AN: The final one for today. I hope you guys have liked my stories so far. This one is actually happy and has a good ending, so I hope it cheers you all up!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inheritance Cycle. CP does.
Although it was harsh, Arya could honestly say that she had never had a home.
Of course, that wasn't entirely true, for even after her falling out with her mother, the elves had always welcomed her as their princess, offering every comfort they could provide that she might need. As the elvish ambassador, and later as Saphira's protector as they waited for the dragon to hatch, whether it be for weeks at a time or only a few hours, she had lived in a hundred different households, varying from run down shacks that she and her companions would seek shelter in when the weather became too dangerous to continue on in to the guest rooms in Tronjheim that were normally reserved for visiting royalty, an irony she had actually taken the time to appreciate. However, despite the various dwellings she had stayed in, none of them had portrayed that overwhelming sense of comfort and peace that she had heard the humans rave so much about, the feeling of being safe and loved no matter what.
Of course, she had always attributed it the war, for as long as Galbatorix lived, none of them were safe. So, for the most part, she had been able to shrug off this hole in her heart as something that would be filled in the future and focus more on the present. But this belief that she had clung to so tightly had quickly been proven wrong, for even after the war had ended, nothing had ever felt like home to her, not the many rooms she had been given in each of the capitals that fit her title of Queen and definitely not the throne room of Ellesméra, where her new duties forced her too spend most of her time.
It was unlikely that the elves would ever understand, because for them, Du Weldenvarden was the only home they had ever known. The more sympathetic of them, those few who she trusted enough to allow her mask to recede in their presence, often pointed out that she had spent most of her relatively short life traveling, that once her wanderlust had died she would finally find her place. Others, those who wished to advance the political position of someone close to them, would often point out her lack of a mate and offspring, things that they were sure would be helpful in her quest to settle down. Finally, the others, those few who had been opposed to her rise as Queen, would be the first to point out the blatant fact that she was, in fact, a Rider. That not only were they going against the old tradition of not having a Rider for a ruler, but that her longing to be free of the trials of ruling was most likely due to Firnen.
Although she would have to admit that all of them had a point, it was with the last reasoning that Arya would have to take offense with, for it was only after Firnen had hatched for her that she began to realize just how much she had really been missing throughout her life.
There was something about having a constant companion that soothed her. Although they often disagreed on many subjects, the most important of which they weren't even allowed to think about lest it begin another round of harsh words and bitter silences that would break their hearts, it was comforting to know that, at the end of a long day filled with politics that made her head spin as she tried to come up with a way to keep everyone content, it would only be the work of a few moments to climb onto his back and go flying, soaring for leagues in either direction in a simple attempt to out run their worries and concerns, to talk of nothing more strenuous then whether Firnen had gone hunting or had spent his day sunbathing. If anything, Firnen was the one thing that was keeping her stable in this turmoils word, her anchor in a sea of changes that so many of her people were unwilling to accept. Even when they fought over that one issue and they blocked off their minds from the other in an attempt to control their anger, even a slight brush against the walls around his was enough to calm her, especially since the brush normally came with the slight communication that, yes, he still loved her more then life itself, just as she loved him, but that he was still too angry to talk to her at the moment. Knowing that the only reason they could anger each other was because they loved each other with all they had was enough for her.
Or rather, it was enough for the moment, for even though Firnen could cover the aching hole in her heart that she refused to acknowledge the source of, which was also the source of most of their arguments, there was nothing he could do to smooth it's jagged and bleeding edges.
It was seventy years after the end of the war that they finally came to an end of their fights, and she agreed to go visit him.
Although she had never been able to make the journey to the island that he had found for the dragons, for in the unstable state the elves had been when she had inherited the throne, two weeks on a boat was far too long for her to leave (at least, that was what she had always told herself), the two of them had made it a point to keep in contact, sending notes by grass boat and catching a few minutes here and there to talk face to face through one of their enchanted mirrors. However, the idea of actually seeing him with her own eyes without the barrier of glass and distance between them unnerved her. From the moment she stepped onto the ship that was to take her to him, a thousand different scenarios flashed through her mind, joyous reunions mixing equally with uncomfortable and awkward silences as they tried to find the bond that had once made them whisper their true names in the other's ear, wondering just how they ever could have given something that important to someone they barley knew. It was because of this that most of those two weeks were spent pacing across the deck of the ship, occasionally pausing to shoot Firnen a glare when the humor he felt from seeing her imagined distress leaked into her mind. Her emotions constantly switching from eagerness to see the port that had supposedly been built along the one alcove that was safe enough for boats to dock in and an overwhelming desire to return to Ellesméra as soon as she could, avoiding this encounter completely, it was with an overall feeling of apprehension that the island slowly came into view.
They had just barely begun to make out the blurred outline of a grand city when a sheet of blue flame rent the sky before them, quickly followed by a roar that was part welcome, part challenge.
It was mere moments before they were in the air, the ship and its crew quickly falling behind them as they sped to answer the call, their blood thrumming in their ears as the familiar shimmering blue hind and the small dot on its back came into view, steadily growing larger in size until distinct features could be seen, such as the sparkling glint clear within the dragon's eyes and the overjoyed grin that took up most of her Rider's face. Without warning, Saphira dove towards the ocean before twisting in the fall so she was facing back towards the way she had come, Firnen eagerly following her every twist and turn as he fought to catch up with her. It wasn't long before their frantic chase had taken them past the shore line, the two dragons darting in and out between the pointed pillars of rock, too low to be considered mountains, yet too small to be just hills, that almost completely encircled the island, creating a natural wall that forced all who might wish to cause the island's inhabitants harm to focus on the single, very well defended port. Finally tiring of this game of cat and mouse, Saphira and Firnen landed on an outcropping of rock that jutted out over the sea, just large enough for the two fully grown dragons and their Riders to lay side by side and watch the horizon.
For a long moment the four just stood there, dragon facing dragon, Rider facing Rider as they tried to determine the best course of action that could lead to the results they desired. After what seemed like eternity, Saphira and Firnen carefully adjusted themselves so their Riders could dismount, a quick mental message from Firnen telling her to remove the saddle as well once she was off. It wasn't long before her partner was free from the multiple leather straps that allowed her ride him without injury despite her fumbling fingers that impeded her ability to untie knots. Rolling his shoulders in such a way that displayed the impressive mass of muscle that he had acquired over the years, Firnen lept into the air after Saphira as the female darted off, abandoning their Riders on the ledge to an awkward silence.
Glancing at the man that stood beside her, Arya couldn't help but return the soft smile that had appeared on his face as he turned towards her, his soft voice already speaking the beginning of the ancient greeting that should have been hers to start, for there was no denying that he was of a higher rank then her. Adding a slight bow as she spoke the second line, her smile couldn't help but widen as he returned the third and final line with a deeper bow then was appropriate, though the laughing glint in his eyes told her that it was all for the goal of amusing her. Watching as he rose to his full height, a sudden desire came over her, one that once would have seemed so foreign and out of character that she would have suppressed it into the depths of her mind until it was forgotten, but one that she now acted on without any thought.
Taking a step forward, Arya threw her arms around Eragon and hugged him, an action he eagerly returned.
For a long while the two of them just stood there, silently wrapped in the other's arms as they forgot all the years of separation and pain that they had caused themselves. The multitude of 'what ifs' and 'maybes' that had become their lives slowly fell away as they listened to the beating of the other's heart, the slow, rhythmic pounding a lullaby that soothed their worries and fears. Standing there, her head resting on the chest of the man she loved, something finally clicked for Arya, healing the hole that she had lived with for her entire life with just a single thought.
For over one hundred and seventy years of her life, Arya had never had a home. But right here, right now, she had finally found one in Eragon's arms.