(Written by DarkLadyKnight)

Destin tapped his feet as Ed got off the stand, not sure yet what he believed. But he was going to go with the girl not being completely truthful. It was when the man stopped to glare, and turning he saw another had entered the courtroom. Frowning, he watched as the boy walked to the row behind Vincent and the boy's friends. But could see as the new person touched Vincent, that the boy's father and Ed faces changed immediately, it was the same look that Armand sometimes got.

Rage settled into his chest, he wanted to howl, he wanted to maim. Only Armand's arm kept him from moving, and the fact that someone had done what he wanted to do. He could only sit as they were led from the courtroom, and not to long, a man also escorted out a pale Vincent.

"Sweets?" Armand asked seeing furious green eyes turn to him.

"It was him," Destin whispered keeping his voice low, when all he wanted to do was scream in rage. "That was the man who raped Vincent."

"What?" Armand asked not sure he heard his lover right, the boy had talked so quietly. Leaned close to listen when the boy spoke again, but he heard it this time. When the judge called a recess, Armand pulled the boy up. "Are you okay?"

"Fine," Destin replied. They left the courtroom, seeing several people in the hallway waiting. Armand turned slightly when his cell phone vibrated, and it was that second he let go of Destin that his lover took off after the man who had upset the trial.

Destin bared his teeth as he attacked, he didn't think. All he wanted to do was cause this man some of the pain he had caused Vincent. He howled when, someone grabbed around his waist to pull him back; all he wanted to do was rip the bastard in front of him apart.

"DAMN IT," Armand hissed pulling his lover back. "Destin stop it, calm down right this minute!"

"NO!" Destin hissed kicking out; he caught the man in the shin, seeing eyes widen as they look at him.


In the bathroom, Vincent threw up almost as soon as they got into the door. Michael didn't really know what to do other than stand beside him. In the rush, he'd told Frank and his friends to stay where they were, but now he was rather regretting that. Frank and Vince seemed to have the sort of bond where Vince wouldn't feel like he was being attacked or cornered by his son. Michael was fairly certain he couldn't say the same for himself. Which pretty much sucked, considering the position he was in. Oh, what fun.

Vincent stood up shakily and looked at Michael with tears in his eyes.

"It'll be okay, kid." He shook his head. "That shouldn't have happened. I'm sorry. I should have done something."

"Someone did," Vince said meekly. "Who was it?"

"Some blonde guy. He didn't look much older than your brother." Michael shrugged and reached a hand out to steady the boy only to have him jump. He waited for the reaction to subside and placed his hand lightly on Vincent's shoulder. "I'm just holding you up, okay?"

"What happened? What did he do?"

Michael started to understand that Vincent just wanted someone to talk him down. "He punched him. It was rather strange, too, considering how cold he looked. Reminds me of the way Richard described your anger."

"I'm not an angry person." Vincent looked perplexed.

"I didn't mean to insinuate that you were," Michael responded. "But everyone gets angry sometimes."

"I'm kind of angry now. At him. And myself."

"Don't be mad at yourself," someone said from the doorway. The blonde haired man.

"That him?" Vincent asked. Michael nodded.

Richard appeared in the doorway and stood behind the man. Vincent immediately walked over and wrapped his arms around him. The blonde haired man smiled sadly. "I see you two are doing quite well together. Funny, last time I saw you . . . I think you were saying something about moving out."

"I wasn't serious!" Vincent said in a whiney voice. "He was being mean. He didn't need to act like that just cause I brought a dog home when he told me no. We could have taken it to the pound or something, but I couldn't just let it die, I couldn't—Dad?"

Michael just stared, downright confused. He could have sworn he'd heard Vincent call that crazy blonde guy "Dad," but from what he knew, Vincent's father was Richard. So . . .

He must have missed something. Yep, definitely missed something.

But with Richard Callahan, what was to be expected?

Vincent stared up at the blonde, half smiling; his shame was only too apparent, but he tried to push it aside and look ahead, thinking that someone had better break this silence before he lost it.

"Sorry, kid," the blonde said, giving his son a small, sad smile. "I just kind of . . . well, you know . . . What did you expect me to do? I mean, you . . . I . . . oh, eff, I give up. I don't know what I was thinking to do that in the middle of a courtroom, but . . ."

"I understand," Vincent said softly. His father looked as if he'd been scolded and shrunk back a little, looking baffled as his son let out a small laugh. "I wish I could've done that."

The blonde haired man gave a wary smile. "For some reason, I don't." He extended his hand to Vincent, who didn't take it immediately. He just stared sadly. The man lowered his hand. "Sorry. I don't know how this goes; you know that. That's why you're with Richard, not me, remember? I wouldn't be a good father."

"You keep telling yourself that," Vincent said shortly. He pushed Richard away from him and walked out of the bathroom.

Richard turned to the blonde haired man. "I really hate you some times, Dominic." He turned to Michael. "Come on, I'm sure your kids and their friends aren't waiting patiently for you to get back." He and Michael left Dominic standing in the doorway of the restroom.


Vincent walked out into the foyer just in time to see Destin throw one hell of a punch at Kyle. Kyle stumbled backward; looking thoroughly shocked that something so small could be so strong. He was about to throw a punch back, but when his eyes met the little redhead's . . . he just couldn't. Armand grabbed the boy from behind again and told him to calm down, or else he'd take him home.

Swallowing hard, Kyle backed up and walked quickly toward the exit of the court building, barely making it there. A cop caught him and led him toward where Vincent was standing, chancing a glance over at the redheaded boy named Destin. He shook his head disbelievingly, pretending not to have seen the tiny thing punch Kyle.

Vincent just stood there as if frozen, watching as the cop brought Kyle closer and closer to where he stood. The older male smirked and gave Vincent a seductive look. With a yelp, the small blonde ran across the foyer and practically threw himself at Destin, who, after being let go by Armand, took the boy into his arms.

Richard walked out of the restroom just in time to see Vincent throw himself at Destin and shook his head. This was all too much. He'd tried to tell Vincent that things might turn out like this, that he might not be able to handle this trial. But the boy had been so persistent. And now . . .

The lawyer started to walk over to where Vincent stood with Armand and Destin, followed by Michael, when the voice of Vincent's father stopped him. He rounded on the blonde haired man, thoroughly annoyed. "What do you want, Dominic?"

"Lord, Richard, I never said I was perfect." Dominic gave Richard a glare and continued walking past him, toward Vincent.

Michael just stared, confused.

"I'd introduce you," Richard started, "but I really don't think it's worth it."

"Richard." Michael sighed. "He barely looks a day older than John, which means that he was fairly young when Vincent came out. Maybe he just didn't know what to do."

"Vincent's mother wouldn't let him see his kids. A lot of things happened between then and now, Michael. He didn't want Vincent."

Michael just sighed. "Okay, okay. You win. I'm not trying to get involved; I just . . . I don't know. It just looks like he's actually trying." The man shook his head. "I'm going to go make sure Frank and his friends are all okay. I'll see you in a few."

Richard didn't even respond, he just kept walking forward.


Franklin sprung up from where he was sitting when he saw his father enter the courtroom. "What took you so long? Where's Vincent? Is he okay?"

Jillian stared. "Oh no, no you don't. I'm first." She pushed Franklin out of the way. "What's going on?" she demanded. "What the hell was that all about? Why'd Vincent jump up and run away from Kyle like that? What did Kyle say? What's with all this drama? What's going on?"

Michael rubbed his temples and looked from Jillian, who looked irate, her hands on her hips and a demanding look on her face to Lorelei, who just stared. Scott was looking at him with a very expectant look on his face, and Jeff had his arms crossed over his chest.

"Something you're not telling us?"

With a sigh, Michael took a seat. "You might wanna sit down for this."

Franklin was the first to sit down, and Jeff, who would have been the last, just stood in the same position.

"All right. Kyle uh . . ." Michael looked at his son as if to ask how he should say it. "Kyle raped Vincent."

"WHAT?" Jillian screamed. "No he didn't. You're lying. Kyle wouldn't do that."

"Yeah, really. Kyle's cool, Mike," Scott said, staring with disbelief.

Lorelei glanced at the door.

Jeff caught Frank's look and shook his head. "You okay, Frank?" He walked over and knelt down in front of his friend, reaching a hand to ruffle what little hair the boy had. "C'mon, why don't we go outside and get some fresh air, okay?"

Frank nodded and stood up, following Jeff out of the courtroom.

The black haired boy barely glanced at Vincent, who stood next to three people he didn't even know, figuring that now would be a bad time to so much as say hi.


Outside, Frank leaned his frame against Jeff's and let out a heavy sigh. "I guess it's all sort of my fault. I mean, I'm the reason Amanda said Ed raped her, and I'm also the reason Vincent got hurt."

"What the hell, Frank?" Jeff growled, pulling his friend into a hug. "You can't blame this on yourself. Just because you don't like Amanda doesn't give her the right to say Ed raped her. And how in the hell are you the reason Vincent got hurt?" He planted a kiss on the top of Franklin's head.

"You remember that day in the hallway when Vince was taunting Amanda. She uh . . . she sent Kyle after him, and . . ."

"Again, that's not your fault." Jeff squeezed Frank tightly and rubbed down his back. "Sometimes I don't know what the hell's up with you. I can't believe you'd blame any of this on yourself. I can only imagine how many times that boy toy of yours would kick your ass for that."

Frank shoved Jeff away roughly. "He's not mine. He's not even fucking gay, Jeff."

"Well, sorry." Jeff shrugged his shoulders, not really knowing what to say. "There are other guys out there, Frank. I know there's gotta be something special about Vincent and all, hell, even I'd sleep with him, but . . . he's not the only boy out there that you'll ever like. So . . ."

Frank just stared.


"Nothing." The black haired boy looked down.

"Oh whatever," Jeff said, not remotely convinced. He put his arm around Frank's shoulders and led him back inside. "Let's go see if Vince is okay."


Vincent watched Franklin and Jeff come back inside, feeling really alone. He'd kill to have Frank come over and say something to him that didn't have to deal with the case or the rape. But it appeared that they were going back into the courtroom. He sighed and walked away from where his father and Richard stood glaring at one another, toward Frank, who smiled sadly.

"Don't even ask if I'm okay. I'll kick your ass so far into the future, you'll meet your grandkids." Vincent crossed his arms over his chest, looking tough.

Jeff gave a sideways smile. "Well, I'm going to go see if Jill and the others have gotten over their shock. I'll see you guys in a few minutes."

Vincent tried to give Jeff a smile. "Yeah. See ya."

"You're not really going back in there, are you?" Frank asked softly. "I mean, come on Vincent, after that . . ."

"I won't let him scare me." Vincent uncrossed his arms and shrugged. "Hey, I . . . I know I kind of ran off after that, but . . . I couldn't really control having to throw up like that . . ."

Frank made a face. "You want some gum or something."

Vincent almost laughed. Oh, gross! He thought. "Crap. My breath probably does smell really bad. I didn't think of that. You can't smell it, can you?"


"Okay. You should give me some gum anyway, just to be safe."

Frank smiled. "You want this piece," he stuck his tongue out of his mouth. "Or a new one?"

Vincent rolled his eyes. "Really . . ."

"I'm kidding," Frank said, smiling just slightly. He pulled out a pack of gum and gave a piece to Vincent, who immediately stuck it into his mouth. "Eh . . . uh, it helps to remove the wrapper first, Vincent."

The blonde shrugged and moved his jaw up and down a few times before sticking his tongue out, showing Franklin the wrapper. The black haired boy just raised his eyebrows, letting a smile out when Vincent took the wrapper off his tongue and grinned.

"I've got talent."

"I see this."

"And now it's okay for me to do this."

"Do what?"

Vincent wrapped his arms around Franklin and held on tight, relaxing only when he felt the black haired boy's arms wrapped tightly around him in return. He didn't ever want to let go, even knowing how it had to be killing Franklin, to have him in his arms and yet know that he couldn't actually have him. He wondered what would happen to the two of them after these two trials. If he could help it, they'd at least be friends.

"This," Vincent whispered quietly. He was shaking and mentally cursed himself. Why could he be stronger? So many people went through the same thing that he was going through now, and they weren't all girls. They made it. He could make it.

He just didn't want to wait. All wounds heal with time. No . . . That wasn't true, now, was it? Because even wounds, when healed, never really go back to the way they were. There's always a scar. Over time, he'd forget everything but the fact that he was raped. The scar would be there, but he'd be able to live with it.

He just had to wait to see if he could make it there.

"Richard wants me to go home; doesn't think I'm strong enough for this," Vincent said quietly, clutching Frank's shirt in his fists.

Frank didn't say anything; there was nothing he could say. What does one say in matters like this? I'm sorry would never cut it. Never.

"He thinks I'm vulnerable because of what happened. If . . ." Oh, and now he couldn't even say his rapist's name. What if he wasn't strong enough for this? . . . He didn't want to think about that. He didn't ever want to think about not having the strength he needed. "If . . . you know. If that hadn't happened earlier, I don't think he would have said anything."

Vincent took a deep breath and looked up into Frank's eyes, surprised to see that e wasn't playing the part of a scorned lover. The black haired boy looked like nothing less than a friend concerned for the welfare of another; and that's what Vincent needed at that moment. Just what he needed.

"I think he's right," Vincent confessed. He took another deep breath and let it out in a sigh, thinking to himself. What was the right thing to say; and why on earth was he so concerned with how e worded this? "I'm not really strong enough for this." He paused. "But I have to be. I have to be here, Frank."

"Why?" Frank's eyebrows were knitted together. He stepped back from Vincent, holding him at arm's length, and studied the boy. "Why?" he repeated.

"Because I know that, by being here, I'm going to find out more about what I want to know than I will at my own trial. I think Amanda'll be more revealing, and I . . . I just need to know the real reason she'd do this."

Vincent looked down at the floor and shook his head; he could feel the tears and he was telling them no. Don't make me cry. Not right now; please, just not right now.


"I don't think she's evil, Frank. And I know you're not going to understand that, after what she did to me, after what she did to your brother. But I have to know, I just have to know that she's . . . that she's human somewhere in there. That there's a reason, no matter how stupid or small, that she'd do something like this. It can't be . . . No one can be that evil."

The blonde couldn't stop the tears from streaming down his face, and was grateful when Frank stepped forward and held him again, tight to his chest. He just couldn't bring himself to tell Vincent that there was nothng human about Amanda Regal. "Shhh," he said. "It's going to be okay. I swear to you that it's going to be okay. I don't know how long it's going to take, but I know that you're strong, Vincent. Maybe no one else sees that right now, but I know. I know you're strong and I know you're going to make it through this."

Vincent just held tight to him for a minute, not knowing exactly what he should do next. He kept looking up every time he heard footsteps, watching for Richard. His luck, his father was going to send him home with one of his co-workers, and that would be that. No arguing; you're going home where I know you'll be safe from this pain. You won't have to look it right in the eyes and entertain the possibility that it might get away with what it did to you.

He let go of Frank when he finally did see someone, though it wasn't Richard. It was his real father. And he really didn't feel the need to explain to Frank exactly who this was and what he was doing here. Though, to be honest, Vincent didn't exactly know what Dominic was doing here . . . just that he was. He supposed it could be worse. As to how it could be worse, after everything that had happened today – and it wasn't even noon yet – he wasn't sure.

"Vincent." Dominic stopped just before he reached him – a good three feet away – and studied Franklin, debating whether or not to even address the boy.

Vincent just raised his eyebrows, releasing Frank from his embrace. Frank looked toward the courtroom doors.

"Please stay," Vincent said to the black haired boy.

Franklin nodded.

"Father." He didn't like the sound of the word; that name, that title belonged to Richard. Only to Richard. "Dominic."

Dominic winced. "I deserve that," he stated plainly. "I didn't come here to cause trouble, Vi. Hell, I'm not sure why I came; I just felt like I needed to. Just in case. And, please, don't ask 'In case of what?' because I don't know. I honestly don't. But I'm here. That has to mean something. Not much, I know. But something."

"It does." Vincent tried really hard to give his biological father a soft smile. He managed – well, sort of. "Look, you came for support; you're just not sure if I want it. I need it, but will I accept after you abandoned me? Because we both know that's what you did. You were my age; I understand why you ran away." Vincent shook his head. He reached for Franklin's hand – now was as good a time as any for some comfort.

Frank squeezed the blonde's hand and stared at Dominic. He didn't like him; he didn't know why, but there was just something about him that Franklin didn't like, and he couldn't place it.

"Now's not the time to discuss that. Someday, but not soon, Dominic." Vincent looked down the corridor and was more than relieved to see Richard there, looking as if he was waiting patiently for Dominic and Vincent's conversation to end. He was probably thinking to himself that it was best if he stayed away; best not to start yet another pointless argument of blame-shift with the man.

Dominic nodded, almost wanting to just walk away. But that was him, wasn't it? He always ran away when it came to his kids. Well, this one, at least. Dominic turned to leave, but what Vincent said made him stop.

"I'm happy, you know."

The blonde man stopped and waited, bidding his son to go on.

"With Richard, I mean." Vincent shrugged. "I know I said now's not the time to discuss this, but I just want you to know that you didn't make a mistake. I don't believe for one second that you'd ever have been a bad father, but I've grown up enough to see the whole picture. I kind of get it, you know, how you always told me that you only wanted to do what was best for me. You said you were being selfish when you made the decision, but at the same time, you just knew it was right."

Dominic nodded, glaring at the black haired boy beside his son. He saw the young man squeeze Vincent's hand and look at him with love in his eyes. Faggot.

"If you honestly didn't believe that you were a capable parent, then I can't blame you for putting me in Richard's care." Vincent smiled, in spite of himself; in spite of the fact that his eyes were watery and all he wanted to do was cry in someone's arms because of what had happened to him. Concentrating on this just gave him . . . something else to think about. It was almost like all the trauma made him wiser. But that wasn't it . . .

Taking a deep breath, Vincent looked over at Richard and smiled. He glanced over at Dominic and said, "It's what I would have done," before he started toward Richard, that small smile still on his face, Frank behind him, being led by his hand.


Back in the courtroom, Vincent tried so hard to ignore the way Scott, Lorelei, Jeff, and Jillian looked at him, but he couldn't. And on top of that, he wasn't sure exactly why it was that they looked at him like that. Then again . . . he could guess. He sat between Frank, still holding his hand, and Jeff – the others were all on Jeff's side, which was sort of a relief to Vincent.

The trail commenced – the ordeal having been sorted out, Vincent supposed. He didn't know how, because so far as he knew, one of the two who had disrupted the courtroom hadn't been arrested and he was pretty sure they'd both have gotten into some sort of trouble. He knew Kyle had been arrested; maybe no one except for he and Michael, Frank's father, had seen Dominic punch him. They must have thought he merely grabbed him and held him back. Maybe they just didn't care.

Vincent didn't know why, but he found himself ignoring the ongoing of the trial – obscure "witnesses" being questioned about the behavior and all that of both the "victim" and the "suspect" – his attention had instead gone to Jeff. He tried to be discreet about studying the near pissed-off look at Frank's best friend's face; it worked pretty well. Vin just wanted to know what in the world was up with him. The look was different from the one he'd had earlier, when he was still angry about Ed being accused of rape, and it didn't even occur to him to think that it had something to do with him.

A thought came to him, and he almost dismissed it, thinking Naw, Frank and Jeff. Together? Now there's something to laugh – Uh. Wait. Wait. Maybe . . . Just maybe.

Vincent glanced down at Jeff's hand and wondered. In fact, he was wondering so much that Jeff looked over at him and raised an eyebrow. He looked a little put out, at first, but then his expression softened – reasons unknown to Vincent – and he said, "Are you all right?"

The blonde nodded, but kept glancing down at Jeff's hand. Curiously, he put his hand over Jeff's and waited for a reaction, but all Jeff did was say, "I guess not," and squeeze his hand.

He now had a plan.

Pulling Jeff's hand up at the same time as he pulled Frank's up, he placed both sets on his lap, very close to each other.

Franklin looked over at Vincent, almost hurt that the blonde was holding his best friend's hand, and so obviously! What was going on?

Vincent smiled sadly at him and said, "You know, I think it should go more like this." He pulled Jeff's hand over and placed it over his and Franklin's, maneuvering it so that Jeff slipped his fingers between Franklin's and Vincent moved his hand away altogether, not even caring that Frank and Jeff were holding hands over his lap.

Frank blushed, looking over at the blonde he had a crush on with confusion. But he didn't dare pull his hand from Jeff's. He . . . Well, it felt right.

"Does 'more like this' mean me and Jeff . . . together?" he whispered softly enough so that only Vincent would hear.

"Something like that," Vincent replied, smiling. "If you'd ever taken the time to notice, the person who loved you the most was already at your side." He smiled and shrugged his shoulders a little, satisfied that he'd done something great. Mostly, he was satisfied because he hadn't stopped living life just because of what had happened to him.

Maybe Frank was right; maybe he was stronger than he thought.

Vincent took a moment to savor the idea before directing his attention back to the trial; he wasn't so sure he'd be feeling this strong for much longer . . .


Your Author (Jinny . . . woo, go me for actually updating something!): Yeah, I know it's been a really long time since I've updated this. I wonder who'll even bother to read it. (I actually wouldn't blame people for not reading it because of how long it took me to get this up.)

It's sad; I thought I had more of this done, but I don't. O. o I'm actually a bit behind what I thought I'd already accomplished. Damn. Well . . . I guess maybe I just thought it out and didn't write it. I totally thought I had it done. Grroowl. Just wait, I'm going to go check my other stories and . . . Well. Oh, gosh.

Ha. And my mom is ranting and raving. She doesn't even care that I'm playing on her computer; it's like I never walked out on her, like no time has passed and we're like – I don't know – best friends or something. Do you think that maybe she's only being this nice because I got a girl pregnant? I think it made her think that Jade and I are over; that I'm straight.

Please . . .