Chapter 3

Fela and Kvothe walked back in silence, neither daring to speak.

They paused on a walkway overlooking the ocean. The waves rolled in and out and in again, a glittering black mass reflecting the dazzling starscape. The silence between them deepened.

"You did it for him, didn't you?" Fela said suddenly. "The silent boy. You sang that song for him."

Kvothe looked out over the deep water. For a long time, he didn't speak. Finally—"He should hear it gets better."

She watched him watch the ocean, his gaze far away. She tried to imagine him smiling, and failed. She wondered if she had ever really seen him smile. Maybe happiness was just his newest act. "Does it really?" she said softly. "Get better?"

He paused, resting an elbow on the railing and resting his chin in his hand. "Sometimes," he said, absentmindedly rubbing his free hand against the chipped paint of the railing. "Sometimes I forget. For a while."

There was another long pause before he turned to her. Cautiously, he put a hand over hers. "Fela?"

"Mm?" His fingers felt rough and dry from scrubbing the floor. She looked up.

A thrill went through her when she met his gaze. She didn't know how to explain it. It wasn't sexual. It was … something to do with seeing him for the first time. Something to do with finally understanding.

"Thank you," he said. He took her hand then, and led her away from Waterside.