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 Saphira/Thorn's human appearances.

Warnings: Slash/Shōnen-ai – meaning mild guy x guy action. Swearing or strong language. Femslash/Shōjo-ai – meaning mild girl x girl action. Some ass-whooping – meaning that some people are going to be kicking each other's asses. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.

A/N Hello and welcome to part eleven of Black Mist. We here at SussieKitten's fanfics thank you for remaining seated for the entire ride. Now we ask you all, just one last time to buckle up, keep your elbows inside the cart during the entire ride and to really enjoy the final chapter of this adventure. It has been a pleasure to have you all onboard. Thank you all for your patience and lovely comments.

I'm so sorry for the delay, but a lot of things are happening in my life right now, so I had to focus on those. Until everything is back in order, I won't be updating as often and I probably won't be able to reply right away. I'll answer PMs and reviews as soon as I can, but you might have to wait a bit for an answer. I'm talking everything from a few days to a week or two. I'm sorry for any inconvenience. If you ask me something that I see as urgent, I'll answer you right away, of course.

A huge thanks to my beloved beta, dragonrider713. Without her, well...this story wouldn't have been half as good and it certainly wouldn't have been done half as fast.


BLACK MIST

Epilogue; White Vapour

(03.18 PM – Friday 12th of December. Inside Eragon and Saphira's shared apartment in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Eragon had given up answering their questions ages ago. It was always the same; what happened? Are you getting together? Is he still being an ass, and if so, do you want me to go over and kick him for you? He just wondered when they'd see that his answers weren't going to change. They would remain; you know what happened. Not in the nearest future. He's not being an ass, he just has to apologise properly before I'll forgive him.

The only one who knew what had happened, in detail that was, was Saphira. Eragon didn't feel quite comfortable with the thought of having to tell everyone else what Murtagh had told him. Oh, he was sure Thorn knew, and for now, that was enough.

Eragon watched Saphira walk around and put their few Christmas decorations up. There were the few that Eragon had taken from his home and the ones that Saphira had inherited from her parents. Even though Eragon didn't care how it looked, the blonde always wanted it to look nice in the apartment once Christmas rolled around.

"Thought about what to buy everyone yet?" Saphira asked cheerfully.

Eragon shook himself out of his thoughts.

"Um, you know that I've already done my Christmas shopping, right?"

This was the truth. Eragon detested the thought of having to fight his way through the masses that bought every teeny tiny gift in the two weeks before Christmas, so he did most of his shopping in late November and early December.

Saphira put away the tiny Santa figure in her hands and smirked at him.

"So, you're not going to get Murtagh something? I have a few great suggestions, you know."

Eragon groaned.

"I swear you've been spending way too much time with Aksel!" He said grumpily.

Saphira sat down beside him and tilted her head.

"Why?" She asked.

"You were going to suggest something perverted, weren't you? Like fuzzy handcuffs, porn or a lube and condom set?" Eragon drawled.

Saphira giggled. She crossed her arms and sent him an amused look.

"I wasn't going to suggest anything of that sort. Though, do tell me more about that lube and condom set." She said teasingly.

Eragon groaned and tired to suffocate himself with the nearest pillow. Saphira gently pried it from his hands while laughing softly.

"I was thinking something more in the line of going on a date with him." The blonde said seriously.

Eragon frowned. He fiddled with the worn sleeves of his shirt and didn't answer.

"Still not sure you want to?"

He bit his lip.

"It's not that. It's just, how do I know he's not going to change his mind? He already did so once before." He murmured softly.

Saphira sighed. She took his hand in hers and squeezed it softly.

"That was back then. You've both been through a lot since. And did he not say, and I quote; this time I won't let you go?" She asked.

Eragon looked down at their hands. Saphira's were more delicate than his, yet they seemed to possess more strength than his. They were whiter than his as well.

"Eragon?" Saphira's voice brought him back to the present.

"I know what he said, Saph." Eragon said and pulled his hand out of her hold. "That's not the issue. While he said that he loves me, I'm not sure he'll ever be in the place where he wants to date me. He's under the delusion that I'm a walking target whenever he's around. I told him I'm as much as a target when I'm alone, but he wouldn't listen!"

Saphira ran a hand through his hair and tilted his chin so that he was looking at her again.

"Then I think you need to get him to listen." She said softly.

"How?! I've tried every possible way!" Eragon exclaimed in frustration.

Saphira smiled softly and stood up.

"There is one thing you haven't thought of yet." She said and winked.

"What?"

But Saphira didn't answer. She merely giggled and went back to decorating happily, leaving Eragon to sulk in his own thoughts.

::BLACK MIST::

(07.50 PM – Tuesday 16th of December. Inside the police gym in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Murtagh was honestly surprised when he entered the gym and found it vacant. The speakers were still spitting out some annoying trance-like beat that Murtagh supposed was to get people more motivated to train. All it did was to give him a headache, though. Figures.

"You came."

Murtagh smacked his lips. He looked over at the training mats and was not surprised to see Thorn sitting there.

"Why shouldn't I have? I've been promised the ass-kicking of a lifetime. I wouldn't miss it for the world!" Murtagh drawled and shed his jacket while kicking off his shoes.

The doctor had given him a clean bill of health only a few days before. While the wound next to his lung still stung every now and then, the others hadn't been giving him any problems. When Thorn had heard, he had promptly told him to meet him that Tuesday.

Thorn stood up gracefully. Murtagh walked forward, treading carefully as he did so. He was very aware of what Thorn was capable of.

"I'll try not to bruise your face." Thorn said dryly. "Can't have you looking bad on the Christmas pictures, now can we?"

"But limping is okay, I suppose?" Murtagh asked and quirked an eyebrow.

Thorn smirked sadistically. Murtagh snorted. And people claimed he was the sadistic one?

"Bring it on, big boy." Murtagh said and jumped onto the mats. "I'm ready."

Thorn roared angrily and shot forward. Murtagh skidded out of the way and blocked the arm that would most likely have sent him into the wall beside him. He winced.

Thorn hadn't shown a lot of outer signs that he was still angry with Murtagh, but the punches he was packing spoke for him. Nasuada had been quick to forgive him, and for that Murtagh had spent a week thanking her. Vanir hadn't needed an apology; he had simply rolled his eyes and directed him to all the files he needed to look over and sign. Then again, Murtagh had never been particularly close to him either. Arya had started to gradually forgive him, though she was obviously a little resentful towards him for hurting Nasuada. But Thorn was the only one who hadn't even started to forgive him yet. Hell, even Eragon had forgiven him more than Thorn had!

Murtagh winced, partly because of the kick that sent him to the floor and because of the thought. He tried not to think about Eragon too much. He had called the brunet twice, once to clue him and Saphira in about the Christmas party Ajihad and Nasuada were holding and once to tell him about the sock he suspected belonged to Eragon. Both times they had been able to talk pleasantly enough, though Murtagh knew Eragon wasn't quite ready to forgive him yet.

The hazel eyed man ducked away from a swing, only to get a palm slapping him harshly right over his breastbone. Murtagh wheezed and fell to the floor. Thorn wasn't holding back at all.

Thorn loomed over him. Murtagh looked up and crocked an eyebrow while a hand massaged his chest. There was still a slight stiffness in his shoulders, but even so he held out a hand for Murtagh to take. Murtagh hesitated. Slowly he reached out and took the hand, allowing it to pull him up. A split second later Murtagh pulled Thorn down while he turned and jammed an elbow harshly into Thorn's back. The redhead grunted. The other man then jumped out of the way.

Thorn looked back at him, a slight hint of amusement in his eyes. Murtagh smirked back. And so the fight continued.

Murtagh noticed a slight change in Thorn's fighting. It was obvious that he had been training furiously while Murtagh had been missing. The hazel eyed man felt for whatever sucker that had been forced to practice with Thorn.

The redhead shot forward and slammed a fist into Murtagh's face. Murtagh nearly laughed; so much for not looking bad on the Christmas photos. He allowed himself to fall back a bit, crouching slightly as he bent his right knee and allowed his other leg to shoot out and strike Thorn in his abdomen. Thorn groaned and fell back a step.

Murtagh knew he was getting a lot more hits than he was giving, but it didn't matter. He felt alive and he could practically feel their relationship mending for every hit that connected. He and Thorn had never been very good at talking together; they spoke better with their fists.

Murtagh tried to hit Thorn back, but the redhead managed to capture his fist instead and grinned evilly. Murtagh cursed and managed to grab onto Thorn's arm a split second before he was flipped to the floor. But thanks to Murtagh's grip, flipping him meant that Thorn found himself tumbling to the floor as well. There was a soft groan then silence.

Murtagh closed his eyes and smiled. He had slight trouble breathing, his chest was heaving and causing his wound to sting, several parts of his body were aching, but none of it mattered. He felt alive. He felt good.

"Are you alive?" Thorn drawled.

Murtagh opened his eyes and barked a laugh. He pushed himself up to a sitting position. Thorn crocked an eyebrow and crossed his arms. No more than two feet separated them, though they weren't quite sitting face to face.

"It takes more than that to kill me, you should know that."

Thorn let out a soft laugh.

"Yeah. You're like a goddamn cockroach; you think you've killed it, but damn if it isn't still alive."

"A cockroach? I'm wounded, Thorn, seriously wounded." Murtagh said with a mock-pout.

Thorn flipped him off. Murtagh laughed and started to massage his shoulder. Damn, Thorn must have nearly torn it out of place with that throw.

"Feel better, you ogre?" Murtagh asked.

Thorn smirked and got up. Murtagh allowed him to pull him to his feet properly this time.

"Much better. It's amazing how much a good ass-kicking can do for you." Thorn said and walked off the mats.

Murtagh followed at a slower pace.

"Yeah; it can dislocate your shoulder, bruise a rib, break a leg... wondrous things, truly." He drawled.

Thorn laughed heartily.

"It's good to have you back, Tag." He said and turned around.

Murtagh stopped. He smirked softly.

"It's good to be back."

Thorn padded back to stand by his side. He clasped his shoulder once before starting to walk again.

"Come on, we better go and see the coroner this time." The redhead mused. "I think you might have bruised a rib."

Murtagh snorted loudly and fell into step beside his best friend.

"Only? You have bruised at least three ribs, bruised my breastbone and nearly dislocated my shoulder. Do you see me complaining?" The darker brunet drawled.

Thorn just laughed.

::BLACK MIST::

(07.50 PM – Saturday 20th of December. Inside the local cemetery in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Eragon stood before his parents' graves and sighed. There was no reason he was visiting; it was not either of their birthdays and he rarely came during Christmas, but something had driven him to visit that day.

He brushed away the snow from their headstone and read their names as he stroked the lettering absently. It was something he did every time he came there, though he wasn't sure why. He crouched down and brushed snow off the winter flowers. He smiled softly before standing up.

"Merry Christmas, mom and dad. I wish you were here to celebrate it with me." The brunet murmured softly and bowed his head.

A minute later he was walking away. There were a few more people in the cemetery around the holidays, but this time someone stood out to him. Eragon frowned. The man had honey coloured hair and a slightly bulky frame. There was nothing familiar with him, but his eyes shone brilliantly grey and his face looked so familiar. He sneaked a look at the headstone and blanched. Elain Travin. Travin.

Eragon stepped forward.

"Excuse me?"

The man looked up. He brushed off his pants and turned to face Eragon.

"Can I help you?"

"This is going to sound strange but... are you Albriech Travin?" Eragon asked softly.

"Yes, that is my name." Albriech said and stood a little straighter.

"I'm Eragon! Eragon Rider. I heard you were one of my tails a few weeks ago? And I, um, sort of dated your brother back then too." The brunet said sheepishly.

Recognition set in on Albriech's face.

"Oh holy sh... I'm sorry." He laughed. "I didn't recognize you there."

Eragon grinned sheepishly and shook the other man's hand.

"I'm sorry about your loss. Your mother?"

Albriech sighed sadly.

"Yeah. It happened last year. I don't come here too often." He admitted.

Eragon nodded. He buried his hands in his pockets.

"Well, I just thought I'd say hello." The brunet said softly. "Um, how is Baldor? I haven't seen him since... well."

"You'd think he'd be more heartbroken, but I'm sorry to say he's not. Well, not anymore. Though I can see why he went after you in the first place." Albriech said and winked. "Don't worry about me though, I'm -"

"Seeing someone? Yeah, Baldor told me." Eragon interrupted.

Albriech laughed.

"Well, I'll be damned. He was actually serious with you. Whatever happened?"

Eragon bit his lip.

"I kind of already had feelings for someone else and Baldor told me to go ahead and be with him instead."

Albriech hummed softly. A hand came up to fix the scarf as it flapped awkwardly in the wind.

"That's Baldor for you." Albriech said finally. "Well, it was nice to meet you, Eragon. I hope things worked out for you and that other guy."

Eragon watched him leave with a small frown on his lips. He licked his lips and walked away.

Yeah, he kind of hoped that too.

::BLACK MIST::

(09.55 AM – Monday 22nd of December. Inside the Police Department in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Murtagh yawned as he stepped into the briefing room. He slouched down in his usual seat and let out another yawn.

"What's with all the yawning, Sleeping Beauty? Did someone wake ya a little too early?" Aksel sniggered.

"For your information, moron, I got a call at eight frigging AM that told me to get my ass over here before ten." Murtagh said dryly. "So while I object to the Sleeping Beauty comment, yes, someone woke me too early."

Aksel just grinned. Vanir shook his head and slapped the blond in the back of his head. Aksel yelped.

"Oh, you're so making up for that later." The blond pouted.

"Che, give me a break." Vanir drawled.

"Does anyone have a reason for me being here? My shift doesn't even start until three PM. Three PM!"

"Quit moaning." Thorn said as he stepped into the room. "You'll find out soon enough."

Murtagh rolled his eyes. Arya and Nasuada stepped in them, talking together quietly. Arya nodded and paused when her eyes met Murtagh's.

"That's a nice shiner, Tag. Who's responsible?" She asked.

"Wha?!" Aksel exclaimed and leaned over the table to stare at Murtagh's face more closely. "Holy jeez, you weren't kidding!"

Murtagh pushed him back into his seat.

"Do you have to ask?" He commented and crocked an eyebrow.

Arya returned the gesture as she sat down. Nasuada snorted and turned on the TV that Murtagh hadn't even noticed.

"That would be Thorn, Arya. You see, boys can't solve conflicts with words, they have to use their fists." Nasuada said and flipped until she reached the channel where the news was just starting.

"This is the ten o'clock morning news. Good morning, Carvahall." The male reporter said almost cheerfully.

"And what a morning it is, Jeff!" The female reporter countered. "We'll soon be going live to the Carvahall Police Department, where the homicide Captain has called for a conference."

Murtagh froze. He looked at the head of the table, where Ajihad indeed wasn't sitting. He frowned and looked back at the screen. The scene had now shifted and he recognized the room they were filming; it was their conference room. In the front of the room Ajihad was standing tall, with a few selective officers behind him; none of which Murtagh recognized.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have called you here today to cast light over recent events." Ajihad said nonchalantly. "Just a few weeks ago there was an assassination attempt on Mr Eragon Rider, a young man you all recognize from the King trials."

Murtagh scowled when they showed a picture of Galbatorix and Eragon. Did they really have to mention Eragon?

"The evidence from that case has been presented to the judge and we can now inform you all that Galbatorix has been found guilty of accessory of that attempted murder. His execution date has therefore been moved up." Ajihad paused. "We will come back with a date later. That is all, thank you."

The hazel eyed man watched frozen as Ajihad walked off the stage, ignoring every question fired in his direction. Another spokesperson walked up, but he didn't give any new information, merely informed them of who they were to contact if they had any questions.

Nasuada turned off the TV with the remote. Murtagh licked his lips.

"Do we have a date on him, yet?" He asked hoarsely.

"We're pushing for just after New Years. We will know more later, but we can with certainty say that Galbatorix won't live to see the year of 2010." Nasuada said softly.

Murtagh buried his head in his hands. He let out a choked laugh.

"Finally. Thank God." He murmured before looking up. "Thank God!"

Nasuada smiled softly.

"He's finally getting what he deserves, Murtagh. You can breathe freely now."

Murtagh just sent her a grateful smile.

Ajihad stepped into the room then. He clasped Murtagh's shoulder as he passed before sitting down at his seat.

"Was that the only reason you called me in this morning?" Murtagh asked the Captain.

"We wanted you to hear it the moment it was sent." He replied, his eyes twinkling softly.

"Why not tell me in person?"

"Because we got the verdict last night, and we wanted to surprise you." Arya replied with a wink.

"Mission accomplished!" Murtagh laughed. "Oh holy... is this happening? I can't believe it."

"Believe it." Thorn said with a smirk. "We've worked damn hard to make this happen. The Ra'zac weren't easy to crack."

"Then why the fuck didn't you ask for my help?" Murtagh asked.

"We're not completely incompetent without you, boy." Ajihad laughed.

Murtagh laughed quietly.

"Thanks guys. Thanks a lot." He said sincerely.

"But enough about that!" The Captain exclaimed. "Big day on Wednesday. I expect you all to show up. Yes, that means you, Therr."

Vanir grumbled under his breath. Aksel jumped up and told Ajihad that he'd make sure he'd show up.

"What's happening on Wednesday?" Murtagh asked.

Thorn slapped a hand to his forehead.

"Come on, I did not hit you that hard!" The redhead moaned. "The Christmas party? The one I hope you remembered to invite Saphira and Eragon to?"

"Ah." Murtagh muttered. "No sweat, they're coming."

"Say, while we're on that subject, whatever happened that day he came to visit, huh?" Aksel asked eagerly.

"Ask Eragon." Murtagh said deadpanned and stood up. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going home to sleep. Alone."

Aksel pouted. Murtagh ignored Thorn's smug look while he walked out of the room. If the bastard talked, Murtagh would make sure Thorn got twice the ass-kicking he deserved.

Murtagh sighed as he stepped out of the building. While he had said he was going home to sleep he doubted he'd be able to now. He was too awake; too filled with energy.

He shuddered while he stuffed his hands deeper into his pockets and buried his chin further into the scarf around his neck. So much seemed to be happening and it all seemed to be happening at once. First people had come after Eragon, again, and then suddenly everything had tilted and Eragon had gotten a boyfriend. That had nearly broken Murtagh, but only nearly. It was he who had encouraged Eragon to find someone else after all. But then they had broken up and Eragon and he had spent that afternoon together. Murtagh fisted his hands. And now everything seemed to be right back where they were; with him and Eragon not really speaking to each other, even though they were more civil this time.

He sighed again. It seemed like Eragon hadn't told anyone, apart from Saphira obviously, what had happened between them. A part of him wondered if Eragon wanted to forget. Another part of Murtagh hoped that Eragon didn't want to. The brunet did keep saying that he loved him; surely that meant he didn't want to forget?

Murtagh shook his head. What was he rambling about now? Eragon wanting to forget? So what?! He wasn't going to let Eragon forget. He'd be damned if he was going to let Eragon go again. Murtagh simply wasn't sure what he meant by that.

The hazel eyed man scowled. Thorn had told him that he had basically come out and said that he wanted a relationship with Eragon. Did he? Sure, he knew what he felt now, but did that change anything? Murtagh sure as hell still felt as confused as he had done before Eragon had sought him out. He sincerely believed that he wasn't right for Eragon. He had never been in a real relationship before, he was possessive, he had a bad temper, and he would most likely get himself killed one day...

Murtagh growled. He was just talking in circles! The bottom line was that everything depended on Eragon. It was Eragon that decided whether or not they would be something more. Because before Eragon could forgive Murtagh, and therefore Murtagh by default could forgive himself, there was no way anything was going to happen between them again.

::BLACK MIST::

(08.46 PM –Wednesday 24th of December. Inside of Ajihad's house in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Eragon stared in shock at the huge house in front of him. The Captain lived here?!

The house was the same size of a small manor. It was two stories high, had a very nice front and back yard, and Thorn had already told him about the balconies that faced the back yard. Apparently Ajihad's late wife had been a real garden person, and he still kept the large garden back there in top shape in her memory. And it was inside this house that the Captain had planned an intimate but large party.

Ever since Murtagh had told him about the party, Eragon had been very unsure about whether or not he should go. Sure, it was nice chance to see all of his friends, but Murtagh was going to be there. And while they had talked since... the incident, Eragon wasn't sure how he was to act around the Sergeant if they bumped into each other. Saphira however hadn't let him stay behind and had dragged him with her by force. Eragon suspected he was going to be the pawn in some sort of game later that night, and he really didn't want to know what that game was about.

Saphira giggled quietly and pulled him up the porch and through the door, shaking Eragon out of his thoughts. Behind them Thorn followed with an amused look on his face.

Thorn showed them where to put away their jackets and lead them into the living room. Eragon would have been captivated by that too hadn't Aksel chosen that exact time to jump him.

"ERAGON!"

Eragon squeaked quietly and pushed Aksel off him.

"Aksel! You idiot!" Eragon shrieked. "I thought I told you to stop jumping me!?"

"Well, I wasn't listening." Aksel said and shrugged nonchalantly.

Eragon felt his right eye twitch.

"Hey, while I have you guys here, thanks for the presents!" Aksel said eagerly. "I particularly liked yours, Saph."

Eragon crocked an eyebrow when Aksel practically purred the last sentence. When Saphira smirked he knew that he didn't want to know.

"Aren't you supposed to wait with opening your presents until tomorrow?" Thorn asked.

"Bah, says who? While it is indeed more common for certain countries, such as Alagaësia, to open their Christmas gifts on Christmas Morning, some countries actually open them on Christmas Eve." The male blond said and smirked softly. "I happen to like the tradition where I get to open them a day before everyone else."

Thorn rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath.

"Say, there's something I've been meaning to ask you." Aksel said and moved in a little closer than Eragon normally liked. "Did you get Tag a present?"

"... That's what you wanted to ask?" Eragon said, feeling a little surprised and a little relieved.

"Well, sure I wanna ask you what happened that infamous afternoon ya went to see Tag, but I can wait." Aksel shrugged. "Not long though, mind you. Anyhow, so did you?"

Eragon cringed.

"Um, no."

Aksel blinked. Thorn shot him a surprised look but didn't comment.

"Well, if you just give him some lovin', I'm sure he'll see that as a present." The blond drawled.

Eragon blushed.

"Fuck you!" He growled. "And I'll have you know that he won't see that as a present because -"

"Aksel, are the others here yet?" Saphira interrupted, slapping a hand over Eragon's mouth before he could continue.

"Huh? Oh yeah, they are. And don't worry; Thorn my man, Tag has been given clear instructions to stay away from the alcohol." Aksel said and nodded. "Nas talked to him."

Thorn nodded sharply.

"I better go and see that he doesn't take up his other habit instead, then." He said quietly and gave Saphira a soft kiss before starting to walk away.

"What, he's still smoking?" Eragon asked.

Thorn paused. Eragon slapped a hand over his mouth. Oh, he had not just said that!

"Still?" Thorn breathed as he turned around. "As in, he's done it before?"

"Um... no?" Eragon said sheepishly.

"He's dead." Thorn growled and stalked further into the room. "I'm gonna kill him fuckin' dead!"

"Oh fuck." Eragon breathed. "Why can't I just shut up, huh?"

Saphira shook her head and simply laid a hand on his shoulder.

::BLACK MIST::

(09.00 PM –Wednesday 24th of December. Inside of Ajihad's house in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Murtagh felt more than he heard Thorn approach. He briefly wondered what he had done wrong this time.

"You fucking son of a bitch." Thorn growled once they were face to face. "You're smoking!?"

Murtagh blinked. Had someone told? But wait... he wasn't smoking! Well, not if he didn't count that one time. Murtagh narrowed his eyes.

"No, I'm not." He drawled. "Why would you think I was?"

"Eragon asked me whether or not you were, and I quote, still smoking." Thorn snarled.

Murtagh cursed. He was starting to doubt that Eragon really loved him, no matter what the brunet claimed.

"May I remind you that we're in a public place and Ajihad won't be happy if you punch me?" Thorn's eye twitched as Murtagh paused. "I smoked once, yes, one cigarette at Eragon's trial. Just one, I swear."

Thorn snorted.

"Why should I believe you? You left for god remembers how long?! Who knows what you did then?"

Murtagh rolled his eyes.

"I'm not smoking again. You are welcome to ransack my goddamn apartment and do random checks on me, but I swear, I'm not smoking." He said calmly.

The redhead growled.

"If you are, I swear to God, I'll kill you dead." Thorn growled darkly.

"I know." Murtagh sighed.

Thorn nodded sharply. He glared at Murtagh's fingers, to which Murtagh held out his hands to show that he didn't have a nicotine stain. He held out his other hand as well when he felt that Thorn didn't quite believe him yet.

"Satisfied?"

"Never." Thorn said darkly.

"Better not say that to Saphira; she might take it the wrong way." Murtagh said and snorted.

Thorn was silent for a minute. Then he blinked and let out a soft snort.

"Alright, so I had that coming. But -" Thorn continued.

"Thorn, I swear on my mother's grave, I'm not smoking." The hazel eyed man muttered sharply.

Thorn paused. He rolled his eyes and reluctantly agreed to let go of his suspicion. Murtagh breathed out a quiet sigh of relief.

"So, did you know that Aksel opens his gifts on Christmas Eve?" Thorn said casually.

Murtagh smirked. He looked over to see the blond gesturing eagerly to Saphira and, he gulped, Eragon. His gaze lingered on Eragon for a moment before snapping back at his best friend.

"Yup. That's why you don't get him anything he might feel complied to mention in public." He drawled.

"Do you know what Saphira might have gotten him?" The redhead said with a small frown. "Aksel seemed to really have liked it."

Murtagh sniggered.

"Check out Vanir." He said instead of replying.

Thorn did so. Murtagh looked over at the blue eyed Detective as well. Vanir had been looking very displeased since he and Aksel had arrived. And, as he shifted in his seat, he winced. Murtagh smirked eagerly when Thorn looked at him in shock.

"No."

Murtagh's smirk widened.

"But, but!" Thorn muttered.

"Thorn, she has a gay best friend. I think she knows what to give to other gays then, especially stuff they'll thank her for." Murtagh said dryly.

Thorn shuddered.

"I do not want to know." He paused with a frown. "Though, it makes you wonder what she might have gotten Eragon."

Murtagh coughed awkwardly.

"Let's talk about something else, shall we?"

"Sure. Say, have you bought Eragon anything?"

Murtagh frowned at Thorn's question.

"No, not really. Why?" He asked.

"Maybe you should. To let him know it wasn't just a one-night stand." Thorn paused. "A one-afternoon stand, I mean."

Murtagh shook his head.

"You know what? Whatever. I've already apologised and said I love him, what else is there to give?" He asked in a half-drawl.

Thorn shrugged.

"Maybe that's an answer you need to find out for yourself." He said and dragged him off before Murtagh could even protest.

Not that he would have protested. Murtagh was just grateful he was being pulled in the opposite direction of Eragon.

::BLACK MIST::

(10.26 PM – Wednesday 24th of December. Inside of Ajihad's house in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Eragon stood in the balcony doorway, watching the snow fall slowly. Downstairs he could hear the buzz from the party. He had snuck away a few minutes ago, feeling a little out of place as he was prone to do.

He had seen Murtagh earlier, and since then he hadn't been able to think about anything else. Murtagh had been dressed in black slacks and a dark shirt, but no tie. He had tied back the longer parts of his hair, and the hair had practically been caressing his neck. And if that wasn't enough, Murtagh had decided to wear a thin black choker and hadn't buttoned the three first buttons on his shirt.

Eragon was sincerely wondering why every girl present wasn't on the floor drowning in their own drool. Then again, most of the girls present were either taken or gay, though Eragon had noticed the looks Murtagh had gotten nonetheless.

He sighed and leaned onto the wall, gazing softly out into the night. The moon was almost half-full, though if he were to be technical; it was half empty as it had been full a week before.

"So this is where you're hiding."

Eragon turned around. He smiled sheepishly.

"People have been asking me where you wandered off to." Saphira scolded softly.

"Ah, sorry. You know how I get in crowds."

Saphira sighed.

"Are you coming back down anytime soon? I know we aren't leaving for another two hours, but it'd be nice of you joined us downstairs." She said softly.

"I know." Eragon murmured.

"Murtagh's been looking for you, by the way." Saphira said innocently.

Eragon blinked.

"You're lying." He said bluntly.

"I'm not." Saphira said and crocked an eyebrow. "Why should I be?"

"Because we haven't spoken since..." He trailed off.

"Bull." Saphira snorted. "You have spoken on the phone."

"On the phone yes, not in person." Eragon said and crossed his arms. "It'd be weird."

"Why? Because you'd want to jump him again?" She said with a smirk.

Eragon blushed.

"I thought I told you never to mention that again." He said darkly, though he was sure the blush ruined it.

"You know I can't resist when it makes you blush so cutely!" Saphira said and winked. "All jokes aside, he has asked about you. Maybe he wants to talk?"

Eragon just shrugged. Somehow he doubted it. At least, he doubted Murtagh would want to talk about what Eragon wanted to talk about.

"Anyhow, I hope you come down soon." The blue eyed girl said and left the room as quietly as she had come.

Eragon sighed. He sank down to the floor and curled his hands around the open shirt he was wearing. Saphira had forced him to wear it, along with the t-shirt and slacks he was wearing. He thought he looked ridiculous and had told her as much. Saphira had responded by slapping him in the back of his head and dragging him out of the door.

"Rider?"

Eragon jumped. He looked up and felt his eyes widen.

"Murtagh?"

Said male smirked in answer.

"What are you doing on the floor?" He asked.

Eragon blushed.

"Just... I got tired of standing." Eragon replied and mentally slapped himself.

What sort of answer was that?! A very lame one. Murtagh apparently agreed, as he let out a soft laugh two seconds later.

To Eragon surprise, Murtagh walked over and sat down beside him; right in front of the closed balcony doors. There they sat in silence.

"Saph said that you were looking for me?" Eragon asked timidly.

"Yeah." Murtagh replied quietly. "You've been strangely absent downstairs, I felt compelled to ask."

The brunet looked down at his hands. Ah, so that was why.

"Eragon." Said young man jumped up at the sound of his name. "I haven't done a good job of trying to not ignore you again, I know. I apologise."

"No, I mean, you haven't." Eragon interrupted. "It's me who has been ignoring you! You have called me and... stuff. I didn't even do that."

Murtagh chuckled softly.

"I called to remind you of a party that Saphira had already told you of and to ask about a sock, Rider. That reminds me, did you want it back? I didn't understand a lot of your spluttering, and by the time you stopped the conversation had shifted." Murtagh smirked.

"Oh, shut up." Eragon said and glared.

Eragon was surprised to feel himself being pulled into a hug. A sideway hug, but a hug nonetheless. He stiffened for a second before wrapping his arms around Murtagh in turn. Murtagh's arm shifted slightly, pulling away from around his shoulders and his hand stroked his neck before it was gone.

"There's a faint scar there. Barely visible, but it's there." Murtagh said huskily.

Eragon raised a hand to his neck and scratched the scar.

"Yeah. The doctors did tell me it might scar a bit." He replied softly.

Murtagh's look turned sour.

"Its fine, Murtagh." Eragon said and smiled softly. "I've gotten used to it."

"There should have been nothing for you to get used to." The darker haired man said coldly.

Eragon rolled his eyes.

"It wasn't your fault, so get over it."

Murtagh snorted.

"I'm serious!" Eragon said and narrowed his eyes.

Murtagh sighed softly and looked away, though Eragon could see he had won the battle.

"Say Rider, there have been a lot of questions being tossed around lately." Murtagh paused. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

Eragon blushed. Oh God, what sorts of questions?! Saphira better not have blabbed!

"Not really, no." He replied, hoping that Murtagh would by his lie.

"Really? Because people have been asking me left and right whether I've bought you a gift or not." Murtagh said dryly.

The brunet blinked in surprise.

"Yeah?" He breathed.

What he really wanted to say was; you too?, but he figured it was best not to.

Murtagh just crocked an eyebrow in answer. Eragon looked down at his hands again and bit his lip.

"Well, um, I haven't bought you anything, but..." The brunet paused.

"But?"

"There was something." Eragon admitted sheepishly.

"Oh?" Murtagh smirked softly. "Care to tell me?"

"No." Eragon blurted out.

Murtagh frowned softly.

"Why?" He asked.

"Because you'll think it's stupid." Eragon said deadpanned.

"Let me be the judge of that." Murtagh said and turned to face him more properly. "Come on, you can tell me."

"... Well, I kind of... wanted to... um, ask you out."

Eragon stared firmly at his hands. He didn't dare to look up, fearing what he might see on Murtagh's face.

"Rider, look up for a sec." Murtagh said calmly.

Eragon looked up shyly. He instantly found himself being pulled into a kiss. Murtagh's hands cradled his head gently while his tongue slipped past Eragon's lips. Eragon let out a soft sound and kissed back.

Murtagh pulled back and Eragon gasped. He stared up into the other's hazel eyes in dazed confusion.

"I still don't think you should be around me so much." Murtagh said huskily.

"Oh." Eragon bit his lip as he looked down, still not having processed Murtagh's words properly. "Wait, still?"

Murtagh smirked.

"My gift to you; one chance. But if you decide after that date that it's not worth it, I won't blame you."

Eragon blinked owlishly.

"Seriously?" He asked quietly.

"Yup." Murtagh chuckled. "But just this one chance, alright?"

Eragon grinned and threw his arms eagerly around Murtagh. He hugged him tightly and smiled even wider when he felt Murtagh curl his arms around his waist.

"And what if I decide that it's worth it?" Eragon asked softly.

"We'll think about that if that's the outcome." Murtagh replied.

Eragon buried his head in Murtagh's chest. Murtagh raised a hand and softly started to run his fingers through the hairs in Eragon's nape. Eragon smiled.

There they sat together in silence. Eragon eagerly listened to the heart beating under his ear and almost had to strain his ears to hear what was said next.

"Thanks."

Eragon closed his eyes. His smile widened.

"You're welcome."

The End


A/N I hope you all enjoyed the final instalment of the Red Haze/Black Mist universe. For yes, this is the last chapter. You're free to imagine what happens from here and onward, because I will not be writing a sequel or one-shot more in this universe. It wouldn't feel right. I tried, actually, but nothing came to me. I'd love to write their date, what happened afterwards, if they actually managed to make a relationship work, but...nothing came to me; absolutely nothing.

So, please, do not ask me for more, for there is nothing more I can give you.

As for what Murtagh says thanks for...well, you can speculate on that all you want. It's not that hard, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise. :wink:

But that's it. No more BM :sniffles: But I have some good news. There are a few more Obsession chapters on the way, as well as the story I've called Don't Let Go. I'll probably post one more Obsession chapter, and then I'll go ahead with DLG. But don't expect quick updates. Like I said in the A/N above, I'm going to be crazy busy from now on. Personal reasons. But I will try to update at least once a month.

That's all for now. Thank you all for staying with me through this story. I hope you all enjoyed it, and that the ending wasn't too anticlimactic for you.

Police Speak:

Coroner – the person that does the autopsy (examines the dead people and determines how they died)

Accessory of attempted murder – basically, Galbatorix has been found guilty of helping the Ra'zac plan how to try to kill Eragon.