After all, he had once been here with her, very long ago.
He woke up to the most beautiful sound in the world. A soft melody, sung by a voice as clear and gentle as fairy bells on a cool summer evening. No, perhaps even better.
Dustfinger sat up slowly, and grimaced at the pain when he moved the slightest muscle on his face. The beautiful sound stopped, of which he was sorry. But then he raised his head and joy surged through him at what, or who, he saw at the doorway.
"You're awake," she said simply.
She moved closer, and as she did so Dustfinger noticed the red rims around her eyes, the purple bags under her lashes. Not that any of this subtracted from her beauty; she still took his breath away.
"Shouldn't you get some rest?" He smoothed a finger over her cheek.
"I'm fine," said Roxane, smiling at him. But her eyes were sad as they lingered on his face. That's when Dustfinger remembered where they were, and why they were here.
He reached up a shaky hand to touch his own cheek. He was surprised to feel that his nose and eyes were still there and didn't seem to be skewed by ninety degrees, though from Roxane's expression he knew it wouldn't ever return to how it was again.
"The Barn Owl did his best," said Roxane.
"I'll have to thank him." He saw Roxane looking down at her lap and reached for her hand. "Children will scream when they see me now," joked Dustfinger, wanting to make her laugh.
She didn't. "Basta... I'll kill him."
Dustfinger brushed at Roxane's hair, loving how smooth and silky it felt on his fingertips. "You know, that angry look doesn't suit you. And careful, frowning so much can give you wrinkles."
"How can you - " Her voice grew thick, and she turned away so that Dustfinger couldn't see her face. She never did like for him to see her cry. She was proud like that.
He pulled her to him, wrapped his arms around her. She resisted at first, but gradually relaxed and buried her face into his neck. Dustfinger smiled, and he even barely registered the pain that accompanied such a movement. Roxane didn't know this and there was no point in telling her, but the truth was, Dustfinger had never been happier that Basta had scarred his face.
Because at the moment when Basta had leaned down with his sneer and said, "Come near Roxane and I'll cut you up," Dustfinger had, for the first time in his life, felt fearless.
"Then go on," was what he said, without hesitating for even the briefest second, and that glimmer of shock and uncertainty in Basta's eyes said it all. At that moment, Dustfinger had no fear to hide, and he knew it himself as well as Basta did that this was true.
"I'll go with you to the fairies," Roxane murmurred. "The Barn Owl says they might be able to help you."
"If you say so."
"If not - I'll scar my face too."
Dustfinger tightened his arms around her. "Don't say that."
"I will! If I do, maybe they'll finally leave me alone."
Dustfinger pressed his forehead against Roxane's. "What about me? They'll be coming after me next. Screaming 'give us back our beautiful Roxane,' holding their chests full of glowing jewels above their heads, trying to smother me with roses and fancy ball gowns."
At last, he succeeded. Roxane's lovely lips upturned at the corners. Dustfinger squeezed her hand and she squeezed his back. They stayed like that, gazing at each other, breaths mingling, in silence. There were many words to be said, but there was no need to say them, for this was enough.