Disclaimer: All characters and beasties belong to Scott Westerfeld.
"Maybe in five or ten yours and mine will meet again
Straighten this whole thing out
Maybe then honesty need not be feared as a friend or an enemy
But this is the distance
and this is my gameface
Is there really no way to reach me?
Am I already gone?
So this is your maverick
And this is Vienna"
A Goliath FanFiction
Perhaps she was right, back when she told him he couldn't see things the way that they were. The knowing look in her eyes as she sadly shook her head "no" filled him with the worst kind of guilt. It was one thing when Vogler made him feel like a child, but from Deryn, who had too much honor to leave a crew that may betray her, his shame was tenfold.
It was pure selfishness to want her to stay in New York. He already had Tesla's power and influence and Volger's council, when he wanted it. She had left her home, defied her mother, and changed her identity. All so she could fly, not to follow him around a foreign country. He wanted her companionship but had nothing to offer her in return. Alek was embarrassed that he thought she would give that up just to stay with him.
It wouldn't be long until his friendship wouldn't be enough to make her stay. What if she began to resent him, the way she had her mother, for keeping her on the ground? She would leave him for the sky. Or worse, he would have to watch as she met another daft boy. A soldier, or a gang member. Someone who is taller, stronger and manlier than Alek, than Deryn even. Just the thought of it left him with a shattering jealously. He would still be left without her.
But if he can end the war things will be different. Perhaps he would earn enough respect that every aspect of his life wouldn't affect his ascension to the throne. Maybe they could have a chance.
"The faster this war is over the sooner we can..." Alek started but he couldn't bring himself to tell her his hopes.
"See each other again, aye." She interrupted. She understood that it was a gamble. The end of the war had the power to pull them further apart, just as protecting her secret was doing to them right now. Even seeing each other after the war could be too much to hope for. This was no time for making promises.
She acted strong, but Alek knew her, and he could see the sadness hidden in her features. She had lost hope in his new wishes long ago.
Lately, he couldn't help regretting the things he said in Istanbul. He had no idea that by telling Dylan that he would never be involved with a commoner would be hurting her. If he had known -
Alek still would have told her.
He would have had to. For the same reason she still would have kissed him if she knew that he couldn't stop thinking about it, that it was driving him mad with confusion. Actually, if she knew that, she probably would have done it again. Even if they hadn't promised not to keep secrets from each other, some unavoidable things had to be done.
Alek was quickly growing out of being the boy who complained when things weren't fair. All the same, he hated that it was these truths that were tearing them apart.
Because he wasn't going to have to run a mile. Oceans and wars, duties and destines, these were the things that separated Prince Aleksander von Hohenberg and Deryn Sharp. Things that were set into motion long before their fates became intertwined. As complicated as it felt, everything was unfolding just as his truth predicted.
Alek couldn't believe that this was their goodbye, huddled in the corner of a crowed room. If they were alone they could talk; he might even have a chance to kiss her goodbye.
Instead they were standing less than a meter apart, but between them was a gap he knew he cannot cross. No longer full of secrets to separate them, but of truths. Between them there was nothing left to be said.
He felt defeated by it, this feeling that he couldn't stop and couldn't pursue. He could only ignore it. He bowed to her, resigned. Saying goodbye was giving them clear paths to exactly what they wanted.
He had a destiny to fulfill and a nation to lead.
She had a ship to return to.
But between them unspoken promises lingered, someday they would untangle their truths, and it made it nearly impossible to turn and walk away.