A/N: My second attempt at this fandom (because we need more slash)! Please enjoy everyone!
BLANKET WARNINGS: Eragon/Murtagh INCEST and SLASH! If either offends you, I'm sure you know where the back button is. This is a bit darker than some of my usual stuff- this does deal with homophobia, and I tried to portray Eragon as best I could in his situation (In a homophobic world, he has just realized he's gay, and he has been brought up to be homophobic) while still keeping him IC. I hope I succeeded. Since no one knows exactly what goes on in his head, I think it's pretty believable.
BLANKET DISCLAIMER: I don't own Eragon, or Eldest, bookwise. The only character I own is Talc, because I made him up while writing this. The theory in here is mine as well- that Angela's Prophecy could also be taken to mean Murtagh. (I go a bit in-depth on this through the fic. I have a full copy of the theory in my profile.) If anyone steals it without crediting me and I find you, let's just say I won't be very happy.
On with the story!
Italics: dreams or imaginings
In Dreams I
Smooth lips pressing kisses all over his body.
A husky voice, calling his name.
The brown-haired teen woke with a start, sitting up in his bed. The rich covers slid down his chest, pooling in his lap as he tried to regain his breath after the intense dream.
Eragon slowly calmed down, resting his forehead in one of his palms as he tried to will away the enticing images the dream had left him with. The intensity of the dream didn't scare him- such dreams were considered normal among men his age- but the other person in his dreams did.
It wasn't normal. Eragon knew that he himself was out of the ordinary, but this was one thing he was not willing to accept abnormality in. It was wrong. Everyone in Carvahall had drilled it into him the moment he was old enough to understand that boys were supposed to like girls.
He could clearly remember a day- five years ago, sometime in fall- when a boy named Talc had admitted to being strange. Talc had been a good person and a hard worker. Most of the villagers had been extremely fond of him- and at eighteen years old, scarcely had a person's future looked brighter.
Eragon could remember going to the village with Garrow and Roran that day, to sell off some surplus food they had. It had been an excellent harvest that year.
They had just gotten into the village when all three had heard shouting. Loud, angry, accusing voices. The brunette could remember running, bundle weighing heavily on his back, all the way to the square where the shouting originated.
The people of Carvahall were standing on one side, and Talc was on the other. Garrow must have understood what was going on right away, but Eragon and Roran had taken longer to get it. It had soon become clear to both boys what the matter was.
Talc- tall, reliable, hardworking Talc- was strange, and that made him a bad person. Eragon could remember looking from Talc to the villagers, and he could see that- while all of Carvahall was on one side- only a few people were shouting. Some people were looking away, some were looking apologetic, and some seemed so sad. The brown-haired teen could remember being surprised that Talc's own mother was one of the people shouting. Talc's father had been quiet- he must have had the saddest look of all.
Looking back now, it was impossible to remember everything that had been shouted at Talc, but Eragon had rarely seen the man after that. Eragon could remember seeing him once more before he had disappeared.
It had been at night- it had been dark, but Eragon had needed to retrieve some item from town that Roran had forgotten. On his way back, a noise had made him pause at an alleyway.
He could remember squinting into the gloom, and seeing a huddled figure. He had taken a few steps in, but then the figure had looked up. It had, of course, been Talc. Eragon could remember a lot of red on the other's face- red-rimmed eyes, and blood from Talc's nose and mouth. Bruises were also evident- on his face, on his arms, on his chest. It had frightened Eragon badly, and when the wounded figure before him had opened his mouth to speak, he had turned and ran.
He had run almost all the way back home, and had put Talc out of his mind by the time he returned. To his thirteen-year-old mind, Talc was a bad person and therefore not important.
Eragon could also remember what he had seen when he had gotten home that night. It had been a small thing- barely worth remembering- but to think of it now made him sick.
Roran had hurt his hands. Well, not his hands, but his knuckles, and had somehow blackened his eye though the brown-haired boy could not understand how. Eragon had also seen some of the other boys in the village with injuries for a few days after- most had bruises, but all seemed extremely proud of themselves because of something.
He hadn't given it much thought, though it had been obvious to everyone else.
Eragon felt bile rise in his throat. Some part of him had probably known then what had befallen Talc, but he had chosen to overlook it. Roran had been like a brother to him- to think him capable of such senseless violence...
The Rider paled, scrambling out of his bed.
He ran to the small bathroom attached to the room he had been given. In there, the washbasin was constantly kept full of water, which had been a godsend to him since the dreams had started becoming a nightly event.
He stood over the bowl, dipping his hands in the cool liquid and splashing his face with it. It helped a bit.
Taking more water into his cupped palms, Eragon rubbed the liquid over his face.
Why had this happened to him? He was a good person- a Rider, fighting the good fight against an evil tyrant to free the people of Alagaesia! He had been so certain that being a Rider was as strange as he would get.
Angela's prophecy had almost assured him of that too. He had been so relieved to hear Angela speak about his love life. He had never noticed girls, and had just assumed that he was waiting for the right woman to come along.
Angela basically told him that he had been waiting in her prophecy.
'"An epic romance is in your future, extraordinary, as the moon indicates--for that is a magical symbol--and strong enough to outlast empires. I cannot say if this passion will end happily, but your love is of noble birth and heritage. She is powerful, wise, and beautiful beyond compare."' The words repeated in his mind, mocking him.
Hearing those words- the last line especially- had put him at ease. Even if the love did not end happily, it was reassuring to hear 'she', not...
Eragon took a deep breath.
What Angela hadn't told him then had caused him a lot of pain. It should have been obvious, but he had been so relieved and had taken her words for granted.
The bones had given the fortuneteller a message, and Eragon could not deny that the predictions were truth- but Angela had missed one, crucial detail. The bones represented higher powers, and those higher powers used the bones only as a medium to explain the mysteries of what would be. Those higher powers only revealed what needed to be known, to those who needed to know it. Angela had made one grave mistake.
The bones did not read differently to different sexes. They bore their message, and it was up to the reader to interpret the meaning. The same bones were used, on the same cloth with the same markings. Little details- such as 'who', 'when', or even... Some things were not revealed.
And one small assumption on the fortuneteller's part could ruin a reading. One small assumption on Angela's part had messed up his.
Yes, on most counts Angela had been right, but on the one that had mattered most to Eragon she had been wrong.
Yes, the one Eragon loved was of noble birth. His beloved- despite the strangeness of the term in regards to the one Eragon dreamt about- was the child of a man who had been very close to a king. The man had been a staunch supporter, and had assisted in said king's rise to power. In return for his loyalty, his beloved's father had received a vast estate and had most certainly been the king's right-hand man. Noble most certainly described Eragon's dream lover- even in looks and bearing. Even before Eragon had known the other's bloodline, he had sensed a regal air about that person.
Yes, the one Eragon loved was powerful. More skilled in magic than Eragon himself and their sword skills were an even match. There had been such fire when they fought- it had been beautiful. His partner had been pure poetry, and in his dreams he still recalled their many fights and spars. Lithe strength, grace, and pale perfection were not strong enough compliments. Eragon could still remember the feel of strong muscles against him from the single time they had wrestled. He had been shocked and even a little disgusted at the time for noticing, but even the memory could cause a shiver of pleasure to run though his veins.
The one Eragon loved was most certainly wise. Those dark hazel eyes had always shone with keen intellect, and not a single conversation of theirs had ever bored him. Ever since he had met the other, Eragon could remember wanting nothing more than conversation with his beloved, and for more than just a chance to hear that beautiful voice...
Eragon shivered again, looking away from the washbasin as the water stilled enough to show his reflection. This late at night, his mind was apt to play cruel tricks on him.
As for the final part of Angela's prophecy, she had interpreted the last word wrong. She had placed too much in one assumption, and the last word had been changed.
Eragon would not hesitate to call his love 'beautiful', but handsome was the word most would use to describe him. Angela had not thought that Eragon would fall in love with another man, and so her prediction had been spoken as if the one Eragon loved would be female. 'Beautiful' was not the word.
But no one would dispute that Murtagh was handsome.
Furious with himself for thinking such thoughts- it was wrong! Wrong!- Eragon punched the wall above the basin. His hand stung, but he ignored the pain.
Images swirled in his mind.
A pale chest, strong and dusted lightly with markings that had come from his own lips.
Those usually cold eyes that his imagination could so easily conjure, darkened with want and desire.
That long hair, teasingly soft in his hands.
Eragon's hands clenched into tight fists uncontrollably, imagining what it would be like to tangle his fingers in those brown silk strands but wanting to resist the urge.
That voice, already so deep, calling his name seductively. That voice, begging.
Those lips, kissing him breathlessly. Those lips, claiming him.
Eragon punched the wall again, teeth biting into his lower lip as he begged his imagination to stop its torment of him.
Murtagh's voice reverberated in his mind, the sound breathless and pleading.
Callused fingers running over his chest.
A hot mouth on his neck, marking him for everyone to see.
Imaginings of what would never be. What should never be.
Blood trickled slowly down Eragon's chin, the warm crimson flowing from his bitten lip.
With a strangled, angry cry, the brunette turned back to his room. Despite the fact that he knew no more sleep would come that night, he lay down in his bed.
The cold sheets welcomed him. He wrapped himself tightly in the cloth, mind wandering for just a moment what it would be like to fall asleep next to the one who was a constant fixture in his dreams, warm and sated...
Arms wrapped around him protectively.
Content breathing behind him, lulling him into a dreamless sleep.
With a small, choked breath, Eragon sat up again.
He put his face in his hands.
It was wrong.
'Murtagh...' Eragon took a few deep breaths, the noise sounding horribly loud in the silent room.
It wasn't normal. He should have fallen in love with a girl- not another boy. Murtagh should mean nothing to him other than a friend- even less, now that they were bitter enemies.
It had nearly killed him when he had learned of Murtagh's apparent death, but he had kept moving and kept himself busy so he wouldn't go mad with grief. Mixed emotions had swirled inside him once he had met his beloved again. Relief- Murtagh was alive! - had been mixed with sorrow so crushing it had forced the air from his lungs. Murtagh, on the side of Galbatorix? It hadn't seemed possible, but it had been all too true.
Eragon still longed to wake up, and have this entire journey be one long nightmare.
Even with the knowledge that they were to be enemies in the coming war, Eragon had still longed just as strongly for the other man. A fierce protectiveness had risen up in him, as well as a desire for vengeance. How dare Galbatorix force Murtagh's loyalty from him? Eragon had wanted to free the other from the forced servitude, but the information revealed next had shaken him and driven all thoughts of revenge from his mind.
'Brother', Murtagh had called him. They were blood related.
In that moment, Eragon's world had come crashing down. The love he harbored had always been a source of great shame to him, but now it was more than just a shameful secret. It was worse than the worst abomination, more horrifying than the pits of Hell- not only did he love a man, but he loved one who was related to him as well."Eragon…"
As wrong as it was, he could not stop the dreams, and he could not stop the longing. He could not calm his heart whenever he saw Murtagh, riding proudly on the back of Thorn. He could not catch his breath, or erase his worry when someone made mention of his brother being in a battle. In the time it had taken him to see his feelings for what they were- getting past the denial and the confusion had taken him a while- they had already become a part of him. He could no more stop loving Murtagh than stop breathing, despite the wrongness of that love.
The feelings he had for his brother were deeply rooted in his heart, and as strong and unmovable as the mightiest tree in Du Weldenvarden. The most he would be able to do was keep them a secret for now.
But, like the trees he compared them to, his feelings would grow. They grew daily, with each new dream and each new bit of news he received about the other.
How long until he slipped?
How long until everyone in the Varden saw him for what he was- a freak, not a hero? A wretch, not a Rider?
How long until he could no longer hide his emotions from Murtagh? What then?
It was not a matter of 'if'- it was 'when'.
What would he do when his wrongness was revealed, and his emotions put on display for all to see?
When he was threatened and beaten like Talc, what would he do?
Who would turn on him?
Would anyone accept him?
Eragon took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.
Even if no one understood him, he was not alone. Saphira would always stand beside him- he was sure of that. She would be his lifeline once everyone found out- once everyone inevitably rejected him.
He could not allow himself to hope that someone would still see him as Eragon, without a harsh, hurtful label. He could not hope that someone would not see how wrong and wretched he was, and would still accept him."Eragon…"
Hope was a fragile emotion. It was too easily crushed, and took too much to sustain.
Eragon slowly lay back down, staring at the ceiling.
All of his questions were thoughts for another time. He could not answer them right now, and the emotional roller coaster he had just been on had exhausted him mentally and emotionally.
He yawned, suddenly sleepy.
His eyes closed, and he forced his body to relax. He allowed himself to drift back into the realm of dreams, where he knew open arms awaited him. A strong, protective embrace would hold him there, and keep him safe until he awoke again.
At least in his dreams, what was wrong in the waking world was all right. The harshness of reality melted away, and he was free to love whoever he chose.
At least in his dreams, loving Murtagh was not wrong.
Warmth like he had never felt before, enveloping him.
Contentment. Security. Belonging.
Hopefully it wasn't too awful. It's 2:18 AM and I started this at 11 PM, so I hope it was readable. Please tell me what you think- was he IC? Was he not? Should I give up all hope and jump off the EraMur ship?
Originally a one-shot, I am now continuing it. Look for Chapter II next week!