Title: Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Author: Robin

Disclaimer: They're not mine, and I make no money off of them.

Summary: Post-ep for "Dead Men Tell No Tales." Diego thinks over the events of that episode, and the lessons he has learned.

***

"Dead men tell no tales." I remember when I first heard that saying. I was young--younger than Felipe was when I first brought him home. I overheard my father talking to a friend about a pirate who had murdered all of his own crew. I had been hiding because it was long past my bedtime, but my curiosity drew me out from my well-concealed spot. I asked my father why anyone would kill his loyal crew. Father fused at me for eavesdropping, and for being up at such a late hour, but knowing he would be hounded for days if he didn't answer, he told me that the pirate had buried a treasure. With the crew dead, he was the only one who now knew its location. No one else could find it, because the dead crew would be forever silent. "Dead men tell no tales, Diego," he said as he put me in my bed.

While at University, I learned that the saying was wrong. Dead men have many stories to share. My closest friend at University was studying to be a doctor. He shared with me stories that the dead told him. He would amaze me by being able to tell by looking over a naked corpse if the man was rich or poor. He could tell if they were farmers or store owners because he had learned to read the calluses on their hands. He could tell if they ate healthy or poorly by looking at their organs. Those same organs could whisper to him what diseases had plagued them when they had been full of life. Far from being silent, a dead man could tell many tales.

I told Felipe that I believe one day mankind will go to the moon. I know it seems silly, perhaps even a bit laughable, but I believe in the power of the human mind. I know one day, with a lot of hard work, we will go to places that even I cannot imagine.

It is because of my belief in the future of science that I can also believe the dead will be able to tell us more someday. Maybe even the murdered will soon cry out to accuse the killer. I learned at the University that everyone has physical differences, and maybe one day those differences will help the authorities track down killers.

We are all different--even twins have some differences. I know that these differences go beyond what most people see, and I wonder if they go far beyond what even our scientists can look at now. I believe that in the future we will be able to ascertain variances at the smallest level. Will we be able to determine whose head a piece of hair came from because of those differences? The possibilities make me both dizzy and frightened.

Because of science, dead men do tell tales. However, Victoria didn't need have to rely on a branch of knowledge to prove her innocence, because the evidence was very observable. "Zorro" was able to bring back the recently departed "Señor Morales", and with the living "corpse" by his side, the masked outlaw proved that Victoria was not a murderer of innocent travelers.

Unfortunately, the "murder" of "Señor Morales" has caused one death in this pueblo, because the events of the last day have killed my arrogance. Was it only two months ago that I started to live this duel life? It seems so much longer somehow, and yet shorter. So much has happened, but until today, I believed I would soon have the madman acting as our alcalde quickly put in his place. I expected him to cower like a whipped puppy and then to do the job he was sent to perform. Instead, he became a cornered animal. He was willing to hang Victoria, a complete innocent, to capture me. In fact, I believe he would have enjoyed hanging Victoria just to hurt me. He is far more dangerous than I realized.

Before today, I was planning on telling my father and Victoria the truth. After all, I had put this mask on to protect them by keeping my identity a secret from the alcalde. The longer I wore the mask, the more I wanted them to know it was me.

My father's been wonderful since I returned from Spain. He's been patience with this son he doesn't understand, but I don't expect it will last forever. He's always taken great pride in his name. He raised me to know what it meant to be a de la Vega, and as I continue this masquerade, "Diego de la Vega" will fall further away from that mark.

And Victoria will grow deeper in love with Zorro, and I will be forced to spend most of my time with her as a friend, instead of the lover and husband that I want to be. The Diego that I have become for the public is of no interest to her. I can't even begin to court her. Now that the alcalde has shown me how dangerous he can be, I cannot share my secret with anyone. A part of me even hates the fact I told Felipe, even though I understand that without some help, I would be unable to fight this fight.

The past few days have killed my arrogance, and I have learned that this fight will take longer and require more sacrifice than I first thought. However, I burn, too, with injustice. It's what I told the crowd in the plaza today. My father ignited the fire against injustice in me at a young age, and the alcalde's actions have only caused that fire in me to grow stronger.

Sitting here in Victoria's tavern, watching my father and Victoria talk, I know I will continue to fight, and I will one day win. Maybe not as fast as I thought, but justice is going to be the victor in this battle.