|Hello, Mrs Sharp
Author: Anrheithwyr PM
Almost a year and a half after Goliath, Deryn is returning home to her mother, and Alek is tagging along. She's scared and he's curious. However, will Alek be able to stand the Sharp family and all it entails? Or will he run away in fear?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Friendship/Family - Alek F. & Deryn S. - Words: 2,781 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 16 - Published: 12-15-12 - id: 8797617
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Remember this old thing? Probably not! But if you do, you'll also remember that I deleted it due to 'personal problems'. But, due to a few friendly PMs, I've brought it back! AND, I'm considering continuing on with it. I've also edited this a little (smidges) to improve it. (Haven't read the books in a while, sorry if I've messed anything up.)
I don't own any of the Leviathan trilogy, which belongs, in whole, to Mr. Scott Westerfeld. I thought it would be a fun "Alek meets the Sharps and this is what ensues" story. So, we aren't suing Lana, are we? Because, honestly, I own nothing except for the random extras and the cousins (purely because they're never mentioned as existing.) I also own the names of the Aunties only because they are also never given names. Deryn's mom's name was chosen by Elsbeth. She knows Scottish names better than I.
Occurs about a year or so after everything from the last book.
"This is purely ridiculous," muttered Alek von Hohenburg. His friend, (because, quite honestly, the two couldn't quite categorize their relationship, with the occasional snogging and the more than occasional punching) Deryn Sharp smirked at him from the front of the omnibus, twisting her head to look at him with a 'I told you so' sort of look.
"Obviously, you Dummkopf. I've told you before, you don't want to be meeting my ma. She's all for the girly things in life, frills and dresses. Not such a chance she'll be caring for the likes of you, 'less she can dress you up all fancy-like. Ma doesn't care for those that don't care for her." And somehow, when Deryn said it, it wasn't an insult, but fact. He watched the seventeen year old laugh and flop onto her seat, mimicking a dead person.
Alek returned the smirk she gave him and bowed his head to read the newspaper in his hands. He had taken to reading them-all sorts, from all over the world- recently, not wanting to admit he'd gone almost sixteen years without ever having looked at one. His father had never allowed Alek to read the newspapers, because "all he would see is death and gloom."
"What have them barmy Clankers written on about us now, eh, Alek?" said Deryn, appearing next to him in the seat. The omnibus driver looked up at them, with an expression bordering on puzzlement and disgust. Alex could understand why. Deryn still have very short hair, refusing to let it grow out.
"I'd look like a barking girl, for Clanker's sake!" she had said when Dr. Barlow had asked why she didn't grow it out.
"The 'barmy Clankers' say that there is a young woman on an omnibus who is frightening the driver by getting too close to a boy while this lovely young woman insists on appearing as a boy." he retorted, shoving her onto the seat across from him. Alek was very glad that they were the only two on the bus other than the driver and an elderly woman sitting up front.
"Aye, and does it mention any barking ex-Austrian Clanker princes living at the bloody Zoo with beasties all about?" Alek laughed and smacked Deryn over the head with the newspaper. Just then, the omnibus stopped and the driver turned around to look directly at them.
"S'cuse me, but I think this is yer spot, sir." he said nervously, twisting a bright blue cap in his hands.
Alek looked outside at the busy train station. In front of his were probably thousands upon thousands of people, either boarding a regular train that puffed and billowed smoke or climbing up onto an elephantine.
"Oy, prince-boy, pay the man and let's go. I promised my ma we'd be there before dinner. And trust me, we are not upsetting my ma by being even a single squick of a minute late." said Deryn, leaping off the bus.
Alek smiled apologetically at the man and handed him a few coins. "I'm terribly sorry about my friend. She's a handful, that one."
The man nodded, counting out the coins. "A lass, is she? An' 'ere were I, thinking I were in the presence of two gentlemen an' guess what I be getting? A lass dressed up like a sailor out with her love."
Alek blushed. "Oh, no. She's not my...that is, we aren't...I-"
"Come on, you Dummkopf! I got this here fancy boot to get us a ride up on that elephantine over there. We've got to hurry, though, he's leavin' soon." called Deryn, waving frantically at Alek, attracting the notice of everyone nearby. Not that Deryn had ever been practiced in the art of blending in. No, Alek had to pick the one girl who craved to show off.
Alek hopped off the bus, following behind Deryn, who nimbly clambered up the ladder ropes, swinging around to the box that sat on top the beastie's back. The box had no walls and only leather straps used as buckles to stop you from falling off. As the elephantine walked, the box would wave back and forth with it. Alek had never actually been on an elephantine, only seen them from afar at the Zoo. Even though he was used to Bovril and message lizards, such large beasties still gave him the shivers.
"Oy, Alek, you aren't going all Monkey Luddite on me, now are you?"
"Don't be silly," said Alek, gritting his teeth and grabbing the first rung of the ladder nervously. "I'm not some ninny Monkey Luddite."
"Aye, but you're still a bum-rag!" she laughed and disappeared over the side of the box.
Alek tripped on the side of the carrying-box and fell in, landing in a rather undignified way, his suit bunched up around the shoulders. He could hear Deryn laughing behind him, probably rolling about instead of helping him.
"Blisters, but that was funny!" she said breathlessly, still chuckling at him. "Here you are, a barking ex-prince of all things and you're tripping over a simple thing as the side of a beastie box!"
Alek glared at her and picked himself up, settling himself down on the bench across from Deryn, tying the leather strap as tightly as he could. He was not going to make an even bigger fool of himself by falling out.
"We aren't scared, now, are we, Mr. Clanker?" asked Deryn, eyeing the way Alek had tied the strap. "What would the lady boffin say, having spent all that time with you on the Leviathan, getting you all used to us Darwinist and there you go, strapping yourself in like a Monkey Luddite. Or a true, old-fashioned Clanker," she added quietly.
"I'm perfectly fine with the elephantine, it's just the moving that unsettles me, Deryn. I don't like the waving back and forth every time there's movement from the beast."
"Aye, we ain't prone to motion sickness, are we?"
"Of course not, don't be ridiculous. Elephantines simply make me feel a tad...queasy, is all."
"And when you go hurling over the side in a squick, I'll be laughing my arse off at you." she replied coolly, moving to sit next to him when a particularly large man got on board. They watched him wave good-bye to a women on the ground who was sobbing into a hanker chief, wailing about the "beasties eating my poor, dear Eddie!"
"Blasted Monkey Luddites. Always ruining everything, they are." grumbled Deryn, wrapping her arm around his waist. This took him by surprise. Deryn wasn't one for being overly touchy, rarely giving him more than a peck on the lips. She had never hugged him like this, her arms around him, before.
"You okay, Deryn?" he asked her, though allowing her arm to stay wrapped around him. It was cold here in Scotland, and Alek was perfectly fine with any warmth he could get.
"Aye, just a wee bit nervous, I suppose," she mumbled into his jacket, not meeting his eyes. Alek watched her, the way her other hand flew up to her hair, which was short and bright. The way she tugged at her pants. He could almost see the girl, the Deryn, in her movements.
"You, nervous? Don't make me laugh! You're Deryn Sharp, the girl who snuck onto the Leviathan dressed as a barking boy, simply so she could fly again."
"I did not sneak, you bum-rag. That ninny of a Huxley flew me all the way to the beastie. Then, we always knew those things were a tad scrambled in the attic." she said, bumping him. They spent the next several hours chatting and shoving each other, earning odd looks from the pilot (an oldish man with sidewhiskers) as the large man, for the most part, simply just read a newspaper written in a language Alek didn't understand.
"Deryn, didn't you say we were supposed to pass by a sign soon?" asked Alek sometime later, glancing about, not seeing anything but trees and marsh.
"Aye, I did. And you, with all your knowledge didn't even notice we'd already passed it. A right clever-boots, aren't you?" she said laughing.
Alek blushed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Is it always so cold in Glasgow?" he asked, shivering.
"Course not, only in winter, you daft ninny. And even then, it's not near so cold as when we were in those mountains. Remember those, your princeliness?"
"Yes, when you forced me to come onto your Darwinist ship after attacking me. Oh, and nearly destroying my Walker." Deryn glared at him and aimed a boot at his calf.
"Ah!" he gasped, wrapping his arms around his left leg, massaging the sore spot. "I think you've bruised me!"
"Of course I have, clever-boots. I was aiming for bruising you."
Just as Alek was preparing to slug her, girl or not, the elephantine stopped and the pilot twisted about in his saddle to look at them.
"Glasgow?" he said in a thick accent.
Deryn jumped up, grabbing her satchel. "Aye, that's us, sir." She clambered down the ladder ropes, smirking at Alek, who shivered down after her. The two watched the large elephantine lumber off, leaving them a few yards away from a large wooden house.
Alek took in the simple-looking home. It was wooden, with a sloping thatched roof and glass windows.
His eyes fell to the scrubby garden around him, all flowers and vegetables and trees that he couldn't even hope of having a chance at naming. He watched a tabby jump onto the roof, prim and poised, as it slithered, practically a snake, over to the chimney, mewling.
"Like it?" asked Deryn, half smirking, half expecting him to sneer and laugh. This simple house was nothing like a fancy-boot hotel in Istanbul or a barking castle.
"It's lovely," he replied, bending down to admire one of the flowers, a bright blooming yellow. "It looks very homey."
"Aye, but noisy. My aunties all live nearby, 'cepting for Auntie Coleen and Uncle Micheal and my cousins, Rowena and Siofra. They be livin' with us, last time I was by. All the others live not even a stone's throw away. I'll show you in a squick, after my ma's seen to you,"
He saw the curtain shift slightly then, a young face peeking out at him.
"And how old is Rowena and Siofra?" he asked, watching the curtain twitch, shiver, and then the bright pink face hide again.
"About ten and fourteen, I'd wager. Haven't seem 'em in two years." Deryn said, turning to also look at the curtain, though she stared at it with an almost worried glance. As if she was afraid what would come out of that house. Not for the first time, Alek wondered what kind of family Deryn had grown up with.
"Maybe they're not home," she muttered half to herself, "aye, that must be it, they've all run off to town without me. They'll be back in a squick, won't they? But by then, we can leave a note saying we had to rush off and all, so we couldn't stay..."
"Don't be daft, Deryn. There's someone inside. Go knock, it is your home. Or even better, just walk in."
"You are a Dummkopf, aren't you? You can't just walk in after having run away two years ago, looking like a barking boy and say 'Hello, ma'. She'll barking slit my throat."
"Well, we both look like idiots, standing here." he retorted, starting towards the door.
"No!" cried Deryn, grabbing his arm and tugging hi back towards the street. "Please! I can't do this, not now."
"And exactly what is this supposed to be, missy? Or ought I call you sir, seeing as you're all dressed up like a soldier?" said a woman standing in the doorway of the house, scowling, arms crossed. She had Deryn's blonde hair, though it was much longer with streaks of browns.
"Hello, Ma.," said Deryn timidly, face blushing, hands in pockets. Her ears had gone pink. She had a sheepish, embarrassed expression on her face. "it's lovely to see you again,"
Mrs. Sharp laughed, a high mocking sound. "If it's so lovely, why have you been off for two and a half years, dressed like this?" she asked, gesturing at Deryn's clothes. "Not even one letter for your ma, oh no! And I've Jaspert lying to me about that 'fine education' you've been earning yourself over in England. Too busy, I suspect, gallivanting about the world, disgracing yourself, to remember your mother." She sniffed haughtily, as if daring Deryn to argue.
"I'm sorry, Ma. Honest, I am. I've been being a real soldier, a real Midshipman on the Leviathan! I'm decorated, just like Da!" she said, showing Mrs. Sharp a small badge from her pocket. Alek knew it was the same kind of medal her father had earned four years ago. Deryn was very proud of it, often shining it or telling visitors to the Zoo exactly how she'd earned it, in great detail.
"And do you expect some fancy medal to be worth as much as a real paycheck? Huh? Did you earn any money being this Midshipman, like your brother?" Deryn appeared close to tears, her cheeks and ears pink. Alek stepped in front of her, blocking the slightly taller girl.
"Excuse me, but your daughter has come all the way from London just to see you. Don't you think you could be a little more polite?"
Mrs. Sharp stared down her nose at him. "And you are?" she sneered.
"Alek von Hohenburg, ex-heir to the Austrian throne, son of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Princess Sophie Chotek." he said, using his most royal sounding voice.
Mrs. Sharp's mouth opened, gaping at her like a fish. Her eyes bugged out, cheeks pinker than Deryn's. "I...I...would you like to come in and sit, Your Highness?" she asked, giving him a curtsy. She gestured at the front room behind her, to a scrubbed table.
"I would love to, Mrs. Sharp." he said, following her inside, tugging Deryn in after him.
Mrs. Sharp giggled like a school-girl. "Oh, dear, please! Call me Kyla."
Alek had a feeling he would be enjoying the winter holidays at the Sharp home.
(From the Original story)
One, this is not the end of our story, there is more. Please, wait patiently. This is my first Leviathan story, so it's probably dimwitted, crappy, and misinformed. I suspect every one is way OOC. I beg forgiveness.
Mrs. Sharp, while born to a fairly modest status, has no title or great wealth to her name. (Her husband, then considered the family's income and provider, is dead. She probably gets work from sewing or washing clothes.) She is a bit bewildered by Alek. In her world, one where "status is everything", she can't imagine giving such a huge title up for something so silly as love. She can't comprehend Deryn and Alek's relationship. This will be touched up on later.
I fear that Deryn seems a little OOC, somehow girly. But that is not how I intended this to come out. She's meant to be nervous, not fluttery, or throw-away. She hasn't seen her family in nearly three years. Besides, she's run off from this family and never really even bothered to send even a note saying 'Oh, I've turned myself into a boy and joined an airship. Don't bothering waiting up for me!' Of course she's nervous and frantic. How will her ma, her family, react? And how will they respond to her bringing Alek, way out of the Sharp family's league? It's part of why she's acting a bit queer from in the books.