We are one
Eragon, no matter how many times he was rejected, still found himself drawn to Arya. Friends just wasn't going to be enough for him, no matter what he did or said. He tried to keep himself controlled, of course, but his success, such as it was, was only skin deep and nothing more.
Arya saw that something more drastic would have to be done with this crazy Rider that would be hers. Even though she knew said Rider would never really be hers. That's why she told him the story of the Menoa tree. No, he wouldn't ditch her for a human. But...there was a reason most Rider/Elf relationships ended in tragedy, and he had to understand what it was. So she approached Eragon. She'd been avoiding him, so this approach caught him just a little off guard.
"Arya?" The note of hope in his voice was unmistakable.
"Eragon. If you tell me I am your soulmate in the ancient language, I'll give you what you want. Use the following phrase." She gave it to him, exactly, "And then say my name," She knew very well, with that choice of words, he wouldn't be able to twist his meaning around. And she was entirely sure he'd eagerly try to say it...and come up short.
Eragon, leaping with joy inside, predictably hurried to repeat the phrase. But when it came to the name at the end, he found the language wouldn't let him say Arya's name. He tried to complete the sentence anyway, and surprised himself when the name that came out was "...Saphira."
Arya smiled, as though that were exactly what she expected to hear. Adding to this fact was the surprised and happy mental snuggle that came his way from his Dragon. Who cheerfully repeated the same sentence and had no trouble tacking Eragon's name on the end of it.
"That is why I refuse you. You must've read our scrolls. I made certain you found the one where relationships between Elves and Riders never worked. Don't bother asking about humans. That won't work any better then elves do."
Eragon was about to protest about his loneliness, but he found himself saying, "I am never alone."
"Now you understand. When there were many Riders, they usually took up relationships with eachother. Only another Rider would be willing to share themselves with someone who'd never truly be theirs. But for the rest of us...we want somebody to love who will really be ours. As a Rider, you never will be. And that is why the past relationships don't work. Ultimately...even if I were willing to love you, Saphira would come first. And it would, sooner or later, break my heart, as it did to countless others. I deserve better. Do you understand?"
"...So...no matter what woman I pick...I'll be doing her a disservice?"
"Yes. Unless it's another Rider, in which case things are balanced. Oromis and Brom had the same problem, if it's any comfort."
"Brom...loved a woman once, didn't he?"
"His curse, as you know, was to fail in all his tasks but one. His romance was not his success. Slaying Morzan was."
"Will you let me go from your heart now?"
"Or is it more accurate to say you were never in it?"
Arya seemed pleased by that statement. "Correct. I was never in it. Your urge to mate with me was real enough, your fairth proved that, but it didn't go any deeper then that. Remember how your Dragon reacted to Gladr? She had the same urge you did. I think yours came first...so it's possible hers was a reflection of yours."
Eragon, looking at this from this new light, thought about it, and nodded. "We're connected that deeply...more then enough for that to have been the case."
"Can you put your lust aside now?"
"...I have to. For Saphira's sake too."
"Then I can be your friend again. Remember your Dragon comes first, and you won't be tempted."
Eragon now wondered if looking at Arya meant...cheating on Saphira? After a bit of thought, he found it would probably make things easier to think of it that way.
"Friends indeed. I think I need to see Saphira now."
'You do. This war isn't over yet. The more one you become, the more likely you are to win against your foes."
Eragon raced off to his Dragon. Arya watched him go with a smile. She was free, now. Free in more ways then one. And Eragon would be happier where he was going.
Eragon ran up to his dragon and threw his arms around whatever part of her neck happened to be in reach.
"I love you too, Little One." She wrapped her neck around him in a metaphysical returning of his embrace.
"I'll always love you."
"I wonder how one we can become?" Her voice seemed exploratory.
"Let's find out."Usually, when he joined consciousness with her, there were things he kept blocked out. Now he blocked nothing. Even the things Saphira probably never wanted or needed to know, he shared. He left himself bare and open to his partner. She could control him if she wanted to. But instead of that, she decided to give him everything. She shared things with him he never needed nor wanted to know. All sorts of information he'd wondered about, but had never asked for sake of her privacy. She was not keeping any privacy now, she'd left her whole mind open to him. Even Draconic things that had nothing to do with humans or elves and were not generally shared with their Riders were shared.
They remained like that the rest of the night. Though vulnerable to eachother, they couldn't be roused, though people tried during the night. The method of blocking where one concentrated on one thing to the exclusion of all else...well, they were so focused on eachother that nobody, not even Arya, could manage to get them to stop paying attention to eachother and start paying attention to the world again.
The only reason they started to come out of it is because they got hungry enough to realize they needed food. By this point, they found part of the Varden army had surrounded them on watch, as if trying to protect them. When they started to stir..."Thank the Gods. Somebody notify them they came out of it."
"How long were we out of it?"
"No wonder we got hungry!"
"I need to hunt, Little One."
"I need some food too."
"I'll see you soon...I love you."
"I love you too."
And she flew off...for the war would begin soon, and one couldn't fight on an empty stomach. Nor could one Ride.