A/N: My first attempt at an Eragon/Arya fic! Characterization-wise, I'm not sure how I did, but I did my best. Really. When I was browsing through the Eragon fanfictions, which, by that way, are sadly lacking and have WAY TOO MUCH SLASH (They. Are. BROTHERS. Not. Lovers. And it's not like there's lack of females!), I have shrewdly noticed the substantial lack of fluff in there, genius I am. And I totally get it, since Eragon being the all-powerful dark Rider, and Arya the elf-ambassador-princess combo formal type. But, c'mon. Fluff!

So…to totally not make Eragon and Arya's desperately in-need-of-repair relationship an angst/partially angst fest, here is something to add to the ranks of these guys! In a (fairly) happy way! (Even though Eldest totally broke my heart, and makes me fear for their relationship, lest some ghastly OC steps in)

Eragon closed his eyes. The air was alive with the musical, unbearably lovely tinkling of elf voices, the gentle, dry rustling of leaves, Saphira's tail scraping slightly against bark, and the evened breathing of the person beside him.

Arya watched him wryly under a hooded gaze from the corner of her eyes. She grasped this chance to observe the dragon Rider, once a simple farm boy, now on his way to becoming a most formidable warrior. To a human, of course. A pang of sadness hit her heart, but this time she batted it away, intent on making most of this moment.

It was interesting. Taking another deep breath, the well-oiled cogs in her mind began to turn neatly and efficiently once again. Judging from what Oromis has mentioned to me, it should not take long before Eragon has at least fairly adequate skills, though they have yet to even touch on the subject of magic. Oromis seemed particularly grim about it. I wonder why. Mechanically, professionally, Arya let her personal feelings wash and ebb away until her mind was neutral canvas, ready for her to splash her duties on.

While she pondered over treaties and the war, her gaze continually strayed to Eragon, as if he was a thorn her fleece coat would repeatedly get snagged in, no matter how many shields she cast over it, or how careful she was.

And she was always careful. Always.

Arya was careful to commit every detail of his face to her perfect memory. Eragon's eyes were closed, his lips curved into the slightest of smiles as his feeble human ears picked up what little sound they could. So young, so inexperienced in this world. Almost as clueless as a newborn babe. She thought critically. But still, she could note the obvious sinuous curves of muscle, his handsome mass of hazel curls that matched his eyes exactly in shade, how there was some quality to him that made her want to gently cup his cheek, and lay a small kiss onto his lips.

'Nay. It will only end in despair. The very history of the Menoa proves this.' But that didn't stop a half-muffled shriek of protest from cropping up. She had always been rebellious in nature, defiant, and like many of her race, unwillingly stubborn.

Elves did not like losing. They were, in all, good sports, friendly competitors, but it was a known fact: never lose if you can. Never slacken. Never give a slight breath of reprieve. And even after the flickering of thoughts, the crease of her brow, Arya was not going to let anything with even half a chance slip away. 'Idiot'. Her mind chided her, reminding the ambassador of her own little mantra that often had to be chanted in Eragon's presence:

Elves did not fall in love with humans. Ambassador elves of royal lineage? Even more so. No matter how high the human stands, not even if they're Riders, no matter how much she admired his hardened muscles, straining with intensity, his roughened skin marred with scars yet with the hands and face of an angel…

And she was left with the unfamiliar feeling of self-dissatisfaction, thinking very much she had completely failed to grasp the pointy of the mantra.

Her own snowy white finger tentatively traced the sole, slender scar that ran across her jawbone, like a spider's web, as she continued to stare at the resting boy—no, man, conflicts of warring interests clashing insanely.

Then, as if he heard the internal noise, said man opened his eyes.

Eragon did have the most interesting eyes, Saphira mused as she casually looked down upon the faces of her Rider and Arya. She could feel the tree's life thrumming against her jeweled scales, basking in the cool shade as the dragon observed the scene unfolding beneath her.

His eyes were hazel; a tad lighter than a normal, melting chocolate brown. They were liquid color, the early stages of autumn leaves. When he was grim, they often darkened, as if his soul was unhappy, but now they danced with the lights, warm and innocent.

Hazel was indeed a common color for eyes, but Saphira never knew how they could be so interesting. Her own eyes proudly matched the shade of her scales, glimmering, shimmering, speckled with emotions, an unbelievably deep shade of sapphire, straight from a king's treasury. Then, with a playful flick of her tail, she sent a small flurry of leaves fluttering down on top of him, a patch of green vivid against his chestnut curls.

Oh, how she wished she had human lips, if not to simply smile cheekily when being mischievous!

Pretending not see Eragon's indignant glare, she hummed a smart tune she learned from the elves to herself, all the while keeping perfect track of the conversation between the elf and the Rider.

"Arya Dröttningu." He said respectfully, letting the name lift into the air like a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers. "Is anything wrong?" He was aware of the blush the color of ripe strawberries crawling up his neck to find the elfin princess staring intensely at his face.

"All is well. Do not worry about me, Eragon Shadeslayer."

"I am quite aware that you can take care of yourself, yet despite myself, you will always be cause of concern for me." He made his words stiff, formal, as if cut out jerkily from stale cardboard, hard, flimsy letters that dropped from the air as soon as they entered it.

"Then save your concern for something worthwhile. Only fools bestow things that are unneeded." Her voice was cold, brittle and chilled him to the bone as he watched her slowly retreat back into her mind.

"Then I apologize." He kept his own voice smooth and calm, determined to not let Arya break away again.

"What for? Our emotions are not governed by our mind, Eragon; in truth, I am happy for your concern. I thank you." Her voice was softer this time, midnight eyes an inky void as her mind danced in the universe.

"You are welcome." Now that he was back in Arya's good spirits again, he was determined to keep it that way.

Treading land mines, my friend. Treading land mines.


Their fingers were touching. Their heads were leaning against the trunk, legs splayed out, and the barest tips of their fingers were touching. The calloused, yet perfectly formed stubby nails just brushing against the slender curved digits.

The sun was halfway in the sky, deciding whether to set and end the day, or stubbornly linger among the wisps of yellow-touched clouds a little longer. Everything had been toasted to a perfect shade of setting twilight: a warm, glad orange with slipping shadows, a fiery yellow that blazed intensely, streaks of lilac purple and midnight blue, getting ready for the night.

'Perhaps this is what life is about.' Eragon thought lazily, playing with fallen leaves scrabbling among the dirt.

'Aye, little one.' Saphira was once again humming contentedly, a slow, hazy tune with ties and slurs, sweetly subtle and romantic. She was sprawled blissfully on a large branch of the Menoa, her sapphire head resting on her wicked ivory claws, tail swishing lazily back and forth.

'Moments like these that float across life like soap bubbles, beautiful as they last, leaving a lingering memory when they pop suddenly into oblivion'

"Indeed, Eragon." Arya's grave, rich voice melted into his ear. Even from way below the branches, he could hear Saphira's gentle growling laughter. 'It appears you have spoken louder than you thought, little one.' Then, with that, another collection of glossy green leaves tumbled down on them both, until he could barely move his limbs without making a slick rustling sound.

The next few moments were spent picking leaves from their russet colored clothes and glaring dirtily at Saphira who chuckled through her teeth, unrepentant. "Arya." Her name tasted sweet, like a heavy perfume. "Your hair—"His fingers automatically brushed against her midnight locks to sweep off the baby-sized leaf that sat proudly upon her head like a crown. His hand traced the flow of her inky midnight hair that pooled around her shoulders, until they brushed against the tip of her pointed ears.

Arya ignored the jolt ran through her spine. Her first reaction was to snatch his hand away from her hair (how dare he, the impertinent nerve of it!), but she was too slow.

When Eragon's hand left, she could still feel the lightest of weight nesting in the crook of her ear. "Eragon." He had left the smallest of flowers, some sort of silky blossom to nestle against her hair. It was truly puny; barely bigger than her thumb, with sweet milky white petals that curled outwards, its center dusted with yellow marigold, all fading into a vivid rose red center.

First Fäolin. Now Eragon. Why. Why?

"Eragon." Her voice was steady, smooth of emotions. She was in ambassador-mode, where you governed with your mind, and there were no feelings, nothing to alter your logic. "We can't."


"Shadeslayer. This will only to heartbreak. Stop pursuing me. Find happiness with one of your own, one whom you may grow old together."

But no matter how she said it, a little piece of her heart crumbled into dust.

"We cannot. It never will be." Her lips were moving on their own, numb and cold, as feelings splintered inside her, mashing into a hideous mess. 'You are a stone. A stone is heavy, lifeless, without feelings. No matter what happens, the stone remains as it is.' But a stone couldn't feel a soft hand cup its chin. A stone couldn't feel the warmth of their body heat as he leant in closer, the imprint of his hand still burning her. A stone couldn't see his eyes: tender, melting, liquid, a stirring pot of emotions, feelings floating in bits and bobs everywhere.

A stone couldn't feel his lips on hers, so warm and good and unbelievably human, a primitive, raw mix of emotions that had long eroded from her own kind; so fallible and flimsy and passionate. A stone couldn't kiss back; feel that bubbling happiness that pushed against her conflicting turmoil.

Above them, Saphira let out a small, disbelieving snort at the intertwined heads, and contemplated another rainfall of leaves.

There was green in their hair and red in their cheeks and lips as they parted, a dragon's amused laughter trailing behind them.

A/N: I fail. D: Still. Points for trying to inject some humor happiness in there without too much OOC. Because that's how much Eldest messed it up. Funny romance makes it OOC. Sad. Truly sad.