"So your telling me that you are going to kick Volger right off his throne?"
Malone was writing furiously into his notepad, hardly looking up at Alek. When he finally believed that it was indeed Alek, the 'dead' prince of Austria, he had been estatic.
"Yes, I'm leaving tomorrow evening, and I'm not sure when I will arrive. So if you could wait....about a month to publish your article, that would be wonderful. Don't want them waiting at the docks for me. That would make for a most tragic end to your story, wouldn't it?"
Malone nodded, still writing. He finally looked up at Alek. "I can do that, with the promise that I will get to follow up with you."
Alek agreed. "Thats fair."
Malone smiled. "I have a feeling this story is never going to be over."
Alek nodded. "Agreed. It seems no matter where I go, theres always some kind of trouble."
Alek had quite the time convincing Eddie Malone that he was indeed who he said he was. He had to pull out the scroll from the late Holy Father to convince him, and after that he was hooked. Now they sat in Alek's apartment, Deryn not yet home from her last night at work. He had told her she would have a surprise when she got home, but Alek guessed she would not expect this.
He and Malone had talked for at least two hours, Alek recounting his entire story, from the last time they spoke, to their escape from Japan, and all the way to America. Malone's hand had to be exhausted from how much he scribbled in his notepad, filling up at least six pages. He'd have his story, all right.
Just then the door rattled, and Deryn came in, her shoulders slumped from exhaustion. She stopped when she saw Alek and Malone seated at the table.
"Goodness! Come, sit down!"
Malone watched Deryn sit. "Wait a second...Aren't you that midshipman from the Leviathan that was also killed?"
"Yes" Alek said, taking Deryn's hand. Malone stared. "Things took quite an interesting turn, and Mr. Sharp turned out to be Ms. Sharp. Deryn and I are engaged to be married."
Malone sat back in his chair, taking his recording frog off his shoulder. "Well, you have been busy these past six months, haven't you?" he smiled. "So you plan to not only defy Volger, but bring in your - pardon my language, miss - common fiance with you? Completely genious!"
"Well, if things go as planned, anyway." Deryn said. She looked worried.
"Whats wrong, love?" Alek asked, looking over at her.
"Nothing, just worried about everything."
"It's alright, tomorrow will be fine, so will the next day, and all of the days after that. Don't worry about a thing, we can talk tonight."
"What's exactly going on here?" Deryn asked. "Alek, you never told me about this..."
Alek squeezed her hand. "I gave Eddie here our entire story, and he's agreed to not publish it until next month. That gives us enough time to get to Austria before he lets the world know I'm alive. Trust me, I know what I'm - "
Deryn shook her head. "No, you don't. Are you completely daft? Your going to let someone post your entire story in a newspaper? No, I thought we were going to stop Volger and come home!"
Alek squeezed her hand again, trying to quiet her. "Listen, everything will be fine. Deryn, just believe that I'm not as stupid as I seem."
She looked away from him. "I can't promise anything."
Alek winced. She always knew how to make him feel what she felt.
"Well, is there anything else you'd like to know about?" Alek asked Malone, tryign to shake off the feeling in his stomach.
Malone shook his head. "No, I think I have everything I need. I will plan the release for next month. But I really should get going." He stood, reaching out his hand to shake Alek's. He stood as well, leaving Deryn sitting at the table. He took Malone's hand and shook it firmly.
"Thank you, I trust you can keep this a secret for the next month."
Malone nodded, smiling and putting his frog back under his collar. "Indeed, Mr. Ferdinand. You have my word." He bowed to Deryn and headed out the door.
Alek gulped and turned to face Deryn. Her face was neutral, unreadable.
"So" she said. "You brought that bum-rag into our home, told him everything AGAIN, and expect me to think everything is going to be okay?" she stood from the table and began walking to their room. "Alek, you just dont understand how worried I am for you. For your life! I don't even know how I'm going to make myself get on that boat tomorrow, let alone let you get on it." her eyes were shining with tears. Alek rushed over to her, taking her in his arms. She felt so small and weak, compared to how strong she usually was.
"Alek. Alek I don't know if I can stand the fear of loosing you again. The day I laid eyes on you, everything changed. On that glacier? Yeah, when I wrestled that gun from you, I knew. And ever since I have been scared to loose you. We can't go tomorrow, if anything happens..."
Her sobs took over and he ushered her into their room, which was just about as bare as could be. They had been packing for a week, selling uneeded things, deciding what needed to go and stay. All that was left was their packed bags and the sheets on their bed. He laid her down and held her until she calmed herself. When she was finished, he kissed her forehead, stroking her hair.
"Love, I know how scared you are. I don't like seeing you like this, it kills me. But if I can fix things, then we will have everything we want and more."
"I don't want all of that! I want you to live to grow old with me, not be killed because of a stupid war."
Alek shook his head. "Please, we have to go. Don't make this harder than it already is. Lilit and Nene were right, Volger is getting out of control, and I can't let him ruin everything my father created."
Deryn sighed. "I know. I just wish she had never found you."
"Me too, love. But whats done is done, and it's for the best."
She snuggled into Alek's arms, pulling the sheets up around her.. Alek held her until she fell asleep, unable to do so himself. Tomorrow was going to be difficult.