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. Mentioned Hurt/Injuries – mentions of prior injuries on a character. Mentions of past Rape/Underage Violation. Humour elements – yes, beware the humour, people. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.
A/N This is the very last chapter of this story.
It's funny. A part of me was probably starting to wonder if I was ever going to get this story done. It's been on the go for so long that I was halfway sure I was going to forget where I wanted to take it. Luckily that didn't happen.
This chapter features glimpses into the future lives of the people that have been with us throughout Poison. I hope you enjoy.
Self-betaed. You have been warned.
The door slammed behind Eragon, causing all three of the cats to start miuaing from their various places around the house. One of them sounded like they'd gotten into a closet again. Murtagh made a mental note to go look in case it was Jor. Jor still hadn't quite mastered the art of opening doors yet (thankfully).
"Welcome home, honey," he called out.
There was no answer. Just a death-groan from the couch in the other room as Eragon no doubt threw himself down on it. They were really going to have to replace that couch soon, before it killed itself and took them down with it.
He got up from his workbench and walked out of the office.
As expected, he found Eragon sitting on the monstrous trap that they called their couch. He was scowling at the wall opposite like it had offended his family's honour.
"Someone's in a mood."
Eragon's scowl deepened and he just dug himself further into the cushions.
Murtagh walked over and sat down next to him. "Come on." He started poking at Eragon's arm. "You know I'm not going to leave you alone until you talk to me."
"You're valid!" Eragon snapped out of nowhere.
Murtagh paused. "What?"
Eragon groaned and buried his head in his hands. He started to mutter all sorts of things that Murtagh could only half make out.
Slippy jumped onto the couch and wobbled over until he could drape himself all over Eragon's lap. He started to purr stutteringly.
Eragon dropped his hands and looked almost beseechingly at the cat. Slippy, of course, didn't have any answer. He just wanted his afternoon cuddles and wasn't going to be moved until he got them.
"Want to share with the class now?"
Eragon flinched. Well, that was telling.
Murtagh did a mental review of Eragon's schedule and quickly found the answer. "What did the dickbag have to say this time?"
Eragon groaned again.
"I'm not going to move until you answer," Murtagh said. "Neither is Slippy, but that's because he isn't getting any attention."
Eragon reached down and started petting Slippy behind his ears. Slippy's eyes immediately closed and his purring got louder. "Sleipnir," Eragon corrected.
"That's what I said. Slippy."
"You're the one that started the theme!" Eragon spluttered.
"No, that was Fen's original owners," Murtagh reminded him. "You were the one that looked at that tragic mess and immediately had to call him up after a horse."
"Well, at least mine isn't named after a wolf," Eragon said like he didn't love each of their cats with his entire being and then some.
"Just for that, we're getting another cat and I'm calling them Hela." Murtagh crossed his arms. "And I'm still waiting to hear what ignorant, sexist or racist thing the douchebag said this time."
Eragon rubbed his other hand over his eyes. "He said that -" He cut himself off.
Murtagh reached up and started to rub at Eragon's neck. "He said?"
"That asexuals in relationships don't count," Eragon muttered.
Murtagh snorted. "Why? Does he not know the difference between asexual and aromantic?"
"Probably not," Eragon conceded and tilted his head to look at Murtagh. "But he made a point of underlining that asexuals in relationships are just holding their partner back and that if the relationship is intimate, then they're not asexual anymore. So clearly he has some grasp of...something. I'm just not sure what that is or that I want to know."
"Well, clearly he's an idiot," Murtagh said bluntly. "And I don't need his validation to know what I think and feel is real."
Eragon looked up at him with the same eyes as Jor when he wanted more food. "Could you come to class and tell him that?"
"Why?" Murtagh poked his cheek. "I know that you already have."
"Yeah, but he says I have no idea what I'm talking about." He bit his lip. "I didn't want to out you without your permission."
"Appreciate it." Murtagh put an arm around Eragon and pulled him closer. "I think it's a little late to sign up midway through the semester, though."
"Yeah, but the prof is going to have special seminar next week with guest lectures." Eragon batted his eyes at him. "You could sign up?"
"You're not cute," Murtagh deadpanned.
"Or you could go on Aksel's show? He's always looking for guests."
"I'm not sure," Murtagh said just to be an ass, "I don't really have the face for radio, you know?"
Eragon made an offended sound at the back of his throat. "Neither does Aksel!"
Murtagh laughed. "I'm telling him you said that."
Eragon whined at him.
"You're adorable." Murtagh kissed his forehead. "Don't change."
"I don't think I like you anymore," Eragon lied.
Murtagh picked up Slippy and put him down on the floor. "Pull the other one," he said as he threw his leg over Eragon's lap. "It has bells on."
Eragon groaned miserably.
"Hello peeps 'n' welcome back to Ax to the Max!" Aksel said with the straightest face Murtagh had ever seen on him. "I'm your host, Ax, 'n' today I got a real treat for you guys. My good friend, Mysterious M!"
"Is that really what you're going to call me?"
"Wouldja rather I change it up?" Aksel offered.
Murtagh thought about it for all of two seconds. "No, that's fine."
Aksel's studio wasn't really a studio in the strictest of terms. He had a show on the college radio, so it was really just a shoebox with a soundboard, a chair and a microphone shoved into it. It was made even smaller by the fact that Murtagh had been given his own chair and microphone to use.
It was a good thing Murtagh knew Aksel, or he wouldn't have been able to stand the cramped space for more than five minutes – if that.
"So, what'cha wanna talk about, my dear M?"
"Don't let your boyfriend hear you call me that," Murtagh said, smirking faintly.
"Nah, it's cool." Aksel waved a hand. "He thinks you're hot too."
The next time Murtagh saw Vanir, he was telling him that.
"Good to know," Murtagh said, widening his smirk to let Aksel know how much he'd fucked up. "And I wanted to talk a little about gender and sexuality."
Aksel flailed at him. "That's a pretty nifty topic," he said, sounding much calmer than he looked. "Where'd ya wanna start?"
"Well, Ax," Murtagh put pressure on the word because it was an honestly stupid nickname, even if the radio wanted to give Aksel some sort of anonymity, "not many people know this about me, but I'm asexual."
"Thanks for tellin' me, man," Aksel said, beaming at him. Like he hadn't known that about Murtagh for years now.
"You're welcome?" Murtagh cocked an eyebrow at him. "Anyway, the reason I'm bringing it up is because a lot of people don't believe asexual and aromantics exist. Or that there's something wrong with us that needs to be fixed."
"Which is obviously horseshit," Aksel said right on cue. "That'd be the same ignorant peeps that deliberately misgender transgender folk, ain't it?"
"Most likely," Murtagh said. "Whether they're wilfully ignorant or not is another thing, of course."
"'Course," Aksel echoed.
"Now, I wanted to come onto your show and tell people how wrong they are," Murtagh began. "Whether that pertains to transgender people and the gender they feel is right for them or genderqueer people and the gender they feel they are or aren't. And that's just skimming over the gender issues."
"Because ya said ya were asexual," Aksel said, "so ya wanna focus on that?"
"Well, that is the topic I'm most qualified to talk about," Murtagh drawled.
"But I might as well preface by saying that every sexuality, as well as every gender is valid. Bisexuality, demisexuality, pansexuality, homosexuality, asexuality and so on."
"Oh yeah, gotta make sure the straights don't send us hate," Murtagh deadpanned and Aksel visibly had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud. "Anyway. There's this little thing called romantic alignment," Murtagh said. "That seems to confuse some people."
"Right, 'cause someone can be bisexual, but demiromantic, right? 'n' people don't always get what the difference is?"
"Exactly," Murtagh said. "Biromantic, demiromantic, panromantic, homoromantic, aromantic, et cetera, those are all different to the sexualities. Different and just as valid."
"'Course," Aksel said.
"I'm asexual, as I've said before. I'm also homoromantic. Apparently that confuses people."
"How so?" Aksel looked confused.
"Because I can see men in romantic light, but I'm not too big on the sexual part of a relationship. So then as soon as people hear I'm in a relationship with another man, they either think I'm holding him back or robbing him of something," Murtagh said dryly.
"No way, man." Murtagh had to give it to him; Aksel sounded properly scandalised.
"Yes, it's true," he said. "Of course, it only gets worse if they find out I'm intimate with my partner as well."
"Oh yes. Because then I'm not asexual anymore, I'm just kidding myself." He rolled his eyes.
"Dude," Aksel breathed.
"Dude," Murtagh echoed. "Also, I love how people think intimacy automatically means sex. It doesn't. It's all the little things that can lead up to sex, I guess, in other relationships, but they shouldn't have to. Not every kiss should lead to the bedroom."
Aksel was nodding. "True, true."
"So, yes, I'm intimate with my partner. We kiss. We hug. We also have sex."
Aksel's eyes widened almost comically.
Murtagh smirked. "Not often, but we do. We do it as an extension to our intimacy – not because we have to fuck like rabbits right this second or the world will end, but because we want to feel closer to each other."
"Oh man. I can already hear what people are sayin' to that," Aksel said, grimacing.
"Oh yeah," Murtagh smirked viciously. "Some people just love clinging to their perceived notions and doesn't bother or want to learn anything about the real world and the people in it."
"Or they're just sex obsessed," Aksel offered. "I mean, the stuff that gets called in?" He let out a low whistle.
"I believe it," Murtagh said. "And honestly, to the people that judge asexuals for being in relationships or feel sorry for the people that are in relationship with one, they can just shut the fuck up. Feel free to just ask my partner. He doesn't get disappointed when I say I'm not in the mood, he goes and take care of himself like the adult that he is."
Aksel was biting his lip again like he was struggling not to laugh.
"If the reason you're pressuring your partner into having sex is so you don't have to take care of 'the problem' yourself, then there's something wrong. And it's not your partner."
"Man, you're awesome," Aksel said, cheeks bright with badly suppressed glee. "Can ya come back next week?"
"You'll have to ask my partner about that," Murtagh said with a smirk. "He might not let me after I let the whole campus know we have sex. Sorry, babe," he added for Eragon's sake. "I just couldn't help myself."
"That's a'ight, dude. I'll put in a good word for ya."
"A great guy like yourself must be active in the community."
"The LGBTQA?" Murtagh shook his head. "I support it, obviously, because I believe in people having equal fucking rights. I'm also a feminist and believe that black lives matter – so beware. But no, I'm not very active. I'm private, I guess you could say."
"D'ya fancy getting more involved?" Aksel asked.
"I don't know," Murtagh said honestly. "My days are pretty packed. I have work, the house, the fur-babies and my partner. And I've already made my stand and fought for what I believe in. I shouldn't hog the spotlight."
"Sounds mysterious," Aksel said like he didn't know what Murtagh was talking about. Bless him for that.
"Well, you're the one that called me Mysterious M," Murtagh pointed out. "I just kept with the theme."
Aksel laughed. "But that's it for today, folks. Tune in next week for more Ax to the Max! Say g'night to the adoring masses, M."
"Good night." Murtagh leaned a little closer to the microphone. "Don't send the station hate just because I spoke the truth. I'm the one you want to hunt down, not these guys. Though I encourage you not to. My hellcats will eat you alive."
"I'd listen to the man. I've met those hellions," Aksel said. "G'night, y'all!" He turned off the microphones and pressed some other buttons, which Murtagh guessed queued up the playlists for the rest of the night. "Dude, that was awesome," he wheezed. "But Aggie's gonna murder you."
Murtagh smirked. "Well, at least I'll die happy."
"Oh, my god!" Eragon said as soon as he got home.
"Hey, you're the one that wanted me to put that douchebag and his ilk in place," Murtagh reminded him.
"Not by saying all of that on the radio!"
Murtagh shrugged carelessly.
Eragon groaned and almost walked into a wall because he had his head in his hands again.
"Relax," Murtagh said. "No one's going to know you're my partner."
"That is not what I'm worried about," Eragon said and squinted at him between his fingers. "I'm well aware how lucky I am you're giving me the time of day -"
"Nope." Murtagh walked over and pulled him into a hug. "Shut your mouth."
"You're squishing me."
"Too bad," Murtagh told him. "You live here now."
"But -" Eragon protested.
"Insecure boys get their insecurities hugged out of them."
"...Did you just call me a boy?"
"Start acting like a man and maybe I'll take it back," Murtagh said.
"Oh, my god."
"I see Saphira got her way," Murtagh said and smirked.
"Are you going to say that every time you visit?" Thorn deadpanned.
Maeve looked completely captivated by her littlest brother, just like she had been when Wyatt had been born. Her blue eyes were wide and inquisitive. "Where is his hair, mamma?" she asked.
Saphira smiled. She still looked a little tired, but then it had only been a month since she'd given birth. Murtagh didn't know much about childbirth, but he knew that it took a lot out of you. "Not everyone has hair when they're born," she said.
Wyatt gave the three of them grumpy looks. Apparently he wasn't too happy about not being the youngest in the family anymore.
Thorn pulled Wyatt up into his lap. Wyatt settled a little, though his brown eyes were still narrowed and unhappy. "Do you remember uncle Tag, Wy?"
"Hi," Murtagh said.
Wyatt gave him a suspicious look through his unruly red fringe.
"I haven't been around much," Murtagh said. "Your other uncle Eragon -"
"Has kept him busy, from what we hear," Thorn said and cocked an eyebrow at Murtagh. "On the radio, really?"
"Well," Murtagh shrugged.
"No, don't get him started on it," Eragon said as he rushed over. "Hi, Wy. Do you want to go draw, maybe?"
Wyatt gave a serious nod and slid his way out of Thorn's lap. He accepted Eragon's hand and let himself be lead away into the playroom.
"I wasn't actually going to say that, you know," Murtagh drawled.
"Oh, we know," Saphira said with a laugh. "Why don't you go keep Wyatt company, Maeve?"
Maeve pouted. "But I wanna stay with Ellie."
Murtagh bit his lip.
"You can come see him again afterwards, ok?"
Maeve nodded eagerly and ran off as fast as her feet could take her.
Saphira sighed. "They grow up so fast."
"And yet," Murtagh added.
"Mhm," Saphira walked over and sat down next to Thorn. Baby Elric scrunched his face up at them. "I think I'm done now."
Thorn sagged in relief.
"But I see Wyatt still isn't big on talking to strangers?"
"He'll warm up to you again," Saphira promised. "But this is what you get for being busy with work for so long."
"It's not my fault my editor was up my – well, you know, about the deadlines," Murtagh said, censoring himself just in time.
"Poor you," Thorn deadpanned.
Murtagh looked around, but it still looked like it was just the six of them. "Where are the old men?"
"Dad called earlier," Saphira said. "They're running a little late."
"You know that's old men talk for -"
"Murtagh!" Thorn put his hand in front of his son. "Not in front of the baby!"
Eragon let out a sound of profound mortification when he finally got off the phone.
"What did your old man have to say?" Murtagh said without looking up from his notebook. He had almost gotten the storyboarding right.
"He caught the show," Eragon whined and collapsed onto the couch next to Murtagh. "Kill me now."
"Shouldn't you be threatening to kill me?" Murtagh said as he moved his legs to give Eragon more room. "After all, I was the one on being interviewed."
"No. You'd take me up on it," Eragon said grumpily. "You're not getting off that easy."
"Oh, and Tornac says he's proud of you."
"He says that every time he sees me," Murtagh said as he turned the page. "I think it's become his version of hello."
"At least where you're concerned," Eragon wiggled until he had his head in Murtagh's lap. "I can't believe my dad and your pseudo-dad ended up getting together."
"I can," Murtagh said. "He was over quite a lot while we were prepping for my trial, so I saw a lot more of them together than you did."
Murtagh cackled. "You have such a dirty mind, it's hilarious."
Eragon glared at him. "Just for that, I'm going to tell you I'm proud of you too," he said. "Even though I wish you hadn't shared our sex life on live radio."
"Your threats don't work on me," Murtagh said drily and looked down at him. "And I hardly shared our sex life. I just said we have sex."
"And now my dad knows," Eragon whined.
"If he didn't know before now, then I'd be very concerned," Murtagh deadpanned.
Eragon swatted at him.
"I didn't know we'd gotten another cat," Murtagh snarked. "You know only nice tomboys get to stay in my lap while I work."
Eragon stuck his tongue out at him and Murtagh reached out and snapped his tongue before he could pull it back. Eragon made a delightfully startled sound.
"Be nice," Murtagh said with a smirk.
Eragon decided to poke at his ribs instead. "Leggo!"
Murtagh laughed and released Eragon's tongue.
Eragon gagged. "You have charcoal on your fingers!"
Murtagh wiggled them. "Not these ones."
Eragon just gave him a suspicious squint.
Murtagh chuckled. "You're adorable when you're angry."
"Shut up." Eragon wiggled his way out of the couch.
Eragon turned around.
Murtagh grabbed his shirt-collar and pulled him in for a kiss. "Now you may go."
"Asshole," Eragon muttered.
"You know you love me."
Eragon kissed him again instead.
"But speaking of sex life -"
Eragon blinked, clearly startled.
"I think Fenris is pregnant again."
Eragon blinked a couple of times in quick succession. "How?"
"Well," Murtagh began, "when a male cat finds a female cat irresistible during certain times of year -"
"Not that!" Eragon swatted at him again. "I thought she'd stopped going out much after she had Jor."
Murtagh shrugged. "That apparently isn't enough to stop the neighbour's cat." He smirked. "I look forward to go over there and tell them they have to pay child support again."
"I can't believe it." Eragon sighed.
"I know what I'm calling one of the kittens though," Murtagh told him with a smile.
Eragon squinted at him, instantly suspicious.
"I already told you," Murtagh reminded him. "Hela. We have to keep with the theme now."
"Oh, my god."
"And if you keep saying that, I'm really going to have to address our sex life," Murtagh pointed out helpfully. "Because -"
"And also that. It -"
"No." Eragon put his hands over Murtagh's mouth. "Stop."
Murtagh shook with laughter.
"You're incorrigible," Eragon muttered almost angrily.
Murtagh put his notebook and pencil aside and snuck his arms around Eragon's waist. Then he pulled.
Eragon let out an 'oof' when he landed in Murtagh's lap again.
"Too bad you like me that way."
Eragon's scowl slowly started to melt off his face. "I hate you."
"Mhm." Murtagh pulled him in. "Good thing I hate you too, then."
Eragon shut him up with a kiss.
A/N And that's it for Poison.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support over the years and for giving this quirky story of mine a chance. I've grown a lot since I started writing it, realized a few things about myself and come to accept those. In a lot of ways, this isn't just Murtagh's story of healing - it's mine too.
To the people that may be curious about what's happened since chapter twenty and the beginning of this one:
Eragon and Murtagh have clearly gotten together. They live in a modest two-story house slightly outside the city proper, but still within walking distance. They have three cats - Fenris, Jormundgandr and Sleipnir. Did I mean for the Norse names to be a theme for the cats in this story? No. Was I going to take advantage of the fact that there was already a cat named Fenris in this when I decided to do the epilogue? Abso-flippin-lutely. (Fenris does indeed end up having a kitten, by the way, and Murtagh strong-arms Eragon into calling her Hela. They have a theme now and they're sticking to it!)
Murtagh works as a children's books author. He publishes under a pseudonym and does well for himself. He's praised for daring to talk about subjects that children's literature doesn't always feature, so they can learn about gender, sexuality and different relationships from an early age. It's all G, obviously. Murtagh may have a potty mouth, but you can't tell that in his books. (Unless you look closer, then you see the jokes that are there to amuse the parents.)
Eragon's currently a perpetual student. He's doing a little bit of everything - languages, literature and sociology. The class he has with the doucebag - to quote Murtagh - is gender studies. Eragon loves the class, but absolutely hate that asshole. (Eragon is not alone. All the girls the jerk is hitting on hate him too.)
Aksel does indeed have a show on the college radio called Ax to the Max, because I couldn't help myself. He talks about everything and nothing on that show, sometimes with guests and sometimes with call-ins. Vanir's been on the show exactly once and has vowed never to return. He and Aksel are still together, though.
Saphira and Thorn now have three kids - and that's it for them. They'll end up with two dogs eventually, but that's the end of the line. I could write a whole story about their adorable kids, who skepticalqueen over on Tumblr helped me name, but I think I'll leave it here lol.
Brom and Tornac do indeed end up getting together as well. Eragon and Murtagh are adamant that it doesn't make them step-children because 1) Tornac and Brom aren't married (yet) and 2) Eragon and Murtagh got together first anyway.
Arya and Nasuada sadly don't get a mention in the epilogue, but they're happily married in the background and are soon going to adopt their first (and possibly only) child.
Shruikan and Glaedr are married too. They've both received promotions since chapter twenty and are currently content with their dog and house. There're planning to adopt sometime in the future, though, and will then adopt one or two older kids that would otherwise have been stuck in foster homes until they aged out.
Murtagh and Eragon though...you never know, it might happen. For now, they're happy. And that's really all that matters.
I'm sussiekitten over on Tumblr if you want to keep up with my writing and any general life-posts I occasionally make. I mostly just reblog whatever I like, but Tumblr is where I talk about any fics I'm currently writing or are planning to update shortly.
Thank you all for sticking with me. :) I'll see you in the next update!