Chapter 25--You Again?!
"Whoa, this place is huge," you thought as you made your way inside the San Fransokyo Court of Criminal Justice with Mr. Lacitier and the Hamadas, staring in awe at the crystal chandeliers hanging down in the corridors, the tiled mirrors aligned on the walls, and even the black and white tiled floor under your feet, clacking sounds echoing as you walked through the entrance. All around you you also saw random structures that depicted the importance of justice and law and whatever the case was, and there were many staircases and doors that lead to many different court rooms.
"Correct me if I'm wrong," you said, turning to Mr. Lacitier, "but is this a criminal case that we are looking at or a civil case?"
"I think the police said criminal," Mr. Lacitier told you. "I mean, I'm pretty sure the Callaghan family has hurt more of you and more of others than you think."
You stared at him. "Are you sure?"
Mr. Lacitier nodded. "Positive. I may know nothing about Callaghan as much as you wished but I heard about him many times, and even Hiro and Tadashi were willing to share their findings with me, which by the way I hope you don't mind."
You smiled reassuringly. "Not at all."
"And I have been to a couple court trials myself," Mr. Lacitier added. "So yes, I know the difference between criminal and civil court cases."
"Alright, just making sure," you told him. "Thanks."
Mr. Lacitier beamed.
Just then, you felt Hiro nudge you on the arm. "They're coming."
You whipped your head in the direction he was pointing at to see Melanie, Gisele, and the rest of the gang approach you.
"Hey guys!" you cried, giving each of them a big hug.
"Hello (Y/N)! You ready for this?" Honey Lemon asked enthusiastically.
You nodded. "I can't wait to see Callaghan and Trudy's priceless faces."
The sound of someone using your full name suddenly surprised you, and you turned around to see a man, all too familiar, running towards you, and you rolled your eyes.
"Who's that?" Hiro asked you, putting an arm around you protectively.
You gritted your teeth. "That's apparently my lawyer. He was the one who arranged for Mr. Lacitier to live with me. And he is probably one of the most ANNOYING people I have ever met," you added.
Hiro laughed. "Is he really that bad?"
"Remember the time when we thought that Mr. Lacitier was the one who killed my dad?" you reminded him.
"Right. Sorry," HIro smiled sheepishly.
"Nah, it's all good," you said.
Soon, your lawyer stopped in front of you, panting and wheezing. "(Y/N), it's good to see you," he panted, trying to catch his breath.
This time you resisted the temptation to roll your eyes as you glared at him. "Oh really. You call it good to see me again. How nice."
"Hey, you know I was the one who suggested to the police that you needed a trial," the lawyer warned you. "Besides, I was appointed for certain reasons."
"Oh really," you repeated flatly. "Enlighten me."
"I have heard of your family's situation," the lawyer proceeded to tell you. "Of course, your family was one of the most precarious ones ever in San Fransokyo since Callaghan's rivalry with many members of your family, and so when I read your story I wanted to protect you and your parents from harm."
"Oh really," you repeated, yet again, in the same monotonous tone as before. "Then tell me. Why didn't you save my father when he got poisoned? Why didn't you save my mother when she was bedridden with hateful lies? Do you even KNOW what happens around my family anymore? I have honestly never seen you before Mr. Lacitier moved in, and thus I conclude that I don't know whether or not to trust you."
"Now now, (Y/N), I understand you're—"
"Oh yeah, of course," you scoffed. "I'm way more than upset. You said you wanted to protect my family from harm. You said you would protect them. Isn't that your duty as our lawyer, to make sure that nothing happens?"
"Look, I didn't know that Callaghan was going to poison your father, nor did I know that your mother was bedridden with lies!"
"You should have!" you screamed now, running towards him, but Hiro held you back with a simple grasp on your hand. "You should have been there when my father has been poisoned and bed ridden—"
"Your mother never called!"
"And you should have been there when my mom was dying—"
"The only thing I got was her will! I knew she was going to—"
"JUST STOP INTERRUPTING ME!" you screamed, completely in pain, as everyone else just stared at you, you being most aware of Hiro's grip on your hand. "If you had just at least been there before Mr. Lacitier showed up, just to check on my mom and arrange everything with her before she left, I wouldn't have ended up in this situation!"
"But aren't you happy under Mr. Lacitier's guardianship?" the lawyer asked you.
"Yes I am, but that doesn't mean I forgot what happened to my parents!" you cried. "If you at least confirmed with my mom that she was going to pass on, I would have at least saved SOMEONE!" You felt tears bubbling inside you as you screamed it out. "But now I have no one. I don't even have a sibling, just another person who was a friend of my parents' and nothing more. He's not a part of my previous family. The entire (Y/L/N) family is dead because of Callaghan's doings and, now that I think of it, careless lawyers. I don't want the same thing to happen to me. I value my life just so much more thanks to what I found."
"Us, careless?!" Your lawyer was now completely shocked and speechless. "We would never hurt a single soul! You know this! That's our job—to make sure that you know what you did and what you are going to do!"
By this point you must have created such a scene that even some of the jury members exiting other courts surrounded you and your lawyer now, Hiro still holding on to your hand from behind. You knew that this was stupid—arguing with your family's lawyer—but you had no choice. You knew that your lawyer never fulfilled his duties.
"I thought you had complete responsibility over my family the moment you became our lawyer," you muttered now, tugging your hand away from Hiro's and stepping up to the lawyer. "But now it just seems that you are incapable of keeping my family safe from Callaghan's clutches."
"Now now, (Y/N)," the lawyer started again, but you shook your head.
"What is going on here?"
You turned around to see a judge of the court exit and stop in front of your scene, and you froze.
"Sir, um..." you stammered.
"I do not see any reason that you should be arguing with your lawyer outside," the judge continued calmly, and you were already so put up with this kind of ordeal that something snapped again and you were suddenly on fire.
"I don't see any reason why he should be my lawyer in the first place!" you cried again. "Haven't you heard? The demise of the (Y/L/N) family has been going on for generations now! He claims to be my lawyer and claimed and swore by the book to protect my family from harm! Well I guess he's just incapable of doing that! And because of that, my entire family is dead, and I'm the only orphan in this family—the only one left!"
The judge spoke your name with such a familiar longing that you stood paralyzed, dread settling in your heart.
"So you've heard of my case," you said.
The judge nodded. "We shall lead you to the courtroom immediately," he said to you. "The defendants of this case have already been lead out of custody and into the courtroom. Who are the plaintiffs of the party? It can't be all of you," he said, gesturing to the entire group present.
"Well..." you looked down. "You know, it's not just my case. It's also the case with the Hamada family. We were all there at the police station some time ago to file a complaint, and this trial then came to be."
"Ah. Then who—"
"And the Norimo family!" Melanie added. "The defendants also tried to get my sister!"
"So I presume...you, these boys, and these girls make up the plaintiff party?" the judge asked you.
You nodded, assuming that he hopefully pointed to the right people behind you.
The judge clapped his hands, and a member of the clergy appeared.
"See to it that these people all arrive in the courtroom as soon as possible," the judge told the clergyman. "In the meanwhile, I will talk to the (Y/L/N)'s lawyer...personally." He said this last bit with such a glare that you shivered.
The clergyman clapped his hands. "At once."
The judge nodded and beckoned to the lawyer, who just gulped and followed him, shaken out of his mind.
"This way," the clergyman motioned for you and the rest of the group to follow. As you walked, you couldn't help but notice that the hallways started to get gloomier and gloomier as you headed further down, and you shivered.
Just like all those times before, Hiro caught up to you and grabbed on to your hand.
"Hiro, don't even," you finally said, ashamed.
But Hiro didn't turn away. "I understand why you did this," he whispered. "I fully support your side."
This surprised you. "You do?"
"Hey, a lawyer is supposed to make sure that a family is making the right choices, and also to make sure that they're kept safe," Hiro reminded you. "At least, that's what I think."
"To be honest I wasn't sure," you said. "I mean, I know he meant no harm but to see my family in the ruins..." Tears escaped from your eyes again, and you wiped them furiously with the sleeve of your dark blue cardigan.
"I know," Hiro murmured, rubbing his thumb against yours, "Hey, it'll be okay."
"I just scared away my freaking lawyer," you said thickly. "How could everything be okay? I don't know what to do anymore without someone actually making sure that family and government are working together."
"We'll work something out," Hiro promised you, squeezing your hand reassuringly, though you couldn't stop crying.
Soon, the clergyman stopped in front of a room, and you stopped behind him, Wasabi almost bumping into you from behind.
"Why are we so far down?" Tadashi asked the clergyman.
"Most of the criminals that have committed dangerous crimes are put in high surveillance and are kept here so that their means of escape are close to none back in the police station," the clergyman answered. "In this case, the defendants of your case, Robert Callaghan and Trudy Fridgerator, are locked up in one of these cells. The courtrooms are also structured in the same way so that their means of escape are close to impossible."
Tadashi nodded in approval and flashed you and Hiro a smile, and you smiled back.
"You five," the clergyman said, pointing to you, Hiro, Tadashi, Gisele, and Melanie. "Wait here. The rest of you can enter the courtroom right now. We will join you shortly."
The rest of the group entered the room, and then the clergyman turned to you.
"Are there actual members of the jury present in the case?" you asked him.
The clergyman nodded. "No less than 12 jurors are present, Ms. (Y/L/N)."
You nodded in understanding. "And what about our pieces of evidence?"
That surprised the clergyman. "May I see your folders?"
You nodded and handed the folders, while Hiro produced the vials.
"Thank you. We will be taking these to the judge immediately," he said, taking everything and entering the room and setting it on the small table by the judge's desk before heading back to you.
"When you get in there, you all need to swear not to lie," the clergyman warned you. "Failure to do so would result in your being sentenced for perjury and a few weeks in jail. Do you all understand?"
You all nodded.
"Good. Is there anything else we need to go over?"
"Who would be representing the plaintiffs when interrogating us?" Melanie asked.
"I will arrange for your lawyer, if capable, to interrogate," the clergyman answered her. "If not, I will do the honours."
Just as he said that, in walked the judge with a frown on his face.
"Sir, the lawyer dealing with the (Y/L/N) family has been deemed unsuitable for the job," the judge told the clergyman. "He has been fired."
You turned to Hiro with wide eyes, then turned back to the judge. "It's my fault, sir. I'm sorry."
"Do not blame yourself, (Y/N)," the judge said, looking at you with a gaze so piercing that you almost looked away, but resisted the urge to. "After listening to him we have decided that he is incapable of fulfilling your duties. In this case, this clergyman would be happy to interrogate you."
You smiled. "Thank you, sir."
The clergyman nodded. "Any other questions?"
You all shook your heads.
"Good. Then let us enter."
The judge departed in one direction and the clergyman lead you all back to the door of the courtroom, opening it and gesturing you all to head inside.