Disclaimer: I don't own Eragon or anything associated with the Inheritance Cycle. Story title is from the song "Undisclosed Desires" by Muse. Chapter title is from the song "I Will Not Bow" by Breaking Benjamin (blame whore-of-god over on Tumblr, I know I do lol).
Claimer: I, SussieKitten, own this plot and the story. Borrow or steal my plot, my original characters (Aksel and Co) or story and I will report you. I also own my version of Thorn/Saphira/Shruikan/Glaedr's human appearances.
Warnings: Male homosexuality. Female homosexuality. Heterosexuality. Supernatural creatures – there will be mainly elves (immortals), dragons (drakes), dwarves, vampires and werewolves (weres) in this. Mentions of ill intentions towards humans and humanoid creatures. Obvious bias against humanoid species. Politics. Murtagh's humour. If any of this disturbs you, click on the "back" button. I won't tolerate any flames.
A/N So this is it, you guys. The end of the line for this story.
It feels very surreal to mark it as complete. It has been with me for so long (which makes me vaguely worried about what it'll feel like when I tick the box for Poison. Oh Norse Gods). A part of me is glad, though. I finally finished uploading another story. Look at me go!
This is, as the chapter title suggests, a look into the future of these guys. Does that mean I skipped all over what Murtagh and Tornac decide to do? ...Well. Yes. But hopefully the content of this little snippet will make up for it.
But enough about that. Without further ado, here's the last installment for Undisclosed Desires. :)
Be warned. This has been beta'ed by a sleepy me and good old whore-of-god over on Tumblr.
Epilogue: I Will Not Bow
(SOMEDAY IN THE FUTURE)
"And that's how your Uncle Murtagh and I met," Tornac was saying when Murtagh found him. There was a big dumb grin on his face.
Cyan giggled and clapped her hands eagerly. Ismira was close behind, shrieking excitedly. Njáll just kept staring at Tornac like he was still waiting for the punchline of the joke that was their lives. And Abeni had fallen asleep at some point, curled up next to Cyan.
"Lies and slander, all of it, I'm sure," Murtagh drawled.
Ismira shrieked even louder at the sight of him, waking Abeni up in the process. Abeni, ever the serious child, gave Ismira a look of utter disappointment. Then she held up her arms and pouted pointedly at Murtagh.
"I'll have you know I said nothing but the truth," Tornac said as Murtagh allowed himself to be swayed by the power of Abeni's pout.
"Now I know you're lying," Murtagh said dryly. "They'd have been crying then."
Njáll pulled at Murtagh's pants like he wanted to be carried too, even though he'd gotten far too big for that.
"I will never understand why the younger crowd likes me so much," Murtagh said as he gave in and sat down right on the floor. He soon had Njáll in his lap, eyeing Abeni pointedly. Abeni stuck her tongue out, Gods know who she'd learned that from. Though she wasn't skilled enough at it yet to know it was usually pulled back in afterwards.
Cyan was happy to drape herself on top of his left leg while Ismira found his right sock to be utterly fascinating. Murtagh wiggled his toes just to make her laugh.
"That's because you don't understand your own appeal," Tornac said fondly and leaned in to kiss him.
"Don't you dare," Murtagh said and flicked his eyes over to the four pairs of eyes that were watching them with varying amounts of interest.
Tornac smiled sheepishly and settled for kissing the top of his head.
Murtagh rolled his eyes. "Honestly, I don't know why I bother."
"You love me, really." Tornac scooted over to sit next to Murtagh. Cyan immediately found his lap more appealing than Murtagh's leg and abandoned him. Murtagh didn't blame her for one second. He was quite partial to that lap as well.
"Does Eragon still have a boyfriend left or did you scare him into the next county?" Tornac asked.
Njáll sighed deeply. "I am going to bother Uncle Aksel if you are going back to adult stuff," he said with the severity of an unimpressed seven year old. He stood up and left, hands shoved deep in his pockets.
"He says like he doesn't adore his Uncle Aksel," Tornac called after him.
Njáll's ears burned bright red as he walked faster. Murtagh didn't need his wolf to confirm that. Njáll's ears were forever poking out of the mess of curls he called hair and it wouldn't listen no matter how much his adoptive mothers tried to tame it.
"He's going to be heartbroken when Vanir finally pulls t- himself together and declares his ever-lasting gooey love," Murtagh drawled, remembering to censor himself just in time.
Cyan laughed with him, her mint-coloured bangs flopping over her eyes yet again. It was weird for Murtagh to think that she was almost five years old already, but there she was. At least she didn't understand everything quite as well as Njáll, though then Njáll always seemed older than he was. Murtagh was tempted to blame his Immortal genes.
Ismira giggled and caught Murtagh's foot in her hands. Murtagh used his other foot to gently poke and prod at her, making her laugh louder. She was four and talked a mile a minute when she felt like it. As Murtagh's pseudo-niece he'd had the pleasure of being there for her first word. She was why the parents had put a ban on cursing around the young ones, no matter how hilarious it was every time Ismira said 'fuck'. Murtagh still thought Roran was more to blame. He'd only babysat her a couple of times, after all. Roran lived with her.
Abeni sighed against Murtagh's neck. She was only two, but seemed so serious all the time. Murtagh blamed her parents. One professor and Murtagh's best friend did not a relaxed combination make, even if they made each other happy and somehow managed to produce cute children.
"So how did you wind up here?" Murtagh cocked an eyebrow. "Did you volunteer?"
Tornac smiled wryly. "Aksel was late to the party, if you can believe that."
"Aksel, late?" Murtagh deadpanned. "Never."
Ismira giggled, like she always did when Murtagh did something with his voice. It never failed to make Roran scowl because he still hadn't gotten over the fact that Murtagh had been the first one to make her laugh.
"Arya was late too, so I think it was something official," Tornac said, lowering his voice like they were speaking in confidence.
Because Murtagh's hands were full, he had to settle for giving Tornac a dry look.
"Well, I guess that explains why Vanir looked more hassled than normal." Murtagh immediately looked up when Cyan beamed and waved eagerly, almost falling out of Tornac's lap.
"Careful, Cyan," Saphira said as strong arms scooped Cyan right up. "We don't want you to fall and hurt yourself."
Cyan put her arms around her father's neck and sighed dramatically. "Sorry, mummy."
"You laugh now, but you know she gets this from you," Saphira said and wagged a finger at her mate.
"Sorry, darling," Glaedr said and wiggled his eyebrows at her. "I'll make it up you."
"Stop flirting in front of my child," a deep voice said.
"You're one to talk," Glaedr said, looking amused, as Thorn crouched down next to Murtagh.
"She awake?" Thorn asked as he ran his fingers through the baby-soft and curly dark hair at the top of Abeni's head.
Abeni whined in answer. She was clearly getting cranky from being tired.
"She fell asleep earlier, so she's probably due for a nap," Murtagh said as he handed her over.
"Thanks," Thorn said as he held his daughter close. His mate came up behind him, putting an arm around Thorn's waist. It was still weird for Murtagh to see someone taller than Thorn, but he was slowly getting used to it.
Shruikan looked over and nodded at them in thanks. Murtagh nodded back.
"Say bye, Ismira," Murtagh said to the monster that still hadn't released his foot.
"Bye-bye!" Ismira said and waved at the two retreating couples.
"Bah-bye!" Cyan said as she waved back just as eagerly, nearly slipping out of her father's grasp and making the other three adults laugh.
"And you're sure you want one of those?" Murtagh said dryly as he scooped up his pseudo-niece.
"Well, not one of those specifically," Tornac answered, just as dry, "but a breed of young would be nice someday."
Murtagh lay down on the floor – feeling very grateful for the carpet – and groaned. Ismira giggled from her new place on his chest. She started to play with his hair almost instantly. "Gods, you're so old."
Tornac gasped and put a hand on his chest like the dramatic idiot he was. "Words hurt, you know."
Murtagh hummed and focused on the ball of sunshine that was currently crushing his chest.
"Are you gon have a baby?"
It was silent for a blissful five seconds before Tornac started to laugh hysterically.
"Nope." Murtagh poked her nose to make her laugh again. "Know why?"
Ismira shook her head. She'd inherited her mother's hair and disposition, even if she was sadly stuck with Roran's nose. Roran had just been glad when she'd tested negative for the wolf-gene. He'd take the nose over that, he'd told Murtagh, and Murtagh understood.
"Because your Uncle Tornac -"
"And that's enough out of you," someone spluttered and picked Ismira right off his chest.
Ismira laughed. "Daddy!"
Murtagh smirked up at Roran. "She's going to have to learn about the bees and the bees one day."
Roran's ears were as red as Eragon's had been earlier when Murtagh had almost scared his new boyfriend off for good. "I'll handle that, thank you very much," he said, then immediately seemed to realise just what he'd said. He groaned.
"How nice of you to volunteer, dear," Katrina said with a tiny smirk on her lips.
"This is all Murtagh's fault somehow!"
"I'm sure," Katrina said and shook her head. "Thanks for watching her."
"You know it's our pleasure," Tornac said and held out a hand for Murtagh to take.
Murtagh reluctantly let himself be pulled up. The floor had been surprisingly good to lie on.
"It's good to get in practice while you still can, hm?" Katrina said teasingly.
Roran went wide-eyed. "Please no. Don't tell me Murtagh's procreating."
"Ok, I'm convinced." Murtagh looked at Tornac. "I need to have a baby just to make my cousin miserable. Impregnate me, stud."
"Not in front of my daughter!" Roran said shrilly, making Ismira laugh loudly, before storming off with her in his arms.
Katrina shook her head again. "I'll see you boys later," she said before chasing after her husband.
The rest of the gathering carried on outside, through the wide-open balcony doors that separated them from the rest. Murtagh wasn't sure if the young families were leaving or just finding a room for the kids to nap. He wasn't even sure what time it was anymore. Grilling Eragon's new love-interest had taken up quite some time.
He felt Tornac scoot even closer. Murtagh let Tornac put an arm around his waist and be pulled until their shoulders touched.
He noticed someone waving out of the corner of his eye and waved back at Nasuada. Njáll must have given up on Aksel as well because he was next to her, sulking at the ground. Nasuada reached out and ruffled his hair gently, something he no doubt only allowed because she was his mother.
"They really look so much like mother and child," Tornac mused. "You'd think it was meant to be."
Murtagh shook his head. "You sound so young and innocent sometimes," he said dryly. "Remind me, which one of us is pushing fo-"
Tornac clapped a hand over his mouth and shushed him.
Murtagh pushed the hand off and smirked at him. "Keep being in denial, old man. It won't change anything."
"Well, I can darn well hope," Tornac huffed. "Your mother already gets homicidal enough every time my birthday comes around. I'd rather not remind her prematurely."
"Don't worry," Murtagh patted Tornac's shoulder, "I won't let her kill you. Maim, maybe, but not kill. I still have use of you."
Tornac snorted. "Comforting."
He watched as Njáll's other mother finally made an appearance. Aksel was right behind her with Vanir practically nipping at his heels. The three of them were still wearing more finery than the little extended family get-together warranted, but Murtagh understood prioritising showing up only a little late over delaying even more just to get changed.
Aksel crouched in front of Njáll and held his fist out expectantly. He was grinning widely. Murtagh still wasn't used to seeing Aksel with his new hairstyle. It showed off his ears proudly and still had enough personality to fit him. Arya had told Murtagh that it still drove the council absolutely mad and that she couldn't be prouder of him for it.
Njáll scowled up at Vanir before, seemingly reluctantly, giving Aksel the fist-bump he was looking for.
Aksel beamed even wider, somehow, and ruffled Njáll's hair affectionately. Njáll batted his hand away and Aksel laughed as he straightened back up.
Vanir was no more than an inch behind him, and Aksel...didn't seem surprised. Huh. Murtagh was happy for them. It had been about fucking time.
"Finally," Tornac said, like he was reading Murtagh's mind.
"Mm-hm," Murtagh hummed.
"Poor kid," Tornac said, obviously talking about Njáll. "To experience his first heartbreak so young. How tragic."
"He'll get over it," Murtagh heard himself say. "Kids are resilient like that."
Tornac chuckled. "That they are."
Murtagh watched Arya try to finger-comb Njáll's hair into submission and fail. He sighed.
"You know that even if I really did want to have a kid, the odds are stacked against us," Murtagh said. It hadn't been a problem before...well, before. But things were different now.
"I think that's about to change," Tornac said, pressing a kiss to Murtagh's cheek.
"Just because a friend of yours thoroughly trounced the political competition doesn't mean she'll be able to overturn all the prejudice that's been building up for the past couple of decades."
"Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy," Tornac said simply and pulled Murtagh around so they were facing each other. "We're proof of that, aren't we? You and me, our friends and everything they've been and are still going through."
His heart skipped a beat in his chest and his wolf was going absolutely wild. Murtagh ignored them both. "You're a sap and I don't know why I bother with you," he said instead.
There was a glimmer in Tornac's eye. "How about I remind you?" he said, leaning in and stole Murtagh's breath with a kiss.
For once Murtagh didn't have to wonder when he'd last been this happy. The answer was easy; yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.
And hopefully it would be that way for many more years to come.
A/N And that's it, you guys. The end of UD.
A few notes that probably aren't too clear in the story: the political competition Tornac and Murtagh are talking about is Trianna, Murtagh's neighbor. She's going to thoroughly trounce Galbatorix and the laws that come as a result of her being in charge will change things for Beings. For good this time.
A part of me is almost tempted to write it, but no. I'm done. I've told the story I wanted to tell.
I'm not sure whether Murtagh and Tornac end up adopting. It will be easier for them to do so after Trianna wins the political race, though. And Selena isn't the happiest with their relationship, but she sees how happy Murtagh is. And if nothing else, she's happy about that.
Eragon is going to go through a whole string of boyfriends, none of them particularly serious, until he finds The One. Who that is I have absolutely no idea. In the interest of keeping things, well, interesting, it's probably a vampire if not a regular old human. A part of me is tempted to say it's good old Baldur, who I used once upon a time in the Red Haze/Black Mist verse, but who knows. Certainly not me lol.
And while it isn't mentioned in the story, and while they don't have any scenes together, let it be known that Angela and Trianna are low-key witchy girlfriends in the background.
I have posted a story OST/playlist for UD over on my tumblr if you wanna check that out. It's marked with the tag "SK's fanfic OST" and features the theme song for this story, the theme song for this chapter, and a few I listened to while writing and editing this.
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.
But that is all for now. See you again next time. :)