I'm terribly, terribly sorry for taking so long to update and finish this! Even though I got the AP exam knocked out, I've had the rest of my classes to worry about. However, I've only got one exam left. ;) So, after kicking my writer's block away and sitting down, I finally managed to let this epilogue flow out. A bit choppy, and probably leaves a few questions, but remember, this isn't an ending. You get to sort of guess what goes on past this point. But that's what fun about stories, isn't it?
Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."
Deryn watched, with a slight amount of pride, as Alek navigated the U.S. money flawlessly and paid the cab driver his dues. Getting used to the American coins and bills had certainly taken some practice, but they'd both managed it. Deryn had taken to it a squick easier than Alek, but then again, she'd been handling the money more. (She didn't trust him with stuff after he proved his Dummkopfness by wandering New York City at night. She felt it'd be a lot harder to rob her than him.)
As the cab sped off, she and Alek turned together to look at the house in a new light. Because it wasn't just any old house anymore. It was theirs. Struck by impulse, Deryn grabbed Alek and pecked him on the lips. He stared at her, then broke out into a smile, before turning back to survey the house. "It's really ours, isn't it?"
"Aye," Deryn replied. It wasn't a grand palace or anything (like Alek was probably used to) but it was better than an apartment shared with five other people, and it was a place just for them. Maybe it would be shared by others as time passed, but Deryn really didn't want to think about that.
The house itself was two stories, a big bargain for a fairly cheap price. The top floor was smaller, and overall, the house was about average size. Nothing big, nothing small, just…average and plain. But nice. Cozy. She and Alek had already toured the house before buying, and had fallen in love with the place from the first step.
Reaching out, Alek took Deryn's hand in his, and they walked side by side down the sidewalk to the front door and into the house. "I still can't believe it's ours," Deryn murmured, rubbing her hand across the stair banister.
Alek laughed and scooped Deryn up in his arms, spinning her around. Deryn's eyes widened in shock, and she stuck her tongue out at Alek. "Barking spiders, you've actually been doing those exercises I told you!"
"Yep!" he replied happily. "I bet I'm stronger than you now!"
He instantly regretted it. Deryn began to struggle against his grip, saying, "Put me down, or I'll force you to. Then I'll pick you up myself and toss you right out this door and keep the house all to myself." Alek quickly set her down and put his hands in the air. "And to prove a point…" Deryn lunged forward, wrapped her arms around Alek's waist, and lifted him up in the air, just as he'd done to her earlier.
Walking with the burden, she left through the front door and dumped him on the lawn. "I'm stronger than you, and don't you ever forget it!" Deryn said, her eyes twinkling in mirth.
Shaking his head and rolling his eyes, Alek picked himself up off the ground and dusted himself off. "Fine, fine." He came to stand next to her.
Deryn flashed him a wicked grin. "I'm also taller," she reminded him.
He pouted. It was true that though they'd both grown up in the five years they'd been in America, Deryn had remained, and would likely always remain, taller than Alek, a fact which continued to irk him. Deryn gave him a slap on the back. "No worries, dear husband!" she said. "I can always buy you a nice pair of those high heel thingies."
Alek looked at her, aghast, and Deryn burst out laughing. "Honestly, Alek, you can be quite daft at times, you know that?"
"So I've been told," he grumbled, and punched Deryn lightly, a habit he'd picked up from her.
"Barking sod, keep your paws off my sister while I'm here! We clear?"
Startled, Alek and Deryn spun towards the sidewalk, and Deryn burst out into a huge grin. "Jaspert!" she exclaimed, and ran forward into his open arms. They hugged for a few moments before Alek coughed nervously behind them. Deryn pulled back. "How's Ma?" she asked. "And how're Klopp and Hoffman? Do you have any news?"
"Slow down, Deryn!" Jaspert said, holding his hands out in a 'stop' gesture. "Ma's doing fine. She's a bit worried, but she's come to terms with you being on your own. Certainly did her a fair bit of good when that letter arrived last year, and then when I came to check how you were. After all, having a child wanted for treason does tend to freak out most moms." He gave her a cheeky grin. "Anyways, Klopp's back with his family, they've gotten new names, and Hoffman's dating the same girl again. She waited all this time, can you believe it?" Jaspert shook his head in amazement.
Deryn didn't ask about Volger or Bauer, because she knew exactly where they were. About a block away, there was a similar house, which they'd purchased for themselves. Over the years, Volger had become more and more of a friend (or a grumpy uncle) to the young Bauer (whom Alek had been mistaken about when saying he had a family), and the two were working together. Bauer had even gotten himself an American girlfriend, and was quite fluent in English. Apart from the accent, his English was perfect, and even then, his girlfriend said the accent made him more attractive.
Deryn couldn't complain. She had to admit, she had a slight partiality to men with Austrian accents.
With a sly grin, Jaspert suddenly ducked down and pressed his ear to Deryn's stomach. "So, how's the baby?"
Rolling her eyes, Deryn shoved him away. "I'm not pregnant," she told her brother, shaking her head.
Jaspert flashed her a grin. "Not yet," he said. "But I'm sure it's not for lack of trying, eh?" He bumped his elbow to hers and raised his eyebrows.
Deryn flushed red, as did Alek. "We don't want any children now!" Deryn protested.
Jaspert shrugged. "Suit yourself. Oh, hey, if you ever have a boy, name him Jaspert, won't you?"
"No thanks," Deryn replied dryly.
"How 'bout Dylan?"
Alek snorted, and Deryn turned to glare at him. "I doubt that either."
Jaspert threw up his hands. "Fine! What would you name a girl, then?"
Deryn shared a glance with Alek, then said, together with him, "Sophie."
Jaspert pondered this. His eyes alit as he came up with an idea. "Sophie's a good name for a girl, and, continuing the pattern, how about Franz?"
Alek and Deryn shook their heads. Alek answered, "We've decided it's too German, unfortunately."
"Hmmm…" Jaspert scratched his head in thought. "Then…" He hesitated. "What about Artemis?"
Deryn stiffened at the mention of her dead father, then slowly smiled as she mulled it over. "Da would like that, wouldn't he?"
"I bet he would."
She turned to Alek. Before she could say anything, he nodded. "I like it too." With a second thought, he added, "But we're not having kids yet!"
Jaspert huffed in laughter. "Yet."
"Bum-rag!" Deryn shouted, lunging for her brother to tackle him to the ground. He darted out of her reach, and continued to tease her. Alek just shook his head in amusement at their antics.
America was turning out all right for the both of them.
Deryn waved her arms at the screen. "Hellooo? Aren't you going to explain the other stuff to them?"
"Oh, come on. Like how our last names are now both Sharp, because Ferdinand was too conspicuous. Or how Alek's got a pretty darn good job as a teacher of both German and Latin. Or how I'm a test pilot. Seriously? You just couldn't find room for that in the story?"
Alek coughed gently beside her, causing her to turn to him. "Um, Deryn, you're breaking the fourth wall."
Deryn whirled back around to face the screen. "Oh, uh, right. That…pretend I never said anything. Umm…barking spiders! Alek, help me out here!"
"Just let the author put another end thing, or whatever," Alek suggested.
"Oh, uh, right. Well, you know, we live happily ever after…ish. Except for the police tracking us to America. But let's not get into that now, shall we?"
"Deryn…" Alek began.
"Aye, I'm going! Put the thingie up again, all right?"
…Ummm…yes. Sorry. I ended the chapter, then realized that I'd left out a whole bunch of information that I'd had planned out ahead of time. I figured I'd put in the author's note, but then I decided I'd be tiniest bit creative, you know? Notice, though, I wouldn't dare actually put myself talking with the characters. They're too good for me. xP
Anyways, Hoist is done! I know, I can't believe it either! I feel this, as an epilogue, was a bit weak, but eh. It's not too bad, right? ;P
Also, remember that fic I was talking about? Well, don't expect anything new from me for a couple of weeks or so. 'Cause, uh, my family's leaving on vacation tomorrow, so, you can see how this poses a problem to fanfiction access, as well as writing, no? (I write on the computer, so, yeah. I'll bring a journal, though, I promise! Doubt I'll work on much, though. I'll be in Disney! It takes priority. xP)
Oh, and props to Jaybird45 for getting the title thing! I guess all it took was a little prompting, hm? But she correctly noticed that the chapter titles, if you take the first letter from each, spell America. ;) Except, you know, discounting the epilogue. Americae. Yeah, just ignore the last 'e'. xP
Now for anonymous reviews:
1. Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked the balance of the chapter! ;)
2. It's not over yet! Well, okay, now it is, but still. xP I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad you're looking forward to my next fic!
HopelessRomantic: Thanks! I'm glad you liked the callback, and yep, they kissed! Haha, you've been thinking about these sorts of scenarios? (You know, I really am looking forward to you getting an account and writing some stories of your own. ;D) And yep, Deryn has guts. Also, that's a very good observation. Beating up people is quite normal for Deryn, isn't it? And aww, don't miss Hoist! I shall have better out, I promise! This story's really a bit more of a stepping stone. Now that I've proved to myself that I can write a full-fledged fic, I'm going to head into longer, more complicated stuff and really work on my writing. I've got to work on my descriptions. ^^; Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you've enjoyed Hoist!
Pony: Thanks so much!
Well, it's been a fun time! A huge thanks to all who've faved and/or alerted this story, and an even bigger thanks to all you wonderful reviewers! I had a blast writing this, and I hope you had fun reading it!
But really, this is only the beginning of the many fics I plan to barrage this section with. ;)
Have a good summer!