In the days following the destruction of Goliath, Alek was hardly given a moment of peace. Once it went public that Alek had been the one to shut down the machine, reporters, and even a few politicians, swarmed his New York City hotel, seeking audience with the young prince. Volger had kept most of the paparazzi at bay, but had allowed a few distinguished journalists to interview Alek for posterity.
Most nights Alek barely made it to the bed before falling asleep, but tonight he was wide awake. A telegram had arrived earlier in the day, stating that the Admiralty had approved his medal for bravery in the air, and that the Leviathan was on its way back to New York City from Washington, D. C. for the ceremony. Alek could have cared less about the medal. The thought of seeing Deryn again was all he could focus on.
Because, if he was to be honest with himself, Deryn had been the only person on his mind since he had watched the airship narrowly escape the electrical surges of Goliath. Almost losing her had been too much for him, and now she just wouldn't leave his thoughts. Between interviews, and sometimes during, he would find himself wondering what she was doing.
Away from Volger and the others, Alek truly began to contemplate his feelings for the midshipman. He realized, after killing Tesla, that she meant more to him than just a friend. She really had become his entire world, the one person that could keep him going when everything else was falling to pieces. And that's how he knew that he loved her.
So for tonight, he allowed his mind to wander and dream and imagine. Kissing her had been foremost in his mind. Of course, she had kissed him that one time topside, but he had been half knocked out and frozen. Now, he thought about what it would be like to really kiss her. To feel her lips, warm and soft against his. To hold her firmly in his arms and never let go. To be happy.
He allowed his imagination to go even further. He saw them courting, getting married and having children. He could see them living at Konopiste, even though Deryn wouldn't like it, or even in a small house in the Scottish countryside. Either way, she would fly and he would tinker with his walkers. She would always be by his side, supporting, encouraging, and loving.
After only a few moments of daydreaming, an ugly thought wormed it's way into Alek's mind, and he once again remember that he was a prince and Deryn was common. If he wanted the Austrian throne, it was not possible for him to be with Deryn. His claim would be overturned, or there would be scandal, or his great uncle would
Alek sat up straight in bed. To hell with the throne! After six months of grief and running and problems, Alek deserved to be happy for once.
And Deryn Sharp made him happy.
He deserved to be with her. She was his obsession, the one thing that could put the death of his parents, wars, and crazy mad men out of his mind for good. And he would do anything to keep her.