"Just do as I say!"
You giggled as you threw the bundle of clothes in Hiro's direction. "You honestly want Melanie to see you in this?"
"You said I looked charming in this!" Hiro protested. "Besides, I don't mind being in this. When did this suddenly become such a big deal?"
"Get dressed, you worthless thing," you smirked, closing the door to your bedroom as you stretched again, excited to get to Melanie's soon. But before you could do anything else, you heard Mr. Lacitier call for you.
Curiosity got the better of you as you headed towards Mr. Lacitier's room, and you were surprised to see the vials and plants still out and strewn all over the room.
"Mr. Lacitier?" you asked upon entrance. "You alright?"
Mr. Lacitier sighed from his bed. "Hello, (Y/N)."
You looked at him with concern. "What's wrong?"
Mr. Lacitier sighed again. "I miss your mom and dad with every passing day, you know. It's not easy taking on your dad's job, you know. And with your mom gone, it's like we lost another star in the sky."
You sat beside Mr. Lacitier on the bed now, gently easing yourself on the bed. "Hey. I miss my parents too. And I know how hard it is for you to take on more responsibilities without my father around. But I'm not giving up on you, Mr. Lacitier. I know you'll be a great replacement for my father. And my mom will be smiling down on you too. I know she will." Then your eyes fell upon the plants and vials. "Um, what exactly are these?"
Mr. Lacitier got off the bed and headed over to the table with the vials, and you followed him, unsure of what to expect.
"These are my herbs and concoctions," he explained to you. "I'm not hoping to open an apothecary business, but since your mother and father died I wasn't sure what to do. I just wasn't ready."
"You can't just give up yet," you told him, picking up a certain vial.
"Well, some of these concoctions are meant for healing," he explained to you. "I mean, I have done some herbal medicines. But some of these are poisons. Though I assure you, none would be fast-acting for your father to die at such speed. Trust me."
You looked suspiciously at a certain vial with a dark blue liquid. "What's this made of?"
"Chrysanthemum, lavender, and some mint," he told you. "Gives the drinker some happy thoughts."
"What about this one?" you asked, pointing to a dark red vial.
"Poison ivy infused with yew," he said. "Gives the drinker boils."
"Are you telling me that some of your potions are meant to harm?" you asked quietly.
"No, it's okay!" You waved your hands. "Mr. Lacitier, I understand. I'm not kicking you out or anything. This would be great for things like pranks and stuff, but not for intended harm, okay? I mean..." You faltered as you fumbled for what to say. "Mr. Lacitier..."
"I assure you, none of these were used to kill your dad," he promised you. "Trust me."
You nodded. "Okay. I believe you."
Just as you said that, the phone rang.
"Oh shoot. I'll go get that," Mr. Lacitier said, exiting the room and running down the stairs as fast as his thin legs would go, just as Hiro showed up to see you in Mr. Lacitier's room.
"(Y/N)? What just happened?" he asked.
"Oh hey again, Hiro," you smiled. "Ahh, nothing much. Just found some evidence of the foul stench I caught not too long ago."
"Foul stench?" Then Hiro nodded in realization. "Ohhhh."
You nodded as well. "Yeah. I asked him about the concoctions he was making. Apparently he said it would either heal or harm, so be careful with what you choose, I guess. He said he wasn't planning on opening an apothecary, but what with my parents' deaths, he just didn't know what to do..."
"You don't say he wanted to kill himself now..." Hiro murmured.
"I hope not," you said. "Rest assured, he does seem a bit stronger than my mom. But if he keeps this up, I would regret saying that."
Just barely were those words out of your mouth did you see Mr. Lacitier run back into the room, a look of shock plastered on his face.
"(Y/N), Hiro," he said. "Apparently you two are called in for a court trial against Robert Callaghan and Trudy some time next week. I just got word from the police since they said that his escape from prison after Big Hero 6 got him the first time is a serious offence."
Both you and Hiro gaped. "You WHAT?!"
"Well, I did say that you would give it some time," Mr. Lacitier added. "But if you find any evidence, let the police know as soon as possible."
You turned to Hiro, smiling. "You see? This could be our chance to prove to everyone that Callaghan is definitely someone we can't trust. I mean, what with his failed attempts on Tadashi and Gisele...but then with his success on my parents..."
You fell silent again, your smile fading.
"We'll avenge them," Hiro promised you, taking your hand. "And yes, we'll leave this to the police this time. We alone can't just blurt out how unworthy he is. We need to let court decide."
You nodded. "Just hope that my parents don't show up again in my nightmares and haunt me before that happens," you said, smiling at him again.
Mr. Lacitier then looked at his watch. "Hurry along now. Melanie wants to see you, remember?"
"RIGHT!" Not letting go of Hiro's hand, you ran out of the room, waving to Mr. Lacitier before heading out of the house, only to see Melanie's family outside your house.
"Hi," you said breathlessly, smiling.
"(Y/N), right?" Melanie's mom asked you.
"Thank you so much for finding our daughter!" she cried, giving you a big hug. "We thought she was lost for good."
"Actually, it was Callaghan who kidnapped me and 'helped' me, in a way," you admitted, laughing shakily. "But no problem. At least you got her back."
"What can we do to repay you?" she asked, smiling.
"Well, most of the credit can be given to my boyfriend," you said, gesturing to Hiro. "This is Hiro."
"Pleased to meet you, Hiro," Melanie's mom said, nodding in his direction.
"Pleased to meet you too, Ms. Norimo," Hiro said back, bowing.
Melanie then approached you and gave you and Hiro a hug. "How are you guys?"
You laughed. "I'm feeling great! Just...another nightmare..."
Melanie pulled away immediately, worry clouding her eyes. "Seriously?"
"I'll tell you later," you answered.
"Hey," Gisele piped up, and you looked down at her.
"Hey Gisele," you smiled, giving her a gentle hug. "How's it going at home now?"
"It's different," she answered. "But it's definitely much nicer than that island. Mom and dad have never been more happy."
"I can definitely agree to that," Hiro said, smiling at her too. Gisele smiled at him before holding out a small bottle.
"I'm not sure if this is going to help in your trial—I heard from Mom that you, Hiro, and Melanie have to attend a trial soon—but I found this back on the island before we were supposed to fight Callaghan. It's empty now, but I can help you find more on the island. If I'm not mistaken, this could cause sudden death."
You took the bottle gingerly, turning it around in your fingers. The vial was empty, except for traces of a light purple liquid that was actually quite thin, like food colouring. You didn't dare open the vial, but you could tell there was something weird about it.
"You have a feeling this was the poison Callaghan used?" you asked her.
Gisele nodded. "I saw him holding a similar bottle while he was talking about your dad just after your capture."
Your eyes widened. "Then this could be it! This could be the poison that killed my dad!"
"Wait, what?" Hiro gaped as he took the bottle from you, examining it in its entirety. "You think Callaghan could brew something like this?"
"Who knows? He may as well have one of his 'employees' brew it for him or something as part of his threat," you shrugged.
"Then this is good evidence," Melanie concluded. "But we need the wine glass your dad drank from."
You didn't notice Mr. Lacitier exit the house until you heard him say, "I can help you with that."
You jumped to see him. "Mr. Lacitier?"
"I can help you find the wine glass," he said. "Trust me. The room has been roped off since your father died, but with permission I can ask the police to gain entry and locate the wine glass that your dad drank from."
"How long did it take for the effects to sink in?" you asked.
"About a minute," Mr. Lacitier answered gravely. "Then your father immediately ran to the bathroom and puked, and then he fainted. We supposed he got dizzy so I sent him home, but then..."
"Oh. I see." You nodded. "Then we need to get the wine glass. If the wine is still in there, or at least some traces of it are still in there, then we can use that as good evidence. We can even ask Honey Lemon to help us break down whatever's in there or something!"
"That sounds like a great idea!" Hiro cried, giving you a hug. "How did I not think of that?"
"Well, it's a start," Melanie nodded. "Gisele, you are definitely becoming one smart little cookie."
"It's all I can do to help you get started," she smiled innocently.
"And it's a good start too," you said. "Then all we need to do is find evidence on Gisele and Tadashi's 'demises'. And then after that, we need evidence on my mom's triggered depression. That way, we can ensure that everything could be rightfully justified."
The three of you nodded at the plan, smiles slowly spreading across your faces.
"I'll be heading in," Mr. Lacitier said. "(Y/N), if you need anything. let me know, okay?"
"Will do. Thanks for offering to help, Mr. Lacitier," you smiled, and Mr. Lacitier headed in.
"But (Y/N), your dream..." Melanie reminded you.
"Oh." Your smile faded. "Um...so it kind of started off well—I saw my parents in heaven before the scene changed and I was drowning in poison, and my parents became evil spirits and tried to make me die so that I could join them. When I refused, a whole bunch of...black eagles...got rid of me..."
"Hey. I'm sure your parents won't be like that," Melanie assured you. "I have never met your dad, but I doubt your mom would ever be like this. Trust me."
You smiled again. "I have to hope that's so. Eternal damnation would be the last thing on my mind for as long as I live. Trust me."
"So what are you going to do now?" Gisele asked, and her parents also looked on with concern.
"For now, we'll celebrate," you said. "Tomorrow, after school, and when Hiro's done with SFIT, we'll head to the island again for more evidence. Gisele, do you want to join us? You've been there the longest out of me, you, and Tadashi."
Gisele nodded. "I would be more than happy to."
"Hiro, you think Tadashi would want to join us?" you asked him.
"I don't see why not," Hiro agreed. "But I'll have to head back to the Cafe and ask what he wants. What about your job though?"
You shrugged. "If Aunt Cass is easy on me skipping shifts, I'm sure she'll understand why I'm skipping out on work again. Don't worry."
Hiro nodded. "Right. She knows your mom and your situation...and I hope she got word of the trial too."
"Hey!" Melanie's dad called over from the car. "You guys down for celebration or what?"
"Where are we going?" you asked.
"We're heading to my place, of course!" Melanie said excitedly. "My parents prepared an amazing barbecue—might as well since summer is almost gone, and why not enjoy what's left of the few warm sunny days we'll ever have?"
"Sounds great!" you and Hiro nodded enthusiastically.
Just as you all got to Melanie's place, you were surprised to see a red moped parked at the front door as well.
"Melanie, you invited Tadashi too, didn't you?" Hiro asked her.
Melanie nodded. "I think he's already in the backyard preparing a couple things."
You all went to the backyard where Tadashi was setting up the plates and cutlery and was manning the grill.
"Hey guys!" he cried, waving. "The burgers are almost ready."
"Tadashi, you didn't tell us!" Hiro protested, but he smiled all the same.
"Surprise surprise," Tadashi winked. "But so what, we've got a lot to celebrate about. Oh, and I heard about the trial...would it be 5 on 2 or something? Don't forget, (Y/N) and Melanie still had Trudy to worry about, right."
"Yeah, I suppose," you shrugged. "I mean, um, well...she did try to make my life miserable."
"Aw come on, no time for dark talk!" Melanie's dad cried joyfully. "This is a time for celebration! To the reunion of our families!"
Melanie's father quickly poured some fruit punch into the cups set on the table and you all raised your glasses as Tadashi brought the burgers over to the table. Then you all dug in and relaxed and chatted like good old friends, the burden relieved from your shoulders, even if it's just for that one night.