Trial and Triumph


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Special Guest Stars (Shades Thereof):

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Scene Title Trial and Triumph
Synopsis Peyton finds herself in a court of nightmare but is given the strength by two strong women in her life in Faye and Cat allowing her to break free.
Date January 30, 2010

Peyton's Apartment

"Order! Order in the Court!" a female voice calls out, smacking the table with the end of a pistol. The voice seems familiar, the face as well, but there's something shadowed about her. Details don't mesh right. The figure is too tall, too looming. But there's a black bird sitting on one shoulder, cleaning feathers on it's wing, that might denote the identity of the shadowed woman.

The background buzzing fades away, and so does the haze, allowing the room to form and gain an appearance. A courthouse. A jury of tweleve sit off to the side, all vaguely familiar, and all blindfolded. The defendant sits, alone, behind a table that's encrested with gold. She'd not been there a moment ago—

The entire place hadn't been there a moment ago.

"What are the charges?" the judge asks, looking down from her high up perch, gray eyes breaking through the shadow of a cowl. She's dressed more like the grim reaper than a judge.

"The charges are selfishness, your honor," a new voice speaks up, a masculine voice, as the man sitting in the opposite side straightens from his chair. Not tall, the man has a distinct form and appearance. The balding head, the piercing eyes… She's seen him. She's seen through his eyes. "This girl has been spoiled her entire life. She disregards the feelings of others in favor of herself. To even put this before a jury is a farce. The verdict is obvious, and I think the punishment should be swift. She deserves no less."

Finding herself in handcuffs, Peyton stares down at her shackled wrists in confusion and terror. "What… I …" she's in pajamas, for God's sake! She peers around the courthouse, squinting and trying to figure out the faces behind the blindfolds. They all seem familiar — people she knows, but they're too far away and too shadowy to be sure. Strange, as the last "trial" she sat on, only she and Danko were blindfolded, and for different reasons. "I am //not!" she protests, finding her voice, but not liking the fact she sounds like a petulant child, which might make the case against her all the more pointed.

"This is a court! Where's my lawyer? I demand a lawyer… Eileen — you know I've tried to help! Why are you listening to him?"

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she remembers that there is something she is supposed to do — but she can't remember what it is.

She was asked to look in on Peyton in someone's absence, a request Cat now comes to honor. Not that she needed to be asked, having her own tendency to look in on Miss Whitney and to not let the younger woman overtax herself regarding Mr. Danko. To follow up her exhortation not to let that man rule her life with fear.

Knowing also Peyton has been a target of the entity which invades dreams, and potentially a target again, she crosses the pathway provided by Hokuto to enter this sleeping mind. No move to draw attention on herself, other than entering at the back of the courtroom, is taken right away. Best to get a feel for the situation first. But it doesn't take long.

She causes herself to appear with hair pinned up neatly off her collar, clad in a Brooks Brothers business suit. Light gray jacket, white blouse, gray skirt, dark heels. Cat's journey up the center aisle is take with purpose, confidence and calm being exuded. At her side walks a panther with shiny black fur and a snarl on her lips. The feline jumps up on the table and growls at the judge, then faces the prosecutor. One paw, claws extended, makes a swiping motion in his direction.

Cat herself sits at the defense table, smoothing skirt behind her, and speaks. "Doctor Chesterfield for the defense."

The appearance of the panther ruffles some feathers immediately. The bird of the judge's shoulder flaps wings, but doesn't take off, feathers sticking up and wings remaining in a ready to fight or fly. "No felines in the court room," the shade of Eileen snaps, gray eyes shining through again as she glares from behind thick shadows. "But now that your advocate has arrived…" there's a mutter around, voices that seem to buzz from empty seats behind them. An invisible and unseen audience.

The pistol is sat down, no longer held like a makeshift hammer, as she pulls her arms back and folds them. The bird keeps hopping around on her shoulder, which seems to be much longer than her tiny form should be capable of. The perspective is off, making her a giant in a court room of small people.

"This thing can't even defend herself," the nicely dressed prosecutor balks. "Very well, I call my first witness. First witness!"

A young man stands up from behind them, walking forward and turning to face the young woman in shackles. He's familiar. She does not know his name, but she's seen him in very compromising positions… Danko's boyfriend.

"Witness, what has the defendant done to you, just recently?"

"She spied on me through the eyes of someone I care for, seeing me in intimate positions. What she's done horrifies me, makes me feel used." The young man, well built, good looking, looks absolutely victimized.

"I would like to submit this as evidence," the man says, and suddenly a television screen seems to appear out of nowhere, showing, in stark detail what the girl had used her ability to spy on. "How do you think Miss Whitney would feel if someone had used the same ability to spy on her sex life?"

Peyton frowns as she turns to see Cat and a cat are her lawyers. "Th-thanks for coming," she manages out, though she does give the panther a skeptical glance. But then the witness is being called and she turns to see the man she doesn't know at all but through Danko's eyes. "To protect myself!" she hisses to Cat, though it's loud enough to be heard throughout the court room. "To protect all of us — Eileen too! And it's not like my sex life hasn't been plastered all on the tabloids! I wasn't doing it to be selfish! I was just trying to be sure he wasn't coming for me, or for any of my friends. Why am I here?" Tears prick her dark eyes. "It's not a crime! I didn't hurt anyone!"

The panther shifts, aiming itself at the judge's bench, and leaps across the distance between that and the defense table. She lands easily on her feet, bare millimeters from the judge's bird, and swipes at it with a paw. It's a very clear attempt to swat the avian away out of hand, without even looking at it, as she focuses on the judge. Her voice is a growling version of Cat's own. "No felines in the courtroom? Really? You're not scared, are you, pussy? I'm not going anywhere." Then she roars in the judge's face.

Cat, seated at the defense table, eyes the man who spoke of what he and Danko do in private, then the displayed encounter of the same. "Oh, please, judge," she intones in a mildly bored voice, "that's not selfish. That she would endure witnessing the sight of these two men naked for a fraction of a second is entirely selfless. A sacrifice endured for the benefit of others."

"Judge Pussy," Cat adds with a yawn a few seconds later, "I move you go directly to hell and save us all the time of sending you there."

"If you must speak here, you will refer to me as 'your honor' or I will hold you in contempt of court," the judge bristles, the crow on her shoulder cawwing in accent to the words said.

"But was it for the benifit of others, your honor?" Danko speaks up, some things suddenly seeming to disappear from the dream. The television, the poor defenseless boyfriend. "Or was it mostly out of fear of what would happen to her?" He gives the roaring feline a wide birth as he moves around to face Peyton, chained as she is.

"I would like to recall November the eleventh, your honor," he says, but all that fills the room is a buzzing of sounds. "Is it true that they did not trust you to have a voice— or even to witness the event through your own eyes? You were forced to wear a blindfold, treated no better than the man they were putting on trial. They did not think you deserved to look upon their faces."

"How do you know? You were blindfolded, too!" Peyton protests, apparently not following the decorum of a court — as this court seems to be nonconventional one anyway. "And that was to protect their identities. I did it willingly and I chose not to use my power — it would have been selfish to use my power when I was blindfolded, but I didn't!"

Still, Peyton's brows furrow, and her eyes grow wet as he reminds her of the way it felt that night, to sit blind and seemingly alone except for Cat's voice in her ear now and then — much like now. She shivers with the memory, of hearing Danko's voice and his threat to find the "little girls" who testified against him and kill them.

"Oh, please," the panther replies when the judge admonishes her to use proper titles, "you're no judge, pussy. You being here is in contempt of me." The beast laughs, the sound a version of Cat's own voice with inhuman adaptations to fit the form. Then the laughter stops and she roars at the apparent judge, just millimeters away from her face, before jumping down and padding over to menace the representation of Danko.

At the defense table, Cat is unflappable. She doesn't glance at the judge, or at Danko. Eyes are on Peyton, and Peyton alone. "The first step here, you see, is to assert yourself. Refuse to answer their questions. Focus your will, concentrate, and snap the handcuffs, Peyton Whitney. I know you can do it. Danko and Bill tried to hold you captive before, and you escaped. Remember that. Apply the same spirit and free your hands, woman."

The grim reaper that is Eileen sits back in her seat, folding her hands that look tiny in comparison to the size of her body. The form doesn't vanish, but is sinking back into the shadows that cover and guard her face, even if her identity has been made obvious.

The lawyer speaking against her backs away a few steps, trying to stay at a distance, and even showing his teeth in a growl as he backs away, like a small hairless dog trying to stand down a much larger cat. "I'll just ask the defendant one thing, then. If the counsel will allow," he snarls at the unflappable lawyer, before turning peircing eyes on Peyton.

"What reasons do you have to keep living in this world?"

Peyton's eyes fix on Cat's and she nods, chewing her lower lip as she is wont to do when she is nervous. She glances down at her handcuffs and seems to concentrate on them, pulling her wrists apart as far as they will allow. The metal seems to cut into her skin, and she gives a cry of pain — which is then compounded by Danko's voice, insinuating sinisterly that her life is worthless, pointless. "I don't have to have a reason," she says, more to herself than him. "It's my right to live, and it's not your right to take it away from me."

With that, Peyton snaps the handcuffs in two.

"Now you have the start down, Peyton," Cat tells her in a congratulatory tone. Then she shifts, taking the shape of Eleanor Roosevelt. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And just like that, she's Cat again. "The psyche has different parts. There's you, there's the parts of yourself that you detest, and there's your best features. What you like in yourself." She nods at the panther which stalks after Danko. "Do you like my jungle cat? The parts you like best about yourself, you can make them manifest in some way that makes sense, that comforts and strengthens you. It's called the Avatar."

"Now, you see, the parts you hate about yourself have been hijacked by the Nightmare Pussy. The Nightmare Pussy is lame and pathetic. It has no body of its own, can't walk and talk in the waking world, Can't enjoy a human touch, can't eat or drink or any of that. The only way it can get its rocks off is to torture people and try to make them commit suicide while they sleep."

"So call out your avatar, Peyton. Tell the judge and Danko here they can go to hell."

"I… I don't… know," Peyton says uncertainly, but even as she speaks, a third brunette, an inch or so shorter than the other two women but in her mid thirties emerges behind the tearful clairvoyant. Feeling her mother — her birth mother — behind her, Peyton lifts her chin, mustering her courage from that she senses the other woman possesses in abundance.

"I am not selfish. I do good things, and I don't deserve to be afraid of you," the defendant says loudly, no stammer in her voice. In what might be otherwise an amusing parody of a movie from her childhood, she adds, "You have no power over me."

With that, the court room fades, and with it, all the spectres of the jurors, the judge that-is-and-that-isn't-Eileen, her lawyer and the strange second chair panther beside her. Last to fade is Danko, laughing as he goes, but fading nonetheless into darkness.

Peyton wakes in her room, apparently never having stirred from her bed. Her heart is beating, but rather than feeling terrified, she feels exhilarated, awake and ready to face the day — Danko is merely a goblin that is less scary by daylight.

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