Disclaimer: Credit given to Paolini and Every Avenue. I slightly changed the lyrics to the song, but all recognition goes to Every Avenue. (The changed lyrics will not be bolded.)

AN: Not my best but oh well. This song popped up in my iPod and partially reminded me of Eragon and Arya. Eragon is musically talented…He's sort of Elf-ish, so singing shouldn't be too AU/OOC. As for playing guitar, it's a fictional world; they can have a modern instrument.

Where Were You?

Eragon sat in his room mulling over the past couple of years. He couldn't really decide which life he liked better: the farmer or the Rider. Eragon sighed. He liked the times where he could be solitary, be left alone to his own thoughts, but it had been relatively too quiet and too peaceful at the Varden camp for his comfort. He could feel the sense of foreboding of what was to come. Restless, he was desperate to find something to do.

Little One, why don't you walk around a bit, clear your head? Visit some of your old friends from Carvahall. I'm sure they miss you. After, we can go for a ride.

Taking the advice from his dragon since it was a good idea, Eragon set out toward the northeast part of camp. He strolled along, continuing to reflect on his past actions and their consequences. The wind enveloped him, tousling his already messy hair and chilling his body. Lost in his thoughts, Eragon let the refreshing breeze rejuvenate his spirit, let it make him feel alive. The wind sliding against every surface of his body felt good, and most of all, it ensured him that he wasn't becoming an emotionless man hardened by war, that he could still feel.

Unbeknown to him, a midnight-black haired elf was studying him in the distance, watching his untidy caramel locks adoringly frame his handsome face and the grace with which he presented himself. Letting her stare linger a few more seconds, the elf stalked away, angry for allowing herself to gaze at him for so long. If he had caught her staring at him, especially after she had harshly rejected him…she mentally sighed. Eragon caused too many emotions inside her – the latest one unwelcome. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she tried to convince herself that her emotions were just a bit crazy at the moment because of the deaths of Oromis and Glaedr, which they were. How else could she explain crying in front of Eragon, let alone allowing him to embrace her?

*~*~*

Eragon finally arrived at the place where most of those from Carvahall were residing. He exchanged pleasantries with them, caught up about their lives with others, and truly enjoyed himself for the first time in a while. As he was laughing, one of his old friends clapped his shoulder and informed him of the annual Carvahall feast and how he was, of course, still invited. Eragon simply looked up at his friend in shock. They were still having the annual Carvahall feast? Taking in Eragon's expression, the villagers commented that nothing would change their traditions of bonding. With that being said, the same friend went to his tent and brought something over to Eragon. Eragon looked at the guitar in his hand incredulously. Horst chuckled and said to him,

"Same ol' tradition. Same ol' feast. Same ol' rules. Bring somethin' 'nd fer you, not food 'cause yer cookin' sucks." This received many laughs among the villagers as they remembered Eragon's disastrous attempt at venison a couple years ago.

"I can cook now! I've learned!" claimed Eragon with a smile on his face, laughing with the others. When he received dubious looks from his fellow people, Eragon threw up his hands along with a disclaimer, "I haven't played anything in quite a while now, don't expect anything great."

"Aye, we never have, lad!" More laughter arose from the northeast part of camp, and Arya bit her lip as she heard Eragon's rare laugh amidst the guffaws, a laugh which brought a ghost of a smile onto her own face, but a laugh which she had partially caused to disappear.

Eragon headed back to his camp, guitar in hand, unsure of himself. He had not played the guitar ever since he left Carvahall that fateful day, and the last time he wrote something was at the Blood-Oath Celebration. Most importantly, he hadn't sung a word, not even a peep. He had no clue whether or not the ceremony had changed his singing voice, and to tell the truth, he hoped it hadn't. He liked his old voice; it was slightly raspy and raw, perfect to describe how he felt in the inside. He tried playing an old song, and to his delight, his voice was exactly the way it was before, and his skills with the guitar seemed to have improved. Saphira hummed in contentment, enjoying the musicality of her Rider.

Eragon looked around his tent for inspiration. He needed something to write a song about, and he needed it fast. The feast was only a few hours away, and if he didn't want to be embarrassed in front of all of Carvahall, he needed something good. His eyes fell upon a piece of the shattered fairth of Arya. He had kept it to remind himself to keep his emotions in check. He scoffed to himself; it had obviously failed miserably as he still acted on the night of the Blood-Oath Celebration.

Little One, stop berating yourself over the head with it. You were caught up in the elves' frenzy, and Arya has forgiven you, has she not? Displaying her emotions in front of you must have been a great symbol of trust.

Once again, he sighed to himself. Saphira was right, but he couldn't help but wish that he had never met her, that he could have some how gotten to the Varden without rescuing her, without meeting her. Why was he the one who had to see her, who had to help her? He took pen to paper, and the result astonished him. The song he had written wasn't simply expressing his sadness, but it seemed to bring forth the anger and frustration toward her he didn't realize was there. She had to enter his mind, had to string him along and crush him, and yes, that's what she did, and that's what she was still doing. She knew his feelings for her, but yet she still decided physical contact and expression of emotion was okay in the tower? A fire in Eragon burned with a passion and fervor he didn't know was present.

Aren't you being slightly unreasonable, Eragon? It wasn't exactly in her control that you saw her in visions, and no matter how strong she portrays herself, she's still vulnerable to emotions once in a while. The deaths of our masters were enough to bring out her carefully concealed emotions. Do not blame her, Eragon. You are being irrational.

Eragon sneered. That wouldn't be the first time he'd been labeled as irrational. Everyone did it – Brom, Arya, Roran, Nasuada. It was no big deal.

At least make it less obvious that it's about her?

Eragon was about to retort when he realized that he still needed a tune and fighting with Saphira was going to cut down on his precious time. Revising the lyrics and composing a tune, Eragon became conscious of the fact that he had not told Nasuada of his plans, of how he would be unavailable. Cursing, Eragon hurriedly finished, practiced, and sped off to find his liege lord. In his haste, he bumped into Arya, her raven hair flowing in the wind. After quickly muttering the traditional greeting, he continued running, ignoring the fact that Arya was about to talk to him. Any other day before the emergence of his distaste towards her, he would have stopped and skipped the feast completely just for her, but times had changed.

He found Nasuada and was happy to hear that he was free to do as he wished as long as he remained attentive for trouble. Eragon rushed off to find that the Carvahall feast was taking place towards the center of camp where many people had gathered. A few dwarves, Kulls, and Urgals were scattered throughout, and everyone was having a great time. Eragon gave a wry smile as he acknowledged the fact that his old village, once again, was doing good to the Varden, this time helping unite them. Not wanting to miss out on the merriment and festivities, Eragon slung his guitar over his shoulder onto his back, taking care not to damage it on his sword.

*~*~*

Meanwhile, Arya stood in the shadows of the tent, studying the feast before her. Her eyes followed Eragon as she saw him laugh and converse with the rest of the people.

"He has grown much, yet he is still the same." Nasuada appeared beside Arya, sneaking a sideways glance at the elf. She pitied Arya; she knew what the elf had had to go through, but she did not think it justified the extent of her actions.

"Aye" was Arya's curt reply.

"You should try to have fun too, you know. Live in the present for a moment. The past is the past, and pretty soon, the present is going to be the past too – a past you'll never get back." Nasuada received an icy stare from Arya at her comment, but as a surprise to both of them, Nasuada didn't back down. "His heart will remain true and loyal, but his mind will tell him to move on, and you can only follow your heart for so long. I trust that you would be one to know." With that, Nasuada left, leaving Arya stunned. She knew that what Nasuada said was right, and maybe it was time to accept the advice. Arya regained focus on her surroundings, or in reality Eragon, and looked with curiosity to see what Eragon pulled out of the sack he had been carrying all night. As he pulled it out, she wasn't sure what it was and was ever more intrigued as Eragon sat down on a stump. The crowd grew quiet, and Eragon started to strum what she now concluded to be an instrument. As he started to sing, Arya was amazed. Eragon had never told her that he could sing, and he could sing very well.

*~*~*

The villagers started to list off what food they brought, and others started presenting what they had prepared. Going last and following some truly splendid performances, Eragon felt slightly nervous, but as soon as he started playing the guitar and the music started to flow, he relaxed at felt at complete ease.

Gone on a journey,
Looking for a good time;
Of all the minds you end up in mine.
Ready or not , I think I'll give this a shot.
I should know better than to
Give her what she wants.
I picked her up and she was three-fourths gone.
She passed out before we even got to talk.
All I want to know is:

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I don't understand.

Back to where we left off, baby.
"How you been and what's been new with you lately?"
Just forget it, it's the same old runaround.
You build me up just to let me down.

Down.

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I don't understand.

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I don't understand.

Eragon's eyes met with Arya's. Keeping them interlocked, Eragon stared coldly at her and continued singing.


Just forget it, it's the same old runaround.
Just forget it, just forget it.
Just forget it, it's the same old runaround.
Just forget it, just forget it.

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I don't understand.
I don't understand
*I don't understand*

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I don't understand.

Where were you when I needed you most?
Why did you leave me alone?
We gave up before we gave it a chance,
And I no longer care.

I cared too much,
But now I don't.

Arya joined in with the rest of the crowd as they applauded for Eragon; however, she did not cheer for him. She finally broke eye contact with Eragon and dipped her head down, stepping deeper into the shadows. A lone tear slid down her face. The present had become the past sooner than she wished.

A/N: Please review! =]