A Tale of Two Times

(I don't own any of the Zorro characters, but I did make up the story line, note this is the old Zorro episodes in the black and white and this is right before the Eagle comes to take over the Hacienda, and this time Don Alejandro is there when it happens..)

Somewhere near the pacific coast, on a high security military base a person was creeping into a window. Quite obviously this person had no military clearance and it was most unlikely they belonged there, considering the way they were keeping to the shadows. In fact, it was most likely that the person had no idea what they were getting into, but then that had never stopped Katherine Kuan before. A very well paid and experienced thief was what she was, but what concerned her today was by far the most important heist of her illustrious career.

A very well off ex-military politician was paying her handsomely to steal a few papers and an experiment from the base. It was protected by top security measures, but then she was used to evading top security measures. She had already procured the documents, and was now on her way to her hiding place to wait for the next round of guards to pass. As she waited she took a quick glance at the sheets in her hand and nearly laughed out loud.

It was apparently directions for operating a time travel device. "This fool actually believes in time travel!" She thought incredulously as she skimmed the pages and put them back into her jacket. "Oh well, it was his money and if he wanted to waste it she would gladly take it off his hands." She then pulled her hood up and her black mask over her face to continue on to the lab.

She entered the dark laboratory through a hole she had quickly made in the window and spent the better part of ten minutes deactivating the security measures. She thought it was quite a lot of them for such a waste of time as trying to time travel. As she finished the last security precaution she carefully lifted the bracelet-like item off it's tray and buckled it onto her forearm. It fit very well and looked rather like a steel gauntlet with many buttons, however it weighed much less. She was just turning to go when an alarm began to sound, the lights came on and the door was flung open by an armed guard who quickly took aim. She just had time to remember the pressure-timed alarm when she flung herself behind a desk.

The guard began firing at the other side as she quickly drew two shiny silver guns from her tall black boots. She began to return his fire. She new she could never hold out against the whole base, when an idea came to her. She shoved her guns into her boot holsters and prepared to put her plan into motion.

"It's worth a shot, lets just hope most everyone on Earth is wrong and time travel is possible after all." She thought as she pushed a series of buttons on the gauntlet.


Don Diego del la Vega was taking an early morning ride with his manservant Benado when a flash of light from behind a rock caught his eye.

"What was that?" he asked, turning his horse. His natural curiosity getting the better of him, he quickly dismounted and began climbing up the rocky terrain toward the place where the flash had occurred, Benado quickly followed him. After a few moments they were climbing over it to see a person lying on the ground, out cold. They were dressed all in black, black pants, black boots, a black cloth mask, and a long, buttoned black leather coat. Benado quickly began to make gestures.

"You think we should bring him back with us?" Diego interpreted.

Benado nodded and gestured again.

"Very well, we will put him on your horse, behind you." Diego agreed.

Benado picked up the person's feet and Diego the arms and together they lifted their burden onto Benado's horse. They immediately set of for the hacienda.

When they arrived they found the house empty but for a few older servants, apparently Don Alejandro had given the rest a day off and gone to spend the day in Los Angeles. For lack of anything better to do with the stranger Diego had a few of the servants move him upstairs to his room. Diego quickly followed them and they left once they had deposited him.

"Now what?" Diego asked with a questioning look at Benado.

Benado shrugged his shoulders, indicating he had no ideas for the time being.

"Well, at least we will see if he is injured, take off his jacket while I fill up this basin.

Benado leaned over and unbuttoned the long coat and nearly fell over with shock, he quickly buttoned it back and tapped Diego on the shoulder.

"What is it Benado," Diego said turning around, "I told you to take off the coat."

Benado shook his head vehemently no.

"Well why not, it isn't hard," Diego said as he quickly unbuttoned the coat and pulled it open. The stranger was quite obviously not a man, and underneath the overcoat she had on a very low cut leather bodice that seemed to show more than it covered.

Diego very quickly buttoned it back up and covering his surprise at both her sex and lack of proper dress he looked at Benado. "Oh," was all he said to him. He leaned over the girl and pulled back her hood and her black mask.

She was startlingly lovely, and sleeping she seemed so innocuous that he found it hard to believe she could be in the difficult predicament as she was obviously in. Diego and Benado just stared at her until the silence was broken by a moan from the young woman. Diego and Benado both took a step back as she sat up, put a hand to her forehead, and opened her big dark eyes.

"Who are you?" "Where am I?" she demanded in English.

Diego looked at Benado, plainly wondering what an English speaking, Chinese-looking woman was doing in California. He looked back to the angry, confused lady.

"I apologize, Senorita, you are in my bedchamber, we found you this morning laying in the desert, " Diego replied, also in English.

"Your accent is atrocious," she commented in Spanish this time.

He smiled at her candor, "I apologize, Senorita if my speech offends you," he replied in Spanish.

She stood up, "Now if you don't mind where am I on the map?" she asked a bit more calmly but still with a suspicious note in her voice.

"You are a few miles away from Los Angeles." He said patiently.

"Is it always this hot here?" She asked, taking off her coat, at which Diego and Benado immediately turned around. "What's wrong with you?" She asked, puzzled.

"Senorita, you may notice you are not properly attired," Deigo said in a slightly scandalized voice.

"What's wrong with it?" she asked defensively, looking down at her stylish black leather top, dark pants and high satiny boots. "I mean, it's not like I'm the one wearing the lace collar." she said acidly.

"Senorita, it is not proper for me to be in the same room with a half dressed, young woman." Diego insisted.

"Well, you forgot unmarried," she said, frowning lightly when they did not turn around. "Geez, what are you people living in, the sixteen hundreds?" she asked sarcastically. Then she seemed to remember something, clapped her hand to her mouth and looked at her wrist. She seemed to be wearing a strange type of bracelet. "Oh no," she mumbled under her breath, "It's just my luck, I'd end up there." she said pulling on her coat.

"Look," said Diego, walking up to her, obviously annoyed, "I don't know where you are from, but around here woman do not run around in men's clothes, or with barely anything more on than their undergarments." "This isn't a harem and you will behave properly in my home."

She looked up at him with a dangerous look in her eyes and for a moment he was sure she was going to strike him when suddenly a gleam came into her eyes and her entire demeanor changed. "I apologize, I have acted so," she paused, "impolitely." "I don't even know your name."

Diego wasn't fooled a minute, he knew the kind of games a woman could play to get what she wanted. The only way you could tell if they were lying was by their eyes, and this woman was most definitely hiding something, but she also clearly needed their help. "My name is Diego de la Vega, this is my servant Benado, what is your name?"

"My name is Katherine Kuan, but everyone calls me as Kit." she smiled, knowing he wouldn't use her nickname.

"A pleasure to meet you, Katherine," Diego said with a small bow.

"Charmed, I'm sure," Kit muttered.

"I will obtain some clothes for you, you will put them on, and then we will have a talk about where you are from and what we will do with you." Diego said.

An hour later, the newly clothed Katherine was registering a very loud complaint with Diego in the main room about his insistence on her wearing the inhibiting dress. He was patiently ignoring her when a servant approached him.

"Excuse me, Don Diego," he interrupted, "Your carriage is ready." At Diego's nod the man left leaving Katherine tapping her foot expectantly.

"So we are leaving to talk to your father about me?" Kit asked.

"No, I am leaving, this is no place for you," Diego said dismissing her with a wave of his hand.

"Excuse me?" Kit asked in a dangerous voice. "The hell it's not!" "I happen to be the subject of this little powwow and I will be in on the decision." she said furiously marching up to him.

"You are not coming," Diego said, beginning to get angry.

"Try and stop me," she said as she spun on her heel.

Diego reached out and grabbed her shoulder and she quickly grabbed his wrist and pulled him to her, using the momentum to flip him over her and onto the carpet.. He quickly got up and walked to her, she stood as tall as she could and waited to see what he would do, surely even a gentleman wouldn't take that kind of an insult without some kind of retribution.

But instead he suddenly bowed to her. "My lady your carriage awaits." he said with a perfect English accent, leaving her to stare at him in surprise as he turned and walked out the door.

A few hours later they were standing outside the Los Angeles Tavern. Diego gestured for her to enter and said, "I am going to find my father, stay in here until I come back to collect you." He gave her some money. "Try not to get into too much trouble," he added with a grin.

She looked up at him with a perfectly straight face and replied, "I'll do my very best."Diego smiled and left as she walked through the door.

The tavern was nothing special, one large room, a basement, a store room and a series of bedrooms to be rented by people who were staying in the city. There were quite a few people there, but she managed to find the one empty table and sat down. She had nothing really to do and almost instinctively glanced around for her exits, and possible ways to get back in if she saw any valuables. The door to the tavern would be locked, but she could pick anything, and anyway, she doubted there would be a very sophisticated catch on anything at this point in time. There was also a very simple-looking skylight, and a balcony on the back that could be used to enter a room, and from there the tavern. By the time she had figured out the quickest route in, out, and back to the hacienda she was really getting bored. She began to study the patrons of the 'fine establishment'.

Most of them were the usual farmers, stopping to get a drink before returning to their work. A few looked wealthy, wearing the same ruffled coat and embroidered pants as Diego. And there were even a group of soldiers there. It was they who particularly drew her attention, it was always best to become aware of local law enforcement when one entered a new place where there may be profits to be made. She quickly crossed over to their table and smiled her most winsome and vapid smile.

"Excuse me, but I was wondering, I'm not sure how to use this kind of money, I'm so used to English currency," she lied through her teeth in as terrible a Spanish accent as possible.

"Oh, of course we would be happy to help you, Senorita, what is it you wish to buy?" asked a very large, very strange looking soldier. He almost seemed to be wider than he was tall and looked as though he hadn't shaved in a week, but he had this kind of innocent stupidity that she couldn't help but feel comfortable around him. Usually stupid people were the best kind for her, but this man was so obviously mentally deficient that she felt that taking advantage of it would be an insult to her chosen field of work, it was just too easy.

"Oh, I was going to get a bottle of wine, but since you are being so helpful, let me buy for all of you." she smiled at their almost childlike delight in her generosity.

"Oh, Gracias Senorita," the fat one said with a grin. The others were quick to second him and pretty soon most of them were busy getting drunk.

About fifteen minutes later she had learned all of their names, filing them in the back of her mind for later use, she was listening intently to them describe the infamous outlaw Zorro. She had seen the posters for him, but she had always thought that the story of Zorro was just a fantasy, like the Robin Hood of the Mexican community. It appeared she was wrong. Zorro had been running circles around the local law for quite some time, it seemed. Frankly, in her opinion, more power to him. She sort of considered any thief to be a kindred spirit, but she personally avoided any of the ones with the more violent track records, after all, violence made the law jumpy and a jumpy policeman was bad for business. By the time Diego had returned with Don Alejandro she had about half the Garrison wrapped around her finger. Don Alejandro chose a table while Diego pushed his way to Kit, in the middle of the crowd of spellbound soldiers hanging on her every word.

"If I might have a word with you, Katherine?" Diego asked with his jaw clenched a bit.

"Diego!" she said with a smile at his discomfort, "whatever is wrong."

Knowing she knew perfectly well what was wrong, he ignored the question. "My father wishes to meet you to decide whether or not you are the kind of guest we want staying with us. So you had better make a good impression, I'm sure that flirting with those soldiers hasn't done you any favors. He began to guide her over to the table.

"Wait a minute." Kit said, stopping suddenly.

"What is it?" Diego asked.

Katherine began to rummage around in her small purse until she found a small compact device and several long, cylinder-like objects.

"Hold this," she ordered, opening the device and handing it to him. She began to apply some make-up to her face while he held the mirror for her. When he looked at her after she was finished he nearly gasped.

"How did you do that?" he asked in surprise.

"I am a very skilled make-up artist," she said with a smile. She had somehow managed to make herself look about sixteen. She was a rather small person and with the make-up accentuating her large eyes and the pale skin and pink lips she looked so innocent that the devilish smile she gave him looked wildly out of place. "I doubt your father will turn me away when I look so girlish and obviously in need of male support." She said this last with obvious distaste. "I forgot how you men perceive women, like we are all helpless and need to be protected, well I could probably wipe the floor with you!" With these words she composed her face into an sweet, innocent smile and walked over to talk to Don Alejandro. A few moments later Diego joined them.

When Alejandro saw the childlike Katherine he immediately went into father-like mentor mode. Diego had to admit, if he didn't know better he would have fallen for her charms almost as fast as his father. It was just that, she looked so pure and untouched. Come to think of it, he still didn't know where she was from, how was he to know that where she came from this wasn't pure? After all, she did look Chinese, and he had little ideas as to their customs or dress.

"So, my dear, what were you doing with those soldiers?" Alejandro asked curiously, "I know you couldn't have known how rough they can be."

"I didn't Don Alejandro, and thank you for helping me, I just wanted to hear their stories." "They seem so brave and good." Katherine lowered her voice a bit as she spoke and smiled a small, pretty smile. She had done this many times and older men went totally father figure on her. She got the feeling, however, that Alejandro would have liked her even if she had been herself. She regretted having to deceive him, but one person knowing the truth would be certain to give her away, and she needed time alone if she was to study those papers and get back to her century. Don Alejandro continued speaking to her.

"Diego tells me he found you in the desert, I see he had your clothes cleaned for you?" He smiled at her.

Meanwhile she glanced at Diego wondering why he had not told his father the entire truth. "Yes, it was very kind of him to help me, I fell off my horse and I must have hit my head, but I remember waking up in the hacienda."

Diego, she could tell was buying none of it, but then he was extremely intelligent. She had a feeling she wasn't the only one who was more than she appeared. After a while talking with Don Alejandro she had totally enthralled him, Diego excused himself and went to talk to Benado behind the tavern where he had told him to wait.

"Well, she is amazing!" Diego exclaimed quietly. "I honestly think she could charm anyone, did you see how fast she captivated my father, I was even starting to fall, and I knew she was lying."

Benado shook his head and began to make gestures.

"You think there is more to her story too, eh?" Diego translated. "That flash of light before we found her, her strange clothes, and I saw no tracks, hers or a horse." "She must have go there by some other way, maybe jumping from rock to rock, she couldn't very well have just appeared out of nowhere."

Benado gestured some more.

"Yes, I agree, you go back to the Hacienda and check those papers in her jacket for any clues, I'll see if I can get away, but if not we'll be following shortly.

Diego went back into the tavern to speak to his father. "Father, I must go back to the hacienda, there is something I forgot to take care of," Diego excused himself.

"Diego," Kit said, quickly realizing what he was up to, "Why don't I go with you, I'm sure I would just be in your father's way here."

"Nonsense, Senorita," Alejandro spoke up, "I would love to have your company."

"Oh, Gracias, Don Alejandro, may I have a word with Diego before he leaves?"

"Of course, Senorita, I'll wait for you in the shop next door." He stood and left.

The minute he was out of earshot she pulled Diego into the store room. "I am warning you Diego, leave my things alone, you have no idea what you are getting into."

"I think I can handle it, anyway I'm sure it seems like a large matter to you, but I am very good at helping others with their problems." Diego smiled remembering his defeat of all of the pueblo's as Zorro.

"Leave it alone, Diego, it's not your concern."

"Anything having to do with Los Angeles or my hacienda is my business," he retorted heatedly.

"I would hate to have to dissuade you by other means," Katherine said dangerously.

Diego advanced toward "Is that a threat, Senorita?" Diego asked, his face inches from hers.

"Take it any way you wish, Senor," Katherine smiled, then left the room leaving Diego to stare after her.

Naturally Diego disregarded her warning, it wasn't that he had no respect for her ability to fulfill her threat, it was just his sense of preservation was warning him that this was something he needed to be in on. He reached his hacienda shortly and immediately went to his room to retrieve the woman's papers. They were in English, and so a bit difficult for him to read, but as he went along it got easier. By the time he reached the bottom he had concluded that Katherine had been right about one thing. He had no idea what he was getting into. He quickly went downstairs to find Benado and discuss this surprising turn of events.

"Look at this, he said," shoving the papers at Benado.

Benado took them and stared at them blankly for a moment before holding up his hands in defeat at his inability to read English.

"It says here that the date these papers where written it was March third." Diego snapped.

Benado held up his hands as if to say 'so what'.

"So what!" Diego exclaimed, "March third, two thousand three, that's so what."

Benado gave him a quizzical look.

"If what this says is true this woman is from the future and she came back in time from the year two thousand and three." Diego explained.

Benado shook his head, dismissing the theory as nonsense and began gesturing to Diego.

"Well, who are you to say what is possible so far in the future?" Diego demanded. "Here you want further proof?" he asked. At Benado's nod he began to point out several strange facts of the woman that corroborated the seemingly far-fetched idea. "First, her outfit, no matter where she was from no self respecting female would wear such an outfit in these times, however you never know what happened to fashion in the future." "Second, these papers, the writing on them is precise, it is so even and clear that it is impossible it was written by hand, there must be new way of doing things in the future." "And third, look at the paper itself, it is so thin, white, and straight, I have never seen so fine a quality anywhere." "Not to mention the girls action and resistance to authority, did I tell you she flipped me over in this very room not five hours ago?" "Didn't even break a sweat, they must train women to fight in the twentieth century!" Diego said.

Benado sat down, shaking his head and trying to take in the impossible situation.

Diego walked up to him, "If you still doubt it, you could always look at her clothes for some clues, but I will tell you what you will find." "On the boots, made in Italy." "On the bodice, Dry Clean Only, Made in Japan." "On her pants, the bottom left cuff is a very small flag with red and white stripes going horizontal and a blue rectangle in the top left corner, inside it is a bunch of stars, at least fifty." "Do you know of any flag that fits this description?" Diego prompted his friend. At the shake of Benado's head Diego continued, "Well perhaps in her time there is one." "Imagine what she must know, she must know of the future of California, what will happen to Spain, what happens to the world in the future; she knows it all." Diego sat back barely able to comprehend what Katherine knew. Then Benado began gesturing again. "What was that?" Diego asked him. "You want me to ask her?" "No, no, Diego insisted, I wouldn't want to hear any bad news and I certainly wouldn't want to mess with History." Diego smiled, I think we should keep this under our hats."

In the end, Diego decided to return to town to keep an eye on their wayward time traveler, he left Benado to store away all of their guests things in a locked trunk safe from prying eyes and follow later.

He was just reentering Los Angeles when movement caught his eye from an alleyway. His natural curiosity could not be overcome, so he dismounted and walked in that direction. As he reached it he saw the very people he was looking for, it appeared his father and Katherine had wandered into one of the less prosperous areas of town. He really was surprised at his father not realizing how dangerous it was to go walking there. Her father was arguing with four bandits, one, the leader, with a gun and the rest with drawn swords. As his father apparently was not going to had over his money, the leader struck him with the gun. Diego broke into a run as he saw his father fall, he hit the one with the gun from behind, knocking him out beside Don Alejandro, but the another grabbed Katherine from behind and held the sword to her throat.

"Not another move, Senor, or I will kill the Senorita, give us your gold." the unshaven man demanded.

"Diego, do you intend to do anything about this?" Kit asked in an annoyed tone of voice.

"Stay calm, Katherine," Diego told her.

"I am perfectly calm, Diego, tell this," she curled her lip, " 'thief' to unhand me before I make him regret being born."

"I don't think you realize the danger you are in, Senorita, I will not hesitate to kill you for your gold." the thief said, attempting to sound menacing.

"As if you could, you are lucky I haven't killed you already." she retorted.

"You are a very foolish young woman." the bandit growled.

"For goodness sake, Katherine, be quite," Diego said.

"Oh, forget this," Katherine said suddenly. She elbowed her 'captor' in the stomach, turned, punched him in the face, and disarmed him with a strange twist, then using her foot she propelled the sword into the air, caught it, and ran the bandit through in one fast, furious motion. The others stood there for a moment before attacking them. Diego punched the first one, knocking him out smoothly, Katherine kicked him in the head and then punched him twice knocking him to the ground and then stepping on him on her way out.

"Oh, that was professional," Diego remarked acerbically to her as they picked up his father.

"What would you know about my profession?" she asked him with a superior smile.

"You are quite correct," Diego admitted, "All I really know about you is you aren't from this time." "But after what I've seen today you can't be all bad."

"How do you know that me helping to rescue your father wasn't just a by product of very my well developed self-preservation instincts?" She asked him frankly.

"I just do," he said with a puzzled half smile. Then he changed the subject, "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?"

"What do you want to know?" she asked with a smile?

"How about what you do, how you got here, and what you plan to do next?" He asked.

She smiled up at him as they cleared the ally, "I will answer any question you ask me, after we get your Father some help."

As soon as they cleared the ally people came rushing in to see what had happened. They sent the first person who approached to fetch a doctor, giving Katherine ample time to take Don Alejandro's purse and get her and Diego's story straight. Her and Don Alejandro had been attacked, one of them had knocked Don Alejandro out and they had taken the money and left. No one would check it. Soon the doctor had Don Alejandro conscious and sitting up in a room above the tavern. He was pronounced fit to travel and Benado soon arrived to take them all home in the carriage, and frankly Diego couldn't wait to get to bed, what with finding this woman, learning her secret, and his father being attacked it had turned out completely different from the lazy day he had been expecting, however first he had something to attend to.

In her room, Kit had removed her stifling dress and put on her twentieth century clothes, she was sick and tired of being uncomfortable and she was certainly going to have good night's rest whether Diego de la Vega liked it or not. Just then she heard a knock on her door. With a sigh she pulled on her hot robe and answered it. To her immense displeasure Diego stood before her, well whatever he said she wasn't putting that dress on for him.

"What do you want?" she asked very ungraciously.

"My, you are in a charming mood." Diego said in a tired but amused voice. He walked past her and sat down in a chair. "I need to speak to you," he said.

"Well, if you must you will have to endure my outfit." she said removing the robe with obvious relief.

Diego took one look at her and could feel himself blushing, however he continued valiantly on in spite of himself. However he did have to remind himself to keep his eyes where they belonged several times.

"I looked at your papers," he told her straight out.

"Somehow I didn't think you were going to respect my privacy," she said in an indifferent tone of voice, "So, do you want to know if I know any of your grandchildren?" she smiled.

"Then it's true," Diego said in a dazed voice, "I almost couldn't believe it, it seems so impossible." "How did you manage it?"

Kit held up her arm and pushed up her sleeve, "See this thing." she asked him, pointing to the metal gauntlet. At his nod she continued, "Apparently it works with just a few depressions of the button, I'll need to study those documents to really understand it."

"If you don't know how to use it how did you get here?" Diego inquired.

"I just jabbed a few buttons," she said, "I was cornered and it was my last resort.

"Where did you get it?" Diego asked.

"Well, my employer asked me to acquire it for him from a military base." she replied. "I thought it was all nonsense, but when they found me there, well, like I said I didn't have many choices left."

"Let me get this straight," Diego exclaimed, "You are a thief and you were stealing this technology when you were discovered." "Then, even though you didn't think it would work, you just pushed a few random buttons and hoped?"

"Something like that, you know you'd think I would have remembered that last security measure, I mean pressure sensitive posts are the oldest defense in the book." "I must have been really out of it," she added. "I hope I'm not losing my touch." she said worriedly.

"Do you mean to tell me," Diego asked, "that I've been aiding and abetting a criminal?" He looked shocked at the idea of her being a professional thief. "Maybe I should turn you over to Sergeant Garcia, he could put you in the stockade."

"Please," Kit scoffed at him, "What are you going to say, arrest her, in a few hundred years she is going to steal a piece of military property?" "Besides, I don't think the Sergeant would believe I could do anything wrong, and with a few tears I'd be out of there." She leaned over Diego and smiled, Diego averted his eyes from her as she bent over and blushed again.

"You should put on a proper nightgown." He said in an authoritative voice.

"You know," she said backing off, "you have a very commanding voice, and under normal circumstances I might even do as you ask, but I happen to know that you are too much of a gentlemen to make me get 'properly dressed'." She smiled at his outraged look over the very idea of having to make a woman get dressed.

"I think our conversation is at an end," Diego said stiffly rising.

"You are right, you are going to need all your strength to keep up with me tomorrow." "You might have to fight me to get me back in that dress," she added with a smile. Just to rub it in her female superiority she walked over to Diego as her turned to say goodnight and kissed him lightly on the lips. He looked so shocked it was all she could do not to laugh out loud before she got her door shut.

Diego walked back to his room pondering how different Katherine was from the woman of his time, outspoken, willful, and able to take care of themselves. (He must admit to wondering if she could beat him in a sword fight.) But he also thought how similar they were, they both wanted respect, devotion, and equality. After conferring with Benado about tomorrow's schedule he fell asleep, but the last thing on his mind before he drifted off was still Katherine Kuan.

The next morning when Diego woke up he found his father in bed still and Katherine talking brightly with him about her imaginary life before her 'arrival' in Los Angeles. He stood in the doorway and smiled at her half truths and cleverly manufactured lies, admiring her technique that reminded him so much of the games he played with others when avoiding their questions about Zorro. He was so used to it that it came naturally to him to lie about his whereabouts whenever he had been masquerading as Zorro. He accepted it as a drawback to helping his country, but he still regretted whenever he had to lie to his father. That was when Kit noticed him in the doorway.

"Why don't you come in, Diego?" she asked with a too-innocent smile. "I was just telling your father how I was so looking forward to you taking me back to the city, you know I have so little time to just enjoy myself at home." she smiled winsomely.

Don Alejandro chuckled, "I am sure Diego would be happy to oblige you, Senorita, he has nothing to do today anyway."

"Father, I was going to stay home today and read, I had assumed the Senorita would be tired from yesterday's ordeal," Diego said making a half hearted attempt to get out of taking Katherine anywhere she wanted to go.

"Oh, no Don Diego," Kit said with a smile, "I rested so well my lovely rooms I feel completely refreshed." "After all, I wouldn't want to deprive you of a chance to go to Los Angeles on my account." She gave him another smile.

Diego gave in, "I would be happy to take you, Senorita, as soon as we have had breakfast."

They both left the room after Katherine promised to send Don Alejandro's up immediately.

An hour later they had set of, Benado driving the carriage and Diego and Kit in the back.

"I want you to know why I am taking you to Los Angeles, Katherine," Diego began.

'You mean it isn't because you find me so absolutely adorable that it is impossible for you to deny me anything in the world that could possibly bring me pleasure?" she asked in a sweet voice.

Diego turned his head so she would not see his smile, then quickly recovered and looked at her sternly. "It is because I don't want you out of my sight."

"Good," Kit replied simply, "Because I don't want you out of my sight."She smiled, "But for completely different reasons."

Diego was stunned, was this twentieth century woman actually flirting with him? He decided it safer not to reply and they were silent for a time. Finally Kit broke it by leaning out the carriage toward Benado and asking him if he could please try to avoid some of the bumps in the rode.

"Senorita Katherine, surely you remember Benado can neither speak nor hear," Diego said as she leaned back in.

"Diego," Kit said in a do-you-think-I'm-completely-stupid voice, "Don't insult my intelligence, I know he can hear, I can see the comprehension in his eyes."

"I am afraid you are mistaken, Senorita." Diego said trying to sound convincing.

"Oh, really?" Katherine smiled, "Watch this," she said pulling down the top so that Benado could hear her, "Diego," she said loudly, "Do you think you could ask Benado if he might be interested in meeting me later in the stables?" She continued, "Every time I see him I just get this urge to pull him onto a table and tear his clothes off!"

Benado nearly swerved off the road when he heard this last part, but he quickly pulled back onto it and tried to act as if nothing had happened. Katherine leaned over to Benado and kissed him on the cheek lightly, I knew you could hear, she laughed. And then sat back down.

"Katherine, that was completely uncalled for," Diego said, trying to sound severe, "But extremely amusing," he said breaking into a smile.

Kit smiled at him, surprised, "I thought you would say it was extremely unladylike."

"How can I downplay such a remarkable experiment?" Diego asked. "But I will ask that you keep it to yourself, not even my father knows."

"Cross my heart and hope to die," she replied solemnly.

Diego could only hope this was a strong oath in the time that she came from.

They reached Los Angeles shortly after that and began to stroll down the avenues entering shops at random. This was one of the few times Diego had not been bored shopping with a woman, she amused him with clever observations and tantalizing remarks about the future that he refused to inquire about further. He was even starting to enjoy himself when they entered a large clothing store with an open window to the street. they were standing next to it when they heard several rough voices. They listened in almost reflexively when they realized they had overheard a plot to rob the Quartel of the payroll when it came in. They learned what time the robbery was going to occur, but not knowing the day the money was delivered Diego could only wait until later to make a plan. They waited until after the men had dispersed to leave the store and went directly to the tavern.

Diego tried to convince Katherine to stay in the shop, but she claimed to be thirsty, he knew this was a job for Zorro, but he didn't want her to know he planned to do anything about the information he had acquired. Unbeknownst to him Katherine was forming a plan of her own, and all she needed was the date when the money was to arrive, and she knew how to get it. As her and Diego entered the tavern he went right to Sergeant Garcia to pump him for information, and she went to a Corporal she had met earlier, a Corporal Rayas, soon she not only had the date she wanted but the where it was to be kept and when it was to be distributed.

She had already decided she didn't need the money, but if she wasn't going to steal it then, By God, no one else was either. She couldn't explain why, but she felt oddly protective of the stupid soldiers of the Los Angeles Quartel.

Eventually Diego finished his conversation with Sergeant Garcia, he had received the information he needed, the attempt was going to be made in two days. He mentally reminded himself to tell Benado and then collected Katherine and went back to the hacienda. The next day he spent at home with his father, listening to Katherine's sardonic wit and contrived stories of her imaginary life solely made up to amuse his father. He had to admit he appreciated her entertaining his father, without her he would have gone stir crazy with all the resting. Luckily there was only one more day of bed rest prescribed.

The day of the robbery dawned beautifully, the sunrise was spectacular and everyone was in a good mood. Diego because he had won several arguments with Katherine the night before, Don Alejandro because it was his last day in bed, and Katherine because she would get a chance to get out of the hacienda without that infernal dress on.

They spent the day in the Library, reading in companionable silence, but around nine Diego excused himself saying his eyes were tired and he was going to bed. A few moments later Don Alejandro joined him, eager to wake up the next day and be able to be out of a bed or a chair for a change. Katherine went over to the bookcase and leaned against it with a sigh, nearly falling over when it swung open without warning. Muffling her outburst she looked inside it curiously, and then began to explore. Eventually she reached a door, figuring out the mechanism she opened it to find herself looking into her room. Realizing what an excellent chance this was she quickly changed into her black clothing in a matter of minutes and grabbed her mask and a black cloak from her closet. Then she reentered the pathways and began to descend.

Diego entered the secret pathways from his room and began to change into his costume while Benado saddled Tornado. He had finished the pants and had pulled out the shirt when he heard footsteps on the stairs. He turned around just in time to see Katherine step into view dressed in her twentieth century clothes.

"What are you doing here?" he asked her with an intense expression on his face.

Katherine had never seen Diego look so dangerous as he did now, her respect for him went up several points as she gazed at him seriously. "I was in the library, about to go upstairs and I leaned against the bookcase, it opened and I went in." "I found my room by the pathways and changed my clothes because I didn't want to be recognized when I went to frustrate the plans to rob the Quartel tonight." she answered truthfully.

"What do you mean, you, going to the Quartel?" Diego demanded, not even realizing that he was standing in a room, with no shirt on, talking to a young, unmarried woman. "It is too dangerous, you aren't going."

"Who's going to stop me?" she asked imperiously.

"If necessary I will," Diego said.

Normally she wouldn't have believed he'd do it, but he seemed to be a completely different person from the Diego she knew. She would have to fight him if she wanted to leave. "Well then, so be it," she thought to herself, and grabbed a sword from the table and swung at him.

Diego must have read her actions in her eyes, because he jumped back and blocked with his sword and the duel was on, she was extremely good, despite her high heeled boots and smaller stature. She parried and thrust better than most men he knew, but she made a small mistake, misbalanced, and Diego disarmed her. She took two steps back and kicked his sword arm causing him to drop his sword, then she knocked it away from him with a low kick that made him jump backward. It was then that the fight really began. She swung at him and he caught her arm, twisting her around. She didn't cry out, but took the pain and used it to put extra force into her elbow jab. Diego released her and backed up a step, she kicked his legs out from under him, but he caught her kick to his stomach and brought her down as well. He tried to pin her arms down, but she hit him in the stomach and he fell to the side, she got on top of him, trying to use her leverage as an advantage. He still getting air back into his lungs from her last punch, but when he could breathe again he used his last bunch of strength to flip he over and then flip himself back on top of her. This time he got a firm grip on her wrists and no matter how much she squirmed she could not get up.

"Will you give up this ridiculous notion of going with me now?" he asked her his face inches from hers.

"Are you kidding," she asked breathing heavily, "I nearly beat you, and I know I'm a better shot than you." "You should let me come with you and stop wasting time."

"I'll think about," Diego promised, and then, on a spur of the moment idea, he leaned down to give her the same kind of quick kiss she had given him. She, however, was having none of it, as he loosened his grip on her wrists she grabbed his hands and pulled him down on top of her.

They were both surprised at the spark of electricity that was between them as their lips met and were both a little sorry when it ended.

"So," Katherine said a little breathlessly, "Does this mean you are going to let me come?"

"I guess it does," Diego said, surprising himself with his lack of embarrassment at kissing Katherine. "You are already dressed for it."

"Speaking of dressed," Katherine said, glancing at his bare chest, "Shouldn't you get finished?"

"You're are correct," Diego said, getting up and pulling her up after him, "A few minutes with you and you already have me losing my perspective."

"That's what I'm here for." Kit smiled at him. Then she went down to surprise Benado.

After a few explanations, Benado snuck another dark horse out of the de la Vega stable. Katherine and Diego were soon on their way toward Los Angeles.

"It was a good thing we got such an early start, or that duel could have really cost us," Diego said with a smile under his dark mask. "I hope you don't waste so much time next time." he smiled.

"It's a good thing you look so handsome with that black outfit," Kit said with a smile, "or I might be tempted to start another one right now, just for that remark." "Anyway," she smiled, "what makes you think I want to do this again?"

He smiled at her as they rode into Los Angeles, knowing that she was enjoying it every bit as much as he was. They quickly became all business when they reached the Quartel. There was no moon, and while it made it harder for them to see, it also made it harder for them to be seen. As Diego climbed of his horse onto the Quartel roof Katherine reached into her backpack and pulled out a something, slipping it around her waist and buckling it in place. Then she reached up and swung herself onto the wall.

"This is it," Zorro whispered, "no going back now."

"Don't worry, I've done this hundreds of times," Kit replied in the same hushed tone he had used.

"I'm sure you have, I just wanted to warn you, the guards on this side are usually pretty alert, but when they round that corner we can sneak by."

"Lead on, oh great and noble master." Kit said, extending her hands in a servile manner.

Zorro ignored her attempt at humor except to smile and they put their plan into action, they were just settling into their hiding place when they saw the first dark figure lowering himself over the wall. They stayed in the shadows until the bandits had knocked out both the guards, then they walked out with their swords drawn.

"Good evening, gentlemen," Zorro said in a cordial voice, "we aren't the Quartel payroll, but perhaps we could provide you some entertainment."

The bandits immediately ran toward the masked figures and began to attack. Katherine took down two of them quickly, and began to spar with another. Zorro attacked the leader and after a few passes he ran him through. The bandit gave off an earsplitting shriek as he was killed and a light came on in the barracks. While the soldiers came boiling out of their rooms, Kit knocked out the last bandit and climbed up on the wall after Zorro. She jumped onto her horse and rode after him. The soldiers were mainly concerned with the bandits, but one scrambled after them onto the wall and aimed a wild shot in the general direction of the escaping outlaws.

Zorro was confident they would get away cleanly as he jumped onto his horse, hearing Kit follow. He rode out toward the open country when a shot rang out. He glanced back at the retreating Quartel and saw Kit grimace and lean back holding the reins with one hand and the other to her right side. He rode up beside her, leaned her against him, and rode back to the hacienda as fast as he could.

By the time they reached the room Diego was very worried. Kit seemed grimace every time he so much as moved her. He pulled her off her horse and carried her to the table. laying her out he moved her cloak and looked at her wound.

"That's strange," he thought, "there is no blood, but I can clearly see the hole in her belt." Then he noticed the belt itself, it was pretty think and seemed to be different from her other clothing.

Kit sat up on the table and made another face. "I don't care how much bullet proof armor you are wearing, being shot still hurts like hell," she exclaimed. She peeled off the belt and rubbed the spot where she had been shot. Diego, meanwhile, was staring at her in disbelief, then relief, that quickly turned to anger.

"Well, it was nice of you to tell me you weren't really shot," he said furiously, "I was worrying myself sick about you."

Kit looked up in surprise, "Why were you worried about me?" She looked up into his eyes with such an obviously puzzled expression that Diego's anger melted away.

"Because you are my friend, and I like you." Diego said with a sigh at her lack of comprehension and a bit sad that she had had so few people to trust in the twentieth century. Then he went to unsaddle Tornado and return the other horse to the stable.

Katherine sat their on the table for quite some time thinking about what Diego had said. She honestly did not think he had liked her, I mean, sure he respected her ability to fight and he was always polite to her, he probably even found her attractive, but to consider her a friend? Gradually she began to smile at the thought, and then she realized that she didn't mind it so much, it was kind of nice trusting him, being his friend, it was nice just being around him period. And then she realized something else, and knew immediately that she needed to act on it.

Diego had finished changing into his normal clothes and was about to go up to bed and think about tonight. he certainly had a lot to think about. That woman could make him angrier than he had ever been before, but when he had thought she was shot he had been worried out of his mind about her. The more he tried to convince himself it was just normal the more a little voice whispered, "You weren't this scared when anyone else got shot." And then their was that little incident before they left, he had been impressed with her fighting skill, yes, but it was the kiss that really stood out. It was so electric that he could still feel it on his lips. He had never felt that before. But what was it, just the charm of her twentieth century upbringing, or something more?

He turned to leave and stopped, she was standing there, just looking at him with a small smile on her face. She had her hair down and her cloak off. By now, he was almost comfortable with her clothes, so he smiled at her.

"What can I do for you, Katherine?" Diego asked in a quite voice.

"I just needed some help from you, Diego," she said almost shyly. She walked up to him until they were only a few inches apart. "I want to ask you something, but I don't know how." she admitted. It was the first time she had shown anything like weakness to him. "I'm so confused," she said, her lip was trembling, but her eyes were locked on his, searching for something, she wasn't sure what. She had never felt this kind of emotional attachment before and she was so afraid of saying the wrong thing and ruining the moment.

Don Diego was having similar trouble, but when he saw her eyes glistening and looking up at him, so vulnerable to whatever he was going to say he just couldn't help himself. He closed leaned in and kissed her.

It started out slow, long, passionate, but very quickly lost all semblance of restraint. Diego pulled her as close to him as he could and get her and she certainly wasn't going to object. He began to kiss her neck she had already removed his jacket when he realized what they were doing. He knew if he was to respect himself at all in the morning he couldn't finish this, they weren't married, he had no right to feel this, they had to stop.

When Diego kissed her the first thoughts in her mind were how much pleasure she was feeling, how wonderful it all was, purely selfish thoughts. But as the kiss grew deeper and wilder a thought came across her mind. Diego was a gentleman, if they were to do this they would by necessity have to be married, otherwise he could be disgraced. She had no right to do this to him. The very thought of ruining Diego's life just for her own pleasure was like a dose of cold water. She realized he had stopped kissing her and she whispered in his ear what she knew he had already realized. "We can't do this."

Diego nodded his head and pulled back a little bit. "I know, we aren't married, it would be wrong." He picked up his jacket, "I apologize."

"It wasn't your fault, it was mine." she said taking his head between her hands, "I always fall for guys at exactly the wrong time." she smiled as a few tears ran down her cheeks.

He wiped her tears away and smiled at her, "We should get to bed, if we aren't in soon Benado will check on us."

"You're right, I'll see you tomorrow." then she went up to her room and cried herself to sleep.

They avoided each other for most of the next few days, conversing only at mealtimes. Katherine had ample time to study the time machine on her wrist, but she put it off and instead listened while Don Alejandro read to her. She had become very attached to him in the days she had been staying in his home, and he enjoyed his little audience.

A few days after the incident, Alejandro was reading out loud to her as usual when he happened to look up to find that she wasn't paying the slightest attention to him. He pretended not to notice, but eventually had to see what she was so interested in. He looked out the door where she was staring and saw his son, writing in a chair. He looked beyond his son, but saw nothing else of any consequence when it hit him, she was looking at Diego. He certainly recognized that starry look, and he nearly laughed aloud, perhaps he would see Diego married after all.

Don Alejandro soon realized that this might be harder than he thought, they seemed to be avoiding each other, yet he caught them looking at one another all the time. He wondered what was keeping them apart, so he decided to give it time, but keep to the hacienda in case they needed a push.

The next day Katherine wandered into the library where Don Alejandro was reading and sighed. "Oh, good morning, Senorita Katherine, may I help you?"

"No, I am just a little bored, Don Alejandro." she admitted.

"Well, perhaps Diego could take you into town?" he suggested.

"No!" she exclaimed vehemently, "I mean, no thank you Don Alejandro, I am sure I will find something to do." she said in a calmer tone of voice.

"Well, if you make sure Diego is out of earshot I will tell you a few stories about when he was little." "But you must swear to me you will not tell him." Don Alejandro said with a smile.

"I promise, Don Alejandro," Katherine said eagerly sitting down. Don Alejandro leaned back and began to talk. He told her all the funny things Diego had said, done, and asked as a child. They laughed for hours and enjoyed themselves immensely. Finally Katherine ventured to ask a question that had been bursting to get out.

"Don Alejandro, are you proud of Diego?" she asked seriously.

Don Alejandro looked at her and smiled, "There are times when I have wished he was a little more adventuresome, but he is very intelligent and in possession of great strength of character." "Overall, yes, I am proud of him."

This seemed to make her happy, so he sat back and began to read again as she quietly left.

The next day dawned bright and early on the del la Vega Hacienda, but thought the sun was shining, it was one of the few good things that day. For many months Diego and Don Alejandro had been troubled by reports of a man who was plotting to take over California, he was very powerful and very secretive Californian Administrator. He called himself the Eagle because the only communication he made to his co-conspirators was in a secret code created by cutting an eagle's feather in various patterns. When Don Alejandro heard of the plot against California he signed an agreement with his fellow landowners to protect it, because of Katherine's arrival the Eagle's plot had been pushed into the back of Diego's mind, but it was to be brought back to the front in a matter of minutes.

"Don Diego, open your gate, I need to speak to you!" came the loud, intrusive voice of Sergeant Garcia. Diego, Katherine, and Don Alejandro smiled in spite of themselves. Diego waved Benado to the door and Garcia came thundering across the inner wall and in the door with a very apologetic look on his unshaven face.

"Can we help you, Sergeant" Diego asked in an amused tone of voice.

"I fear I have bad news for you all, Don Diego." "You may not wish to hear this, Senorita Katherine," He added with a frown.

"Sergeant, I'm a grown woman, I sure I can contain myself." she smiled.

"Don Alejandro, the Sergeant said, attempting to smile, "You are going to have guests, isn't that nice?" said nodding with a large pretend smile.

"Guests" Diego said, "I certainly hope they will stay for dinner."

"Whom are we to expect. Sergeant? Don Alejandro inquired.

"That is just it, Don Alejandro, the Administrado is here, and he wishes to stay with you, for as long as he is in this part of California." Sergeant Garcia tried to smile, "Think, of all the beautiful places to stay he has chosen your hacienda!" "He requires a room and full access to your hacienda."

Don Alejandro stood up angrily, "Do you mean to tell me that the Administrado is going to take over my hacienda, whether I like it or not?"

"Don Alejandro, please don't take it like that," the dumb sergeant pleaded.

Diego also stood, "And what if we refuse" Diego said in a soft but dangerous voice.

"Oh, that would not be a good idea, Don Diego, he has a company of soldiers from the Quartel with him." "If necessary he will take it by force."

"How long until he arrives," Katherine asked in a calm cool tone of voice.

"About an hour," the Sergeant said unhappily.

Very well, Sergeant, thank you for informing us, Benado will show you to the door. She made a sign to Benado and he took the Sergeants arm and moved him out the gate, closing the door on him.

"What are we going to do, father, we cannot let him have the hacienda, all of the names of the landowners who signed your petition could be found and exploited!" Diego asked.

"Wait, who is this Administrado person?" Katherine asked.

Diego quickly explained the situation to her while his father decided what to do.

"What do you think, Diego, could we hold the Hacienda against all of the soldiers the Administrado will bring?

"It might be possible," he said, but we only have a little while.

"Senorita Katherine, go to your room, this is no place for a lady." Don Alejandro commanded.

To Diego's immense surprise she went without a word, except to take his arm and mutter, "Good luck Zorro," and kiss him on the cheek.

Diego smiled, then turned to his father to plan a quick defense.

Meanwhile Katherine had reached her room and was smiling at Don Alejandro's assumption of her being afraid of the upcoming battle. She was debating whether to help them, or stay in her room where she knew no one would dare harm her. Her loyalty to the de la Vega family won out in the end, even over that healthy sense of self preservation. With her mind made up she got ready with a very determined look on her face. She put on her black leather bodice and pants, then she braided her hair and put her silver throwing knives into her boots and on her arms for easy access. She strapped on her sword and pulled her guns out of their holsters. Then she took out her make up kit and carefully made up her face until she looked cruelly beautiful and placed in her eyes a pair of full length black contact lenses. She knew she couldn't fight all of the soldiers, even with Diego's and Alejandro's help, so she was relying on her weapon of choice, fear. She was going to scare the hell out of those soldiers! She was just walking out the door when she heard riders approaching outside. She was smiling grimly as she exited her room, hoping the soldiers would have the good sense to run while they still could.

Diego heard the riders, he had already informed the servants and bolted the gate. He suddenly heard a voice from behind the gate, "Open this door in the name of the Administrado!" When they gave no answer, the soldiers began to pound on the door. It took them the better part of fifteen minutes to find ladders and climb the walls. They found Diego and Don Alejandro waiting for them with drawn swords, Benado was on the stairs with a pistol. As the first soldier cleared the wall he was shot by Benado and fell back down. Unfortunately they were more afraid of the Administrado than they were of Benado's gun. One man jumped over while Benado was reloading and opened the door, sixteen soldiers rushed through the door.

Diego engaged the first one, he fought him with surprising skill to the soldier, who thought him an easy target. He was about to be attacked by another one when a shot rang out. It didn't sound like any gun he had ever heard, and he watched in surprise as the soldier in front of him fell to the ground. The other soldiers had slowed their rush, but when they glanced past Don Diego and Don Alejandro they stopped all together.

A woman dressed in black pants and a very low cut bodice had dropped from the balcony. She jumped, landed, and used her momentum to back flip over to the center of the struggle. As she stood she held up two very shiny, very dangerous looking pistols, she looked up, opening her eyes to their widest.

If Don Diego hadn't known where she was from and what was possible there, he would have been scared out of his mind. She twirled the guns and placed them in holsters on her thighs. "I suggest you leave," she told them. "Now." She smiled a cruel smile that sent chills down every man there, Don Alejandro was looking at her with such surprise on his face that she felt sorry for him.

The soldiers had turned to run when the Administrado entered to boost their moral. "Are you children," he screamed, "to be frightened of a woman?" "Get them!" The soldiers hesitated, one of them began to turn and face Katherine again.

Knowing she needed to discourage any attempt to fight her carefully planted fear, she smiled again. And in the blink of an eye a silver handled knife was sticking out of the chest of the soldier who was turning. That was it, the others broke and ran. Only the Administrado was left.

"I will be more than happy to finish you off myself, I will duel with all of you, this hacienda will be mine yet, and so will your list, Don Alejandro," he snarled.

Katherine curled her lip at him. She walked over to the soldier, pulled out her knife and coolly cleaned it on the man's pant leg. She then replaced it in her boot. She looked at Diego, "Do you want to kill him, or shall I?" she smiled at the Administrado.

"I will," Diego said, "a lady should not have blood such as this on her blade."

"Charming as ever I see," she said.

"Well when you set me such an example," Diego said holding out his hands.

"Enough of this pointless banter," draw your sword, de la Vega, and I will happily remove your head."

Diego drew his sword and advanced on the Administrado. The duel didn't take long, the Administrado was good, but he had no idea who he was dealing with. Diego had disarmed him in ten strokes and as the sword flew out of his hand Diego held the sword up to his throat.

"Now, Senor, you will swear, on you life, to give up this crusade to take over California, if you refuse I will have no choice but to end your miserable existence." Diego said with a smile. He made him repeat him word by word and then he turned his back on him and began to walk away. The Administrado, however, pulled a knife out of his belt and rushed at Diego's retreating back.

"Diego!" Alejandro called out.

Diego turned, at the exact same time a bullet from Katherine's gun shot the dagger out of his hand. Diego looked at her holding the slightly smoking gun with a slightly surprised expression, then looked back at the Administrado who was clutching his hand.

She walked up to the Administrado, who was looking more than a little afraid, and backhanded him. Then she stepped onto him as he lay in the dirt, half conscious, and took a bow. Diego gave her a reproachful smile as he watched her theatrics, "Oh, so that was professional?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

She looked over at him shrugged, "What can I say, you de la Vega men bring out the worst in me."

Diego walked up to her, smiled, picked her up, and spun her around, laughing.

She smiled back in his arms, "God I haven't had that much fun since I robbed the United States Treasury," she said, looking down at him.

"Of course those days are long behind you," Diego said with a look in his father's direction.

"More like long in front of me," she murmured, then she also glanced at Don Alejandro, "I think we have some explaining to do, and I need to get this make-up off." she said, taking out the contact lenses.

Don Alejandro was sitting on the hacienda steps in shock, in one hour he had not only found out that his son was a champion swordsman, but that the sweet, innocent girl he had taken in was actually some kind of Amazon warrior.

"I apologize for deceiving you, father," Diego said, "But if people knew I could use a sword they would begin to suspect me of being Zorro." "It is important that they no one knows who I am."

Don Alejandro could understand that, but then he turned to Katherine, "And what is your excuse?"

"I knew you wouldn't believe my real story, and that you couldn't possibly accept me as I was, so I changed and made up one so you would take me in." "I needed a place to stay, but that isn't an excuse, it's just a reason." "I do regret deceiving you." she said with a sigh. "If I'm going to tell you the whole story we had better go into the sitting room."

When they had all assembled she sat down on Diego's lap, and to Don Alejandro's surprise he didn't seem the least bit embarrassed about their appearance. She told the entire story, including her going out with Diego that night when he was Zorro. The only thing she skipped was what happened after they had gotten home. Alejandro was skeptical, but it was hard to argue with her evidence. Finally they were all talked up. That was when Don Alejandro suggested they sleep on it and discuss it some more in the morning.

As Benado and Don Alejandro left the room Kit grabbed Diego's hand and held him back. "I want you to know something." "If I stay in this time, it will be because of you, I want to be with you, but it is up to you to decide if you will have me or not."

Diego smiled at her, and then got down on one knee, "Katherine, I love you, and I want nothing more than to marry you, so the question really is, will you have me?" Diego asked her honestly.

She looked down at him and pretended to think about it, "Well," she said with a long drawn out sigh, "I suppose, since no one else has asked me yet, but it's such a terrible inconvenience, I ---."

Whatever she was going to say was forgotten when Diego stood up, took her in his arms and kissed her."

When Don Alejandro got out of bed that night for a drink he walked through the sitting room and saw a lamp burning. Thinking that the servants must have forgotten it he walked around to turn it off and happened to glance at the couch. At the final shock in that day he turned around and went back to bed forgetting about his drink, and trying to forget about the impropriety of his son kissing an unmarried woman on a couch in his home.

A few months later a beautiful, Chinese looking woman was just walking into her hacienda in a pair of black pants and a leather bodice. She called out her husbands name and when he answered she followed his voice to their bedroom.

"Diego?" Katherine asked him seriously, "Do you like children?"

"Of course I do." he said, not really paying attention.

"Do you think we should start a family?" she continued.

He looked up at her, "I thought you didn't want children yet?"

"Yes, well, it appears we aren't going to get a choice anyway." she said with a pretend sigh at the inconvenience of it all.

"What!" Diego said with obvious excitement, "You mean we are going to have a baby?"

"It certainly seems that way," she said, pleased that he was so happy. "And I think we should celebrate."

"Oh, really, what did you have in mind?" he asked smiling at her.

"Well," she said kissing him, "I'll think of something."

The End