Disclaimer: All canon characters belong to William Goldman.
The two stare at each other for what seems like ages to Inigo. Finally, he picks his feet up and walks over to his long-lost love, scooping her up in his arms and spinning her around.
"Giulietta, I've missed you," he whispers into her ear, moving one strand of her dark hair away from her face.
"And I you. Inigo, it's been twelve years and I've been here, waiting for the day you'd come back," Giulietta says, wrapping her arms around Inigo's neck as she breathes in his familiar scent.
"I will always come back, señorita," Inigo responds, setting her back down on her feet. "Now, word from some villagers says you are not yet married?" the Spaniard continues in a hopeful tone, wanting to know if Giulietta truly is still unmarried.
"Yes. The rumors are true. Father's been trying to get me to wed some of the young men here, but I refuse," Giulietta says with a light laugh.
"What's so funny?" Inigo questions, looking Giulietta in her black eyes to see if she's trying to hide something or some emotion from him.
Another small laugh escapes the Italian Countess' mouth before she responds.
"It's just- I told my father I would only marry the man who kills Count Rugen," Giulietta smiles, running her hand through her long, black hair.
"Well, fortunately for us both I am the very man who did that," Inigo smirks, glad to see his revenge positively affected someone other than himself. "But, why would you do that?" he inquires, not knowing why his love would gamble so much on not knowing the identity of Count Rugen's killer.
After all, anyone in Florin or the surrounding kingdoms could claim the same and Count Cardinale would be none the wiser on the real identity of the famed "hero."
"I remembered a very relevant piece of information," Giulietta explains.
"And what might that be?"
"I thought of that night we spent together at the ball and then when we went to that stable afterwards. You told me that night about your plan for revenge and that we would never be able to be together until you exacted vengeance on the man who killed your father. I did my research on your famous "six-fingered man" and found that only one man fit the description you gave: Count Rugen."
"Excellent deducing skills, my love. Now, shall I go see your father and ask him for your hand?" Inigo happily smiles, glad his talk of revenge twelve years ago had stuck with Giulietta and has kept her single all these years.
"I would despair if you didn't," Giulietta tells him, looping her arm in his before they start to walk towards the hallway her father's chambers are in.
Fezzik, meanwhile, waits for Inigo in the main hallway, the chest of gold sitting at his feet. A smile crosses his lips as he realizes just why Inigo has wanted to come to Spain. The woman Inigo loves must live in this castle. That can be the only reason why Inigo was in such a hurry to get here. The giant scratches the back of his head, wondering what Inigo is planning on saying to this long-lost love of his. If it were Fezzik in the situation, the giant is pretty sure he would recite a poem for the Countess, as he knows that rich ladies love sentimental gestures like that over material goods. Or maybe he would have brought her some flowers….
"Excuse me, but are you here to see someone?" a maid in her early thirties asks Fezzik as she comes into the main hallway, a young boy of about ten months on her hip and a small girl near her side.
"No, my lady. I'm just waiting for my friend," Fezzik reveals, moving the treasure chest out of the woman's way.
"Bend," Fezzik rhymes in his head, happy that his rhymes are coming along far more often now that Vizzini cannot hold him back.
"Well, can I offer you some tea, sir?" the woman kindly asks, moving the boy to the other hip as he starts to get fussy.
"Fur," is yet another rhyme the gentle giant makes in his head.
"Yes, please, if it's not too much trouble," Fezzik smiles at her.
"Oh, it's not, signore. I will be right back. Eva, don't move from that spot," the maid of the Castle Cardinale remarks while trying to get the baby boy to quiet down.
"Yes, Mama," the little girl responds, sitting on the couch a few feet from Fezzik.
"I'll watch her," Fezzik starts to say.
"Thank you so much. It's hard watching the two of them on my own while their father works at the blacksmith forge," she graciously says .
"Leave the boy here, too," Fezzik gently tells the stressed mother.
"I'm sorry?" the maid responds, not sure what Fezzik means.
"I'll watch your son as well. He won't be any trouble," Fezzik assures the woman with a smile. "Besides, you'll have your hands full with the tray."
"Oh, thank you. I'll be right back with your tea," she grins back, carefully detaching her son from her hip before handing him to Fezzik.
Fezzik, ever the gentle giant, holds the baby with such care that the little boy stops crying almost instantly. Eva, the curious little girl, climbs into Fezzik's lap once the giant is sitting down in a chair with her little brother. Fezzik smiles at the little girl's bravery and kindness before running one of his large hands through the child's long, black hair. He begins to softly sing a lullaby to the two children, which lulls both of them to sleep before their mother returns. Fezzik presses a small kiss to Eva's forehead, which makes the girl smile in her sleep. By the time the maid returns with the tea, she notices that both her son and daughter are peacefully sleeping next to the giant man. A grin comes to her face.
"I don't know how you did it, signore, but you've managed to put both my rambunctious children to sleep," she gratefully tells Fezzik while gently lifting Eva out of his lap.
"They weren't any trouble, my lady. You have two beautiful, behaved children," Fezzik whispers, careful not to disturb either Eva or the baby who's currently wrapping his hand around the giant's pinky finger.
"Thank you, again. I'm sure your friend will be done soon," the maid remarks, setting Eva down on the floor before softly picking up the slumbering baby.
"And maybe Inigo will come out with his love, after all," Fezzik thinks to himself, hoping his best friend will find his happy ending.
"Wait here," Giulietta softly tells Inigo as they reach her father's study.
If there's one thing that Giulietta has learned about her father over the years is that he does not like to be disturbed when he is working. The Countess gently knocks on the door before stepping back, waiting for a reply. Giulietta knows to stay away from the door, just in case her father thinks it's one of the guards coming to bother him and he slams the door open. That's why father and daughter have arranged a secret knocking system to try and help avoid any confusion. She waits for a reply, a tense Inigo by her side. Giulietta gently squeezes his hand in order to offer him some consolation.
"Come in," a loud, accented voice calls out, which nearly makes Inigo jump ten feet in the air.
The hall had been silent only mere seconds ago.
"Come in when I call for you," Giulietta whispers before pressing a quick kiss to Inigo's cheek.
She walks into her father's study like a woman on a mission, and Inigo can't take his eyes off of her until she disappears behind the doorframe. He wonders how he ever got lucky enough to maybe be so close to marrying the woman of his dreams. Inigo hopes he gets permission from her father; he doesn't want his and Giulietta's marriage to start off on the wrong foot.
"What do you need, my daughter?" Count Cardinale, known by very few as Alejandro, asks, looking up from his paperwork to see his pride and joy standing in front of him.
"Father, there is a suitor waiting outside," Giulietta starts off before she is cut off by her father.
"Giulietta, darling, I don't see why this suitor matters. You turn all the others away. I'm starting to think that you'll never get married. I'll end up a lonely old man with no grandchildren and none to pass my castle on to, aside from you," the count smiles, catching a mischievous look in Giulietta's dark eyes.
"Papa, please. I'm going to get married. Soon, I hope," Giulietta grins, knowing that her father will be blown away that the wedding will be very soon if she has anything to say about it. "Besides, this suitor is different. He wants to speak with you," she tells him, sitting down in one of the luxuriously furnished chairs her father has in his study.
"Oh, this one wants to speak with me?" Count Cardinale chuckles, knowing all the other suitors that have come to ask for his daughter's hand have all been cowardly young men who would hardly make a good husband for Giulietta. "That is different. You may bring him in, Giulietta," he tells her, seeing the excitement in her eyes.
Giulietta stands up before walking towards the door. She opens the door just a crack before calling out her lover's name.
"Inigo!" she calls out, her voice sounding like music to Inigo's ears.
The Spaniard quickly starts to walk into the study, being careful not to appear neither too urgent nor to disinterested. Inigo feels his heart beating rapidly as he comes closer to Count Cardinale's desk. Inigo Montoya of Spain has never done something like this before, and it worries him.
"Hello, signore," Inigo greets, not yet wanting to reveal the fact that he is Spanish yet.
He remembers all too well what happened the last time Count Cardinale found out there was a Spaniard in his house.
"Hello to you, too. Now, my daughter tells me you are another suitor," Count Cardinale smirks, hoping to intimidate the young man standing in front of him.
"Yes, sir. But, I think you'll find I am quite different than all the other suitors who have come to call," Inigo smiles, knowing what he says is true.
"Agreed. You've already proven you're different by wanting to talk with me. Most of the suitors that come to see my daughter think they can just waltz in and offer her a ring and she'll say yes," the count tells Inigo.
"I, too, have come to ask for your daughter's hand, but I seek your permission. Count Cardinale, I know that a daughter is a father's greatest joy in life, so I've been told, anyway. So, it would mean a lot to me if you would bestow your blessing on our union where I can live the rest of my life with your beautiful Giulietta without regret."
"I see. However, signore, you must be aware that my daughter has told me that she will only marry one man: the man who killed Count Rugen."
Smiles pass over both Giulietta's and Inigo's faces as they look at one another. Giulietta gives him a look that tells him to continue with his speech, but to reveal his true self to Count Cardinale. Inigo clears his throat before replying.
"You will be surprised to know, señor, that I am that man," Inigo explains, his accent coming out more now than before as he speaks to Giulietta's father.
"A Spaniard, eh? What's your name, boy?" Count Cardinale inquires, intrigued by this recent turn of events.
"Inigo Montoya of Spain, señor. My father, Domingo Montoya, was killed by Count Rugen. I exacted vengeance on he who took my father from me," Inigo proudly says, slightly puffing out his chest when he mentions his name and accomplishment.
"Is this the same Inigo whom you danced with at the royal ball twelve years ago, Giulietta?" Count Cardinale asks in a tone that Giulietta can't quite place her father's emotion.
She decides to press her luck.
"Yes, Papa. This is the very same Inigo Montoya," Giulietta admits, walking over to stand beside Inigo with a smile on her face.
Count Cardinale looks between Inigo and Giulietta, then back to Inigo, and then back to Giulietta. He has a very serious expression on his face when he turns to look back at Inigo.
"Oh, great, I've blown my one chance at love," Inigo thinks to himself, aware of his crestfallen face that accompanies the thought.
"It took you long enough to come back," Count Cardinale says with a slight laugh.
"I don't understand," Inigo remarks, dumbfounded by the count's response. "I thought you hated me," he continues, not sure if this is a practical joke or not.
"My boy, it's obvious that my daughter is in love with you. You of all people should know that," Count Cardinale begins, looking Inigo in his eyes. "After all, you were the one that she defended at the party with the knowledge that she was defying me. What, did you think that sort of behavior happened every day?" the count laughs.
"But, señor…. When I was here earlier, you threatened me for being a Spaniard in your house," Inigo remarks, remembering this pain all too well.
"He needs to brush up on his history, Giulietta," Count Cardinale smirks at his daughter.
"Indeed, Father," Giulietta agrees, smiling at Inigo with laughter in her eyes.
"Eh? I don't get it. What are you smiling about, my love?" Inigo questions, not sure what is so funny to both Count Cardinale and Giulietta.
"When you first came to the castle, Mr. Montoya, Italy was at war with Spain at the time. I couldn't be seen welcoming a Spaniard into my home with open arms. Do forgive me for my intolerable actions," Count Cardinale apologizes.
"You have no reason to be sorry, Count Cardinale. It is I who should apologize to you. I did not know of these wars and left your daughter heartbroken as I went off searching for the man who killed my father."
"Well, you are lucky my daughter has refused to marry anyone other than the man who killed Count Rugen. I must admit, I was a little confused and taken aback by her terms. I couldn't stand to see my daughter grow old with no one by her side."
"Father, I'm only thirty-three," Giulietta announces, blushing when she reveals her age.
At times, she can hardly believe she was twenty-one when Inigo Montoya appeared in her life, two years older than her. And yet, when she thinks about it, twelve years is not as long as she thought at certain points in her life. Giulietta blames this fact on the countless suitors who have come to the castle to ask for her hand. Seeing the same situation day-in and day-out made her believe she was living the same day over again on a constant loop.
"Inigo, come closer," Count Cardinale says, standing up and moving to the edge of his desk.
Inigo does as he's told where he is now standing right in front of the desk, his leg rubbing against the oak wood. Count Cardinale whispers something in Inigo's ear, which makes Giulietta a little bit suspicious. Who knows what her father and Inigo could be talking about? After a few seconds, Inigo turns to face Giulietta, noticing that his love is still sitting in one of the study's chairs.
"May I ask you to stand, Giulietta?" Inigo politely asks.
"You may," Giulietta responds, picking part of her dress off of the floor before standing. The blue fabric falls around her ankles once more as she looks into Inigo's eyes.
Inigo Montoya gently leans down on one knee, making Giulietta gasp.
"Giulietta, you are the most wonderful woman in all of the realms. You mean the world to me, and these past twelve years I have done nothing but dream of you by night and wish for you by day. I know that we are meant to be together, as I've never felt like this around anyone else before," Inigo begins, looking up at Giulietta with a large smile on his lips. "So, mi amor, would you do me the great honor of marrying me and finally putting my wandering heart to rest?" he inquires, hoping that she says yes.
"I will," Giulietta whispers, tears forming in her dark eyes.
Before she knows it, Inigo has scooped her up into his arms and is holding her above the ground while pressing kisses to her lips and cheeks.
"Thank you," Inigo whispers before pressing a kiss to her lips. "I know it must have been hard for you to wait," he continues, this time pressing a kiss to Giulietta's right cheek. "But, I'm here now, and I will never leave you alone again," Inigo keeps talking before turning to kiss her left cheek. "I promise."
Giulietta feels her face beginning to blush a light pink, but rather it's from the beautiful words Inigo is telling her or the feeling of his lips on her face, she can't say. All Giulietta knows for certain is that she is officially the happiest woman in all of Italy. Her true love had come for her, against all the odds and assurances from townspeople that he was never coming back.
"Well, I think that the ball tonight shall be held in honor of your engagement," Count Cardinale speaks up, a grin on his face. "I'll go tell the royal painter to make a quick banner to hang in the ballroom tonight where everyone can see it," he continues before leaving his daughter and her fiancé alone in his study.
Count Cardinale is positive that everything is going to work out just fine for his daughter and future son-in-law.
Author's Note: And there's Chapter 4! Yeah, I know it's been months since my last update, but school has been crazy for me lately with all my tests, projects, and homework. So, I decided to make the chapter longer than the others to try and compensate for my lack of activity on this story. I hope everyone enjoyed; please leave a review with what you thought. Happy late Valentine's Day to everyone. Oh, and until next time my amazing readers!