Pairing: D1 [past]
Challenge: #03. anvil ; banter
Note: None. ;__; I hurt my poor sweet lovely messed up D1. And forgive any roughness, this is my first longfic in a while. Besides Jailbird. And one my only past-tense D1s. Grar.
Niou killed a man.
Yagyuu took the case.
It has been six years since Yagyuu last saw Niou. Six years for Yagyuu that have been like a dream, filled with law school and law suits, work from six to twelve and sleep from twelve to six. Six years where Yagyuu has forgotten Niou existed, forgotten anyone existed, for that matter, outside his law texts and firm associates. If Yagyuu expected to meet Niou again, a maximum security holding cell hadn't been in the plan. But Niou has always been full of suprises.
After he heard, Yagyuu figured that this was just another one of them.
Niou's case was destined for big screen TV, Yagyuu knew within minutes of reviewing the file, and if Yagyuu had been a criminal lawyer, he would have made millions. However, Yagyuu's parents didn't like criminal lawyers, and at twenty-five, Yagyuu was still very much the prodigal son. Per orders, he would be serving as the head of prosecution; Yagyuu would lead the case against Niou, condemning the former trickster and late murderer.
Yagyuu never liked many of his clients, and the latest red-eyed widow didn't merit exception - she seemed to think that personal tragedy eliminated need for social propriety. "My husband..." she sobbed into his new suit, only moments into the consultation. It was reflexive action to pat her lightly on the head. Even more reflexive to check his watch afterwards, and pretend he had an urgent meeting.
"Tell me, Matsuda-san, what is it you want?" Yagyuu asked quietly, watching the woman carefully.
"I want justice." she replied, with just the right amount of force and conviction.
"Ah," Yagyuu said, before leaving the room. "Revenge, then."
The jail where Niou was kept was maximum security, as the papers liked to emphasize, but also maximum bureaucracy, Yagyuu noted, after his eight-hour wait. "You have two hours," a guard told him, and Yagyuu shrugged off his coat before picking up the phone.
Niou grinned back from the other side of the glass. His smile hadn't changed. Niou hadn't changed, still the same bleached hair (though the roots were showing – Yagyuu supposed they didn't allow bleach in jail) and narrow, bony face. The same-
-rasping voice. The same long fingers, Yagyuu looked down, that had, since the last time he'd seen them, put three bullets through a man's head and no less than thirty-nine stab wounds in his chest. Niou was pale. Wraith-pale, as if it had been Niou's blood that stained the carpet, and not Matsuda's.
"How have you been, Niou?" Yagyuu asked.
"I got caught," Niou said sickly.
"Well, that happens," Yagyuu replied, "especially when you forget to wash the blood off."
Niou just grinned more. "Are you surprised?"
"Head of prosecution?"
Niou looked at Yagyuu. At the phone. At Yagyuu. Niou placed his fist against the glass, indicating for Yagyuu to do the same. Niou opened his mouth, and whispered something. Yagyuu nodded, and they went on with their conversation. Yagyuu left two hours later with all the notes he needed.
Give it your best, Yagyuu-kun.
Yagyuu worked harder than he had before, five to one, one to five. The time not engaged in Niou's case was spent wooing the widow. Wooing being the operative word.
"What sort of person was your husband, Matsuda-san?"
"Kind, loyal, compassionate, forgiving..." The standard answer.
"And you, Matsuda-san, what kind of person are you?"
Yagyuu harbored no illusions. Niou could not be saved. The evidence was too strong; Niou's alibi ("I was at home, drinking") was too weak. The criminal lawyer was smart, he would try every trick in the book, and perhaps a few outside it as well. But Yagyuu had the undeniable facts, the grieving widow, the testimonials and the vote. Niou could not be saved. Yagyuu knew this. But he would try anyway.
Two days before the trial, while his assistants finished the file, Yagyuu ate lunch with Niou's criminal lawyer.
"The best of luck," the man held out his hand.
"It's a pity we can't settle out of court," Yagyuu said courteously.
The man chuckled. "Felonies don't work like that." He looked at Yagyuu curiously. "Is it hard?"
"Pardon?" Yagyuu asked.
"Prosecuting your old classmate?" Yagyuu didn't reply. "It must be hard for you."
Yagyuu smiled briefly. "Not really." He excused himself soon afterwards, leaving Niou's lawyer to pay the bill.
There was a letter in the mail, waiting in his own handwriting. Yagyuu opened it slowly, rereading the small, scrawled script that he had developed from years of copious notes.
Dear Niou-kun, the ink grew lighter and darker, the word "Niou" almost bleeding through the paper.
I will be teaching some interns over the summer; besides that, my schedule is free. If you are not too busy, shall we meet up sometime?
Yagyuu used to write monthly letters to Niou, addressed to Niou's old apartment, since Yagyuu hadn't known where else to send them. He had never received a response in the six years that he’d written, but he continued on anyway.
Yukimura has been enquiring as to what you've been doing. Yanagi as well, though probably because his data is incomplete. What have you been doing, Niou-kun?
Slowly, he'd been getting letters back. Ranging from last month to one year three months ago, they came back as neatly as they had been sent out, "Return to Sender" stamped in each corner. None had been opened.
It might have puzzled Yagyuu at any other time, but he knew exactly what Niou had been up to the past year or so. The letter went in his pocket. Niou-kun might like some reading material, the next time Yagyuu visited.
He talked to Niou the morning before the trial.
"This is for you," Yagyuu handed the letter to Niou.
"Aren't we a persistent bastard," Niou said, and Yagyuu knew Niou had been reading his letters.
"It will be a tiring day."
"Perhaps," Niou slumped down, "but not if they get me a more comfortable chair."
"Try not to make it worse, Niou-kun."
Niou stared hard at Yagyuu. "Were you surprised?"
"Not really," Yagyuu answered again.
Yagyuu rubbed one temple, lightly. "Slightly confused."
"I had my reasons."
"I believe you."
They paused for a moment where Niou stared at Yagyuu, and Yagyuu stared at Niou.
"You could've visited me more, bastard." Niou said.
Yagyuu smiled on one side. "Your prison was impossible to get into."
"Tell them it's a conjugal visit."
"Gay marriage is illegal."
Another pause. "Are you sorry?"
Niou smirked. "No regrets."
Yagyuu nodded. "Ten minutes left, Niou-kun. My client is hyperventilating."
Niou laughed. "I'd talk some sense into her as- for you, but it's a bit too public to change."
"It's never stopped you before," Yagyuu pointed out.
"Hm," Niou said, making glasses with his fingers. "You're needed over there, Yagyuu-kun. Go."
Yagyuu bowed and left. Matsuda-san was close to hysterics. He would have to calm her down.
Niou looked down at his new letter, the exact same make and feel as all the others he'd read. Right under the "Return to Sender", Yagyuu had written a date and time in his small, cramped writing. Niou grinned.
Yagyuu Hiroshi. That’s your name, right?
The trial went as expected. Yagyuu presented a flawless offence, and Matsuda-san, who was by no means ugly, a wonderful backdrop. But court was adjourned on an unfinished trial when Yagyuu said he had more questions for the defender. He would ask them tomorrow.
Niou looked at Yagyuu, and grinned. It took more effort than it should have.
"Are you trying to prove I'm crazy?" Niou asked when they led him past Yagyuu's desk.
Yagyuu looked away.
"Don't do stupid things, Yagyuu-kun." Niou said. "You're not on my side."
Yagyuu let a small smile curve his lips.
That was where Niou was wrong.
Matsuda-san had been stronger-willed than he'd expected. That earned her a shred of respect. But then she caved, and though that was what Yagyuu wanted, he couldn't help but feel disgusted.
"All right," she whispered.
"It's what your husband would have wanted," Yagyuu said, writing her new decision with his right hand.
Chng sentence lngth to life imprisonment. Mxmum scrity. Humane treatment.
Fate had a strange habit of turning the tables on Yagyuu, taking things away when he was sure he had them. It had done it often when he was little – his favorite relatives, his father, his home and security. It had done it with golf, though Yagyuu had given that up more willinging, and then it had done it with Niou, a mere four months after they moved in together.
Yagyuu hadn't expected it, but it had been remotely comforting to know that his luck hadn't changed, if only because the atmosphere was heavy and even the invited press had stopped taking pictures, stopped scribbling notes.
"I plead guilty." Niou said.
It was comforting, Yagyuu told himself, walking up and questioning Niou. He had tried. "Are you saying, Niou Masaharu, that you confess to killing Matsuda Hiroki?"
"I did it." Niou affirmed.
And there it went, Yagyuu thought wryly, half a year's work, trying to save a former friend and lover. There were more questions on his list, but they were no use if Niou said yes to every single one of them. Niou's lawyer looked horrified. Another vaguely comforting thing, Yagyuu thought, as he walked away from the witness stand.
"Your Honor, the prosecution moves to close this trial..."
Niou was found guilty. Yagyuu had expected it. Standing up, he asked the judge for the right to speak. It was granted. In front of all the reporters, all the lawyers, the defense, the judge, Niou, Yagyuu took a deep breath.
He was on Niou's side.
"Your Honor, the prosecution..."
Niou had pleaded guilty. Yagyuu went home, and ripped up his new sofa. But later, among the fluff and various feathers lining his floor, Yagyuu had flipped back to that moment and Niou's eyes. Niou's eyes, which were the only thing that had changed: older, tired, dull. Eyes that wouldn't survive a life sentence in jail, four walls and processed food, with no human contact and no one but himself until the end of time.
Yagyuu was on Niou's side.
Yagyuu choked. "I'm sorry." He took a drink of water.
And Yagyuu would miss Niou. Miss writing letters to Niou. Miss Niou in a more finite way than he ever had before, when Niou left and Yagyuu didn't know what Niou was doing in the wide wide world, but knew at least that Niou was out there, somewhere, breathing, living, dying.
Yagyuu Hiroshi. That's your name, right?
Yagyuu looked at Niou while he drank, tilting the glass in an impromptu toast. Niou smiled back. I'm on your side, Yagyuu signaled. Niou understood. Niou always understood.
Yagyuu cleared his throat, and began again.
"Your Honor, the prosecution believes that it would be in the best interests of all-" Niou. "-for the defendant's sentence to be raised...recommended course of action would be death by lethal injec..."
an: boo. ~_~