Warning: This chapter is HUGE, with 18K words! So unsurprisingly I’ve decided to split this XD (A usual chapter is 3K words)
This ARC finale, has been split into THREE parts which shall be posted one after the other: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Get ready for a ride 😉
No one’s POV
“Um yes…” Sebastien hesitated, rubbing his temple as he tried to remember. The cop waited patiently, her fingers hovering over her keyboard.
Nikolas glanced at James who gave a shrug.
“I just need your ID number.” The cop repeated. Sebastien had heard it the first time, he just didn’t use his job ID number often. It was reserved for situations where he needed to use his police authority – which applied here, for the trial.
Sebastien took out his wallet. “Why don’t you three go on ahead?” He said. “I won’t be too long.”
“I’m sorry but they can’t pass until I’ve confirmed your identity.”
“Please don’t touch the boxes.” The other cop warned. Oscar’s hands shot back with a clang.
“How did you know?” He asked. “You weren’t even looking.”
“Okay! I’ve found it.” Sebastien showed the number to the lady. She gave each of them a card that would let them pass through the security gates.
It had been two days of high tensions. The calls had come in almost immediately that Xavier would be brought up for a trial and Nikita refused to answer Nikolas’ call. He also in turn ignored her when she tried calling him the day before the trial. There’d been a lot of talking, a lot of avoiding and a lot of fearing. Nikolas had had no idea what to expect.
They’d driven an hour to get here and he still had no clear idea what to expect – but it was finally here now. Nikolas was done with dreading this day.
Though from how he’d needed to bring extra clothes and how the Magic Trial had given them rooms – he felt this was probably going to last way more than a day.
The place was huge! Nikolas could hear his own ‘woah’ echo off the walls.
He stuck his hands in his pockets, his brain once again wandering off. He hadn’t seen his father since he got arrested. How was he going to react? To knowing his son had agreed to testify against him?
Well that wasn’t entirely true. He’d told Sebastien he’d really prefer if it could be avoided.
“Okay, I need to go and fill out paperwork. Get settled in. Check out your rooms, and the place. I’ll come back before the trial starts to talk you through what’s going to happen again.” Sebastien said before leaving.
Oscar walked up to Nikolas to whisper. “I don’t see any plugs in the walls.”
“There’s probably some in the rooms.” Nikolas whispered back.
They took their time visiting their rooms, unpacking their things and familiarizing themselves with the location of the washrooms.
They visited the ‘break’ area as well, which only the people involved in the trial would have access to.
When Sebastien came back, he told them how things would go down.
The trial room itself was as big as the entrance, and it was separated into three sections. The middle was reserved for the jury. Eight of them were to be isolated around a table, while the other six sat hidden among the witnesses.
The jury were handpicked to incite the best judgement possible. All of them had either participated or worked in a field that brought them in touch with the political goings on between supernaturals and naturals. None of them had a criminal record or obvious inclination towards either supernaturals or naturals.
The rest of the room was separated into two – one side for the accuser and one for the defender.
For the first part of the trial, only the accuser, the defender and close family were allowed. Xavier sat on the defender’s side, with Nikita and Edmund as his close family.
Since the case was about his use of magic, the Hans were given authority – and encouraged – to restrain him. Xavier was hooked to three different artifacts meant to restrict his magic. He would be attached to these for the duration of the trial.
Normally, the jury would only be present to listen to the testimonies. The accuser and the defender – Sebastien and Xavier – would be the one asking the questions.
This moment of the trial was the only time the jury could ask their questions, because the witnesses were the accuser and defender themselves.
Sebastien went first, stepping up to the pedestal and placing his hand on the black part in the middle. The pedestal had an artifact incorporated that could verify the truth in the witness’s words. All of these tools were, of course, provided by the Hans.
He recounted his version of the events. He listed out how he’d responded to a call about a robot attacking the Whitelight family, only to be witness to Nikolas in a coma by his own father’s hands. And said father refusing to remove the spell. Sebastien had then taken him into arrest after the witch had issued a threat and showed signs of wanting to use his magic in a violent manner.
Sebastien had the chance as well to add that he suspected that Xavier’s abusive act was not a one-time isolated thing. That the witch had been emotionally abusing his son for several years, if not all of them.
Xavier had his turn as well to respond as he wanted. He chose to explain to the jury the long story of magical and otherwise abuse his family had received over the years. He explained that he was simply trying to keep his family safe, and that – to no one’s surprise he was sure – Nikolas was young and naïve and purposefully threw himself in danger repeatedly. He had run out of ways to keep his son safe and sound. He’d created a spell he’d hoped would help, but there were some unexpected side effects that he had the intention of fixing.
He also added that Detective Lance’s gut couldn’t be trusted to judge a situation appropriately. He was a mediocre policeman at best with more uncompleted cases on his record than anything else.
The first day of the trial ended like so. The place had been fairly empty, but the witnesses both Sebastien and Xavier had asked for would be arriving starting the next day.
“So that went fairly well right?” Nikolas asked, glancing between the two men. “This should end quickly right?”
‘If the jury knows what’s right, yes.’ James replied.
Nikolas grimaced a bit. “You’re not going to influence them are you? I mean that’d be called cheating right?”
‘I won’t need to.’ James answered. That seemed to satisfy Nikolas.
Sebastien stared pointedly at the robot.
Oscar was struggling with the vending machine, shaking it back and forth. It was making Sebastien cringe. Not only would that get the guards on their case, but he didn’t see why the robot was even struggling with it. He was pretty sure his robotic parts didn’t have the capacity to digest soda.
“Is the trial going to be like this the whole time?” Nikolas asked.
Sebastien nodded. “Pretty much. Though instead of the jury, I’ll be asking the questions from the witnesses I chose. If you have any last minute adds you wanted to make, it’s not too late. It won’t be too late for the whole trial.”
“No that’s fine.” Nikolas said.
“Are you sure? No friends who can come testify on your behalf?”
“I don’t want to drag them into this.” Nikolas added shaking his head. Oscar came over, shaking a candy bar in front of his friend’s face.
“Here Niko, you have to eat! It’s good for your brain.”
Nikolas grinned, taking the bar. “Gee thanks Oscar. I love this kind too!”
The robot seemed to beam a little. Or maybe Sebastien was just seeing light reflect off the rusty metal parts.
“Hi Niko,” A female voice came from the doorway. Nikolas looked at his sister, his mouth still full with chocolate. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
Her brother shrugged as he chewed.
“Alone?” She added.
Sebastien narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms – a warning to Nikolas to be careful if he did accept. His sister had accepted to back their father up. She was on his side.
Nikolas finished his bite, licked the chocolate off his lips and walked past his grandfather and Sebastien.
“This communication of ours is probably not recommended considering we’re on different sides and all.” Nikolas said, after being led to the entrance area.
“That was your choice.” Nikita rolled her eyes.
Nikita grimaced. “You’re right…ugh this is just a really ugly situation. I don’t like that we’re on opposite sides. You’re my brother.”
“I know I don’t like it either.” Nikolas said with a small sigh. “But I’m not the one who put us in this situation.” He gauged her reaction. Was this going to be another fruitful conversation about how this was probably all his fault?
“I know. I know that dad brought this on himself. And we’re being dragged along. But couldn’t we have dealt with this as a family?” She asked, like a hopeful child.
“Mr.Sebastien doesn’t seem to think so.” Nikolas said.
“Yeah I was surprised by that. He accused dad of chronically emotionally abusing you. What’s up with that?” Nikita scoffed. The whole trial so far had been uncomfortable and awkward.
“I don’t know Niki, I know it sounds extreme, but Seb’s been having a hoot explaining abuse to me. And, get this, he has lots of evidence to support it.” Nikolas said, casting her a sly look.
“Like…reactions children have. You know abused children can show signs of not being able to keep a relationship, low self-esteem, a need for attention-”
“Woah woah-” Nikita tried to cut in.
“-A lack of empathy as well.”
“You aren’t implying what I think you are. I wanted to see you so we could just talk normally as brother and sister not so you could psycho-analyze me.” Nikita scoffed. “Also…I heard the detective was going to call Tyzel to witness, I-”
“Yes, manipulative behavior to gain attention was on the list as well.” Nikolas cut in with a smirk.
Nikita narrowed her eyes, engaging in a stare contest with her brother.
Her brother really was implying that she too had suffered abuse by their fathers, but…
“Well this certainly brings out the best in us.” Nikolas broke eye contact first.
“You really think it’s…affecting me too?” Nikita asked, trying to wrap her mind around what he was attempting to convey.
“I can’t really claim anything for real Niki, but talking with Seb really made me see the big difference between how we were raised.” Nikolas said with a shrug.
Well if she thought about it that way, something did stand out. It wasn’t a secret that their fathers let her get away with more stuff. “Favoritism?”
“I guess you could call it that.”
“But then you’d be saying dad and pa just treated me normally and just…’abused’ you. And you’re calling me self-centered.” Nikita tried to joke, but it felt wrong on her tongue.
“Funny you should bring up pa. There’s more than one way to abuse your children you know.” Nikolas added.
“I don’t like this it feels too strange. That’s not our dads. You know this, they just want the best for us.” Nikita insisted.
“All I know, Niki, is that I’m afraid of going back home with dad like nothing happened. Because what this has proven to me, is that dad will do whatever it takes, if he gets the idea that it’ll help us. Did you hear him talk? He didn’t say casting the spell was a mistake. He said he’d fix it. And that idea scares me. Do you get it Niki? He scares me. He’s my dad.” Nikolas confessed.
Nikita grimaced. Why were things so blown out of proportion – for both? “You don’t have to be afraid of him.”
Nikolas took in a deep breath and replied something that Nikita was unable to get the true meaning of in the moment. “I know. I’m working on it.”
It was a phrase meant more for himself anyway.
Alec Whitelight had come a long way for this. When he’d first spotted the name Whitelight in the newspaper he hadn’t paid much attention to it. He’d been in a bit of a rut if he had to be honest. His big brother destroying the apple had struck him a blow. Just seeing the last name Whitelight made him want to curl up under his covers and bitch about his brother.
He’d gone as far as to entertain the idea that maybe he ought to just do as his only living sibling does: Become a hermit. It was shameful thinking that would stick with him for…another few moments.
It was the double take that saved him. His nephew, Xavier Whitelight, was being put through a trial. Something about knocking his son out or something. That’s not really what Alec focused on.
It had struck him, like a baseball bat, one thing Aliska had told him about the apple. Witches could bring it forth with a spell. And since his darling brother had crushed the apple that Alec had so painstakingly managed to retrieve after all these years, it meant that theoretically a witch could cast it back.
And in this day and age, Xavier was probably the only one capable of doing that anymore. But, gosh, the guy had to go and get himself put on trial. If he went to prison, Alec was going to lose his chance of getting the apple back.
It was all he had left now. Aliska had given him a prophecy – a vision she’d had once. She said she’d seen him holding the apple in the hands of a woman. And that she must’ve been hallucinating because this woman was looking at him with as much love as he was looking at her.
It seemed impossible. Alec had too many years down his belt of chasing after women. He found them all gorgeous, all worthy, but none of them ever wanted to do anything with Alec. He couldn’t understand it. Rejection hurt hard. Especially since everyone he’d ever known had at least shared ONE meaningful kiss in their lives. He was over 50 and that truth was hitting home harshly.
He’d been told he just emanated an aura of pathetic neediness, and that made the ladies shy away from forming a real relationship, but he had no idea what they were talking about.
His eyes glazed over the room, wondering where he needed to go to talk with Xavier.
Then his eyes landed on something that tore his breath away. It was like someone had taken a sledgehammer and swung it on his gut.
His jaw dropped open, his eyes refusing to close so as to not lose the view from sight.
Of all the women he had ever seen, gazed upon, and stalked, none had ever made his neck hair rise, stolen his breath, or made his knees weak quite as this one.
All he saw were beautiful waves of pale blue hair, soft untouched skin and a beautiful shape. The rest of the room faded to black; giving him tunnel vision to the most striking angel he had ever laid eyes upon. Nothing would be able to tear him away from the sight.
It looked like she was scribbling something in a notebook. Alec wondered what it could possibly be. Whatever it was, he had no doubt it was something amazing, elegant and poetic. A grocery list written by her would probably touch his heart.
He had no doubt her front was as glorious as her back and he wondered if he could have the privilege of seeing it…he wouldn’t know if he didn’t try.
He took confident strides towards her, and touched her shoulder. Oh the touch sent tingles up his arm.
She turned and her beautiful blue eyes slayed him again. He had to clutch his heart so overcome from the gaze as he was. He thanked the stars for everything that had led him to this moment, to being so close to such an enamoring woman.
“Oh hello again.” She said in a voice that caressed his ears and made him shiver in pleasure.
Again? Had they met in a dream? It was more than fate, more than destiny, Alec was beyond certain of it. She was the woman he had searched for his entire life. A beautiful fairy, an angel, a mermaid – he couldn’t take this flurry of emotions much longer.
Alec dropped down on his knee, wearing the most serious face he’d ever worn. “You are the most beautiful, breath-taking angel I have ever had the privilege of gazing upon.” He said, daring to grasp her blessed gloved hand between his own unworthy ones. “You would make me the happiest man alive, just by staying by my side for the rest of our lives.”
Her eyes widened in surprise, her hand covering her mouth, her gaze not leaving his. Every atom in his body was relishing in this moment. “Oh goodness, is this a proposal?” She muttered to herself.
“I vow to do everything in my power to make you the happiest angel on earth.” He declared. “Anything you desire will be yours, and for me, simply being in your presence will be enough.”
The softest smile touched his lips, all his hopes and dreams poured into this one moment.
She cupped his face with an apologetic smile. “That’s very sweet.” The combination of those words and the touch made his heart melt. He couldn’t remember his original purpose for coming here anymore.
She pulled him up to his feet. “Do me one favor.” She said.
She pointed at the entrance, dragging his gaze away from her.
Alec rubbed his chin. He seemed to have gotten lost in his thoughts. Right, he needed to see if he could talk to Xavier. He wasn’t adept at it, but he’d trained his eyes enough to slightly influence someone. Maybe he could convince a guard to look the other way so he could sneak past and find Xavier.
Then he could get that apple and finally be one step closer to meeting the soulmate Aliska had seen for him. He knew she was out there. He would find her eventually. He could feel it.
“Calling to testify : Oscar.”
Oscar creaked his way over to the stand, very aware of the odd looks cast his way. Everyone kept their mouths shut however. It was up to the jury to accept or not a robot as a witness.
Sebastien waited a little anxiously as Oscar placed his hand on the lie detector. When the jury said nothing, Sebastien took that as his cue.
“Were you present at the scene of the crime?” Sebastien began as formality.
Oscar nodded into the camera.
“You have to say it.” Sebastien added.
“Oh, YES I WAS.” Oscar announced loudly.
Sebastien cringed. “You don’t have to be loud.” He added in a low voice. “There’s enough echo in here.”
Oscar turned around with a grin, giving the detective a thumbs up.
“Please, in your own words, recount what happened that night.” Sebastien asked.
Oscar straightened in determination, staring straight into the camera.
“I was watching over Nikolas that night because I didn’t trust he was safe in that house. It’s when everyone was asleep that Xavier came over and cast the spell from outside the room. But I CAUGHT him. I wasn’t fast enough – he still managed to cast the spell. So I demanded he release Niko from it, but he kept refusing.”
“Nikolas and his sister and her boytoy got woken up and they also backed me up. We were FOUR against one, and he still refused to take off the spell. The spell actually stopped Nikolas from talking bad about Xavier. And then to shut us up, he cast ANOTHER spell to put everyone to sleep. But I’m a robot, so it didn’t affect me. He started threatening me though, so I gave him a good bonk to put him to sleep too. I picked up Nikolas to leave, but the spell wouldn’t let him leave the house. So I called his grandfather.”
“Everyone else woke up from the sleeping spell after a while, except Nikolas. We tried everything we could, but the spell was holding him down. Even though his son was in a COMA, Xavier still didn’t want to lift the spell. Because Nikolas is talented and amazing, he managed to find a way to wake up on his own. It’s only when Sebastien arrived and tried to arrest him that Xavier finally lifted the spell. He probably thought it was going to excuse him and prevent him from getting arrested. He didn’t care about Nikolas at all.”
“You said you didn’t trust Nikolas was safe in his own home, why is that?”
“Because I saw with my own eyes how he was being treated. He got grounded on the drop of a pin. His dad actively looked for a reason to punish him. He was always saying things in a way that belittled Niko. Constantly subtly attacking him.”
“You went to the poster thing didn’t you? Even when I told you not to?” Xavier interrupted.
“…Yes, I did. But-”
“But!? There are no buts! I made it clear Nikolas, that you were not to go under any circumstances. You promised me and I dared to believe you would keep your word.” Xavier snapped.
“I don’t think the tattoo’s the source here.” Nikolas said, his eyebrows coming together as he thought out loud. “Others have some too without the same problem I do. Actually I was thinking along the lines of something else. You see I met this lady-”
“Nikolas stop stalling.” Xavier snapped.
“We shouldn’t jump to hasty conclusions.” Nikolas replied calmly.
“And Nikolas tries his best to remain mature in those situations. Which he shouldn’t be the only one! Xavier is his father he should step up. But instead he dismisses all of Nikolas’ attempts at making it right and just pushes him further away. Oh did I mention he likes to blame everything on Nikolas?”
“Logic isn’t the problem here.” Xavier said. “You are. I can’t trust you with anything. Every decision you make has dire consequences. So yes, you will go to school and do your finals. You’re going to stop trying to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. I’ve had it with your attitude, and your disregard for my decisions. I don’t make them to make you suffer, I make them to keep you safe. Until you understand this, I’m putting you on a magic house arrest.” Xavier got up, his hands sparking with magic. “I gave you ample chances Nikolas, but I’ve reached my limit. I didn’t want to have to use magic on you, but you’ve forced my hand.”
“Nikolas wasn’t being supported, heard, or understood in that house. That’s why I didn’t feel he was safe.” Oscar finished.
The juries turned to Sebastien who raised his hands and stepped back. That was all he’d needed from Oscar. Before the next witness could be called, Xavier had the opportunity to ask Oscar a single question – and any sub-questions if related to the original one.
“Are you implying that you know what’s best for my son? You, a one week old robotic entity?”
Oscar nodded fervently. “I know better than you.”
“And better than me means…kidnapping him?” Xavier asked.
“I didn’t kidnap him!” Oscar frowned.
“Are you denying that you made him run away from his home, without his consent?” Xavier asked.
“I’m not, but that was to get away from you. You’d literally just cast a spell to stop us.” Oscar countered.
“Because I thought you were a threat to my son. How was running away going to help him? Where were you going to take him?”
“It didn’t matter. As long as it was away from you.” Oscar declared, his jaw grinding with a screech.
“That day was the first time we’d spoken. And you told me you didn’t like me, and that was the reason you were taking Nikolas away. It’s a child’s answer. How can you claim to know better?” Xavier countered.
“Any FOOL can see why.”
The jury signaled that Xavier’s counter time was over. It was his turn to call a witness.
That witness was his husband, to no one’s surprise.
Edmund didn’t feel good being in the spotlight. Their friends and family had joined them in the trial room, and were watching the trial unveil. He didn’t want to testify at all, especially for a conflict between his son and his husband. It all felt so wrong.
“Please place your hand on the pedestal.”
Edmund took a deep breath and did as he was told.
Oscar wouldn’t step down from his own pedestal just yet. Surprised that the trial was still going on. “Wait, do you guys need more time? Decision should be pretty obvious at this point.”
“Mr.Robot please sit back down.” One of the cops warned and Oscar grumbled his way back to his chair.
Lucas took that opportunity to lean forwards to check on his friend. He hadn’t been allowed to see him so far – trial rules and such. “Niko,” He whispered, as Edmund began recounting his version of the events. “How are you holding up?”
Nikolas turned around, casting his friend a smile. “Hey Luke, ah well you know. It’s not a fun situation.” He whispered back.
Oscar’s head did a 180 towards them. “The rest of this trial is unnecessary if you ask me.”
“If Oscar was in charge we’d already be home by now.” Niko snorted.
“A talking robot. Damn.” Luke shook his head in amazement.
“How’s brotherhood doing you?” Nikolas asked, gesturing at the newborn babe in Xenia’s arms.
“Ah well you know, it’s not a fun situation.” Luke admitted, making Niko smirk. “No, but in all seriousness. This is really ridiculous, how could your dad do that?”
“That’s what the jury is here to find out.”
Xavier asked his next question. “Do you believe I’m not fit to be Nikolas’ father? Do I always make mistakes?”
“No of course not. I consider you- Xavier- a much better father than I am.” Edmund affirmed.
“Please place your hand on the pedestal.” One of the cops reminded.
“Oh right sorry. Xavier does what he can…I’m the one who didn’t handle Nikolas correctly at first. And it made it all the more difficult for Xavier down the line.”
“I’m happy you were a little lax on Niko.” Edmund said, hugging Xavier from behind.
“You were the one who grounded him.”
“I know, but I didn’t know what else to do.” He said, resting his chin on his husband’s shoulder. “He wouldn’t talk to me. But I’m not surprised he talked to you.”
“And can you tell us why we needed to ground our son?”
“Nikolas has a tendency to endanger himself recklessly without a second thought. He got into several fights at school on a constant basis. He also got involved in things that were best left to the police. One of them led to us nearly losing him.” Edmund explained.
“OBVIOUSLY, not.” He said turning around. “But I can clean my own face thank you.”
She slapped his knee. “You seriously have to stop with the attitude. You’re the one who came back looking like you got stampeded over!”
“Didn’t we just have this conversation?”
“Dad tells you not to get in trouble before he leaves, and what’s the first thing you do? Get yourself beat up in a forgotten alley.”
“I said it won’t happen again!” Nikolas grumbled.
“We’ve tried telling him to be careful, that he can’t rush in blindly. But Nikolas has fought against us the entire way.” Edmund said shaking his head.
“Grounding you is for your own good. You need to think about the consequences of your actions.” Edmund snapped, making Nikolas flinch.
“I do think before I act.”
“Not about what you should be thinking.”
“You don’t understand! It’s more than me just getting in trouble. I’m helping people!” Nikolas tried to counter weakly.
“You’re going about it the wrong way.”
“Being a parent isn’t easy.” Edmund said. “Xavier might’ve slipped up here, but we’re all human aren’t we?”
Nikolas tried not to let it get to him, even though his pa’s voice carried very well across the room. His father’s words made Nikolas sound like an object. Like a pet.
They weren’t really blaming him here, and that was somehow worse. As if he was incapable of not only fault, but of thinking for himself.
Nikolas forced himself to swallow the negative feelings this was provoking in him. James picked up on it almost immediately.
‘I hadn’t realized you had to deal with that.’ James signed with a face.
Nikolas raised an eyebrow.
‘No wonder you went to places like Dealer’s Avenue. They’re no fun at all to be around.’ James shook his head. Niko couldn’t help but chortle.
“I think the whole point, was that I hadn’t warned them. Whether I got beat up or not, I would’ve still gotten punished. I was supposed to leave this to the police, not try to help out.” Nikolas whispered back with a small sad smile.
James expression from mocking to disappointed. ‘This is what makes you stronger here. You listened, they clearly didn’t.’ He signed, but he didn’t wait to make sure Nikolas had understood his words this time.
The situation was breaking his heart.
He pulled Nikolas over to him, overcome with an urge to give him a hug – or some form of comfort.
Why couldn’t his parents be more thoughtful in their remarks? Why couldn’t they think a little further than their own noses?
James had never quite liked Edmund.
But Xavier’s handling of the situation was insulting at best.
Xavier’s questions were over, and Sebastien was given the opportunity to ask his one question.
“Edmund Pallen, how present are you in your home?”
“Um, fairly present. I don’t understand…”
“How much time do you spend a day, on average, interacting with your children?” Sebastien clarified.
“A couple of hours at least – I don’t understand the importance here.” Edmund frowned.
“I am accusing you of being an absentee father.” Sebastien stated, sending a small ripple through the audience.
“What that’s preposterous! I’m always home. I work from home.” Edmund scoffed.
“Being home isn’t the same as spending time with your family. I couldn’t help but notice you were absent when everyone else was trying to wake your son up. Better things to do I suppose?”
“This is ridiculous.” Xavier exclaimed. “Edmund has a heart condition. He needed to re-”
“Please refrain from speaking when it isn’t your turn.” A cop intervened.
“They didn’t need me there. I couldn’t help.”
“How many times have you used that excuse to avoid dealing with your children?” Sebastien asked just as calmly.
“That’s not- if you phrase it like that- look I don’t get what you’re accusing me of.” Edmund spluttered, looking directly at Sebastien. “I was there the whole time when Xavier left! I had to take care of them and I did! If I needed a little break after, you can’t blame me for that.”
“So you take turns being in the absentee father role?” Sebastien asked, raising his eyebrows.
The question had begun to stray and the jury motioned for the end of his turn. Sebastien sat back down and a break was called before the next witnesses came to testify.
Nikita had locked herself inside her assigned room for the break. Her fathers had wanted to see her to talk over the next witness, but she was dreading it.
Dad was going to call her up next and she was afraid of what questions she was going to be asked. Pa’s testimony had already shaken her enough. It felt…detached. Pa and dad kept referring to their children as troublesome – yes, somehow Nikita had gotten mixed up in that too. Unless she’d stopped being their daughter.
Nikita sighed loudly.
The trial had only just begun, and it was heavy and taxing. She just couldn’t wait for it to be over.
She couldn’t imagine being Niko right now. He was up front receiving the brunt of it, plus he was on the other side of that fence, while the other three were together. At least she was lucky, she was on the sidelines.
She was afraid she might lose her brother over this, and that fear suddenly became known in a heart gripping shock. She was about to go testify for her father, yet she was his big sister…why was this even being asked of her?
If Xavier loses and goes to jail, their family would crumble apart. She’d be forced to choose between her pa and her brother…and Niko would probably be angry at her for the side she’d apparently taken.
But if Xavier won…that was even worse. She could innocently hope everything would go back to normal but she knew it wouldn’t. This had dealt a big blow. Would her fathers punish Niko for making them go through this? Would they try to be more lenient on Niko? Would Niko even want to keep playing normal family?
The uncertainty was killing her. And the fact that no matter what happened, nothing would ever go back to normal, weighed heavily on her chest.
To be continued…