Big long intro below. If you could really care less and just want to read the story, go right ahead and skip. ^^
Hey there! Fox Scarlen here! I've decided to end Today and start a new drabble series (one of many in this section-sorry about that!). I feel like my friendship theme was limiting, and now I really want to branch out into anything and everything Leviathan. So, we now have Tomorrow! This, right here, is a fic of drabble series that is going to cover, like I said, everything in the Leviathan 'verse. I'm talking about minor characters, history, future, you name it. I'm going to try and delve into every possible topic imaginable, and, unlike Today, do not expect a set length of chapter-I may go from ten words to ten thousand. Yes. It shall be that unpredictable. ^^
So, here we go! This intro chapter was inspired by the song that titles this chapter, and I highly suggest you go and listen to it while reading (either the original, by Keane, or the Glee: Warblers version. Both are wonderful). Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Not Scott.
Somewhere Only We Know
"Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
"I'm getting old and I need something to rely on.
"So tell me when, you're gonna let me in,
"I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin.
"And if you have a minute why don't we go,
"Talk about it somewhere only we know.
"This could be the end of everything,
"So why don't we go somewhere only we know?"
He was aged. Old. Elderly. Ha, almost decrepit, really, though he preferred not to think so. Not yet, at least, anyway. Wrinkles, despite their generally negative reception, only warmed the old man's face up further than it had been, even when he was younger. He'd long ago lost the stiffness of royalty and 'princelihood', as his wife liked to call it, and a certain joy seemed to radiate from him. It was all thanks to his dear one, really, as she'd turned his life upside-down; in a good sort of way, of course. The old man was kind, nice, courteous; he was intelligent, smart, and wise enough to know he wasn't.
Apart from the wrinkles, he was a bit short; not noticeably so, except when compared to his wife. She was, forever to his chagrin, taller than he, which had irked the old man to no end. Of course, he'd long ago lost his supposed 'sexist' attitude; he never realized he'd possessed it, until his dear wife beat it out of him. She had a habit for such things.
His hair was gray, nearly white, with age, naturally, but a couple of stray streaks of reddish-brown striped his hair in a reveal of the youth he'd once had. Two brilliant emeralds sat in his face and, unlike his hearing, had yet to be dulled by the passing of years. They shone rather more brightly today, with the sheen of unshed tears, tears he'd been keeping back for so long now.
Clad in typical daily attire, consisting of trousers and a flannel shirt, the old man knelt down on the hilltop. The hill was bare, apart from the coat of long, tall grass that reached up to the man's knees and reached up for his face as he knelt, and one other item. Around him, the Austrian foothills shone with a certain radiance; the country was beautiful, and many claimed nothing could compare. The old man wasn't sure if Austria was truly the most beautiful country in the world, but he wouldn't be surprised.
The other item on the hilltop, which the old man had knelt before, was a tall stone. It wasn't particularly large, or particularly fancy, but was of a good, medium, sturdy size, built to last through Austrian winters and any sort of weather the sky might throw at it. On the stone, the following words were written:
Served onboard the Darwinist airship Leviathan
Empress of Austria
Beloved mother and wife
Soldier through and through
Posted beneath the words, embedded in the stone, and protected by glass, was a picture of her after World War I, smiling and laughing. And beneath her picture, two more words were etched-"Barking spiders!"
Alek Sharp-Ferdinand gave a sad smile, reaching out a gnarled hand to feel the stone, running his ancient fingers over the words carved into the stone.
The stone wasn't a grave marker-after all, there was no body buried here. Alek had thought it wasn't fit. Deryn wouldn't want to be buried in the earth: she'd want to fly free, forever. He remembered his grief as he took her body to be cremated, and his slow acceptance as he stood at the top of the airship and released her ashes to the wind.
Turning himself over, Alek laid his back against the marker, staring up into the sky. The year now was 1992. Alek was ninety-three-years-old; far too old, in his opinion. He'd always thought Deryn would outlive him.
But his life had been a full one. After the world war, the first one, after Alek had found out his best friend's secret, he'd found himself falling for the Darwinist middy. When the emperor had died, and Alek had assumed the position of emperor over the smaller, reduced empire of Austria, a far cry from the former Austria-Hungary, but still a beautiful and peaceful country, he had fallen in love.
Alek proposed to Deryn when they were both twenty-two: it was a good age, in his opinion, and they'd begun to court each other in secret anyway. The proposal itself was a simple matter. Deryn had taken to flying balloons like her father, and Alek volunteered to go with her that one day, as was normal.
She'd almost pushed them both out of the basket when she tackled him in a hug as her answer to his question.
Deryn made a surprisingly good empress. Though she was a foreigner, she was also a commoner, and had managed to win the hearts of Alek's people, in her typical manner. Few seemed to mind terribly much that Deryn preferred trousers and short hair.
Their firstborn was Sophie. Her face was Alek's, and her eyes, but she had her mother's straw-blonde hair. Next and last was Artemis, a young, healthy boy with his mother's face and a mix of his parents' hair: it was reddish-gold, an interesting color, but admired by all and decidedly handsome.
The couple had few spats. Sure, they argued over the advantages and disadvantages of Clankers versus Darwinists, but very rarely anything serious. Only once did they argue seriously, when Alek had fought against Deryn when she wanted to fly up in a new, Clanker contraption. Finally, she'd obeyed him, for once in her life, and didn't go up.
It exploded a few hundred feet in the air.
For days, Alek had been terrified, wondering what he would have done if she had actually been in the contraption, if she hadn't listened to him. It had been only a feeling, really-but Alek knew that it was best to trust one's guts, and he knew that it had been worth the argument. Deryn reassured him for days afterwards that it was okay, that she loved him, that she owed her life to him. But the thought had shattered him, and he knew it had shattered her a bit, too.
Life moved forward.
They watched their children grow up. Sophie took a passion to the sciences, of which Alek blamed her godmother, Nora Barlow, and began to follow biology as a possible career. Deryn was a bit miffed that she didn't seem to care a whit about flying. Alek was just glad she'd rather moon over test tubes than boys.
Artemis, on the other hand, took to flying as much as his mother, but he preferred balloons and Clanker contraptions to the living beasties of the Darwinists. He married a nice, but tough-as-nails girl named Holly, and Alek and Deryn had held their first grandchild, Dylan (go figure), at age fifty-five, and their second a year later.
Unfortunately, Deryn was never allowed to meet her third grandchild.
Alek remembered the day vividly. It had started off normally-they all do- when the news arrived. Deryn, riding up in a Huxley (she'd had one of the ungodly things brought to Austria to fly, said they were better than balloons in catching air) had been caught in a storm, much like her first time in a Huxley at fifteen. However, at fifty-seven, she was not so lucky-the Huxley panicked and Deryn, not quite as spry as she had been so many years ago, plummeted to the ground with the freaked Huxley.
She perished on impact.
Alek, the old man, gently brushed his wife's marker in the hillside again. Now, Alek was ninety-three. He had two children, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, and he knew he'd lived a long and full life. But what he wanted, most of all, was to be with his wife again.
They'd lived through two world wars, revolutions, and watching their children date, but Alek felt they'd been apart far too long now. Far too long.
Slowly, his bones creaking, Alek got up, and, using his necessary cane, clambered carefully down the hill and into the neighboring forest. After a ten minute or so walk, he left the trail and shouldered his way through some bushes into a clearing.
Ringed by dark greenery, both short and tall, and framed by the massive skyward branches of trees, Alek entered a small clearing, and sat down in the middle, letting the sunlight wash over him.
He took a deep breath, and could swear he almost felt her, sitting beside him. This clearing was special to him and his wife. The elderly man didn't leave until long past supper.
That night, his children, visiting for the holidays, scolded him, told him that he shouldn't have been out that long. While his mental health was in top shape for one his age, his physical health was deteriorating. When they demanded to know where he'd been, he'd replied with a vague "You wouldn't know."
Two days later, Alek died peacefully in his bed.
And in the clearing, two laughing memories played, youthful and joyous.
"What do you think of this place?"
"I think it's wonderful."
"Aye, that it is! A place all to ourselves, isn't it?"
"Somewhere only we know."
So there you have it! First chapter to a new series! How was it? ^^ (Also, Artemis Fowl fans can probably guess why I decided to name Artemis II's wife Holly. ;D)
Also, is it sad that I've officially constructed a family tree and everything for Alek and Deryn? Yeah, probably. xP
So anyways, now that I'm back from vacation, and have all day long to sit and home and do nothing (except play Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D-YAY!) I have a lot of time to write. ^^ So be expecting fairly frequent updates. ;)