1I do not own the Levithan triology, Scott Westerfeld does. I am making no money from this, it is written for my own amusement.

This disclaimer applies to all other chapters.



He pulled something from his pocket, and as Deryn saw it, her heart sank. It was the leather scroll case, the one with the pope's letter inside. She'd forgotten for a single, absurd moment that Alek was an emperor-in-waiting and that she was as common as dirt.

"Tricky," Bovril said.

"Of course." Deryn dropped her gaze, stepping back from his embrace. "No one's going to write me a letter to turn me royal, are they? And I'd hardly make a proper princess, even if the pope himself sewed me a dress. This is all ridiculous."

(goliath, p531-532)

Alek stared at the scroll case. There were, in that moment, so many branching futures. Part of him wanting to fling the scroll case clear over the ship and into the Atlantic.

And part of him knew that was foolish. He had a duty to his people, to his country. How could he give that up to be with her, no matter how much he wanted to?

He could still be with her- and his heart seized on the chance, even as his brain said no, think of the strife and civil war it could cause.

"I owe it to my country. They need a peaceful leader," he said, his words slow and thick as he placed the scroll next to his heart. Alek hoped Deryn could understand. "I owe it to my father."

He realized his mistake rather quickly, how Deryn could have interpreted his statement.

Bovril spoke up then, right out of the blue.

"Emperors are vain and useless things."

Deryn's eyes grew wide from the combination of what had been said. She was confused, hurt- but Alek was her friend, and something more (the last few minutes hadn't been nothing, right?).

"Bovril!" She placed her hand over the beast's mouth, waiting for Alek's reaction.

"... I am sorry. Deryn, I-" Prince Aleksandar of Hohenberg, for all his formal training, could not find the right words.

But somehow, in those few moments, something had been lost forever.