Disclaimer: I don't own Eragon or any of these characters.

Author's Note: Hello everyone, my name is Kurai Hitokiri and welcome to my first Eragon fanfiction! Anyway, this was just BUGGING the heck out of me. I was thinking: Eragon, he's starting to grow up a bit, and with it he's losing his feelings for Arya. Here we go, enjoy!!

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Too Late

By Kurai Hitokiri

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Eragon Shadeslayer sat beneath the shades of the Menoa tree, eyes closed over his smoldering brown eyes. He was detached from the world around him… The only thing he was aware of was the silvery feeling of his moss green tunic against his battle chaffed skin and the feeling of bark digging into his non-scarred back.

His brown locks fell matted against his face as a slight breeze stirred the clearing and fell through his thin clothing. The Dragon Rider's mind was closed off to all presences; all he could and wanted to feel were his inner thoughts.

Five years since he began his journey as a naïve little boy who knew nothing of magic, grammar, or sword play. Five years since Nasuada had become the leader of the Varden… Five years since he had returned to Ellesmera and conversed with someone in the Ancient Language, and three years since the fall of Galbatorix.

How ironic that he had returned to the place that had brought him the most joy and heartbreak. Even the teachings of Anveena of the Old Order could not shield his fragile and scarred heart from the horrible memories. He could feel the pain seeping through locked bars and eating away at his consciousness like acid.

Sitting in the starry glade with his knees drawn up against his chest as he violently wept for the things that might have been… Realizing that love was foolish and unkind somewhere within the innermost workings of his mind… Yes… The day his eyes were finally being opened to truth instead of the lies that he had been fed.

The delicate crunch of dried leaves against the bare foot of a woman's delicate flesh made his eyes flicker open and his anger once again make him numb.

The trees around him towered and cloaked him in their shade, the grass was kind on his cut feet, the animals blessing him with their sweet song, yet he was still not satisfied with his environment. Its only flaw was her presence.

A woman stood before him wearing a beautifully made tunic of green and soft crème leggings. Black hair fell fluidly about her delicate and feline form. Every feature was chiseled and noble, wrought with the mastery of one hundred artists in each delicate feature. Full lips as red as strawberries stood out from skin as pale as alabaster as the woman stared at him through her wise and sad emerald eyes.

Any human man would have fallen in love or flinched in pleasure at the sight of such a fair maiden, however Eragon had long ago managed to harden his heart against beauty. Even the Goddess-like beauty of the elf before him…

Eragon stood from his place, his dark cloak fluttering about his tall frame as the beautiful elf grew closer and closer, her eyes never leaving his.

Eventually she stood before him, so close that it would be considered improper had anyone seen them. Yet no one was there and the two seemed not to be aware of their intimate closeness nor the consequences should anyone come upon them.

She parted her lips to speak, and the words flew out in the melodious accent that Eragon had always known, and at one time, loved. By now it failed to entrance him, it was merely the voice of another woman… a woman who had broken his heart.

"I never thought that I would see you again, Eragon Shadeslayer," the elf said softly, almost as though she were saying some sort of forbidden phrase.

"Nor did I ever think that I would see you again, Lady Arya," Eragon said in a dull monotone so unlike his previous voice from five years ago, "Nor did I ever hope that I would see you again."

His words had hit her thoroughly inside and for a moment her eyes flashed in hurt before she spoke again, this time with a bit more confidence and volume to her words.

"To what do I owe such a cold greeting, Shadeslayer? I do not think that I had done anything during our last encounter five years ago."

"A cold greeting, you say? You must be mistaken, for I always speak in this tone to those that are merely acquaintances of mine," Eragon replied, crossing his gauntleted hands across his armored chest. His eyes narrowed coldly as he waited for the elf to speak.

"What has happened to you, Eragon…? You are no longer yourself. Where is the kind and sincere boy from the years past?" Arya whispered, then suddenly with a bit of hesitation she spoke again. "The boy that I loved."

To hear Arya say that to him so many years ago would have made Eragon the happiest teenager on the face of Alagaesia. However now the words seemed dull and lifeless to him… They held no thrill, no pleasure, sent no blood coursing to his face in reverie. No, instead the Dragon Rider was furious. Those words were not ones that he wanted to hear… Not after his five years of living hell.

"Love will not bring my dragon back," Eragon whispered, his pain filled voice rising with a slight falter. "Love will not mend my heart… Love cannot turn back the sands of time and give me my heart and make me forget the years of oblivion!"

"Nor did I ever say that they would do so, Eragon!" Arya argued, her voice cracking slightly. The elf realized she was fighting a loosing battle. This wasn't the same Eragon who confessed his love to her, this was a man who was a ghost of his former self. "However, you can accept the past and move forward! Did you think that being a Dragon Rider would be easy? It was your decision-."

"Never was it my decision," Eragon hissed, hand clenching and expression turning murderous. "It was not my decision to become a Dragon Rider, Saphira chose me and I accepted with a blind and foolish mind. Had I truly known what the stone was I would have let it rot in hell!"

"Would you?" Arya countered. "Would you live with yourself if you had never met those that you now know today?"

"Anything would have been better than living in this farce! I might even prefer death to this, knowing how much innocent blood I have spilt to bring about peace!" The Dragon Rider's face contorted in a mask of hardness. "You do not have nightmares about bloodstained battle fields where children cry among corpses as the victors laugh and mock the dead… I may be many years younger than you, but I do not lack the wisdom that you have!"

"True, I can never fathom the suffering you've been through or what you've given up, but I can try and understand, Eragon!" Arya said, her voice almost pleading the hardened man.

There was a moment of silence between the two as Eragon looked deep into the ancient elf's eyes. The two of them battled viciously through their connection. Even though their consciousnesses were not touching, nor did they sense the despair in each other, they conversed.

"You'll never understand…" Eragon rasped, turning his back upon the elf and staring up into the clear blue skies high above him. For a moment he could almost feel himself flying again, carefree and with his dearest friends by his side. His eyes regained their humanity before being lost again amid the shadows of his heart forevermore.

Eragon's clenched right hand glowed with blue magic as he thought the incantation to a transportation spell. However, before his presence disappeared, he turned his gaze once more upon the grief stricken elf.

"It's too late."

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Author's Note: Yes, I know that sucked, didn't it? Anyway, please read and review. I would really appreciate any critiques!