Disclaimer: Queen of Swords and its characters belong to Fireworks and their respective owner. No infringement intended.

Author's Notes: I want to dedicate this story to Kristal Sotelo. She somehow re-ignited the love that I have for one of my fav TV couples. Their chemistry was just too hard to miss.

Translation notes: mercado means market place


Tessa Alvarado refused to see that she did the inevitable. She had fallen in love with Marcus Grisham. She didn't know exactly when or how. But she did. She fell hard.

Six Months Earlier

His sword clattered loudly to the ground. His angry blue eyes threw daggers at his best enemy.

She smirked.

She whistled for her horse to pick her up.

"You're not gonna get away with this!" He screamed after her quickly disappearing back.

He sighed to himself. "I won't either."

Staring deeply into her soup, Tessa wondered about the other day with Captain Grisham. There wasn't the usual banter and his fighting lacked purpose. The queen felt she was fighting a stranger unlike the enemy she knew so well.

Something's up.

"If you don't finish that soup I will feed it to the pigs, Tessa." Marta's voice cut into her thoughts.


"What are you thinking in that pretty head of yours?" The elder woman inquired.

"Nothing. I'm going into town." The sound of her heels left Marta alone at the table.

Screams of laughter reached her ears as Tessa neared the center of the pueblo. Many of the young children were watched over by their grandmothers and wary mothers trying to sweep floors and take care of the babies at the same time.

Deftly avoiding a head on collision with one of the boys, Tessa reached her destination without injury.

"C'mon! Hit me! One punch! Another! MORE! HARDER!" Captain Marcus Grisham of Colonel Montoya's army was trying to teach a new recruit to fight bare-knuckles. Grisham's own lip was bleeding and his own hands were bloody. His naked torso was marked with bruises and dirt and sweat.

One wild animal in the middle of the circle. The poor recruit didn't want to be there at all.

Shouts and cheers die down when the soldiers saw the approaching senorita.

Although she would never admit out loud, Tessa secretly enjoyed watching Grisham fight. With or without a sword, he had a way of moving during a fight…almost dancing. His well-shaped body was prepared for any punch, slash, hit, and shot. Grisham enjoyed fighting just for the sheer thrill of it. The pure adrenaline rush and the uncertainties of fighting an opponent. It was exactly how Tessa as the queen react to fighting. First and foremost Tessa use her skills for defense and protection, but often times she find it exhilarating to fight tooth and nail under any conditions. She saw a potential partner in Grisham and grudgingly admired his abilities.

"Hey, senorita! Whatcha doing here?" Grisham turned to see her coming towards him.

"I..uhh…am lost, Captain. I think I made a wrong turn somewhere." Tessa would never tell Grisham she was secretly watching him fight and observing his tactics. Not now, not ever.

She allowed herself to blush at the sight of his bare chest because as the role of a proper aristocrat she shouldn't even be among those uncouth men by herself without escort in the first place.

Grabbing a towel and his shirt, Grisham walked towards her.

His eyes never left her hers. But in his peripheral vision he cautiously cast her figure in his mind. The perfect bustle of her white skirt skimmed the muddy ground, her belted waist, and maroon blouse which showed off her tawny shoulders. He remembered. In his dreams about her, she came to him.

"Captain? Would you mind showing me the way back to the mercado?

Her question pulled him out of his wandering thoughts.

"No." He gave a shout that they will take a short break and he turned to Tessa with a small smile. "Please stay by my side, senorita."

They casually strolled out of the training area. But their minds were swirling with questions.

This wasn't the first time that Tessa step into Captain Grisham's training ground. He remembered she walked up to him and nearly demanded in her coy way to get Enrique free from becoming another soldier in Montoya's army. So why did Tessa said she didn't know her way around here?

Tessa was apprehensive. Grisham didn't give her the usual smirking look and even his fighting was lacking the usual relish and glee he openly displays. She wants to know what's going on with Grisham and hopefully find out what Montoya is plotting next. Tessa can't forget the time when they laid the trap for her by killing a farmer turned soldier. She's tired of playing games with Montoya who enjoyed toying with her morals and rules.

"Now just turn left at the next corner and then you will be back at the center of the town." His dull eyes stared at her.

"Thank you, captain. I'm sure Marta is worried sick by now!" Her plastic smile faded as Tessa saw a pool of blood seeped out of his shirt. "Oh no you're bleeding!" Without thought she reached out to stop the blood. Grisham replied with a grunt and grabbed her hand away.

"It's an old wound…I will take care of it. Just go." He released her blood soaked fingers.

He trudged back slowly to his waiting sergeants.

Tessa looked down at her hand. She sighed. Blood on her hands once again. This time, however, the blood belonged to Grisham.

Comments and feedback please! I want to know if people still want me to continue this. Otherwise I can just make this as a one shot.