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 Eragon's kid) or story and I will report you. I also own my version of Saphira/Thorn's human appearances, and the universe and versions of the creatures I use in this story (hydras and chimeras in particular).
Warnings: Slash/Shōnen-ai – meaning mild guy x guy action. Femslash/Shōjo-ai – meaning mild girl x girl action. Swearing or strong language. Supernatural creatures – there will be mainly elves, dragons, vampires and werewolves in this. Mpreg – meaning male pregnancy people! If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.
A/N A huge thanks to everyone who reviewed and to those that still reads this story. It means a lot to know that you guys haven't given up on it yet.
This is indeed the last chapter of this story. Don't fret! There's still more to this universe. I'm slowly working on what I hope is the last long story of this particular universe. I have several small stories floating around with these characters, but I can't promise anything concrete with those. The third and final story, however? That baby is getting written for sure.
I am rather nervous to release this into the world, as I haven't finished the first chapter of the sequel yet, but at this point I don't want to keep it to myself any longer. I doubt I'll make any changes to the chapter, so I feel somewhat confident to post it. If anything happens with the time-line, I'll be sure to let you guys know when Stalked is finally posted.
But that's enough rambling for now. Enjoy!
-Speech.- Thorn/Saphira and Murtagh/Thorn talking to each other mentally.
Part Twenty; Forever Obsessed
::May to June::
Despite the anxiety in the back of her mind, Saphira still felt her spirits soar as they flew over the ocean. She was in her right element now. She hadn't flown in so long she had almost forgotten how good and liberating it felt to spread her wings and let the wind carry her forward.
When she reached out, she wasn't surprised that Thorn's energy felt calmer as well. This was their rightful element, no matter how bonded they were to their riders. But if they were forced to choose between their riders and the sky, Saphira would never have been able to choose. It would be like having to split herself in half.
-Are you sure Murtagh went this way?- Saphira asked Thorn.
She saw him look over briefly.
-Yes. The impressions I got from him were of the ocean. He's heading to Illium, I'm sure of it.-
It worried Saphira that she couldn't get a clear reading on Eragon. He was most likely still knocked out. She would be able to feel him again as soon as he woke up.
-Why didn't he wait for you?- she felt compelled to ask. –He could have saved hours of travelling time.-
-True,- he answered, –but Murtagh doesn't always think things through. If he acts instinctively, then he just does the first thing that comes to mind. And the first thing he thought of was to go after her while the trail was still fresh. Smart, as he would be sure of her destination then and stupid because he would be going alone.-
-How far behind him do you think we are?-
-To Illium? It will take him at least three hours to get there by boat. We should be half an hour behind him.-
Saphira started to beat her wings a little faster. Thorn followed her example.
-They will be fine. Murtagh is a good fighter, should it come to that,- Thorn assured her.
It didn't matter. Saphira was still scared for her rider and his son. And nothing except seeing them safe would make that feeling go away.
The flight to Illium seemed long and short at once. When the small cluster of islands came into view, Thorn felt himself beat his wings a little faster. Beside him, Saphira shot forward and started descend at an almost alarming speed.
Thorn knew she had felt Eragon wake up not long ago. From then on, her tempo had accelerated. Thorn had soon found out why, when he felt echoes of Murtagh's pain shoot through his head.
He started to descend beside her. He wondered why she was descending so early.
He continued to be puzzled when Saphira continued to aim for the dark ocean beneath them. The islands weren't near enough yet. Just what was she aiming at?
The answer hit him quickly when he saw a tiny dot in the ocean. A boat? Just what was so special about it?
He was shocked when Saphira slowed down and transformed mid-air. She hadn't been more than a few metres away from the deck, but hadn't she been a hydra, a fall like that would have injured her greatly.
Thorn saw the occupants on the boat, then. A tired and obviously hurt Eragon was trying his damndest to operate the boat while he fought not to pass out.
Thorn would have transformed and landed on deck himself, but Vanir was on his back. Transforming was out until Vanir could get off safely. He landed in the ocean beside the boat instead. The water splashed around him and Thorn hear Vanir grumble, but he tuned him out. He focused on Saphira and Eragon.
Saphira was touching every part of Eragon that she could reach. She wasn't talking out loud, though Thorn suspected she was ranting on over the connection between her and Eragon.
Thorn was about to speak to Saphira when he was interrupted.
"What happened?" Vanir asked.
"Murtagh killed her," Eragon said so quietly Thorn had to strain himself to hear him speak. "Durza came after us. Murtagh's fighting him off now."
And judging by the echoes Thorn could feel, Murtagh wasn't fighting a winning battle. He needed to get there pronto.
"He's injured, Thorn," Eragon said and looked right at him.
Thorn was shocked to see the amount of worry in Eragon's eyes. What had happened in there that had changed him so much? He knew that Eragon's feeling towards Murtagh were shifting and that he cared more about the vampire, but this much? He looked scared for Murtagh's sake.
"I will get these two home," Saphira said and forced Eragon to sit down next to his son. "You two hurry."
-Be careful,- Thorn told her.
"You two as well."
Thorn flapped his wings and took off. The only thing he heard was the sound of his own heart beating.
Hold out, Murtagh. I'm coming.
Murtagh ducked and twisted away from Durza's punches. He was no match for Durza. Durza oozed of hatred and had probably had more than his fill of blood. Murtagh was injured and had only snuck a little from one of the pets – just enough to heal himself, but little else.
If this fight ended in his death, then Murtagh wouldn't be surprised.
Murtagh had managed to lure Durza away from the docks and closer to the castle. He wasn't sure if that was a smart move, but it was one he chose to make for Eragon and Ren's sake.
But even though he managed to duck and twist out of Durza's grasp, he had still gotten a few new scratches. When vampires grew nails, they grew fucking claws.
Murtagh bit back a scream when Durza's nails slid through the tissue and muscle on his right bicep like it was butter. It hurt like a fucking bitch.
"You will not get out of here alive, Murtagh," Durza said calmly.
Well, as calm as you could get with blood splattered all over you and a spark on insanity in your eyes, Murtagh thought to himself. He gripped his bicep hard. If he didn't get out of there soon, re-growing the muscle tissue would be the least of his problems. Durza's prophesy was looking probable to come true.
"Watch me, asshole," Murtagh growled and ran for the docks.
He screamed in anger and pain when Durza sank his claws into his shoulder and threw him onto the ground.
Looking up at Durza's pasty face, Murtagh couldn't help but to think that this was it. Now he really was going to die.
A poison green bolt of magic threw Durza right off him. Murtagh looked up and was surprised and relieved when he saw Thorn's massive form hanging over him.
Someone leaped off Thorn's back, and Murtagh was even more surprised when he saw Vanir crouched next to him.
"You just had to go and be an idiot, hm?" Vanir said casually.
Murtagh wanted to retort, but he had more important things to focus on, like Durza.
Durza was picking himself up from the ground. There was a burned and smoking circle in the centre of his chest. Apparently Vanir had added some extra flair to that magic spell.
Thorn landed right behind where Murtagh was lying. He roared angrily at Durza.
For a minute, the vampire didn't do anything. He was probably stunned that someone had actually come to Murtagh's rescue.
Murtagh couldn't blame him. He was a little stunned himself.
"Can you stand?" Vanir asked, still crouched down.
Murtagh could see his eyes shimmering with magic. His palms were devoid of any light, so he wasn't calling forward any particular spell. He was just ready to lash out if it was needed.
But as for Vanir's question...
Murtagh slowly pushed himself up. His entire body was screaming at him, but he ignored it. He hissed and slowly got to his feet.
Durza came at them then.
He literally only had a second to act, but Durza spent that second well. He managed to slip past Vanir before the magician could fully form a spell. He ducked under Thorn's large head and slammed a hand into Murtagh's chest before he could fully raise his arms to protect it.
His dreams hadn't done this part any justice. He could clearly remember the dream with Formora where she ripped his heart out of his chest. That pain felt like a pinprick compared to the pain he was experiencing now.
He literally felt Durza's hand slam into his chest. He felt it cut through the layer of muscle, shatter or break three of the ribs and then the claws cut into his heart.
That was all Durza managed to do before Thorn's jaws descended on him and closed around him. Murtagh heard bones crunch and the thick, slick sound of soft tissue being chewed on.
But that was all he managed to focus on between waves of pain. His chest was on fire. He was being burned from the inside out.
The only thing he heard as he blacked out was his heart struggling to take another beat.
Thorn spat the vampire onto the ground. Before he could tell Vanir what to do, the magician sent a fireball at the mulch that once was a vampire.
Thorn watched it catch fire before turning his attention to Murtagh.
Murtagh looked so pale. His frame was spotted with black drying blood and fresh red dots. He was badly clawed up. A few healing cuts had ripped open.
Murtagh's blood-stained hands were clawing at his chest. There was a huge gap in his chest. Thorn could see Murtagh's heart beating in there. The organ was bleeding.
Thorn cried out in alarm. If he could have communicated with Vanir, he would have screamed at him.
Thankfully it didn't seem like Vanir needed any encouragement to start working. He instantly dropped to his knees beside Murtagh and put his hands over Murtagh's chest. The hands were crossed and two of the fingers on his right hand were touching the tattoo right over his left wrist. His hands started to glow.
Murtagh continued to splutter and choke. Thorn could feel the sharp echo of his pain deep in his chest, but he knew that whatever he was feeling was nothing compared to the pain his rider was going through.
"I can only try to stop the injuries from bleeding at this point," Vanir said as he worked. "He's too weak to drink blood. We need to hurry back to Carvahall."
Panic wanted to take over, but Thorn wouldn't let it. Murtagh was going to be fine. Vanir knew what he was doing, and Brom could take over when they got back. Everything was going to be fine.
It seemed to take forever, but finally Murtagh's major injuries stopped bleeding. But the hole in his chest remained.
"I don't have the time to fix it now," Vanir said urgently and put gauze over it. "We need to leave. Now."
Thorn was all for that.
Vanir managed to pick Murtagh up and climb onto Thorn's back. Thorn turned his head and watched Vanir secure Murtagh magically. He then gave a nod to Thorn.
Thorn took to the skies no more than a second later.
Hold on, Murtagh. Oh God, please hold on.
As soon as the boat reached Teirm, Saphira had announced that they were flying back to Carvahall. Eragon had no objections to that. He wanted to go home.
The ride on the boat had been silent, and the flight passed by the same way. Even Ren, who usually made some fuss, was silent. He had fallen asleep sometime on the boat.
Eragon's head was filled with thoughts about everything and nothing. He was mostly glad that Ren hadn't been harmed, though he was worried he might have gotten a cold from his time on the floor. His mind often strayed to his injuries. Eragon was scared to have them looked at. He didn't want to know how bad they were.
Most of all, he thought about Murtagh. He wondered if Murtagh was alright and if Thorn and Vanir had gotten there in time. He didn't know what he would feel if Murtagh somehow didn't make it.
Saphira landed in Brom's backyard. It was barely noon and yet Eragon felt dead tired. He felt like he could go to bed and sleep for a week.
"Come on. Inside."
Eragon let Saphira lead him inside. He cradled Ren to his chest and looked around as they stepped into the living room.
Somehow it felt like he hadn't been there in weeks.
It was Nasuada that saw him first. "Oh God, Eragon," she breathed and rushed over.
The others were right behind her. No one spoke, but they looked him over. Eragon wondered what he looked like. He knew he was bloodied and bruised, but he had few cuts. Murtagh had seen to that.
"Thorn and Vanir went after Murtagh," Saphira explained. "They should be right -"
"They're already here," Arya said gravely. "They're in Murtagh's old room."
Eragon felt his heart stop beating.
Nasuada looked horribly pale. It didn't suit her at all. Arya looked sombre. With her white complexion, it was hard to say when she even was looking pale for other reasons. Aksel looked horrified and worried all at once.
It was then he noticed that Brom wasn't there. He was with the others, then.
"How was he?" Saphira asked quietly.
Arya shook her head. "He's really injured. Vanir and Thorn wouldn't let us see. They took him straight to the room and Brom followed them," she explained.
Eragon could feel himself getting dizzy. He gently put Ren down in a basket he must have forgotten to take out of the living room the day before. The room was spinning.
He didn't know who had spoken. All he was aware of was the ground rushing up to meet him.
Saphira instantly knew what she had to do. She grabbed Eragon before he could hit the floor. She was so stupid. She should have flown straight to the hospital.
"Arya, get your car. Eragon needs to go to the hospital. Now."
Arya was out of the door before Saphira had even finished speaking.
"Nasuada, Aksel, I need you two to take care of Ren while we go to the hospital. Tell Brom where we are."
Nasuada nodded. Aksel looked ready to pass out, but he nodded too.
With some difficulty, Saphira managed to drag Eragon a few steps before Aksel came and helped her out. She knew without looking that Nasuada was watching Ren.
They managed to get Eragon into the back of Arya's car and then they were off. Saphira looked back and saw Aksel staring after them. He looked so lost all of a sudden.
"What happened?" Arya said as she gripped the steering wheel hard.
"Formora. She must have beat up Eragon really badly," Saphira whispered.
She was a little sad that Murtagh had put an end to Formora. Saphira would have loved to have hunted the bitch down herself.
She was a little surprised when Arya asked about Murtagh. Arya hadn't held back on the negative emotions the vampire seemed to wake within her. But now Saphira had to say that she almost sounded worried.
"He is probably bruised from his fight with Formora and Durza."
That was all Saphira had gotten out of Eragon, anyway. He had clammed up entirely on the trip home, and she hadn't had the heart to make him talk.
"There was a huge bandage on his chest, Saph," Arya said very calmly.
Saphira startled. Arya sounded like she was holding something back, though Saphira couldn't tell what.
"It was soaked with blood. He's not just bruised," the elf swallowed. "He looked like he was near death."
Arya's mouth tightened and she stared hard at the road in front of them. If Saphira hadn't known any better... she almost looked like she was holding back tears.
"I don't care about him," she interrupted. "I care about Eragon. And Ren."
That was all Saphira needed to know.
"Now where is that fucking exit to the hospital?"
The next twenty-four hours passed by at an agonizingly slow rate. Brom and Vanir hadn't left Murtagh's room since entering it. Thorn hadn't been allowed inside. It killed him to be separated from his rider at a time like this, but Thorn knew when he was fighting a losing battle.
Thorn had barely slept. He had dozed off every now and then, but a stab of pain from Murtagh always woke him.
He lived for those echoes now. They told him Murtagh was still alive.
Saphira was still at the hospital with Eragon. She hadn't come home since they had rushed him there, apparently. Thorn hadn't gotten the whole story yet, but from what he understood Eragon had collapsed and been rushed to the hospital for some desperately needed medical attention.
Ren had fussed more than usual, probably because he missed Eragon. But there was nothing that could be done about that. The cries hadn't even bothered Thorn. He was too focused on Murtagh. Nothing else mattered now.
Something seemed to shift once they officially hit the twenty-four hour mark. Brom walked out of the room. There were dark bags under his eyes and exhaustion seemed to radiate out of him.
Thorn hurried over. "Well?"
Brom shook his head. Thorn almost started to panic until he realised it wasn't a sad shake, only a tired one.
"We've done all we can do," Brom said gruffly. "It's up to Murtagh now."
"Has he gotten any blood in him?" Thorn asked before Brom could leave.
Brom paused. He closed his eyes and looked ready to fall asleep right then and there.
"Some, but not nearly enough. He's been in and out of consciousness since you got here. We've tried to get more in him, but he's not strong enough."
The panic returned, and this time it was there to stay.
No. Murtagh was too stubborn to die like this. He couldn't die now.
"His injuries are healing, but slowly, even with the help of our magic," Brom sighed tiredly. "Vanir is with him. I was mainly the one using magic. If anything happens, he will have some to spare that he can use."
"Do you have enough blood?"
"Yes. But as long as Murtagh can't drink it, there's nothing we can do," Brom said and looked at him. "I'm sorry. Keep praying, or cursing if you prefer that. There's still hope."
Thorn watched him go. The panic was still beating in his chest.
If there was still hope, then why did it feel like everything was lost?
It was hard for her to look at Eragon like this. He looked so pale lying on his hospital bed. Saphira hadn't let go of his hand since the doctors had finished patching him up.
But even though she barely could bear to look at him like this, she couldn't look away. The monitor next to his bed told her his heart was still beating. The doctors had given him a breathing tube, but they assured her it was only as a precaution. The line curled over his ears, across his cheeks and under his nose. He looked almost cute where he lay.
The cuteness ended there. The blue and white sheets only made him look paler than he actually was. The bandages reminded her painfully of how she had been unable to protect him.
Eragon had lost a lot of blood, they had told her the day before. It came as no surprise to Saphira. However, it was alarming to see that they were still keeping him on a drip and with a blood-bag hooked to his arm.
Saphira squeezed his hand a little tighter. Eragon hadn't gained consciousness yet. The doctors had assured her it was normal, but Saphira was starting to wonder.
She closed her eyes and sighed. Eragon, please wake up.
There was a knock on the doorframe. Saphira looked over. She recognised the man instantly. "Doctor Carn."
Carn smiled tiredly. "I read his name on an admission form. I had to stop by," he said and took a step into the room. "What happened?"
Saphira sighed. "What hasn't happened?"
Something flashed in Carn's eyes. "Was it the father?" he asked gravely.
Saphira shook her head. "Believe it or not, the father has actually been helpful these past few months," Saphira said and looked back at Eragon. "He's the reason Eragon is here, alive and recovering."
"And what of the father?"
Saphira bit her lip. "I don't know," she whispered. "He was hurt. I haven't been home since Eragon came here."
"Then where is he?" Carn asked.
"We have a couple of magicians at home working on him."
Carn hummed. "I'm not sure what more a hospital could have done, but nonetheless, we do have a vampire ward here."
"It's secluded, of course," Carn explained. "But it is a part of this hospital, though some way away from the main building."
She wasn't sure how such a ward could be operating.
"The staff is made up of creatures," he said, surprising her, "namely werewolves, elves and other vampires. The patients aren't very interested in sinking their teeth into that staff, I can assure you."
She was even more surprised now. Vampires working in medicine?
"It sounds weird, doesn't it?" he said with a twinkle in his eyes. "I thought it was insane myself when I started working here. But it works. Mated vampires are most peculiar beings."
She blinked. It almost sounded like he had personal experience with it.
"I hope Rider recovers quickly. Give him my best."
She nodded and watched the doctor leave.
Eragon had been shocked when he woke up in a hospital, but after Saphira had explained everything to him, it all made sense. It was like he had almost forgotten about his injuries for a minute.
A couple of hours later, the doctors had given him a full check-over and proclaimed him well on the road to recovery. Sadly, they had also told him that he wasn't allowed to leave just yet.
Eragon sighed. He hated hospital gowns. He was also getting a little desperate to see Ren again.
"Are you sure he's ok?" Eragon asked again.
Saphira nodded yet again. "I called. He seems perfectly fine. He misses you, but there are no signs of a cold."
Eragon breathed a sigh of relief. He'd probably ask Saphira again later just to be sure, but for now he was appeased.
He remembered something then. The doctors had said he had been out for some time.
"How long was I out?"
Saphira pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. "Two days."
Eragon choked. Two days?!
"One of the doctors called your cousin, since he's listed as your medical proxy," Saphira said and looked down at her hands. "He's coming to visit."
Eragon wanted to curse. The last thing he needed right now was Roran.
"When?" he asked.
"Early July," she said. "He wanted to come sooner, but I don't think he could get off work before then."
There was a pause.
"...Does Roran even know that you have a son?"
He paled. Oh fuck. He had totally forgotten about that. With everything that had been going on, he hadn't told his family about Ren. He had been so out of the loop it was months since he had even spoken to Roran and his fiancé Katrina. They were most likely furious with him.
"I guess it's too much to hope that he'll let me off easy, right?" he asked quietly.
Saphira bit her lip again.
Fuck. He had been afraid of that.
"I think Katrina is coming too."
That was fine. He could deal with Katrina. She was nice. But Roran was a nightmare. He got way too protective sometimes.
Eragon looked at her sharply. Protective. Murtagh.
"How is Murtagh?"
Saphira fell silent.
Eragon felt a lump start to form in his throat.
"I haven't been home in two days, but Thorn has been calling me with updates. He hasn't really woken up since they came back," she sighed. "He was in and out of consciousness the first day, but he's been asleep for quite some time now."
The brunet had to look away.
"They've gotten some blood in him, but Brom says only time will tell."
Eragon fixed his gaze out of the window. The room fell silent.
Eragon was let out the next day. Arya drove over to pick them up.
Since the day before, Eragon hadn't really spoken much. Saphira was a little scared of what was going on in his mind.
The ride back to the house was silent. Saphira didn't dare to speak to Arya. She didn't want to ruin the silence, even though it made her feel uncomfortable. Breaking it just seemed wrong.
Eragon was silent as they walked inside the house.
"Nas is with Ren in the living room," Arya whispered to Saphira.
Saphira nodded at her. She took Eragon's arm gently and led him into the living room.
Nasuada and Ren were the only ones there. With everything that had been going on, Saphira wasn't sure if Aksel went to school or even had a job anymore.
Eragon walked over and gently took Ren out of Nasuada's grasp. She let him.
"Are you ok?" she asked softly.
Eragon just nodded. He cradled Ren and started to rock him.
Saphira pulled Nasuada into the kitchen. She placed herself in such a way that she could see Eragon and Ren through the doorway.
"How are things?" she asked Nasuada.
Nasuada sighed "Truthfully, I probably know about as much as you," she answered tiredly. "We haven't seen much of Vanir or Brom these past few days. We only see one of them during meal time. They take shifts to watch over him."
Saphira bit her lip. "It's that bad?"
"Seems like it."
Saphira looked at Eragon and Ren. Eragon had taken a seat and was looking down at his son. One of his fingers kept stroking Ren's cheek right over the little mole he had there.
Brom and Vanir stepped into the living room then. Saphira rushed out instantly. She didn't like that they were both there.
Brom headed over to Eragon and put a hand on his shoulder. He started to talk quietly to Eragon. Saphira headed over.
"I'm fine," Eragon was saying softly.
Brom's hand tightened its grip on Eragon's shoulder.
"They said I'll probably get a few scars."
Hatred flashed in Brom's eyes, making Saphira pause.
Brom had always been very protective of Eragon and she hadn't questioned it when they had grown up. Brom had been a friend of Eragon's mother, after all. She had never questioned it when he had practically taken over as Eragon's guardian when work forced Roran to move away from Carvahall either.
But now she found herself wondering. There was something about the look on Brom's face that reminded her of something, but she couldn't remember what.
Eragon looked up at Brom then. His face was expressionless, just like it had been since he had woken up. There had been flashes of emotions, sure, but they had faded away so quickly that Saphira knew he had been holding himself back.
Now there was a slight desperation in his eyes. Saphira wished she knew what he was thinking about.
"How is he?"
"Resting," Brom answered. "Thorn is in there with him."
Saphira knew that already. She could feel him. She could feel the worry pouring out of him.
"...Is he going to make it?" Eragon whispered.
Saphira walked until she stood beside Brom. She felt the older man look at her, but Eragon's eyes never strayed from Brom's face.
"He's strong," Brom answered. "We have managed to get some more blood in him, but only time will tell."
A very neutral answer. Saphira knew Eragon couldn't be happy with that. She vowed to find out more for him. If it kept him from sneaking into Murtagh's room and finding out himself, then she would. Eragon had to focus on himself and making sure to get his rest, and right now Saphira knew nothing was farther from his mind than just that.
Thorn watched the slow rise and fall of his rider's chest. He looked terrible. Thorn had never seen him this beaten up before.
The evidence from the fight against Formora had all but faded. Vampire healing focused on mending the oldest injuries first, something that was both a blessing and a curse. This time it was the latter.
Vanir had been forced to put more bandages on Murtagh's torso. The cuts on his forearms were all but faded and the marks on his face were gone. Murtagh's chest was a mess. His neck, shoulders, biceps were wrapped up, as well as his chest and stomach. Most of the cuts were healing, but certain areas were still soaked with blood. His neck had stopped bleeding as much the day before, but there was still a thin strip of dark blood there.
The areas that worried Thorn the most were right side of Murtagh's chest and his left bicep and shoulder. Both areas still bled. The blood they poured into him seemed to pour right out instead of healing him any faster.
"Murtagh," Thorn said softly.
Murtagh hadn't been conscious for at least twenty hours, but that didn't stop Thorn from talking to him. He hoped that Murtagh could hear it and that it would help him fight.
"You have to fight," he continued. "Don't let Durza get the satisfaction of having taken you with him to the afterlife."
Murtagh remained all but motionless. His eyelids fluttered every now and then, but not often. Sometime his eyes rolled to show he was dreaming, but usually he was just like this; motionless except for when he breathed.
Thorn knew that wasn't a good sign. Vampires only tended to show any signs of breathing when they were severely injured. Some vampires maybe even believed that they didn't need to breathe, but they did, just not as often as other creatures. Thorn had learned a lot of trivia about vampire from living with Murtagh all these years.
"...Eragon's back from the hospital," Thorn said, unsure of what else to say. "I felt them arrive a few minutes ago. He's going to be alright. But that doesn't mean you can go ahead and die. He might need you again."
No answer, not even a twitch of a hand.
"I need you, you idiot," Thorn said thickly. "If you die, I swear I'll bring you back so I can kill you myself."
Murtagh didn't answer.
There was a soft knock on the door. Thorn instantly knew who it was.
-You can come in.-
The door opened. Saphira stepped in and closed the door behind her. For a few seconds, she didn't move.
"I'm so sorry, Thorn," she whispered.
Thorn felt his lips twitch. His throat suddenly felt very tight.
Saphira walked over and hugged him. Thorn could only hug her back and try to keep the tears at bay.
Night had fallen. Eragon took another look at his sleeping son before slipping out of his room.
He kept one hand in his pocket. It brushed against the baby monitor. He had only changed into a pair of sweatpants before bed. He had known he wouldn't be going to sleep right away.
Eragon made his way from his wing and over to Brom's. No one had outright said he shouldn't be visiting Murtagh, but it was implied in every look he had gotten from Brom and Saphira. Eragon didn't care. He had to see for himself.
He walked crossed the empty living room and stepped into the other hallway. His walk gradually slowed until he stood outside Murtagh's room.
Eragon just stared at the door for a few minutes. Now that he was finally here, it wasn't as easy to walk inside as he had imagined. It was just a door. Why was it so hard to grab the handle and push it down?
He slowly reached out and put his hand on the handle. It wasn't locked, but Eragon was shocked when he felt a force field around it.
Eragon had been able to feel magic and force field before, but not to this intensity. Then again, he had cast his first spell a few days ago. He made a mental note to tell Saphira. Maybe it was time he learned a few tricks. If he was this sensitive to magic now, it certainly wouldn't do any harm to learn more about it.
The brunet took a deep breath and pushed the door open. He couldn't hear any alarms going off, but for all he knew the field sent out silent alarms that only notified Vanir and Brom.
He waited a couple of minutes, but nothing happened. He let out a relieved sigh.
Eragon quickly slipped inside before he could change his mind. He closed the door and leaned against it.
The room didn't have a window. It was about the size of a large closet and, knowing Brom, it may just as well have been that once upon a time. There was only a bed, a bedside table, a chest and a chair by the bed. There was a folding table leaned against the wall beside the bed. Vanir and Brom and most likely used that during their healing.
Eragon forced his eyes over at the bed. There was a dim light on the bedside table that was the only lit light-source in the room. It only lit up about half of the room. It allowed him to see the bed's occupant quite easily.
Eragon was thrown back in time to the time he had gone with Thorn to wake Murtagh out of the almost-coma. The only difference now was that he was alone and that Murtagh was painfully hurt.
He took a careful step forward. Even though his skin was pale as death, the white bandages somehow managed to stand out. Eragon noticed a few healing scars and bruises. Most of the bandages were clean, but the wound on Murtagh's shoulder was apparently still bleeding.
He hesitated. What was he doing, going in here alone? What if Murtagh woke up hungry? Murtagh could kill him in a heartbeat.
But Eragon remembered the look on Brom and Vanir's faces. Murtagh was seriously out of it. They weren't even sure if he would recover.
He took another step forward. Slowly but surely he found himself standing beside the bed.
If Eragon hadn't known any better, he could have sworn Murtagh was sleeping. His face looked peaceful. He bore no marks there from the fight.
The brunet sat down in the chair.
He had to admit to himself that it was strange to be there. Only a few months ago he had practically prayed for Murtagh's death, and now he actually found himself worried about the bastard.
Eragon clasped his hands and let them hang between his slightly spread thighs. He worried his lip as he looked at Murtagh.
"Hey," he said softly.
He winced at the sound of his own voice. It sounded unnaturally loud in the room. But even so, he pushed on.
"I wanted to thank you for saving Ren and me. We would have died if you hadn't come along when you did."
Eragon licked his lips. He looked down at his hands.
"Then again, we wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for you, but that's a whole different issue," he paused. "Anyway...thank you."
The silence seemed to choke him now that he had broken it. Eragon didn't know if he should keep talking or walk away. He had done what he had come to do. There was nothing left for him to do but to leave.
But something was holding him back.
"I..." he paused and bit down hard on his bottom lip, "I know you don't really care about Ren and me, but I know he cares about you. I know that he would like to know you when he gets older. It would be nice if he could at least get that option."
"And Thorn would really miss you, so..." he swallowed, "get better, alright?"
Murtagh didn't answer.
Eragon sighed. Of course he couldn't answer. Murtagh was unconscious, and probably would be for quite some time.
He looked down at one of Murtagh's hands. It was lying on top of the covers, palm down and with the fingers spread. Eragon look at his own hand. It seemed so much smaller than Murtagh's.
Eragon slowly lowered his hand and put it on top of Murtagh's. He hissed. The vampire's skin was ice cold. He had expected as much, but it still shocked him. He was almost tempted to try to rub some warmth into it.
Eragon shook his head. God, he sounded stupid. Rub some warmth into a vampire's hand? Jesus. He needed to get a grip.
He startled when he felt the hand under his twitch. He looked up at Murtagh's face.
Murtagh's eyes were still closed, but Eragon could still his eyes flickering. Eragon relaxed. He had heard Brom and Thorn talk about that. Apparently Murtagh had moments when he appeared to be in REM sleep. REM sleep was usually accompanied by eye movement and occasional twitches in someone's limbs.
Eragon shook his head again. It was time he got out of there.
He made to pull back his hand, but it was grabbed before he could. Eragon stared hard at the pale hand that was gripping his. He looked up sharply.
Murtagh's eyes were at half-mast, but he was clearly awake. His chest was rising a bit faster than it had done a minute ago. Eragon stared back into his startlingly hazel eyes.
Murtagh's mouth twitched into something that looked like a smirk before his eyes slipped shut and he lost consciousness again. The hand around Eragon's became slack and fell back down.
Eragon didn't know how much time passed as he continued to stare at him, but once he was sure Murtagh wasn't waking up again, he stepped back.
Step by step took him to the door and finally out of the room. Eragon stared at the closed door before his hand finally let go of the doorknob and fell to rest against his side.
He was walking down the hallway a minute later. His heart felt much lighter.
Murtagh was going to make it. That was all he needed to know.
Weeks flew by. Slowly but surely Murtagh started to recover. By the last week of June, Brom announced that he'd be fit to leave in a few days.
Murtagh was ready to leave now.
The first week or so hadn't been all that bad, but that was only because he had spent that time sleeping. Murtagh had woken up with a hunger that thankfully wasn't as strong as he had feared. After getting rid of that hunger , he felt himself start to heal at a more normal rate. All of his external injuries were gone by the end of the following week.
But he still hadn't been allowed to leave. Murtagh knew that he wouldn't have been able to go far, but he actually longed for the cottage he used to share with Thorn. The atmosphere and people inside Teller's house was starting to suffocate him. He needed his privacy.
And so the next week had continued to pass at an agonizing pace. It was only when Murtagh could move without showing any outer signs of discomfort that Brom announced he could leave soon.
The only ones that had visited him during his waking hours were Thorn and Vanir. Brom stopped by, but mostly just to glare at him. Murtagh knew that Brom wanted him gone as much as he wanted to leave. It was most likely Thorn's fault that Brom seemed to push through his displeasure and allowed Murtagh to stay a little longer. Murtagh felt like cursing Thorn for that.
As he lay there and looked up at the ceiling, Murtagh felt his thoughts wander. He hadn't been allowed to do much while he healed; just read and rest. Brom had pulled in an ancient television unit, but Murtagh hadn't really bothered with it. Usually he just stared up at the ceiling and thought about whatever came to mind.
Today he found Eragon sneaking into his mind. Murtagh could remember Eragon's visit very clearly. He had been sleeping when Eragon's voice had pierced through the fog in his mind. He couldn't remember what Eragon had said, but he remembered Eragon.
Murtagh remembered Eragon putting his hand over his. Murtagh allowed himself to wonder what had caused Eragon to do such a thing.
Thinking about Eragon made him think about Formora. It was over. She was finally dead. Murtagh could move on.
And move on to what, exactly? He hadn't had a goal before, but now things were different, even though he loathed admitting it. He had a mate and a son now. He wasn't actually mated to his mate, but a part of the bond was there.
But mate or no mate, Murtagh was no family man. He wasn't a father, a husband or even something as simple as a lover. He took what he wanted and gave on the scarce occasion that he felt like it. He wasn't cut out for a family life.
But there was something about that kid. Murtagh had a fierce instinct to protect him. He wanted to tear Eragon's enemies to pieces.
When it came to Ren, Murtagh found himself oddly protective over him and almost caring. Ren was his son and Murtagh found himself almost wanting to stay if it meant watching his son grow up.
But only almost.
Murtagh closed his eyes and wondered when life had become so complicated.
Thorn felt a million times lighter. His rider was finally healthy and the dark shadow that had always loomed over them was gone.
Of course, it had come with a price. Thorn expected Murtagh to be called to the council any day now, and he intended to be there for Murtagh when it happened.
But before then, Thorn had to prepare himself for leaving Saphira and his new friends behind. Thorn knew Vanir was looking for a permanent residence in Carvahall, which would make it easier to find him. Thorn also knew that he would miss the magician after having been around him for so long.
Hell, he would even miss Nasuada and Arya. He had gotten used to their presence now. They might not be close friends, but Thorn still thought fondly of them.
He almost didn't want to admit it, but he would miss Aksel too. He had almost gotten used to the chimera's antics. Aksel was definitely a person one had to get used to.
He would also miss Eragon and Ren. While Ren still fussed and got alarmingly loud at times, he was undeniably cute. Not as cute as Saphira, of course, but that was another matter. And Eragon was a good friend. He was a bit weird at times, especially when it came to his friends and the whole uncertainty between him and Murtagh, but he was a good guy.
But Thorn would miss Saphira most of all. He loved her more than anything in the world and it pained him to leave her. While it was safer now, neither of them had felt safe enough to run off and get mated. Two days of absence during such a trying period was two days too much.
Thorn vowed that he would go through the ritual with her one day, and that he would do it soon.
Thorn looked up and found himself outside of Murtagh's room. He knocked and entered.
Murtagh opened his eyes and looked at him. He was lying on the bed again.
"So, where are we going now?" Thorn asked.
Murtagh sat up and planted his feet on the floor. Thorn waited for him to get up, but he didn't. He simply crossed his arms and looked up at Thorn.
"We aren't," he stated plainly.
Thorn blinked. What? "What do you mean?"
"We aren't going," Murtagh said and stood.
Thorn was confused. Surely Murtagh didn't mean that they were staying. He knew what Murtagh felt about Carvahall and the things in it.
"We aren't staying, are we?" Thorn asked.
Murtagh shook his head. "I'm leaving, but you're staying."
Thorn was speechless. Surely Murtagh was joking.
"You're not going anywhere without me," he said firmly. "You're still not completely recovered. My instincts won't let you go alone."
"Your instincts also tell you it is about time you mated," Murtagh drawled. "I suggest you do that."
Thorn looked at him suspiciously. "Who are you and what have you done with my rider?"
Because there was no way Murtagh wanted him to stay and get mated – one of the things Murtagh despised the most in the entire world.
Murtagh rolled his eyes. "It's still me," he said and uncrossed his arms. "I know your head won't be fully with me if I let you leave Carvahall unmated. So, really, I'm doing us both a favour. You can join me when the whole honeymoon is over and done with."
"What?!" Thorn protested. "No way. I'm not leaving you alone for a week."
"It's only one silly little week, and I'll let you know where I'm going."
"No," Thorn said and shook his head. "No freaking way."
Murtagh walked over and patted his shoulder.
"You don't get a say in it. Either you let me leave and I tell you where I'm going, or I'll shut off our connection and then you can fly around looking for me for the next couple of weeks," Murtagh said and pulled back his hand. "Your choice."
Thorn didn't get it. Why was Murtagh so determined to see him mated? Sure, what he had said made sense, but Thorn knew him. The reasons he gave were rarely the only reasons he had.
"Not until you tell me why you're so determined that I do this."
Murtagh sighed. Thorn was a little surprised when he didn't protest or get angry. When had his rider changed so drastically?
"I want some time alone, that's all," Murtagh said finally.
Thorn blinked. Murtagh just wanted some time alone?
They both fell silent. Thorn tried to argue with his instincts to see if they would allow this, but they were firm in their desperate need to go with Murtagh.
But Thorn wasn't weak. He knew that Murtagh needed this. So, his instincts be damned.
"Fine. One week, but then I'm coming after you," Thorn said and gave him a sour look. "And then you better not have died or something equally stupid."
Murtagh smirked. "You give me no credit."
Thorn only snorted.
Murtagh walked past him and over to the door. Thorn watched him go, his instincts screaming inside of him to not let the vampire out of his sight.
"Dras Leona," was all Murtagh said before leaving.
Thorn put a lid on his instincts and just stood still for a few minutes. He reached out and felt Murtagh's conscious respond to his.
-Just be careful, you idiot,- Thorn told him sourly.
Thorn could hear Murtagh laugh.
The hydra pulled back. He sighed and looked around the room. Somehow it looked smaller without Murtagh.
He left the room and shut the door behind him. Saphira met him in the living room.
"He left, didn't he?" she asked him.
Thorn just smiled. "He'll be back. I'll make sure of it."
He could see the hesitation in her eyes before she blinked and it was gone.
Thorn walked over and hugged her. Saphira sighed and hugged him back.
"Now, what do you say about going out for a quick flight?" he said and massaged the back of her neck.
Saphira looked up sharply. Whatever hesitation within her melted away completely.
She smiled and stepped back. The glimmer in her eyes turned mischievous.
"Catch me if you can," she said teasingly and ran out.
Thorn chuckled. He sent out a small thanks to his rider before running after her. Maybe even stupid and stubborn riders could be right every once in a while.
A/N One day I am going to be severely tempted to take down several of my current and finished stories to give them a thorough once-over. My writing has evolved a lot in the past few years, not that you can really tell with this piece. Stalked, though, will probably read a lot differently, and I do hope that won't be too weird.
But that's all in the future. These notes are for the now. This is the end of Obsession, guys. Thank you so much for your support and love. Be on the look-out for the story that'll complete this universe! ;)
For those of you that don't know, you can find me on tumblr under sussiekitten. I rant a lot and reblog random things, but you can also find information about my stories and my updating schedule. If you're interested, I'm really easy to find. ;)
But that's all for now. Until next time, guys. Thank you for the journey so far. You guys have been amazing. :)