Heero continued to recover unexpectedly slowly, primarily due to his preoccupation with Duo's condition, at the prison infirmary and
Jack was even more over-protective than ever. It had become rather a bit of a joke amongst the guards that Ryuzouji had become
Yuy's shadow, but they knew well enough to hold their tongues around the large SWAT officer; usually they did, at least. He had taken
offence at one inappropriate comment from a guard directed at Heero and the guard ended up with a rather impressive black eye.
Heero had been totally unaware of it since this happened outside the infirmary, but word got around quickly.
"Hey, Jack," Heero asked innocently the next day. "Heard things got ugly yesterday. What happened?"
Blushing a bit, Jack stared at his hands. "Um, you don't really want me to answer that, Heero." He mumbled.
"No, really, I do! What happened? Heard you'd gotten into a fight with somebody." Actually, that was *all* Heero had heard or he
wouldn't have asked. "I also heard you won, but why did it happen?"
"Well, um, uh," the large man did *not* want to answer. Finally, though, the blue eyes staring him down won out over common sense.
"Some moron asked me if you were 'available' since he thought you were cute. I got kinda' pissed off and told him you were engaged
and that the asshole should back off. Jerk just laughed and said that unless *I* was who you were engaged to, then that meant no
competition and he'd be happy to 'look after you' for as long as he enjoyed himself!" Jack's eyes burned remembering the fury it had
ignited to hear a man he considered a friend being talked about like a piece of meat available for trade sexually. "So, I just hauled off
and slugged the bastard. Wimp! One punch in the eye took him down, so I just laughed at him and told him he wasn't good enough for
This was intended as mostly complimentary of Heero, but the Japanese youth found it terrifying in regards to his recent experience and
nearly had a panic attack. Needless to say, he never questioned Jack about rumors again. He did, however, find this deepened his trust
of the over-sized bear of a man who guarded him far more than his job ever required.
Wufei was still unaccounted for. The Chinese youth had always been a solo-operative by choice and whatever he was working on was
his own private issue. Trowa trusted him to let them know if they were needed.
It did, however, frustrate Quatre that he was never able to get a hold of him just the same. Clearly, based on the message that had been
found weeks before, Wufei had a plan in mind, but they didn't know what it was and Heero's trial was approaching.
While Ashe and Jojo continued to pursue legal arguments for court, it would have helped to know if Wufei had obtained evidence that
would help bolster the case in favor of Heero's release or at least minimum sentencing when the pre-trial hearing arrived. The two
attorneys had scrambled like mice after the last crumb of cheese each and every time a piece of evidence was brought to their attention,
yet the case remained fundamentally weak. There had been too many laws broken and there had been too many witnesses. Several of
those harmed during the incident had refused to press charges and had blocked any attempt by the government to press charges on their
behalf. Luckily, Wufei had dealt with this issue immediately after Heero was 'taken into custody', despite the fact that the former
Gundam pilot was in a comatose state. The ambulance driver as well as Gene Starwind followed Wufei's example. The largest issue,
theft of a human organ, could not be denied and the argument of using a plea of temporary insanity was being considered as the
strongest possibility of minimizing what could otherwise easily be a life sentence.
Miles away, in a familiar hospital emergency room, a young girl became reacquainted with old friends. Laurel had been taken there to
have the x-rays needed to confirm her casts could be removed. Everything had indeed healed properly, and she had a chance to see Joe
and Mitsu's wedding pictures while they waited for all the paperwork to be completed.
Seeing the wedding pictures would have thrilled the little girl except they just brought forth feelings of profound sadness; they reminded
her of something she had hoped for in her own life with Quatre-daddy and Trowa-daddy which now seemed unreachable.
Ordinarily, the orphanage would have taken her to a local practitioner, but the money Quatre had arranged for her recuperation required
treatment at the original hospital. She enjoyed seeing Dr. Joe and Mitsu again, but was very quiet about where her "daddies" were and
why she was back at the orphanage instead of with them.
Once she was discharged, Joe made a quiet call straight to the Winner estate and spoke to Quatre and Trowa. The young businessman
was as tight lipped as the child had been, however, Trowa added only his thanks for the information. Joe simply apologized for
bothering them. Later, he and Mitsu discussed their concerns about what had happened to their friends; an intern suggested they check
the internet records and discovered the debacle at the prison. Both were concerned deeply, but had no way to help.
When Laurel got home, of course, she never expected to receive a visitor later.
A silent circus clown who bore a striking resemblance to someone very special to her arrived carrying a large bouquet of balloons and
flowers as well; there were some chocolate covered macadamia nuts hidden in with the flowers as well. She smiled knowingly at her
"Trowa-daddy" who never spoke a word, simply presented the items with a flourish, to the delight of the other orphans. Thanks to sage
advice, he had brought voluminous supplies of additional small gifts and toys plus enough crayons to last the entire orphanage for a year
knowing they were Laurel's favorites. Rasid had assisted him in finding a way to check on her in person if nothing else and the older man
had mentioned bringing gifts for the other children as well; very wise advice indeed.
As Trowa was leaving, he heard a quiet, "I still love you," from behind him. He turned and dropped a gentle kiss on her
strawberry-blond hair and murmured softly, "Me too, baby." Then he was gone.
Finally, after six weeks of Hell, which included time spent in a coma followed by time recovering from it followed by the single most
nightmarish series of experiences of his life, Heero Yuy's pre-trial hearing date arrived. This was far faster than it ordinarily would have
been, but after the bail hearing and the hideous gang rape incident, it was in everyone's best interests to deal with this quickly.
On the day of the hearing, his friends assembled as before and awaited his appearance.
This time, however, he was escorted into the court room by Jack Ryuzouji, not in chains but walking rather stiffly under his own power.
Jack would have preferred that he use a wheelchair, having not been released from the infirmary yet, but understood Heero's desire to
not upset Duo. Heero's eyes went straight for Duo's and he smiled, a warm, genuine, smile. Duo looked at him long and hard wondering
again what had made him fall in love with the other boy in the first place. Heero, still smiling, gave the splayed finger gesture yet only
received a curt nod in return. Finally, Heero *did* see the toll all of the stress and medication had taken on the young man before his
eyes. Heero also noticed Quatre's dark glasses and became concerned. Why was Wufei not present? What had happened to all of them
while he had been trapped in here?
"All rise!" A bailiff commanded. Judge Airi Komiyama stepped back into her podium. "Be seated." The judge cleared her throat and
began listing the charges.
"Mr. Heero Yuy is here for a pre-trial hearing to determine whether or not an actual jury trial should be held or if this is strictly an issue
to be determined by a legal board of review. The charges against the defendant are lengthy and range from vehicular theft to, ultimately,
the theft of a human organ intended for transplantation into another individual. Several important points need to be made regarding these
issues. First, they are all quite serious and each individually carries a minimum sentencing requirement by law. Second, the defendant has
not entered a plea to any of these charges as of yet and there are far too many witnesses to deny his culpability. Third, these are
generally considered to be crimes against the state due to the fact that municipally own vehicles were utilized; some of the private
vehicles stolen are not being held as charges against him as is the right of their owners. Now---" the judge was cut off by a loud noise at
the back of the room.
Every head turned to see what could only be termed, "the Calvary arriving."
"Now," a resonating voice carried over the assembly, "We shall end this travesty of justice." Chang Wufei, arm healed and dressed in full
Preventers dress uniform lead a processional of officials the likes of which had rarely been seen gathered during a time of peace. The
leaders of the Preventers, Lady Une, Zechs Marquise, and others entered first in full dress uniform as escorts for those who followed
them. The Prime Ministers from all five of the LaGrange Point colonies were in attendance as were the leaders of the houses of
representation for the United Earth Nations. Most impressive of all, however, was the presence of the duly-elected President of Earth
himself, Juan Santiago. Beside him was the Vice President, Relena Peacecraft-Dorn, who smiled at Heero and then became serious
Wufei sternly lead the way to the front of the court room and stood at attention as the dignitaries filed past him and in front of the judge's
"What is the meaning of this?" The judge demanded, totally shocked by what had just occurred.
"Your Honor," Wufei stated, "Allow me to introduce you to the world and colonial leaders each of whom have something to say
regarding these proceedings."
The men and women who had arrived were the most powerful members of their individual societies as well as of humanity itself. To
make some long speeches very short, they all agreed on one thing, Heero Yuy was solely responsible for the survival of life on the planet
Earth and by extension, all of its colonies as well. They made it abundantly clear that this man was to be released and all charges were to
be dropped since they *were* the state governments in question. No word was mentioned regarding the terrible mistreatment Heero
had suffered while incarcerated since no one was building a case on this and they also wished to avoid adding to the problems lingering
from he attack. The presence of so many highly placed elected officials alone was all that was required to gain Heero's freedom, though
several remarks were made later this was the first time they all agreed on anything since the war ended.
Thus, without any further testimony or debate, the gavel was dropped. "Case dismissed!"
A cheer was heard slowly building in the room as realization sunk in that Heero Yuy was once again a free man. Chang Wufei looked
singularly pleased with the results of his efforts.
Jack Ryuzouji, totally amazed and infinitely pleased by all that had happened, grabbed the shocked young man and wrapped him in a
bear hug, then released him as his friends gathered close to him. Heero immediately reached out for Duo, who stiffened then succumbed
to a passionate kiss. Always observant, Heero had noted the hesitation, but knew they would now have plenty of time to work things
out at their own pace. Quatre was thanking the various dignitaries and Trowa had gone straight to Wufei where the two men shared an
unspoken conversation confirming faith in one another and gratitude.
Keeping a tight grip on his fiancÚ's hand, Heero also went to thank each of the people who had helped him gain his freedom. The only
dignitary he knew personally was the recently married Vice President who smiled and kissed both Heero and Duo on the cheek telling
them they should have called her sooner. Expecting a joke from Duo, she was surprised at his subdued and respectful response of
appreciation; this brought a questioning glance directed at Heero and he looked back at her confused as well.
In the end, Heero left that day in the company of all four other former Gundam pilots after thanking Jack one last time for everything the
man had done for him. Free and unencumbered, they retreated out a rear exit to the waiting 'Shooting Star' leaving the entourage of
dignitaries behind to give further speeches and look important for the news releases about this odd turn of events.
Back at the Winner estate, things were quite festive, to put it mildly.
There had certainly been no plans for such an extraordinary thing to happen, but it was amazing how quickly the staff there could put
together a party. Rex had radioed the mansion the minute the case had been dismissed so they had had a bit of time to prepare.
The group returned to champagne toasts and sumptuous food all of which was intended to make Heero know how much he was
appreciated and how badly he'd been missed. Heero, however, had only one person on his mind and after thanking everyone for what
seemed the hundredth time, he took Duo and they retired to their bedroom to get reacquainted.
Watching his friends disappear, Quatre smiled at Trowa and kissed him lightly. Granted, Quatre would have enjoyed following Heero's
lead and disappearing as well, but Wufei had joined them and as the host he felt obligated to stay. Besides, the champagne seemed to
ease the tremendous pain in his head and the young blond proceeded to become quite inebriated.