down, officer, or I'll have you held in contempt of court!" She declared loudly and grumbling Jack sat back down. This time he did
glance at Heero in time to catch the rare tiny smile of surprised appreciation before it vanished. "Now, as I was saying, I am prepared to
modify the conditions of the defendant's confinement. After that rather, unusual shall we say, bit of defense attorney work by his own
captor, here are the modifications this court recommends." She ran down a list of things each of which seemed small but together meant
Heero's life would be much more livable while he awaited trial.
But no matter how "livable" it made things, Duo was devastated.