Son of Dustfinger

Summary: Takes place in Inkspell. After a battle with some of the Adderhead's soldiers, Dustifinger reflects on all that happened and thinks about nearly losing Farid and what would happen if his biggest fear came true.

Disclaimer: I don't own Dustfinger, Farid, Firefox, or anyone else from Cornelia Funke's books. I'm just borrowing them!

A/N: This is a oneshot about my favorite character from the Inkheart trilogy, Dustfinger, and his close relationship with Farid. This is my first Inkheat fic, so please be nice!

Dustfinger sat by the blazing fire as darkness enclosed in on the forest around him like a thick blanket, shielding him from any unfriendly eyes as he was protected by the fire's warmth. His tired eyes landed on Farid, and the caring light in them faltered as he watched the boy peacefully sleep.

He had almost lost Farid forever earlier that day when some of the Adderhead's soldiers had found them when they were traveling to the Black Prince's camp. They were unprepared; caught off guard when the ambush had happened. Obviously, someone had known they were coming…

Dustfinger put his arm in front of Farid protectively as the soldiers in front of them raised their weapons. Firefox led them, holding his gleaming sword as he glared at Dustfinger, his eyes glowing maliciously. The fire-dancer glared back at him as he and Farid backed up a little more, trying to put as much distance between them and their enemies as possible. Dustfinger knew by the look in Firefox's eyes that the soldier wanted to end his life this time around, but he also knew that he would not let that happen. Not now that he was finally home again…

Farid quickly took out his dagger as he looked around anxiously at all of the soldiers beginning to surround them. They were desperately outnumbered, but why wasn't Dustfinger doing anything? Was he actually scared?

Dustfinger inwardly cringed when he heard Farid's dagger leave its sheath. How did he expect to protect the boy if he was going to jump into the fight like it was nothing? But then, he gasped quietly as an idea came to him. He quickly scanned the area around the dirt road they were on, and he was pleased to see that he recognized it. They were close to the Black Prince's camp. There might have been a way that they could get out of this situation alive after all…

Farid held his dagger tightly, preparing to fight when he had to, but his eyes widened in surprise when Dustfinger suddenly grabbed his wrist, the one that was holding the dagger. "Calm down, Farid."the fire-dancer whispered, looking back at him and giving the boy a small wink. "I have an idea."

Firefox laughed from across from them. "So, this is the great Dustfinger?" he asked. "Too scared to even stand up to a few of the Adderhead's soldiers?"

Dustfigner turned back to look at him calmly, still holding on to Farid's wrist tightly to hold him back as he gave the soldier a small smirk. "I seem to recall that the last time we had a little battle, I was the one who came out on top."he answered. "Do you remember? That was when I gave you that nasty burn on your arm."

Firefox gave Dustfinger a dark glare as his hand instinctively ran over his upper arm. "That was last time when you had your band of freaks with you."he said threateningly. "You're alone this time with only a young boy with you, and as you can see, you're very outnumbered. It's over."

Dustfinger's smirk only widened when he heard this threat. "Oh really?" he replied. "Time really must be taking its toll on you because seem to be forgetting who the leader of those so called "freaks" was." Then, acting like it was nothing, he conjured some large fire sparks and sent them into the air. Farid watched in awe as they sailed high above the trees and formed a huge flower. Dustfinger smiled when he saw the secret sign used for calling for help hovering in the air above them, its meaning known only to the Strolling Players. Since they were so close to the Black Prince's camp, he knew that help would arrive in no time.

The many soldiers looked up at the fiery display nervously, knowing that the thing above them that was so beautiful could turn into a deadly attack at any moment. But Firefox wasn't nervous in the least. In fact, he suspected that the flaming flower was a symbol, or maybe even a sign, of some sort. But he decided not to show it.

"What is that, Fire-Dancer?" he sneered, laughing. "Gotten soft these past few years?"

Dustfinger smirked back. "Not quite."he replied in nearly a whisper.

Suddenly, the flower condensed into many arrows, and they flew down directly toward the soldiers. They all shouted out in surprise as they raised their swords, trying to block the attack. Some of the flaming arrows bounced off, but most of them got past the shields, leaving burns on many of the soldiers.

Firefox watched what was happening in fear, then turned back to Dustfinger and Farid angrily. "Attack them!" he shouted, pointing his sword in their direction.

Dustfinger and Farid prepared themselves, the fire-dancer in front of the young boy. "Stay with me."he whispered to him as the soldiers approached them. Dustfinger was able to keep most of them at bay using more flames, but a few daring ones made it past the blockade. Farid fought them back with his dagger and they retreated momentarily, but more kept on coming.

"There are too many of them."the young apprentice muttered, fighting another soldier back. "None of them are giving up."

Dustfinger knew that Farid was right, but he wasn't going to admit it. He never liked to show signs of weakness. There had to be a way to stop them. Then, his eyes landed on Firefox. If you stopped the leader, then the rest wouldn't know what to do. "Stay here." Dustfinger said. "I'm going after Firefox. Will you be able to handle some soldiers on your own?"

Farid nodded, determined to show his worth to the fire-dancer. Dustfinger smiled down on him and placed his hand on the boy's shoulder for a moment, then ran off into the crowd of soldiers, defeating them as he ran.

Firefox was standing behind his men, fiercely ordering them around. He didn't understand how an entire group of men couldn't defeat a fire-dancer and a young boy. It just didn't seem right. If he had to, he would end Dustfinger's life himself. "They shouldn't be that hard to destroy!" Firefox shouted at the men. "There are only two of them! Are you part of the Adderhead's army or not?!"

Then, his eyes widened when he saw Dustfinger moving through the crowd of soldiers, defeating many of them as he passed. In a moment, the herald realized that the fire-dancer was heading toward him. Firefox grinned. He noticed that Dustfinger was killing off many soldiers for the most obvious reason; to leave a few as possible for the boy to fight on his own. He knew that fighting Dustfinger head on was a dangerous thing to do, so he would have to defeat him using another method. He would be easier to eliminate if he was distracted. At that moment, Firefox knew who his target was, and he disappeared into the crowd of soldiers.

Dustfinger stopped running when he saw that Firefox was gone from where he was standing before. "Where have you gone?" he asked to himself but speaking to Firefox, even though he knew that the soldier couldn't hear him. "Why are you hiding?"

Suddenly, he heard something that made him feel cold, even though flames were rising even higher everywhere around him. From somewhere behind him, Farid screamed loudly in pain.

Dustfinger whirled around, what he saw horrifying him. Firefox was standing in a half circle of flames, Farid lying at his feet with a stab wound in his side. The tip of the soldier's sword was at the boy's neck, threatening to end his life.

Dustfinger couldn't even move. His eyes were on Farid, seeing that he was at least still breathing. But for how long that was going to last with Firefox standing directly over him, he didn't know. "Farid!" he shouted with worry, trying to get the boy to respond to him. He was horrified to see that he wasn't.

Firefox grinned. "One move, Fire-Dancer, and it's the end of your little friend!" he threatened, moving the sword a little.

Dustfinger gasped, but he didn't move an inch. "Please."he begged desperately. "Don't hurt him anymore. Your fight is with me! I don't care what you do to me, but don't harm him anymore!"

Firefox laughed. "Whatever you say, Dustfinger."he replied, kicking Farid aside as he walked by him and moved toward the fire-dancer. He looked at some soldiers that were nearby and smiled. "Do what you want with the boy." Firefox told them. The soldiers grinned and moved toward the unconscious Farid.

Dustfinger looked at them angrily, preparing to send a fiery inferno at Firefox and the soldiers that had surrounded Farid, but stopped in surprise when he heard a loud roar from the forest. Firefox stopped walking in confusion and looked at the trees. All of the soldiers stopped whatever they were doing and followed suit.

Suddenly, a large bear crashed through the trees, heading straight for Firefox. The force of the animal caused the soldier to hit the dirt, stunned for a moment. Dustfinger smiled when he saw the Black Prince walk out of the forest next, along with a large group of the Strolling Players. "We got your signal."his long time friend said.

Dustfinger sighed with relief. "You're just in time."he told the Black Prince. Suddenly, he remembered who had been with him. "Farid!" he shouted with worry.

The Black Prince turned to the Strolling Players behind him and nodded. All at once, they all rushed forward and mingled with some of the Adderhead's army, fighting with them. Dustfinger desperately pushed his way through the crowd, heading toward Farid. He had to save him. The fire-dancer noticed that some of the help that they had gotten had already spread out the soldiers that had surrounded his apprentice, and the boy was still lying on the dirt road. Dustfinger knelt down next to him and picked him up into his arms. "Farid."he whispered with worry, holding the boy close to him.

Feeling the man's arms around him, Farid slowly opened his eyes and looked up at him. "Dustfinger?" he asked quietly, barely able to speak.

Dustfinger looked down at him and surprise and then relief. "Farid. You're all right!" he exclaimed.

Farid gave him a weak smile. "I'll be all right, Dustfinger."he muttered, closing his eyes again. "Don't worry…" His sentence trailed off as he slipped back into unconsciousness again.

Dustfinger was worried now. "Farid!" he shouted, but the boy didn't open his eyes this time. Checking the boy over quickly and relieved to find that he was still breathing, the fire-dancer got to his feet and moved through the crowd to find the Black Prince. "I have to get him out of here." Dustfinger said urgently to his old friend when he found him.

The Black Prince looked down at the boy in his arms, then looked at Dustfinger's scarred face. "Take him to my camp."he offered. "He'll get plenty of help there and you'll both be safe."

But Dustfinger shook his head at this. "No. I can't do that."he replied. "It will be too dangerous if I go there. Someone could follow me. I have to set up my own camp and tend to him myself."

The Black Prince looked like he could argue, but then he decided against it. He trusted Dustfinger now, like he had for so many years. "If that's what you think is best, that is what you should do."he told him.

Dustfinger smiled at him. "Thank you."he said, then disappeared into the forest with Farid in his arms…

He didn't know what he would have done if he would have lost Farid earlier that day. It was too much for him to think about. Without the boy, he didn't know what he would have done.

Dustfinger got to his feet and silently walked to the other side of the fire where Farid was and sat down by his side. He had tended his wound, and it seemed that it had gotten better throughout the day. At least it wasn't infected. The fire-dancer was just relieved that the boy was still alive, and that Firefox hadn't killed him like he had threatened.

Suddenly, Dustfinger jumped when he heard a soft noise. Farid was stirring on the ground and whimpering quietly like he was having a nightmare. It was probably about the encounter that they had earlier that day. Dustfinger moved closer to him and ran his hand through the boy's dark hair, trying to calm him down. "Rest, Son."he whispered quietly. "It's all right now. Nothing can hurt you here."

Hearing Dustfinger's quiet voice and feeling his comforting presence, Farid immediately calmed down and was soon sleeping peacefully again. Dustfinger smiled down on his sleeping form, still running his hand through his hair. He had no idea why he had just called Farid "son". He had grown attached to the young boy ever since Silvertongue read him out of his story. Farid had soon become his apprentice, and they had just gotten closer to each other; he could tell that he considered him to be like a father-like figure to him. Dustfinger looked up at the night sky above them, smiling to himself. At that moment, it didn't matter to him that he and Farid were from different worlds, different stories. He was still the closest a son to him.

A/N: Hoped you liked it! Reviews would be very much appreciated!