"Has the jury reached a verdict?"
"We have, your honor."
"What say you?"
"On the charge of high treason, we find the defendant... not guilty. On the charge of constructive fraud, we find the defendant guilty."
"Lucien Smith, this court sentences you to five years in prison without possibility of parole, to be carried out immediately. The court thanks the jury for its service. You are now dismissed. Bailiff, please remand the prisoner to the custody of the federal penitentiary. Court is now adjourned." The judge banged his gavel, stepped down from the bench, and exited through the door behind his bench.
Lucien and his lawyer stood, and the bailiff cuffed the former. "Can I have a moment?" the prisoner asked.
"Just a minute."
He turned to Charlotte, and forced a wan smile. "Well, I hope this makes up for beating you on that deal, a few years ago."
She couldn't smile, could barely keep her eyes from welling up. Still, she tried to play along with the joke. "Well, it's not like you needed it, after all. Seems like you were getting more than enough business, old friend."
"Heh. Yeah. But then, you haven't done so bad for yourself, either."
"Considering my client base was rather more limited in scope than yours, I'd say not. ...Oh, Lucien! This isn't fair! We all know you're a hero! the STUs won the war because of you, no one has any doubt of that."
His smile became a bit warmer. "Hey, and I think that played no small part in my beating the main charge."
"Yes, but five years is such a long time..."
He couldn't help outright grinning at that. "Trust me, it's no time at all. I'll hardly notice it. Anyway, we've gone longer than that without crossing paths before..."
"Yes, but... this time... I mean it's already been three years since last time, and now... oh, our encounters are always so brief, but... at least before there's always been the possibility... of seeing each other more often."
"We can write each other. If you think you'll miss me that much. I don't think I'll be allowed visitors, but... *sigh* You know, old friend... I didn't really think you cared."
"You know I did, Lucien! I just..." she trailed off.
After a moment, he said, "I know."
Neither of them could think of more to say, which was just as well, as they'd already exceeded Lucien's minute. It was time for him to go.
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