Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did Shemar would've been made an offer he couldn't refuse to stay on the show.

This story is very much AU. Some of it is canon and some isn't. Characters will include the main cast and several secondary, past, and guest stars. A few OCs will also be featured.


Prologue

"Whatever happens, swear to me that you'll keep her safe," Hector whispered as he led his best friend into a secret passageway.

"Hector..." David began.

"Swear it!" Hector whipped around and glared menacingly his oldest friend.

"I swear!" David whispered. "You know I already love her like she's my own!" Hector stared into David's eyes for what seemed like an eternity before turning and walking away.

The two men grew silent as they delved deeper into the bowels of the estate, walking through the near darkness. The only lights were from the flashlights they clutched. The two men still knew the paths as well as they did when they were children, having spent more time in them than outside.

They approached a fork and took the left path. A series of turns and forks, designed to confuse potential invaders and intruders alike, carried the two men until they completed a final turn and saw the light of flame ahead.

The two men stopped when they saw two women huddled on the floor. The two women looked up, both faces awashed with tears.

"It's time," Hector whispered, kneeling in front of the women. One nodded while the other bent her head down. She continued to weep against the bundle she held in her arms. "Anna, please, darling... they have to go." Anna nodded and allowed her husband to help her from the ground. Hector felt tears fall from his own eyes as he gazed at the bundle. He wanted to tear his eyes away as Anna handed the bundle to the other woman but knew he had to stay strong for his wife.

David also felt the sting of tears and the lump in his throat was threatening to choke him as he embraced his friends. He slung a ratty backpack of provisions over his shoulders and forced open a hidden door. His senses were on high alert as he stuck his head out looked around. He stuck his head back in and the foursome shared one final, heartbreaking look. At Anna's nod, Dave pulled the other woman, whose clothes were as plain and worn as his own, out. He waited until the tiny hidden door was forced closed again. He heard two taps coming from the inside and responded with two taps of his own.

He grabbed the woman and pulled her along, practically running, until they came to a car hidden in a small wooded area. The car was old but still ran like a dream. He helped the woman into the backseat and put the backpack in next to her. He drove for hours until he approached a large village. He skirted around the village and continued on, also avoiding the smaller villages, until the first streaks of false dawn appeared on the horizon. He stopped at a rest stop and parked under the canopy of several shade trees. The couple took turns sleeping in the car as the sun started its destination through the sky. They ate the fruit, bread, and cheese from the bag and kept hydrated. They never once let go of the bundle.

The couple continued their journey for another night, reaching their destination shortly before midnight. The village was large and people were still milling about, not paying attention to the car or its occupants. David drove through the village and past, continuing on for another hour before coming upon a farmhouse. He steered the car around, avoiding the yard. He parked the car in an open space in the woods and helped the woman out. The bundle was stirring slightly. David plucked it out of the woman's arms. He walked around, jiggling the bundle slightly until the stirring stopped.

The couple walked to the back door of the home. David knocked a two-one-four pattern and the door opened. A lively, eccentric man answered and embraced David. "Evan! It's so good to see you again!" He let go of David and looked at the woman. "And you must be Patty!" The woman nodded and allowed the odd man to wrap his arms around her. "You're safe, Fran," he whispered in her ear.

"Thank you, Mr. Gideon," she whispered back.

"Are you absolutely sure this is OK, Gideon?" David/Evan asked.

"Of course it is!" Gideon looked insulted. "I can't do much from here but I can do this and I am honored to be chosen."

"And your wife?" Fran/Patty asked.

"Will do what I tell her. She doesn't know a thing and will do anything to avoid scandal," Gideon replied.

The stars disappeared and the sun had just broken the horizon when David and Fran walked back to the car and started retracing their steps. It wasn't until they reached the main road did Fran allow her emotions to break. She wept for everything: her friends at home, her three children, and the child they were forced to leave behind.

"It was the right thing to do, Fran," David sighed.

"I know," Fran sighed. "Patty, really?" She raised an eyebrow.

David shrugged. "First Irish name I could think of," he admitted.

"It's a stereotypical name but it works," she replied. "Do you think she will remember any of this... of her life?"

"Possibly. But Jason Gideon has a vivid imagination. It shouldn't surprise his wife or anyone if his foster child will take after him in that aspect."

The twosome continued down the road in comfortable silence until David sighed. "I have to tell you something, in case something were to happen to me."

"Al right," Fran replied.

"Hector, Gideon, and I went to school together. Hector went under an alias of course, for his safety and privacy. It took us a few months but Jason and I figured out who he was. The three of us became inseparable and we each created an alias. Mine, obviously, was Evan. Evan Jones. Hector's was Phillip Garcia. And Gideon's was Robin Jackson. If something were to happen to me, remember those names and the knock pattern."

"Of course," Fran nodded. "I don't think I've ever thanked you for helping with my son. Since his father's death...

"Please, Fran. Derek is a great kid. I swear, he knows the tunnels better than Hector and I. I just wish he would get along better with Aaron." Aaron was David's foster son and was already training to be a knight. He took his studies seriously and often clashed with Derek, who preferred to play ball and fight with older kids, although he never let his schoolwork suffer.

David and Fran once again lapsed into comfortable silence, each lost in their own thoughts. For their trip back they only stopped long enough to get fuel and to relieve themselves. Driving through the villages, they trimmed their travel time considerably. It was around noon when they drove through a village and they were surprised no one was out and about. They stopped at a café to investigate.

They sat at a tiny table and ordered a meal. "What's going on?" he asked the waitress after she wrote down their order.

Tears filled the young lady's eyes. "King Hector and Queen Anna were killed yesterday," she whispered.

"My God." David crossed himself and Fran stared at him in shock.

"I know," the waitress nodded sympathetically. "First the death of the princess, and now the king and queen."

"How did...?" Fran began.

"Rumors are that their car rolled and fell into a ravine," the waitress said. "But we aren't sure yet. Pardon me," she said. She had noticed another patron was trying to get her attention.

David and Fran ate their meal in stunned silence. The little girl they left behind was now the sole heir to the throne. A little girl that everyone thought had died.

"Should we go back and get her?" Fran asked.

"No. I don't know what's going to happen now but that little girl is in more danger than ever. She's in the safest place possible right now. As far as the world knows, Princess Penelope is dead, along with the rest of the royal family. You, Gideon, and I are the only people that know she's alive and where she is. It's now more important than ever for you to remember those aliases." David swallowed the lump in his throat as he thought of his dear friends and their now-orphaned little girl.


A/N: Yea or nay? It's a bit out of my comfort zone so I'm still on the fence about it. Input is very much appreciated

Much love,

PitaCake