Disclaimer: I do not own the Inkworld Trilogy.
This is a rewrite of Differently, which was incredibly bad and rather OOC. I hope I got Doria right, because I haven't read Inkdeath in a long time, only Inkspell.
"I'm leaving, Meggie. I'm going to travel the Inkworld. You can come with me, if you want."
Meggie stared. 'Is he asking me to choose between him and my family, and Doria?' she thought. 'I can't do that! I love all of them; I can't leave any of them!' She looked around at where her parents were standing, looking relieved to be alive. Then she looked over to Doria, who watched her with Farid with an expression not even she could read on his face.
"Farid," she said slowly. "You can't be serious." The uncertainty in her voice was easy to hear, very different from when she read aloud.
"I am serious, Meggie," he told her. "But… if you do come with me… we'll visit lots. All the time. You won't even have time to miss them," he promised. "We can come and visit your parents and Dustfinger, so they won't have a problem with it."
"They'll still have a problem," replied Meggie. "My parents will, at least. Mo and Resa will never agree."
"Will you?" he asked. "Will you come?"
She hesitated for a long moment, eyes down at the ground and face indecisive. Finally she looked up at him and told the fire eater, "Mo is going to kill you. Be prepared."
His mouth spread into a smile, as if he couldn't quite believe she had actually said yes. 'I hope I don't regret this,' she thought, though she was already certain she wouldn't. He laughed exuberantly, spinning her around and kissing her full on the mouth.
After a long moment, she dragged herself away from Farid. "Come on," she told him, "we have to break the news. I really don't want Mo and Resa to have a heart attack because I've disappeared into the wilderness without telling them."
"And I have to say goodbye to Dustfinger," agreed Farid. She smiled broadly at him, taking his hand and tugging him away.
Doria sat back against the tree, sighing. "I still can't believe you're leaving," he said to Meggie. She looked up from where she had been fiddling with a piece of bark.
"I can't, either," she told him. "But I'm looking forward to it. It will be incredible. I'll get to see more of this magic world." She looked around, spreading her arms wide. "Just where I've seen… The Wayless Woods, Ombra, the Castle of Night… It's all beautiful." She looked him right in the eye and in a surprisingly intense voice said, "But I want to see more of it. So does Farid."
They were both silent for a long moment. "Do you love him?" asked Doria eventually.
"Completely," she replied. Her face glowed.
"…Did you ever love me?" His voice was tentative, and he looked like he couldn't believe he'd said that aloud.
"Yes." She surprised even herself with her utter honesty. "Yes, I did love you, Doria. Still do, a bit, I think. But I love Farid more, and we want to do the same things. You want to stay here. You'd be happy here. I don't think I would be."
"I'm happy for you," he said. He was shocked at himself, but his words were the truth.
"I'm not happy for you," she told him. He stared at her in disbelief. She gave a light laugh at his expression. "I don't want you to be alone, Doria," she explained. "I want you to be happy for yourself, I want you to be utterly content. I care about you too much to want anything different for you."
"Something like what you've got with Farid?" he asked. She nodded.
"Meggie," called Farid's voice. "I've finished. Come say goodbye, then we'll be ready to leave." Meggie stood up, brushing herself off. Doria stood, too. Meggie smiled and hugged him.
"Find yourself someone to make you happy," she ordered him. Then she was gone, disappearing through the trees to her fire eater. He didn't see her again for many years, until he was married and she and Farid were ready to settle down enough to get married properly (rather than elope, like they did in one country – although they were never quite certain whether that counted on Ombra).
That time came when Farid and Meggie knocked on the door of the Folchart farmhouse, laughing and talking about some particularly comic person they had met on their travels. Resa opened the door, a boy about five standing next to her.
"Meggie!" shouted Thomas, launching himself on to his older sister. She laughed and hugged him. Almost before she could, he was distracted by the other person with her. "Farid!" he yelled, just as delighted as he flung himself on to his soon-to-be brother in law.
"Hi, Resa," said Meggie, hugging her mother. She was still giggling a bit at her brother's over the top reaction.
"It'd good to see you again," continued Farid, straightening up. Thomas still clung to his leg. He smiled at the once mute woman.
"And you!" exclaimed Resa. "Mo's in the sitting room. We have a few people over. You won't have to trek over to Roxane's place to see Dustfinger, Farid."
"That's a relief," he said, grinning broadly now. Meggie tugged at his hand, pulling him in to the large room. Mo was there, along with Dustfinger and Roxane. Meggie smiled delightedly when she saw them all.
"Mo!" she cried, flinging herself into Mo's waiting arms. He beamed at his daughter and at Farid. The fire eater in question was making his way over to Dustfinger.
Resa and Thomas came in behind them. "This is unexpected," commented Resa. "Usually you send a messenger when you're coming home."
Meggie shrugged. She took a step back from Mo and took Farid's hand. "We just wanted to come back. We didn't even want to waste time finding a messenger. We just came."
"We're a bit tired of traveling," said Farid. "We want to settle down."
"Get married properly," finished Meggie. She smiled around at the room before it erupted into the reactions of two delighted woman, a pleased fire eater, and a rather overprotective father.
In the midst of the laughs and squeals, we shall leave the pair, because – at the risk of sounding cliché – what they did afterwards was live happily ever after.