Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, the cafe, the original YB plot, the wanted posters or the 'Road Less Traveled' quote.

The Road Less Traveled

Picture it... Cafe Noveau... 1609....

"It's an outrage!"

D'Artagnan casually lifted his eyes as a crumpled piece of parchment landed on the table's surface before him. With a bemused look he watched as Jaqueline sat down heavily in the chair across from him; his fingers itched toward the parchment and he slowly unfolded it, his dark eyes skimming over its contents. Offering a sigh in reply, D'Artagnan balled the paper up once again and dropped it. He turned his attention to the figure sitting opposite of him.

"Can you believe the nerve of that man!?" Jacqueline fumed, her clenched fist slamming against the tabletop as she suddenly jumped to her feet. "How dare he post my picture up all over the place... and with a price on my head nonetheless-"

At this D'Artagnan grabbed her wrist firmly, his eyes scanning the room with caution- one certainly couldn't let a thing like this slip into listening ears. "Sit down, Jaqueline," he ordered gently, his gaze trained on her intently.

Gaining control of her temper, Jaqueline did as she was told with much hesitation and disdain. Her eyes fluttered in the direction of the crumpled parchment- a crude drawing of herself along with a hefty bounty- and sighed. "What am I to do, D'Artagan? There are dozens of these warrants posted all over town with my picture on them!"

The young musketeer in question gazed at her silently, a gloved hand coming to rest under his chin as he contemplated the situation; one would definitely say that Jaqueline had landed herself between a rock and a hard place and all because she was protecting herself.

"Is what I did all that wrong considering the sin committed on my father?" Jaqueline whispered, her voice near cracking at the memories of her father's murder. "I did what I did in self-defense and justice... but I guess that doesn't matter, does it?"

Her tone was nearly unrecognizable to his ears, but he just barely caught the underlying hints in her statement and frankly, it shocked him to realize this. Jaqueline was afraid; fearing for her life as Mazarin made a sweep across France in search of her. For weeks now she had held her head up high in defiance of the Cardinal's threats, refusing any of D'Artagnan's help.

Chivalry just wasn't in Jaqueline's vocabulary. Nor is it in a lot of men's it seems, as it's a road not often taken anymore, he mused as he watched her bottom lip begin to slightly quiver, her narrow eyes wilting with worry. He reached across the table and gripped her hand gently, supportively, his sympathetic gaze briefly catching hers. Giving a tender squeeze of his fingers, he stared at her and knew right then, that when the time came, he would most definitely be choosing the road less traveled.