Note: Loosely inspired by some very funny fanart done by TobuIshi, which you can go find for yourself on DeviantArt 'cause I don't feel like trying to outsmart the URL police.

(And if - in the spirit of said fanart - you wish to imagine that, within a 20 mile radius of the events of this fic, there are lorises laughing and girls turning gay, then by all means, go right ahead and do so. :D )

Finally, I would like to point fingers at Cardboard Edward and Beboots, who utterly failed to discourage me. :P

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Deryn comes into the study announcing, "Look what I found!"

Her voice echoes off of the mostly bare walls, and Alek looks up. When she left him, he'd been putting books away, but now he's sitting behind his desk again, sorting through papers piled in stacks everywhere.

For a moment she's taken aback: why does he have so many papers, and when did he get them all?

He seems confused, too - about what she's showing him. She gestures at the fancy blue pilot's jacket she's wearing, and the pilot's goggles pushed back on her head. Both are his, from his days as an unwilling guest on the Leviathan.

Recognition flashes across his face, followed by pleased surprise. "I thought those had been lost. Where were they?"

Deryn can already tell that she's going to like this study. The big window behind the desk overlooks the back garden, and right now sunlight is slanting in, thick and cheerful gold. It finds all the reddish bits of Alek's hair and turns them to bright copper.

She shifts some papers and perches one hip on the edge of the desk, her right knee just grazing the arm of his chair. "Mixed in with my old kit. Probably Ma's fault – she's not good with insignia."

His eyebrows go up. "She can't tell the difference between a British midshipman's uniform and that of an Austrian walker pilot?"

"Aye, well, like I said. And we were packing in a hurry, remember."

"Yes," he says, smiling warmly, which does marvelous things to her innards. "I do. But why are you wearing them now?"

She shrugs. "Just for a lark."

His smile turns speculative. "Are you going to keep them on all day?"

She pulls the goggles down over her eyes and grins at him. "Thinking about it, Clanker."

"Then you may want to adjust the straps on the goggles," he says, returning to his stacks of paper. "They do tend to pinch after a while."

"I'll bear it in mind," she says, dry, shoving the goggles back up on her head. It makes her hair stick up at all angles, but she doesn't care. He continues on with whatever deadly dull business he's set for himself, and she stays where she is, watching him.

A new house, no one else about, hours yet before they're expected anywhere… and he's sorting papers.

Pure dead clueless.

She pushes off from the desk and goes to the window, peering out at the garden. It's all right, she supposes, but they'll have to hire someone to keep it up. She's no barking gardener, and neither is Alek.

For that matter, they'll want some curtains, too.

"You know," she says, going up on her toes and craning her neck up and to both sides, checking all the possible sightlines, "I always loved the way you looked in this coat."

"Oh?" he says, in the tone that tells her he's not really listening.

"Used to have all sorts of thoughts about it." Satisfied, she drops back onto her heels and turns around. "Well, not thoughts so much as fantasies, I suppose. Wicked sorts of things."

That gets his attention. He's been rifling through a stack, but now he freezes and twists in his chair to look at her. Light catches his green eyes and finds gold there, too. "You did?"

"Oh, aye." She finds a spot on the edge of the desk again – only this time, directly in front of him, so that he has to sit back and look at her. She angles her hips forward. Runs the toes of one foot up the inside of his calf. "Particularly the way you looked when you were right off the engines. I used to wonder what it'd be like, to get your hands on me then."

He swallows, eyes darkening even as he keeps his voice light: "That wouldn't seem to have been the best time. I was usually half-frozen and covered in engine grease."

"Mm," she says, leaning over, undoing the buttons of his shirt. Slow and methodical and deliberately teasing. She holds his gaze. "I would've warmed you up."

"Er – yes - but the engine grease," he says. As if this is really a problem that ought to be solved.

"Aye, smeared all over my skin." She gets to the last button and tugs the shirttails free of his trousers, sliding her hands across the flat, wiry planes of his chest and stomach (bless that fencing); his breath hitches and her pulse speeds up. "Filthy mess, really. But you see, it wouldn't matter."

"It wouldn't?" His hands reach up and settle on her waist, tugging her off the edge of the desk and onto his lap. The chair's not quite roomy enough to allow them both, so he shifts forward as far as he can without dumping them onto the floor.

She shakes her head while he laces his fingers at the small of her back to hold her in place. They're roughly the same height these days; in this position, however, she's taller than he is. She grins down at him. "Not a squick. I'd be too keen to get you inside me."

"I suppose I can't argue with that. Still, it would leave rather a lot of evidence," he notes, being very objective for a man who just forgot how to breathe. "Would we try to hide this encounter?"

" 'Course we would. So you'd help me clean up," she says, shedding the pilot's jacket and tossing it on the desk behind her. Papers gust and fly, but he doesn't voice a word of complaint. "I'd let you wash my back."

He likes her wet and soapy, she knows from prior experience. And indeed, a new, calculating gleam enters his eyes. "Nowhere else?"

"You'd have to work for that, love," she says, and is quite pleased when he takes the hint and kisses her. It means she has to shift in closer, firm against that wonderful hardness in his trousers. One of his hands leaves her spine and squeezes her bum, which is barking nice too.

Electricity crackles bright and hot between them, same as it ever has. Only now they both know what comes next, which makes it even better.

Deryn bites his lower lip, just hard enough to elicit a moan. Then she leans back, gets hold of the bottom hem of her shirt as well as the chemise beneath, and pulls them both off over her head.

He looks her up and down and swallows again. Always a gratifying reaction, she must admit; though the first time she'd done that maneuver, she'd half expected him to faint. Clanker.

He clears his throat and, voice unsteady, asks, "And w-where onboard would this have happened?"

"Anywhere," she says, then inhales sharply as he dips his head and begins planting kisses along her collarbone, down between her breasts, mouth hot and wet, stubble rasping, mustache tickling. She puts one hand on the back of his head, threading her fingers through his lovely hair to hold him close.

He works his way left, then stays there for a while, doing things with his tongue she never imagined at age fifteen. Her own head tips back and her eyes flutter closed and her body moves in rocking waves against his. It's getting more difficult to string words together, but she finishes her thought, voice coming in gasps: "M-my old cabin, probably."

He breaks off sucking and kissing to frown and say, "That seems an unlikely –"

"Barking spiders, Alek!" she exclaims, interrupting his blether, exasperated beyond belief. She pushes him away and climbs off his lap, the better to stand in front of him with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. "It's meant to be pretend, not a sodding battleplan! Now shut your gob and get on with rogering me!"

"Is that what we're doing?" he asks, green eyes wide with false innocence. "I thought we were reminiscing."

She harrumphs (she'd roll her eyes, but he's not looking at her face) – and then somehow she's sitting up on the desk, legs wrapped around his hips, and he's kissing her fiercely, and the papers are everywhere except where they ought to be.

It takes a while to wind up his clockworks properly, but blisters, it's worth it.

She grins into his kisses, enjoying the heat-on-heat feel of his bare torso against hers, the soft flutter of his undone shirt, the way they fit together just right. Then she grabs his shirt's lapels, pulling him with her as she scoots backwards toward the middle of the desk.

The pilot's jacket bunches and shifts beneath her, making her slip sideways. She curses, shoving at it, and he laughs. She's prepared to scowl, but he stops her with a kiss that curls her toes and makes her dig her fingers into his back.

And maybe she whimpers a bit. Maybe.

"Deryn - the neighbors," he says, fumbling one-handed to shuck his belt and trousers. The other hand is braced on the wood of the desk, holding him above her.

"Can't see a bloody thing," she says. The view's quite nice from her angle, however, particularly once he gets those trousers off. She pushes at his shoulders until the shirt goes too, and that's even better. "I checked."

"Ah. Very thorough of you, as usual."

She gets her own trousers undone and does a little wiggle, trying to remove them without sitting up. "Wouldn't want them getting the wrong impression of us."

"Indeed," he says, and tugs down sharply on her britches. She arches her back to help him along, which makes the metal rims of the goggles dig into her scalp. It's not painful; just barking annoying.

Once they've dealt with the last of the clothes, she moves to pull the goggles off altogether… but he grabs her wrist and holds her arm there, pinned above her head.

The sly, mischievous glint in his eyes, she figures, would have been enough to stop her anyway.

"No," he says firmly.

She raises an eyebrow. "And why not?"

He lowers his head until his mouth grazes her ear. Low and hungry, he murmurs, "Since we're discussing old fantasies…"

She swallows. "Aye?"

"Leave the goggles on."