It doesn't surprise her that, upon leaving the hospital, she does not go home.

There are a dozen platitudes about what makes a place "home," all taught to her by her tutors but none of which ever felt true until now. Home, now, is the feeling in her gut, the almost-magnetic pull that draws her away from the palace and down a narrow street.

She tells the driver to park outside, and pay whoever is at the door – the landlord, the doorman – to keep quiet, like he has in the past and like they always do for Jack. If there are photographs sent to her father, she will take the blame then (though she will surely be reprimanded for all of her actions whenever she decides to cross the threshold of her father's house).

But now, right now, it's about home.

His door opens easily, and he is there – as he always is, unexpected as these visits are (or maybe he expects them, maybe he knows her better than herself). For the first time all night, she is tired, her limbs sluggish, and the full weight of everything falls onto her shoulders. Her decision was stupid, and could have been the end of her – all for a little boy she did not know and would never know. Her mother's anger and her father's grief, seen through heavy plastic, make her feel uneasy inside. But the complete knowledge of what she has been through does not settle in until she sits next to David.

She wants to cry. She wants to scream. She was to kiss him long and hard, pull him back on the bed and lose herself in him. She wants to forget her mother, her father, her brother, her responsibility. There is always a nagging in the back of her head, knowing that she can't be here, but fate draws her closer each time their hands intertwine, or a heated glance is exchanged, soon to be followed by a kiss.

She has never felt such momentum in all her life as the day she met David Shepherd.

Her head rests against his shoulder, and he places a kiss against her brow. His arm brushes against her back, and she closes her eyes. In these early morning hours, she is neither a princess nor a daughter. She is Michelle, she is with him, and she is home.