Disclaimer: Right, I'll just say this once. I do not own the Eragon world or the characters in it! Now, the plot however… :evil laugh: All mine!!
Warning: Hmm… mush, angsty Eragon and Murtagh… nothing squeaky here though! Some mild language, that's all. :lol: I'm turning soft.
A/N Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing!! This is the final part of this little fic. Enjoy. :D
What To Say
Eragon watched his brother's breaths even out. Ever since he finished healing Murtagh, his mind had wandered. He wished there was something he could do to free Murtagh from the imprisonment that awaited him. Eragon knew he could save the other from execution, but that was as far as his powers went. There were few left from the battles against Galbatorix, and the people were sure to want someone to punish for his crimes. Murtagh had been in his command, and was by default an enemy they could discipline for the things his so-called master had done. The world was biased, with or without Galbatorix.
You can't run… you know that.
Eragon sighed. He had been thinking of just that, for without him they couldn't find Murtagh for sure. But he couldn't say no to Nasuada, no matter how much he wished to. There was no use in running.
I know Saphira. I just wish…
You wish there was something you could do to help. Saphira finished for him softly. But I fear that in this case Eragon; there is nothing you can do.
But he didn't do anything!! Eragon protested loudly in his mind.
Saphira walked deeper into the cave, slowly coming closer to her rider. She nudged him softly with her snout.
He didn't, and yet he did. He has to be punished, that is the law written down by your people.
Eragon growled in frustration. He wished he had something to let out his anger on. Sadly, there was nothing, and he was left to damper the rage himself.
Is there truly nothing I can do?! Eragon asked helplessly.
Saphira looked down on him with sad blue eyes. Flinching, the blue Rider looked away. Eragon could feel his hope fading. But somewhere, deep inside him, a flame still burned. He wouldn't let the other Rider be punished so unfairly! He would set Nasuada straight himself, if he had to. Surely she would see reason?
With new courage, Eragon lay down himself and let sleep take him.
Murtagh woke at dawn. His past travelling and constant vigilance had made him wake automatically at the first sunrays for years now. It was not a gift he treasured, except on a few rare occasions.
Turning around, he was met with the most curious of sights. Eragon as he slept.
Murtagh smiled to himself. Eragon was beautiful while being asleep; practically looking like an angel. And from the angle Eragon lay Murtagh could almost forget that his brother looked like an elf now. While the brunet still was beautiful, even as an elf, it was the old Eragon Murtagh had fallen for. But he was still attracted to the new version of his brother, even now when he knew of their connection. It had ceased to disturb him, this attraction. But Murtagh really hoped Eragon would never find out about it.
Thorn, are you awake?
It took a minute for Thorn to respond. Both he and Saphira weren't in the cave, so Murtagh figured they had flown off somewhere again.
I am Murtagh.
Are you ready for today's flight? Murtagh asked as he got up slowly.
If you are then I am. Thorn responded.
I am not. But, for Eragon's sake, I will be. Murtagh admitted softly.
Then I am ready too. We will come back soon, but not until after Rider Eragon awakes.
Murtagh felt the joins in his body creak as he sat up. He felt better than he had in a long time. He guessed it was as long ago as before the battle in Farthen Dûr.
The fire had died out sometime during the night. The small streams of the sun kept the cold from freezing him. Murtagh stood and checked the fire for still burning coals. Thankfully there were none. But to make breakfast he would have to wait for Eragon to wake. Murtagh doubted he had enough strength to start a fire magically, as there was nothing to help him start it manually in the cave. He didn't want to fall sick again and decided to wait.
The dark haired male stood again and walked out to the entrance of the cave. He watched the sun slowly rise as he let his mind wander.
Thorn? Murtagh called, suddenly forming an idea why his friend had left him before he or Eragon had woken.
Yes? Thorn responded.
You've mated with Saphira. Murtagh stated, it wasn't a question anymore why the dragons weren't present. That's why you're both gone.
… Yes. Thorn admitted quietly.
I don't mind Thorn, you know this. What of Eragon?
Saphira says he approves. I hope she's right. Thorn sighed.
He does Thorn. After all, there is no better dragon for Saphira than you. Murtagh said with a smirk.
Then there is no better person for Eragon than you. Thorn countered.
Murtagh fell silent. He hadn't thought of that, or that Thorn would say that to him in return. The dark haired male just sighed and opted not to answer. He heard Thorn snort in his mind before the link became silent.
The hazel eyed teen was startled from his thoughts. He hadn't heard the other Rider wake.
"I'm out here Rider." He called out softly.
Murtagh heard his brother walk out of the cave and stand by his side. He couldn't quite see him, and figured Eragon had opted to stand a pace behind him.
"I can't contact Saphira." Eragon said with a hint of worry in his voice. "I can feel her, but I can't reach her."
"She's probably sleeping." Murtagh replied. "I can imagine she's had a long night."
"Why?" Eragon questioned.
"She is going to be a mother Eragon. The rest is up to your dragon to explain."
Eragon fell silent. Murtagh felt a corner of his lips curve upwards. Could his brother really be so unknowing?
"She doesn't need to." Eragon said finally. "I realise what has happened. And I'm glad."
"How come?" Murtagh asked softly.
"You can't be executed now." Eragon breathed.
"Why do you wish for me to live so badly?" He asked the other as he turned around. "Not for family, you have our cousin for that."
"You were my friend once, while we were travelling." Eragon whispered. "Is it so bad to wish for that to return?"
Murtagh felt his gaze soften.
"No." He sighed. "But it is not wise. I cannot be your friend anymore Eragon. I'm sure to be sent to prison. A friendship between bars is not something to long for."
"It's something to live for." The brunet stated.
"… Do you wish to die Murtagh?" Eragon asked quietly, his gaze directed at the ground.
"No, of course I don't. But I've learnt long ago not to cherish false hope." The darker teen responded.
"Then I should just ask you here and now." Eragon said sadly.
"Ask me what Rider?" Murtagh questioned.
He felt his pulse speed up and hope rise. He pressed the emotions down though, being too unwilling to let them show on his face.
"Where your allegiance lies."
Murtagh sighed. He had never been asked a simpler question.
"With the Varden… with you, Eragon." He replied.
Eragon smiled softly. He nodded, almost to himself, and walked back into the cave. Murtagh followed him wordlessly.
The two brothers ate in silence until their dragons returned. Eragon, who had been unable to eat much, rushed forward to greet Saphira.
You were gone when I awoke.
I know, little one. I had things to take care of. Saphira explained softly.
I know. Eragon said as he gently caressed her scales. You had to mate while you still could.
Eragon could feel Saphira blush inside his mind.
That I did. She replied finally.
Congratulations Eragon said with a grin. I never thought I'd actually see this day.
Neither did I Eragon. Saphira admitted.
Eragon patted her snout as he turned to look at the other Rider. Murtagh was in a silent conversation with Thorn by the look of it, the Rider holding a hand against the red scales as they stared each other down. Eragon felt his grin soften to something else.
You should tell him, little one.
I don't know Saphira. Is that wise? Eragon questioned, his gaze turning back to the blue dragon. Nothing can come of it but pain and misery.
I will never understand your people. Saphira stated. Love is love. Should that be punished?
No. Eragon sighed. But it is. We're born of the same parents. The same blood runs in our veins. That is punished and looked down upon by my people.
It's impossible for dragons to be that way. We rely on mating with other dragons, be they sister or brother. Saphira sighed. Family bonds only grow stronger with a new generation being hatched.
It's not like that for us Saphira. Eragon replied sadly. Children are deformed when born of the same family. You might not have that problem, but we do.
We do not have that problem. The female dragon confirmed. And neither do you. Males cannot bear children. It should be no problem for you.
Humans are complicated. There would still be a problem.
Saphira nudged him gently.
But who knows of your relation with Rider Murtagh?
Eragon looked up at this.
Roran, Lady Nasuada, Arya and Orik. Eragon answered. No one else was to know. The information would have discriminated the Varden and me too much according to Lady Nasuada.
Then you should be free to be with him. Saphira said with a determined tone. One cannot see the relation between you if one doesn't already know.
Forget it Saphira. It's too risky. Eragon said firmly. Besides, the chances of him feeling the same aren't worth the risk of telling him.
Saphira stared sadly into his eyes before she nudged him towards the fire again. Figuring their talk was over; Eragon patted her once more before going back. The day was getting warmer and he walked to put out the fire.
"When will we leave?"
Eragon bit his lip. He didn't want to leave the cave, the quiet comfortable bond that had been formed there. He was finally together with his brother, and now he had to give it up again.
"Midday." Eragon sighed.
"Very well." Murtagh said.
"I just need to check something out." Eragon said with a small smile. "Make sure I wasn't followed."
Murtagh nodded. Eragon turned around and walked out of the cave.
Murtagh watched his brother walk out of the cave, the blue dragon following him. He patted Thorn absentmindedly as he saw them take off.
You should tell him.
It is not safe Thorn. Murtagh replied.
When will you have your next chance? In a few months, maybe years? Thorn let out a snort. He may have found someone by then.
"How do you know he hasn't already?" Murtagh said sharply. "Last time Eragon was very fond of the elf Arya."
Rider Eragon has just woken. He hasn't had time to find a mate. Thorn responded calmly.
You do not know that. Murtagh said with a groan. It's been a long time since I last saw him for real.
Not that long, hatchling. Thorn remarked.
Please. I don't ask much of you Murtagh, just to tell him.
Murtagh turned back around and started into the deep eyes of his dragon.
"If the opportunity arises… then maybe."
The teen was just in time to see his brother land. Saphira looked more tired than usual, and Eragon took extra care in patting her scaled head.
"I couldn't see anyone." Eragon said a moment later. "We will probably not run into someone on the flight back either."
"Good." Murtagh commented. "But we must rest more often than you did on the way here, Rider. Saphira is tired enough already."
"We should eat supper before we leave. The more rest we get the better." The brunet said as he sat down by his bag.
Murtagh nodded too. He sat down on his bedroll, legs crossed underneath him. It felt great to be able to sit however he liked without feeling white-hot pain. They sat in silence as Murtagh raised his gaze to examine his brother.
Eragon looked tired as well, but more than anything he looked nervous. Murtagh couldn't understand why the other Rider would be feeling such. He just hoped he wasn't the cause.
"Is something wrong?" Murtagh asked softly.
Eragon quickly shook his head. Murtagh then knew his brother wasn't telling the truth.
"Why are you lying to me brother?"
Eragon looked up, a startled glimmer in his eyes.
"I'm not lying to you." He denied.
Murtagh hardened his gaze. The brunet looked away immediately.
"I think I can tell the difference." Murtagh remarked. "What is troubling you? Wasn't it you who wanted to go back to the friendship we had? Then talk to me Eragon."
"You don't want it, so what's it worth?"
"That's not what I said." Murtagh quickly explained. "I only wish to save you from harm."
"I'm not a child Murtagh." Eragon said.
Feeling that they were talking in circles, Murtagh desperately tried to find something else to say.
"I know that Rider, and I never said you were." He said. "But as a big brother it is in my blood to protect you."
"Neither do I need protection!" Eragon stated with a louder voice.
The two dragon in the background stared at their Riders as they continued to almost bicker. Neither seemed willing to interrupt.
"I don't wish you to have a bond with me while I'm being kept behind bars! It will only hurt you Eragon. I don't want you to hurt because of me!!" Murtagh ranted.
"It's a little too late for that!" Eragon yelled.
Murtagh panted softly as he tried to grasp the brunet's words. He couldn't understand them or why Eragon now looked so horror struck.
"What are you saying Eragon? Please, tell me. I want to help." The hazel eyed teen begged.
"I don't need your help." The brunet said shaking his head.
"Damnit Eragon!" Murtagh roared. "If loving you can't be of help then I don't know!!"
Eragon fell silent once again. Murtagh cursed. Well, at least he had gotten the burden off his chest.
"Don't say that." Eragon said frantically. "You don't mean that."
"Don't tell me what I feel and what I don't feel." Murtagh growled, before he forcefully softened his voice. "I love you, goddamnit."
Eragon started to back away, as if he could get away from the words if he crawled far enough. Murtagh felt a stab of pain enter his heart. He had been right, Eragon didn't feel the same. At least he hadn't said what love he felt. Murtagh could pretend it was platonic love, if it ever came to it.
Before the dark haired male could even make a move, Saphira had risen to her feet and was blocking the exit. Eragon was unable to get by her, and so couldn't leave.
"Is it so hard for you to accept that I care for you, Rider?" Murtagh spoke then, not loudly as he knew the words would carry over to the other male.
Eragon stiffened. He didn't turn around; neither did he continue to try to escape. He looked frozen in place.
"It is when you don't care for me like I do you."
Eragon wasn't sure of what he was feeling. He only knew that he wished to be anywhere but beside the red Rider. Murtagh said he didn't wish to harm him, but saying those words had hurt more than anyone had hurt Eragon before. The brunet didn't know how to describe it. The only thing that mattered now was that the other male didn't understand what he was saying.
He had foolishly let out his secret, and now he hoped it would be ignored.
"Don't care for you how? How do you care for me Eragon?"
It seemed that he wasn't about to get his wish.
"It is not important." Eragon said desperately. "We should leave now, while it's still light out."
"The sun won't set for hours still!" Murtagh exclaimed. "What aren't you telling me Rider? As your brother I have the right to know!"
"Stop saying that!!" Eragon almost yelled.
Hearing the word was slowly killing him. He didn't need to be reminded of his relation with Murtagh, and wished the darker male would stop establishing it.
"Stop saying what?!" Murtagh cried in despair. "You're talking in circles, Eragon. I doubt even your dragon knows what's on your mind."
Eragon glared at the scales blocking him in. A snout gently touched his shoulder.
"Saphira always knows what's on my mind." Eragon said finally.
Murtagh let out a loud groan. The brunet turned his head softly around to see the other male frustratingly pulling at his hair.
"This is going nowhere." He sighed. "We will not leave this cave until you tell me what's going on."
Eragon bit his lip.
"Saphira won't let you leave either Eragon. You might as well talk."
It's time you lightened your heart. Saphira stated. Murtagh is right. He also has the right to know.
Eragon chose not to respond to his dragon's words. He opened his eyes, which he couldn't remember closing, and prepared himself to talk.
"If you wish to know so badly, then I will tell you." He half whispered. "I care for you in a way you cannot possibly care for me in return."
"Brotherly?" Murtagh questioned.
Eragon found himself unable to respond. It was silent for a long while. Eragon began to wonder if Murtagh had left, before he remembered that Saphira was blocking the exit.
"Since you are so unwilling to answer me Eragon, I will just have to tell you myself."
Eragon was shocked at the closeness of the voice. He looked up and found himself staring into two deep hazel orbs. Being so captured by Murtagh's gaze he almost missed what happened next. Thankfully he didn't.
Murtagh slowly leant down and kissed him.
Eragon felt his eyes widen with shock. It was no brotherly kiss, as he knew siblings don't kiss on the mouth. Murtagh pulled away a few seconds later. Still Eragon was shocked into silence. He couldn't make out what it meant.
"My caring for you is not brotherly of any sort Eragon." Murtagh spoke finally. "It is much deeper than that, deeper than the law allows. As I said before Rider, I love you."
Eragon couldn't find any words to say.
Anything will do! Saphira practically shrieked.
Despise his dragon's help; the brunet was, for the first time in his life, at a total loss for what to say. And it seemed to have a bad effect on his brother.
Actions are known to speak louder than words.
Eragon couldn't recognise the voice in his head. It wasn't Saphira's, as it was definitely male. Curiously, he peeked over at Thorn. The red dragon nodded his head once.
Eragon was shaken back into present when Murtagh straightened from his slightly crouched position. The brunet still couldn't find any words. Desperate, he leant up and landed an awkward kiss on Murtagh's lips. The darker brunet stopped up.
"What are you trying to say?" Murtagh asked hoarsely.
"… I love you too." Eragon finally found it in him to say.
Murtagh was the one to be shocked into silence that time. Could the other Rider really be telling the truth?
Eragon's brown orbs shone up at him. All his worries were washed away.
"Well, I'm glad." Murtagh said slowly.
"What?" Eragon asked.
"That you finally managed to say it."
The brunet blushed softly. Murtagh reached out and softly traced the contours of Eragon's face.
"Are you still coming back with us?" Eragon asked softly.
Murtagh smiled. Whatever trials he was to face, with Eragon by his side he could get through them.
"Saphira will need Thorn by her side, and he doesn't go where I'm not." Murtagh said lightly. "Seems like I must. And if not for him, then for you."
Eragon smiled as well. It was truly a beautiful sight.
The two brothers sat down beside each other. The dragons curled up next to one another, Thorn's head lying protectively over Saphira's. The Riders laughed quietly at the sight.
"What of Arya, Rider? Does she not have a place in your heart?" Murtagh asked then, fearing the answer but needing it as well.
"As a friend she will always be in my heart. I do not love her, and neither did I before." Eragon explained. "Call it a hopeless attempt to forget what my heart was screaming to my mind."
"What was your heart screaming?" Murtagh asked.
"That I loved you all along."
Murtagh landed a kiss on Eragon's forehead. Yes, he was indeed certain he would make it through the trials. He would make it through just to see the new dragons hatch. To see Eragon again. Murtagh wasn't afraid anymore. For now he knew just what to say.
A/N Well, that was the end. I'm sorry if anyone were disappointed by the tameness of this. :major sweatdrop: To tell the truth, anything heavier would have seemed out of place in this story. This one is milder, focusing more on their emotions and feelings than the actual acting on their feelings.
... Did any of that make sense? XD
Anyhow. Sadly, this will probably be the last from me in a while. Probably because while I have something written, it's a part of a series and I'm not done with it. I want to be sure I can finish it before I post it. Unfinished works is my ultimate pet peeve. :nervous laugh: Oh, and school's started again for me. :dead: I hate it, hate it! It's stealing precious time from me which I could have used to write!!
Back to the point though. I have something else, but I've promised the winner from VOL to let him get at least a feel of it first. And then there's the other unfinished story sitting on my hard-drive. I have a lot of them. :sweatdrop: Well, when I do post something I hope you guys are still around to read it. ;)
Byes for now! Oh, but don't forget to leave me a little review on the way out. If only just to tell me to get my ass in gear and post something else already! XD