|Judicial System Darkness
Author: Ghost Captain Barbossa PM
Sakura is murdered. One of her children has been kidnapped. Her husband is the prime suspect. Can the members of the jury uncover the true story? Or will the legal system tear this family apart? AU [HinaShika] flashes of SasuSaku CompleteRated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Tragedy - Hinata H. & Shikamaru N. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 27,986 - Reviews: 95 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 07-30-06 - Published: 03-22-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2857203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Judicial System Darkness
By: Bill the Cat
Chapter ten: This is My Place
A/N: Final chapter! It's nice and long so enjoy that! By the way, be prepared for some hankies.
The day was finally here. Everyone knew the moment had come when Sasuke could be sentenced to life in prison, or able to see his two children again. The pure injustice of the scenario kept everyone busy up until the very moment sorting evidence, revisiting witnesses and most importantly, psyching themselves out to face the jury. There was a lot of people to convince, and they had no idea what the prosecutor's had built against them. A tooth and claw situation. This was court.
Tenten sighed wearily as she focused on the papers in front of her. On it was several questions well made to answer many mysteries in the case. Each witness had their own set and would answer them in an effective way so as to convince a jury. Stage presence was also important in the courthouse. You needed to cry when most effective, get angry, and of course, plead with just the right facial expression. Truly a mockery the system has become.
Her witnesses were seated before her; Gaara, Anshishoku, and Hinata. She had been briefing them on the trial to come, hoping to help psyche them out. Trials were very nerve wracking, especially when they concerned someone close to them. Hinata and Gaara had been very attentive, really taking in Hinata's tips, while Anshishoku seemed unphased, generally asking the three cute questions. Tenten would smile at the child and thank God that she was so intelligent. She just hoped the court wouldn't see their cute witness as a mockery. Then again, the whole legal system was.
The trial was to be held in a few days time, giving the investigators time to prepare for it. Lee and Neji packed all the information into Tenten's brain and gave her many charts and told her their versions on what happened that night. They armed her with as much knowledge as they had gained, wishing her luck and bringing her Starbuck's every so often. The bunned detective was very grateful for that.
During the three day period to trial, Hinata and Shikamaru had been seeing each other, comforting themselves as much as possible. Something had really happened between them, something they were sure was wrong, but unexplainable. They knew that if someone ever found out, they would be in serious trouble. But for some reason they didn't care.
The day before the trial was rainy and muggy. The perfect setting for the somber meeting between two illegal lovers. Shikamaru rapped steadily on Hinata's door and waited for the short girl to answer it. A few seconds later, her soft voice proclaimed that she acknowledged their presence, and would be with them shortly. She opened the door, and a half smile parted her lips.
"Hello Shikamaru-kun," She greeted simply, opening the door wider to allow the man inside. He nodded his greeting and entered the small house. He took his usual seat on the couch and rested his head against a cushion, closing his eyes.
"You seem stressed," Hinata observed, her weight pressing down the cushion to the left of Shikamaru. He didn't open his eyes as he sighed.
"Yeah, this trial is really eating at me. What with that dog scum now ruining Sasuke's life. It's bad enough he had enough guts to ruin yours, now he wants to destroy Sasuke's too," He replied wearily. Hinata sighed softly and leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. She closed her eyes and hugged his arm lightly.
"It's okay. I know you guys can prove him innocent. There's no way the court would convict a family man,"
Oh how wrong you are Hinata.
Shikamaru opened his eyes a little, brows drawn tightly together. He turned his head slightly, resting it on top of Hinata's.
"I hope you're right,"
The court day was finally here. The trial for Sasuke's freedom was finally going to be settled on the battlegrounds of the Supreme Court. All the detectives were ready. The witnesses were ready. And well, only time would tell what the court would dish out for them.
The witnesses were seated behind Tenten, the bunned detective sitting straight up, eyes forward, Sasuke beside her. She could almost hear Hinata shaking in anxiety and Gaara's soft whispers of comfort and even Anshishoku's tiny whimpers of the big scary old man with the mallet. Kabuto was at her right, Kiba next to him. Itachi was the only witness behind him, causing Tenten to severely wonder what Kabuto was up to.
"All rise for the honorable judge Tsunade," The bailiff announced as a tall blonde woman dressed in black ascended the stairs. Everyone rose, except Anshishoku who was ogling her pretty yellow hair. When she sat down, she smiled.
"Everyone be seated. Court is now in session," She said smoothly, banging her gavel once. Everyone took a seat, waiting the trial. Tenten rose as Tsunade looked in her direction.
"Defendant, you may begin your questioning," The judge asserted. Tenten nodded and took a few steps forward.
"Uchiha Sasuke came home one morning after an argument with his wife only to find her dead and his daughter missing. The strain alone of his missing daughter drove him over the edge, yet the police still arrested him on suspicion of being a killer. I am here to prove them wrong," She began. She turned to Hinata. "I would like to call my first witness, Hyuuga Hinata," She asked. Tsunade nodded. Hinata nervously stood up and approached the stand. She seated herself comfortably in the chair and watched Tenten follow her.
"Hinata, what do you know of the Uchiha family?" Tenten began steadily. Her brown eyes sent a comforting message to the scared silver-eyed woman, calming her down.
"They are a wonderful family, taking me into theirs. They were very much in love, always holding hands and calling each other by cute pet names. Even their children would tell me how much in love the two were," She explained, eyes forward. She refused to look at Kiba. She knew the sight of him might send her into a stifled stutter overload. Tenten nodded.
"And what exactly did you notice on the night of Sakura-san's murder?"
"Sasuke-kun ran out of their house in a huff and entered his car. Lights were still on and didn't turn off for another ten minutes. Sasuke didn't return that night,"
Tenten nodded, listening to the quiet whispers of the jury.
"And what happened the next morning?"
"Sasuke returned home at what time I don't know. I heard him scream and ran outside to see what had happened. I'm sure that's when he found Sakura-chan," She finished, closing her eyes remembering the horrible sight of Sasuke screaming in denial, covered in his wife's blood. Tenten nodded.
"No further questioning,"
Tsunade nodded. "Would the prosecutor like to cross examine?"
"I would your honor," Kabuto nodded. She waved her hand towards Hinata. Tenten had prepared her for just this occasion, but that didn't mean that the sight of the man's dark grinning eyes wouldn't scare the wits out of her.
"Hinata-san, where were you the night of the murder?" He asked cockily, raising an eyebrow from Tsunade. Hinata opened her dry mouth, feeling the stuttering returning.
"A-at home," She said softly. He closed his eyes.
"Oh? And were you perhaps, preoccupied?" He smirked knowingly. Tenten stood up swiftly, startling the quiet room.
"Objection!" She shouted. Tsunade turned to her.
"On what grounds?"
"He's terrifying my witness!"
"Over ruled. Kabuto, play nice," Tsunade proclaimed, turning a cold glance at the silver haired man. He bowed.
"I apologize your honor. Hinata-san, please answer truthfully," He persisted. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to remember the horrible events of that night. The guilt, the shame, the pain… When she opened her eyes, she spotted Shikamaru behind the witness seats, looking at her. His deep frowned concern warmed her heart, her eyes opening wider. His brows drew together in sympathy, before he nodded, eyes hardening. She smiled confidently and turned back to the cold stare of Kabuto.
"Yes I was. But, I know what I saw,"
"That depends Hinata on how well your judgment could have been during your 'preoccupation'—"
"Sustained. Tenten, what has gotten into you?" Tsunade snapped, glaring at the detective. Tenten squeezed her fists so tightly that her knuckles turned white.
"I'm sorry…" Was all she said before sitting back down. Anshishoku whimpered from behind her. Tenten hated how cruel Kabuto was bringing this all back up. Finally simpering back down, she sighed. Kabuto continued.
"Oh yes. My current state really didn't grant me much time, but I have excellent eye sight," She replied firmly, staring the man down. Kabuto frowned. 'I didn't know she would be so firm. This isn't getting me anywhere.' He thought in concern.
"But there still is room for doubt?"
"I suppose, but I choose not to doubt myself. I believe what I saw is the truth,"
At that statement, Kabuto heard the jury whisper again and bared his teeth. Hinata was tougher than he expected. He sighed and closed his eyes in defeat.
"No further questioning," He proclaimed, returning to his seat. Tsunade nodded at Hinata.
"You may return to your seat. Tenten, call your next witness," She said. Tenten nodded and turned to Gaara. The panda eyed man was already standing, holding open the small door for Hinata to pass through. As she did, he whispered something to her and took his place at the stand. When Hinata sat down, she heard Shikamaru sigh from behind her.
"You did great love. I'm proud of you," He whispered affectionately. She smiled genuinely, eyes creasing in happiness.
"Thank you…" She whispered back, then turned her attention to the red haired insomniac and ass-kicking defendant.
"Gaara-san, what is your connection to this case?" Tenten started a bit more confidently. She had seen the way Hinata stared Kabuto down and it gave her strength. They were gonna win. She just knew it. Gaara blinked at her.
"I am the night police patrol. I saw everything," He answered smoothly, no emotion lining his voice. She nodded, folding her arms behind her back.
"So, what happened? Can you tell me?" She asked. He nodded, closing his eyes briefly.
"Certainly. They had been arguing for about 30 minutes before Sasuke ran from the house. He wiped something off his arm, which was later discovered to be a scratch she had given him. The fight wasn't too big so I didn't pursue him. I left and came back about 37 minutes after and the lights were off, everything relatively quiet. I deemed it safe, so I left," He answered, crossing his own arms. She nodded at him and waited a few seconds for it all to sink into the jury's mind before asking her next question.
"Were you the first one on the scene in the morning?"
"Yes I was. I was the one who called for the police. The scene was hysterical. Sasuke was sobbing. I never knew Uchihas could cry," He finished. Some of the jury's eyes widened. Tenten nodded again.
"No further questioning," She turned on her heel and went back to sit down.
"Your honor, we would like to cross examinate," Kabuto asked. Tsunade nodded, waving her hand. Kabuto stood up and approached the stand. Gaara's eyes immediately narrowed at the sight of the man. He didn't like it one bit.
"Gaara-san, when would you say the fight happened?" He asked slowly. Gaara's eyes remained cold.
"Around 11:15," He answered curtly. Kabuto frowned, realizing he wouldn't get much out of the man. He knew he had to try though.
"And you were not there to see him return?"
"I was. He returned the next morning,"
"How did you know that he didn't return while you were on patrol?"
Gaara's eyes darkened.
"… I suppose I don't. Like I said, he returned the next morning,"
Kabuto smirked. "No further questioning."
Tenten bit her lip as Gaara vacated his seat. His eyes were full of anger, scaring her greatly. Kabuto was getting things out of her witnesses that weren't good. They were only reasonable doubts, but doubts nonetheless. Tenten followed Gaara to his seat where she took little Anshishoku's hand and led the small girl onto the floor. Tsunade raised a skeptical brow.
"Is this your final witness? You know you can't bring children here," She asked skeptically. Tenten picked the girl up and looked firmly at the judge.
"Your honor, she saw everything. And she is very intelligent," She pleaded, her eyes begging. Tsunade frowned but nodded. Tenten whispered thanks and placed the small girl gently onto the seat. Her large eyes peered frightenedly over the top, her tiny hands on the smooth wood. Tenten smiled at the girl.
"Annie-chan, please tell us what happened to your mommy," She asked sweetly. Anshishoku gazed wide-eyed at the bunned detective, but nodded.
"Mommy and daddy were fighting 'bout Shien-chan and daddy left cos he was mad. Mommy was mad too, an' when she made us go night night she wasn't very nice," The little girl started.
"Objection. Your honor, how can we let a three year old on the stand?" Kabuto asked, outraged. Tsunade shrugged.
"She seems intelligent enough to me. Over ruled."
Tenten cheered internally.
"And what else happened?"
"Well, the window in our room was broken and a scary shaggy man came into our room an' grabbed me," She added, placing her fists over her mouth.
"Which man?" Tenten asked calmly. Anshishoku pointed a tiny finger at Kiba. The crowd began whispering.
"When he grabbed me, he took me into the big room where the TV is an' I saw mommy there. She was yelling at uncle Itachi. I started crying an' she turned around and got all scared when she saw that shaggy dog man holding me. He hit mommy with a bat in her head. She did a weird spin and grabbed onto Uncle Itachi's shirt. I heard a big bang and then mommy fell onto the ground. I started crying really really bad an' then they took me away," She finished, her large eyes pooling. Hinata frowned deeply, staring at the frightened raven-haired girl. It was horrible that she had to see her own mother die. Tenten sighed.
"No further q-questioning," She limply raised the girl off the stand but was halted as Kabuto stopped her.
"I wish to cross examinate," He proclaimed, no cocky grins anywhere. She almost sobbed and put the girl back down. Anshishoku stared wide-eyed as Kabuto approached her.
"Anshishoku, does your daddy have a gun?" He asked. Tenten froze, ice coursing through her veins. 'We're doomed! Oh Annie…' Anshishoku's eyes stayed wide, but she blinked.
"Yes… he told mommy that he was gonna use it for pertection…" She answered shakily, obviously scared of Kabuto. The man nodded.
"And does your daddy own a bat?"
"Nu uh, daddy likes football,"
"Don't lie Annie. Lying is bad,"
"I'm not lying! I'm a good girl!"
"Then tell us, does your daddy like baseball?" Kabuto asked loudly, staring down the little girl. She let out a frightened squeak, her eyes filling with tears. Suddenly, she flicked her jade eyes in Hinata's direction and frowned. Her tiny brows creased in determination, her whimpers stopped.
"Yes, daddy likes baseball. But daddy likes the Jets! He hates the big old Yankees!"
Kabuto ground his teeth in annoyance. He figured she'd be the easiest one to crack, but for some reason everyone seemed to draw strength from Hinata. The girl was a nuisance.
"Was your daddy ever in any bad things?"
"Only cos Uncle Itachi made him!" The little girl shouted, eyes glaring. Kabuto relaxed a bit and sighed.
"No further questioning,"
Tenten marched up to the stand and took Anshishoku from it. When she returned to her seat, she addressed the judge.
"Your honor, may we have a recess?" She asked, readjusting her precious weight. The little girl turned her head to the judge, thumb in her mouth. Tsunade nodded.
"Court is now in recess. We will return in two hours time," She banged the gavel again. Everyone stood up in the audience and began filing out. Hinata turned around to Shikamaru and sighed.
"This is so nerve wracking, but it really looks like we're going to win," She said conversationally, smiling. Shikamaru nodded, his dark eyes calm and warm showing her just how proud he was. He was showing her every emotion he had…
"Okay guys, let's take Anshishoku to the park for a bit. I did promise," Tenten said laughing. They all knew that if there was anyone with pressure it was Tenten, so they all nodded. Gaara surprisingly stood up as well.
"May I join you?" He asked uncharacteristically soft. Tenten's doe eyes widened.
"Yes you can Gaara-san, this way everyone," She said leading everyone out of the room. Once outside the courtroom, Hinata released a huge sigh and growled.
"That bastard Kabuto! Trying to scare poor Anshishoku!" She yelled suddenly, anger apparent in her clenched fists. Shikamaru wanted to comfort her, but knew that any sign of anything more than friendship would get his ass caught. Not that he was afraid of Tenten or Gaara squealing on him. Gaara was actually the one to come over and pat Hinata's back.
"It's okay. We're going to win," He said firmly. Hinata turned angry silver eyes at the panda eyed man and nodded. Her frown curved into a lovely smile and she suddenly hugged the red head.
"Aww, thanks Gaara! You really cheered me up!" She stated happily. Gaara didn't reply, but he did awkwardly return the hug. Tenten was putting Anshishoku in her car seat while the three came to her car.
"Alright everyone, let's go," She ushered, getting into the driver's seat. Gaara took shotgun while Shikamaru and Hinata hung out with Anshishoku in the back. They drove off in the direction of the nearest park.
They finally reached a rather large park complete with jungle gym, slides, swings, and even a sand box. Hinata breathed in awe and turned to the little girl squealing excitedly next to her.
"Oh Annie, you're gonna have so much fun!" Hinata exclaimed, eyes bright and happy. The little girl nodded enthusiastically. Shikamaru started unbuckling her car seat as Tenten and Gaara got out of the car, the child too excited to sit still. When he was finished, he took her out of the seat, cradling her gently and got out of the car. Hinata followed suit, all of them starting for the park.
Shikamaru and Hinata took Anshishoku first to the swings and set her gentle on the plastic seat. Shikamaru took the two buckles right next to her and began pulling back. Anshishoku kicked her little feet excitedly, jade eyes wide in happiness.
"Ready Annie? Here we go!" He asked, letting child go. She emitted a shriek of giggles as the swing pulled her forward, then back where Shikamaru gave her a gentle push. Hinata jumped onto the seat next to her and began kicking off. Before she could get very far, Shikamaru grabbed her buckles too and pulled back. She could feel him lean in just a bit so no one could hear what he was saying.
"Have fun love," He said softly. She turned quickly and kissed him on the cheek. He blushed but pulled back.
"Okay Hinata-chan, here you go!" He exclaimed, releasing the woman. She laughed happily and began swinging on her own while Shikamaru returned to Anshishoku. All three of them laughed excitedly, happier than they had been in a long time. Tenten gazed happily at them from her and Gaara's position on the bench. She knew the two liked each other. She just had a feeling. It was kind of like how her and Neji noticed each other; her a startled person with a lot to hide, and him, a man who'd lost his vision in life. But that's another story for another time.
"They seem happy," Gaara observed. Tenten nodded.
"I'm glad. Maybe they can actually be together after this is all over," She wondered quietly, hoping for the entire world that these two could be happy together, even though she was a witness and he was a detective. Forbidden love. But love nonetheless. Hinata suddenly hopped off the swing.
"I have to use the restroom. Do you need to Annie-chan?" She asked cheerfully. Anshishoku nodded her tiny head rapidly, her short pigtails dancing oddly with her head and the swing movements. Shikamaru gently stopped the swing from moving and let Hinata grab the tiny girl. They waved and walked off to the restrooms.
Shikamaru watched them go almost sadly and sat on Hinata's previous swing. He kicked ever so gently, the swing making loud squeaking noises, but he only went so high. Tenten frowned at his look of sadness. His eyes were so lonely… She could read his emotions now. He wasn't hiding them anymore. She could see clearly now what was upsetting her colleague. She was grateful to Hinata for making Shikamaru a person again.
Hinata waited patiently for Anshishoku to be done, the little girl humming to herself, feet dangling cutely. Hinata glanced at her reflection and fixed her a hair a bit as she heard the toilet flush. Anshishoku hopped off and opened the door. Hinata lifted the child up and helped her wash her hands. When she was done, the two walked out of the door hand in hand. As soon as they got out of the bathroom however, Anshishoku was ripped from Hinata's grasp. Before the wide-eyed woman could turn to see where the child went, she was grabbed front behind as well, a hand clamping over her mouth. Her captor ran a bit to get the street and shoved her into a waiting vehicle. She saw Anshishoku enter to out of the corner of her eye. The child had started crying, screaming intently at her captor.
The door was slammed closed, plunging the two into darkness. Hinata gathered the girl in her arms and held her close as she wailed. She had no idea what was happening, but wouldn't let anything happen to Anshishoku. She gave a solemn vow to Sasuke to protect his daughter, and to Shikamaru to return.
The car they were in traveled for about ten minutes, before stopping. Hinata backed into the corner as she realized they were going to come inside. She was right. The door was swung open loudly, blinding the two with the bright light. Hinata gasped in horror at the sight of the canined man. Kiba clicked his tongue, glancing at Hinata in a rather crude manner.
"Well well, what do we have here? Why aren't you being protected by your big old detective lover?" He asked mockingly. Hinata saw that they were parked by a warehouse in the alley. He intended to do something right here and now. She glared.
"What are you talking about?" She asked angrily. Anshishoku was trembling badly, her eyes wide and flowing freely with tears. He scoffed.
"Don't play dumb. I know you two are an item. Do you think he would still want you after I'm done with you?" He asked coyly. Hinata's eyes widened marginally and she held Anshishoku closer to her. Kiba began to enter the car.
"Just let the girl down and I'll have my fun. Then you can go back," He purred, approaching the girl. Hinata was frozen stiff with fright. She didn't know what to do. She could never fight off the man before why would that change? She held Anshishoku tightly and prayed.
"Guys, Hinata's missing!" Tenten called to the two on the swings. She had just come from the bathroom and didn't see Hinata or Anshishoku anywhere. Gaara and Shikamaru glanced up in alarm. Both of their faces held genuine shock, then absolute murder.
"It's Kiba! I'm sure the one they still have in custody is his rat of a dog! I'll kill him!" Shikamaru declared, jumping off the swing. Gaara followed suit, though with more dignity, but not much. He crossed his arms.
"I know this place inside out. I know where they would go for seclusion," He stated, turning to the wide-eyed bunned detective beside him. She nodded, and then they all raced for her car.
Hinata pushed Anshishoku behind her back and then held her arms out in self-defense. Kiba was within grabbing distance, but didn't choose to do so yet. He was chuckling to himself as he watched her antics. Anshishoku was whimpering softly from behind the glaring woman.
"I wonder, what has suddenly made you so tough?" He asked cockily. The Hinata he knew was always afraid of everything and never fought back, yet here she was as defiant as that bunned detective herself. Something happened to the small woman, and he knew it was going to be a hard task to get her again. He would have to resort to more cruel antics.
"Hinata, you be a good girl and comply or I will be forced to kill the girl," He stated firmly, eyes hardening to prove his point. Hinata's eyes flashed in anger as she backed up, further shielding the child. She wouldn't let him hurt her.
"You know Kiba, you really don't think with your head do you?" She asked simply as she saw Tenten's black car pull up across the street. Shikamaru jumped out and raced towards the van. Kiba cocked an eyebrow.
"Oh, yes I do. How do you think I got you to comply with me all these times before?" He asked, simpering.
"Because you lie and cheat and are an evil person," She replied. Kiba smirked and reached out to her but was suddenly pulled back as Shikamaru tackled the man to the ground. Gaara soon peered into the van calmly, yet he sighed in relief when he saw they two of them unharmed.
"Good… I was able to be a friend to you again Hinata," He said softly, turning to watch Shikamaru almost beat the crap out of Kiba. Tenten had to pull Shikamaru off of Kiba however because Gaara made no move to help the dog man. Eventually, Shikamaru stood up, waved Tenten off him and wiped the blood of his face from where Kiba had scratched him. He peered into the van as well, seeing that Hinata had leaned forward a bit, her eyes filling with tears. Here her man stood like a war god. He had come to her rescue…
She dove at him, hugging him tightly with her small arms, crying. He hugged her back just as tightly, a few tears escaping from him as well. The two held each other while Gaara and Anshishoku watched happily. Tenten was shouting at Kiba about a second trial happening very shortly for him, before calling the local police to take the dog man back to court. Gaara reached passed the simpering couple and gently tugged the small girl into his arms. She wiped her eyes on his shoulder, and hugged him with her tiny arms. Gaara smiled just the tiniest bit.
Court was back in session, everyone prepared and ready to take on the prosecutor's side. Hinata especially wanted to put this through. Kiba had not only tried to attack her again, but also Sasuke's precious daughter! She wouldn't stand for this. She would make sure her testimony would put the man behind bars. The trial would be over soon; Kabuto only had one witness. Kabuto himself rose and called Itachi up to the stand. The ruby-eyed man gazed calmly at the spectators.
"Itachi-san, what is your version of this tragedy?" Kabuto asked. The raven-haired man glanced in his direction.
"My foolish brother is way out of hand. He did drugs when he was younger, even buying a gun. He had bought a Yankees bat when we were younger and liked them. He had gone to rehab yes, but who knows what would happen in the later years," He began, the jury dead quiet. Kabuto willed him on with his presence, blinking slowly at him.
"Sasuke-kun never liked to deal with problems where he was wrong… so I'm sure Sakura-san pissed him off," He said slowly, trying to catch the jury's attention. Hinata frowned and squeezed Anshishoku's tiny hand as she whimpered. For some reason, she was afraid that they were going to believe him over a three-year-old girl, no matter how intelligent. Kabuto nodded.
"No further questioning," Kabuto returned to his seat. Tsunade turned to Tenten and raised an eyebrow. The bunned detective shook her head no.
"The jury is dismissed to deliberate. We will resume court when they are finished," She banged the gavel. The jury filed into the deliberating room, bating on Tenten's nerves as they glanced at Sasuke's wide eyed daughter. She really had a bad feeling. Itachi had literally unearthed Sasuke's grave of evil and was manipulating its dead corpse to scare the jury. She was sure if anything, he wouldn't have custody over his children any longer. Her and her witnesses departed into the large hall of the courtroom to wait.
The jury was done. They had deliberated for merely three hours and already had a verdict. Everyone was back, nervously gazing as the line of normal people filed back into their places. Tenten could only hope and pray. These average people held Sasuke's life in their hands.
"Has the jury reached a verdict?" Tsunade asked, turning to them. One man stood up, paper in hand.
"We have your honor. We find the defendant…"
The entire room held their breath.
Anshishoku burst into tears, burying her face into Hinata's shirt. Hinata could merely stare in mute shock. She couldn't understand why they would do that even though they had so much good evidence! Even Tsunade seemed a bit surprised, but ordered the bailiff to take Sasuke away. The raven-haired man turned to Hinata, the hardness of his features frightening her. He seemed to have reached a conclusion about something.
"Take care of my daughter and my son," Sasuke whispered as the bailiff cuffed him and lead him out of the room. Hinata hugged Anshishoku as tightly as possible hearing Shikamaru and Gaara's foul words sprouting in angry whispers. Kabuto had one witness. But, the one witness knew everything about Sasuke. They couldn't do anything.
A few days later, Hinata and Shikamaru were reading the newspaper in their new conjoined house. Anshishoku and Shien had gone to visit them for the afternoon while Mrs. Haruno went shopping. Hinata twirled the diamond ring around her slim ring finger as she took a sip of coffee. Shikamaru appeared from the doorway with Shien in hand.
"Hey hun, anything interesting in the paper?" He asked, giving Shien his bottle. He took a seat next to his fiancé and smiled at her. She blushed and moved Anshishoku up on her lap as the child munched on her cookie.
"Not really… wait, what's this?" She asked, flipping skillfully with one hand to page three. In big bold letters were the words: Suicide in Konoha prison. Uchiha Sasuke Takes His Own Life. Hinata dropped the paper. Shikamaru stared in shock at the words, glancing at the children in alarm. Hinata turned Anshishoku's head around so she couldn't see their looks of horror. Shikamaru turned to Hinata and nodded. They picked the kids up and headed out to the car.
They knocked on Tenten's door swiftly and quietly so as not to wake Shien who had fallen asleep in the car ride. Tenten answered seconds later, a grave look on her face.
"I was wondering when the two of you would show up. Sasuke left something for you," She stated emotionlessly. Shikamaru and Hinata frowned at each other before entering her small office. They sat down awkwardly as Tenten passed them a manilla envelope. Shikamaru was the one to open it. It was Sasuke's will.Dear Shikamaru and Hinata
I am ashamed to say that for some reason I have killed myself. I cannot stand to let my children visit me in jail. They are too young. They convicted me guilty because of Itachi's testimony. People will forever believe him over me. He wanted my wife for his own, so he made sure that if he couldn't have her, no one could. Please take care of my children. I leave them in your wonderful hands. I leave my house and everything to charity all except for the specifically marked boxes in my bedroom. Those are for Haruno-san. Please show my children our photo albums often and take care of them like they were your own. Thank you so much for being a friend Hinata. I cannot thank you enough for trying to keep my family together. I am sad to say that people are gullible, and will believe anything. Stay strong. And Shikamaru-san, take care of Hinata. She is a very special person. I hope you two are happy together.
With regrets and love
Hinata was crying heavily, hugging Anshishoku with all her might. The small girl knew something was wrong, but didn't cry. She wanted to be strong for Hinata. Shikamaru put the note down and hugged his fiancé firmly, cradling Shien in his arms. Tenten sighed.
"Will you do it? Take custody of the children?" She asked, already knowing the answer. Anshishoku looked up expectantly.
"Of course Tenten-chan. I love these children like my own," She answered, hugging them tighter. Tenten nodded and began the proper paperwork.
Later that week, a funeral was held for Sakura. All of her and Sasuke's family attended, including all the detectives. The funeral was beautiful. Everything was drenched in cherry blossoms, decorating the tomb and her casket. It was open at the front of the tomb where people were walking by giving their good byes. They had added make up to her face making her more surreal. It was almost as if she would get up any second to take on the day. Sasuke had woven a wreath of cherry blossoms, which had been placed in one of the marked boxes in his room. Anshishoku was the one to put them on her mommy's head.
"I love you mommy. Please be happy with daddy in heaven," The tiny girl pleaded, jumping on her tiptoes to kiss her mommy's cold cheek. Hinata followed the girl and leaned Shien over the casket where he reached a tiny hand out to touch his mommy. He started crying. Shikamaru appeared behind Hinata, reaching out for the boy. She nodded behind her black veil and gave the small boy to her husband to be. She then turned to Sakura.
"Sakura-chan, you are my best friend. Please rest in piece," She prayed, bowing. She walked out of the line and sat back down with her new family.
The deaths were a tragedy, yet a mere statistic in the world. Sasuke was deemed unfit to be a parent or a lover and sentenced to a life that held no hope. The only thing he could do was give his children a second chance with the only people he could truly trust. Kiba was indeed sentenced for attempted assault and kidnapping, but broke out of prison later. He has yet to be found.
The court system let Sasuke be put away for something he didn't do. It deemed a cold hand of ancient history on such a happy family and wrenched it to pieces. Hinata and Shikamaru gained love, but their children lost so much. The world of court is a harsh one. The world of court is unmerciful, unfeeling. The court is final.
A/N: I know, you are all gonna kill me. No, I wont write a sequel or anything. I think the ending is exactly how I wanted it to be. Ironic. Bathe in the simplistic yet horribly painful irony. And know that things like this happen all the time. Please send in the love. I would like to hear from you! No flames please. I realize the pairing is odd, but I still think it would work. Death threats are fine, just please don't insult the story. Thanks! R/R!