Author's Notes:

I own the rights to none of the characters in this story, even the characters that I created. If Disney wants to film this story and show it every year at Christmas, they have my permission.

I'm rating this R, for later chapters. You won't find anthing hardcore (I don't even know if that's allowed here), but we will be delving into some seriously adult sexual situations, so fair warning. If you're looking for a story that leers overs Lizzie's nipples and other forbidden body parts, you might be well served to check out some other R-rated Lizzie lit (oh, and let me know where you find it). If you're in search of a Lizzie story where teenagers are faced with some very adult situations (no matter how improbable they may seem), then you might want to keep reading. Again, fair warning: The sexual situations here will become very intense, and may not be your cup of tea.

Knight in Shining Armor
Chapter 1

They say that life is a bowl of cherries, and they say it like that's a good thing.

To me, life has always been like a Hoover upright, 'cause it sucks.

My name is David Gordon. I had lived through three years of Hell--I mean junior high--and one year of Purgatory (slightly less Hellish), and the only thing--and I mean the only thing--that kept me sane was my two best friends, Miranda and Lizzie.

Don't get me wrong. I mean, I like school, always have. But I'm a freak. And when you're a freak, school can be Hell.

Here's what made me a freak:

1. I like school. I mentioned that, right?

2. I have no athletic ability. All the way back to third grade, I was the last one picked, even after the girls and the guy with the asthma inhaler. You need to know how the Fibonacci Spiral relates to the shapes of sea shells? I'm your man. You need a second baseman who can hit it over the fence? That's the alternate universe David Gordon. You know...the one I daydream about.

3. Here's the clincher, and you've probably figured it out by now: my two best friends in all the world, whom I would give my life for, and whom I couldn't live without, were girls. This was the Kiss of Death in junior high, and hadn't weakened at all through my sophomore year.

"Hey, Gordo, painting your toenails with the gals tonight?"

"Hey, Gordo, doesn't that new Freddie Prinze movie send your heart all aflutter?"

"Hey, Gordo, I hear tryouts are next week for rhythmic gymnastics. Don't worry, you're a shoo-in!"

So when word came in April of my sophomore year that I'd been accepted as a summer intern at Jet Propulsion Laboratories, I jumped for joy. Literally, I jumped. Three months (well, eleven weeks) away from all the crap that I had to put up with around here. You just don't know what...well, never mind.

This isn't turning out like I intended. This is supposed to be a story about Lizzie, and I'm making it into a story about me.

The next afternoon, I was giving the girls a ride home from the Digital Bean (I had gotten my license in February; Lizzie was due before school got out, and 'Randa, the baby of the three, would have to wait until August). We pulled into Lizzie's driveway, and it was on the walk to the porch that I made my announcement. When I told them about the internship, Miranda squealed and hugged me, telling me she was so proud of me, that I had to write her every day, call her every night, and bring her lots of souvenirs. Lizzie was...more reserved. I think she was a little hurt.

You see, with the exception of trips with our families, the three of us had spent every day (and half the nights) of every summer together, watching videos, riding bikes, going on picnics, laying on the roof and counting stars. And now, I was bringing these traditions to an end.

Oh, she smiled when she heard the news, but there was more than a little fear in her voice when she said, "What will I do, without my knight in shining armor?"

The thing about Lizzie, the thing you have to understand, is that a lot of times, her first reaction to news can be...well, a little self-centered, like, "What about me?" "How will this affect me?" "Doesn't anybody care what I think?"

But give her a chance. She always comes around. She always does the right thing. And that, more than her smile, more than her eyes, more than the glitter in her hair, is why I've always loved her.

No, I know what you're thinking. Not like that. I don't mean it like that. I just mean that I love the kind of person she is. I just mean that I love that, in the end, she can put other people's needs in front of her own. I just mean that I love her, and if she had asked me to stay, I would have.

And maybe things would have turned out a little differently.

"It's not that long," I assured her. "Barely a couple of months, really. And the night I get back, mucho grande movie popcorn pigout at Casa Gordo."

Her smile grew a little more open and honest, at that. "With chocolates?" her eyebrows rose hopefully.

"The chocolatest kind. And besides, it's not like it's tomorrow. We've got six more weeks before I leave. Until then, it's Avengers Assemble."

Miranda bobbed her head and repeated, "Avengers Assemble!"

We both turned to Lizzie expectantly. Smirking and shaking her head, she finally looked at us out of the corner of her eye and gave us an almost embarrassed, "Avengers Assemble."

Well, my letters to Miranda were more like every other day, and my calls were much less frequent than that. But I did bring back a lot of souvenirs, so give me props for that.

My contacts with Lizzie that summer were a little more...erratic. I wrote her the day I arrived, and then again, a week later. When another week passed, with no response, I called. The first two calls, I wasn't able to get past Matt, her little brother. He said I had to keep the line clear, so his agent could reach him. I didn't know what that meant; I didn't care. There's always something going on with him.

I finally reached her mom around dinnertime, and Mrs. McGuire told me that Lizzie wasn't there, that she was "out with a couple of friends."

I didn't like the sound of that. Lizzie only had one friend, when I wasn't there. But I kept my cool, and just asked her mom to ask Lizzie to call me.

Some of the other interns wanted to shoot pool down in the rec room, but I stayed in my dorm room that night. She did finally call, but it was after midnight.

"Hey, Gordo," she said when I answered the phone, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Lizzie! How have you been?!" Just those two words--hey, Gordo--quickly became the highlight of my week among the greatest scientific minds of our time.

"Okay, I guess," she responded.

"Why are you whispering?" I asked.

"I just don't want to wake my 'rents. Plus, I think I'm coming down with something," she added, with a sniffle to prove her point.

We talked for about ten minutes, about movies and Miranda and jet propulsion (okay, that last part was mostly me talking), before Lizzie reminded me that it was a long distance call that was coming out of her allowance.

"It's good to hear your voice, Gordo," was the last thing she said to me before hanging up, and that immediately replaced the "Hey, Gordo" at the top of my highlights list.

I realized two things after our phone conversation. The first was that I had been somehow anxious about not hearing from her, and all of my anxieties were relieved after just ten minutes. She was Lizzie, and I was Important. The second was that I had neglected to ask her about her "couple of friends." But that was okay. I guess Lizzie wasn't the only one who could be self-centered.

That was the only time we talked that summer, but I did get several letters and cards from her, and they were all the very most typical Lizzie McGuire.

The whiz kids at JPL read some of the stuff. I expected to get ribbed, just like at school, but it was nothing like that. They liked Lizzie, said she was cool. Three of the guys even told me privately that they wished they had had a friend like her in high school. By the end of the summer, half the staff thought of Lizzie as their little sister, but she never knew. "Don't let me hear you broke her heart, kid," they warned me, and I'm not at all sure that they were kidding.

As my stay in Pasadena drew to an end, the director of the internship program asked if I could stay an extra week to help close out a study of data from Galileo. I figured that meant delivering doughnuts, but how could I refuse? The only thing was, that meant I wouldn't be getting back home until the day before the new school year started, so any reunion plans that the three of us might have made would have to be put on hold.

When I called Miranda to forewarn her, you could tell she was disappointed. "So we won't see you until school?" she moaned.

"Afraid not," I confirmed. "I'll be getting in about seven, I guess, but then there's all the unpacking." When she didn't answer, I continued. "I'll call you, but it'll be late, and--"

"No. It's just that...I was hoping you could..."

"What?"

"I dunno," she sighed. "I was hoping all of us could, get together, y'know, before the school year started. Um, Gordo, I think, you should..."

"What is it, Miranda? You're not making sense."

"I just...Look, you should know. Lizzie is...Lizzie is a little...different."

Next: Lizzie is a little different (but I promise you, it's not what you think).