“Judge Celestrium is going to be overseeing your trial, Ferro. She’s 70 years old, and a former Cleric,” Ferro’s uncle Morio shakes his head, “You couldn’t have gotten more of a prude.”
“Should we consider calling a jury instead?” Ferro asks.
“No Ferro, juries hang anomalies...” Ferro knew their uncle practiced law in the big city. But they were surprised when he came all the way down to defend Ferro for free. “This trial is mostly to judge your character. It’s how the state determines if your sexuality is a danger to its people.” Morio continues, “We’re gonna need people you haven’t had sex with as character witnesses to prove it isn’t all you care about, Ferro. Go ahead and list out as many positive non-sexual relationships you can think of.”
Ferro freezes up for a long time, thinking, “I’m guessing people I’ve only blown don’t count for this?”
“Come on Ferro, any friends? Business partners?” Their uncle asks.
“I uhh, usually perform business at arm's length…” Ferro tries to break the desperate tension with a joke, “I suppose it’s too late to have aunt Tawny testify?”
Their uncle is silent a moment, before finally asking. “Why weren’t you at my sister’s funeral, Ferro?”
“I didn’t know she died,”
Their uncle rubbed his eyes, “I was worried that was the case. I gave your parents your address, hoping they would bury the hatchet before the funeral. Figured it’s what Tawny would have wanted...”.
“I- I saw her… After she died. I know it’s crazy, but she opened the door to the Driftwood. It had to be her!” Ferro exclaimed.
Ferro’s uncle put down his notepad, “Ferro, this is your uncle talking, not your legal representative. Are you doing okay?”
“Well, I have no friends, I’m seeing ghosts, and my parents don’t love me. So yeah, everything's normal other than the ghosts,” Ferro replies darkly.
“I usually don’t say this to my clients, Ferro. But your situation is… Grim. I might be able to get you out of prison. But without a proper character witness, there's little chance you’ll get out of chemical castration.” Morio gets up to leave, “It’s maybe worth coming to terms with that now…”
“...And what did he do after you told him you loved him,” The slimy prosecutor asked Radium.
“Well, they uhh, forgot my name…” Radium said with a grimace, and the court assembly stared daggers at Ferro.
The trial was going about as horribly as expected. And Ferro was strapped to the accused seat, forced to witness it all without a sound. Not even to correct the rampant misgendering. In truth, it was Ferro’s uncle's fault, though not directly. He introduced Ferro as “Ferro, formerly Ferro, son of Muntz,” which was technically accurate.
“That’s all we need to hear from this witness, your honor,” The prosecution rests, but Radium tries to get a few words in as he is dragged away.
“I think they do love me though, they were just in the middle of some-” That’s all he got to say before being thrown out.
Well at least he tried. Ferro wondered if Radium would visit them in prison, though without sex, what they had would doubtlessly wither and die...
“It’s time for the defense’s witness to come to the stand, I believe,” The judge says, and the doors on the side of the court open. Ferro bites their tongue as he walks out, their eyes welling up with tears as they try their best not to scream. “Please tell us your name and relation to the accused.”
“My name is Sterling, son of Gallium.” What was their uncle doing! Ferro wanted to cry and yell, but just kept sitting quietly in their box. “I’m Ferro’s ex boyfriend,” That line caused murmurs to spread across the assembly.
The prosecution started his questions right away, “Ex boyfriend huh, what caused the end of your relationship with the man in question?”
“Person please, Ferro is nonbinary. And well, they cheated,” Sterling’s voice was quickly drowned out by the assembly’s uproar. The judge banged her gavel, trying to regain order. Seeing how this trial was going, Ferro was thankful that the death penalty was abolished a few years back.
Trying to push his advantage, the prosecution asks, “And how long was this infidelity hidden from you?”
“It wasn’t hidden, Ferro was so guilt ridden they told me right after it happened.” Sterling seemed conflicted, “I kicked them out afterwards... I was angry, but that was wrong of me… Ferro really needed someone to help them, I-”
“You should stop, the court doesn’t need your own dilemmas!” The prosecution barks, but is overruled.
“You have my permission to speak freely, Sterling.” Says the judge.
And Sterling does speak freely, “I think that Ferro has a tendency to do things that end up hurting them. Especially when it comes to sex. It’s a shame, really... If they had the libido of a normal person, they would have been a great partner…”
Unable to hold back anymore, Ferro starts to bawl. Trying not to make sounds, to keep face by wiping away tears that won’t stop coming. They were a complete mess, and that wasn’t allowed, but the judge seemed to ignore them.
“I’m ready to hear closing statements,” The judge exclaims.
Ferro’s uncle starts first, as the defense. “Your honor, Celestrium, we have seen that even those wronged by Ferro, still hold affection for them. They are more the victim of their sexuality than anyone else. They’re in their own prison already. One that stops them from ever living a good life.”
The prosecution followed, “The accused is an expert at manipulating those around him. Consider that the only men who came to his defense, were ones he had already bedded. Who gave him the only thing he wants. He is a sex obsessed boy-”
Sterling was growing angry as the prosecutor spoke, and finally burst out yelling, “They aren’t a boy!”
The judge bangs her gavel. But the prosecution snaps back before she has a chance to speak, “This is my time! And anyone with eyes and a head not filled with nonsense can clearly see he’s a boy!”
Judge Celestrium finally regains control of the room, “Bailiffs, please show Sterling back to the waiting area. And prosecutor Nisil, please refrain from airing your personal political views in my courtroom,” The prosecution apologizes, and the room goes silent as the judge delivers her final verdict.
“It has been proven beyond any doubt that the accused is guilty of sexual deviancy. However, the affection of those hurt by their deviancy is something I can’t ignore. People like Ferro don’t deserve to be excised from our society, rather reintegrated. In lue of castration, they will be medicated to lower, but not eradicate their libido. In addition, I sentenced them to three months of reintegration therapy.”
Ferro couldn’t believe it, and they still couldn’t when they were in the back rooms celebrating with their uncle. “I don’t know how you did it, but thank you, uncle Morio!”
“Yeah, haha, I was looking for any advantage we could get. Learned that the judge had a nonbinary grandchild. It’s the flimsiest thing I’ve ever gambled a case on, to be honest!” Their uncle seemed more relieved than excited.
“Hey, uncle…” He had done so much for them already, Ferro was nervous to ask more, “Would it be possible for me to talk to Sterling tonight?”
Their uncle looks at them with more understanding than they expected, “Sure kid, I’ll see what I can do…”
Ferro had some time to think of what they’d say to Sterling, as their uncle went to fetch him. But all of that planning disappeared the moment he came through those doors. They burst into tears immediately, “I’m so sorry, Sterling!”
Sterling pulls Ferro into a hug to stop their crying. And it did. They felt a familiar comfort they had forgotten. And then they said this… “Please… Please take me back, Sterling. My life has been so awful since I left!”
Sterling awkwardly side-eyes Ferro’s uncle, who gives them a little privacy. “Ferro, it’s true I still love you… But I’m with someone else now…”
“Ohh…” That tiny pitiful sound was all Ferro could say to try to ease the awkwardness.
“I meant everything I said in there,” Sterling broke the hug and began walking away, “Please, try to take care of yourself, Ferro,”
Ferro looked down at their feet, unable to bear the sight of Sterling leaving their life again, “I’ll try…” Ferro closed their eyes, “I promise I really will this time…”