Disclaimer – I don't own the rights, Zorro Productions Inc does - I just like to play with the characters.
Plot – Continuing story immediately after the Conspiracy of Blood episodes.
There have been a number of stories that continued on from the series so here's my version. My apologies if this is similar to other stories but I've read so many that I don't know which are my ideas or if it's come from something I've read.
I've written this as a series of short chapters to give the story an appearance of being an actual episode. Just imagine that there's a commercial break at the end of each chapter :)
Chapter 1 – Don Alejandro and Diego de la Vega.
"Do you remember when Gilberto was just about to shoot you, he said he was not only going to kill you, he was going to kill..." Don Alejandro stopped and turned expectantly to face his son.
Diego took a deep breath and slowly let it out; he knew the moment had come to stop all the lies, to stop hiding behind his supposedly weakness and to tell his father the truth. It was time to reveal the secret that had kept them apart as father and son for five long years.
He took another deep breath. "He meant that he would have killed Zorro as well." he stated quietly.
Don Alejandro swallowed hard as he gazed at his tall son. "Would he be right? Would he have killed...Zorro too?" he asked.
Diego nodded. "Yes, father its true." he glanced quickly around to make sure that no-one was listening. "I am Zorro." he admitted quietly. The moment he said it, he felt a heavy weight lift from his shoulders; a weight that he hadn't known was there. It felt good to finally tell his father after all these years.
Don Alejandro closed his eyes as he grabbed Diego's uninjured left arm. "Madre de dios. I can't believe it, not after all this time but it is the only thing that could explain how well you fought today." He muttered as he swayed on his feet.
"Father." Diego said worriedly as he reached out and steadied him. "Please forgive me, I never wanted us to be at odds with each other but I couldn't think of any other way to keep you safe." he said, his voice full of regret.
Don Alejandro opened his eyes and saw the worry and regret in Diego's blue eyes; such blueness that always reminded him of his beloved wife. She too had that same colour. He let out a sad sigh; he knew that he should be angry but after what had just happened with Gilberto, being angry at Diego no longer seemed important. "There's nothing to forgive son. In some ways I can understand why you did what you did but you DO have a lot to explain."
Diego nodded. "I know and I will. Why don't we go home and I'll tell you everything." He was still very worried for his father; it was as though he had aged ten years in the last hour alone; the shock of discovering and then losing a son was overwhelming his father.
Don Alejandro nodded. "Yes...yes...home. I want to go home." he said tiredly.
Diego nodded and looked across the plaza and saw that Felipe and Victoria were still watching them curiously. He knew that the time had come to tell Victoria too but right now his focus was entirely on his father. "Felipe." he called out.
Felipe quickly strode across the dusty plaza to his family and it was then he saw how pale Don Alejandro had become and it frightened him; he wasn't used to seeing the older man looking so fragile before but he never had a reason to be, until now.
"Felipe, can you see if the wagon is ready for us to take back home and also get Doctor Hernandez, we will need him to tend to our wounds." he said as Don Alejandro looked around as though he was in a daze. Diego know that the shock was starting to set in and he needed to get them home.
The younger man nodded and raced off just as Victoria came up to them. "You're welcome to wait inside the tavern until the wagon is ready Diego." she offered quietly.
He shook his head. "Thank you for the offer but it won't take long. I need to get him home." he added softly.
She nodded. "I understand and if there is anything I can do..."
He managed a small smile as he reached out and squeezed her hand. "You'll be the first to know." He replied just as Felipe pulled up with the wagon and signed to say that the doctor was out at the Perez's hacienda but word had been sent.
"Gracias Felipe." Diego said as he helped his father up into the same wagon that they had brought Gilberto's body into the pueblo. He knew that they would have to decide soon on what should be done; whether his brother should be buried next to his true mother or in the pueblo's cemetery. His brother! He still couldn't take it all in. He had a twin brother who had tried to kill him, a man who knew full well that they were brothers but that knowledge hadn't stopped him from trying to kill him.
They arrived at the hacienda just as Doctor Hernandez rode up from the opposite direction. The good doctor took one look at Don Alejandro and immediately ushered him into his private rooms to examine him.
Half an hour later, the doctor emerged from Don Alejandro's bedroom to find a worried Diego waiting for him in the outer sitting room.
"How is he Doctor?" Diego asked worriedly.
Doctor Hernandez sighed. "I've attended to his leg wounds but they weren't deep and should heal soon enough without infection. The blow to the head is of more concern because he told me that he lost consciousness for several minutes. At this stage I don't know how it will affect him other than a bad headache. Just keep him calm and rested for the next day or so." he replied.
Diego picked up on a small hesitation in the Doctor's voice. "You're also concerned for his...mental...wellbeing?" he asked quietly.
The Doctor nodded. "Yes I am. I heard what happened with the Emissary and how he is...was Alejandro's son. Word has spread quickly as it does in a small community such as ours." he replied as he placed his hand on Diego's shoulder. "He's going to need you now more than ever if he is to recover completely."
Diego nodded seriously. "I know."
"Good, now let me take a look at your arm." He said as he looked at the blood stained white shirt.
Diego shrugged. "No, it's okay, it's just a scratch."
Doctor Hernandez frowned slightly at the younger man's attempt to distract him from his duties. "That wasn't a request Don Diego." He replied firmly.
Diego sighed, he knew that he should get his wound checked by the doctor but he would immediately notice that it wasn't a sabre cut as everyone believed it to be and was worried by what the doctor would say. He unbuttoned his shirt and carefully slipped it over his right arm.
Doctor Hernandez frowned as he removed the bandage and saw the bullet wound. "This happened, what two or three days ago? You should have come to me when this happened Diego and not try to treat it yourself." he scolded him as he tended to the wound with his usual efficient professionalism. "I believe that there's no need for me to tell you not to use that arm until it's completely healed, is there?" He said.
Diego suddenly realised that the older man knew of his secret because he had showed no surprise at the sight of his wound; it was as though he was expecting to see a bullet wound when he had removed the bandage. "I understand doctor." He agreed contritely.
"Good. Now I've given your father a sedative to help with the pain and make him sleep until morning and I want to give you some as well. No, don't argue with me Diego." He said as he mixed up a small dosage in a glass of water from the side table. "It's not as much as I gave to your father, but it should help with the pain." He handed the glass over to the younger man and watched as Diego drank it. "I'll come back around lunchtime tomorrow to check on you both." he said.
Diego nodded gratefully. "Muchas gracias doctor, for everything." he replied as he placed the glass back on the table.
Doctor Hernandez nodded. "You're welcome Diego. I'll show myself out." he replied as he picked up his bag and left the room.
Diego ignored the slight pain in his arm and walked into the other room. "Father." He said quietly as he pulled up a chair and placed it beside the bed and sat down.
Don Alejandro opened his eyes and gave his son a tired smile. "Diego, my son. My son is Zorro!" he said with pride in his voice. He reached out with his hand and Diego took in his own hand. "I should have known that it was you."
"Rest now father, we'll talk later." He promised the older man.
Don Alejandro nodded slowly as the sedative started to take effect and wanted to say something before he completely succumbed to the drug. He squeezed his son's hand. "Promise me Diego, that you will stop being Zorro." he pleaded anxiously.
Diego frowned. "But father..."
Don Alejandro squeezed his hand ever harder. "No buts Diego. Promise me that you will stop. I don't want to lose another son, to lose the only child I have left." He found it hard to concentrate as he fought the effect of the drug but he had too. "Promise me Diego."
Diego heard the anxiety and the fear in his father's voice and he found that he couldn't let him down. Perhaps it was time to stop, time to be the son that his father deserved. Time to be with the woman he loved, time to marry and to have children.
"Diego, my son." came the final heartfelt plea from the older man.
Diego bowed his head and squeezed his father's hand. "I promise father." He said as he made the decision that would change his life forever.
Don Alejandro fell back onto his pillows. "Good, good." He sighed. "I'm so tired son, so tired."
Diego leant forward and brushed the white hair from his father's forehead. "Just rest now father, I'll be here when you wake up." he promised quietly as he watched the older man fall into a deep healing sleep.
He leant back in his chair and closed his eyes against the pain of the last several hours. Over and over in his mind, came the look of hatred and jealousy on Gilberto's face. Hatred from the way that evil woman had raised him to believe that their father had rejected him because of some kind of deformity. He had been fed on this evil until it became so ingrained that he didn't know anything else except for the hate. But he had seen the envy, the jealousy on as face as well. Although Gilberto wasn't fully aware of it, he had been envious, jealous of his own relationship with their father. Although he was often at odds with his father because of his behaviour, they still had a strong bond and it was this bond which Gilberto had longed for without knowing that he wanted it.
He sighed again as he settled more comfortably into the chair. He couldn't even imagine what his father was going through; to know that a son of his had been stolen at birth and raised in such hate and anger by an insane woman that all he wanted was to kill both his father and his brother; it was beyond his comprehension.