Keiko stepped into the light, not knowing exactly what was waiting for her. All she wanted was someone to hold, to love, and to never lose. It didn’t matter to her if she wasn’t what everyone wanted to believe was normal, but she couldn’t help what gender she liked. It was just the way she was.
Keiko stood in fear of what was to come, but she didn’t let that fear show. She wouldn’t give them that satisfaction. She looked at the councilmen defiantly, knowing that they had already judged her, even before the inquiry began. She narrowed her eyes, and looked at each one of them with defiance plastered on her face.
“Keiko Sanders, do you deny these charges?” The man in the center spoke, his voice looming over her.
“What charges are there to deny?” Keiko said calmly. “I’m only being the person I was born as. It’s not a crime to be in love.”
“SILENCE!” The councilmen boomed. “I ask you again, do you deny the charges?”
“And I again ask what charges?” Keiko repeated.
“FOOL!” The leader shouted. “Do you DARE to mock our laws? Have you no shame?”
“I am not ashamed of loving a woman,” Keiko retorted coldly. “What is wrong with loving someone of the same sex?”
“It’s not right!” A woman in the crown shouted.
“It’s unholy!” another voice rang out.
“And loving the opposite sex is holy?” Keiko said, whirling on the crowd. “I’m only human, and I can only follow what my heart says. I refuse to bend to the laws of people that fear two women in love. I love Sarah, and I admit to loving her with everything my being is. She is now, and forever will be ingrained into my soul. I love her, and nothing, and I do mean nothing will change that.”
“SILENCE!” the lead councilman raged. “I will not tolerate such insubordination for the laws of our country. You, Keiko Sanders, will be confined to your home for an indefinite period of time. After we’ve discussed this issue further, we will summon you back to pass judgment upon your treachery.”
“Do as you must,” Keiko replied, “but I still stand by my words. I love Sarah, and that will never change.”
Keiko was led out of the city building, and into a police patrol cruiser. They drove her to her apartment in the Seras district, and placed a house arrest bracelet onto her ankle. They changed the locks and left Keiko in her apartment with enough food and toiletries for a month and a half. They’d chosen to place a single guard in the complex, and he would check her apartment daily. One of the chosen guards happened to be a close friend of Keiko, and he’d bring her fast food, and some other things she often liked to have.
“Yuuichiro, thanks again,” Keiko said to her friend. “You’re a true friend.”
“I may be a police officer, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all of the laws.” Yuuichiro said truthfully. “I seriously think the city is taking this thing too far. I can’t begin to think why people are so against this whole thing, and I hate to be on their side, but I can’t let my job go.”
“It’s got nothing to do with you anyway,” Keiko said firmly. “I don’t want you putting me before supporting that family of yours. Tell them I say hi.”
Yuuichiro stood to leave, “Will do,” He said with a wave. “You watch yourself with some of the guys posted over you. Don’t hurt them too much if they try something.”
Keiko laughed softly. “You obviously haven’t seen Mendoza lately. He got a shiner the size of a baseball from my left hook just other day. He made a play, and didn’t take the hint of me not being interested. Paid for that oversight as well.”
Yuuichiro chuckled heartily at that. “I figured he’d be the first to try something. That man’s a sex-a-holic. I’m glad you knocked him down a peg. Too bad not all women are as Amazonian as you with the 5’10” height, and arms that hide the power to lift nearly 200 pounds, and the legs that you so shamelessly flaunt that have the power to set swimming records. I’m sorry that all of this happened while you were making the tryouts for the Olympic team. It’s a shame that you didn’t get the chance to show your stuff. I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ve got you on evening shift. What do you want for dinner tomorrow.”
“I’m making cal zones tonight, so I think some okonomiyaki will suffice.” Keiko replied.
“Well, you have as good a day as you can,” Yuuichiro said comfortingly.
“I’ll do what I can.” Keiko said softly. “Now you get home to your wife and daughter, and tell little Rei to avoid following the path I chose. She looks up to me, and that’s a bad thing now. You take care of them, consider that my final request as your friend.”
“Don’t say things like that,” Yuuichiro said sadly. “I can’t do that anyway.” He sighed forlornly. “She’ll never listen to me when it comes to you, seeing as how I let the council find you out.”
“Tell her that it’s a tip of life from me,” Keiko replied. “I’ll call later, sometime later, so make sure you don’t answer the phone. And keep up the act of I’m only a friend of your wife. I don’t need you getting the axe on my behalf.”
“Yeah, yeah, I hear you.” Yuuichiro said, walking out the door. “You keep yourself from more trouble now. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Yuuichiro closed the door and walked down to his cruiser and passed the keys to his replacement. “Good luck with her, don’t let anything escape your sight.”
“Gotcha Lieutenant,” the officer answered.
“Good,” Yuuichiro said firmly. “I’m going off duty now, and I’m NOT on call so don’t bother me tonight.”
“Right,” the officer answered crisply.
Sarah Harrigan sat in her apartment, staring at the wall. Her eyes were completely red and bloodshot. Tissues were scattered throughout the apartment. She rocked herself on her couch, eyes unmoving from the wall. She let a stifled sob escape her lips, as she rocked back and forth.
“I love you,” she whispered. “I love you so much. Keiko, I’m so sorry. You’re in this and you didn’t tell them who I am. You protected me and I stood there and watched.” Sarah broke down into a new set of sobs. “I … ‘m s … s … sorry.”
Sarah slowly rose to her feet and made her way into her bedroom. She crawled onto the bed and curled into a ball, sobbing until she fell asleep. Her sleep was fitful and restless. She constantly dreamt about Keiko yelling at her for abandoning their love. She was still crying in her sleep, and she was becoming pale from malnutrition. She was awakened by someone pounding on her door.
“W … who’s there?” Sarah croaked, her voice hoarse from her sobbing.
“I knew you were home,” came Yuuichiro’s thick voice. “It’s about damned time you answered this friggin’ door!” He exclaimed as she let him in.
“Yuuichiro?” Sarah said, completely confused. “W … why are you here?”
“I came because you and Keiko need each other,” Yuuichiro said simply. “You’re in here crying yourself to death, and she’s stuck in her apartment moping around like a dead woman. Get cleaned up, pack a weeks worth of clothes and come with me.”
“W … what do you mean?” Sarah asked incredulously. “I … I can’t do anything! I’ve already abandoned Keiko by not standing at her side during the hearing. I can’t face her now.”
“You abandoned nothing,” Yuuichiro claimed. “Keiko was glad that you didn’t come forward. She didn’t want you to get the same sentence and treatment as her. No one suspects you, but she’s lonely and you, apparently, think that she hates you.”
“She has every right to hate me,” Sarah said softly. “I left her to face the council alone. I deserve anything she has to say, or that she does to me.”
“You did no such thing,” Yuuichiro growled. “You don’t deserve anything but the freedom to do as you please with the person you love. The city, nor the state, hell even the country have no right to say who you can or can’t be in love with. Screw my job, screw the law, and screw the council. I’m getting you two out of this, and back together. Now wash your face, grab some clean clothes, and help me get you ready for a long road trip.”
“Yuuichiro --” Sarah began.
“Yuuichiro nothing,” Yuuichiro said commandingly. “Now go! Hurry it up too!”
“Alright,” Sarah sighed. “It never was easy to argue with you. I guess that’s why Keiko and I trust you and your family so much.”
“Mushy stuff later,” Yuuichiro replied. “We can do all the hugs and good byes when we get you and Keiko out of this mess. I’ve got the keys to the anklet, and my friends in the lab are going to overlook the two minutes that it’s going to be deactivated. A friend of mine has gotten a car and it’s now in your name. Use it to take yourselves as far from the city as possible.”
“Yuuichiro,” Sarah said, her face clean and less red, “thank you. You’re a really good friend. We don’t deserve to call you that.”
“This is what friends do,” Yuuichiro replied. “And not just because of the friendship, because it’s right.”
“You are a wonderful person,” Sarah said, kissing him on the cheek. “I’m ready.” She slung a knapsack over her left shoulder. It was filled with a weeks worth of clothes, her personal toiletries and a small stash of money.
“Here,” Yuuichiro pulled a wad of cash out and handed it to her. “This is from everyone that supports you two and the belief that we’re free to love anyone we choose to.”
Sarah stared at the money with a slack jaw. “I … I can’t --”.
“Yes you can,” Yuuichiro said as he shoved it into her knapsack. “The two of you deserve this.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Sarah said dumbly. “I can’t thank you enough. And I still don’t know how you’re going to get Keiko out of there without getting caught yourself.”
“It’s my shift in an hour, and I’ve got the rear of the building set up to where she can get away without getting seen.” Yuuichiro explained. “You’re going to be waiting in the park a few blocks down. The car’s there, you’ll know it when you hit the unlock button on this key ring.”
Sarah took the keys from him. “Thanks again,” She said happily. “I’m going to repay you for this one day. I’ll make sure of it.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Yuuichiro waved her off. “Do what you will, as long as you get out of here. I also advise the two of you to change your hair color and styles. Might even want to go as far as to buy colored contacts or something.”
“Will do,” Sarah said, following Yuuichiro to his car. “You going to drop me off at the park?”
“Yeah, then I’ll go to the station and get started,” Yuuichiro replied.
“I guess this is our last good bye for some time,” Sarah said sadly. “I won’t be able to even say good bye to Rei and your wife.”
“They know that you’ll send word to us later,” Yuuichiro reassured her. “We’ll expect your word after a few weeks, and under new names too.”
“Yeah,” Sarah replied, wiping a tear form her eye. “I’m going to miss the three of you.”
“I’ll miss the two of you just as much,” Yuuichiro replied softly. “You made things interesting for all of us. Just remember to take care of yourself.”
“I will,” Sarah replied firmly. “I’ll make sure that we’ll see one another in the future. Unless you get yourself shot on duty. I want you to be careful too. Don’t leave Rei and Charla alone. That’s a request from a close friend. You hear me?”
“Loud and clear,” Yuuichiro chuckled in replied. “Here’s the place.” Yuuichiro said as he pulled the car into a recreational parking area. “You remember to write us when you’re clear.”
“I will,” Sarah nodded. “Tell Rei and Charla we’re sorry for the trouble.”
“It wasn’t any trouble,” Yuuichiro answered through the open window. “Good bye Sarah!”
“Good bye Yuuichiro,” Sarah waved at the departing car.