Disclaimer; this isn't mine. Well, it is to an extent, but not enough to count.
A tribute to The Bonus Chapter and Art, posted to the Westerblog on December 16, 2011.
Four people stood crowded around a table, huddled over cluttered maps and diagrams. They were all tired, worn out from a long day of hard scheming. The sun was drooping an eyelid at them in the sky, yawning as it fell into its place below the horizon. Alek watched it with a sort of jealous fixation, counting the minutes ticking by, waiting for the moment he could retire to his bedroom for a well needed night’s sleep.
Deryn snapped her fingers in front of his face, “Oi! Have you gone daft on us again?”
“What? No,” he said, shaking his head to clear it. A yawn was building up in his throat, and he was determined to stop it. He clamped his jaw down tight, and Deryn raised a single eyebrow at him, a talent he could never seem to master, and clapped him on the shoulder.
“We’re almost done, your princeliness. Just hang in for a squick more, aye?” Deryn took a step closer to him, taking hold of his hand under the high table just out of sight of Count Volger and Dr. Barlow.
“Dylan is right. We must only finish part three of the plan before the evening is over,” Dr. Barlow said.
“The evening is over,” Bovril repeated. “Mr. Sharp.”
Deryn shook her head and sighed, pulling the creature onto her arm. “What is part three, exactly?”
Alek blinked a few times to stay focused as Dr. Barlow spoke. “It is quite simple, of course. In simplicity, we must fortify the...” she trailed off as Alek and Bovril started laughing maniacally. “What on earth is so funny, Aleksandar?”
Between his cackling, Alek managed to choke out, “It’s the--that Volger--he--fortified!”
Deryn was staring at him, opened mouthed, Dr. Barlow had her lips in a surprised “o” shape, and the count rolled his eyes, remembering that absurd moment on the eve of the new year when he had been quite fortified, as he had called it. Alek continued to laugh, clutching at his sides, not entirely sure why exhaustion made everything so funny.
“It would seem,” Volger began to roll up a map, “that we are quite finished. Until tomorrow, then?”
Deryn nodded vigorously and towed Alek away from the table, muttering about barking daft princes the whole way to their rooms. Quite daft indeed, he thought, but at least Deryn’s hand was warm in his and he was done thinking about maps and plans for the night.
He had more important things to think about at the moment.
A/N: You may not have understood the reference if you haven’t read The Bonus Chapter as many times as I have. A little background would suffice, I assume, so for you have have a small portion of The Bonus Chapter, written and owned entirely by Scott Westerfeld, to explain a little better, “‘...Given that I am about to throw myself into a party full of boffins and secret agents, I would not call myself drunk—merely fortified.’” -Count Volger. Make sense now? You can probably now understand why I break out into insane fangirl giggles when they speak of ‘fortification’ on the show Downton Abbey, or, much worse, when I see milk for kids that is specially ‘fortified’ (with vitamins and such, of course, but that hardly seems important.), or when I feel I have to write a somewhat canonical drabble about it. Hope you enjoyed!
Oh, no. Not here! Not now!
Deryn looked around the small dining room, the one that she’d gotten used to since returning to London, just to avoid the eyes of the boy on one knee in front of her. She was sure that she’d turned positively scarlet with embarrassment, but one small glance at Alek told her that there was no way she was redder than him.
“Deryn Artemis Sharp,” he stuttered, “Y-you are the love of my life. It doesn’t matter how young we are, or how old, but you will always be.”
Deryn blinked and said, “Alek, I’ve only known you for--” she quickly calculated in her head “--seven months!”
“Really? Because it feels like I’ve known you my whole life. Everything before I met you--that wasn’t living, Deryn. My life began the day I found you on that glacier, and lord knows I want to keep living this life. I look at you, and the world becomes infinitely better--Deryn, I look at you, and there’s no where else I need to be. It’s where I belong.” He paused, searching her eyes. Blisters, but his were beautiful. They were shining, and he had that faraway look in them, but now they had an immeasurable amount of intensity, too. Deryn had never seen him like this, and it almost scared her. “I’m not asking you to marry me right now, Deryn.”
“Then what are you barking asking?”
“I’m asking you to accept my promise. With this ring, I promise you that I’ll always love you and only you. By accepting, you promise the same to me. Please, Deryn. I need you more than anything.”
“Oh, Alek--” her eyes were swimming with tears. “I--I love you, you barking daft prince.”
“So--?” Alek’s eyes were wide, waiting.
“Yes. Yes, I promise,” she whispered.
He barely had time to slip the ring on her finger before they were kissing, and his lips tasted of salty tears and promises.
Author’s Note: Okay, you all will certainly be very confused if you read this without taking a peek at Mr. Westerfeld’s April Fool’s Day prank on his readers first. You can find it at: “http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2011/04/goliath-reveal-2/”. The wonderful idea arose on the Blog that someone should write a fanfic about it, and so.... this happened. I hope you enjoy!
This was probably the worst day of Deryn’s entire life.
She’d always imagined that her wedding day would be the best, but, of course, in her child’s daydreams she’d been marrying the dashing boy, not--well, being him.
Her secret was in danger of being discovered, and Lilit had offered to help. She’d reassured Deryn that Dylan getting married would dispel any doubt as to her--his--gender. It was all a barking mess, really, and she wasn’t entirely sure how it had happened.
“Ready to go, Dylan?” Lilit popped in the doorway just as Deryn was pulling on her boots.
“Isn’t there some rule that says I shouldn’t be seeing you in your dress before you walk down the aisle?” Deryn asked defeatedly.
Lilit sighed. “Isn’t there some rule that says I can’t marry a girl?”
“Bu--” Deryn sputtered, pulling Lilit into the room and darting a glance down the hallway to make sure no one had heard. “That’s the point, you ninny!”
“Honestly, Mr. Sharp, is the really the way to treat your bride? We shall have to work on that,” she said drily, and left to find her procession of bridesmaids.
Deryn didn’t even know anyone in the wedding party aside from Bovril, who was serving as the ring bearer. Of course she couldn’t invite her own family, and when she’d asked Alek to be her best man, he’d refused, looking extremely hurt. She had thought he would understand, now that he knew her secret, but he hadn’t spoken to her since, and that had been nearly a month now. Her loneliness among all these Ottomans was terrible.
Count Volger and Dr. Barlow would both be there, and Klopp, Hoffman, and Bauer, all in the audience. The only one of them that knew was Count Volger, and as she stepped to take her place on the altar, she could feel his cool, disapproving glare. Barking Clankers.
The organ began to play, and Deryn tried not to break down into furious sobs at her situation while all the people marched down the aisle. She had to pretend to be happy and forced herself to break into a large smile when Lilit strode in. The girl looked radiant in her dress, and her acting was flawless. She had the air of a woman in love, like she could barely keep from running to the altar. She gave Deryn a reassuring nod, taking her place beside her groom.
The preacher began his long speech, droning on about marriage, and Deryn’s stomach twisted into a million knots, her legs shaking and turning to jelly.
Just as Deryn was about to protest that she couldn’t do this, the far wall of the chapel splintered and exploded inward. From the space that had been panels of carefully painted wood and stained glass and a door, a giant metal stormwalker stumbled in. Squinting through the dust, Deryn could just make out the form of someone piloting the thing, viewport completely open. He looked oddly familiar...
As the dust cleared, she saw his face. It was pale, pulled into a tight grimace. He held a pistol and a sword, and he was yelling. It took a moment before Deryn could make out his words.
“Deryn! Wake up you Dummkopf! You’ve already slept in past breakfast!”
“What?!” Deryn pulled open her eyes to see Alek’s eyes alight with amusement, his dark red hair a tumbled mess because he hadn’t combed it yet. “I missed breakfast?”
“Yes,” he shrugged, “but I brought you some.” Alek held out a biscuit slathered with jam, and pointed to a mug of coffee waiting on the bedside table. “What in blazes were you dreaming about? You looked like were having a nightmare.”
It was only then that she saw the cleverly hidden worry in his brow. She smiled at him brightly. “You don’t barking want to know,” she said, pulling back her covers and shoving him toward the door, “Get out of here, you barking daft prince. I have to get ready, and so do you!”
“But the ceremony isn’t for another three hours!” he complained.
Deryn raised an eyebrow. “And you’re going to need every second of it if you want to look like a proper groom.”
“I may need a few more if I want to look as good as my bride,” he replied sweetly and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before retreating out of her reach. Deryn could feel the blood rushing to her face.
“Aye, you will,” she agreed half heartedly and leaned forward, kissing him on the lips long and hard. He already looked perfect, even with the tousled hair and wrinkled pajamas. She shivered and her stomach did a flip at what he would look like waiting for her at the end of the aisle. “But you did have time for that. Besides, you may just move a little faster now and not be late. Wouldn’t want you barging in on a walker...”
“Nevermind. Now go already!” She shut the door behind him.
“I love you, Deryn,” Alek whispered through the door. A broad grin stretched across Deryn’s face. She didn’t think she’d ever quite get used to hearing those words from him, no matter how many times he said them.
“I love you, too, Alek.”
Maybe this really would be the best day of her life.