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 and Glaedr/Shruikan's human appearances.

Warnings: Male and female homosexuality. Heterosexuality. Swearing or strong language. Mentioned Character Death – Genuine (Paolini's) Character. Implied Torture. Gore and Blood – murders are messy business, I'm afraid. Mentioned Hurt/Injuries – mentions of prior injuries on a character. Implied Rape/Underage Violation (Rape) – implied only, I won't be writing this. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.

A/N First, I'd like to thank everyone that reviewed. It means a lot that someone actually took some time out of their life to tell me they liked the story. I am of course also thankful for the alerts and favourites. They all mean a lot.

This story is still unbeta'ed. I think it's great practice for myself to look through my own work and delete mistakes, even though it's much easier to overlook mistakes you've made yourself. But hey, practice makes perfect, right?

A little side note: Please read the bottom A/N. There is important information down there.

This chapter is a belated b-day present to myself. I meant to have it out on my actual birthday, but things got in the way (such as my friends dragging me out for celebratory drinks) and so on. Oh well. Better late than never, no?


POISON

Part Two; Methanol

Murtagh sat in the waiting room. He didn't know why he kept coming back, but it probably had something to do with Tornac's urging. Thorn had found out somehow, and while he didn't know the whole story, Thorn had urged him to go too.

Murtagh hated waiting rooms. He had spent a lot of his childhood in them, waiting for a doctor to become available and check his broken bones and too deep cuts. While the room he was in didn't smell like a hospital, it felt the same.

The magazines beside him had been flipped through again and again. He didn't bother to check how old they were. Behind the reception, the girl blew a bubble with her gum and smacked it back into her mouth.

He looked down at his hands. They were slightly dry. He needed to start using lotion. Murtagh dreaded the extra trip to the store later.

Before him the door opened and a teenager stepped outside. Murtagh only saw soft brown hair and a fierce blush before the teenager was gone. Murtagh wasn't even sure if they had been male or female.

"Murtagh?" Angela stood in the doorway, waving him in.

He stood up and slowly walked inside. He sat down on the couch and waited.

"How are you this week?"

"The same," he replied dully.

"Still having nightmares?" she asked.

"Yes. But it's been a while since I've been sick." Murtagh froze. Had he just willingly given out information? Well, never again.

From behind her desk Angela stared at him worriedly. "You get sick?"

Murtagh just nodded. "Four times so far."

"Murtagh, you should have told me sooner," Angela said sternly. "You need some medica-"

"No," Murtagh said firmly. "I don't."

Angela sighed. "It's not a bad thing, Murtagh."

He didn't comment.

-:-

Murtagh hadn't slept that night. It had been the anniversary of his father's death. He refused to sleep after what had happened on the one year anniversary. The nightmares had been so bad that night that his medical records now showed one suicide attempt.

Murtagh walked around the graveyard just as the day was dawning. He was imagining how the people there had died. Had this person been killed perhaps? Or was it an illness? He noted how old some of the tombstones were and how well kept they were.

He hadn't been to visit his mother in six years, and he would have to wait another two. He doubted he would be allowed to leave town just to visit his mother's grave.

"Talking to the dead?"

He didn't reply. He was too busy staring at the grave of someone who had died that very day some years ago. How unlucky they were; to pass just before New Years.

A strong hand grasped his shoulder. He looked at it. A hand at that size could only mean one person. "A little early to be up and about, isn't it, Thorn?"

"Says you," Thorn snorted.

Murtagh let the hand slip off his shoulder. He slouched and walked away from the grave and towards the gate. Thorn fell into step beside him.

"Thinking about your mom again?" the redhead asked.

Murtagh didn't question Thorn's insightfulness. He had been lurking around the graveyard in his childhood; always tidying his mother's stone or just talking to her.

"I haven't been to see her in six years," Murtagh said quietly.

"Really? What kept you?" the other asked.

Murtagh looked at the ground. "I..." he paused. "I was in prison."

Thorn stopped walking. Murtagh took one more step before turning around. Thorn's eyes were wide and unblinking.

"For my father's murder," Murtagh whispered into the wind. "I killed him, Thorn."

He didn't know what it was, but suddenly it felt like something inside of him was breaking. He clenched his eyes shut and swallowed down the bile. A sob was torn from his throat and just before he met the cold slippery ground, he felt Thorn's arms around him, holding him up. Murtagh reached out and didn't let go.

-:-

"I know what you want to ask me," Murtagh said one day in January.

He had been to see Angela almost a dozen times. Since then she had focused on getting him to open up about his nightmares and trying to persuade him into taking some sleeping pills. She had touched upon his childhood, but Murtagh had closed her out in an instant.

Angela looked up from her notepad. She raised an eyebrow and put down her pen. "And what might that be?"

"Why did I do it?"

Angela blinked. Her hand gripped the pen again as she gazed at him from over her glasses.

"You told me that you don't know that answer," she said softly.

"I don't know why I killed him that night, no," Murtagh said and clenched his hands in his lap. "But I know what led up to it."

"Do you want to tell me?"

Murtagh just looked at her. Angela coughed a little awkwardly and leaned back, obviously waiting for him.

"When the police found me I was drenched in blood. Some of it was my fathers, some of it was mine," he began quietly. "He attacked me first, but it was me that made sure that attack would be the last."

Silence.

"He started to abuse me when my mother died. She died when I was only three, I can't remember – don't remember how," he licked his lips. "First he started to beat me furiously. It took him some time, but over the years he learned to beat me so that no one could tell, or if they could, it could be passed off as an accident."

The couch creaked when he leaned forward, his hair hanging into his eyes.

"The sexual abuse started when I turned thirteen. I had just lost my best friend, I was all alone, and my mother's insurance money was all but gone, same with my college fund," his knuckles were turning white under his tight grip. "Mostly he would sell me to his friends, but there were times when he would come to me too. And I could only take so much of it. The year I turned eighteen, I had had enough. I decided that I was going to leave," he snapped his head up, glaring into her eyes. "But he wasn't going to let me. I wanted to go to college outside of the city, but he refused. One night we were yelling loudly and he turned a knife on me."

A half-choked sound escaped his lips. He couldn't tell what it was supposed to have been. He looked back down.

"And somehow...somehow he ended up dead on the floor," he swallowed. "I-I don't really remember how it happened, but I remember that; seeing him dead on the floor before me."

A tear slid down his cheek. He brushed it away angrily. He froze when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up into Angela's sombre face and blinked when a piece of paper was shoved into his hand.

"Come see me again next week, same time," she said simply and ushered him out the door. "You did well today, Murtagh."

Murtagh just clenched his fist around the paper and stalked out of the building.

-:-

"I told her," Murtagh said blankly. "I told her everything."

The other man remained silent.

"I told her what my father had done to me, everything that he had done to me, how..." he choked down a sob. "What led up to it...just everything."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"By the time my father started to truly abuse me, you were gone," Murtagh said darkly. "And before then, a bruise here and there didn't matter."

"You could have told me that he broke your leg instead of lying and saying that you fell down the stairs!"

"I was a child; I didn't think it mattered," he sighed.

"Well, it would have mattered," the other muttered.

Murtagh fell silent.

"Why didn't you run away?"

Murtagh laughed hollowly. "I tried so many times that I lost count. But he only caught me in the end and punished me until I could hardly walk."

A frustrated sigh. "You should have tried to get in touch with me."

Murtagh looked up and glared at the other man. "What difference would it have made?"

"My parents could have called social service," Thorn said sternly.

"He would have wormed his way out of it. My father was sneaky like that."

"But Murtagh, he hurt you! He hurt you before my eyes. Do you know how that makes me feel?" Thorn said quietly, brokenly.

Murtagh looked away.

"I wouldn't have looked at you like you were weak."

Murtagh glanced up at him. They both recognised the lie, but neither mentioned it.

-:-

"I told my best friend a few days ago," Murtagh said softly.

Angela had her hands folded on top of the desk. She seemed calmer somehow; more comfortable around him. He wondered why.

"And how did he take it?"

"He wondered why I hadn't told him earlier."

"Why hadn't you?"

Murtagh frowned. "Before coming here, I hadn't seen him in twelve years."

Angela nodded sombrely. "How is the relationship between you now?"

"Healing," he said huskily. "But we still have a lot to forgive."

She didn't comment.

"He feels like I've betrayed him, I felt like he abandoned me. I..." he looked down. "I need to forgive myself."

"We all have secrets, Murtagh. It doesn't make you any less of a person to have a few of your own, no matter how dark they are," she told him.

He continued to look down.

"Do you think that you will tell anyone else?" she murmured gently.

He looked at her sharply. He didn't answer, and he didn't need to either.

-:-

Carvahall, despite its almost cosy looking exterior, had its issues. The primary school was slightly run down, some of the walls around town had graffiti on them, a few buildings could use some serious restoring, and the park on the southern end was never safe at night.

Murtagh was walking around the southern end close to dusk. He knew he wasn't supposed to, but his apartment was choking him. He had needed to get out of there.

Valentine's Day was approaching, but he didn't care. He had never been in a serious relationship. He had never been in a relationship, period. Besides, Valentine's Day was just another excuse for Hallmark to sell tons of goods. He didn't feel guilty for not enjoying the day with everyone else.

Murtagh sighed and turned around. He stuffed his hands deeper into his pockets and stared straight ahead as he walked. He was close to the town's square when something happened. He heard shouting and the sound of an alarm going off. He frowned and looked across the street. Someone was robbing a store.

Murtagh felt his heart stop in his chest. The alarm was ringing; the police would be coming soon! He started to hyperventilate.

He ran.

-:-

The news paper was advertising for witnesses of the robbery to come forward. Murtagh felt sick. He stared at the paper for a long time before throwing it away.

Murtagh sat down on the couch and put his head in his hands. He stayed there for hours.

The day had meant to be a good one. Tornac had called him earlier with good news. The doctors had finally declared him cured of the cancer. Thorn had told him earlier that week that he would be proposing to Saphira, and he had continued to talk forever about how nervous he was. Murtagh had just given him a pat on the shoulder and wished him luck.

But now, now everything seemed so dark. He needed to call his parole officer; it was that time of the month again. But he knew what the other man would say; had he seen the robbery? If he had, he would have to come down to the station. It wasn't going to look good on his file if he came down to the station.

Murtagh let out a soft whimper. He just wanted to be left alone!

-:-

Eventually he had managed to call Ajihad. Ajihad hadn't mentioned the robbery and the call had been short and to the point. Murtagh felt relieved when he hung up.

Thorn called no more than a second later. Murtagh knew it was him because he remembered the number. Only five people called him; it was easy to remember those numbers. He didn't answer right away.

"Hello?"

"Saphira said yes! Can you believe it? She said yes!"

Murtagh smiled sadly. "Congratulations," he managed to utter. It didn't sound sincere.

"Are you alright, Murtagh?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he said huskily.

"Are you sure?" Thorn asked suspiciously.

"I'll be fine," Murtagh replied after a small pause.

"Better," Thorn told him. "You'll have to meet her soon. I can't believe you have managed to sneak out of meeting her for so long! You'll love her, man."

Murtagh found it hard to believe that Thorn managed to sound so sincere in his wish for him and Saphira to meet. It was like he had forgiven him already.

But how could he have?

"I'm sure."

"You'll come to the wedding, right?" the other asked enthusiastically.

"...Yeah," he licked his lips.

"Murtagh, I want you to be there," Thorn said sincerely.

He gulped.

"Then I'll be there."

"Awesome!" He could hear the grin in Thorn's voice. "You can meet her this weekend! Just come to 'The Traven' around two. We'll be waiting for you."

Murtagh licked his lips again. "Just you two, right?"

"Just me and her."

Murtagh agreed to come and hung up. He closed his eyes and rubbed a hand over his forehead. He dreaded the meeting already.

-:-

Saphira was a very petite, but clearly powerful young woman. She was two years younger than Murtagh, making her three years younger than Thorn. Her hair seemed even blonder up close and her sapphire eyes twinkled with happiness. Murtagh could see the similar happiness in Thorn's eyes and thought that Thorn was a very lucky guy indeed.

"Thorn has told me so much about you," Saphira said with a smile, "but he forgot to mention how handsome you were."

Thorn poked her with a glimmer in his eyes. Saphira grinned and slapped him playfully.

Murtagh just smiled awkwardly and sipped his coffee.

"So, what do you do, Murtagh?"

"I work in a bar," he replied softly.

"Arya's bar, actually," Thorn shot in.

Saphira sent him a surprised look. "Really? And the other employees haven't eaten you up yet?" she laughed.

Murtagh coughed.

"I'm kidding. Most of the staff there are either in a relationship or don't swing your way."

He just shrugged. He wouldn't know. He didn't pay attention to anyone around him, really. He didn't see the point.

"How long have you been in Carvahall?" Saphira asked.

"Five months."

"That explains why I haven't seen you at the college," she said and twirled the spoon around in her own cup. "You could have applied to start after Christmas, though."

"College is not for me," Murtagh said and crossed his arms over the lip of the table.

"Oh," Saphira blushed softly. "I'm sorry. Me and my big mouth."

"It's alright," he smirked softly.

Thorn sent him a small frown. He was probably wondering why Murtagh didn't want to have an education. Murtagh sighed.

"I have a friend just like you, actually," Saphira said absently. "He didn't know what he wanted to do either, so he spent a year travelling around. I nearly killed him when he came back. The moron didn't think to tell me he was leaving before he was already at the airport," she shook her head. "He's studying now, though."

"Eragon did that?"

Saphira nodded.

Murtagh tried not to feel too out of place.

"I never saw him as the kind of guy to just take off like that," Thorn mused.

"Me neither, and that for a good reason! I thought he was going to get himself killed! Thankfully he arrived back in one piece."

Murtagh took another sip of his coffee and looked away.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Here we're chatting on without you," Saphira ginned sheepishly. "How rude of me."

"It's quite alright. I'm used to it," he shrugged.

Saphira and Thorn didn't look too pleased by his answer. Murtagh just blinked.

"Man, are you ever going to open up?" Thorn asked with a soft frown.

He replied with a one-armed shrug. He doubted it, but Thorn didn't need to know that.

"What good is going to the shrink if she isn't helping you?" Thorn growled. "No wait, scratch that. She is helping," he shook his head. "I haven't seen you smirk in...twelve years."

"The shrink?" Saphira blinked. "Which?"

"Angela Vitch," Murtagh said without hesitation. He didn't care that he was going anymore.

"Ah," Saphira smiled.

"What?" Thorn poked her again. "What's with that smile?"

"Nothing," she said and winked.

Murtagh looked away. It was something alright; she just didn't want to say it in front of him.

"What do you go to her for?" Saphira said as she turned away from Thorn.

Murtagh stiffened.

Saphira slapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh God, how rude of me! Forget I ever said that."

He smiled a half-smile and lowered his gaze. They didn't return to the subject afterwards.

-:-

"Saphira apologises, by the way."

Murtagh sighed. "I heard you the first time, Thorn."

Thorn just shrugged. "She told me to keep saying it until you forgave her."

"Nothing to forgive," Murtagh said and looked away.

"She knows she made you uncomfortable."

"A lot of people make me uncomfortable."

"But this is my fiancée!" Thorn exclaimed. "I want my best friend and my fiancée to get along!"

Murtagh stopped. He looked up at Thorn in wonderment. "Best friend?"

"Yes, you," Thorn crocked an eyebrow. "There was never anyone else."

"But why? How? I'm a -" Murtagh forced himself to stop.

"It doesn't change how I see you, or the fact that you'll always be my best friend," the redhead said and smiled.

Murtagh smiled back. It felt weird, but it was a start.

-:-

He was surprised when Saphira turned up at the bar a few days later. There were two guys with her, but the minute she spotted him she walked over.

"Listen -"

"It's alright," Murtagh interrupted her gently. "You don't have to apologise."

"But I feel horrible!" Saphira said leaned onto the counter. "I know I made you uncomfortable."

"It's alright," he repeated. "If you need to hear it, then fine, you're forgiven."

"Thank you," she smiled. "I really felt horrible. I had no right asking you that."

"True, but it doesn't matter," Murtagh shrugged and put away the glass he had been cleaning. "I've been asked worse before."

Saphira frowned. She shook her head and asked for three drinks. Murtagh soundlessly found two beers and began to make the third drink.

"I never got to ask you, do you like it here?" she asked as she slid the money over the counter.

"It's alright," he quickly gave back her change and waited for her to leave.

"I hope Angela's helping you," Saphira said. "I'm not going to lie and say you don't need it. I know you do."

"I know. And she is."

Saphira smiled. "Later then!"

Murtagh sighed and went to take care of another customer. His eyes would wander back to Saphira's table on occasions, though.

She was sitting with one brown haired and one blond guy. The three of them seemed like close friends. The brunet seemed to get teased a lot, though, especially by the other guy. Murtagh briefly wondered why, but quickly shook it off. It wasn't like it mattered.

-:-

Murtagh woke up screaming. He clutched a hand over his heart and gasped in breath after breath. He closed his eyes tightly and gulped in more air.

He was breathing, he knew he was...then why did it feel like he was suffocating?

He could hear screaming; but he couldn't tell if the voice was his or his father's. He could almost not hear the difference between them anymore. His entire body was shaking, shaking from the images that were still playing in his mind.

Blood, there had been so much blood. Choking him, drenching him, covering him, drowning him...it was everywhere. He could still remember the pain from where his father had struck him with the knife. He could still feel the cold tip of the metal pierce him as he continued to scream. Yes, Murtagh was sure it was his own screams he had heard.

He slowly opened his eyes. It was getting easier to breathe. He blinked and saw flickering red spots before his eyes. The room was filled with light, and when he blinked, the walls looked splashed with blood.

Murtagh got up sluggishly. He didn't know what time it was, and he didn't care. If someone was waiting for him then they could afford to wait a little longer.

He got ready a little more slowly than normal and moved into the living room. Not feeling particularly hungry thanks to his recent nightmare, he just fixed up some coffee before sitting down.

The couch no longer smelled of Tornac. It now smelled of something that had been spilled and something else Murtagh couldn't identify.

He sipped his coffee and glanced out of the window. The spring was approaching, and the earth was awakening from its winter slumber. But still there was snow covering the world, making it look so pure. Murtagh's eyes shifted from the window and to his mattered coffee table. A small blue book was lying on the surface. Murtagh glared at it.

Angela had given him a dream journal during his last session. She wanted him to write down his nightmares and view over them later. He had then told her that he didn't need to write them down to remember them; he only had two or three dreams that were played on repeat. Angela had still given him the book and asked him to at least consider using it. Murtagh was still determined to not even touch it unless he had to move it.

Murtagh looked away. He drank up the rest of the coffee and walked into the kitchen. He slowly washed it and put it onto the counter. He glanced at the clock. It wasn't even eleven. He sighed and walked to the door. The jacket was slowly, but surely put on, the boots were tied and a scarf was looped loosely around his neck. Murtagh pulled out his keys and walked out.

Outside it was full of life. Children were laughing and playing in the snow; eager to make just one more snowman before the snow melted. Others were walking to and fro from stores, some sitting inside a café or diner to warm up. Murtagh walked past them all, his hands in his pockets and his head bowed as he let his feet take him wherever they wished to go.

He walked past an electronic store and looked up when someone bumped into him. They muttered a hurried apology and were gone. Murtagh sighed and glanced at the shop window without meaning to. He froze.

His father's picture was up beside the newscaster. The subtitle under the man read; The killer has served his sentence – was released last year. Murtagh stared at the newscaster and didn't even have to concentrate to read his lips; the killer was released last year without notifying the media. He is now living somewhere in the country. The police have come forth with new information regarding this secrecy. The scene shifted. Murtagh felt his heart stop when he recognised the police chief. Because of his young age and fragile mind, we felt it was best to keep his identity under wraps. This way he will be able to re-enter the society without too much trouble.

Murtagh gasped when he felt his heart give a jolt. He hurried away from the scene. But it was everywhere; he was haunted by his past everywhere he looked. The kiosks sold newspapers with his father's face on them or a large headline that spoke of the murder. He felt like he was drowning.

Murtagh ran. He didn't stop until he was away from the main street. Around him there were only smaller shops, none of had the newspaper displayed proudly in the windows or in front of the door. He walked shakily down the road, glancing up when he noticed the hospital to his right. Further down the road he could see the retirement home.

There was a park to his left. A few children were running around throwing snowballs at each other. Their parents stood by and watched. Murtagh walked over and started to walk down the path beside the park.

"It's quite horrible, isn't it?"

Murtagh looked up. Two old women were walking out of the park, their arms linked as they walked in a slow and crouched manner than Murtagh associated with old women.

"Yes, it is," the shorter of the two women agreed.

"How they can allow someone so brutal to walk around on the streets is beyond me," the first woman croaked. "The police these days are never able to do the right thing."

"He should have been locked away for life when they first had him," her friend said squeakily.

"Fragile mind, they said. They could have just said that he was mental," the first woman scowled.

"They can't say that on television, Ingrid," the other shook her head.

"It certainly hasn't stopped them before," Ingrid huffed.

Murtagh watched them walk away in silence.

Monster, everyone thought of him as a monster. And it was never going to change.

-:-

Murtagh took a heavy swig of the bottle before letting it dangle between his fingers. He felt sick, physically sick, and he wasn't quite sure where he was anymore.

He couldn't remember when he had started to drink, but suspected it had been as soon as he had gotten home.

Monster, he was a monster.

Murtagh sobbed quietly as he swaggered down the path. He was inside some park, but he couldn't tell if it was the north end or south end one. It didn't really matter. He staggered and slipped on a patch of ice. He stumbled right into a nearby bench and let out a pained sound.

He stared in shock as he lifted his hand and saw that the bottle was still intact and still there. He lifted it to his lips and drained the rest of the alcohol. It tasted bitter and sharp, but he didn't care.

The bottle fell from his hand, empty, and landed on a soft patch of snow. Murtagh staggered to his feet and continued to walk. Everything was getting blurrier by the second. He raised a hand to his forehead. He really didn't feel good, but it didn't matter. He didn't deserve to feel good.

He slipped again and held onto a nearby tree. He was sweating, but he didn't feel hot or cold. He was just numb. Murtagh groaned and threw up on the ground. He tried to cling onto the tree, but his grasp was slipping. He tried to get a proper foothold, but slipped again. The ground met him. The back of his head and neck was hurting, and the world was spinning. His mouth tasted awful and only made him want to puke more. He closed his eyes and tried to will it all away.

The insides of his eyelids were coated with blood. His head was ringing with a thousand unidentifiable voices.

Monster.

Murderer!

They should just lock you away forever, you psycho!

Freak.

Animal.

They should kill vermin like you in the womb before you can cause others misery!

I hope they give you the chair!

His lungs were hurting. Why were they hurting? He wanted to focus, but all he could hear was the screams of accusing voices. All he could see was the splatter of his father's spilt blood. The world was spinning out of control.

The cold was seeping into his bones, but why wasn't he shuddering? He felt so cold, so cold. His vision was turning dark. He could no longer hear the wind...had he even heard it to begin with? His breathing, was he breathing? He couldn't tell anymore. His chest was starting to hurt.

Murtagh gasped, but felt no air enter his lungs. He was dying, he had to be.

And strangely enough...he didn't mind.

-:-

He woke up slowly. His eyelids wouldn't quite open and allow him to see, so he gave up trying. Around him he could hear indistinctive chatter and some odd sounds. It smelled strange too.

Then Murtagh remembered. His eyes shot open.

"Ah, so you are awake?"

Murtagh would have given anything not to hear that voice. He pushed himself up and rubbed a hand over his eyes.

"How're you feeling?" Thorn asked stiffly.

"Like hell."

And he did. His head was aching, he felt dizzy, and his throat felt sore. His stomach felt a little funny too.

"That's not surprising, seeing as you were brought in here and had to be pumped," the redhead said dryly. "Just how much were you planning to drink? Until you croaked?"

Murtagh would rather have heard Thorn scream. The silent and cold words didn't sound like Thorn at all.

"No," Murtagh replied softly. "I just...I wanted to forget."

"Forget what?"

"My father's murder is all over the news," he looked up at Thorn. "Everyone knows I'm out. How long will it be before they make the connection?"

Thorn shook his head. "It's impossible for them to know that story is about you. They never ran your name or showed you picture, and I heard you got your name changed?"

Murtagh just nodded.

"Then you have no reason to fret!" Thorn exclaimed.

Murtagh hung his head. It felt like he had plenty of reasons.

"Oh, don't give me that! You're safe here. No one knows who you are, and the ones that do won't rat you out," Thorn snapped his fingers before Murtagh's eyes. "You are free to live a normal life here."

Murtagh snorted. He looked up and stared tiredly into Thorn's eyes. "My life has never been normal. Why would that suddenly change?"

-:-

Tornac was not happy when he came to visit him in the hospital. Murtagh had just taken one look at the older man and waited for the reprimands to come. Strangely enough Tornac had just hugged him tightly and made him promise to never do that again.

The doctor hadn't said anything or asked why he had drunk so much, and for that Murtagh was grateful. Otherwise he was sure his medical records would read two suicide attempts. It could still happen, of course. Angela could make sure that got added.

Murtagh was released without further ado, though Thorn stayed stubbornly by his side until Murtagh literally had to kick him out.

That night he dreamed of pain, bruising, tearing, the stench and feeling of blood sliding over him. He woke up with his father's face before his eyes. He didn't even make it to the bathroom before he threw up.

-:-

"I heard about your little trip to the hospital," Angela sighed. "I won't be altering your medical record, however. There were no indications that you were trying to drink yourself to death."

Murtagh wasn't too sure about that, but didn't speak up.

"Though, if you would like to tell me what led up to your escapade..."

Murtagh sighed. "My father's murder is all over the news again. I got scared, thinking that people would make the connections and realise that it was me."

For once, Angela didn't write anything down. She nodded softly. "I expected you to bring it up during this meeting, though I didn't think it'd cause you to react in such a way."

"Back in Urû'baen, everyone in my school and neighbourhood knew that it was me who had done it," he licked his lips. "It was a miracle no one in prison recognised my face. But even so, I heard it every day when I stepped out on the street. Murder, freak, psycho..." he shook his head. "That's what I heard when I was drinking, what I hear when I try to sleep."

Angela frowned. "Murtagh -"

"I refuse to take any medication," he told her sharply.

"If this is affecting you this badly, you really should," she said sternly. "How many times have you been sick because of your nightmares?"

Murtagh didn't answer.

"This is affecting you on such a level that I've considered asking Tornac to make sure you take any medication I prescribe to you," Angela pursed her lips. "Please reconsider, Murtagh."

He gave in and told her he would. But he already knew what he was going to answer in the next session.

-:-

Murtagh couldn't really remember what his childhood had been like. All he could remember was pain, solitude, Thorn and confusion. He didn't know what sort of boy he had been or how he had been in high school. He was sure he had been one of the loners, but he couldn't remember what he had been like.

He hadn't mourned his loss of childhood while he had been young, but he did now. Murtagh didn't know if he had sung along to any particular songs, if he had played any instruments, what sort of sport he had been good at or what his favourite subject in school had been. It was like prison had wiped his memory clean.

He was a quiet neighbour. He was sure the walls were thick, seeing as no one had come to ask about his screaming, but still he was considerate towards his neighbours, as if they could hear him. His music was never too loud, the TV was never on full blast and he spoke in quiet tones. Then again, he had never been a loud person. That he knew. His father would have killed him if he had disturbed his peace.

He was sure he could ask Thorn or Tornac, but he didn't feel like it. He didn't want to know who he had been that badly.

But as he lay on the couch, a writing pad resting on his upturned knee as he sketched, he had to wonder if he had drawn a lot during his younger years. Had he liked to do it? Had he been any good? He would probably never know.

The phone rang. Murtagh sighed, reached out and put it on speaker. "Hello?"

"Hello, Murtagh?"

"Dr. Vitch," Murtagh said softly, never taking his eyes away from his sketch.

"I'm sorry, but I need to move your appointment today back an hour," Angela said softly. "A client has come in and they're very distressed -"

"That's alright. I understand."

Murtagh had forgotten he had an appointment with Angela that day. He would need to check his jacket pocket later.

"Then I'll see you at four."

"Mhm," Murtagh murmured distractedly. "Goodbye."

He didn't even look up as he hung up. He sighed and went returned his full attention back at the sketch.

The clock turned two, then three and then four. And still Murtagh didn't look up.

-:-

If he had had the energy, he would have cursed. He was late for his appointment. It was now five thirty and Murtagh wondered why Angela hadn't called. He looked at his phone and blinked. He hadn't hung up; he had turned the phone off.

Murtagh sighed. He turned it back on and pressed the speed dial for Angela's office.

"Dr. Vitch's office, how may I help you?"

Murtagh could already feel a headache coming. It was the sugar sweet receptionist that day. She refused to stop flirting with him.

"This is Murtagh Morann. I seem to have missed my appointment -"

"Ah yes, Mr Morann," Murtagh cringed when the girl on the other end purred. "Dr. Vitch told me to tell you that she would be unable to see you today. Her patient had to be rushed to the emergency room and she has been there since."

Murtagh frowned. That sounded like something she'd ask the receptionist to call and tell him.

"I tried to call you, but -"

He didn't need to hear the rest.

"My phone has been shut off," he interrupted softly. "I'll call back for another appointment. Goodbye."

He didn't wait for a reply before he hung up. He looked down at his hands and sighed. He knew he wasn't the only one in Carvahall that wasn't quite right in the head, but that someone was bad enough to do something to be rushed to the ER? Murtagh found himself hoping that at least Angela was alright.

-:-

"You don't look too good, Murtagh," Nasuada commented softly.

Murtagh knew he didn't. He hadn't gotten a lot of sleep the night before. Because he still refused to take any sleeping pills, he had to rely of physical and mental exhaustion to put himself to sleep. When he hadn't been able to see Angela, he had only been able to get tired from work. The nightmare had been so bad Murtagh was relieved that he couldn't remember it.

"Couldn't sleep last night," he replied. There was no use in saying that he was fine. Nasuada wouldn't believe it for one second.

"Doesn't look like it's the first night you haven't slept," Nasuada pursed her lips. "How long has this been going on?"

They were the only ones left in the bar. Murtagh always took as many closing shifts as he could get his hands on, and this time he had ended up with Nasuada as his partner. They were nearly finished, a fact that he treasured. He wanted to go home and just fall asleep, even if that meant going back to his nightmares. He was too tired to care.

"Listen, I appreciate your sentiment, but I'm fine," Murtagh smiled tiredly.

"Insomnia shouldn't be taken lightly."

Murtagh laughed softly. "It's not insomnia," he said softly. "Nightmares."

"Oh," Nasuada muttered. "I see. I thought there was some -"

"There are medications I could take yes, but I won't," Murtagh said and turned off all the lights in the bar. He shouldered on his jacket and made his way to the door. He heard Nasuada's soft footsteps as she followed him.

"Why?" Nasuada asked firmly.

Murtagh shut the door and closed it. He checked the handle to make sure it was locked and turned around.

"Some of us deserve to be punished. I take my punishment in my sleep."

Nasuada opened her mouth, obviously to argue, but he simply hurried down the street and was gone.

-:-

"How have you been?" Angela asked a little breathlessly.

Murtagh hadn't called to get a new appointment. Rather, Tornac had showed up at his apartment, shoved a note in his hand with the next appointment and sternly told him to go. Murtagh had caved easily. He loved Tornac like a father, a real father. He would rather kill himself than to disappoint him.

"Alright," Murtagh said nonchalantly. "How's your patient?"

Angela jumped. She looked at him over her spectacles. A soft smile entered her lips. "He's fine. He just had a very severe breakdown and had forgotten to take his medications for a while. I rushed him to the hospital just to be sure."

Murtagh nodded.

"Any nightmares since last time?"

Murtagh just looked down.

"Murtagh, you shouldn't be doing this to yourself," she whispered.

"I don't care. I..." he trailed off. He didn't want her to know.

"Yes?" she pushed on. "You what?"

"I deserve it. I was given a second chance, one I won't be taking lightly, and so I deserve the pain that comes with it."

"Murtagh!" Angela scolded. "We're talking about, what, seven years of continuous nightmares? This cannot continue. I'm going to write out -"

Murtagh was out of his seat and had slammed his palm onto the desk before he even knew what he was doing. Angela jumped in her seat. He glared down at her, his mouth set to a thin line.

"I refuse to take it," he told her darkly. "This is my burden to bear. Don't you dare take that away from me."

Angela looked up at him with a frightened expression. "Is this why you won't take any medication?" she whispered frighteningly.

Murtagh removed his hand from her desk and slipped them both into his pockets. He didn't answer.

"Murtagh, you need to learn how to forgive yourself for whatever you mean you've done to deserve this," she said sternly. "And I know just the person to help you."

"No," he said firmly. "I don't want any help."

"Don't see it as help," Angela's eyes twinkled slightly as her finger hovered over the button that made her able to reach her receptionist. "See it as another friend."

"I don't want or need another friend," Murtagh said coldly.

Angela smirked softly. She pressed the button. "Yes Dr. Vitch?"

"When is Mr. Rider's next appointment?"

"Next Wednesday at five. Do you want me to call and reschedule?" the receptionist asked.

"No, that's perfect. Thank you," Angela smiled and took her finger off the button. "I'll be seeing you next Wednesday at five p.m."

Even after fifteen minutes of arguing he left with another appointment deep in his jean pocket. He was dreading it already.

-:-

"She wants you to what?" Thorn asked amusedly. "Interact with another human being?" he laughed.

"Shut up," Murtagh said sourly.

Thorn sniggered. "Seriously, you should listen to her," he said, suddenly sounding serious. "She has helped you a lot. Just listen to yourself! You're complaining! Tell me the last time you complained about something."

Murtagh didn't reply.

"I've heard of sessions like that," Thorn said, flicking a crumb off the table. "They're not that bad, apparently. All the doctor wants is for you to talk to another human being about your problems. Someone that isn't a shrink, I mean."

"Thorn, it took me ages to open up to her," he sighed. "I'll never be able to tell what I've told her to a complete stranger."

"Maybe, maybe not," the redhead shrugged. "You never know until you try."

"A shrink won't judge you openly," Murtagh told him calmly and stared deep into his eyes. Thorn fell silent. "Another person will. I'm just going to scar some poor guy for life if I let him look into my mind."

"Hey, Tornac and I are still here!" Thorn snorted. "Give yourself some credit."

"You haven't heard the worst of it," Murtagh said hoarsely. "And neither has the shrink."

"Then don't tell this guy your darkest secrets."

"That is what she wants me to. I can see it in her eyes."

Thorn rolled his eyes. "Listen, your mind is your own; you choose who to let in. You can just sit there and stare at the guy until the hour is up if you want to."

Murtagh smirked softly.

"If Angela asks you to tell about your nightmares, then just tell the basics. It's not like either one of them need to know more," Thorn crocked an eyebrow.

"Yeah," Murtagh pursed his lips. "No one needs to know."

"Just sit there, appear patient and trustful, and don't give the guy crap if what he says is complete shit. You're not there to analyse him; just to be a listening ear. Kind of like a priest at a confession stand," Thorn said and winked.

Murtagh winced.

It didn't change anything, though. If anything, he was dreading it even more now.


A/N Before you ask; I know, I know. Where is Eragon? He's coming, maybe even sooner than you think.

I'll post these chapters on a semi-weekly basis, since I only have eight finished chapters. I want to make them last, as I hope you can understand.

And then I have a message to all of my readers:

If you have seen my profile, you will have noticed the message I've put up about censoring. It's true. I have now edited out all of the sex scenes in my stories, with the exception of one. The reason I haven't gotten to that one yet is because I have been very busy, but I will get it soon. But fear not; the unedited version of my stories will soon be up on a site, which you can go to through the "homepage" link on my profile, called Archive Of Our Own. Why not AdultFanfiction, some of you may ask. Well, because both sites have very little Inheritance stories, and I was already a member of Archive.

I haven't fixed any of the violence parts in my stories, but that is mostly because I haven't written any serious violence. Unfortunately, this means that this story, Poison, will have to be edited later, because there will be some sexual elements and there will be violence. I'm sorry for the inconvenience of this, but I'd rather censor my stories than get kicked off FFNet.

Anyway, that's it for now. I hope you liked the chapter. Until next time.