Disclaimer: The characters used in this piece belong to Christopher Paolini – not me. I make no profit from this. The only form of payment I receive is the few reviews that it may inspire and the enjoyment I get from this most unlikely relationship.
Title: The Dark Side of the Moon
Pairing: Eragon/Murtagh – this is a companion piece to The Light Side of the Moon (formerly Moonlit Respite). This scene takes place in the same AU. However, since this is my AU I do make the rules. Eragon and Murtagh are NOT related in any way. Yes. I am in denial.
Warning: Whereas Light Side of the Moon was intended to be light and sweet – this piece is intended to be dark and sexy….and still a little sweet towards the end. The slash is not so mild this time around – but neither is it graphic – despite how it begins. You may get worried at a certain point. To this I must say - trust me. I would never do to Eragon what it appears I am getting ready to do. Curious now, aren'tcha:D
Summary: A different version of Eragon's imprisonment at Gil'ead. There will be no mention of Arya here as she's terribly inconvenient to my plot. I'll leave her fate to an author who cares … :)
A/N: I loved the books but it was the movie that drew me to them. Appearances and ages of Eragon and Murtagh are based on the movie. And while Arya will not appear here – I must say I preferred the movie version to Paolini's Ice Princess canon version.
He had long ago lost sense of time and reason. The first time he woke Eragon had fought against the bonds that held his arms suspended above his head. His struggles only seemed to amuse his captor. The Shade watched him with a malicious and suggestive gaze that slid like oil over his young and vulnerably displayed body. Somewhere along the way he had lost his shirt and boots and was clad only in the chocolate colored low cut leather pants that did little to ward off the incessant chill that rippled over his exposed skin. Eragon wasn't sure how much of the cold was from the temperature of the air or from the predatory look that Durza continued to regard him with. The Shade had the pleased and toying look of a cat that had trapped its prey and intended to have fun with it before putting it out of it's misery.
At first he had remained obstinately silent, refusing to speak or to even look at the Shade. Durza seemed to find this amusing too…for a time. The Shade had offered him water every couple of hours – always with that same secretive little smile on his cruel face. It took Eragon perhaps longer than it should have to realize that it was undoubtedly laced with something that was causing the interference with both his bond to Saphira and his access to magic. It muddled his thinking to the point where he couldn't keep a thought straight or focus for more than a few seconds at a time. More than once he found himself on the verge of responding to Durza's questions. Yet when he remained stubbornly silent, for reasons he couldn't quite remember…the Shade began to lose his patience. Drifting in and out of lucidity, Eragon had managed to retain only the most basic of instincts in his drugged condition. In expectation of a mental attack, he had fortified his mind as much as his limited reserves would currently allow. He therefore was caught unaware when the Shade chose a more primal method of attack to get his attention. The crack of the whip startled him closer to full consciousness just as the white hot pain seared across the tender flesh of his back like a molten blade that stole the breath from his lungs. In agony he cried out as two more strikes followed, leaving a fiery path of burning pain that cut through the last of his defenses. Panting and in pain he tugged helplessly against the manacles binding his wrists. Braced for another blow he was surprised when a rough hand cupped his chin.
"I see you've finally found your voice." The Shade said mockingly. "Take care not to lose it again. I showed great restraint this time. You may not be so lucky the next."
Durza's eyes slid over the golden planes of Eragon's face finding a perverse pleasure in the pain that dulled normally bright and sparkling eyes of the deepest blue. The Rider was too young and inexperienced to recognize the nascent arousal that such pain could sometimes inspire. The grip on the boy's chin turned to a caress.
"You have a beautiful scream, young Rider. Don't tempt me."
Eragon pulled away from the touch and Durza laughed delightedly. Pouring a generous cup of water the Shade approached his captive once again. Yet when he pressed it to Eragon's lips the boy brought his head forward in a quick motion and knocked it from his grip. Durza eyed him venomously and Eragon half expected a backhanded blow that never came. Instead Durza regarded him calculatingly - seeming to understand that he'd figured out the water was drugged. The mocking smile returned and with exaggerrated patience the Shade strode to retrieve the remaining liquid.
Eragon's eyes widened as Durza approached him with the carafe. It was half full. Previous doses had been about eight ounces. There had to be at least three times that left in the pitcher. Concerned eyes flickered to Durza to gauge his intent.
"Never test me, boy." Durza said coldly, lifting the container to Eragon's lips.
The Rider did his best to refuse, but in this weakened and vulnerable state he was easily overpowered. Durza grabbed a handful of hair at the nape of his neck and systematically forced all of the fluid down his throat. Even with all the thrashing, sputtering, and choking that Eragon did - most of the liquid found it's way to his stomach.
When the Shade released him he spit as much of it out as he could, shaking his head as if to dispel the effect of the drug that was already quickly working its way into his system. Wild, wet rivulets of water ran over his chin and throat, dripping and tracing a trail over smooth golden skin and disappearing into the waistband of his pants.
Durza appeared before him, the pleased smile on the Shade's face lost to the effects of the drug as Eragon's vision became fuzzy and out of focus. In his present condition there was no way for the young Rider to fight the drug. It went to work quickly. Slowly, a glowing inner warmth spread through his body leaving him feeling sleepy and lethargic. External discomfort became distant and somewhat easier to ignore. Completely helpless and adrift within the warm loopiness of the drug - Eragon was at Durza's mercy.
The Shade circled him in contemplation. He had intended to extract information valuable to the king before he had his fun with the boy - but at this moment the Rider was in no condition to be questioned. No matter. He would simply alter his plans. It had been entirely too long since a beautiful young morsel such as this had yielded to him. Smiling in anticipation, he ever so subtly slipped through Eragon's meager defenses and probed the boy's mind for a target to use. While much could be said for simply taking a lover unwillingly - Durza preferred his conquests to respond to his touches rather than to recoil. If he had to utilize an image snatched from the victim's memory to do so ... it bothered him little. The results were the same.
As the Shade sifted through Eragon's memories he recognized that the boy was aware of his intrusion, but only at a subconscious level. He did not have to search long before coming across the highly prized memory of the Rider's first kiss. Yet when he recognized the boy's dark haired rogue of a companion he nearly gasped in shock before laughing ruefully to himself. Oh, King Galbatorix would find the whereabouts of his wayward charge most interesting indeed. He filed away that juicy tidbit of information for later and pressed more firmly into Eragon's mind...in the image of the young and dashing Murtagh.
Through the misty haze that was his mind, Eragon felt a splayed hand stroke the length of his bare torso. He shivered...uncertain as to why the pale hand and dark eyes that regarded him so fondly did not match the reality of the touch. The image before him was pleasing...though for some reason could not articulate a name to go with the face. He did however garner a sense that the person who was touching him so intimately was important to him. He wanted to be touched, craved to be touched, by this person. As if in response to his thoughts the roving hand brushed lightly across a rose colored nipple. Eragon gasped, his lips parting as he arched into the touch, seeking more. The image before him smiled, but again, there was something odd...almost secretive about it. It was a smile that did not suit this particular face.
Eragon watched as his dark haired suitor circled him, one hand remaining on his abdomen. Strong arms wound around him from behind and he felt the scrape of invisible nails over sensitive skin. Warm breath tickled his neck, followed by moist and eager lips. He whimpered, letting his head fall back to expose the soft contour of smooth skin. His body responded almost wantonly to the touches, the drug stripping away any inhibitions.
A hand settled on his hip to steady him and the other found it's way across a flat, well muscled stomach and up over the swelling of ribs to gently pinch nipples that had pebbled in arousal. His partner seemed to delight in the soft needy little noises he couldn't stop himself from making.
Aching to touch his partner, but unable to move for reasons he couldn't quite understand, Eragon arched back into the body behind him in search of warm skin. Pain, white hot and staggering met his movement and the haze of the drug cleared long enough for him to feel it in all its agony. Strangely his pain only increased the ardor of his handsome suitor, the young man whispered reassurances that sounded more mocking than sincere. Suddenly cold he tried to pull away but was held fast. The bite of firm teeth pressed into his shoulder and the hand caressing him began to drift lower...
Distantly Eragon heard raised voices and the pounding of feet. To him the sound was muddled - barely noticeable. But the voice near his ear cursed suddenly and retreated both physically and mentally. The abrupt withdrawal from his mind left the Rider trembling and near shock.
The voice moved away and Eragon lost interest in what was being said. A moment later it returned and a hand carded through his hair before gripping tightly.
"We are not done here, boy. You and I will finish this once your friends are taken care of." A light but thorough grope of his backside and the decidedly unpleasant voice disappeared.
With no sense of time Eragon had no idea how long he stood swaying on his feet in the cell before he heard the familiar whiz of an arrow through the air and the unmistakable and sickly thwunk it made as it struck flesh. So caught up within the swirling whirlwind of the drug Eragon was startled when cool fingers gently cupped his face and lifted his head.
Panicked, he struggled and pulled away only to be soothed by a deep, insistent voice heavy with concern. He stilled instantly - understanding through his confusion that the voice he heard matched the image of the young man in his head.
The voice cursed, hissing through teeth, as Eragon's back was carefully and quickly inspected with feather light touches. An arm wrapped around him and he was held steady against a warm body as the manacles binding his wrists were released.
His arms had gone numb in the hours suspended above him. Eragon moaned in pain as they fell and pulled against cold, cramped shoulder muscles. The voice at his ear continued to soothe and calm, pressing a tender kiss to his temple as he was freed.
"I'll be as gentle as I can, but we must move. Can you stand on your own?"
The warm body stepped back - and returned quickly as his knees gave out. He was given a gentle shake, his chin lifted again as he was probed by dark worried eyes. "Eragon. Eragon? Look at me, Eragon." He tried to comply, but his eyes refused to focus. "Gods, what has he done to you?" The voice sounded so worried that he wanted to respond, yet all that came out was a small noise of distress. Pained, dark eyes regarding him lovingly and caressed the side of his face.
A sudden roar reverberated throughout the stone wall surrounding them and his beautifully dark rescuer looked up.
"That's our cue, handsome." The room spun dizzily as he was upended over a shoulder and had to close his eyes. "We've got to get to a higher level."
Eragon dangled helplessly as he was jostled down long corridors and up several flights of stairs - and away from the chaos of shouts, screams, and ferocious sounding roars. The blood rushing to his head made him feel faint and he nearly lost consciousness before their urgent journey through the compound came to an end.
The last thing he heard before the darkness finally did claim him was a thunderous explosion of noise and falling debris. Though his eyes were closed, he had the unlikely thought that the ceiling was falling down around him.
As Murtagh climbed onto Saphira's leg to mount her back, the dragon moved to nudge her Rider in reassurance.
"Careful." Murtagh warned. "His back."
I see it. Saphira responded in all too deadly calm.
Settling himself in the saddle Murtagh positioned Eragon so that the Rider was straddling him face to face. Conscious of the flayed skin on his back, Murtagh gripped him tightly around the waist.
Ready? Saphira asked in an odd mixture of impatience and concern.
"Go!" Murtagh barely got the word out of his mouth and they were airborne in a rush of beating wings.
In an attempt to keep a steady seat for her passengers and outdistance stray arrows, the dragon flew straight up into the darkness of night. She didn't speak again until they were clear of the compound.
I still can't sense him.
The young man in his arms shivered and pressed closer, burying his face in Murtagh's neck and gripping him tightly. He tugged his cloak free with one hand as he responded.
"He's heavily drugged. It will take some time to wear off."
He felt a quickly suppressed flash of white-hot fury from the dragon. It rivaled his own anger - but having Eragon safely secured and in his arms went a long way in tempering it for now. The relief he felt at their successful rescue far outweighed any other emotion. Wrapping his cloak around the Rider's bare shoulders and mindful of his injuries, he hugged Eragon closer in an attempt to ward off the evening's chill. A few minutes under the heavy cloak and the shivering subsided - the smaller body relaxing against him.
The twenty minute flight to the concealed campsite where the horses waited passed in silence. Relief and concern, not to mention a good dose of righteous anger, for their loved one kept each to their own brooding thoughts. Upon landing Murtagh quickly set about collecting wood for a fire while Eragon rested on his stomach atop Saphira until more comfortable accommodations could be made. Unfortunately the small group had little in amenities between them, but Murtagh made a soft bed of hay and blankets to deposit the Rider on.
Wanting to curl around her Rider protectively, Saphira was understandably disgruntled when she could not - due to the nature of Eragon's injuries. Instead she lay very nearby and gently nuzzled him with her nose as Murtagh applied a salve of any and all healing herbs he'd been able to scrounge together by the light of a torch. It wasn't much, but hopefully it would take the bite out of the pain until Eragon could heal himself.
When he was done, Murtagh continued to softly stroke the unbroken skin of Eragon's back - as if by doing so he could alleviate some of the pain. Saphira eyed him with a touch of helpless sadness. Despite the bond she shared with her Rider - there was a level of comfort she could not offer. The young dragon seemed grateful that he was there to provide the physical touch that she could not.
Lost within his thoughts as he watched the shadow of flames dance across Eragon's sleeping features, Saphira surprised him with a quiet and accusatory statement - as if daring him to deny her words.
You love him.
Murtagh met her gaze steadily. He would not, could not, deny it - but neither was he prepared to discuss so openly what he had only recently come to discover himself. Saphira continued to regard him in a most disarming manner - the temporary link between them, opened out of necessity to rescue Eragon, was ominously silent. He couldn't help but feel that he was being measured for worth - or that she doubted the depth of his feelings.
He almost drew breath to defend himself and his feelings for Eragon, but then wisely remained silent. He had nothing to hide. His love was both pure and true - and he felt it to the core of his being. He had no means to put such love into words - so instead he let them swamp the tentative connection that Saphira had opened. Satisfied, she looked away and back to her Rider, but not before he saw a measure of grudging approval in her large expressive eyes.
She spoke one final time into his thoughts, softly and reluctantly.
Eragon gives freely of himself. When he loves - he does so deeply. He knows no other way. Saphira paused and made eye contact with him once again. If you hurt him...he would not bear it well.
To that Murtagh could only respond in silence. To make promises he had no idea if he could keep would be empty words at best - and Saphira knew it. He would rather die than hurt the young man before him...but events that he had very little control over continued to move quickly in a direction that promised endless conflict. He could only hope that when all was said and done that he and Eragon would have a future together.
Running a hand through the Rider's hair, Murtagh settled in for a long, sleepless night with Saphira - together they would watch over the captivatingly innocent young man that had come to mean so much to both of them.
Eragon struggled sluggishly towards consciousness, growing exhausted at the effort. Trying to move, he found his limbs extremely heavy and uncooperative. Shifting slightly he moaned as the pain in his back and shoulders reasserted itself.
Be still, little one. You are safe. Rest...and be well.
He relaxed as he felt Saphira's relief and love wash over him through their bond.
Saphira? Eragon's mental voice sounded as weak as his body felt. Are you okay?
Exasperated amusement reached him. It is I who should be asking you that question, young one.
Oh. Still a little confused, it seemed the only appropriate response he could manage.
Tender affection caressed his tired mind as he began to drift again.
There is someone else who has been waiting patiently to see those baby blues of yours.
He tried to open his eyes, eyelids fluttering slowly, feeling heavy. Never would he have imagined that such a small movement would require the amount of effort he was putting forth. Finally he managed to lift the veil of darkness - only to blink owlishly into the light of the fire. A shadow quickly blocked the light and a concerned and familiar face came into view.
Eragon smiled, his eyes conveying the pleasure he felt at Murtagh's presence. "Hi."
His voice was soft and cracked form sleep - but it seemed to lift the worry from his friend's lovely features. Eragon heard an answering smile in the husky voice as a gentle had traced the line of his jaw.
It was the last thing he heard before the natural slumber of deep sleep claimed him. For the first time since his life had been so unexpectedly turned upside down - he felt safe. And loved.
And just to prove I CAN write non-slash as well - I may just try my hand sometime in the near future :)
Thanks so much for reading. Please leave a review if you feel compelled to do so. Unfortunately, Jedi mind whammies don't work in this fandom. Damnit!!