Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters. Only "the master" belongs to me.
Warning: This fic is extremely OOC. Entreri doesn't act how he normally would; neither does Drizzt. Neither of them would act like this in any self-respecting Salvatore book. You have been warned; please don't flame or send in reviews pointing this out. I am very well aware of this particular discrepancy. Thanks!
Rewritten version…round number two.
Artemis Entreri grinned as the expected knock came at the door, then double-checked to make sure the money was on the bedside table where he had placed it in preparation. "It's open," he called, "but lock it when you're in." He sat down on the bed, eagerly awaiting his guest.
The door slowly creaked open and a frail-looking, cloak-clad figure stepped in. Soft leather boots, almost completely hidden beneath the hem of the long cloak, padded softly across the floor. The creature beneath the cloak looked to be thinner than he has asked for.
Trembling hands reached up to pull the hood away, revealing a head of white hair and large, empty lavender eyes.
"Do'Urden?" Entreri hissed, surprised; he would never have thought to see the drow in such a place.
"Entreri," Drizzt whispered, his tone hollow. The human, at a complete loss, studied him for a moment, seeing the way his enemy's shoulders bent under an invisible weight, the way the lack of emotion in his eyes made him look old and haggard. He looked defeated. What had happened to bring him here, of all places? "You...asked for me?"
He had asked for the best. "Not for you specifically, no," he spat, fury unexpectedly manifesting itself in his confusion, "but I suppose you'll do."
Drizzt bit his lip uncertainly and moved closer. "I...need my payment beforehand."
"Of course." The assassin was amazed to realize that he had to work to keep all traces of emotion from his voice as he handed the silver coins to the drow. He watched, disconnected, as dark hands slipped the money into a small pouch at his belt. "Well?"
Drizzt dropped his head, trembling slightly, and began to undress. He let his clothes fall to the floor in a wrinkled pile, letting them lie there as he finished. Once he was naked, he stood before Entreri. He could see the tattoo that marked him as property—that small little ring on his left shoulder with the vertical line through it. There were also others, spiders and signs of the Underdark over his chest and stomach and hips, and long, curving triangles beneath each eye.
With a shuddering sigh he slipped into bed beside Entreri.
Later that night Entreri woke abruptly, for no reason he could discern. It had been hours since Drizzt had left, as far as he could tell—there was no sign of him in the room, and his cloak was gone from the bed knob. He sighed. He had taken no joy in what he had done to the once-noble ranger. It had been so wrong.
A muffled noise caught his ear then, and he looked to the corner of the room, his body tensing in readiness. His human eyes were barely strong enough to pierce the darkness, but he could make out the thin shadow sitting there. It was Drizzt. He sat close against the wall, his head on his knees and his cloak wrapped tightly around him. He was still shaking. The elf lifted his head then and stood, keeping the cloak close to him as he left the room.
Two days later Entreri was still at the inn, and Drizzt still plagued his every thought. He didn't understand why—he had finally bested his opponent. But he hadn't had his victory in the way he had intended, nor had it felt as good as he thought it would.
Later that afternoon he found himself on the steps of the same house he had gone to before. At his insistent knock, a small window set in the door slid open to reveal a pair of suspicious black eyes.
"What's your business?" a gruff voice asked.
"I need someone," Entreri said quietly, keeping his hood low so he wouldn't be recognized. "Can I come in?"
The window was closed and a moment later the door was opened, revealing a round, middle-aged man with a flabby face. His beady eyes looked him up and down, and then the man ushered him into a small sitting room. When Entreri declined his offered drink, he cut straight to the point, asking, "What do you have in mind? Male or female? I've got humans, moon and sun elves, a dwarf, if that's what you like. A drow, too."
"A drow?" Entreri sat up straighter, feigning surprise.
"Yes. He came here about...six months ago. Fairly new. But he's certainly my best, no doubt about that. His name is Drizzit...Do'Urden, I think. He's a quiet one—he stays in his room unless he's got business. But still, he's the pride of my house. Even the nobles call on him from time to time. Those who get him are lucky. Believe me, I know."
He winked at the assassin, who was fast becoming angry.
"He learned all he knows from me," he continued, a leering grin on his face. "So...where am I to send him tonight?"
"Er..." It took Entreri a moment to relax and remove his clenched fist from the hilt of his dagger. "The only inn on the main street. Room forty-seven at midnight. How much is he?"
"For him...I want six silver pieces. He's worth more, but I like you."
"Elf!" the master barked as he thudded into the room, not bothering to knock. Drizzt, sitting on his bed, looked up. "You've got another job tonight."
"But I had three last night, and I have three tomorrow," he protested softly. "With the nobleman tonight—"
"You're my best," came the reply. That was always the excuse. "They're all yours. Besides, you've got that pretty new tattoo. Don't you want to show it off?" He slipped a hand up the back of the drow's shirt, tracing the still-tender design he himself had inked into the dark skin. "Come to me when you're done tonight," he whispered, his warm breath eliciting a disgusted shiver from Drizzt. "Oh, here are the addresses for tonight." He handed the elf a slip of paper.
Drizzt looked down the list and saw a familiar address, one he had hoped to never see again. He bit his lip nervously, humiliated.
That night the familiar cloaked figure stepped into Entreri's room, collected his payment, and undressed. Drizzt looked utterly miserable as he again got into bed with the assassin. When he finished he stood, and Entreri knew that the drow expected him to go to sleep. But instead he watched as Drizzt tugged on his pants, a new tattoo stretching its way down his back—an intricate spider web starting at the nape of his neck and stretching to his shoulders, one long strand stretching down his spine, a spider resting in the small of his back.
The assassin sighed unhappily, unable to help himself. Drizzt turned around and looked reluctantly at him.
"Did I not please you?" he said softly, digging for the coins he had been given.
"No," Entreri choked out, and the drow bowed his head. "No, I-I mean—"
"My apologies," Drizzt said, holding the money out.
"No. Drizzt...what happened to you?"
Tears unexpectedly filled the dark elf's eyes and he opened his mouth as though he was about to say something, but instead he turned away and headed for the door. His hand was on the knob when Entreri stood and reached for him, touching his shoulder. "I want to know."
Drizzt turned around but refused to look directly at him. He shrugged away from the hand, then said quietly, "They're all dead."
"Who?" He already knew though.
"Regis, Bruenor, Wulfgar...C-catti-brie." He swallowed hard. "We were defending the halls from a group of tundra yetis back in the Dale. They proved far too strong." Tears began to silently trace their way down his face. He squirmed uncomfortably, backed up against the wall by a man he would probably have preferred to never see again. Entreri took a step back, giving him enough room to move away from the door, or leave if he so desired. But to his surprise, Drizzt stayed.
"I wasn't even hurt," he continued, his voice cut through by a soft tremor. "Once I buried them all I was forced to leave. The dwarves—Bruenor—had given me a home. After he...died, no one would give me a home, though I had never shown them anything but friendship. None of the towns wanted me, either. I left...I traveled. I finally came to Waterdeep, but it was the same here and I wound up in an alley. About six months ago a man whom I thought kind took pity on me and brought me to his home. I was so desperate that I never questioned him. When I realized where I was, I tried to get away. He...he forced himself on me, and I've been there ever since."
He put his hand on the doorknob again and turned it, but before he could leave Entreri pulled him back. "Why don't you just leave?"
Drizzt lowered his head in shame. "Because as much as it hurts to admit it, he has given me shelter, warmth, clothes, food...a home. Everything I need." He tried to leave yet again, and almost managed it. But again, the assassin pulled him back.
"Get into bed." He cringed inwardly; that hadn't come out the way he intended it.
Drizzt didn't look surprised; he nodded. "Very well. But please...it needs to be quick. And...you'll have to pay me again."
"No, I didn't mean that... Not for that." Never for that. "I regret ever touching you at all." He gently guided the dark elf to bed, and Drizzt willingly complied. As he sat down amidst the rumpled sheets he bowed his head, letting it fall into his hands. He looked so small and helpless. Entreri, feeling a strange sort of compassion for the poor creature, wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and pulled him close.
"Go to sleep," he encouraged, offering a small smile.
Drizzt looked at him, incredulous. "But I can't. I have another client tonight—a nobleman. I can't just—"
"Yes, you can. Now...please."
Drizzt hesitated for a moment, then nodded in thanks. He clasped Entreri's hand, giving it a tight squeeze. "Thank you."
"I'll get you out of there," the assassin heard himself promise. "Forget everything that's happened. Just sleep now."
Drizzt gave him a pale smile, then lay down facing the wall. He curled up into a ball, as though he could protect himself from everything. Entreri dropped into an armchair by the door, watching the elf as he slipped into sleep. He rubbed a hand over his face. Why was he doing this? Had he gone soft? He sighed. Whatever it was, he knew that it was a worthy undertaking.