Disclaimer: I don't own Eragon or anything associated with the Inheritance Cycle.
Claimer: I, SussieKitten, own this plot and the story. Borrow or steal my plot, my original characters (Aksel) or story and I will report you. I also own my version of Thorn's human appearances.
Warnings: Male and female homosexuality. Heterosexuality. Swearing or strong language. Mentioned Character Death. Mentioned Hurt/Injuries – mentions of prior injuries on a character. Mentions of past Rape. Supernatural creatures – there will be mainly elves, dragons, vampires and werewolves in this. Mentioned Mpreg – male pregnancy. A little blood – this is a vampire fic after all. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.
A/N Welcome to the story that I have decided to call Reprieve, the AU of the Obsession 'verse. This story picks up directly after Brom and Morzan's encounter in Bloodlust, with some notable changes to any of you that read that story will spot easily. I would highly recommend reading Bloodlust first, but due to the themes in it I'll give a brief summary of it instead:
Bloodlust starts with Brom tracking Morzan with the intent of killing him for being a homicidal vampiric douchebag. He runs into Murtagh and Morzan. Morzan rapes Brom, but lets him leave without killing him. Brom subsequently runs to Daret and vows to kill Morzan at a later date. Of course, as is revealed in the original Obsession 'verse, Murtagh kills Morzan before Brom can.
Now, in the original Obsession 'verse Brom does not end up pregnant as a result of this encounter. But thanks to some very kind (and enabling) reviewers, I've been mulling over what-if scenarios for Brom and Morzan for a while now. Like what if Brom did end up pregnant? What if Murtagh didn't kill Morzan? And thus this story was born.
As always, I encourage you to check out the tags and make sure this story is for you. It will deal with darker themes and Morzan, much like Murtagh in Obsession, is not going to be a nice guy for quite some time. Neither is Brom, particularly, but at least he's nicer.
But on to the story!
Be warned; this story is self-betaed.
Brom didn't stop running until he reached Daret. There he secured a room at a rundown motel where the clerk clearly knew better than to ask any questions and spent the better part of a week healing. It was a tedious task, mending his body and spirit, but he was determined to get it done.
He spent more time than he liked thinking about the encounter. He thought about the boy in particular. How could the kid have known about Safina? Why had the kid tried to stop Morzan from killing him? Why had Morzan let him escape?
He tried not to dwell on the past too often. Those thoughts chilled him to the bone and he was already running cold enough as it was. Brom knew most of that chill came from the severe bloodloss he'd suffered and that it'd pass as his body repaired itself, but the longer he felt cold the more he worried.
He caved a week and a half after he left Carvahall. He went to the magic shop he knew he could trust and stopped by a small apothecary before returning to his room with everything he might need. He pushed past the dread and followed the instructions to the letter.
Two minutes later and Brom found that he had to sit down. He was holding two tests; both displaying the same result.
Positive. He was pregnant.
The tests fell out of his hands and onto the dingy carpet. Brom buried his head in his hands and tried to stop shaking.
Brom paused. He hadn't actually expected them to still be at the manor in Carvahall – had indeed only showed up to see if he could pick up on their trail – but it seemed at least one of them hadn't left.
The boy stared up at him with almost frighteningly human eyes.
"Where is your father?"
It hadn't taken him long to decide on how he wanted to proceed. There were potions and drugs on the market that would do the trick if he didn't want to seek help from a medic – professional or magical – but Brom was too angry for that. He'd lost too much already at the hands of this fucked up war and the beasts fighting on the other side. Morzan had already taken so much from him; he was not going to let Morzan get away with this too.
The boy – Murtagh, Brom remembered belatedly – just blinked up at him.
Brom had to remind himself to keep calm. His mind might be in shambles and everything inside of him might be screaming about how wrong everything was, but he had to appear calm. This boy – even if he was just a child – was still a vampire. He was still the enemy and Brom couldn't afford to show any kind of weakness.
"Father's upstairs," Murtagh said finally. "I'm not supposed to bother him while he's sleeping."
Brom paused. Morzan was sleeping? At this hour?
"Are you here to kill him?"
Brom almost jolted. Murtagh spoke plainly and with a voice devoid of any emotion. Brom had to remind himself again that this boy was a vampire, one who had been raised by the infamous Morzan at that. Of course he wasn't going to act or sound like a normal kid.
"What makes you say that?" Brom heard himself ask. His voice came out gruffer than he meant it to.
"Because of the fight you had," Murtagh said simply.
Brom had to remind himself that Murtagh hadn't witnessed the whole encounter, so the flash of blind-hot anger he felt was inappropriate. The boy hadn't done anything wrong. Yet. While it was likely he'd grow up to be just like his father, especially given the environment he'd grown up in, but that didn't give Brom the right to kill him. Not yet, not unless he had proof that Murtagh was following in his father's footsteps.
"It's ok," Murtagh said then. "You can go up. I won't stop you."
His hand was around the handle of his knife before he was even aware of moving. This smelled too much like a trap. Vampire or not, surely a child wouldn't encourage a stranger to kill their parent. It hadto be a trap. Morzan was likely not asleep at all and was just waiting to catch Brom unawares.
He shouldn't have come.
"You'd let me kill him, just like that?"
Murtagh looked at him with eyes that were far too old for his face. "If you don't, someone else will."
Brom felt himself frown. "And what makes you say that?"
Murtagh looked up at the ceiling. "Father is ill," he stated before lowering his eyes. "If you don't kill him, then someone else will."
Brom felt himself freeze. He had been hunting vampires long enough that there was very little he didn't know about them. Vampires were notoriously and annoyingly hardy creatures. They were tough to kill and only fell ill under very specific circumstances. That meant Morzan had either been starving himself – something Brom very much doubted – or he had met his mate.
Brom forced himself to let go of his knife. "How long has he been ill?" he heard himself ask.
Murtagh frowned at him. "Not long," he said, though why he was entrusting Brom with this knowledge was beyond him. "It happened after you left."
That...did not bode well.
"Kid," Brom said, and for some reason Murtagh's frown deepened, "why are you telling me these things? You know your father and I aren't on good terms."
That didn't seem to faze the kid at all. "If you don't kill him, someone else will," he repeated. "I think Father would prefer if it were you."
That made no sense. "What makes you say that?"
"I know Father," Murtagh said. "He would much rather you do it than someone looking to take over his seat."
Brom wanted to sit down and put his head between his knees. Everything felt out of alignment. Nothing was making sense.
Morzan ill? Unthinkable. Just as unthinkable as Morzan preferring Brom to deal the killing blow over anyone else. Surely someone like Morzan saw himself as above something as plebeian as the true death.
"You don't know what you're saying," Brom said brusquely.
Murtagh frowned again. "Yes I do."
This could not be his life. He could not be standing in Morzan's lair, arguing with his offspring about how Morzan might wish to die.
This was a mistake. He should never have come.
Brom shook his head.
Murtagh looked up suddenly and seemed to hunch in on himself. "Father is awake."
Brom swore under his breath. He had lingered for too long. He had to leave before something else happened.
He hadn't even gotten one foot out the door before another voice joined in.
"Well, well. What have we here?"
Brom turned before he could tell himself what a momentously bad idea it was.
When he lay eyes on Morzan, it quickly became clear that Murtagh hadn't been lying. Morzan was not well. His skin was unnaturally pale – even for a vampire – and his veins stood out like bruises under his skin. It didn't look like he had slept in a century, if not more.
And yet, Morzan still pushed on. He smirked at Brom and eyed him pointedly, acting like he wasn't leaning on the doorframe to keep himself upright. "Come for a rematch?"
While his mind told him that there was no honour in kicking someone while they were down, Brom reminded himself that Morzan had done that and far worse. He deserved everything that he had coming.
"It would hardly be a fair fight," Brom heard himself say in a fit of insanity. His hand once again loosened its hold on his knife. Every instinct he had was screaming at him to take out Morzan, but somehow he found that he couldn't. "Stop starving yourself and then we'll see."
Brom couldn't believe what he was hearing. What had gotten into him? Had he just encouraged Morzan to murder more people so he could take him on in a fair fight? If he was judging Morzan's expression correctly then he had done just that, and Morzan was just as stunned as him to hear it.
Brom took advantage of the situation and fled before he could say anything else.
Coming back to his parents' house felt surreal, even though he had only left it behind two weeks ago. Brom let himself in before putting the barrier up again.
He took a moment to review what had just happened. He couldn't believe himself. What had gotten into him? Why had he said those things? Why had he lingered? Why hadn't he just walked past Murtagh and killed Morzan when he'd had the chance?
Nothing made sense.
Brom made a beeline for the library and began to pull down every book ever written on vampires. He ignored everything his mind was telling him as he reached into his bag and pulled out his own personalised notes. There had to be some other reason that vampires got sick and he'd just forgotten about it. That was it. That had to be it. And he wasn't going to stop until he found it.
He'd admitted defeat an hour before his wards warned him of his visitor. The room had gotten dark around him, though Brom wasn't sure when. If the wards hadn't nudged him, sending a chill down his spine, Brom didn't know how long he would have stayed in the same position.
Brom pushed himself up and walked over to the fireplace. He grabbed the ornate sword hanging over the mantelpiece and didn't stop walking until he reached the terrace doors. They were in need of a good clean, but Brom only lingered long enough to unlock them and push them open.
There was still a sprinkle of dusk in the sky, though the shadows had grown long and dark. What little light there was left illuminated just enough that Brom could see the shape waiting for him.
There was a stain in the corner of Morzan's mouth; dark and still wet. His eyes had been swallowed glimmered darkly, reflecting faintly in the light of the rising moon. His mouth curled and his fangs peeked out.
He was pissed. Good, Brom thought and shifted his grip on the sword. He'd hate to be the only one.
"What did you do to me?" Morzan's voice was low and dangerous.
A normal human being would have responded to that tone by fleeing or trying to seek cover. Brom, however, had stopped being normal a long time ago.
"This is entirely your fault," Brom took great pleasure in telling him.
Morzan snarled and tried to fly at him, only to stumble when he hit the wards.
Brom put one foot in front of the other until he reached the edge of the terrace. All that separated him from Morzan was a handful of steps and the one thing he had left from Safina; his magic.
"You did this to us," he told Morzan. "If you want someone to blame, blame yourself."
Brom remembered well when he'd been close enough to see Morzan's eyes up close.
"No," Morzan said, voice so low it was almost a growl. "You did something to me. You wouldn't have come back otherwise."
"I came back to pick up your scent so I could hunt you down and kill you," Brom said bluntly. "Imagine my surprise when you were still here, lingering. Ill."
Morzan snarled and flew at him again. Brom didn't even blink when Morzan hit the ward and rebounded. Morzan only barely managed to stay on his feet. His forehead was shining with sweat and he looked even paler than he had a scant few hours ago.
"I dare you to say that to my face," Morzan spat.
"As opposed to what I just did?" Brom drawled.
"You are a coward hiding behind childish parlour tricks!"
Brom's grip tightened around the sword. "Parlour tricks, hm?" Before he could stop himself or remind himself not to do anything stupid when a very powerful vampire was literally only a foot away from him, he had already started the incantation.
Morzan's eyes were piercing. Some part him, the part that his old Drake had bonded to once upon a time, seemed to recognise what Brom was doing even if he couldn't recognise the words. His bared his teeth, snapping something that Brom was too preoccupied to hear.
Brom backed up until one of his feet crossed the threshold. He raised the sword, still chanting the spell, and pressed his forearm against the edge of the blade. He jerked his arm and forced the words out past the pain, past the instant smell of dirty pennies that reached his nose. His stomach threatened to rebel, but he ignored that too.
Morzan stiffened, likely the moment the scent of fresh blood hit the air. His eyes flickered between Brom's arm and his face.
Good. Let him be unsettled. Maybe next time the bastard would think twice.
Brom threw the sword back into the room behind him and cupped his hand around the wound. He pulled his hand back only long enough to flick blood onto the terrace and the ground beneath his ancestral home. He finished his incantation by pressing a bloodied handprint against the outer wall of the house.
The effect was instantaneous. The protective barrier around the house shifted, splitting into two. The outer layer spread outward, encompassing the entire plot of land that belonged to the Teller name. The inner layer went tighter, digging into the walls, windows and doors of the structure and made their home.
Brom put his other foot across the threshold and leaned back before Morzan could puzzle out what he'd done.
Morzan stared at him and Brom stared back. He didn't even look away as he put his hand back on his forearm to stem the bleeding.
"I hope you got your fill earlier tonight," Brom told him. "It'll be your last meal in a while."
That seemed to snap Morzan out of whatever daze he had fallen into. Brom made a mental note to research how vampires reacted to the smell of different blood-types and familiarity. If nothing else, he needed something to keep himself occupied with for a while.
"What have you done?" Morzan growled as he flew forward, only to rebound once again off the barrier Brom had put into the walls of his home.
"Surely you can recognise a barrier spell," Brom drawled. "But to give you some credit, I did change it up. Two barriers instead of one. I have trapped you on these lands, but outside of these walls." He tried not to let his waning strength show as he sneered at the man that the fates had for some reason tied him to.
The rage on Morzan's face was enough to put a spring in his step for the next week, at the very least.
"How is that for parlour tricks?" Brom said before Morzan could open his mouth and slammed the door in Morzan's face.
As soon as the room stopped spinning, Brom did the only sensible thing he could considering the circumstances. He called the post office and had all his mail sent to his PO box in town and spared a second to be glad he didn't have a paper subscription. He also sent a general warning to the few friends he did have in town not to visit him. They likely thought he was doing something crazy with his magic again, which was a far better sight than them knowing what he was doing.
Brom wasn't sure what he was actually doing, if anyone got close or curious enough to ask. The only thing he did know was that his unexpected 'guest' – if the term applied – was none too happy with the present circumstances. He ranted and raved for hours on end. Brom had to turn up the sound on the radio until his ears nearly burst just to drown Morzan out. He snuck sleep during the hours Morzan was quiet and researched when he had the concentration for it.
It took a week for the pattern to break. Brom felt a flutter on the edge of his outer barrier and hurried to the nearest window to see who was stupid enough to visit him.
Surprisingly – or perhaps unsurprisingly – it was Murtagh.
It took Brom a minute to figure out the best course of action. He strapped the sword to his back before stepping outside. Having used the sword to strengthen the barrier spell meant it carried some of the residual energy. He could – if need be – use it to help others walk past the barriers without lowering them. He could also use it to keep Morzan at bay if he had to, though he'd been quiet for the past half-hour. If they were lucky, he'd fallen asleep. If not...
Murtagh waited patiently on the other side of the barrier, just by Brom's mailbox. He looked so alike his father, and yet he kept acting the exact opposite of him. It was...eerie.
"You've captured him," Murtagh said once Brom was outside of the barrier.
"You're a sharp kid," Brom said, eyeing him.
The kid looked surprisingly hale for having lived on his own for a week. Then again, Morzan didn't strike him as Father of the Year material. The kid was likely used to taking care of himself.
"What are you going to do to him?" Murtagh asked.
Brom found himself hesitating. The honest – and stupid – answer was that he didn't know. He had one of the world's most renowned and dangerous vampires trapped on his property, and he had no idea what to do with him. Brom blamed the small flicker of life that was only growing stronger inside of him with each passing day.
Of course, the longer he waited the likelier it became that he didn't have to do anything at all. Eventually Morzan was going to slip into a coma that he wouldn't awaken from. Soon after that, he'd die.
It was...an anticlimactic end for someone of his standing, to be sure, but a dark part of Brom almost appreciated the irony of that.
"I haven't decided," he said eventually.
Murtagh looked down, looking disappointed but not entirely surprised. That was when Brom noticed the backpack he was carrying.
Murtagh shrugged his – too-thin, really – shoulders. "If you're going to keep Father here, I may as well keep walking."
The thought of letting a growing full-blooded vampire wander around without supervision did not sit well with Brom. Murtagh wasn't an adult yet, meaning he had yet to properly settle into the vampiric diet. But it would happen sooner than later, shortly after puberty got hold of him. But until then...
The ideas that were forming in Brom's head were troubling, to put it mildly. But they were also plausible.
For all that Murtagh acted older than he was, he was still far too young to be on his own. His identity and sense of self weren't fully shaped yet. There were still formative years where he could and would listen to authoritative figures, providing Morzan hadn't scarred him too badly.
Think of it like an experiment, Brom thought to himself. Here was a full-blooded vampire, already having dipped his toes into the grooming process. Could he still...change?
"Or you can stay with me for a bit," Brom heard himself say.
Murtagh looked up, clearly shocked. Well, he wasn't the only one.
"At least until we figure out what to do with your father."
Murtagh hunched his shoulders slightly. He looked between Brom and somewhere off to the side, maybe where Morzan was taking a nap out of sight. He bit at his bottom lip and Brom found himself filing away the knowledge that Murtagh hadn't grown into his fangs yet. Maybe they came in later? It was possible.
Eventually, after what seemed like half an age, Murtagh nodded his head.
And just like that Brom had saddled himself with a ward.
A/N And that's it for the first chapter! I hope you liked it.
I plan to post the next chapter four weeks from now, in accordance to the handy update schedule I've made for myself. And if all goes well, I'll be able to post this story in it's entirety this year. It's looking to be 8 chapters right now, but since I only have half of that written I can't say that for sure. I really would love that, though, as well as wrapping up Stalked. But one thing at a time.
I'll be using more of the adult crowd in this story, as opposed to those present in the rest of the Obsession 'verse. So far the roster includes Tornac, Ajihad, Trianna, Angela and a few others. More are likely to be added as the story progresses, particularly towards the end. But I'm getting ahead of myself lol.
I'm sussiekitten over on Tumblr if you want to keep up with my writing and any general life-posts I occasionally make. I mostly just reblog whatever I like, but Tumblr is where I talk about any fics I'm currently writing or are planning to update shortly.
Thank you all for sticking with me. :) I'll see you in the next update!