|A Simple Conversation
Author: emmarae3579 PM
NWZ: Conversation between Diego and Victoria after Rush to Judgment. Simple, short reveal story with no plot.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance - Words: 2,306 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 5 - Published: 07-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8294014
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Just a little conversation/reveal story from Diego's POV after Rush to Judgment. Almost objective POV because I don't go much into thought (or plot) at all. I leave the thoughts feelings to your imagination. I was never big on reading short fics, but I know people post them. I'm sick right now, and I'm still working on some other fics slowly but surely. Thought I'd post this, and I hope someone enjoys it.
Diego stretched and leaned his chair back against the wall in the corner of the tavern. Mendoza was celebrating being alive, thanks to Zorro's efforts. Diego smiled. The sergeant didn't know Zorro had been buying the drinks all evening. That was alright with him. Everyone was safe, the alcalde would be quiet for awhile after being shown up so publically, and he could relax and watch Victoria flutter around enjoying her customers. His father and friends had just abandoned him, so he was alone at a table in the corner. He could join someone else, where she'd walk by him more often, or he could sit here out of the way and watch her without being caught. He chose to sit and watch today.
He straightened as Victoria stopped at his table, surprising him a while later. She looked at him curiously as she refilled his drink. "Something wrong?" Diego asked with a smile.
"Your gallows didn't seem to work too well this afternoon." Victoria set her pitcher down on the table, put a hand on her hip and watched him.
He shrugged. "I said my design was very specific. Someone must have made a mistake."
"Someone? Not you?" Victoria's mouth turned up in a lopsided and suspicious grin.
"Are you saying I couldn't design something as simple as a hangman's gallows?" Diego grinned up at her and leaned his chair back again. "Should I be offended?"
"You worked pretty hard on this plan to fool the alcalde."
"Not enough, apparently. It didn't work." Diego held out his hands hopelessly.
"True. And it almost got Sergeant Mendoza killed."
"It didn't. Zorro rescued him. Everything turned out alright in the end."
Victoria frowned at Diego's confident grin. "Where were you? You made up this plan but then disappeared when everything started falling apart."
"I was helping Señora Valverde. The doctor is out of town. She was the only one who could save José from the gallows for certain." Diego smiled innocently up at her. Nothing could spoil his good mood, even if she wanted to berate him for not doing enough.
She watched him rock the chair back and forth, one long leg hooked on a table leg as he balanced. "Sometimes you confuse me, Don Diego."
"Why? I'm a simple man."
"Simple?" Victoria slowly shook her head. "You did something."
"I did something? I do lots of things," Diego said, shrugging his shoulders as his chair came back to the floor and he leaned forward on the table.
"You made a plan to go against the alcalde, which was strange for you. But where were you when Mendoza was in the noose? What did you do then?"
"Zorro took care of Mendoza. You and my father helped them escape. There was nothing else for me to do but care for Señora Valverde." He shrugged again. "Not everything can be solved with action."
"If you say so."
"I tried to help. I did what I could."
"I don't understand why you would let Mendoza go to the gallows. It doesn't seem like you. I thought you liked him."
Diego's chair paused in its rocking motion balanced on two legs, and his smile disappeared for a moment while he watched a few people file out of the tavern.
Victoria cracked the pitcher against the table when it appeared Diego wasn't going to respond. "Diego?"
"Did you know Zorro was going to save Mendoza?"
"Sounded like something he'd do. I didn't realize the alcalde would rush to judgment so quickly." He sighed, put out.
Victoria took a seat at the table, still watching him curiously. "Maybe I rushed to judgment, too."
"What do you mean? You were there fighting for José from the beginning. You knew he was innocent and stood up for him."
"I'm not talking about José, I'm talking about you."
"Me?" Diego tensed, but leaned his chair back again. "You're probably the least judgmental person in the pueblo."
"You're a good man."
"I try. Is that surprising?"
"No…not that. Maybe no one thinks you care what the alcalde does. You seem so lazy all the time, but now I'm starting to wonder."
Diego shrugged. "It's hot. I prefer to spend my time indoors. All the exertion this week has been quite tiring."
Victoria's eyes narrowed at his lazy grin, and she sat back in her chair with her arms crossed. "You were around constantly this week. Until Mendoza was accused. What did you say you were doing?"
Diego's foot slipped off the table leg and his chair wobbled for a second before coming back down to the ground. "I was helping Señora Valverde."
"I thought you said last night there was nothing else you could do for her."
"I thought maybe I could find something I hadn't done. I'm not a doctor, I haven't read all the medical books in my library."
"What other kinds of books do you read?"
Diego's head tilted as he looked at her. "That's a strange question."
"Maybe I'm curious. No one ever seems to be curious about what you do. I am."
"Everyone's usually too busy. People don't seem to have a lot of time for books here. I guess so far from civilization people tend to forget the finer things."
"Far from—" Victoria gasped. "If you don't like it, why don't you go back to Spain?"
"I didn't say I didn't like California. I love it here. I just wish people would stop fighting all the time."
"But you never concern yourself with the fighting. You never care about anything that happens in the pueblo."
"That's not true, Victoria."
Victoria scratched her head. "You're right. I'm sorry. But—" Victoria put her head in her hands, running her hands through her hair before looking up at him again. "Do you have any chemistry books?"
"Developing a sudden interest in science, Victoria?" Diego leaned his head on a hand, a nice warmth spreading through his chest at the interest in her eyes. There were so many things he wanted to share with her.
"Have any books that show you how to make gas that makes people cry?"
Diego's hand reached back to rub the back nervously, but then he leaned back in his chair again, staring at the table. "Probably. But why would you want to make tear gas?" He finally met her eyes, but dropped them at all the questions he saw forming there. "I prefer to read poetry, or about advances in technology, not something so dangerous and violent."
"Poetry?" Victoria asked, and Diego was horrified to feel a warmth creeping up his neck at her tone. He looked around for help, but they were alone in the corner. The celebration was dying down and only Mendoza and a few of his friends lingered on the other side of the tavern. "Poetry is romantic. You never seem interested in romance, though I know your father wants you to get married."
"Poetry isn't always romantic. And romance is often violent."
"Violent? Falling in love isn't violent, Diego!"
Diego shrugged again as his chair came back down on all four legs. "Señor Valverde is dead. Tell that to his widow." Diego wanted his good mood back. Now he frowned at the table, tracing the grooves in the wood. "Getting married can be very dangerous. You fall in love, become completely dependent on another person, and one day they're gone. Even if you don't live a dangerous life."
"Thinking about the dangers of getting married? Your life is hardly dangerous, Don Diego."
"I'd like to get married. When peace comes to Los Angeles."
"Forgive me if I say you're an odd one to talk about peace."
Diego shrugged. "I want an end to the oppression, too, Victoria. Just because I avoid the confrontations our alcalde likes to create, doesn't mean I'm oblivious to them."
"You do avoid them, don't you?"
"When I can."
"You avoid all of them. You're never around." Victoria drummed her fingers on the wood table.
"Nothing wrong with that. I have other things I'm busy doing."
"Your scientific experiments?" Victoria didn't often mock him like his father, but he sighed at her grin.
"People laugh, but how do you think progress is made? People read books, learn what's been done and try something new."
"What sort of things have you been trying?"
Time release bombs, tear gas, explosives, flight, photography… He grinned briefly before he schooled his features again. "I'm playing a little with copper to help the Indians. Nothing special."
"You know how to design things like a gallows." Diego nodded, but Victoria hesitated before continuing. "So you could probably design something like a glider."
Victoria nodded, looking more confident by the second as Diego got more uncomfortable. "Yes. Something to let you fly in the air. Like Zorro."
Diego watched her for a moment, then looked horrified. "I must have missed that. Sounds scary. I'll keep my feet on the ground, thanks."
"You missed it." Victoria repeated and rested her chin on her hand. "Zorro does lots of tricks. You probably would have a lot to talk about."
"Me? And Zorro? Your man of action? Doubtful. But speaking of the Indians, I must get home. " Diego stood to leave.
"Diego, wait. Is it so important? You have to leave now?"
Diego looked at her hand on his arm, then around at the now empty tavern. "I thought you might want to close up for the night. I didn't want to keep you."
"But we were talking."
"More questions, Victoria?"
Victoria blushed, dropped her gaze and released his arm. "I thought…" Victoria stood and went to the bar, gathering glasses to wash later.
"You thought what?"
"If you're in love, you should get married. It's worth the risk." She turned to look at him. "Living is dangerous, no matter what you do. Like you said, Señor Valverde was killed this week. He was a peaceful farmer. You never know what might happen. And if … if someone did live a dangerous life, they should live every day to its fullest."
"You're talking about Zorro."
"No, I'm talking about you."
"Who would want to marry me? Everyone thinks I'm hopeless."
"That's not true. You could have any woman in the pueblo. You turn them all down."
"Any woman?" Diego couldn't help but ask.
Victoria blushed, but held his eyes. "I'm promised to Zorro, you know that. But maybe one day he'll be brave enough to tell me who he is."
"Are you saying Zorro is afraid of you?"
Victoria thought for a moment. "Maybe he is. I wish he wasn't."
Diego ran his fingers through his hair and looked around again. "You want to marry the ordinary man? All the mystery and excitement stripped away?"
"I'd be happy knowing he was with me, not hiding from me. Two people together are stronger than one. I can keep his secret, too."
Silence stretched in the empty room. "I don't think Zorro is afraid of you, or that you can't keep his secret. He's probably afraid of losing you."
"He will never lose me."
"And if you're bored with the ordinary man? Become a bigger target for the alcalde? Wouldn't he lose you then?"
"I already told him I'd love the ordinary man beneath the mask. And I'd be safer living outside the pueblo. I realize I may have been too quick to judge him, and I'm sorry."
Diego still stood frozen in the middle of the tavern, and had nothing to say.
"Maybe he should be afraid, then." Victoria turned back to the bar, angrily tossing the towel she'd been wringing in her hands toward the end of the bar. "If he thinks so little of me that he won't come out and tell me he loves me, I deserve better."
Glasses clanged together as she threw them on a tray. "Good night, Don Diego," she dismissed him as she escaped into the kitchen.
She stared at a broken glass in the sink after she was too rough dumping her tray. She picked it up, wiping at her eyes. Then she gasped as she was spun around and the glass shattered on the floor. Any words of protest were swallowed as Diego's mouth came down hard on hers, his tongue plunging deep into her mouth. His hands gripped her upper arms tightly, then loosened as she melted into him. He cupped her face gently, even as he took the kiss deeper, his arms moving down to wrap around her waist. Her arms slipped around his neck, and her fingers threaded into his hair.
Diego eventually let her up for air, and a hand came up to stroke her cheek. "Victoria, I love you. And you're going to love the glider."
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