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The courtroom was almost full when they arrived. A few people quietly jockeyed around so the five of them could sit together. Even though the proceeding hadn't yet started, most of the crowd spoke in hushed tones.

Skye sat and nervously looked around the room. Almost everyone from the mountain was here. Only a few of the men necessary for keeping watch were missing. She said hello to her friends who were close enough to hear her and tipped her head to those further away.

Skye spotted Frankie in the front row, squashed between two of Tom's deputies. He was on the schedule to testify today, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere. His emotions were plain to see as he craned his neck to see Jesse and Sue Ellen. Skye had to admit that she felt sorry for the mess he'd made of his life even before she saw him wipe the tears from his face.

When his gaze drifted her way, she ducked her head, looking at the floor. If she met his gaze, what would he ask for? She had enough on her plate today without dealing with him.

But then she heard Jesse. "Mom?"

Skye looked at her son, knowing what he wanted. He'd spoken to his father, but Sue Ellen hadn't. Skye wasn't even sure that, before this morning, Frankie knew she was in town. Jesse's brown eyes pleaded with her, then Sue Ellen added her blue ones. While she could have easily said no their father, she couldn't say no to them.

With a small internal groan, Skye said, "Just 'til it starts." When the two scrambled out of their seats, she warned, "Slowly."

Dylan put his arm around her as she watched them walk toward their father. The reunion played out for all to see. Frankie beamed as he pulled one of Sue Ellen's curls, then released it, letting it bounce back up. He took one of her little hands and pulled her to him, giving her a long hug as tears continued to run down his face.

Frankie's attention then turned to Jesse. He held his arms out to the boy, letting Jesse decide if he wanted the affection. Jesse looked taken aback, and Skye wondered how long it'd been since Frankie had offered him a hug. After some hesitation, Jesse moved toward his father. He stayed close for only a few seconds, looking uncomfortable with the close contact, before backing away.

But it was a move in the right direction for them to heal their relationship. As much as Skye, the mother, wanted to keep Jesse far away from Frankie, Skye, the physiologist, knew that if Frankie was willing to straighten his life, then working on their relationship was the right thing to do.

The kids hurried back to their seats as the judge sat down at his desk. Skye eyed Jesse, and he smiled, letting her know he was okay. She ran a hand through his coarse hair as he settled in his seat.

"Sue Ellen?" Skye asked.

The girl nodded, her eyes bright. Clearly, she was happy to have seen her dad. "Thank you, ma'am."

Since the chairs were arranged to face the back of the room, the front door was behind them. There was a little rattle from the panes of glass in the door before it opened, and everyone instantly went silent.

Tom led the way with Calvin, Pete, and Tony behind him. Aaron brought up the rear, his dark complexion showing off the bright blue of his police shirt. His clothing contrasted with the orange jumpsuits the three prisoners wore, lending a false cheerfulness to the somber day. The prisoners were all handcuffed and chained together. Tom was taking no chances, he didn't want any ideas of escape today.

Calvin looked around the courtroom as he walked in, acting just as confident as the first day Skye had seen him. Pete's eyes were glued to the floor, while Tony scanned the crowd. The instant he saw Jesse, he locked on him, and as Tony moved across the room, his eyes were trained on the boy.

Skye could not stop the shiver that worked its way up her spine as she glanced from Tony to Jesse. Her hope that the boy hadn't noticed was dashed as she looked at him. Jesse sat ramrod straight, looking back at Tony with wide, but defiant eyes. When he leaned in against Skye, she put her arm around him.

Even as Tony sat, he kept his head turned toward Jesse. Skye switched seats with Jesse, putting him between her and Dylan, then sat forward on her chair to block the man's view. Once Tony could no longer see him, Jesse sunk his head in Dylan's chest as he quivered.

Skye could imagine all the memories that flooded back to Jesse and was grateful to Dylan as he wrapped his arms around Jesse. His big hand engulfing the back of his head as he held him close.

"I got ya," he said to Jesse.

Jesse nodded, clenching Dylan's shirt until he got control of himself. When he did, Jesse raised his head and looking at Dylan said, "You won't let nothin' bad happen, right?"

"That's right. Me 'n Wade, we've got it covered," Dylan said as he patted his pocket. Giving Dylan a sharp look, she decided she wasn't going to ask any questions. Instead, she watched Wade reached over to thump the boy on the back. After that, Jesse seemed satisfied enough to settle back in his seat.

The gavel sounded, and Judge Munson ordered all eyes to the front as he outlined how the day would go. He would call up each witness and let them tell their story. If the judge felt there needed to be a clarification, he would ask for one. Calvin, who was representing the three of them, was also allowed to as for an explanation, but he had to do so through the judge.

For the most part, the morning went smoothly for Skye's side of the case. She really couldn't see what Calvin was doing for his side other than the satisfaction of hearing himself talk. Wade, Dylan and even Frankie had testified, so that Jesse could avoid doing so. As each witness finished, Skye was aware her turn was getting closer, and the dark pit in the bottom of her stomach grew larger. By the time it was her turn, she was grasping Dylan's hand so tightly she wouldn't have been surprised if it was numb.

As Judge Munson called Skye's name, a tremble went through her. She had far more to do than just tell her story. She needed to trick Calvin into confessing to murder.

A/N: Once again, I have to thank you all! For the past two days, Sanctuary has been No. 1 on the Science Fiction Hot List! Something I never dreamed would happen when I started out at the bottom at the over 6,000 book pile. I really cannot thank you all enough for your interest in our little group and their story as well as your dedication in being part of the over 65,000 reads!

I hope the development of this story, with all the twists, turns, and discoveries, will be a nice enjoyable reward for you. :)

I hope you liked this first chapter in a little court drama. It is an important piece of their little world as they try to figure out how one carries on when they aren't sure how much of the government is left.

If you enjoyed the chapter, please press the little star below. :) 

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