A/N: Here it is! The last chapter! Woohoo! I suppose it's too much to ask for a review for this chapter since this fic still doesn't have any reviews and I don't have a clue what people are thinking about it, but oh well. Enjoy!
Yusuke and Kuwabara had started playing Go Fish. Hiei was resting with his head on the table in front of him and appeared to be asleep. Kurama was sitting and reading a large law book, seeking an avenue for appeal. Part of him was wondering if he was being pessimistic by preemptively worrying about the appeals process, but he could not shake the overwhelming sense that he'd failed to prove his best friend's innocence.
Judge Saibannin had vanished back to his chambers and Ms. Furui was sitting at her small desk with a laptop. Officer Yakuin was still standing calmly next to the defense table, making sure Hiei didn't decide to make a break for it. McCoy and Abby had left and Kurama had overheard them talking about getting some lunch while they waited for the verdict. Hearing the door to the courtroom open, Kurama turned and saw their quiet secretary, Nesemono, step in tentatively, glancing around with wide uncertain eyes. She spotted him and scampered over.
"Sir! I heard that the jury had gone back to deliberate! How do you think things went?"
"Not well at all," Kurama said grimly. "What happened to Sagishi and Petenshi?"
"They were here earlier," Nesemono replied. "They said they were in the back watching the proceedings. They stopped by the office to tell me that the jury was out."
"Why didn't they tell me they were here?" Kurama growled. "Not that I think they would have done much good, but they were assigned to the case to help create a legal strategy, not to get drunk and hide out in the back of the courtroom while being spectacularly unhelpful." Nesemono shrugged helplessly.
"I can go see if they came back?" she said finally. Kurama nodded tiredly and waved her away. Let her think she was helping, he decided. He actually hoped she didn't find those utterly useless legal aides.
The jury walked in a very short time later. Judge Saibannin nodded to Hiei. "Will the defendant please rise?" he asked. Hiei stood, as did Kurama, Yusuke, and Kuwabara. They all faced the jury and waited for the sentence.
"We the jury… find the defendant… Hiei Jaganshi… guilty… of murder in the first degree."
Kurama was stunned and horrified. He had figured that at least they would have reduced the charges to murder in the second or third degree… he thought he had conclusively established that it wasn't premeditated and was more likely a crime of passion than anything else. Nothing bad enough for…
"And the sentence?" the judge asked.
"We the jury… believe that the defendant… Hiei Jaganshi… should be sentenced… to death," the foreman said.
Hiei looked down at the floor. Kurama was frozen with total shock. Even Yusuke and Kuwabara had taken a break from their normal carefree attitudes to be stunned by the verdict."
"This can't be right… this isn't happening…" Kurama whispered. "This just isn't possible."
Judge Saibannin nodded solemnly, then turned to Hiei. "You have heard the verdict. Now all that remains is to choose whether to uphold the jury's recommendation or to modify your sentence somewhat." There was a short but significant pause. "I might be willing to commute your sentence from death to life with possibility of parole…" Here the crowd in the courtroom uttered soft gasps of surprise and possibly dismay. "I will do this if, and only if, you make a full confession now."
"A confession," Hiei repeated slowly.
"Yes, a simple confession. You will confess to your relationship with Ryouko and then what drove you to kill her."
Hiei shook his head. "There's nothing to confess to. There was no relationship and I never harmed a hair on her head, much less kill her."
"Mr. Jaganshi, this is your best chance to escape the death penalty," Judge Saibannin said patiently. Kurama leaned over to whisper in Hiei's ear.
"You should do it. Make something up. We have no way to appeal this, so just save yourself. It's not a big deal."
"It's a big deal to me. I would be lying if I confessed to these things and I'm not going to do it. I don't care if I die, it would be an insult to Ryouko's memory to give in to these lies," Hiei said, standing as straight as he could and staring coldly at the judge.
"This is your last chance Jaganshi. If you do not confess, you will be executed by the end of the month."
"I don't care. I have nothing to confess." Nothing that this court cared about anyways…
There was a stunned silence, then Ms. Furui threw her stenography machine to the floor and jumped up on her little table.
"I don't believe this! I literally do not believe this! He won't confess even to save his own life! I can't believe she was right! I'm going to strangle her!"
And just like that, the pieces started falling into place in Kurama's brain. "Oh you have got to be kidding me…" he groaned. Then the door to the courtroom flew open. As Kurama turned, he noticed that Officer Yakuin was not standing next to the table as usual. And then he saw Ryouko herself come striding into the courtroom, still holding the large fake moustache she had been wearing.
Hiei stared at Ryouko as though he were seeing a ghost. Then he turned back to the front of the courtroom. Risu was now sitting on the judge's bench and Himizu was standing on Furui's table. As Hiei fumed at them, the entire courtroom faded around them and they were standing in a field. Animedom could be seen in the distance. There was silence for several moments, then an aura of fire appeared around Hiei as he focused all his attention on Himizu.
"You!" he exclaimed furiously. "I know you're responsible for this!" He conjured up fireballs in each hand, prepared to totally destroy the girl, but Ryouko ran forward and threw her arms around him.
"I'm sorry about that Hiei, but it was part of an argument that we had…"
"Isn't everything?" he demanded, glaring at the three girls. The fireballs disappeared though and his hand briefly held her shoulder before she let go of him and stepped back to explain.
"Basically we got into another argument about this stupid relationship thing we supposedly have…" Here Ryouko paused to glare at Himizu, who stuck out her tongue. "And this time it got to the point where Himizu said that if you were on the brink of death then you might confess your love for me, and Risu agreed with her… And I said that you wouldn't because we don't have a relationship and you wouldn't confess especially if you were about to die… And then Himizu said that you would if you thought I was dead and you had nothing to lose by admitting it. And Risu agreed with her again, so we argued about it and we realized that the only way that this argument could be settled was to set up a way to test this theory… and this seemed like the most efficient way." She grinned sheepishly. Himizu and Risu were wearing identical evil grins. Yusuke and Kuwabara stared stupidly at the three girls. Kurama put his head into his head, muttering furiously to himself. Hiei sighed and rolled his eyes.
"You stupid girls… that's really the only reason you did this?" he asked finally.
"Yep! That is absolutely the only reason. And the experiment was a complete failure and I'm terribly disappointed in you, Hiei. Clearly you are the worst lover in the entire world," Himizu declared. "You can't even confess your love when it would save your own freaking life!"
"There's nothing to confess, you moron! I told you that before this thing even started!" Ryouko screamed at her.
"I still think he would have confessed if we had held a gun to his head…" Risu muttered.
Kurama snorted. "Risu, I didn't realize you were suicidal… you know Hiei would kill you if you threatened him like that."
"Well that was actually going to be a last resort. We were going to burn him at the stake, but then we realized that he's a fire demon and would survive. So we were going to hang him, but then we realized he would burn the rope. Then we were going to have him executed by the firing squad, but then we realized that he would just dodge all the bullets. Then we were going to put him in the gas chamber, but then we realized he would just blow it up and probably somehow cause an explosion. Then we were going to give him a lethal injection, but then we realized that since his heart doesn't beat since he's a demon, we didn't know if his circulatory system would adequately move the drugs through his body. How does that work anyways? Without beating hearts, your blood should just pool in whatever the lowest point of your body is, so your body should be oxygen-starved…"
"Why have you been sitting around coming up with ways to kill Hiei?" Kurama demanded. "Just how far were you planning on taking this experiment?" Risu got a nervous look on her face and started muttering incoherently.
Hiei shook his head. "So you put me through all that shit, are you happy now?"
"For now…" Himizu said, laughing evilly. "Come on Risu, we have more evil plans to design!"
"Yay, mass destruction! Chaos! Anarchy!" Risu cheered. She and Himizu took off at a dead run back to Animedom. Hiei considered chasing them or throwing fireballs at them, but he caught Ryouko's eye and she shook her head.
"Look, I know you're probably furious with me right now, but it wasn't that hellish was it? And you know that even though they piss me off all the time, I will destroy you if you kill them…"
"Yeah, I know…" he grumbled. Kurama, Yusuke, and Kuwabara had started following the girls back to the mansion, so Hiei and Ryouko also started walking in that direction. They walked in silence for a moment before Ryouko glanced at Hiei.
"Spit it out… I know you have something on your mind," she said.
He barely stopped to wonder how she knew he was thinking about something. "Was it really necessary to fake your own death? I was really worried about you, do you realize that?"
"Yeah, I know… I didn't want to do that, I thought it was a little much…"
"Try a lot much…"
"Yeah well…" Ryouko trailed off as she stared at the mansion. "Oh, what the hell?" she groaned, pointing to the plume of smoke that was coming from the mansion or the nearby grounds. Hiei saw it too, and he scooped her up in his arms and ran the rest of the way to the mansion. They arrived to find that Risu had somehow set part of the mansion on fire. Kuwabara and Yusuke had somehow been knocked unconscious, Kurama looked as though he would need a whole bottle of aspirin to get rid of his headache, and Himizu was screaming and swearing at Risu, who just laughed maniacally. Ryouko and Hiei looked at each other for a moment.
"By the way," Hiei said casually, as though they weren't surrounded by chaos and fire, "were you girls also the law assistants and secretary?"
"Of course," Ryouko said with a grin. "We needed to be able to keep an eye on you guys at all times and make sure you didn't do anything too crazy that would mess up all our plans. I was Sagishi, Himizu was Petenshi, and Risu was Nesemono. Now would you please put this fire out before we have to do extensive repairs on our mansion? Not that we can't afford it or anything, but it would be really annoying."
Hiei snorted with laughter, but he did quench the flames. Risu looked furious that the fire was gone, but was distracted when Himizu pulled a toy squirrel out of nowhere and threw it into a nearby koi pond that the girls had installed a while ago. Risu dove in after the squirrel and reappeared to shriek furiously at Himizu for daring to harm a beloved and sacred squirrel. Himizu yelled back that the squirrel was only a toy anyways and didn't need to be treated like it was made of glass. At that point, Kurama lost his temper and knocked their heads together before dragging them into the mansion by their ears. Ryouko and Hiei dragged and kicked Yusuke and Kuwabara into the mansion, then abandoned them in the entryway. Then everyone who was not unconscious went into one of the rooms with a TV to watch movies and eat snacks for hours at a time.
However all good things must come to an end, so Kurama finally said it was time to head back to their homes. He went to wake up Yusuke and Kuwabara, and Risu and Himizu followed eagerly to poke the boys with sticks or something else involving torture. Hiei started to follow them, but Ryouko grabbed his wrist and held him for a moment.
He turned to look at her. She smiled at him.
"You know what," she said, drawing him into a long hug. He held her close for a moment then glanced up and stared directly at one of the hidden cameras that Himizu had installed in several rooms of the house in one of her many attempts to catch proof of Hiei and Ryouko's relationship. Ryouko held him tightly for a moment, and he could feel her shaking with laughter.
"Messing with Himizu's head will never get old, will it?" he asked her, feeling very glad that Himizu's cameras didn't also have audio.
"No. Never. Someday I may be able to drive her brain completely off the rails," she added with a giggle.
"That would be worth watching…" Hiei admitted with a grin.
"Are you guys making out?" Himizu yelled.
"No, retard! How many times do I have to say it?" Ryouko screamed back at her. She winked at Hiei and they ran to the entryway to rejoin their friends.
A/N: Yes, it's true. It's all a conspiracy. Thus proving that I'm incapable of writing any kind of romance unless the characters happen to have ulterior motives…
Anyways, Ryouko and I came up with the idea for this fic ages and ages ago, and it was mostly just that we would fake Ryouko's death and put Hiei on trial and spoof Law & Order a little. Obviously it became much more complicated than that, but that's what happens when you actually sit down and write a fic! So I've been working on this on and off for like two years now and it's finally done, which is awesome!