Captain David Shepherd woke alone in his small apartment. He barely managed to roll out of his bed, still tired. David became surprised after looking at the clock and realizing just how late it was. Then, the stress of the days before had been.

He had a bowl of cereal before dressing in his usual military attire. The king had given him the day off, but one person kept wandering into his mind, and that was whom he wanted to visit in Altar Mansion. David wasn't sure why he was so worried about Michelle, but he knew that something would continue to tug at his heart if he didn't visit.

A taxi hadn't been hard to find in the large city of Shiloh, and soon David arrived at the mansion gates. The two guards saluted and allowed him entrance, but not without a pat on the back for his actions at Port Prosperity.

David strolled into the large fortress, and it dawned on him that he had no idea where to go. Luckily, he saw Thomasina before finding himself lost.

"Thomasina, is it okay if I visit the princess?" he asked, "Or is she too busy?"

"Princess Michelle has been ordered by the king to take a day off and relax. So yes, you may visit her if you so wish," the stoic secretary paused, "Her rooms are up the stairs. Take a left and walk straight. Her room is the third on the left, but I'm sure that you'll be able to tell which is hers.

Puzzled at her last statement, David thanked Thomasina as he walked up the red-carpeted stairs, growing both more anxious and more nervous with each step he ascended.

Worried that there would be a large blinking sign that said, "Princess Michelle's rooms", David noted that he had watched too much television as a child as he made the left turn and continued until he reached the third door. There was no blinking sign, as he'd expected, but only a painted portrait from her shoulders up.

The portrait itself only showed Michelle's outer beauty, but it was also as clear as a photograph. David was tempted to reach out and trace the smile he had become so very fond of but was discouraged by the sheer size of her bodyguards who were standing outside of her door.

He stared, mesmerized by the painting before taking a nervous breath and shyly knocking on the ornate door.

There was a call of "I'm coming" from inside of the room before the door slowly opened, revealing Michelle's surprised face. She had been expecting that it was her bodyguards checking on her.

"Oh, hi," she smiled, "I thought you were one of my guards."

"Hey," he tried to smile back, "Sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering how you were doing."

"Good," her smiled widened, "I'm good. Thanks."

"That's good," he paused, "Well, I guess I'll see you around?" She nodded, and David turned to go.


Michelle wasn't sure what she was doing. She chewed her lip, silently cursing the insufferable habit, "Would you like to come in and have some tea?" she asked hopefully.

David fought to stop a wide grin from taking over his face but to no avail, "I'd like that," he felt his legs start to move and walk into her rooms.

The first room was ornately decorated, full of various shades of reds, whites, and pinks. The carpet was a pristine white, barely touched by red curtains that stood out on the light pink wall. The room seemed to be a room where Michelle could just relax. On each side of the room, there was a door that David thought to lead to her bedroom and a bathroom.

Michelle motioned to two small couches sitting opposite of each other in the middle of the room. There was a wooden coffee table in the middle of them. She picked up a porcelain teapot that had already been waiting on the table and poured two cups. She handed one to David before sitting on the couch opposite his.

She started, "I never thanked you for saving me at Port Prosperity."

David shook his head, "Ethan shot your would-be assassin."

"You shielded me. If your brother hadn't shot him, you would have taken the bullet."

David spoke before he thought, "I didn't want to see you hurt," he was surprised by his own honesty about his feelings, "I wasn't thinking when I did what I did, not that I regret it of course, but you were in danger. I just moved."

Michelle was taken aback; so many protected her because she was the princess, King Silas' daughter. She could tell he cared about her as a person, not just as a princess, "Thank you."

"My pleasure," then, he remembered the newspaper, "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"The other night, the night of the ballet. I was out with Jack," he looked down, "You saw the picture. That girl. I had a lot to drink, but it was still my fault. I kissed her, but I swear it went no further than that."

"Why are you apologizing to me?" she asked. The picture had hurt her, sure, but he wasn't hers.

"Because the day peace was declared, we kissed. And were planning to go out. Because the whole time I was kissing her, I felt like I was betraying you." He stopped and looked up into her eyes, unsure if he should continue, "I was planning on going to the ballet. In fact, I had been looking forward to it, but Thomasina told me my seat had been given away. Jack found me and decided that we would go out that night."

It instantly clicked for Michelle. Her mother's comment about David not being so virtuous and both David's and Jack's absences. "You don't need to apologize," David started to speak, but Michelle stopped him, "but that you did means a great deal to me that you're honest. So many people her are willing to lie and manipulate others to get their way. You didn't even try to shift the blame, and you don't owe that to me." She thought of her mother, and what she was going to say to her.

"I care about you," said David, again surprised by his bluntness, "that's why I like being around you. Everyone here always seems to be thinking of what others think of them, but not you."

"Someone needs to," she grinned, "Are the plans we made to go out still valid?"

A/N It's up to you guys if you want me to update this since it takes place before Judgment Day. I don't know if I'll go into Judgment Day's plot, but I might.

As for the "Michelle's rooms", I mean that she probably has her own area. Just for clarification.

Please review!