TG Universes & Series:
I try to research as much as possible but I can't research every single minutia and variable. I'm not a professional anything, I just try to write. Some things are learned firsthand, others are learned through hours of research. Please, I am already feeling like garbage as it is. Please give me the benefit of the doubt when second-guessing something someone may or may not have done.
At the courthouse the lawyer trio went right into their legal stance as they prepared Justin and Sydney for the slew of insults and accusations to be thrown at them by Moe, Larry, and Joe Stoner's lawyer team. Sydney was ready, it wasn't anything that she hadn't heard before and they had never met her so they didn't know her as a person making their insults all the worse. Justin knew that no matter what was provided in support of him that his brothers would try to make him out to be a bad person, it was what they always did and it was their only defense.
If that didn't work out, his brothers would resort to violence. They weren't afraid to beat someone into submission to get what they wanted, but being in court could curb that action. It would only be temporary, but it would be enough to let them get restraining orders against the trio before they came at them in retaliation.
Justin pointed out his three older brothers as well as his sisters-in-law. All three were balding or completely bald, heavily tanned, and looked like they had spent too much time at the bar based on their paunches. They still had their large, muscular arms which did show that they still performed their normal workouts but not as intently due to the obvious paunches.
Justin just shook his head at the others with them, they were desperate enough to bring political help. Two town managers and two county assemblymen were there in a vain attempt to make it seem like they were pillars of the community when none of his brothers actually worked as their wives' families were rich and powerful. Justin had his suspicions about what they actually did for a living, which was right in line with how they had always acted dating back to their childhoods.
Ricardo had seen this play before, and it failed badly each time. He wasn't going to let them intimidate him as they thought they would. Judge Perez didn't take kindly to people who had never seen nor met the child try to force their influence over a child. She would ensure they had a nasty surprise, if they expected her to bow to their threats they'd enjoy some time at Nashua Street Jail courtesy of Suffolk County.
Out of the corner of his eye Ricardo spotted Kennedy Pena and Angela Victor, accompanied by Miles Finn holding a briefcase. The trio being there caused him to grin, if they were there then there was a big investigation going on that involved one or more of the people there that could either include one of the Stoners or one or more of the elected officials they brought along with them. The trio simply nodded to the group while keeping out of the line of sight of the Barnstable group.
Ricardo could only grin as he slyly told the others, specifically Justin and Sydney, "as soon as they open their mouths they will be setting themselves up for trouble. This is on record and can be subpoenaed by Kennedy and Angela as it pertains to them. If my hunch is right, Miles has found a link to some money transactions that involved the Stoners and your in-laws that was linked to the councilors and assemblymen with them. This is your first time seeing him work, but that young man is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. What you saw as a teacher was nothing compared with what he can do with a subpoena, accounting information, and a chip on his shoulder."
Sydney just smiled as she tried hard to not stare at the trio. Miles nodded to her to keep quiet and not take notice which she fought hard to listen to. He was one of the few whom she listened to intently, he had kept her big secret from everyone and if he needed her to keep quiet then she wouldn't say a word.
The group was led inside with the Stoners and their group going in first. Miles, Angela, and Kennedy came in after them, keeping to the back and covered by Judge Perez entering with the clerk having alerted her that they were there and to not make note on record their presence until after proceedings started. Miles sent a note to her that if asked, they were there as witnesses on behalf of Sydney and Justin as Miles and Kennedy knew Justin and Sydney through school and home life and could attest to his personality, her personality, and her ability to be cared for by Justin.
Judge Perez didn't bat an eye and kept all attention on her with her commanding presence. She called the court to order and had everyone in court administered the oath binding them to their words under penalty of perjury. She was no fool, she was giving them slack to hang themselves by their own words with the trio in the back getting what they would need through her own perfectly and ethically legal manipulation of events in the courtroom.
Judge Perez was to the point and asked for the particulars of the case. Her clerk read "the family of one Jackson Stoner are suing for custody of one Sydney Powers on the basis of Justin Stoner, the next of kin and the person whom DCF has awarded Sydney's custody to, is unfit. The Stoners allege that he is a sexual deviant, has no experience dealing with children Sydney's age, and is unable to care for her as he is a full time teacher. They claim that due to his being single he will sexual assault Sydney and try to bring Sydney into a life of poverty and depravity."
Judge Perez asked for the counter-claim. The clerk stated "after meeting with the family previously, DCF has found that the Stoner family is unsuited to be Sydney's guardians due to previous acts of abuse by Sydney's grandparents towards Justin Stoner. They state that the family has ignored Sydney and Sydney's deceased mother for 14 years and only upon learning that Sydney was being granted to Justin Stoner did they try to sue for custody. Sydney has never met any member of the family except Justin Stoner and has expressed a desire to remain in his care."
Judge Perez hid her smirk, if DCF was putting Sydney with Justin then it was a done deal in their eyes. She asked who the DCF contact was, being told "Mrs. Chloe Daniels, with an addendum by Mark Sylvester and Anne Connors as both have previously met Sydney and Justin." Judge Perez had to hide her smirk again, the Stoners and their lawyers had no idea who those people were but if Mark and Anne were supporting Chloe's finding and had a preexisting relationship with Justin and Sydney then there was no fight.
Judge Perez had the Stoner brothers state who they were and what their jobs were. One by one Moe, Larry, and Joe stated their names and their employment, with each being an assistant or personal assistant to their father-in-law. She then asked about their educations, getting the same "bachelor or arts" response from two while the third stated "associate of the arts."
She asked about their wives' jobs. Each of the in-laws told her that they had no jobs and that they were stay-at-home moms. That wasn't so bad, but coupled with their husbands there was nobody working which was, in her eyes, a sign that they were spoiled, uninspired, and greedy.
Justin was asked about his employment and educational history. He was proud to point out "I earned my AA in English Literature from Cape Cod Community College while working as a gas station attendant. I moved on to UMass-Dartmouth where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English while working in the bookstore and library. I spent two years saving up for graduate school by working as a librarian at UMass-Boston before earning my Master's Degree in English. I spent part of that time earning my license to teach high school English before earning a job at Winnisimmet High School where I have worked full time, I am currently in my fifth year with the school."
She nodded at hearing that. He was highly educated, working hard during his time away from the family. She was starting to see that he was the black sheep of the family for bettering himself while his brothers were feasting on the hard work of others.
She grinned as she asked the Stoners "how do you support yourselves? I understand you are employed by your in-laws but what exactly is your job? You said assistant and personal assistant, do you work in an office? Do you help them plan meetings and other work? What exactly do you do?"
There was a collective look of disbelief on their faces. She had called their bluffs. They have to answer her questions honestly or open themselves up to investigation by the state. They struggled while looking at their wives for help as this was something they never considered anyone daring to ask them.
She encouraged them to answer, leading to Moe saying "I do whatever my father-in-law asks of me." Larry added "I visit the locations he tells me to visit and speak with whomever he wants me to speak with regarding whatever it is that he is working on at the time." Joe added "I organize his day planner and arrange his meetings, letting him know who wants to speak with him and finding out who can't be allowed to contact him at the time."
She had them now. Their jobs were so vague that they were almost non-existent and wouldn't hold up under close scrutiny. They sounded more like job descriptions of hired thugs than actual assistants, which explained Kennedy's group's presence to her but also went to show her that they were a danger to Sydney's safety.
Their wives were no better, they had no idea what their husbands actually did for a living. Two of them were concerned as their husbands looked angry at having to explain to Judge Perez what they actually did for a living and were shocked when they realized that it wasn't the job they had told them about doing in the past. Their supporters looked like they were not happy at Judge Perez but she knew it was all because they were going to be left open for attack by the state for corruption or worse crimes.
Seeing her chance, the supporters for the Stoners were asked who they were and why they were there. The men touted the three brothers as being great fathers and pillars of the community yet when asked about their children none of them knew the first thing about their kids. They were asked about their own connection to them outside of being their elected public officials, getting looks of anger at her daring to ask them that question to which she demanded an answer, leading them to state that the Stoners were donors to their campaigns and had been for several years.
Judge Perez then asked about Justin's connection to them, getting a sneer from the men, all seven of them. She sensed a lot of hostility but when asked they all tried to paint him as someone who stole their brother's girlfriend and raped her before she could leave him for the man she loved. She asked why they didn't go to the police with that accusation leading the men to hem and haw to which stated "so you have made a major accusation of rape that by my calculations is still within the 15-year statute of limitations yet offer no proof of it, except that all three of you believe it. I question whether it actually occurred and if he was actually the one who committed the alleged rape or if it was your other brother, the one who can't answer questions due to his being deceased."
She saw the look of disappointment and disgust in their wives while their supporters tried to appear to be aloof but it was backfiring badly on them. She asked about their accusation that he is unfit, which led the brothers to claim that he has no experience with children and was not able to handle a teenager. Judge Perez tried her hardest to not laugh at that, she noted "your brother is a teacher, in high school no less, unless I am mistaken that includes 14-year-old and the occasional 13-year-old kids so how exactly has he no experience with children Sydney's age when he deals with them for a living?"
They finally were asked about his sexual deviancy. The Stoners contended "we were told by a friend that he was sleeping with a man. We don't want Sydney anywhere near gays especially ones who are dressing up in drag to entice men like Justin. He deserves to be locked up for doing that, he's a bad influence and will lead Sydney to a life of depravity and sex like him."
Judge Perez shook her head and asked about this friend. Savannah and Justin heard the name and wrote down something to Ricardo who grinned and nodded. Their little act would backfire on them badly, this friend was the worst person to have used for support.
There was nothing else to use against Justin. Judge Perez had her decision in hand but was going to let Ricardo rip them to shreds and give the state more evidence against the four politicians as it would save the taxpayers more money in overtime if he did it in open court than they did in hours of investigating behind closed doors. She didn't like using her courtroom for things like this but it was for the greater good that it be done. If this were any other group in her courtroom she'd have ended the hearing already with Justin getting full custody.
Ricardo was told to begin, to which he told the judge "your honor, as the next of kin for Sydney Powers Justin Stoner asks the court to grant him full custody based on multiple criteria. First is based on being the only person in Sydney's 13 plus years of life to bother to help Sydney when Sydney needed it. He Offered his home, without question or reason, to Sydney when Sydney needed it."
Judge Perez asked for a clarification. Ricardo grinned and explained "Sydney's mother Zara Powers died 18 months ago after a sudden illness. Her death was well known in their hometown with the Powers Family being one of the oldest in the county. The Stoners had over 18 months to claim Sydney before Justin was ever notified, in fact the social worker who was supposed to inform the next of kin was overridden by someone in his local office whose name just happens to be the same name as Justin's eldest brother's wife's family. Your honor, until they were notified that Justin was caring for Sydney not one Stoner even bothered to see Sydney let alone care for Sydney. This has nothing to do with Sydney, this is just a petty power play against Justin Stoner by his parents and older brothers!"
The reaction caused Justin's brothers to complain while their wives looked at one another in shock. Moe's wife looked down in shame, her father had kept her nephew from family when Sydney needed help. Even if she had issues with Justin dating back two decades, Sydney was an innocent child!
Ricardo then added "the claims about Justin dating a man came from a now former colleague of his by the name of Mario Ricci who lived close to Justin's new wife. Yes I said wife, as they legally married yesterday. We do not contest that she is transgender, but as you are well aware that has no baring on this case as it is not grounds to deny custody based on higher court rulings. Further, this same man burglarized Mrs. Stoner's condo, stealing several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and personal items from her. He is current incarcerated in Nashua Street Jail as his bail had been revoked due to again being caught last evening inside the now-former residence of Mrs. Stoner."
Judge Perez just nodded as another of the claims was shot down. Ricardo shot back an angry "the story about rape is a fabrication, one started by Mr. Jackson Stoner himself. Jackson was the supposed father of Sydney yet in all of his years he never claimed Sydney as his own. We found out just why he never did, he stated that his family wanted him to settle down with Zara Powers yet he only wanted her because his brother Justin had her heart. He actually forced the two apart, physically manhandling her leading to an arrest that the Stoners claimed was Justin's doing yet the state police reports state otherwise. The DA's office failed to prosecute Jackson for the crime and were admonished by the district court judge for bringing charges against Justin based on known lies."
The Stoners looked angry while their wives gasped in shock. Ricardo shot back with his biggest statement, adding "we learned the full story from Zara Powers herself, as she left letters that were filed with her lawyers, the probate courts, and left at home for Sydney to discover. Your honor, Jackson Stoner is not the father of Sydney Powers- Justin Stoner is!"
Ricardo provided the letters, multiple notarized copies that were located during Savannah's search into Sydney's and Zara's inheritances that she had kept away from Sydney for her own good. Judge Perez asked if Ricardo had supporting evidence, to which he produced the paternity test. The Stoners tried to cry foul to which Judge Perez shouted back "you guys are really something. Your brother is the father of Sydney Powers, deal with it. You are not getting custody of Sydney and if you continue I'll see to it that you yourselves come under scrutiny for your own actions as I don't believe for a second that none of you knew the truth about Sydney's paternity."
Ricardo then dropped the biggest bombshell, stating "Sydney has asked that the court declare her father as her father and grand him full custody. She also petitions the court for adoption by her stepmother."
Judge Perez nodded, looking at the paperwork that the clerk had brought in. She signed off on it, not saying it at the time but trying to get some more information as it was now her time to do some work for the state. She asked where Sydney was and what she was doing for school.
Justin stated loudly "Sydney is currently enrolled in a dual PhD program with MIT and is working towards her third patent along with helping two other students work towards their own patents and PhDs. She is a prodigy, she earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees as well as earned two patents of her own that have made her a wealthy young lady. She took the day off to be her, she is sitting next to me and hasn't said a word despite all of the accusations flung at me."
Before she could say a word, Cameron handed Judge Perez the letters from Drs. Bell and Eliza which only caused Judge Perez to nod in agreement. Justin then handed another letter, this one from Zara. She read it and nodded again, this wasn't a whim and had gone on for years to he point that she was female in all but her exterior and as Judge Perez could see wasn't long to change as well despite her clearly wearing breastforms.
The Stoners screamed that he was harming Sydney, causing Judge Perez to shout back "you never saw your niece before and should have noticed right away that there was a child sitting among your brother's group. She is under the care of a professional that I have had in my courtroom multiple times before and who has shown that she knows the laws inside and out. There is no abuse, your brother is doing what is in the best interests of your niece and in my opinion that is what we are here for in the first place!"
Her words hit hard as it was clear what she was saying. Judge Perez asked Sydney to stand up in front of her, asking her "are you petitioning the court for a change of birth certificate in addition to a name change?" Sydney looked at Justin who nodded, giving Judge Perez a soft "I'd love both."
Judge Perez wrote out the request and signed off on it. She told Justin and Savannah to stand up, then announced "normally this would take a month or more but given that you have the supporting evidence in the form of a DNA test and have the best interests of Sydney at heart, I am ordering that you be declared Sydney's biological father and her birth certificate be amended to both reflect her gender and parentage. Further, Mrs. Stoner, I am granting your request to adopt Sydney as your daughter as you have shown that you are acting as Sydney's mother in all ways. Congratulations to all of you."
Justin, Sydney, and Savannah hugged tightly as the clerk wrote out the orders. The Stoners loudly objected and started to threaten Judge Perez. Moe threatened to teach her a lesson in real justice while his other brothers threatened to have her removed physically, moving towards her before being stopped by court officers entering to assist.
The four supporters threatened to ensure that Judge Perez never worked again and would have their colleagues take her out politically. They were direct, stating "we know the DA and will ensure that your vacation home is raided and they find some questionable material. Think about it, the lesbian family court judge being found with child pornography in her home. Do you think it's worth it, your freedom and reputation for a piece of garbage with a tranny freak kid? You will get it, we aren't kidding."
The one doing the threats pulled out a phone and made a loud phone call, while another made a couple of phone calls to the local police. Judge Perez firmly asked "are you done threatening a sitting judge in open court where everything you have just said is being recorded for the record?" She then told the court officers to place them under arrest for threats while Kennedy and Angela announced that they had heard everything and would have the proper response to everything that the had threatened to do.
As soon as the Stoner brothers were hauled off alongside their four supporters Kennedy was on the phone to the state police to have them get over to the judge's beach home. The troopers were there quickly and actually were able to catch three local officers in the act to breaking in with each carrying a bag of magazines with one carrying a USB drive that was filled with child pornography. The officers were speechless and demanded a plea bargain from the state, only to be told that wasn't happening.
The trio threatened the troopers, claiming the DA would get them off. When asked how, they were happy to tell them that the DA was good friends with the Stoners and would do anything Stoners wanted him to do. The officers unknowingly just sprung the final trap, they had more evidence now that it was a complete corruption situation and needed the Attorney General to intervene.
Justin left with Sydney smiling brightly at everything going her way. She had a mother, a father, and was recognized as female. She even had a grandmother, aunt, uncle, and three cousins now thanks to the filing for adoption by Cynthia.
When they got home they were greeted by Byrne-Toros who all celebrated with them as one big family. Reyna enjoyed ribbing Justin by calling him "Uncle Justin" while Liam hung off him as he got used to the larger Justin being there. Justin had to hid his smile, it was vastly different than he had thought.
The celebration lasted several hours with Liam falling asleep on Justin's lap, Reyna fielding phone calls from her friends as she showed pictures of Sydney in her dress which set in motion a whole chain reaction of calls as Sydney's being declared a girl got around among the family as a whole. Ashley had the toughest night, he felt weird seeing Sydney dressed so feminine and confessed to her that she was turning into a better looking girl than his friends which only caused Sydney to cry and hug him.
The next day in school Justin told Deborah about the day before with Deborah hugging him over it finally being over for him. John gave him his congratulations and asked if he wanted Sydney to take a weekend away so he and Savannah could celebrate without interruption. Justin politely declined, but the idea did give him joy as he thought about it.
During his break period he caught Harper Carter's class and was proud that she was doing well on her own. After class she thanked him for the help, but he tried to direct it at John. Harper still thanked him for his role, if he hadn't supported John she wouldn't have the job to keep her busy.
Over in Boston, Sydney was having her first meeting with her new colleagues. The students saw her dressed as a girl and asked about it, then made the mistake of calling her a tranny in front of Shea who was blunt in telling them the rules of his lab and about their affiliation with MIT and if they were going to earn a degree from the school they had to abide by the school's rules of conduct. It was a clear showdown, they would either accept Sydney as female or they'd be out and have nothing to show for their hard work and even more important- no way to explain their departure that was acceptable to another school.
Sydney didn't make light of her appearance and was working hard throughout the day. She took her required breaks and smoothed over rough transitions that popped up on the other projects. The more they worked together, the more the better they worked.
Sydney was actually what the two needed to spark their ideas and make them reality while also keeping them grounded in reality as they found issues that popped up that they overlooked. It was a surprise to the two that Shea was often involved, giving them guidance while dealing with small issues that were above their level but he was expert in. They had done more in one day with Shea and Sydney than they had ever done with Vera, and actually had a better grasp of their theories than before.
Sydney was forced to take an afternoon off later on in the week as she was taken to a cryogenics center to produce her semen samples. It was embarrassing as she had never masturbated before but it was something that she needed to do for her future. She produced samples over four days, enough for eight infusions but enough to also assure that insemination would take hold at least once if not twice.
Her sperm count was low, in fact that was part of why they had her give so many samples. She was told by he endocrinologist that her hormones had taken hold faster than expected and in time would be good enough to grow breasts as large as her mother's breasts. She was happy to hear that, it was what she wanted more than anything else in life and it was coming true.
Life started to get better for Sydney. Cameron recovered the money Vera Bradley had taken from the grant and gotten UMass to go after her for fraud as they were the ones who were on the hook for the thefts as they were forced to compensate Sydney. Vera's reputation was toast as her only supporters fled as their cash cow at the school was gone and no other adviser in the region would play their exploitation game.
The state went after her for fraud and embezzlement for the theft of the grant money. She tried to claim she had a right to withdraw the money but when shown that everything that she claimed was neither used nor in inventory yet the money ended up in her bank account she shut up. She tried to blame it on Sydney, making the mistake of saying the wrong thing about her by claiming that she was nothing without her but the fact was shown that Sydney actually had patents and strong connections in the industry outside of the academic world thanks to Shea and some of Shea's colleagues and friends at MIT yet she herself had questionable people who disavowed ever knowing her when asked.
Vera received a suspended sentence for the theft and a hefty fine for the fraud charges. She tried to play it off as no big deal but her connections in the business world refused to help her any longer. They actually tried to sue her for breaking her contracts with them, but had to withdraw before they were exposed as funneling PhD students into their employ only to force them to give up their patent rights once they had hired them.
Vera's troubles were only just starting. She was in deep trouble academically as her PhD paper and master's thesis were shown to have contained fabricated or plagiarized statements and statistics. She was exposed as embellishing most of her facts and when her designs were actually copied none of them worked as claimed making her students get put under scrutiny.
The students that went into the academic world were forced to defend their PhD papers again while those in the private sector were kept away from the general public or outright released with their work transferred to those who had solid PhDs and master's degrees. The ones who weren't put under scrutiny were Sydney and her two colleagues. Shea's reputation covered them, as did MIT's thorough inspection of their master's thesis papers which, coupled with Sydney's existing patents, were enough to satisfy event the most ardent scrutinization.
Sydney spent much of the next month working on he project as the two assisted in smaller segments that would be part of their own projects. By December, they had a working prototype that could be put to the test and after hours of fiddling with it worked the first time. The group celebrated, with Sydney enjoying the pleasure of seeing the fruits of her work helping others.
Shea just nodded in approval. He had been there before, and was happy to help the trio do their work but kept his participation to a minimum. It was their research, he was there to guide them but it was all their own work.
Gregory Hollis was in a heap of trouble for his actions. Dedham Superior Court proved to be a tough place for him as the jury at his trial were not in the least bit impressed with his manipulations of a 13-year-old kid. He could tell that he wasn't about to get off so demanded a plea bargain. The state weren't about to give him what he wanted, the Attorney General was seeking the maximum for his crimes as she was leaving office with Sydney's case being her final act of justice as she retired in favor of Angela Victor.
Angela was a bit more lenient with Gregory as she prosecuted him. He testified about the Stoners offering him money to keep the truth about Sydney's parentage and Justin's location a secret form Zara and Sydney. They were the ones who set him up with Zara, and the ones who put ideas into his head about controlling Sydney through Zara. Sydney was clearly like her father, they didn't want Sydney to know the truth nor let her get away so she'd topple their empire.
Gregory's words fit the statements from people who knew the Stoners. The trio were seen as total scumbags who did the dirty work of their fathers-in-law. The three elderly men were essentially the Cape Cod mafia as they controlled businesses, influenced elections, and paid off the police to look the other way allowing them to do whatever they wanted. They even used the police to force out competitors and anyone who was trying to get back control, with the DA being shown as being one of their biggest sources of help.
Gregory received three years in jail for assault, five years for attempted kidnapping, and another combined six years for tax fraud, extortion, and bribery. He tried to act like it was no big deal but he was also ordered to pay back in full all money stolen from Sydney which bankrupted him. He was left without a penny and still had to pay back fines from the state and federal governments once all was said and done.
The investigation into the county caused the DA to backpedal and run for cover as the four at the court had blown his cover. He was caught through his bank account accepting bribes from the entire Stoner family, minus Justin, to look the other way. Being an old friend of the Stoners and later helping set up the in-laws with coverage from investigations by the state he was the perfect foil for them. They were unstoppable until they went up against Justin and the people he had in his corner, even if he never knew they were supporting him.
The DA was forced to resign, with the appointed replacement being someone unaffiliated with him and offering a simple solution: he was going to try everyone involved regardless of connections to powerful politicians. He didn't care, no matter what happened to him he was going to ensure that the cabal's power was destroyed. He was actually doing exactly what the people of the cape and islands wanted him to do and assured himself a full term in the next election.
The county government was gutted as multiple directors and supervisors were forced to resign in disgrace or were arrested by the state for criminal acts ranging form extortion to bribery to assault. The county commissioners were the only ones who were not affected, they had stayed away from the Stoners and anyone involved with them and had kept their hands out of anything that wasn't ethical. They had their reasons for doing so, they could easily be removed from office by the state by simply having the county government dissolved like eight other county governments in the state had happen to them in the past.
The elder Stoners were tried by the state once the former DA was forced to step aside from their case. The assistant attorney general assigned to the case went at them fast and hard, leaving them with little wiggle room nor much chance to fight back with. They were caught red-handed, they had nothing left to do except accept defeat but they were defiant until the end.
They swore their sons would help them, but their sons were no help as they had their own issues. The elder Stoners blamed Justin for everything yet when proven he had nothing to do with it they tried to blame Sydney. This was countered that they were blaming a 13-year-old for all of their problems, a child who had never met them and whom they had made clear they wanted nothing to do with.
They continued to rip into Justin and Sydney to the point that the judge told their lawyers to stop them. The Stoners attacked the state and Justin in the media, but their own connections to the disgraced DA, their sons' in-laws, and their own past abuse of Justin backfired on them. They found no sympathy as they found that the jury was outraged at their antics and who convicted them on all charges, with the judge sentencing them to a combined 15 years in prison each for conspiracy to commit murder.
Their sons fared no better. The state tried them in Plymouth County for their crimes connected with the Barnstable County investigation as Barnstable County was unable to give them a fair trial. They had been in custody since their arrest in court, their finances frozen by the state as they investigated the brothers and their in-laws for multiple crimes.
They were in serious trouble as their words were damning to them. Their claims were checked out and in the process led to the brothers' in-laws being found to have squirreled away millions in revenues, causing them to come under fire from the federal government for back taxes. Their contributions to the local and county politicians were never claimed allowing the state to go after them for bribery along with illegal gifts as well as go after the politicians for graft and illegal campaign contributions.
The precarious position that the Barstable County Cabal had set up started to collapse as the extorted started to tell their stories to the state with the written and physical threats being shown to the state investigators. The Stoners had unknowingly angered hundreds and it didn't take much to get more people to back up the claims against them. By the end of the month the Stoners had 2,000 people ready to testify against them for their crimes, all of whom said were at the behest of the Stoners' in-laws.
Seeing no way out of it, Moe, Larry, and Joe Stoner turned state's evidence and testified against their fathers-in-law. With no way of paying thugs to shut them up they were forced to endure criminal charges while their families started to break apart as they tried to cover up their own actions. The families were partially successful but the money trails led to most of the family members leading to more charges.
The Stoner brothers were each sentenced to 20 years in prison on state charges then 10 years on federal charges. They were looking at longer sentences on more charges but their plea deals lowered that. Their fathers-in-law threatened them but they had nothing left to threaten them with, with the Stoners going after them in the jail's common area as they learned just how little clout they had left.
Once they were out of jail's hospital wing, the cabal were picked apart in court by both the state and federal governments. The cabal tried to blame the Stoners but this backfired as the witnesses and Stoners each said that they had ordered the businesses and individuals targeted for extortion. They were eviscerated by everyone one the stand, the list was long and the evidence hard to ignore with their personal fortunes being shown to be nothing but proceeds from their crimes.
The trials lasted for a month. The witnesses painted a damning picture with little defense available and even then it was not enough to do anything more than to show that they were never at fault in their eyes. The trio were sentenced to 30 years on state charges then another 40 years on federal charges, ensuring that none of them would leave prison before they passed away.
The Stoners' wives had honestly never known their husbands' or fathers' activities especially their actions against people who fought back against them. They enjoyed easy lives, but didn't want them at the expense of the fear and blood of others. Learning the truth caused a crisis of conscience in them.
They were Stoners but they weren't like their husbands and fathers. They saw why Justin was hated and why he wanted to get away from there. They made bold decisions, they decided to move their families north to the Boston area and live along Navy Hill in one of the many condo complexes far away from anyone who had known them.
Justin was contacted and was reluctant to allow Sydney to meet with them. He feared that she would be hurt or used as a pawn by the ladies but Savannah went with her, not wanting to let her go alone and sensing this was not as it seemed. He agreed, but told her that if there was any trouble to get out of there fast as he didn't fully trust the ladies.
The ladies sat down with Sydney and asked if she was actually transgender or if this was a phase she was going through. Sydney was adamant that this was no phase and countered that she had spent most of her life as a girl and it was only after she had been forced out of school that she lived full time out in the open as a girl. She showed a picture of her as a five-year-old, in a dress, dancing for her mother causing the ladies to start to believe what she was saying even if a bit apprehensive about it.
The ladies listened to Sydney explain what she was going through, letting her talk until she was finished before offering any emotion. It was the least they could do for their niece especially as they had ignored her for so long for no reason except their own unjustified feelings towards her father. She was a good girl, she was the kind of niece that they could be proud to tell others about but had never tried to acknowledge her before.
Their kids kept away from them during the meeting. They were upset that their fathers were in jail and looking at going to prison. They blamed their uncle and Sydney for ruining their lives.
The kids listened and the truth about Sydney angered them. After Sydney left they confronted their mothers about her only to be told that their fathers were wrong about Justin and Sydney and were hiding the truth from everyone because of their own criminal activities being exposed. She was their cousin and would be around them in the future, whether they liked it or not. She was family to them, even if they didn't like her or her father she was family and would not be pushed away.
Their fathers had a strong influence on the kids, with the girls seeing Sydney as a fake and the boys seeing her as a freak. None of the eight kids wanted anything to do with her but that didn't matter to their mothers. Sydney was their niece and the only one untainted by the Stoner influence, she was what they had hoped their children would be.
In time, they hoped that their children would learn that their fathers were wrong about greed, power, and forcing their will on others. Sydney just shrugged off her aunts' optimism. If they wanted to be in her life she'd let them be, but she wasn't going to go to great lengths for force them to treat her any differently.
Sydney felt a bit guilty about having so much wealth while her cousins were facing poverty. She asked that her father sell her house on Cape Cod and give it and the money she inherited from Jackson to her cousins. The money could be helpful to the kids' futures, even if they'd never acknowledge her help.
The money was a token gesture but enough to show her aunts that she was trying to be family to them. They accepted it, dividing it between the eight and saving it for their college lives. She then had them accept another $6 million, giving the eight the right to claim they were millionaires and to ensure that none of them would ever be for want.
She was serious about giving them the money, it was a small amount of her personal fortune but it was something that she had to do for them. Their mothers now could work without feeling bad about working, with the kids enjoying their being around more. They were happy for their mothers, and were pleased to know that they were rich again even if they would never acknowledge Sydney's generosity.
The Stoner ladies had better luck with Savannah as she helped get them in contact with Cameron to sort out their financial issues. Their husbands had a lot of legal issues but with Cameron's help they were able to keep much of their husbands' assets and seize the assets that they had hidden from them on the side in case they were ever divorced. The ladies were able to live in comfort while finally being able to work on their own for the first time, allowing Sydney's gifts to remain untouched ensuring the kids had a chance to have a nest egg for their future.
Savannah's past had shocked them but seeing her as a loving mother to Sydney had tempered any ill will. She was just as much woman as them and had gotten them to see that women were more than just what was in your panties. She wasn't afraid to be critical and gave them the counter to their influences allowing them a different perspective on things.
The ladies grew closer to Savannah to the point that she was like another sister to them. Their children had a hard time seeing her as an aunt but it was tough to ignore her as she was frequently over at their condos talking to their mothers. The eldest were hard to crack but the youngest eventually just treated her like another aunt, albeit one they didn't say much to.
The youngest kids found themselves starting to be OK around Sydney and eventually tuned out their older siblings' complaints about her. The three youngest actually liked talking with her once she started to open to them. They were barely 10 and 11-years-old so had more in common with Sydney than the 15, 16, and 17-year-old cousins and siblings.
Sydney got them to meet her friends and other Finn Family members causing them to unknowingly fall for the three fifth graders. It was endearing, the kids were quick friends and through Sydney had found a common bond with them. Sydney had unknowingly caused what was a growing rift of jealousy among the four friends over Logan Finn being all but dating a girl to smooth over as the trio got close to her cousins.
The adoption of Savannah by Cynthia Byrne went through after only a week as there was no attempts to defraud anyone nor was there any debts. It was like so many other adult adoptions, it was done out of love and as they were both over 18 and Cynthia was older than Savannah there was no need to delay. The family gathered together to celebrate, with brother and sister hugging tightly as Cynthia got used to being called grandma by another child as well as mom by a daughter.
Justin found new life in Sydney as he started to warm up to his students. Deborah and he spent hours talking with Deborah giving him an ear for when things got hectic with Sydney as well as when he and Savannah needed a chance to cool off after a normal bit of marital strife. She loved acting as a friend to him, even if he was old enough to be an uncle to her.
His students benefited from his focus on school and relaxed atmosphere. Justin eased off on grading and actually evaluated some papers, raising them up to a higher grade helping several students. It was common knowledge that he was different due to being a dad and husband but the students took this as a win and a good thing for them.
Savannah was convinced to have her surgery after days of pleading by Sydney. She was adamant that she not hold off on it any longer, she deserved to feel a whole and a full woman. It was tough to say no as Sydney was preying on her feelings and hit the right chord in her to make her realize that she was lying to herself in putting it off. Justin would never leave her for a "real" woman, and Sydney was her daughter no matter how much she thought that it was just a dream.
The surgery was set for early December with her recovery coming just in time for the Finn-Bollinger wedding on Christmas Day. Savannah underwent the proper preoperative checks and was given the all clear. Justin saw her off in the morning, then returned after school to see her in recovery.
In school, he was a bundle of nerves but everyone who knew him knew why he was acting that way. Deborah tried hard to keep his spirits up and ease his anxieties but it was tough to do as she herself had gone through this same anxiety before. John and Jake kept him focused with the students taking things easy on him out of respect for Savannah, even if they had never known her.
Sydney was with Savannah through most of the preparations, leaving her at the door as she was wheeled into the theater. Shea was with her, as were Ricardo and Cameron. Cameron held Sydney tightly as she let her nerves get to her, with Cameron telling her that in four years she'd be going in there too and would have Savannah and Justin by her side as she went through it.
The operation was a success with Justin having to hold back tears as he saw Savannah's tired form in her recovery bed. She was all smiles, with Justin hugging her as he told her that she was never more beautiful. The two shared a loving smile, he meant every word of it.
Sydney felt bad that her mother was in pain but knew that it was part of the process and the pain was part of the final step. She felt like it was something that she could endure, if her mother could endure it then she could as well. Her time would come, she would be patient.
That night she felt the first tinges of breast growth in her chest and felt her nipples changing. This coupled with her mother's kind words gave her a new resolve. She was a woman inside, and now her body was becoming a woman on the outside. In four years, she'd be a woman in full. All she needed now was to wait and accept her blossoming changes. She had waited years to become the girl she was meant to be out in the open, she could wait four years to become whole.
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