Set during Inkspell, as Dustfinger, Farid and Meggie follow the prisoners, including Mo and Resa, to the Castle of Night.

Dustfinger and Meggie sat on opposite sides of their fire while Farid had set out to hunt. He set off quite happily; the boy was in his element. Dustfinger stared into the fire, comparing it to the fires in the other world and feeling more at home than he had in the last ten years. He sank into his memories, reliving the wonderful moment when he realized that he was finally home.

Suddenly, he was pulled back to reality by the sobbing coming from across the fire. He glanced up in time to see Meggie hide her face behind her hands and turn away. Dustfinger shrugged and looked back into the fire but his heart filled with guilt at the sight of Meggie's tear-streaked face. He could hear her crying quietly as he walked around the fire to crouch awkwardly by her side. He hesitantly put a hand on her shoulder and Meggie looked up, hoping to see Farid, but seeing only Dustfinger. She reburied her face in her hands and Dustfinger silently cursed himself. What could he do? H couldn't conjure up a few fire-flowers, like he did for his daughters when they were younger. Meggie was too old for a distraction to help. She didn't even want help from him; she didn't even like him. Not that Dustfinger had ever given her a reason to like him. Still, he had to start somehow.

"Meggie?" he began awkwardly. "What's wrong?"
"It's Mo," she sobbed. "What if we're too late? What if he's dead? What if the last time I ever saw him, we were mad at each other? And Resa too. And all the Motley Folk. Somehow, all this is my fault."
Dustfinger had no idea what to say. "Have you talked to Farid about this?" Immediately, he could tell that this was the wrong thing to say. Meggie only began crying harder.
"Yes! And all he thinks is that this is going to be an awesome fight and the good guys will win in the end and everyone will be ok…everyone…" her voice trailed off as she stared into the darkness. Several minutes passed. "I just…want everyone to be safe. Mo, Farid, Resa, all the Motley Folk. I want everything to be fine and for it to go back to the way it used to be."
'What about me' Dustfinger wanted to ask. 'Do you want me to be ok?' His heart thumped painfully. He didn't want to care but he did. Somehow, these people had managed to find a way into his carefully guarded heart.

Meggie started crying again softly and Dustfinger acted by instinct. He moved closer and pulled her into his chest and let her cry. Just like he would have for his daughters. And, indeed, Meggie had become almost like a daughter to him, not that he'd ever admit it. He promised himself that he would try to look after her and protect her. Dustfinger wanted her to be happy. Because when Dustfinger let someone in, he never let them go.

Minutes passed and Meggie sat up, wiping her face. She gave him a small smile and Dustfinger started to move away. He could hear Farid coming between the trees and began to stand up. Before he could get too far, Meggie grabbed his hand and pulled him back down.

"Thank you," she whispered in his ear. "I hope you stay safe too."

He smiled one of his rare happy smiles at her and squeezed her hand before walking silently away. Minutes later, Farid emerged from between the trees and the once gloomy camp transformed into a happy place, with a roaring fire and the smell of cooking rabbits drifting on the breeze. Dustfinger sat back and observed the happy couple in front of him. He hoped that they would always be that happy. He would give anything for it.

A/N I do not own Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath or any of the characters featured in the books. I only borrow, and play with, the characters.