"So this is just a random little one-shot I decided to do. I recently read both books for the first time, and I just completely fell in love with them. Such great books! The story's set in an unknown time after Behemoth, and I just wanted to write a sort of feel good little piece. I didn't want to mess with a big long series, as I'm already writing two others, and I didn't want to mess with a romance, either. So I just decided to do a friendship fic, just a harmless little bit of fluff for you all to read. I hope you enjoy!"

Alright, so that was my original intro. But now, I have decided to turn this into a series of friendship one-shots between Deryn and Alek. I hope you all like it!

Disclaimer: I am not Scott Westerfeld. If I was, would I really be writing a fanfic about my own series?...Though if I were an author, I would so do that. xP


"The past is history, the future is a mystery, and today's a gift. That's why they call it the present."


"Barking spiders, it's a bit bloody early in the morning for this, isn't it Alek?" Deryn whined as the young archduke dragged his friend up to the top of the Leviathan.

"Your fencing will never improve if we don't work on it," he replied.

Muttering under her breath, Deryn said, "Aye, but I don't give a squick for improving it."

Alek halted and placed his saber lightly on Deryn's nose. "That is not the attitude of a true soldier."

Deryn raised her hands in defeat, and Alek lifted his sword away from her, before continuing up through the ship to get to the top. Sighing, Deryn shuffled after him. "A true soldier doesn't need a bloody saber," she muttered softly as she followed him.

At last, they reached the top of the ship. "On guard," Alek commanded, falling into the silly stance he insisted on using for fencing.

Groaning, Deryn fell into a sloppy stance of her own. With a frown, Alek marched over and straightened her shoulders and back, then bent down and repositioned her feet. As Alek touched her, Deryn felt her body go all tingly in the places he'd touched, and she said, "I get it. Can we just get the barking lesson over with?"

"Very well," Alek said, positioning himself once more for the fight. Deryn matched his stance and swung her saber up as he brought his down. The two swords clashed for a brief moment, before the two friends pulled apart.

All it took was a mere few seconds for Alek to disarm Deryn and point his saber at her face. "I win."

Rolling her eyes, Deryn picked up her sword, then stared at it in her hands. The thing was bloody useless.

After a few more bouts, of which Alek won all, the two headed back down to their respective cabins. "You know, with loads more practice, we might make a swordsman of you yet."

"Aye, and you're cracked in the attic if you think I'll ever be a squick as good as you are," Deryn replied. "Plus, what's the use of it?"

Alek replied readily, "Fencing can save your life."

Deryn snorted. "Aye. Fencing sure would have come in handy when I rode a metal elephant's trunk to toss a bagful of spices in a Clanker's face. Did I ever tell you about that?"

Alek grinned ruefully. "You might have mentioned it once…or twice…or ten times…"

Laughing, Deryn thumped him on the back. "Come on, then. Race you back to the rooms."

As Alek lay in bed, hands crossed over his chest, he thought of Dylan. The boy was the best friend anyway could ever have, and he was a better boy than Alek would ever be. The archduke respected Dylan immensely. Sure, he could beat the Darwinist boy at fencing, but he was topped at almost everything else.

He grinned as he thought of talking again with Dylan for the supper meal. Even a few hours apart seemed to tear something a bit inside of him, and thinking of seeing Dylan again made his heart beat a little faster.

But of course it would. Why? Because danger always seemed to accompany the middy, and adventure and a 'barking' good time. Rolling out of bed, Alek smiled as he thought of his good friend Dylan.

Deryn doodled aimlessly on her sketchpad, her feet in the air and stomach on the floor, propping her head up on her elbows.

Though she didn't like fencing (the whole thing was daft), she'd enjoyed spending time with Alek. She always enjoyed spending time with Alek. Because right now, though he saw a masquerade, he also saw who she really was. Sure, he didn't know she was a girl, but this life, being a midshipman…this was Deryn Sharp. Not some boffin like Dr. Barlow, or some fancy lady in skirts and petticoats and jewelry, but here, up in the air, working aboard the Leviathan and serving in the war. This was where she belonged. Alek was who she belonged with.

A knock on her door interrupted her reverie, and she jumped up to answer, grinning widely when she saw Alek on the other end. "Ready for supper?" he asked.

"As always!" Deryn answered, locking the door behind her and walking beside Alek.

Bovril, sitting upon the young archduke's shoulder, uttered, "Mr. Sharp."

"Shut it," she told the loris, who almost seemed to shrug and fall silent, before adding another, "Mr. Sharp."

"Blisters," Deryn muttered under her breath, clenching a fist.

A smile twitched at Alek's face, before he simply burst out laughing. "What's so funny?" Deryn asked in mock indignation.

"Haha, nothing," he said, eyes twinkling. "I just love your expressions at Bovril." Deryn gave Alek the same face she'd just given Bovril a minute ago, and he laughed again. "Don't look so mad! Here now, let's get a move on to supper, before Newkirk eats everything!"

Deryn spluttered as she pictured a fat Newkirk stuffing all available food into his mouth, then grabbed Alek's hand and tugged, starting a steady jog towards the mess.

Laughing, the two ran off. Though each often wondered about what the future held, for the moment, all that mattered was that they live in today , that they forget about dangers and duties, that they had each other, and that the two of them were the best friends in the whole world.

"Well, I hope you enjoyed! Can't wait for Goliath next year, and thanks for reading!"

Once again, my original closer. But now, I shall say, see you in chapter two!