A/N Sorry it took me so long to update. I'm in mourning of the show itself, as well as suffering from a nasty case of writer's block.
Two weeks have past since the banquet at Altar Mansion. David and Michelle had fallen into a comfortable routine. Not quite together in a romantic sense, but not quite 'just friends'. Twice a week, Michelle would come and visit David, but she also stayed the night. Technically, David ordered her guard, as a senior officer, to take the night off. Then, on a good week, David meet with Michelle three times a week for lunch. They even met for dinner twice a week.
Some nights, it seemed like it would be harder than usual to keep their secret. Often, the idea to tell Michelle's father would come up, but it was always drowned out, usually by Michelle. Stress began to creep in on those nights, and it slowly increased as Ethan's trial grew closer.
It wasn't a long affair, the trial, but it was enough to wreak havoc on David's nerves. The jury had left over an hour ago to deliberate over Ethan's fate. David's brothers paced the halls of the courthouse, while David outside to get some air and speak with Michelle in a small, private area.
"David, everything will be fine," Michelle stared at the man she'd come to trust and care for. He was falling apart with worry.
"What if it isn't?" he asked, "What if he gets the death penalty? Your testimony helped, but many of the other officers were just as effective."
"Ethan's a good man," she replied, "The jury will see that." Michelle kissed his cheek softly.
"Captain Shepherd?" The bailiff appeared, and the pair inched farther apart, "Princess? The jury's back with a verdict."
"Thanks," she answered. The bailiff turned, "Ready?" Noting his somber look, she added, "It'll be okay."
He nodded silently and walked next to her, saying only, "Thank you Michelle."
She accepted it with a reassuring smile, and together they entered the courtroom.
"All rise, the honorable Judge Shore presiding," the bailiff called out. David and Michelle sat apart, though not far enough to make the meaningful glances invisible.
"Do you have a verdict?" the judge, an older woman in her fifties asked.
"We do, Your Honor," One of the jurors had stood and spoke for the entirety of the box.
The bailiff read off the charge, "On the charge of treason, what is your verdict?"
"We find the defendant, Ethan Shepherd, guilty," The Shepherds broke out in tears. All except Ethan, who stood numb waiting for his sentencing. He was thankful that it was the jury who was to award him a sentence, for fear of a severe punishment from the judge. "He is to serve fifteen years with a chance of parole in ten."
David released a breath. He knew that Ethan had gotten off easy, but he still wished he'd been cleared. Then, David stood up, only to see that Michelle had beaten him to his family. She gave his brother a light hug and said something, but David couldn't hear it.
He joined the Shepherd brothers and his mother, receiving hugs, and a kiss on the cheek from his mother. Michelle stood on the outside, and he walked over to her.
David was holding back tears as he wrapped his arms around Michelle, in what he hoped looked like a thankful fashion.
"I'll see you for dinner," she whispered in his ear before they separated. He nodded and returned to his family.
"She's different, isn't she?" Jessie Shepherd asked her youngest son.
"Yes," he answered, a small smile on his face, "She is."
They had Chinese takeout for dinner. He ordered in advance, having already received her meal request. Together, they ate at the table in his apartment.
"Long day, huh?" Michelle broke the silence as she speared a piece of chicken with her fork.
"I'm just glad that it's over," he answered. "Your testimony had to help. If the princess thinks he's a good guy, why shouldn't we?"
"Yours helped as well," she retorted. "You're so modest."
"So are you," he replied, grinning.
Not long after, they finished eating and adjourned to the couch for more comfort. His apartment was small, but the building was barely occupied, and Michelle was thankful for the privacy that it provided.
"I wish I could stay here forever," said Michelle.
"You could," he answered before continuing in a small voice, "I want you to." She was surprised again by his honesty. He looked down.
"My Dad would kill you," she replied, "and I unfortunately can't abandon my duties. Those kids…"
"I know," he smiled, "You have to do it. I wouldn't love you if you didn't."
"Love?" she asked, incredulous. "You love me?"
He didn't realize what he said until she asked. When had his feelings for her escalated to love? It had just seemed natural to say it.
Finally, he spoke, "I do." He looked away again, "But you're taken."
"It's complicated," she scooted closer to him, "I'll try to explain." His gaze turned and settled back on her, "When I was younger, I got really sick. Eventually, the doctors decided that they could do no more for me, and I gave up. I was going to die," Michelle paused and took a breath, "I felt my breath leaving me, so I prayed to God. I made a promise, a vow, that I would always put him first. "
David laughed, "How cruel. I finally fall in love, and He takes you away from me."
"Do-Do you think he wanted this?" she stared up at him, "Was this part of his plan?"
"He didn't let you live so you could deprive yourself of love," he leaned closer, "He let you live so that you could live," he smiled slightly, "Besides, how could God not want love?"
She kissed, long and passionately. His arms wrapped around her, one cradling her head, the other resting in the small of her back. Hers wrapped around his neck, one slipping into his hair. The made their way to the bedroom and finally gave in to the tension.
The next morning, the first thing she said was, "My father can't know."
A/N Some of the dialogue is obviously from "The Sabbath Queen". I hoped you liked the chapter. I've decided that this fic will sort of follow the normal timeline, but in a different, more AU, way. It will extend to a different ending for the finale.