This takes place in the night between the storm and the morning afterwards.

Enjoy and please (pretty please with Bovril on top?) review!

God's wounds, but his head hurt.

It was an inescapable throb of pain, radiating out from his skull into the rest of his body. Alek could feel the ache lie coiled heavily behind his eyelids, a sharp weight refusing to budge.

He forced himself to sit up, the darkened room momentarily spinning around him. As his eyes adjusted, they settled on his flight suit, folded neatly over the edge of a chair, still drenched and dripping water onto a growing puddle on the floor. In the glass of the window by his bed, he caught a glimpse of his face- pale and wan, his head wrapped in a bandage splotched with dried blood.

What happened?

He could remember how the world shrunk to a pinpoint in front of him, everything else a blur of stinging rain and wind and lightning, as he clung to the soaked ratlines, certain beyond all doubt that at any moment his hands would slip and he'd tumble into the unforgiving sea churning below.

He thought back to how the storm clouds appeared so suddenly on the horizon, black as engine grease, how Deryn's face had flickered with fear when she saw the cut on his head, how it had felt when her lips touched his, a warm gentle pressure that-


Alek knew that Dylan was actually Deryn, and that there was a possibility that she had feelings for him that a prince could never have for a commoner, but surely even someone as impulsive and reckless as she was wouldn't do that.

I must've dreamt it, he told himself, and at first it seemed to be a satisfactory conclusion until he realized that dreaming it would mean that his thoughts recently have been focused around Deryn Sharp and kissing.

Which they haven't, of course. After all, providence was guiding him towards peace treaties and thrones, not the heart of some mad Scottish girl.


Alone in the dark of the stateroom, Alek's face burned a bright red.

With a sigh, he gingerly arranged himself back onto his pillows. He needed sleep. In the morning, he'd have to face Volger's plotting and visits from the Leviathan's doctors and wooing Tesla and all the other myriad little problems that seemed to rest now on Aleksandar of Hohenberg's shoulders.

But for now, he could sleep as best as one could with a fresh head wound, knowing how lucky he was to have escaped with just that, and with the feeling of Deryn's mouth still lingering on his.

And (although he'd never admit it to anyone and especially not her), perhaps a kiss was worth getting bumped on the head.