-1Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of this lovely series, and we should all be glad for this. It wouldn't be half as good if I did.

Note on the timeline: Eragon left for Ellesméra in the spring. The training was an undetermined length, but it felt like months to me as a reader. He returned to the Varden in spring, as well, and Thorn was at least 6 months old (he could breath fire). Therefore, we must assume he was in Ellesmere for a year and that his next birthday (his 17th) is approaching.

WARNINGS: If you've read this T rated story this far, you should know it is going to (eventually) get graphic. This is not the case, yet, but we're finally beginning the yumminess. Enjoy, loves.

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Clandestine

You're Addicted

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"You and me have a disease, You affect me, you infect me, I'm afflicted, you're addicted, you and me, you and me…"

Eragon closed his eyes as the wind chapped his face, letting the feeling of freedom engulf him again. Flying would forever wash away his worries, lighten his heart. They had departed in the early morning hours the day before and Eragon had slept through the day on Saphira's back, still trying to get over the strange one-sided conversation he had had with Angela.

The words epic romance had stabbed at him, driving a nail into his chest. That prophecy, the one that had predicted Murtagh's betrayal when he hadn't known it, the one that had told him of Brom's death. The one that spoke of his noble, beautiful love… the person he had assumed in the months to follow was Arya. Of course he had assumed Arya, the beautiful if not cool elf with her fathomless dark green eyes and limitless grace. Who else could he have assumed?

But now…Angela had basically told him that she and he both had made a mistake. How could she know? He was perturbed by how Angela seemed to somehow know everything without having been there to witness it, and was now telling him that the 'one of noble birth and heritage, who is powerful, wise, and beautiful' was, indeed, possibly not the 'she' they both had assumed. And that led to his thoughts straying to, of course…

He shook his head and sighed, trying not to think of Murtagh. He clenched his bandaged hand and focused on the pain to keep his mind away from his brother, trying his best to stick to his resolution. He would stay away from Murtagh, he would not allow the temptation to be near the other Rider to blind him to the world as it was.

Disgusting. That is what he was. A man who loved after another man, a brother who lusted after his own kin. A traitor to his cause by allowing his feelings to cloud his judgment. He was weak to let his heart hold him back from what he knew to be his path…one where he would have to kill the beautiful dark haired man he loved.

Saphira, quiet in deference to her Rider's mood, spoke softly, trying not to intrude on the turmoil of Eragon's thoughts, //We are very nearly there, I can see the smoke from their campfire.//

Eragon sent a mental nod in return, quickly attempting to pull himself into a semblance of what everyone expected of him. Pushed away were thoughts of Angela's strange encouragement, pushed away were fantasies of a pale face smiling at him and holding out a hand, pushed away were the doubts and self-hate and mental recriminations. He practiced a friendly smile as they swung down on the air currents toward where the small group had camped for the night.

It was amazing to Eragon to see how slow travel was by ground. It had taken him only a hours of flying to reach where they had with nearly three days travel. In the previous months he had grown used to traveling with Saphira and it never ceased to shock him to notice the difference in speeds.

He glanced at the group as he touched down, several sets of bleary just-woken eyes on him. It was past the middle night at this point, nearer to dawn than he cared to think about, though the sky remained dark. Arya stood from her bedding at the edge of the clearing with a scowl, obviously displeased that it had taken him so long to catch up with them after his unannounced departure. Eragon recognized a few others by face only, none close enough for him to remember their names.

"Arya Svit-kona," he said with a formal bow as he approached the woman who showed no trace that she had been sleeping moments ago, the others in the small group going back to their sleep.

"Eragon," she said with a blank look, "I assume Nasuada has already reminded you of your age and responsibilities?"

Eragon gritted his teeth at the condescending undertones. Though the childish infatuation with her had faded, he still considered her a close friend…but she was not an easy woman to get along with. She constantly held an air of being better than everyone around her, as if by just allowing others in her presence she was doing them a favor. Eragon hated that, but he knew she did not mean it as harshly as it seemed, and forgave her for it. This, though, did not stop him from the surges of anger her attitude provoked in him.

Through clenched jaw he was barely able to keep his voice calm, but he thought he did well enough, "Yes, I spoke with her. She said you or Shrrgnien could tell me of what I am meant to do?"

Arya nodded sharply, "You will accompany us to Tronjheim and repair the Star Rose if you can, and then you will help us bring back a larger package filled with weapons to Surdia. From there, we will decide the next course of action."

The woman turned and walked to her bedroll without waiting for a response, leaving Eragon exasperated. He was far from tired after his long nap through the day, and after watching the campsite settle down he walked into the dark forest, lit only by the full moon over his head.

//Sleep, Saphira. I shall be fine.//

//Be careful,// she said simply before he felt her doze immediately, obviously tired from several consecutive days of long-distance flying.

He wondered if Arya still thought he harbored feelings for her. Likely she did, though he couldn't blame her for the assumption. He had acted foolishly around her for months…and things like that rarely change quickly. If his realization of his feelings for Murtagh had not been as strong and earth-shaking, he might have still entertained his fantasies about a life with her. Even with the realizations it had taken him a couple of weeks of little interaction with the woman before the feelings had faded.

He wished he still felt them, though. He wished for the simple clarity he had once thought he possessed, the knowledge that he was just a normal young man who chased after a beautiful woman. He groaned softly and leaned back against a tree, trying to banish who he now wished to chase after.

He spent nearly an hour holding back his thoughts, willing them to fade away. No light yet touched the sky save for the wide moon, but he imagined dawn was fast approaching. He closed his eyes to meditate, hoping the thoughts would just go and leave him in peace.

But the thoughts would not. No matter how he ignored them, his mind supplied him with images of elegant fingers tracing over his jaw, dark hazel eyes piercing him. His breathing hitched as he envisioned soft, warm lips brushing barely against his neck as he desperately arched closer to a hard body. He pretended he could turn his head and capture those lips with his own, warm and wet and hot

Eragon snarled and pushed himself away from where he leaned, slightly panting just by the train of his thoughts. He nearly punched the tree in his wrath, but his still-bandaged knuckles throbbed in that moment, reminding the blue Rider of his previous injury. He snarled wordlessly and began stalking through the forest once more, determined to outrun his own feelings if it killed him.

He would have thought the sudden presence that invaded his senses a figment of his imagination if his thoughts had not been so violently against the very man who possessed the aura. Had it been a few minutes prior in the haze of lust, he could very well have written it off as his heart wishing for more than his imagination to fulfill it. But as it was, he was in a rage and this was the last presence he wanted to feel, especially when his eyes locked on the ethereally glowing man that stepped out from the shadows, a smile playing at his lips.

"Fancy seeing you here, Eragon."

"Just go away," Eragon hissed at the darker brunet, turning his back immediately and hating the shiver that ran down his back.

"What? Eragon, what's your problem?" Murtagh asked, quickly stalking across the clearing and turning Eragon to face him.

"Just shut up and leave, alright? I do not want you here!" he spat, twisting out of Murtagh's grip and walking away.

Murtagh flinched before his eyes hardened, "What is wrong with you? You were not nearly as angry last we spoke…"

'Enough of this,' Eragon snarled internally. And then he was charging at Murtagh, dwarf-made sword in hand and face closed off, and Murtagh could do nothing but fight back.

Murtagh drew Zar'roc swiftly in retaliation and blocked the slash Eragon had aimed at him, pushing back against his brother and parrying another blow. Eragon fought without his usual finesse, and hacked at Murtagh sloppily; had this been a real battle, Murtagh could have easily overtaken him. As it was, he merely deflected every strike, dancing away from the enraged younger man.

"Fight me!" Eragon screamed, thrusting forward, blade very nearly impaling Murtagh. The older growled and slashed back, quickly becoming angry.

Eragon was disappointed when the fight stayed one-sided, though, Murtagh only occasionally lashing back against the other Rider. Instead he led them in continuous circles, the clang of their swords and Eragon's heavy breathing the only sounds in the clearing. After ten minutes of eluding Eragon's blade, a scowl deepened on Murtagh's face. Quite suddenly he was tossing Zar'roc to the side and lunging at the younger man, taking the blue Rider off guard. Murtagh gripped him around the waist and heaved him against a tree, seizing Eragon's wrists and pinning him to the tree with his body, disarming the younger man with the hand that was not holding Eragon's hands over his head.

"What is your problem, little brother?" he spat, breathing hard.

"Don't call me that!" Eragon yelled into Murtagh's face, pushing against him with all his strength in a bid to free himself.

"And why shouldn't I?" Murtagh growled, "You are acting like a spoilt child again! I thought we had a truce!"

Eragon was having difficulties concentrating on what Murtagh was saying, as his struggles against the lean body against him had placed a fog over his thoughts, awakening the feelings he had been fighting off when Murtagh had unceremoniously appeared. He gulped audibly, his mouth suddenly very dry, "Just…go away," he croaked out weakly.

Murtagh pressed harder against him unintentionally, ripping a soft moan from Eragon and freezing both men in place. Eragon quickly turned crimson, berating himself for his weakness as he began struggling anew to free himself, shouting obscenities and trying to gain leverage against the shocked man pinning him to the tree.

He didn't notice the glint that came to Murtagh's eyes, therefore didn't expect it when another mouth was crushed fiercely against his own.

In shock, Eragon did nothing but stiffen at first, staring into dark hazel eyes that were so very close to his own. Hazily, he noticed that there were a few gold flecks along with the green, and that it was really quite pretty…

Suddenly realizing the situation he found himself in, Eragon very nearly yanked himself away, despite the protests of ninety percent of his body and soul. He knew it was wrong, that the kiss should be stopped before he found himself unable to stop it, before his traitorous heart had a chance to put its opinion in. He was torn in two directions, most of him wanting nothing more than to deepen the kiss and tell his brain to take a hike, while that small thread of consciousness was screaming at him for his own stupidity. Then an insistent tug of teeth on his lower lip made up his mind.

Eragon was lost.

The kiss was primal and hungry, a fierce battle for dominance in which they both gave as god as they got…Eragon thought it was divine. He let his hands newly released hands tangle in Murtagh's hair and pulled the other man closer yet, seeking to taste all there was to the other Rider. His eyes slipped shut and he let himself melt into Murtagh, relishing in the feeling of the body pressed flush against him. Murtagh seemed to radiate heat in a direct parallel to what Eragon would have assumed for the often cold man, and Eragon couldn't help wanting more of it.

Chilled fingers worked their way under his tunic, tracing the contours of his stomach and sending delicious chills in their wake. Eragon gasped and pulled back from the kiss, tilting his face skyward and trying to catch his breath. Warm lips, discontent with the end of the kiss, began trailing over the skin of his neck, teeth nipping at his fluttering pulse.

Murtagh's touch, his mouth, his breath was addicting. Eragon felt the need for more coursing through his veins, pumping into him. He wanted more skin, more contact. He wanted to taste everything the older man had to offer, bury his nose in his hair and inhale his scent. Eragon felt disembodied as a moan was ripped from his throat, his mind only conscious of wanting more and harder and faster.

The fingers still wrapped in Murtagh's hair tightened their hold and yanked the lips back up to meet his, warm, open-mouthed, and quite sloppy -- but neither of them cared. The kisses were a culmination of months of desire and the quality was superficial. The hands that wandered Eragon's torso moved to his back, blunt nails gripping his hips. This provoked another low moan which was lost in Murtagh's mouth, and the younger couldn't help it as he hungrily trailed his lips and tongue across the other man's jaw, nipping as he went.

Murtagh groaned as Eragon pulled the lobe of his ear with his teeth, tightening his hold on the blue Rider's hips and grinding himself into Eragon. Both gasped breathlessly and moaned, eyes meeting for the first time in long minutes. Dark hazel and warm brown froze on one another, the true gravity of their current positions only now setting in. Eragon swallowed thickly and slowly lowered his hands from the dark brown hair, fingers shaking as he wished there was not a tree at his back so he could pull away from the addictive warmth the other man provided. Murtagh's fingers only tightened their grip, swiftly reminding both men of their painful problems.

Eragon bit his lip to stifle a whimper, drawing Murtagh's attention back to his mouth. A fire lit within darkened eyes, and Eragon nearly moaned at the hungry look he saw there. Murtagh leaned close enough for his breath to fan over Eragon's lips, and the blue Rider's harsh intake of breath was countered by a long sigh from Murtagh, who rose his eyes again to fawn brown ones, a pleading look in them.

The moment was broken by Thorn suddenly lowering himself into the clearing; both had been so distracted that they had not noticed his approach. After a short conversation with his Rider, the dragon gazed dispassionately at Eragon before turning his back, presumably to give the pair privacy.

"It seems your companions are stirring," Murtagh mumbled, looking down, "We should leave."

Eragon nodded mutely, unable to force his voice past his suddenly unworking tongue.

After a moment of obvious indecision, Murtagh leaned in and kissed Eragon again, this time slowly. Eragon foggily returned the caress of longingly, unsure if it would ever happen again and wishing implant everything about those lips to memory. He sought to push every bit of his emotions to Murtagh, hoping the sentiment would be understood as he moved his lips unhurriedly against those of the older man.

"Goodnight," Murtagh whispered against Eragon's lips, pulling away slowly with a deep regret in his eyes. He tore his gaze away and turned from Eragon, walking to his dragon.

Eragon watched the red Rider disappear into the darkness of pre-dawn before beginning the short trek back to the camp the others had set, still feeling oddly detached from the situation he had just found himself in. He relished the feeling, the knowledge of rightness and how wonderfully light he felt. Something in his mind told him the feeling wouldn't last until morning, so for the moment, Eragon allowed a smile to tug his lips as he walked back towards the others.

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A/N: This wasn't meant to happen yet. -sweat drop- Crap. But hey, my writer's block eased enough for me to write it somewhat decently, so I suppose I shouldn't complain, ne?

Keep in mind, Eragon is still an indecisive ass, so this does not mean they're together. XD Oh, denial is a helpful plot device, it is, it is.

THANK YOU to all people who have reviewed thus far, I love you all dearly. However, I would like to point out some semantics. More reviews means Happy Katie. Happy Katie means faster writing. Faster writing means faster posting. Therefore, one can assume that more reviews is equal to faster posting. Review?