Sketches

By: Natilie Sawada

First fanfic I've written in forever…Just finished reading Behemoth and it is 2:45 AM but f*** it I'm inspired and am damn well going to write some fanfiction.

Obviously Deryn/Alek because well….they're practically becoming canon…And why not? Just a short little drabble mostly from third person limited point of view from Deryn's direction.

Anyways, enjoy~

Post-Leviathan, Pre-Behemoth

"Drawings help people to work out intricate relationships between parts."

-Christopher Alexander
~~~~~~

The ship was buzzing with life today…more so that it normally was. Except for Midshipman Dylan Sharp, that was, who had been ordered to watch the blasted eggs again. At least she had Alek to keep her company.

Deryn sighed as she crumpled up yet another sheet of paper from her sketch pad and threw it across the room to where Alek sat, his eyes closed and his breathing even. It hit the Austrian prince on the head with a soft sound and he jolted up, his eyes snapping open

"Falling asleep?" Deryn asked smugly, turning the page to a fresh piece of paper.

"No, I was simply…listening," The boy said, his hand brushing stray locks of dark hair from his eyes and placing it back on the floor. "The ship is quiet compared to our walker." Deryn nodded, her eyes flitting back and forth between the eggs and her paper, her pencil drawing sketchy outlines of the eggs surrounded by the packing straw.

"Aye, compared to the walker. But it's loud in its own right."

Alek nodded. "I can hear it. It used to unnerve me, to lie in bed at night and hear all the…creatures crawling about. But now, I can listen to them breathe." Deryn looked up from her drawing and its subject, instead looking at Alek, sitting with is legs spread out in front of him on the plain floor, his back against the wall opposite her.

"You can hear it breathe already?" She whispered, astonished that a Clanker had picked up on it so quickly.

"Yes. It's…strange the transition I've made in the way I view things." He glanced down and his hand, the sleeves still rolled up to his elbows from working on the engines earlier with Klopp and Hoffman. "But never mind, I'm being stupid."

"No you're not," Deryn protested, turning yet another page in her book; another fresh page. "You're realizing why people like the boffin's granddad loved to work with the beasties. And why I love flying on this ship. You can feel everything connected."

Deryn started with his eyes. That's where she always started. She traced their curve, penciling in the dark brow over the eyes that was usually twisted into a scowl.

But not now.

Now it was soft and smooth, his eyes catching more light than they did when he was frowning. She grabber her rubber and erased a little of the shading in his eyes, adding more white as the lights reflected of them.

"Yes, much like that," Alek continued, unaware of her artistic scrutiny of his face, "Like with every lizard you see scurrying about, and every sniffer you hear panting, and every burst of hydrogen you smell, you can feel the Leviathan living."

As he spoke, around the eyes—rounded and softened a little—she drew in the thick lashes that were wasted on a boy; any girl would kill to have lashes like Alek did.

Well, any proper girl, Deryn thought with an amused scowl.

"You're not that much of a ninny, after all, I suppose, if you can get all that after such a short time." Deryn smiled, her pencil expanding, drawing the sharp point of his nose and the curve of his lips.

"I'm being stupid again. Of course the Leviathan is living; everyone on the crew knows that."

Alek was coming to life on the page before her, his jaw—strong and proud—was taking shape, the dark locks of his hair gaining weight and volume from her pencil and tumbling down into his eyes.

"Aye, but they don't feel it the same way others do. Which is why I was so surprised you could describe something like that already. Not even some on the crew really know how much bigger it all is than any one part of the beastie."

"Exactly!" Alek exclaimed, throwing his hands up. Deryn wished he would stop moving so she could draw his torso properly. "It's like, me, and you…we're just small little drops of water in a pond." She sketched his jacket and sword hanging from his thin hips, her pencil's tip caressing down his legs as she drew him piece by piece. "On our own, we're not that important, but together—"

"—we make something truly spectacular," Deryn finished,, placing her pencil down on the floor, and balancing her pad against her folded legs to look at the complete picture of Prince Aleksander of Austria.

The real Alek, seeing her attention drawn to her sketch pad, fell silent, his dark eyes simply watching her.

Deryn could see now. Her lovely, royal, infuriating prince Alek was just like her beloved ship. Each little part of him—his eyes, his hair, his fingers—separate, they were just another set of eyes, just another mop of hair.

But put all together, they made Alek.

"Indeed…something truly spectacular," Alek repeated, and Deryn smiled.

"Aye. And the ship just wouldn't be the same ship she is without any man or beastie aboard her now." Just like Alek wouldn't be the same Alek without his Clanker accent, or his aristocrat attitude.

"Ah, I see. I believe I have now bridged the gap in cultural philosophy." Deryn laughed.

"How so, your highness?"

"We Clankers are geared to think in pieces. That walker, that gear, that country, that army. We see one thing unto itself. While you Darwinists," he gestured to Deryn, "see things in terms of relationships. You don't see a gear, you see a working engine. You don't see a country, you see the country's trade routes and allies and diplomatic relations."

"So?" Deryn didn't see the point her Clanker boy was trying to make. Of course you've got to see the big picture. That's what Darwin's entire philosophy was based on—one entire ecosystem.

"Ah, but that's the problem, isn't it," Alek said, "We Clankers aren't brought up to think about life webs or ecosystems…and see where it's gotten us." He sighed, slouching back against the wall, his foot nudging the crate with the eggs. "I should stop rambling about philosophy and the meanings of things now." He smirked tiredly. "I doubt a lowly soldier like yourself could understand it, Mr. Sharp. I'll spare you the humiliation of continuing on in subjects too complex for your understanding."

"Get stuffed," Deryn replied, crumpling up her half-sketched picture of the eggs and throwing it at his head. Alek smiled at her. "I've know since I was wee thing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

Alek sighed. "We should give you Darwinists more credit then, if you have engrained into your culture for every man, woman, and child to know what it took me fifteen years to figure out."

Deryn simply smiled and looked down at her drawing of Alek, of course not seeing and arm, or a mouth, or an eye, but seeing Alek.

No bits or pieces or parts…just Alek.

She sighed, folding up her sketch pad and laying it down on the floor, standing up and brushing off her pants.

"I'm going to go see where the lady boffin is. I've been on egg duty for hours now, and I'm starving." Alek only nodded in response as Deryn left the room, a melancholy smile twitching up the corners of her lips.

~fin~

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