Disclaimer: I don't own Morrowind. Big surprise. It belongs to Bethesda. I hope they don't sue me.
Jiub was so tired that he couldn't sleep. Every single time they'd tried to pitch camp last night, the wildlife had attacked them. Finally, they'd found a cave labeled on their map as 'Massama', which turned out to be an abandoned glass mine. After clearing the old mine of nix hounds and rats the size of nix hounds, they'd stretched out their bedrolls to finally get some shut eye in peace. Problem was: he couldn't fall asleep.
Dak couldn't either, if the amount of tossing and turning on the other pallet was anything to go by. She'd had maybe half a bottle of greef before lying down, which (he knew from experience) was just enough to make her bubbly without incapacitating her.
He rolled over and pulled his blanket over his head.
"Hey, Pointy Ears," his partner called.
The blanket came back off. "What?" Jiub snapped.
"Why're you still awake?"
He bit down a truly scathing response and settled for a tart, "Why are you?" instead.
"I'm horny," was her response.
Jiub sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Another side effect of his partner being pleasantly buzzed—she acquired the urge to over-share. "Is this your way of saying you're going off to…er…play?"
Dak rolled over on to her belly and looked at him, mischief glinting in her pale eyes. "When was the last time you got laid, Jiub?"
He sat up and gave her his best withering glare. "I don't think that's any of your business."
She smirked. "Did Meleena ever put out? Or did she just give you the run-around the entire time we were in Vivec?"
"Still not your business."
"It's my business if we have sex—girl like, Meleena, you never know what she might have picked up somewhere."
Taking a poleax to the forehead might have stunned him less. "Since…since when are we having sex?"
"Well, I'm in the mood, and you haven't had any in…"
Jiub threw up his hands, trying to ward off the words dribbling carelessly from her mouth. "No! No! No! No more greef before bed for you! We are not sleeping together—ever—so just get that skooma-brained idea out of your head!"
"Why? Am I really that repulsive to you?" She propped herself up on her elbows to give him a good look at where her cleavage would be if she weren't wearing a sack of a shirt. Thank the Three for the sack of a shirt. "No, it can't be me…which means it's you. What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing's wrong with me," he snapped. "You're just not my type—we want completely different things out of relationships."
That caught her interest. Dak stopped trying to be seductive and sat up as well, leaning her chin on her palm as she waited for him to explain.
Jiub shot off a quick prayer to the Tribunal and dug around in his pack, drawing out a bottle of flin. He'd bought it in Vivec, meaning to share it with Meleena, but all attempts to charm the little Bosmer had ended up with him feeling like an utter fool. Perhaps Dak was right on that account—Meleena had been giving him the run around. He wasn't much of a drinker, but he'd kept it just for a situation where this where he actually wanted his partner drunker than she already was. "Here, drink this," he ordered, tossing the bottle to her.
She caught it deftly with her long-fingered hands and twisted the cork out of the neck. "Since when do you give me alcohol?"
"Since you're being a pain in the ass—just drink it already, before I start regret giving it to you."
That all too familiar half-smile crept up one side of her face, and Dak saluted him briefly before taking a long swig of the whiskey. "So, tell me, oh wise elf, why is us sleeping together such a bad idea?"
"Because I want a farm and a wife and four kids, and you want…" He faltered, unsure of what exactly it was that Dak wanted, deep down. He knew the answer to that question in the short term—booze, a good fight, sex—but anything beyond that, she'd never shared with him.
"Nothing so permanent or lofty," she finished for him. The smirk seemed to take on a melancholy air as she finished off the flin in one long gulp. She looked down at the little bottle in her hand. "They really don't make these things big enough."
"Most people don't have your capacity to digest alcohol," Jiub reminded her.
Dak turned and tossed the bottle back over her shoulder into the mine. Somewhere in the darkened tunnel behind them, it struck a wall and shattered. "It's my gift, isn't it?"
It's a curse, he wanted to say but held his tongue. The whiskey had been just enough to push her over the edge from giddy to contemplative. After spending so many months with the woman, he was beginning to understand that she didn't want to think. That was part of the reason she was killing herself slowly with drink and quickly with insane risks. Whatever crime had earned her a spot on the prison ship was too much for her to bear.
The light from their single lantern flickered in the cavern's drafts, but it was enough for him to see the tears starting to leak down out of the corners of her eyes. With a sigh, he rose, taking his blanket with him, and went to sit next to her on her bedroll. Sniffling, she scooted over until he could wrap the blanket and an arm around her.
After a moment's quiet crying, she pulled away, lying back down on her pallet, pulling his blanket out of his grip and using it to cover herself. Jiub just rolled his eyes as he stood and went back to his own bedroll.
A/N: Well, this started out as a goofy answer to my friend's question "So why won't Dak and Jiub ever get together?" and then turned sort of glum. And I still don't know if I've answered the question in a way that makes sense to anyone but me.