SMILE
fanfic by volly
forgotten realms (c) r.a. salvatore

...

"This place is tiny."

Zak's cheek twitched, but he said nothing. Matron Malice had warned him of this one's impatience. Apparently he was an enthusiastic magic-user, having learned the art of levitation at the mere age of seven, and had ever since then been fascinated by everything and anything magical.

But this level of condensation was most unappreciated. If it weren't for the fact that Nalfein was the elderboy of Daermon Na'Shezbaeron, Zaknafein would've beheaded him with scarcely a second thought. His gym was anything but tiny. House DeVir, Fourth House that it was, didn't even have a gym half the size of Do'Urden's. In Zaknafein's eyes, this hall was more than satisfactory, more than "tiny"...

"I do hope I'm not staying here long," the obnoxious drow youth muttered. Zak forced down the temptation to throttle the youngster, however, and replied in an indifferent monotone.

"Your Matron Mother insisted that you train here for six months."

"Six months?" Nalfein scowled, glancing haughtily around. He leaned back against a wall, cupping his hands before his face, brows screwing momentarily in concentration before conjuring forth a flickering lick of faerie fire in the cradle of his palms. The neon glow threw the aesthetic features of his face into sharp relief and Zak pursed his lips in admiration as he realized that Nalfein didn't even blink at the light. Resistance to luminescence at such a young age. This one would make a fine mage, Zak mused.

"If you have any questions about the matter, feel free to take them up with your Matron," Zak returned casually, watching with amusement as the teenage drow's frown deepened. Nalfein's hands clenched into fists, crushing his fireball into a puff of smoke, and Zak gave a hollow laugh.

He gestured to the weapon cabinet on the far side of the room. "While you're here, though, why not try your hand at some of the weapons House Do'Urden has to offer?" he smirked, scarlet eyes locking on to Nalfein's own.

Nalfein only offered a sneer to rival Zak's. "What weapons?" he asked not-so-innocently. Zak lifted a brow, but didn't quite catch on until he turned and realized that the weapon rack had vanished inside a globe of darkness. He couldn't help but feel impressed. The rack was by no means a small object, and for Nalfein to be able to cover it so completely was quite a feat.

He smiled. "Very nice trick. Now, if you'll please, Nalfein, we still have quite a bit to get through, and I'll appreciate it if you'd dispel that."

Nalfein huffed, but lazily dismissed the spell with a flick of his hand. He did not smile back, and it was with a sigh that Zaknafein prepared the elderboy of House Do'Urden for his first lesson in fencing.

...

If House Do'Urden's elderboy was a magic-enthusiast, its secondboy was the exact opposite. Dinin Do'Urden was literally twitching with anticipation to hold a blade, to inflict a wound, to take a life. Zak could see it in the drow's blood-colored eyes.

From the moment the two exited Matron Malice's antechamber, Dinin had wasted no time in pelting his tutor with every inquiry he could ever cook up. He was full of imagination.

"How long does it take for a drow elf to die?" Dinin eyed the twin straight swords strapped to Zak's back with unveiled hunger. "What's the shortest time it took for you to kill someone?"

Honestly, the things that this one asked. Zak resisted the urge to roll his eyes. This one would grow to be another bloodthirsty drow warrior, that much was certain. Typical dark elf. "Well, it depends on many things. Gender, for one thing, as well as age and armor quality." Zaknafein pushed open the door to his gymnasium, watching Dinin as the teen stared around with wonder in his crimson eyes. "I usually kill in under a minute, but, again, it really depends on the elements I said before."

"Under a minute, huh?" Dinin took in the chamber like he was trying to devour the place with only his eyes. "That's pretty fast. But you're also going to teach me how to do that, right? To kill?" he turned wide eyes to the weaponsmaster, but blinked in confusion when Zak frowned slightly.

"Yes, I supposed so. It's my job, after all." Zak strode over to the weapons display, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Dinin was following.

Dinin's eyes narrowed. "You don't sound very enthusiastic."

"Whatever," Zak muttered evasively, stopping at the foot of the rack. "When you've taught as many incompetent fools as I have, you wouldn't be looking forwards to another one, either."

It was a lie, but Dinin accepted it. He was offended, too, and his retort came in a heated hiss. "I'm not an incompetent fool. I'm different. I'm a noble of Daermon Na'Shezbaeron, I'm the Matron Mother's secondboy--"

"--That doesn't make any difference," Zak interrupted, tugging the fabric cover off of the weapon rack and watching on idly as Dinin's jaw practically dropped to the floor at the sight of such a large amount of torture devices. The weaponsmaster withdrew an ornate spider-shaped dagger from the rack, bouncing the blade casually in the palm of one hand. "It's just as easy to plant a sword into the heart of a noble as it is to murder a commoner. Trust me. I would know."

Dinin didn't even seem to be listening anymore. The secondboy had already turned his full attention to the largest weapon he could find--a massive, toothed broadsword hanging from a peg in the center of the framework.

Zak smiled. But it was a sad one, and it went unnoticed by Dinin Do'Urden as he continued to eagerly examine the items of destructions arrayed so casually, items that had claimed the lives of countless drow warriors, and would only consume many more before the end of Zaknafein's life.

...

"This one is different," Vierna had informed him. Zaknfein's heart had skipped a beat at those words, but now, as the weaponsmaster prepared to enter Matron Malice's antechamber once again, he steeled himself for only the worst. Optimism was never rewarded in Menzoberranzan.

Shy amethyst eyes peered out cautiously behind neat white bangs. Zak blinked. His eyes. They looked exactly like two glowing shards of amethyst. Never had the weaponsmaster even heard of such an unusual eye color.

Matron Malice opened her mouth to introduce the boy, but he beat her to it. "Greetings, Zaknafein Do'Urden," a little cheeky grin. "I am Drizzt."

Drizzt. Zaknafein stared in open astonishment at the child who dared to act so openly around his superiors. Indeed, the Matron Mother was burning with mounting rage, and Briza Do'Urden was fumbling with the serpent whip at her hip, so shocked that she, for once, bungled a perfectly ripe opportunity for punishment. Zak stepped up to the new secondboy. "Then it is time for you to train."

Drizzt. Zaknafein observed him all the way to the door of his fighting hall. He seemed genuinely innocent, genuinely ignorant and childish and uncorrupt. So different. He seemed so totally different from the other two Do'Urden noble males--well, there was only one now, as Nalfein had been assassinated just 16 years past...

He seemed so...pure. There was just no better way to describe him.

"Where do I sleep?" Drizzt's amethyst eyes were narrowed now in annoyance.

Where do you think? Zak thought sarcastically. My room?

"Your home."

Drizzt kicked at the rugged floor, a discontent scowl on his dark face. Zak was forcefully reminded of Nalfein's complains about the size of the gym. "It sounds messy."

"It better not be," was Zaknafein's own warning.

Drizzt was stubborn. That was a fact that Zak learnt early, and a fact that Zak learnt well. The young drow was entertainingly headstrong, and Zak didn't hesitate in punishing the lad for disobeying his orders so. Better now than later, the poor fellow. But rules had to be established--and enforced--early.

Zak watched over Drizzt's unconscious body, studying the young drow's features curiously. Drizzt really did have a very handsome build, and it was not the first time that the weaponsmaster began to wonder at the youth's origin. He had hoped before that Drizzt might be of his own blood, and it was now with certainty that he concluded that such a wish was truth. Drizzt was nothing like Rizzen, physically or psychologically.

Drizzt was his son. Zaknafein couldn't help but feel a torrent of elation wash through him at this revelation. He had a son. He had a chance now at finally being able to reveal himself as he was. He had a chance now at acquiring a source of sympathy and friendship, both of which were so despairingly rare in the harsh world of Menzoberranzan. He could teach Drizzt so many things. They could become so much together...

The young elf moaned slightly and Zak quickly averted his gaze to a less conspicuous subject. "First lesson. For your own good."

Drizzt only shook his head and tried vainly to get to his feet. He seemed to have quite a difficult time trying to do so. Zak shrugged--maybe his blow was a bit too heavy. He stepped closer and grabbed his son's hand for the very first time, pausing for a moment before reluctantly hauling the young drow back up.

If Drizzt noticed anything unusual about Zak's behavior, he didn't show it. Zak led his newest student to the weapon rack and watched with a strange feeling of déjà vu as Drizzt looked over the swords, amethyst eyes wide in much the same eager fashion as Dinin had displayed.

The teen tentatively removed a massive battle-axe from its position in the rack, struggling a bit as he attempted to put it through an elementary cut. The weapon was much too heavy for the slender elf, however, and it was with a squeak of humiliation that Drizzt toppled over, dropping the halberd and letting it fall to the thick carpet that Zak set there for such accidents. Zaknafein paused at the entrance to his room and couldn't help but smile. The smile inevitably grew to a laugh, however, as he watched the smaller drow attempt to replace the axe back to its shelf, without success.

Drizzt flinched at the laugh--he had probably never even heard one before, Zak realized sadly--and glanced quickly back at his new teacher, regarding Zak for a long moment as if trying to decide whether the laugh was meant to be good-natured or mocking. Finally he gave an uncertain grin back, a simple action that made Zak's heart leap.

Drizzt had smiled at him. Zak felt his own smile widen ridiculously. Drizzt, his son, had smiled at him.

Yes. This one--Drizzt--was different.

Drizzt could smile.

...

i adore zaknafein. and drizzt. they rule end of story yay.

i do hope you enjoyed this thing. and do review--i eat and adore them like candy. < 333