Disclaimer: I don't own the Inheritance Cycle or the characters. This is probably a good thing. XD

Spark in the Dark

It was dark in the cargo pavilion – very dark. Eragon wondered why Arya had chosen tonight to ask him to help her sort out budgeting issues with the Varden's supply train. As she turned to rummage through stacks of crates, Eragon stretched, reaching up and extending his tired limbs skyward before bringing them back down to stifle a yawn. What he needed was to curl up next to Saphira and get a good night's rest. "It's black as pitch in here," Eragon remarked, watching as Arya continued to delve into various boxes and packages. He couldn't see it, but he knew that a small smile was tugging at the corner of Arya's lips. "What?" he asked.

"What? Candles, of course," she replied. "It will be difficult to do much work if we cannot see. Don't you agree, Shadeslayer?"

"I suppose. And what is this with calling me Shadeslayer, Shadeslayer? I thought we agreed that we cancelled each other out. Not to impugn your honor of course," Eragon joked, "but I must say that –"

"How can I be expected to search if you insist upon chatting, Shadeslayer?" Arya turned to face him, eyebrows raised. She set her hands mockingly on her hips; sarcasm dripped from her expression. "You might try being of little help rather than none at all."

"I don't think that's exactly fair," Eragon retorted, "seeing as you're the one who's dragged me out here at this ungodly –"

Eragon's field of vision exploded into many-colored lights as Arya's lips met his. Wholly and utterly shocked, his eyelashes fluttered and he turned into her embrace, lips moving against hers in an ardent kiss. Arya placed her hands firmly on Eragon's chest as he hesitantly clasped his hands around her back; he almost flinched when she pulled him closer, the repressed emotions of years and months and days pouring into one culminating declaration of surrender.

They broke apart when Eragon could no longer breathe. Red in the face, he looked up in wonderment to behold Arya staring at him fiercely from behind blazing green eyes. He smiled broadly as he reached up to tuck an errant strand of midnight hair behind her pointed ear. Lost in time and marvelling at what had transpired, he jumped at the sound of shattering glass somewhere to his left. He and Arya leapt apart to see the sorceress Trianna clutching the broken shards of what had been a potion vial.

"Trianna! We did not know that you were…here..." Arya stammered, lamely. For the first time, Eragon saw her cheeks color in unadulterated embarrassment.

Trianna's jaw was clenched and her eyes were bulging. When she spoke, it was in a strangled squeak that made Eragon cringe. "Shadeslayer," she said, nodding at Eragon. It was a sharp, jolting movement that betrayed the extreme discomfort of the situation. "Shadeslayer," she jabbed again at Arya.

She continued staring, crunching the glass pieces in her hand so hard that Eragon thought she might draw blood. Her eyes still bugging out, she started to open her mouth to speak further.

It was Arya who broke the silence. "This has been a pleasant visit, Trianna. I do hope you can find your way out. I'm presently conducting some very important business. I'm sure you understand."

At this, the color of Trianna's face quickly drained from a deep red to the palest white. Indignant, she picked up her skirts and ran, pieces of glass tinkling to the ground around her as she bowled through the tent's fabric opening.

Eragon turned to Arya and at the look on her face, he exploded with laughter. Chortling, uncontrollable mirth poured from him in unprecedented intensity. He was doubled over in convulsions of hilarity. She had looked so humorous; quizzical and yet frighteningly ferocious – Eragon had heard people say that they were about to 'die of laughter', and he was becoming aware that there was a distinct possibility that he might actually asphyxiate. Arya just stared at him, comically affronted. "Supply train – my… boot!" he snorted, wheezing with glee.

'Something funny, little one?' Saphira's voice rumbled.

Eragon had never sobered so fast in his life. His back straightened quickly enough that he heard several distinct pops from the general vicinity of his spine. 'Hem – um, nothing.'

'A little werecat tells me differently,' Saphira replied. 'My, my, Eragon, what will her mother say?'

'What?!' Eragon exclaimed. 'I mean, what, pray tell, did he say to you?'

'Actually, it just so happens that Trianna ran by Angela's tent a minute ago, looking equally jealous, mortified, and irate. It also occurs to me that you entered the dark, cozy storage pavilion some time ago in the company of my favorite elfin princess. Hmm, now what could that accursed sorceress have seen to so upset her?'

Eragon blanched and made a mental note to strangle Solembum. Arya noticed the abrupt change in his demeanor and raised a slanted eyebrow. 'Saphira?' she mouthed. Eragon nodded. Now it was Arya's turn to laugh, silent sniggers that made Eragon sincerely sorry he'd made fun of her in the first place. Jokingly, Arya punched Eragon in the arm and then turned on her heel, raven hair swishing past him and leaving the air suffused in the soft scent of pine.

When she reached the opening fold of the tent, Arya turned back and gave Eragon a strangely seeking look, a hint of a smile on her features.

'Well, I'll see you later tonight, Saphira," Eragon said cursorily.

'Don't you dare!' she called mentally, 'I'm not finished mocking-'.

But Eragon had already walled off his mind, taking Arya's slender hand and following her out of the tent's fabric-covered aperture into the starlit night.

A/N: Well, thanks for reading! I hope you liked it. I know that there's a fair amount of OOCness going on, but I wrote this on some sort of momentary inspiration and depth of plotline isn't exactly what I had in mind. XD Review if you please – I'm open to constructive criticism as well as hero worship – just kidding! Thanks again.