A/N: This plot bunny randomly popped into my head yesterday, when I was reading a fic by Georgie Max, 'I'm Sorry, Brianna' you guys should totally read it, it's amazing! Anyways, I stayed up until, like, midnight writing a most of this down – The urge to write it was just that strong. IMPORTANT: This takes place about two weeks before Dustfinger vanishes. Here you are! (Also, sorry if this is a bit dark. I wrote the final version of this listening to 'Seven Devils' by Florence + the Machines. Plus some other Adele stuff like Skyfall. So yes, this may be a bit dark at times.)
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing Inkheart related! You recognize it, it's not mine. That ought to be obvious.
Sometimes, being the daughter of a famous fire-eater was hard for the small, fiery-tempered five-year-old; or so Brianna thought, walking away from Marcie, a girl about her own age who refused to play with her because she was scared of fire. 'Fire, the stupidest thing possible to be scared of,' Brianna thought scornfully, drawing a hand across her eyes – Marcie had really hurt her feelings the way she'd refused to play dolls. 'Oh well, maybe Evia wants to play,' She mused before remembering her best friend, Evia, was in Ombra – Something about her older brother.
A boy Brianna hardly knew walked up to her then. "Hey, you're the fire-dancer's daughter! You know, Dustfinger's?" Brianna perked up a little then – Though she still clutched her doll, Gracie, to her chest – and nodded. "Make the fire dance! Prove you're the fire-eater's daughter. I saw him do it once. Make it dance!" The boy's older brother, Fabien, had come up and it was he who demanded Brianna to 'make it dance!' Squeezing Gracie tighter, Brianna replied, "I can't! I don't have Daddy's skill, and he's always told me never ever play with fire, that it's dangerous, but if I still want to in a few years he'll teach me. But I can't, and even if I could play with fire the way Daddy does I wouldn't do it for you! So there!" The little girl cried out defiantly, stomping her foot for good measure.
Then, quick as a whip, Fabien reached out and snatched Gracie. His younger brother (who really did like Brianna) tugged at his older brother's arm, trying to get the beloved doll back for Brianna. "You're not Scarface's daughter after all! Liar!" Fabien taunted, holding the doll above his head and out of Brianna's reach. "I am so! Don't call Daddy 'Scarface,' and I'm not a liar!" She said loudly, jumping for the doll. "Give me back my doll!" Fabien just grinned – He'd found a touchy spot. "You are a liar, though. I'll call that cowardly, never-at-home old Scarface whatever I want to! Whatcha gonna do about it, little girl?"
At that, Brianna plopped down on an over turned bucket and started to cry. She'd only wanted to play dolls when she'd started out that morning, but Marcie had been awful, Evia was gone, this boy had taken her doll, called her a liar, and, worst of all, was insulting her father. It was too much for the five-year-old Brianna.
What neither Brianna nor Fabien noticed was the angry red haired man in the red and black of the fire-dancers of the Motley Folk striding down the small, other-wise-almost-empty street, cape flapping, tame horned marten trying to keep up. But Tobi (the nicer, younger brother) did, and thanked his lucky stars that the angry fire-dancer was making a beeline for Fabien, not him.
The first Fabien became aware of Dustfinger was when someone grabbed his shoulders, spun him around, and grabbed his collar. Fabien gulped, the doll slipping from his fingers to the waiting Gwin. "Don't you dare ever call Brianna a liar ever again, you hear me?! She's more truthful than you could ever hope to be. You even think about upsetting my daughter ever again, and you will have me to reckon with." Dustfinger was so upset by then that his hands were starting to glow and heat up. "You even think about looking at her wrong again, and you won't be sitting down for a year. My daughter is never to be troubled by your presence ever again, understood? Next time I see your face you'd better hope I'm in a lenient mood." Dustfinger hissed, then shoved Fabien away from him just as his hands burst into flame.
Dustfinger never realized it, but just then, with his hands flaming and a murderous look on his face, his scars prominent and stern looking, he looked truly terrifying. Fabien turned and ran, mentally vowing to himself that he'd never go to see another fire-eater perform.
Turning, he spotted Tobi taking Gracie from Gwin and handing her to Brianna, along with his handkerchief and a sincere apology. Wiping her eyes with the offered hanky, Brianna muttered a quick, "Thanks." After she gave the hanky back, Dustfinger shooed Tobi away, his hands no longer on fire, and knelt by the bucket. "Are you alright, sweetheart?" He asked gently, stroking her hair, the hair that was so much like her mother's. "Yes, Daddy," Brianna replied, before throwing her arms around Dustfinger and burying her face in his shoulder, crying.
Startled and almost at a loss for what to do, Dustfinger wrapped his arm around her, rocking his daughter. "It's okay, sweetheart. I'll always watch over you, I'll always come back." He murmured, stroking Brianna's hair again.
Later, when they were all home again, and Dustfinger was tucking his girls into bed, Brianna asked, "Daddy, did you really mean that you'll always watch over me, and you'll always come back?" A perfectly innocent question, delivered in those last few sleepy moments before slipping into DreamLand. Dustfinger smiled as he brushed Brianna's hair back from her eyes. "Of course. I will never stop fighting, stop hurrying, and stop trying to get back to my family. I love you." A rare moment of emotion for Dustfinger.
And yet, Brianna remembered that when Dustfinger was declared missing three weeks later. She knew her daddy wasn't dead, and she knew that he'd come back. He'd told her so.
She still didn't lose faith when Rosanna died. She didn't lose faith when her mother re-married. She didn't lose faith when she gained a brother, or when her step-father died. She always remembered that her daddy had told her that he'd always come back, that he'd never stop trying to get home, fighting to find his family.
And when she caught sight of Dustfinger ten years later at a festival, Brianna's breath caught in her throat. It was all she could do not to leap off the platform and run to her father, screaming his name then and there. Brianna knew she couldn't, though, and she knew that he wouldn't say anything to her – Brianna knew that her father believed himself a coward, though he wasn't. He was anything but.
For her, though, the knowledge that Dustfinger, her father, had come back was enough. He didn't need to say anything.
A/N: Well? What do you think? Too much emotion, not enough of it? What? Some of this was completely unplanned, but I like the way it turned out. That's what counts, right? Review if you like, See everyone later!