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 and Ciljan) or story and I will report you. I also own version of Saphira/Thorn's human appearances.

Warnings: Slash/Shōnen-ai – meaning mild guy x guy action. Swearing or strong language. Mentions of Suicidal tendencies and actions – I'm mentioning them only! Mentions of Alcohol and Drug abuse – again, I'm only mentioning it. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.

A/N Hello, and welcome to the second part of Black Mist. We here at SussieKitten's fanfics thank you for remaining seated and promise that your will to continue reading will be rewarded! Next we ask you all to once again buckle up and keep your elbows inside the cart during the entire ride. We hope you enjoy the chapter.

And please, beware of sugary moments, also known as fluff, in the chapter. No, seriously, beware! XD

I'd like to thank everyone who read, enjoyed, reviewed and/or put Black Mist on their favourite/alert list. Thank you so much for not abandoning the story even though it looked dark! And lo and behold people; SK has Internet! This means that I'll be able to reply to your reviews and messages at a normal pace. For news on chapter three, please see the bottom Author Note.

A final and huge thanks to dragonrider713 who once again was willing to be my beta. :)


BLACK MIST

Part Two; Linger

(12.28 PM – Friday 12th of September. Inside the Police Department in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

Murtagh had woken up on the couch in the break room, and he had almost believed what he had just experienced to have been a dream. Sadly, the broken cries from Arya as Nasuada held her and stroked her hair proved him wrong. As did the hollowness in his heart. He had been unable to feel before, but now he simply felt dead inside.

He saw an awkward Vanir trying to ask Arya something, in which she replied in a broken voice that she didn't know. Vanir bowed his head politely and moved away. Murtagh sat up and looked around himself. Thorn was seated at the table, staring almost accusingly at the phone in his hand.

"Thorn?" Murtagh asked hoarsely.

The redhead was instantly at his feet and walked over to him. Murtagh tried to assure him that he was fine, but knew Thorn didn't buy his lie. On the outside he was fine, sure, but on the inside he was broken beyond repair.

Eragon was dead. And he hadn't been able to prevent it. Because Murtagh had stayed away, he hadn't been able to be there and protect him. And now he was gone.

A very sombre Ajihad entered the room then. He closed the door behind himself and urged his team to gather around him. Murtagh noticed that the older man made it so that he didn't have to sit up from the couch to be able to be in the circle.

"I am truly sorry you all had to go through that." Ajihad said sadly. "I know Rider affected all of your lives in one way or another."

A silent tear fell from Nasuada's eye. Murtagh suddenly remembered that she hadn't talked to him a lot after they had arrested Galbatorix. He stole a quick glance at Vanir.

He looked as unfeeling as always, but there was a clear sadness in his eyes. Vanir hadn't even met him until the case had been solved.

Murtagh looked away from how he couldn't name the brunet in his mind anymore, and focused his attention back on Ajihad.

"We're still waiting for a positive I.D. but it's unlikely we'll need it."

Here Arya released a loud sob.

"I should never have let him go to school alone!" She hiccupped.

"Aksel was supposed to have been with him. It wasn't your fault, and neither was it his." Nasuada murmured softly. "You couldn't have seen this coming."

Arya opened her mouth to blame herself even more, but Nasuada shut her up with a fleeting kiss. The green eyed girl was silent for a second before she continued to silently sob.

"Marron, if you can't do it, let someone else take over for you." The Captain said in a deep and soothing voice.

Suddenly Murtagh understood. Thorn had been asked to call Saphira and tell her the news. No wonder he was a mess.

Murtagh knew that if his heart had still been beating, it would have clenched painfully for his friend. But he couldn't feel it pumping anymore. It was like it had literally stopped beating. And how he wished it had. If he truly was dead, then Murtagh wasn't sure he wanted to stay alive any longer.

His thoughts must have shown on his face, for Thorn gave him a stern look. His golden eyes were misty and had a hint of red in them. Murtagh wondered how he himself looked. Did he look as cold as Vanir or as broken as Arya? But it didn't really matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

Ajihad sighed and signalled for Vanir to come and talk somewhere more private. Nasuada continued to soothe her girlfriend while Thorn went back to stare at his phone. Murtagh lowered his gaze to the floor.

Strangely enough he wished he could feel. He wished he could break down like Arya, or at least shed a few tears like Nasuada was doing. But the only thing he could feel was a sharp pain where his heart had used to be, and the hollowness that was threatening to swallow him whole. It was like the sorrow had been too much for him to handle and his brain had blocked the emotion, replacing it with a cheap imitation of nothingness.

Murtagh lowered his head into his hands, his breaths still coming evenly. Nothing showed how broken he really was. Thorn sat down in front of him and Murtagh allowed himself to look up. For some reason, Murtagh found himself staring deeply into his best friend's golden eyes. He could see himself reflected in his pupils. He was white as a sheet and he looked as dead as he felt. He looked away from the redhead and stared ahead of him, right into one of the two glass walls that separated the break room from the rest of the station. He saw himself much clearer in the glass. Murtagh remembered the last time he had looked that way. It had been the day Tornac had helped him escape. But back then he had at least had a small glimmer of hope in his eyes. Now they were nothing but empty voids. There was no emotion left in them.

Thorn let out a shaky sigh. He dialled a number and put the phone to his ear. Murtagh wished that his friend could walk away from him, so that he didn't have to listen to the conversation. But a part of him wanted Thorn to stay too, and he didn't know why. Nor did he care why. Nothing was of any importance anymore.

"Yo, Aksel speaking!"

Murtagh only blinked when he could hear the eccentric blond answer loudly. He had been supposed to be with him. It was his fault he was –

"Aksel, I would like to speak with Saphira, please." Thorn said calmly, much more calmly than he looked.

"Yeah, hold on a -"

"Bastard! Give me the phone!"

Murtagh froze. That hadn't been Aksel's voice, nor had it been Saphira's. He looked up at Thorn to see him in the same state. His eyes seemed almost impossibly wide as his mouth had opened slightly in surprise.

"... Hello?" Thorn said softly into the phone.

Murtagh couldn't hear the answer, but saw Thorn pale even more.

"Who's this?" Thorn asked almost harshly into the phone.

Murtagh jumped up from his seat and snapped the phone out of Thorn's grasp. It didn't take a lot of force from his side; Thorn's grip was almost loose enough for the phone to fall to the floor. Murtagh was able to put the cell-phone to his ear just in time to hear the other person's answer.

"- agon Rider. Who's calling?"

Murtagh stumbled back and felt the edge of the large table in the room dig into his back. He didn't care about the pain however.

"Excuse me, could you repeat that?" Murtagh asked shakily.

"I said my name is Eragon Rider! What the fuck is this?" The voice asked suspiciously. "Hello?!"

Murtagh felt his hand fall. The phone came to rest against his thigh as he fell even more back against the table.

Eragon's voice. It was Eragon's voice on the other end. Eragon had answered the phone!

Thorn gently took the device away from him and Murtagh let him. He could feel the room spinning. He was able to hear Eragon's confused and slightly angry outbursts over the line before Thorn once again lifted the phone to his ear.

"If this is some kind of joke, it isn't funny! I've got contacts in the police. I'll have them sent after you before you can even scratch your balls, you asshole!"

Eragon was alive.

Murtagh choked as he felt his heart suddenly start. He only mutely heard Nasuada and Arya's worried cries as he slipped and fell to the floor. The last thought that was whispered in his mind as the world turned black was: Eragon's alive.

::BLACK MIST::

(02.31 PM – Friday 12th of September. Inside Murtagh's apartment in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

When Murtagh had woken up the second time he knew he had only been out for a few minutes. Arya had stopped crying and was talking loudly and a little harshly to someone over the phone. Nasuada, Vanir and Ajihad had been talking together sombrely, most likely about the fact that they now had a body to I.D. Thorn hadn't been present. It had taken the hazel eyed man a second to analyse the scene before him before getting up and walking quietly out of the room. Not even when he had heard his name being called did he looked back. He had simply gotten into his car and driven home. He needed to be alone.

When he had gotten home, the first thing he had seen was the number of messages left on his answering machine. He had just stared blankly at it before he had started to almost obsessively clean the apartment. While he had cleaned, the phone had rung several times. He had let the machine pick up every time.

Now he was finally finished and let himself fall onto his couch in a boneless heap. Murtagh felt even dirtier than when he had gotten up that morning, but he still didn't care. The cleaning had allowed his mind to stay empty, but now the afternoon was finally catching up with him.

For two painful hours, Eragon had been dead in his world. During those two hours Murtagh knew he had blamed himself, even if he had been unconscious for 80 percent of that time. When he had rescued Eragon, he had promised him it was over. And that morning it had seemed like he had been unable to keep his promise. The dark haired brunet had wished that he had been dead, that he somehow could have switched places with Eragon. And now he didn't know what to feel.

Murtagh threw a shaking arm over his eyes. His entire body was exhausted, and he knew he needed to eat something soon. But it seemed like the logical part of his brain had been disconnected, leaving him with the shattered and slowly repairing remains of the traumatized part of his mind.

When the phone rang again, Murtagh only sighed. When were they going to understand that he wasn't going to pick up? At least no one had come after him yet. Murtagh winced when he heard the machine picking up, listening to his own metallic sounding voice calmly tell the caller that he either wasn't home or was unavailable and asked them to either leave a message or call back later. A beep sounded afterwards, and it almost made Murtagh sigh in relief. But then he heard someone start to talk.

"Murtagh."

The man in question snorted. Who else wouldn't leave him alone but Thorn?

"We understand that you're shaken up, but you have to give us some sort of sign that you're alright." Thorn sighed. "Rider and Saphira came just after you left. He asked about you... and I almost gave him your address."

Murtagh lifted his arm and glared at the machine accusingly. Oh, if Thorn had he was going to skin him alive!

"I didn't, so you can stop picturing ways to kill me." Thorn's deep voice told him calmly. "We're just worried about you. I remember the last time you had a breakdown, and I refuse to come to your apartment and find you like that again."

The hazel eyed male winced. That had been a mistake he wasn't going to make again.

After Tornac had been killed he had gone through a rather destructive period. He had started to drink very heavily, and had tried to experiment on drugs. Fortunately, he had quit the drugs rather quickly. They only made him more depressed, and Galbatorix had spies out there looking for him. Continuing to buy the substances would only get him caught. But he continued to drink and usually drank until he passed out. But one night he had experimented and mixed a few too many drinks, and had ended up in a far too depressed mood. Murtagh remembered that he had been crying his heart out and had blamed himself over and over for Tornac's death. In that moment he had wished he had been captured and killed instead. So he had come up with the brilliant idea to kill himself. Thorn had broken into his apartment worried sick about him that night. He had found Murtagh on the bathroom floor, his wrists cut almost professionally open. Murtagh knew that if Thorn had come just a minute later or if the ambulance had been delayed, he would have died that night.

He had been put under suicide watch on the hospital and had been forced to live with Thorn for a year. Ajihad had constantly come to check up on him and had forced him to see a psychiatrist. Thanks to Ajihad, Thorn and Nasuada even, he was still alive today. He had barely touched a drink since.

"I'm coming over in ten minutes." Thorn's voice shook him out of his memories. "And mark my words Morzanson, if I find you half-dead on the bathroom floor, I'm going to kill you myself."

Thorn hung up then. Murtagh chuckled bitterly. The words might have seemed cruel, but he had heard the slight desperation in Thorn's voice. It seemed like he had really worried his friend this time.

Murtagh pushed himself to his feet and looked around in the apartment. He dragged a hand through his shaggy hair and tightened the band he had tied it back with. He was sure the apartment hadn't been this clean since the place had been build, if it wasn't cleaner now than it had been then.

The dark haired man walked quietly into his bedroom and changed his clothes. He only had a few minutes until Thorn arrived. When Thorn said he was going to be there in ten minutes, Murtagh knew he actually meant five. He padded back into the living room and kitchen area and started to make himself some coffee. He forced his mind to stay blank as he started to make something to eat as well. He took out two cups and filled them both before placing them on the coffee table. Next he unlocked the door and sat down with a sandwich in his hands. Thorn stormed into the place not a minute later.

Murtagh nodded to his friend and gestured for him to sit down beside him. Thorn glared at him suspiciously until Murtagh rolled his eyes and rolled up the sleeves of his sweater. He turned them over and lifted an eyebrow before going back to his lunch.

"Go on, then." Murtagh said calmly. "Yell at me."

Thorn let out a loud and tired sigh.

"What's going on in that head of yours?" He asked quietly.

"Nothing." Murtagh replied and took another sip of his coffee. "I thought you were here to yell at me?"

"I can yell at you later." Thorn pointed out. "And you know you have to process what happened today."

Murtagh rolled his eyes.

"I'll do it later."

"DAMNIT, MURTAGH!"

Murtagh allowed a small smirk to enter his lips.

"I thought you were going to do that later?" He drawled.

"If you continue to be cocky with me, that'll be the last thing you do." Thorn growled. "You have to take down those goddamn barriers and allow yourself to think!"

"Like I said, I can do it later." The hazel eyed man said and finished his food. "I'm in the middle of something here."

"Fuck, Murtagh." Thorn gritted his teeth. "You know the shrink told you to process new emotions and traumatic experiences as soon as you had them."

Murtagh just snorted.

"Fuck the shrink. What does she know, anyway?" He drawled and rolled his eyes.

Before he quite knew what had happened, Thorn had grabbed a handful of his sweater and had lifted him up. Murtagh wasn't surprised that he could no longer feel the ground beneath his feet. The redhead continued to sneer angrily at him, and this time Murtagh didn't have to look up to meet Thorn's eyes.

"You are the most stubborn and stupid fucker I've ever known." Thorn hissed angrily. "You are going to listen to your shrink, and break the hell down right NOW!"

Murtagh could feel his barriers cracking, but he wasn't allowing himself to break down that easily. He wouldn't have been called a master of disguising emotions if he didn't know how to do it. He could push barriers up or down in the blink of an eye. And right now he didn't fancy having them shattered to pieces for the third time in a day.

"Thorn, I've just had the worst day in nine years and counting. I'd appreciate it if you allowed me to break down tomorrow." He hissed back.

"No." Thorn growled. "You are going to break down at this fucking second."

"Marron." Murtagh growled and made sure the sneer was firmly in place as he spoke. "I spent a night dreaming about Rider being killed before my eyes and I spent a morning thinking he had actually died. Excuse me if I don't want to break down for the third fucking time today."

The hard look in Thorn's eyes softened slightly. He lowered Murtagh down to the floor again. Murtagh straightened out his sweater before sitting back down.

"You're still doing it." Thorn said stubbornly.

Murtagh couldn't keep the snarl from escaping him.

"You're not my mother! I can handle this whenever the fuck I want!" He yelled.

"If you could choose, you wouldn't deal with it ever." The redhead told him bluntly. "It's best if you just get this day over and done with, and leave the happenings and emotions behind with it. Would you really want to go to sleep without having thought this through?"

Murtagh looked away. He could feel his will cracking. He stubbornly tried to hold onto it, but he could feel it slipping out of his hands.

Thorn sat down slowly, laying a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Talk to me." He whispered.

Murtagh clenched his eyes shut. His hands had balled themselves into fists and his nails started to dig painfully into his palms.

"What did you feel? When you thought Eragon was dead, what did you feel?" Thorn asked him softly.

Murtagh felt what was left of his barrier shatter painfully. Tears began to rise in his eyes and eventually started to slide down his cheeks. His shoulders tensed and his head fell forward. He didn't have to look in a mirror to know his mouth was stretched into a thin line.

Thorn's grip on his shoulder tightened once in a comforting squeeze before going back to holding it again.

"Murtagh?"

"... I felt like I had died too." Murtagh answered and didn't care when he heard his voice crack.

For the first time since he was sixteen, he allowed himself to break down and cry.

::BLACK MIST::

(10.34 AM – Saturday 13th of September. Inside Eragon and Saphira's shared apartment in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

"Okay, so you're still with him?"

Saphira had been on the phone with her boyfriend for the past ten minutes. She twined her hair during certain parts of the conversation and bit her lip in others. Eragon couldn't be sure what each reaction meant.

Yesterday had been a quite eventful day. Eragon's classes had been cancelled and he hadn't remembered that until he had run out of the door, already thinking he was late. The brunet had proceeded to walk back inside and bury himself under his covers, much to Aksel and Saphira's amusement. That had been Eragon's only class that day, and he had got up for nothing. He had still been asleep when Saphira had come home around noon.

He had been shocked when the blonde had told him that there had been a murder on campus. Eragon had shuddered and found himself sighing in relief that he hadn't had

classes that day. But the biggest shock of the day had been when Thorn had called. The redhead had obviously not been totally convinced it was him that had answered, as he had proceeded after a small delay to tell him that they believed that they had found Eragon's corpse on campus. Eragon, Saphira and Aksel had hurried over to the station and had shocked the daylights out of the entire station.

Eragon had to give it to them, though. He had argued his way into the morgue to see the body. Whoever he was, it looked frighteningly like Eragon. He had been even more scared when had heard that Murtagh had stormed out of the station minutes after finding out he hadn't been dead after all. The brunet could still remember Thorn's worried look when he had just pushed him out of the door, demanding that he'd go to Murtagh. Thorn had looked like he wanted to ask him if he wanted to tag along, but Eragon had just mutely shaken his head and stayed behind.

He had had a day to process the previous day's events, and they still left him feeling a bit disoriented. They had actually believed he had been dead. He couldn't imagine how that must have been for them, for Arya, Nasuada and Thorn. And, if he allowed himself to think about him, how it must have been for Murtagh.

Eragon shook himself from his thoughts and looked back at his friend. Saphira had grown her hair longer during the last couple of months. She continued to colour the longer parts of her hair a dark blue, which now reached her shoulder blades.

"How is he doing?" Saphira asked quietly.

She smiled sadly in answer to something Eragon couldn't hear.

"Do you want me to -?"

Eragon frowned when Saphira seemed to have been cut off. She nodded and made a small sound that suggested she understood.

"Okay. Good luck. Take care of him."

Eragon looked away when Saphira exchanged goodbyes with Thorn and started to try to look busy with a book he was supposed to read for class.

Saphira sighed as she began to move over to where Eragon was sitting. The brunet continued to pretend to be absorbed in the book he held in his hands, though he had no idea what it was about. In fact, what language was he reading? It looked like no other he had seen before.

"You're reading the book upside down, Eragon." Saphira said and let out a soft giggle.

Eragon blushed and quickly turned it around.

"I knew that." He protested meekly.

The blonde sat down and pushed her forelock out of her eyes with both hands.

"Since you aren't going to ask, I'll let you know that he's fine." She said kindly. "Yesterday was just very trying for him."

"Who?" Eragon said and tried to look like he wasn't interested in what she was saying.

"You know very well who." Saphira said and tsk'ed softly. "Thorn's with him right now and said he might stop by later."

The brunet just continued to look mildly confused. Saphira rolled her eyes and fixed her eyes on the book.

"And, Eragon, the next time you want to look like you aren't listening in, maybe you should grab one of your own books?" The blonde laughed. "That one you're holding is mine."

Eragon sighed and closed said book. He gave it over to his friend and gave her a small sheepish smile.

"I don't blame you for wanting to know how he is."

"I just feel like it isn't any of my business anymore." Eragon mumbled softly.

"Bullshit." The female beside him snorted. "If Murtagh can faint, twice mind you, from all the shebang with you being dead yesterday, then you can worry about him."

Eragon frowned. He turned to look more properly into his friend's eyes. Her blue eyes shone with their usual kindness and sincerity.

"He -?"

"Fainted?" Saphira gave a small and sad smile. "Like I said; twice. Once because he thought you were dead and again when he found out that you weren't."

The brown eyed male looked away. A half-smile entered his face, but Eragon knew it was a sad one.

"I already know he cares about me, Saph. He told me so himself. But he also told me that he couldn't love." He muttered softly.

Saphira snorted disbelievingly.

"What man can't love?"

"One that has never been shown it." Eragon replied sadly.

Saphira's face softened. She let out a quiet sigh and put a hand on his shoulder.

"Then he just needs to be shown it." She told him with an encouraging smile.

"And where were you two months ago?" Eragon said and tried to sound like he was joking.

He wasn't succeeding.

"Two months ago you wouldn't have listened." Saphira said simply. "And neither would he."

Eragon stood up and walked over to the window, staring out at the soft autumn day.

"You know as much as I do that he needs to vanquish his demons on his own. Only he can fight that battle and win. But for that to happen he needs to want to win." Eragon paused and bit his lip. "As I told Arya, I can't wait forever."

"Somehow, something tells me that you won't have to." Saphira said mystically.

Eragon snorted softly.

"He told me himself not to wait for him." He pointed out and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Well, in my opinion there is no bigger fool on the Earth than men." The blonde said. "And fools are not meant to be listened to."

"I'm a guy too, you know." Eragon drawled and raised his eyebrows slightly.

"Yeah, and therefore by default a fool." She said and winked. "But he's a bigger fool than you could ever be, even if you tried. But even a fool can turn into a genius one day."

"So you're telling me to wait." The brunet stated.

Saphira sat up and walked over to stand beside him. She turned to face him and sent him a small wink.

"Exactly."

::BLACK MIST::

(11.18 PM – Saturday 13th of September. Inside the local park in Eragon and Saphira's neighbourhood in Carvahall, Alagaësia.)

If there was one thing Eragon truly loved to do, then it was to take a walk on a cool autumn night. The air smelled fresh and the soft wind cooled him off as he walked.

He had snuck out a half hour before. He knew it wasn't the smartest thing to do, but for once he wanted privacy. If he wasn't with Saphira, then either Arya or Aksel was hanging over his shoulder. It was irritating beyond words. And he needed to be alone to think. The previous day had given him plenty of reasons to think.

He came to a stop by a bench in front of the playground. The two swings creaked softly as the wind moved them ever so softly. If Eragon didn't know better, he would have said that ghost children were playing with them. Eragon sat down and continued to look at the playground, his hands stuffed into his pockets for warmth. He closed his eyes and allowed the conversation from earlier that day to run through his mind.


(07.26 PM – Saturday 13th of September. Start Flashback)

"Did he talk at all?"

Eragon couldn't help but to think of the irony of the situation. Here he was; sitting outside of Saphira's bedroom and eavesdropping. Just three months before it had been Murtagh who had been eavesdropping and he who had discovered him. However, Eragon doubted that someone would discover him, and if someone did, he knew it wouldn't be Murtagh.

"Not really." Thorn replied and sighed. "He only broke down. Thankfully."

"Oh?" Saphira muttered confusedly.

"I'm thankful that he got it through his thick skull that he needed to process what had happened and broke down. While it was not a pretty sight, it was good for him."

"I see." Saphira breathed.

"Murtagh has the bad habit of not letting himself process things or happenings until the pressure becomes too great. And then he just breaks down, usually when he's alone, and absolutely everything comes crashing down. It happened once, I won't go into detail about it, but I think he learned his lesson." Thorn said gravely.

On the other side of the door, Eragon frowned.

"That bad, huh?" The blonde commented sadly.

"Worse." Thorn replies simply.

Eragon winced. He had a feeling he knew what Thorn was talking about, Murtagh had told him something once. Even then he had had the feeling Murtagh hadn't been telling him everything, but now Eragon knew he hadn't been.

(End Flashback)


Eragon took a deep breath and watched the thin cloud rise up to the sky and disappear. It was true that during the time he had been in the safe-house, Murtagh had opened up to him, and he in turn had opened up to Murtagh. That had been the foundation of their friendship; mutual understanding of past horrors.

Slowly they had begun to seek each other out and spend more time together. Saphira hadn't minded; she had only given him a knowing look whenever they walked past each other. Aksel though, would have a field day whenever Eragon would walk out of Murtagh's room. Eragon had had to shut him up more than once, and the thing he most commonly used was his fist. Arya had just opted to grin wickedly at Murtagh whenever she had the chance. Eragon hadn't dared to ask why back then, but he had a feeling he now knew the answer.

The brunet allowed himself to think back to one conversation in particular, the one he had believed contained the incident Thorn had talked about earlier that day.


(04.38 PM – Wednesday 11th of June. Start Flashback)

"Does anyone know about your past with the Forsworn?"

They were sitting inside Murtagh's room talking. Since their first conversation, they had continued to sit on the same bed while they talked. They could talk about everything and nothing, something Eragon really liked about their friendship. They never ran out of things to speak about.

That day however had been slightly different. He wasn't sure how they had ended up on that subject, or even what had possessed him to ask that question, but Eragon found himself asking it before he could stop himself.

Eragon must have looked rather abashed, for not a second later was Murtagh chuckling heartily.

"Nah, it's alright kid. Don't start beating yourself up, okay?" Murtagh said with a small wink.

Eragon settled for nodding softly.

"Well, to answer your question, yes. The Captain knows, obviously, as well as Thorn. Thorn has been my friend since high school. When I applied to be transferred to Carvahall, he applied for the same. In a way, it seems like he's always been there for me, even though I know he hasn't." The hazel eyed man finished in a quiet voice.

"... Are you alright?" Eragon asked softly.

"Ah, yeah." Murtagh said and tried to smirk confidently. "I just caught up in some old memories."

The brown eyed teen noticed that he didn't quite manage to pull it off. Eragon liked to believe that to others, the smirk would look genuine, but to people like him, to those who really knew Murtagh, they could see how forced it was.

"Do you want to talk?" He asked and bit his lip.

A flash of awkwardness and pain flashed in Murtagh's eyes. Eragon knew the answer even before he got it.

"Nah, that's okay." Murtagh smirked again. "It's no big deal."

Eragon forced himself not to let the hurt show. They had been staying at the house for a month, if not longer, and Murtagh hadn't lied to him until that very moment.

"Rider."

Eragon looked up and was startled when he noticed how the distance between them had shrunk noticeably.

"I'm sorry." Murtagh murmured. "I just don't want you to worry about little old me."

"I worry more when you don't want to talk." Eragon muttered quietly.

"Heh." The older male breathed. "You've got a point there. When did you get so smart, eh?"

Eragon just rolled his eyes.

"Alright, I'll tell you." The hazel eyed man said and leaned back onto his hands. "You remember Tornac, right? Well, one day about a year after his murder, I had an... episode."

Eragon pulled his knees more tightly against himself, folded his arms on top of them and rested his chin on his arms. Then he proceeded to listen.

"I became very depressed after he was killed, and I often ended up blaming myself for it. I know, I was young and stupid, and I did a lot of stupid things. One day I simply became so depressed that I'm not sure what would have happened if Thorn hadn't stopped me."

Eragon frowned sadly.

"But he did stop me, just in time too. The following year was a blast, I tell you." Murtagh let a half-smirk enter his lips. "My shrink practically locked me up inside Thorn's home

and made me stay there for a year. I didn't hate it, don't get me wrong, but let's just say I learned a lot about my best friend that I know I would have survived not knowing."

Murtagh let out a laugh, but Eragon could tell that too was forced. The brunet bit his lip before finding the courage to do what he knew he needed to.

Murtagh only lifted an eyebrow in confusion as Eragon uncoiled himself and sat up. He crawled over slowly, to make sure Murtagh wasn't about to flee when he came too close. He came to a stop before the other man. The brunet now sat on his knees right next to Murtagh's stretched out legs as they faced each other. Eragon held his breath as he laid his right arm around Murtagh's neck and buried his head under Murtagh's chin in a small, one-armed hug.

As Eragon suspected, Murtagh's stiffened under his touch. He could almost feel Murtagh's heartbeat quicken, but knew it could also be his own. Eragon stayed there for a few more seconds before figuring it was time he retreated. He started to loosen his grip when he felt an arm slowly encircle his waist and pull him closer. Eragon smiled into Murtagh's neck and allowed himself to be pulled closer.

In a matter of seconds, Eragon found himself sitting comfortably in Murtagh's lap with his arms around Murtagh's neck and his legs on either side of his thighs. Murtagh's arms were around his waist, keeping him securely in Murtagh's hold. Eragon's chin now rested atop of Murtagh's broad shoulder. The other had rested his forehead against Eragon's shoulder, his face completely hidden in Eragon's large hoodie.

For a few minutes they just sat there in silence. Eragon allowed himself to savour the feeling of having Murtagh so close. He knew there would be few times the other would allow him to get this close. The brunet began to silently panic when Murtagh let out a loud sigh.

"Thank you." Murtagh muttered and began to pull back.

Eragon didn't want to let go, he really didn't, but he didn't want to scare Murtagh either. He let go of Murtagh's neck and was prepared for the other to do the same with his waist. He was more than surprised when Murtagh continued to hold him close, even though they were now looking into each other's eyes. Eragon felt his brown eyes widen almost comically when Murtagh leaned down. The brunet felt himself blush horribly red when Murtagh pressed a soft and fleeting kiss on his forehead. The hazel eyed man pulled back and presented Eragon with a small, genuine smile.

"How did you know that was what I needed?" Murtagh asked.

"I dunno." Eragon replied softly. "Maybe because I've been there myself, and I remember what I needed back then?"

Murtagh smirked softly as he removed his arms. One hand came up and lightly poked Eragon's forehead.

"Or maybe you're just psychic." Murtagh teased.

Eragon rolled his eyes and scooted backwards a bit. Murtagh tipped his head slightly to one side and leaned back onto his arms again. Eragon allowed his own arms to half-circle his lower abdomen. Murtagh had yet to indicate that he wanted Eragon to move, and he planned to exploit that for as long as he could. He quite liked sitting in the older male's lap.

"Maybe that's why I keep seeing the lottery numbers in my sleep before every lottery day? I'm psychic!" Eragon exclaimed sarcastically. "No wonder I've been able to read people's minds."

"Yeah? Tell me what I'm thinking about right now, then." The dark haired man asked with a small leer.

"Oh, that's far too dirty for me to repeat." Eragon said deadpanned.

Murtagh narrowed his eyes in mock-insult and suddenly started to tickle Eragon mercilessly. Eragon couldn't hold in the laughter, and neither could he make Murtagh stop. He was kind enough to stop before Eragon fell off the bed, however. Murtagh removed his hands, but not before pulling the younger brunet back into his previous position in his lap.

"All teasing aside... thank you. It helped."

Eragon grinned softly at the words.

They continued to talk about an entirely different matter, but even as they did so, Eragon couldn't help but to think that he had gotten the edited version from Murtagh. Somehow, he just knew there was something Murtagh wasn't telling him. But it didn't matter. He was far too comfortable to think about that at that moment.

(End Flashback)


The brunet smiled when he relived that memory. If he concentrated hard enough, he could almost feel those arms around him.

Eragon shook himself out of his thoughts harshly. It was no use to remember something that would never happen again.

"Oy, there you are!"

Eragon held in a groan at the familiar voice. He continued to stare out in front of himself as he heard someone sit down heavily beside him.

"Sneaking out like that, at a time like this... are you consciously trying to give us all heart-attacks?!"

The brunet sighed softly. He turned around to face someone he had started to think of as one of his closest friends.

"Sorry, Aksel." Eragon said softly. "I just needed to be alone with my thoughts. You know, alone."

Aksel ran a hand through his hair, making his Mohawk look even more dishevelled than usual.

"I hear ya, mate, but Arya's gonna kill you when we get back. If not worse, castrate you." He said and winced.

Eragon let out a soft laugh. He doubted Arya would do just that, but he winced in his at the thought of the upcoming headache he would get from being hit by said black haired female.

"So, what rattled you up so bad you had to go outside to think?" Aksel asked with a small frown.

Eragon sent the blond a blank look.

"I mean besides that!"

"Besides almost being declared dead to the world, what do you think is bugging me?" The brunet said dryly and got up.

"Wouldn't be asking if I knew." Aksel said and jumped up to follow Eragon.

Eragon sighed loudly and for a minute, he did nothing but to listen to his own footfalls echo in his ears.

"Did you seen him after it happened?" He asked quietly.

"Who, Tag? Uh, sure... for like, a second." Aksel said and shrugged. "And, if you're asking how he looked, I'd describe it as, pardon the pun, dead."

Eragon winced.

"Or maybe human is more the right word? I mean, you've seen him right? With his mask in place and smirking at the world?" Aksel paused and looked up at the clear night sky. "For just a fleeting moment, all his barriers were down and I could finally see the scared child within him."

Eragon felt himself tear up slightly. Not because he was going to cry, but because the words hit him with such a force that he had to react somehow. His heart gave a small clench as he kicked a small pebble down the path before him.

"I hate to say it, but... you kid, you manage to bring out the worst and the best in him." The blond said and came to a stop.

The brunet turned around with a small furrow in his brow. Aksel crossed his arms over his chest and finally lowered his eyes from the skies.

"It was refreshing to see him when he was under house-arrest. He seemed like a totally new person! A new Murtagh and a better one at that." Aksel said with a half smile. "But you should have seen him afterwards. Before he met you, sure, he was scary and cold and all that jazz. But now... aw man, he's goddamn terrifying! And I'm talking psycho-killer-in-a-horror-flick terrifying."

The green eyed man shuddered slightly from something Eragon knew wasn't the cold. And all Eragon could do was widen his eyes in shock.

"I don't mean to scare you and shit, but let me give you an example." Aksel wrapped an arm around Eragon's shoulders and began to lead him down the path again. "You remember Vanir, don't you? Everyone remembers his stuck-up arse."

Eragon nodded mutely.

"Before you, he'd snap and talk back at Murtagh like you wouldn't believe! But after you made him tell the crew his secret, cos I know it was you buddy, he started to treat Tag with respect. More respect anyway. Respect he should have had from the start!" Aksel paused to laugh. "Tag's his superior, for Christ sake."

"What?!"

Aksel laughed heartily.

"What, you didn't know? The dude has his own office; that should tell ya something. He's, well I don't remember his official title since no one ever calls him that, but he's the Captain's second in command."

Eragon blinked. Of all things that Murtagh hadn't told him...

"For real?" Eragon asked.

Aksel nodded enthusiastically.

"I know; I totally expected it to be Nasuada too. But Murtagh's older than her for one, and he's damn good at what he does!" The blond said and waggled his eyebrows with, surprisingly, a serious look in his eyes. "Never piss that guy off, he will stuff a gun in-between your eyes and tell you that you owe him one when he doesn't pull the trigger, even if he owed you in the first place."

Eragon frowned as they finally stepped out of the park and started to cross the empty street.

"Anyway, Vanir's actually treading lightly around him now. Fuck, I don't have to tell him off for him to treat Murtagh fairly anymore!" Aksel said amusedly.

"Huh?" Eragon said confusedly.

"Nah, don't worry about it." The green eyed male said and waved his hand dismissively.

Eragon just looked at his friend oddly as Aksel lead him up the stairs and held open the door for him to enter. He had a feeling that he had gotten more questions out of the walk than answers. When he glanced over at Aksel, who was trying to find the right key to fit into the apartment door, he knew he definitely was more confused now than he when he had gone out.


A/N See? I told you guys the chapter would be worth reading! :ducks away from still flying and lethal objects: I am truly sorry for putting you though that, believing Eragon was dead and all, but it was vital to the story! Why? :smirks: Let me tell you why; Murtagh.

Now, who here doesn't agree that I have put Murtagh through a lot in this chapter? More than all of Red Haze's chapters combined! And how come I did this? Cos Murtagh needed a reality check. And what could have been better than to make him think that he had lost Eragon forever? I'm not saying that there'll be any immediate and noticeable changes in Murtagh's behaviour, but they'll come. In fact, don't curse at me if he still seems like the same ol' bastard. All in due time, my dears.

But over to other things. I honestly don't know when I'll be able to post chapter three, but know that I'm working to get the sequel out and finished as soon as possible. I have this last week and the next in the scotching south to work on my fics. And by fics I mean all of them! :sweatdrop: I will try my best to have chapter three out ASAP, but I can't tell you when as of yet. I'm sorry.

To those who are perhaps curious about Eragon's indifferent behaviour; he's a master of keeping things bottled up. I might write a scene where you'll see his true colours shining through, but I need to see if I can fit it in somewhere before I can promise you anything. Also, I never said that Eragon will take Saphira's advice, so please don't hound me on it! And neither did I say he won't take it. Eragon will be in a bit of an emotional turmoil most of the time and it's all thanks to dear Murtagh. So if he seems cold and indifferent, I hope you now understand why.

And this was the chapter I referred to in Red Haze. The word Aksel can't remember is "Sergeant", and Sergeant is a higher rank than Detective. But since I've cut out the "Lieutenant" rank, Sergeant is the Captain's second in command. This means that, as Aksel said, Murtagh is ranked over Thorn, Arya, Nasuada, Vanir and Aksel. If Ajihad isn't present, then Murtagh's the boss, to put it simply. I hope this cleared up any confusion. If someone is still confused, let me know and I'll try to explain it better.

And that's it really. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter!

I know you may already know some of the words, but I'm adding them all just in case.

Police Speak:

I.D. – short for Identify

PD – short for Police Department